By Loukas Billas
Although a small country, Scotland is submerged in a colorful history of medieval castles, battlefields, amazing architecture, highlands and customary traditions of bagpipes and kilts. From climbing the Scottish Highlands to visiting Loch Ness in the Great Glen where the legends of the Loch Ness Monster originated, there are countless sights and attractions scattered throughout the highlands of Scotland.
There are many surprisingly secret attractions in Scotland, hidden in the crevices of the country, trailing off the main paths. Here, I list six secluded gems of Scotland, located in unconventional places around the country:
1. Portobello Beach: When thinking of Scotland, unknown beaches located miles away from the bustling city of Edinburgh, don’t come into mind. However, Portobello Beach is just that, stretching out for two miles and overlooking the Forth, this bright and fresh sandy beach offers tourists and residents an escape from the fast paced, loud and bustling capital city, located close by. Surrounded by a selection of shops, cafes, pubs, Turkish baths and amusement arcades, this beach is the perfect place to spend a bright summery day. Despite its unconventional location, the beach still retains its old fashioned sea-side charm and character.
2. Falls of Dochart: Running through the small town of Killin, in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the beautiful Falls of Dochart flow effortlessly down the Loch, washing over rocks and fish, constantly circulating. The Falls provide a breath of fresh air from the over crowed cities. They run under the Dochart Bridge, with the bridge providing a perfect overhead viewing place.
3. Craigmiller Castle: Considered to be one of the most underrated castles in the world, it is one of the most perfectly preserved castles in Scotland. Built in the 15th century, and surrounded by pastureland and finely groomed gardens, it is the perfect place to soak up the history and culture of Scotland, as to this day, it still retains the character and air of a medieval stronghold. With historical links to the Royal family and the city of Edinburgh, it is a must see attraction for anyone visiting Scotland.
4. Museum of Lead Mining at WanlockHead: Based just 5 miles off the M74 to Wanlockhead, the Museum of Lead Mining is one of Scotland’s most underrated attractions. The museum is bustling with historical accounts of past and present mining life in Scotland. Visitors’ are given a guided tour of the once dangerous lead mine, followed by a walk through the village trail, while passing miner’s cottages, mine exhibitions and cemeteries. The tour is guaranteed to give you an insight into miners’ lives, from years gone past. A truly amazing and educational tour.
5. Dolphin Watching at Chanonry Point in Moray Firth: the idea of being able to go Dolphin watching whilst in the small European country seems almost impossible, however it is in fact very real. Every year, thousands of people pay to travel on narrow boats in the prospect of spotting dolphins off the coast of Scotland. It provides an enchanting view of the coast as well as giving visitors a glimpse of the animals in the wild. Located near Fortrose, Chanonry Point is a stretch of land extending into the Moray Firth, with promising attractions of dolphins feeding and leaping into the air.
6. Water of Leith: Quite surprisingly and uncommonly known, the city of Edinburgh has a river, running through deep gorges on its journey from the Pentland Hills, to the sea at the port of Leith. With public footpaths and a cycle way surrounding the river, a mixed variety of scenery and terrain along the way, it provides a very calm and serene setting for people to walk along and explore. Not located far from the city center, it provides a perfect and convenient setting for people wanting to escape the noise and distractions of the city.
Rich with folklore history and unknown treasures, Scotland is one of the most understated countries in the world, filled with timeless culture and stories. In a world becoming overcrowded with buildings and pollution, Scotland, similar to the South Pacific, is probably amongst the very few countries maintaining its fresh, green, scenic and beautiful scenery.
Travel blogger at gloholiday.com, Loukas Billas loves travelling around the world and sharing his experiences by contributing to numerous blogs online.