Great Scottish Journeys

Here is a quick blog about my latest book Great Scottish Journeys, published by @bwpublishing and @ScotsMagazine

Advertisements

Scotland is renowned the world over for its outstanding scenery, with millions of people visiting every year to revel in its urban, rural, mountain and coastal settings. Much of this remarkable topography forms the basis of my latest book, Great Scottish Journeys.

Published by Black & White Publishing, in conjunction with The Scots Magazine, and retailing at £16.99, Great Scottish Journeys lets the reader see what is out there, to provide some inspiration to explore the A-roads, the B-roads, the back roads, the paths, the towpaths, our mountains, lochs and coast.

Ailsa Craig from Turnberry

Whether this be the mighty mountains of the Northwest Highlands, the exquisite sandy beaches of Arisaig, the gentle delights of the Crinan Canal, or the wonderful rolling landscape of Galloway, you are never far from these spectacular locations. 

For instance the Crinan Canal, which runs for 9-miles between Ardrisaig and Crinan, in Argyll & Bute, is often referred to as the most beautiful shortcut in Scotland. It is a truly exceptional journey, one that can be taken on foot, bike or by boat. Or for a trip from the Lowlands into the Highlands, where Scotland’s remarkable geology divides the land, then a week walking the West Highland Way is special.

The Crinan Canal

Scotland’s road network comes to the fore on many of the journeys included in this book. The North Coast 500 for example, which has been called Scotland’s Route 66, takes in the spectacular and dramatic scenery of the Highlands, Sutherland and Caithness.

A trip along the East Neuk of Fife, or an excursion over the Road to the Isles to Mallaig bestow a stunning variety of scenery and a chance to sample some of the best seafood in the world. The beguiling coastlines of Ayrshire, Galloway and East Lothian are also visited in the book while, heading inland, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Lochaber, Loch Fyne and the Arrochar Alps highlight the diversity of the Scottish countryside.

A sense of adventure is also delivered. A Great Scottish Journey could mean taking the ferry across the beautiful Firth of Clyde to reach the dazzling Isle of Arran or driving beneath the spiky mountains of Kintail onto Skye. From here, a passage across the Misty Isle, past the serrated spectacle of the Cuillin, to the unique and striking topography of the Trotternish Ridge, is simply breathtaking.

Upper Loch Torridon and Shieldaig

The images in this book have been taken over a number of years, with every trip to every location having imparted vivid memories that I have been lucky enough to capture on camera. Each Great Scottish Journey reminds me what an exceptional country Scotland is and how fortunate we are to be able to rejoice in its incredible beauty.

If you would like to order a signed copy of the book please contact me at scottishhorizons@sky.com.

The Old Man of Storr

Law of the Land

A straightforward but stiff climb leads onto summit of Traprain Law, the whale-backed little hill that rises to 221m above sea level to the south of East Linton, in East Lothian. It stands proud of the surrounding landscape and consequently the outlook is exceptional.

The Lammermuir Hills from Traprain Law

Traprain Law was formed around 320-million years ago by volcanic activity with its profile then left behind after great ice sheets had scoured the landscape some 14,000 years ago.

By 1500BC it is thought that the hill was home to a small community with a tribe, known as the Votadini, occupying the site for several hundred years until the 5th century AD. In 1919 archeological excavations uncovered a huge horde of Roman silver, again dating from the 5th-century AD. Over 250 fragments of objects were discovered including bowls, spoons, flagons, dishes and plates, as well as more personal items such as jewellery and buckles.

North Berwick Law and Bass Rock from Traprain Law

It is worth exploring the summit as the outlook is sublime, extending towards Dunbar, North Berwick Law, Bass Rock and across the Firth of Forth to Fife. Inland and the rolling Lammermuirs rise to the south, while west the familiar outline of the Pentland Hills and Arthur’s Seat are visible above Edinburgh. Ringed ouzel, wheatear and golden plover may be seen in and around the summit during the summer months with skylark’s distinctive song heard throughout the year. 

Traprain Law is also home to a small herd of semi-feral Exmoor ponies, which help with grazing and conservation on the hill.

Wild Ponies Traprain Law

Creag Dhubh and the Argyll Stone

When compared to its bigger near neighbours of Braeriach and Cairn Gorm, Creag Dhubh – which sits a little west of the Central Cairngorm Plateau – is a much more compact mountain. However, with its broad summit rising to 848-metres it should not be underestimated.

Rothiemurchus
Rothiemurchus from above Loch Gamhna

Beginning from the gorgeous setting of Loch an Eilean a good path runs along the lochside to Loch Gamhna. Later, a rougher path then open hillside ascends onto Creag Follais, after which easy ground reaches Clach Mhic Calein – better known as The Argyll Stone – then Creag Dhubh. A steady descent into Gleann Einich provides a scenic return to Loch an Eilean.

Just below the summit of Creag Dhubh is one of several granite tors in the Cairngorm National Park that have been eroded and shaped by the weather over many millennia.

Standing on top of Clach Mhic Calein, The Argyll Stone

Rising to about 15 feet in height, The Argyll Stone is thought to have been named after Archibald Campbell, the 7th Earl of Argyll (1575 – 1638). In 1594 Campbell led his Protestant army to defeat at the Battle of Glenlivet by the much smaller Catholic force of the Marquess of Huntly. It is said that Campbell and his men were then driven south, fleeing through the Cairngorms and pausing for a few moments at Clach Mhic Calein before continuing their retreat.

Sgoran Dubh Mor, Braeriach and Gleann Einich from Creag Dhubh

The view from the summit of Creag Dhubh is exceptional, extending along Gleann Einich towards Sgoran Dubh Mor and Braeriach and out to the Northern Corries and Meall a Bhuachaille.

Glorious Gleann Einich