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Scenery of Scotland - and no 'warmify' special effect!

The scenery of Scotland isn't all bens and glens. Here are some mostly cool (literally), austere or just different views. And not a bagpiper in sight!

Scenery of Scotland

Why does tourism literature usually feature blue skies in Scotland?

When it comes to pictures of the scenery of Scotland, sometimes it isn’t the pictures that would ever make it into a conventional tourism brochure that say most about a place. I chose the pictures you’ll see on this page because they do, in most cases, have a cool (meteorologically speaking) feel to them. I think I might mean bleak! They sum up for me something about Scotland’s landscapes.

Central Highlands summit

The russet shades of hill-grasses suggest this is an autumn picture, from the top of Ben Chonzie above the Perthshire town of Crieff, looking north-ish. Bare, isn’t it?

The russet shades of hill-grasses suggest this is an autumn picture, from the top of Ben Chonzie above the Perthshire town of Crieff, looking north-ish. Bare, isn’t it?

For example, nobody could say the picture here was a calendar shot of the scenery of Scotland, but for me the view here is the essence of the lonely, bare uplands of the Central Highlands. This is the top of Ben Chonzie in Perthshire, late on an October day. No snow yet - except maybe just a dusting on the even higher tops of Ben Lawers range on the horizon - but the wind has turned chill and it’s time to leave these wide and empty spaces to the odd pair of patrolling ravens. Plenty of hillwalkers will know what I mean….

East Lothian beach

The tide is falling and the estuary of the River Tyne lies between me and the town of Dunbar on the horizon.  The John Muir Country Park is a great resource for East Lothian folk.

The tide is falling and the estuary of the River Tyne lies between me and the town of Dunbar on the horizon.  The John Muir Country Park is a great resource for East Lothian folk.

A sense of space. John Muir Country Park in East Lothian from the Tynninghame end. The little town of Dunbar is on the horizon to the east. In less than hour you can be on Princes Street in Edinburgh. But would you really want to be? The scenery of Scotland isn’t all bens and glens.

The Gleneagles Gap

Another way into the Highlands is via the Gleneagles road that cuts through the Ochil Hills, strictly speaking the A823 north of the splendidly named Yetts o’ Muckhart.

Another way into the Highlands is via the Gleneagles road that cuts through the Ochil Hills, strictly speaking the A823 north of the splendidly named Yetts o’ Muckhart.

It’s early spring. In fact, it’s so early, I should stop pretending and just call it winter. This pic looks north-west from the “Gleneagles Gap”, where the Ochil Hills allow one road through from the Forth Valley. It’s a direct but sometimes overlooked route from Edinburgh to the Highlands. In this view, the famous Gleneagles Hotel is dead centre, visible as a thin pale line in the dark woodlands.

But isn’t it obvious, in the Gleneagles pic, where the real Highlands start, a little beyond? There’s plenty of snow still on Ben Chonzie, the white plateau to the left, with Glen Turret opening beside it, below which is Glenturret Distillery at the top end of the little town of Crieff. But that’s enough, this picture was supposed to speak for itself….



Moray Firth Winter

The old Great North of Scotland Railway viaduct that dominates the little Moray Firth town of Cullen is a great viewpoint. It’s a Moray Firth must see.

The old Great North of Scotland Railway viaduct that dominates the little Moray Firth town of Cullen is a great viewpoint. It’s a Moray Firth must see.

Not a tree in sight. Just a north-facing Moray Firth coast sea-town sheltering from the winter wind and with the January sun barely lighting it. There’s a somewhat idiosyncratic (they tell me) golf course below the cliffs, at the end of the spectacular viaduct (formerly a railway - now a walkway). The clubhouse is the white building right of centre, by the shore and left of the sea-stack. This is the sea-town of Cullen, on the Moray Firth, north of Aberdeen, east of Inverness. The houses on the horizon are part of Portknockie, the next community to the west.

Gloomy Knoydart

Knoydart, more specifically the little shoreline community of Inverie, has a reputation for remoteness, but is quite easily reached by boat from Mallaig.

Knoydart, more specifically the little shoreline community of Inverie, has a reputation for remoteness, but is quite easily reached by boat from Mallaig.

On the edge of the famous ‘Rough Bounds of Knoydart’, Inverie, by the shore, is reached by boat from Mallaig, on Scotland’s western seaboard. It's off the beaten track Scotland, but these days, paradoxically quite well known. The picture here was taken in July. In as far as there are rugged mountains in the picture it conforms to the preconceived ideas of many visitors about the scenery of Scotland.

East Lothian storm surge

Sometimes overlooked by visitors crossing the Border and bound for Edinburgh, this stretch of the East Lothian coastline (near the Scottish Borders) is worth a look at all seasons.

Sometimes overlooked by visitors crossing the Border and bound for Edinburgh, this stretch of the East Lothian coastline (near the Scottish Borders) is worth a look at all seasons.

Here's a storm surge and a high tide on the east coast this time - Barns Ness Lighthouse near Dunbar in East Lothian. None of these are tourism brochure material. They’re probably too honest - or, at least, not quite sunny and blue enough!

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