Continuing my preparation for the season to come, I spent a few days on my Perthshire doorstep, and then further afield to the wonderful heritage museum at New Lanark, then a trip down to the Lowther Hills.
Perthshire has been lived in since it was a major centre for the earliest peoples who have left evidence throughout the area. One of the best preserved areas is Croftmoraig, near Kenmore on Loch Tay. Croftmoraig is a stone circle developed over a period, possibly, of 1000 years, the first period being up to 5000 years ago. This well preserved stone circle sits by the roadside, passed by hundreds of unsuspecting drivers every day.
A few miles down the road is Loch Tay, once the site of more than 20 Crannogs. Crannogs are wholly or partly artificial settlements on lochs, and there are more than 600 identified across Scotland. A modern replica has been created demonstrating how they would have looked, and visitors have the opportunity to try various activities, including sailing log boats, planting early forms of grains, cooking or coracle making (coracles were small round boats).
There was live music at the Crannog Centre during my visit, with some traditional Perthshire tunes being played.
A quick stop at the magnificent Kelpies, before continuing down to my base at New Lanark.
This jewel of the Industrial Revolution is now a hotel (beautifully converted from one of the old mills), and a fascinating museum telling the story of the pioneering Robert Owen – the man who kick-started the Co-operative movement.
Visits to Bothwell Castle – a magnificent medieval ruin, and Drumlanrig, home of the Duke of Buccleuch, followed.
Finally a return trip through Wanlockhead – Scotland’s highest town…or is it? Its title has recently been challenged by the neighbouring town of Leadhills – I have no doubt that their curfew bell will be rung if they are successful in their claim!