3 Hidden Gems in Scotland

You might know by now that I love getting away from civilisation and connecting with nature!

Whenever Daniel and I go away, I spend heaps of time hunting for places that are a little more off the beaten track.  Not just remote but lesser known locations that are likely to be quiet.  It’s often total guess work – ‘is there going to be anything to do?’, ‘will it actually be quiet?’…… Sometimes, I just check out the areas near our airbnb and we head out and explore.

If you can still find breathtaking landscapes and exciting hiking trails in a place that’s not necessarily famous, then why would you voluntary spend your time rubbing shoulders with masses of people who ruin the peace and quiet?!  😉  I honestly won’t mind if I go to my grave without visiting the Isle of Skye or Loch Ness because I’ve still seen the beauty of Scotland’s rugged hills, sparkling lochs, and towering pine forests in locations without a single person around besides myself, Daniel, and Dexter.

SO, I thought I’d share (eek) 3 lesser-known spots that we visited on honeymoon.

Glenelg, Kyle

On the west coast, we found a cottage right on the edge of Loch Duich in a quiet little village we’d never heard of. With nothing planned in advance, we spent an evening bingeing Springwatch and googling places nearby where we could ramble, go birding, and picnic alongside the water.

That’s how I found Glenelg. A remote, little fishing village hidden amongst the mountains and overlooking the strait of Kyle Rhea. Again, it was a magical spot we, otherwise, wouldn’t have found (because, clearly, no one else did!). A few tips:

Picnic spot!
  • Drive past the ‘Way Out West Cafe’ (1) (where you can park for free) and through the village (2), to find a beautiful picnic spot along the water front (3) – if you’re lucky, you might spot a golden eagle soaring over the mountains.
  • Walk from the cafe (1) along the trail that passes Bernera Barracks (4), across a series of fields and brooks that lead out to the strait, to reach the Glenmore River (5). Once you’ve crossed the bridge, turn left and keep walking around the mountain side to reach Bernera beach (6) – on a sunny day, the views are outstanding.
Walk

Corran

Corran was an absolute highlight of the trip! 🙂

Just like Glenelg, Corran is a tiny (even smaller) fishing hamlet on the west coast, overlooking Loch Hourn. In fact, it’s apparently one of the most remote villages in the UK. I just couldn’t understand why there was no one else there.

We arrived before 9am, pretty much as the village was waking up. As we walked through this quaint little hamlet, a woman still in her pj’s leant on a fence and chatted animatedly with her neighbour, they greeted us warmly; as we rounded the corner, two sheep dogs flew past us, shortly followed by their owner who was on his way to join the conversation, he waved at us and smiled; on the other side of a small bridge we passed an elderly man sitting on a large boulder watching the seabirds, he said ‘Hello’ and fawned over Dexter; just a few hundred meters further and we’d passed through the hamlet and found ourselves on a small rocky beach that was the start of our walking route. The village is idyllic and reminds me of a small version of Port Isaac (the location of Doc Martin).

This is the start of the trail looking back at the village (the car park is just out of shot on the left)

The Old Coast Path

This walking route is very simple to navigate as it just hugs the coastline. We didn’t complete it as we stumbled across a secret, pebbled bay where we stopped for a picnic. It’s an extremely enchanting hike encompassing some of Scotland’s most striking scenery – you’ll follow a rugged path across beaches, through woodland, up the steep hillside, and through long grassland. The vegetation is perfectly lush and we were so spoiled with scorching sunshine that we often felt like we were hiking through St. Lucia.

My highlights:

  • We spotted a golden eagle!
  • The secret bays and hidden picnic spots.
  • Absolute peace and tranquility.
  • Sheena’s Tea Shop in the village – seriously \/ \/ look!
  • The varied habitats and terrain – a total dream for any rambling/hiking enthusiast.

Ben Newe

Just outside Strathdon on the eastern edge of the Cairngorms is this 1900ft hill.  In contrast to the mountainous peaks of central Cairngorms, the Strathdon area is one of low-lying land mixed with rolling hills.  The trail to the rocky summit will take you through pine-spruce forest plantations and, get there early enough, you’ll be treated to the early morning sun peeking through the trees.  A few highlights that’ll make sure you add this to your list of Scottish hikes:

  • We only bumped into one person with his dog.  Otherwise, we had the trail to ourselves.
  • At the top you’ll be rewarded with a 360 view spanning pine forests, hills, and the river Don.
  • A great choice for a shorter yet varied hike with stunning views that doesn’t require driving miles away from the village.
  • There are tiny, mini, baby Christmas trees!
  • No road noise.

If you love just getting outside, exploring new places, and getting a bit of a sweat on then this is a must – we were so chuffed to have discovered it.

Scotland is incredibly diverse – whether you’re after a city break, mountain climbing, wildlife spotting, island hopping, or the option to explore a little of everything, it is the perfect place for a short weekend away or a two week road trip. We will certainly be heading back as soon as we possible can!

Krissy X

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