Despite a washout of a summer, Scotland has been basking in some lovely autumn sunshine recently – better late than never I suppose. This prompted me to take a gamble with a foray into the World of glamping (glamorous camping)!
I had a fab new pair of Aigle wellies I was keen to debut, and no better opportunity than on a camping trip in Scotland. I was thinking rain and mud – lots of rain and mud.
Our accommodation of choice was a yurt (specially adapted to cope with inclemental Scottish weather) located on a rural Perthshire estate.
We set off from Edinburgh early, grabbing breakfast en-route. The sun was shining and the forecast promised temperatures in the high teens. For Scots that’s akin to a heat-wave.
Our first stop of the day was at the historic Scone Palace in Perthshire. For anyone confused by the name, let me explain. Scone is the name of the village the palace is located in. I’ll concede that we do have a bizarre giant pineapple shaped building in Scotland but I can assure you that Scone Palace does not resemble a scone in any way shape or form.
If you visit pronounce Scone as in scoon and not scone as in sc(on) or sc(own) unless you’re in the tea room then you should try one of Scone Palace’s delicious scones!
Scone is where the Kings of Scotland were crowned on Moot Hill, sitting on the Stone of Scone or the Stone of Destiny as it’s also known.
The ancient stone is steeped in history and legend. It was supposedly removed from Scotland in 1296 by the English king Edward I. Until 1996 it sat in Westminster Abbey in London having been used in royal coronations there for centuries. After much protest and campaigning over the years it now sits in a secure vault in Edinburgh Castle along with the Scottish crown.
There’s a belief that the monks of the abbey at Scone who were guardians of the stone would never have allowed such a valuable and significant Scottish relic to fall into enemy hands. It’s rumoured to have been buried on a hill nearby, hidden amongst rocks on a remote beach and secreted away in an ancient castle vault. We’ll never really know the truth. And me, what do I believe? I tend to agree with the theory that it would have been secreted away somewhere safe and now long forgotten. I like to imagine it sitting on a beautiful, remote beach somewhere as people walk by oblivious.
Today there’s a replica of the stone on Moot Hill. This is where our battle of wills with the Wee White Dug commenced for the day. Sporting a new autumnal bandana, all we asked for were a couple of quick snaps of him looking splendid. He refused to cooperate and rolled around in the dewy grass until he looked like a scarecrow. He then sullenly posed for a couple of grumpy faced, bedraggled snaps. I threatened to phase him out of the blog for his lack of cooperation!
We enjoyed a nice walk around the palace grounds including the fun Murray Star Maze, individually as it’s off-limits to dogs.
Afterwards, we went in search of somewhere nice for lunch with some decent walk options nearby.
Having quickly ruled out the towns of Blairgowrie and Aylth for lunch and walking as they weren’t remote enough we headed to an old favourite of ours in the Angus region.
The Glenisla Hotel sits on a lovely remote spot in Glen Isla by the Cateran Trail (a popular long distance walk). The food is really good with a huge choice of dishes on offer and the service is always friendly.
Being soup connoisseurs and creatures of habit we opted for a soup and sandwich combo each. When Mr G offered me a taste of his pea and chorizo soup I knew he thought he was onto a winner and had won the battle of the soups that day. I offered him a taste of my bacon and courgette and his smug look quickly vanished. We agreed that both soups were excellent and called it a draw.
After lunch we drove to the nearby Backwater Reservoir to walk off lunch with a wander around the shore road. We set off across a dam. Dams really freak me out. I find them creepy and foreboding. I’m also not a big fan of reservoirs. Why the heck did you go there walking you’re probably quite rightly thinking. I’m glad I did though as it was lovely. Beautiful scenery and clear blue skies combined with warm temperatures made for a perfect walk. It was also blissfully quiet.
After our walk it felt like wine o’clock was fast approaching so we headed back to the car and off to our home for the night – our yurt in the woods.
We arrived on the Bamff Estate and wound our way up the long driveway towards Bamff House, the main house on the estate which has evolved over the centuries from medieval castle to country house.
We passed through a strangely beautiful, alien looking landscape of wetlands. Bamff Estate is owned by a conservationist who has worked tirelessly over the past decade to reintroduce beavers to Scotland, in a controlled environment. They’ve thrived there, creating a wetland the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Scotland since beavers were hunted to extinction 400 years ago. Wildlife has flourishing with owls, otters, birds and insects all being attracted to the area.
It was a real privilege to glimpse the natural habitat of a creature extinct for so long in this country.
We settled into our yurt which was really pretty and cosy, and as the sun was still shining and the temperature warm we decided to enjoy our champagne/buffet tea al-fresco. It was lovely – like summer should have been if only it hadn’t rained for weeks on end.
Clearing up later I asked Mr G to throw the left over finger rolls out for the birds. He hurled them whole like shot-puts far into the trees. Have you ever fed birds before I enquired, picturing them struggling to fly with the weight of a whole dew soaked M&S finger roll in their beaks.
Meanwhile boy number two aka the Wee White Dug had seized the opportunity to plant his head in the bin and was choking down some discarded M&S pesto & pasta salad mix like his life depended on it. Boys!
As the light disappeared and the temperature dropped we headed across to a lounge in Bamff House, which is made available for guests staying at the two on site yurts to use.
It was as black as the grave outside when we headed back to our yurt later that evening. I had a feeble head-torch with me, which thankfully I’ve never had to rely on to navigate my way off a dark hillside. The wee dug had a light-up, luminous collar tag on – it emitted about as much light as a burning match! We fumbled our way back to our yurt and lit the stove. Our light was fire light, fairy light and lantern. Combined they cast a lovely warm glow.
Tired from an afternoon of fresh air we quickly began to nod off and then it began – a cacophony of twit-twoo from the owls, moo from the cows, baa from the sheep and squawk/screech from the unidentified creature/s. Each call was met by a volley of barking from the Wee White Dug who’d decided to defend the yurt from nocturnal intruders like a valiant bear.
Twit twoo – woof, moo – woof, baa – woof, squawk/screech – woof and on and on it went until we’d had enough. SHUT UP!!! With that the Wee White Dug realised he’d taken things too far so he couried down for the night on his fleecy blanket and went to sleep.
Next morning, we woke feeling surprisingly refreshed despite the night chorus we’d been subjected to.
I should mention that although we spent the night in a yurt on our glamping adventure, they’re not usually dog friendly. The boy was very kindly given special one-off permission to stay overnight. The cute wooden Hideaway is available on site for a dog friendly glamping experience, or if glamping isn’t your thing then dog friendly cottages are also available.
Once fully awake we showered, had a wander around the estate grounds then bid our yurt a fond farewell and headed to Reekie Linn, a local beauty spot for a walk and some sightseeing.
Reekie Linn is a stunning waterfall which tumbles dramatically down the river Isla in Angus.
I was somewhat alarmed by the warning signs on arrival. Danger, warning, sheer 45 meter, unprotected drops! Against my better judgement we set off anyway.
The path wound along the river bank and gained some height. It didn’t rise sharply though and I started to suspect I’d misread the signs back at the car park. The drop could only be 45 feet at most. I started to relax and then I saw it. On the left a terrifying, sheer, unprotected drop 45 meters into a gorge below and on the right the thundering waterfall known as Reekie Linn. Named because the spray it produces looks like smoke. Reekie is an old Scots word for smoky. My knees shook and I scrambled back off along the crumbly, muddy, woodland path like I was reenacting a scene from the movie Deliverance.
Only in Scotland would you be encouraged to visit such a hair-raising beauty spot with a ‘mind and watch yersel’ now’ warning sign. They should replace the sign in the car park with a reproduction of ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch as that pretty much sums up how you’re going to feel when you reach said beauty spot.
My shattered nerves were soothed afterwards when I met some gorgeous little piglets nearby. Suddenly the thought of the bacon roll I’d been craving for breakfast made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.
The more I see animals on my travels the less inclined I feel to eat them.
On our way home stopped at The Strawberry Farm Shop near Scone for a bacon free breakfast. Coffee and delicious home-baking. Well if they can eat cake on the continent for breakfast then why not in Scotland in beautiful rural Perthshire, during an Indian summer as the leaves start to turn that stunning rich russet colour they go in Autumn.
Och well best get my fab new wellies packed.
Until next time……….