One year ago, Love From Scotland was born. Happy birthday, Love From Scotland! Before 2017 arrives and the madness of Christmas and Hogmanay takes over, I wanted to take a wee look back at the first year of this blog. From discovering one of my new favourite regions, to staying in an incredible croft cottage, here are my best bits of Love From Scotland 2016.
10 – A room with a view at Loch Earn
Loch Earn may not have the drama of Loch Ness or Loch Lomond, but it makes up for that with my favourite sculpture in Scotland, the Mirror Man. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel in a room with an incredible view over the loch and a dinner to die for. Since then fantasy house hunting on the banks of Loch Earn is a regular pastime of mine.
9 – Going behind the scenes in Glencoe
Driving through Glen Coe is spectacular, but stopping your car and exploring is even more so. We discovered the hidden lost valley with its grim history, marveled at the amount of selfie sticks in front of the Three Sisters and took a walk around the beautiful Glencoe Lochan. A visit to Glen Coe might top every list of things to do in Scotland, but it is well worth the hype, and the crowds.
8 – Camping at Comrie Croft and Gimme Shelter
Planning each year’s camping trips is one of my favourite things. This year, for the sixth year in a row we visited Comrie Croft in Perthshire and we also discovered the amazing Gimme Shelter in Fife. I don’t think I will never tire of the feeling of being outdoors with just a fire pit for company.
7 – Exploring Outlander
Outlander has been everywhere in 2016 – and I must admit I am a big fan. What I love the most about it (apart from Jamie, ahem) is the way the TV show really shows off Scotland – and that it has helped me discover a few hidden gems along the way. Highlights have included the village of Culross (pronounced coo-ris), Blackness Castle and the unusual Preston Mill, which is where Jamie…well I won’t give you any spoilers. Just watch it for yourself.
6 – watching the Harry Potter Train go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan might have been the busiest place we visited this year – but watching the Jacobite Express go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct joins this list as the viaduct is a marvel and watching the steam train puff its way across is a must-do if you are visiting Scotland, even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan.
5 – Celebrating 20 years in Scotland
My favourite post this year (of the 65 posts I published in 2016) celebrated a milestone for me – I’ve now spent 20 years living in Scotland. It was also your favourite post too! I am hugely proud of this little country, it has a very big heart, and I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us as we continue to get out and explore.
4 – Exploring Arran in Winter
Living in Scotland you have to have something of the ‘I don’t care what the weatherman says’ about you. Even in February the Isle of Arran totally stole our hearts, not least because we had a wonderful room at the Glen Isle Hotel in Lamlash and amazing food at the Drift Inn. A brilliant way to spend our 3rd wedding anniversary.
3 – Staying on a highland estate at Ardgour
The best place we stayed in 2016 was in a luxury renovated highland croft on the Ardgour Estate. We were gifted our stay at Cuil Moss Cottage, however, I can’t sing Annie and Ewen’s praises enough. I’m constantly dreaming of going back. The range and quality of the accommodation we’ve stayed in this year in Scotland has been fantastic, and owners have consistently gone beyond my expectations.
2 – Discovering Ardnamurchan
I love exploring and discovering new areas of Scotland, and this year it was the turn of Ardnamurchan. One of Scotland’s remotest regions, the sheer beauty of Ardnamurchan blew me away. From Caribbean blue seas and white beaches at Sanna to Castle Tioram sitting proudly on its sea loch, I left feeling that we’d only touched the surface of what there was to explore but thoroughly in love.
…and at 1 is… becoming a Munro Bagger
When I started this blog a year ago I was declining gracefully into a lazy, wine drinking, middle age. 12 months later I’ve walked over 1000 miles and climbed 6 of Scotland’s highest mountains along the way. So thank you Ben Vorlich, Ben Lomond, Ben Lawers and Beinn Glass and the two Munros of Buachaille Etive Beag – Munro bagging, you’ve totally turned my life around!
So that was Scotland 2016. Thanks to all of you who have popped by, commented, said hello, or followed me on my travels.
Scotland, 2017, here we come.
Love, from Scotland xx