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Great Scottish Journeys: 12 inspiring routes

Written by Fiona

December 07 2017

Where would you choose as your favourite route through Scotland? I find it hard to decide when people ask me for details of the best road to drive or the best trail to walk or cycle. There are simply so many. Brilliantly, I can now point them in the direction of a new book, Great Scottish Journeys, by Keith Fergus.

The book, published in association with The Scots Magazine, details 12 fabulous routes to the heart of Scotland. The author has kindly supplied me with 12 photographs to illustrate some of the beautiful views that  you will see if you choose to take one of these routes. Buy the book.

1. Turnberry to Portpatrick: A Coastal Classic

Turnberry Lighthouse and Turnberry Point at dusk.

Great people: Turnberry Lighthouse was built to the plans of Thomas Stevenson (father of Robert Louis Stevenson) in 1873 and erected on the site of Turnberry Castle. It is argued that Robert the Bruce was born here in 1274.


2. Arran: All Around Its Coast

A spectacular sunrise over Pladda and Ailsa Craig from Kildonan shore.

Island wonders: Pladda is an uninhabited island around 1km off the south coast of Arran in the Firth of Clyde. It is home to the automated Pladda Lighthouse. Ailsa Craig is also an but is located some 16km west of mainland Scotland.  The island’s blue hone granite was quarried to make curling stones.

3. Musselburgh to Dunbar:  Exquisite East Lothian

Bass Rock and Tantallon Castle near North Berwick on the East Lothian coastline.

History notes: The remains of Tantallon Castle and the iconic Bass Rock. Tantallon Castle dates from the 1350s and was built by William Douglas from distinctive local red sandstone. The castle finally succumbed to Oliver Cromwell’s marauding army in 1651.

4. Lower Largeo to St Andrews: The East Neuk of Fife

Lower Largo Harbour, Lower Largo in the East Neuk of Fife.

Fishing industry: There has been a harbour at Lower Largo since the 1500s. Coal was exported and a small herring fleet operated from here during the 19th century. The production of fishing nets also helped Lower Largo develop during this period.

5. Tarbet to Lochgilphead: The spectacular A83

Lochgilphead and Loch Gilp in Argyll & Bute

An old new town: Lochgilphead was established as a planned town in 1790 and flourished during the early 1900s because of its location next to the Crinan Canal. Over the course of the next 100 years Lochgilphead became the administrative centre for Argyll & Bute, a position it still holds today.

6. Crinan Canal: The Most Beautiful Shortcut in Scotland

Jura and the Sound of Jura from Crinan in Argyll & Bute

Fabulous vistas: Crinan Oakwoods, above Crinan, bestow a breathtaking vista across Loch Crinan to both Scarba and Mull.

7. West Highland Way: A Walker’s Paradise

The Mamores and Blackwater Reservoir from Stob Mhic Mhartuin above Glencoe in the Highlands.

Famous trails: Created in 1980, the West Highland Way runs for 151km from Milngavie to Fort William. One of the best vantage points is from The Devil’s Staircase above Glencoe. Here a breathtaking view extends to the Mamores.

8. The Road to the Isles: Fort William to Mallaig

The Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan, Lochaber.

Stunning landmarks: The Glenfinnan Monument stands on the shores of Loch Shiel. Here Charles Edward Stuart raised the royal standard to begin the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. The memorial was built in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale having been designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham.

9. Loch Lomond to Inverness: Lochs, glens and mountains

Loch Lochy in autumn at Laggan Locks on the Caledonian Canal.

Engineering feats: The Caledonian Canal, seen here at Loch Lochy, runs for 60 miles from Corpach to Inverness. It was opened in 1822 having been designed by the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

10. Inverness to Applecross: Way out west

Loch Shieldaig, Shieldaig and the mountains of Torridon, Ross & Cromarty in the north-west Highlands.

More lochs & mountains: The road to Applecross bestows a sensational view across Loch Shieldaig and Shieldaig village to the great mountains of Torridon.

11. Kinlochewe to Durness: The North Coast 500

Gruinard Bay from the North West 500, Ross & Cromarty, in the north-west Highlands.

Scotland’s Route 66: The NC500 travels around mainland Scotland’s northern fringes and is recognised as one of the world’s most spectacular routes. Here Gruinard Bay sits in the shadow of huge mountains such as An Teallach and Sail Mor.

12. Invergarry to the Storr: An iconic landscape

The Old Man of Storr and the Cuillin, Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides.

Surreal but real: The landscape of the Storr, which is highest point of the Trotternish Ridge, forms the backbone of Skye. It has been used as a dramatic backdrop in the 2012 film Prometheus and the hugely successful television series Game of Thrones.

Who is the photographer/author?

Outdoor writer and photographer Keith Fergus has travelled all over Scotland and is passionate about the country’s landscape, culture and history. Born in Glasgow in 1972, Keith’s love of the outdoors began in his early teens before hillwalking broadened his horizons in his 20s… And so began a fascination with exploring and photographing the Scottish landscape.

Aged 35 he left his job and took the plunge into the world of freelance photography and writing. Over the last 10 years Keith has written hundreds of articles – all illustrated with his striking imagery – on a number of subjects for a variety of national magazines, including The Scots Magazine. Buy in the DC Thomson shop priced £16.99.

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