Summer beach holidays may be an increasingly distant memory but, for me, the seductive lure of sea and sand remains as strong as ever.
Take A Hike
An off-shoot of the Cleish Hills, Saline Hill lies to the south of the main ridge of heavily forested, craggy wee peaks. Paired with neighbouring Knock Hill, its grassy slopes are largely free of tree-cover, offering an exposed ascent with superb views from the summit.
The Hermitage, near Dunkeld, is a good barometer of the changing seasons. Golden leaves on oak, beech and horse chestnut confirmed the arrival of autumn as I hiked by the River Braan to Ossian’s Hall, an 18th century look-out perched above the tumbling white water of Black Linn falls.
After a summer spent tramping the hills I decided to treat myself to new boots and, to break them in, settled on a walk to Auchintaple Loch, a secluded stretch of water hidden away in the folds of Glen Isla.
I cannot remember the last time I visited The Trossachs when it was not raining. No surprise then that this is an area where lochs and reservoirs, streams and rivers dominate the landscape.
A mini heatwave on the horizon, I could not think of a better place to stretch my legs – and possibly indulge in a spot of wild swimming – than in the countryside north of Dunkeld, a landscape of low hills, heather moor and woodland speckled with lovely little lochans.
Logierait Hill occupies a prominent position above the meeting point of the rivers Tay and Tummel. The A9 and the railway north to Inverness skirt below its slopes.
Sands of St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire
Abernethy’s famous Round Tower is a striking landmark, believed to date from 1100. But, standing in its historic shadow, I planned to step much further back in time, to explore remnants of earlier settlement.
Queen Victoria was a regular visitor to the Grampian mountains. During holidays at Balmoral in the second half of the 19th century, she frequently traversed the upland routes linking Deeside and Angus.