Friday, 22 April 2011

The North Inch Perth

The other evening I had to nip down to Perth with one of the children as they were taking part in a table tennis tournament. Bells Sports Centre is adjacent to the North Inch which is a big parkland area running alongside the River Tay. It was such a beautiful evening and the river views were stunning. Daffodils and blossom and fresh green leaves everywhere.

Blackcraig Forest Part 2

The forest soon opens up to spectacular views along the lush Strathardle area, moss covered walls and babbling streams. Quite idyllic with a herd of roe deer resting in a field and lambs and their mothers taking shade under a huge beech tree. I retraced my footsteps due to time constraints but you can continue in a big loop or even walk to Kirkmichael. This stretch of walk is part of the Cateran Trail.

Blackcraig Forest Part 1

The other morning I tried out a different walk using a new guide that has just been published by the Glenshee Tourist Association. They have 22 trails in the booklet with great descriptions. I only went the 10 minute drive up to Bridge of Cally and took a track at the back of the Bridge of Cally hotel which takes you along to a small parking area. It was a lovely warm morning only spoilt by mist which didn't seem keen on clearing. There are over 8 miles of tracks to walk and it is also an excellent place to go mountain biking. Blackcraig Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission and there has been a lot of logging going on at the start of the walk. Lots of birdlife around and I came across a pool of tadpoles.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Blair in Bloom Litter Pick

This morning Blair in Bloom had organised a litter pick as part of the 2011 National Spring Clean organised by Keep Scotland Tidy. Everyone involved met down at the riverside car park and were issued with bags, litter picker uppers etc then went off to various parts of the town. We stayed and picked litter along the riverside paths. We couldn't have asked for better weather and it was lovely to see so many people out for a morning walk. It is a lovely spot down by the River Ericht and the water is very low at the moment. We have had absolutely beautiful warm weather the past two weekends, hope it stays for Easter.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Moncreiffe Hill

On the same road to Elcho Castle there is a parking area where you can access the walks at Moncreiffe Hill which is managed by the 'Woodland Trust Scotland'. You can also park at another entrance which is accessed by following the Rhynd signs just before Bridge of Earn, we went off just after Perth also following Rhynd signs, but that was because we were going to the castle. I may be confusing you! The place we parked looks quite new with lots of new planting, footpaths etc. I need to go back anyway because it was so wet at the time that we only had a wee wander up to the 'New Fort'. There are yellow, blue and red waymarked walks and it is a real wildlife paradise with many viewpoints. The children also picked up a super treasure trail map.

Elcho Castle

Continuing on the 'Castle Bagging' theme, we went to Elcho Castle just outside of Perth today, another Historic Scotland property. Typical April weather today sunshine and showers, pleasantly warm though. It is very impressive both inside and out and you get great views over the River Tay. It is a great place to take children as they have 'costumes' for them to dress up in as well as quizzes to do. Elcho Castle is a 16th century tower house and is one of the best preserved in Scotland.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Burleigh Castle

Had a quick stop at Burleigh Castle, just outside of Milnathort the next town along from Kinross. It was built around 1500 and is a roofless but complete ruin of a Tower House. This castle is also maintained by Historic Scotland. If you like to visit a lot of castles it is probably worth becoming a member.

Loch Levens Larder

We drove around to the other side of the loch to have some lunch at Loch Levens Larder. It is a lovely building with views out over the loch. The restaurant was busy and we had a very reasonably priced lunch then had a look around the shop and deli, lots of nice produce but I resisted buying anything.

Loch Leven Heritage Trail

We followed part of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail which takes you past the beautiful and historic Kinross house. There are lots of walks which are all suitable for bikes, prams, wheelchairs etc. The whole trail is over 12km if you were really keen! but you can access different areas from all around the Loch. Kinross House was put on the market last year or the year before, but I don't know if it has sold, there was talk of it becoming a hotel. The gardens at Kinross House are/were open to the public, but I didn't see any sign to indicate they were open at present, I shall have to find out.

LochLeven Castle

LochLeven Castle is run and maintained by Historic Scotland. We had a lovely boat trip across, but the wind was starting to get quite fierce which made the loch quite choppy and the 'skipper' warned us that he might not be able to get along side the jetty for us to disembark, but he did thankfully. Lochleven Castle is probably best known as the place where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner for a year before she escaped in 1568, but the whole history of the castle is fascinating. I have a guide book available for guests. We all had a great time exploring the ruins and had an exciting boat trip back as we got quite wet!

Loch Leven Kinross

We went on a trip down to Kinross today, only 40 minutes away. As the children are on holiday I thought it may be fun to go to Loch Leven and get the boat across to the Castle. It is well signposted as to how to get to the pier and we had a wander around as we waited for the boat. Loch Leven is a national nature reserve and further round the loch is the RSPB centre called Vane Farm where you can go and view the bird life from the hides. There are ducks, geese, swans, herons, great crested grebes, ospreys and if your lucky you may see a sea eagle. More than 20,000 birds are supposed to overwinter on the Loch.