As I am actually part-living here in the Highlands nowadays, it’s giving me the opportunity to do more “things” here, without the need of hurrying back down to Glasgow after each trip – what a relief!
First, forgive the photos as I had set the camera to the RAW format for some reason, and then had to convert to JPEG.
Moulin is basically a sister “city” to Pitlochry just to the north, and is a wonderful wee walk to go around the north side of the town, whilst walking around the periphery of it. There is also a possibility to use this path to walk the nearby Corbett of Ben Vrackie.
It wasn’t open at the time of our Sunday walk, but is during weekdays. I’ve had the beer in the hotel bar, and it’s well worth the effort to come here.
Following on from here, we went west and then headed a bit south, with us winding up in the Pitlochry Golf Club restaurant. I thought it would be empty – it wasn’t! (Ed; Is there anything else to do here on a Sunday?) – How dare you! Of course there is.
What I found quite interesting here, is not only that the course was 18 holes (I thought it would only be a 9 hole course), but that it also has a 6 hole pitch & putt course, that is ideal for children or for people who wish to work on there short game; something that is quite progressive and something that I feel golf must do, to make the game more accessible these days.
In addition, I noted from an information board that Pitlochry was once called the “Switzerland of Scotland”; this was something COMPLETELY new to me!
What a lovely, self-contained city-village, a new word.
I’ve been here many times before, but not for a quick, New Year break. This place has everything; from the Cathedral ruins, to the beach, to the golf courses & museums, to the University, to a thriving craft beer / brewery scene, to a very compact city centre, ideal for walking, etc.
I decided for a change, to go luxury; not really my scene, but the Old Course Hotel had everything for the discerning traveller, including excellent views of the Old Course itself.
The amazing thing, is that the Old Course is closed to golfers on the Sunday (to my knowledge) that resulted in us being allowed (along with many tourists, people with dogs, etc) to simply wander about on it – how cool! And for you who are not golfers, it’s a lovely, manicured walk.
From the “Road Hole” – Number 17, to the Road Hole bunker, to the 18th
At the end of the walk, you come to the 18th green, and the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse.
Continuing on from Part 1, I decided to stay at the delightful Dalmunzie Castle hotel– a throwback to another age, though with all the mod cons, and a surprising modern ethic & friendly staff.
Equally, the restaurant was Michelin rated, and the pork with some sort of “hash brown” included, was divine.
The place is still part of a mammoth estate, south of the Cairngorms, and has an old school vibe and attached 9-hole golf course, where we had a walk the next day; and although it was a golf course, the views were still stunning.
After the course hike, we then travelled to the nearby village / town of Dunkeld – which will be in Part 3 (a complete surprise)
The last week, I had the fortune to be in south England for a week, and was based in the charming town of Warwick. Warwick resembled Ludlow (from a few weeks ago) but was on a smaller hill with no castle, though it did have a multitude of older, cute buildings, which I will blog about later in the week.
What I did do, as I was normally in the flat, working; was to go on a short, charming canal walk, with a subsequent visit to a beautiful pub for lunch.
As the map above shows, we started in the centre of Warwick, traversed the Warwick Race Course (more on that later), and continued along the Grand Union Canal for about an hour, had lunch and returned.
Along the way we enjoyed the much hotter weather in the south of England and noted both there and back, a variety of locks known as the “Stairway to Heaven“, that has 21 Locks (!!) in total.
At the end of the outward journey, was the Hatton Arms pub, which resembled more of a hotel complex, rather than a “pub” – though it was still amiable as I sat outside drinking a lovely pint of real ale, with Thai fish cakes and mash – lovely!
Coming back was slightly quickly, as I was going downhill and the return was done via the town centre of Warwick.
You always wonder why some of this type of thing, has not been done before and in even greater quantities.
This “democratisation” of tourist “things”, such as museums, exhibitions, public parks, etc, can only be a good thing, and at the same time actually will spread the areas where tourists (and locals!) can go to encounter the tourist experience.
After Nottingham, decided on the way back to Glasgow, to stop at the lovely little village of Reeth, in the Dales.
This was merely half way or thereabouts, between the two cities, but apparently many others do, as the place was packed and we barely manage to grab the last room there.
The first night in Reeth, Yorkshire
Once there, had several meanders around the place; the night of arrival and the lovely Sunday morning that came later.
On the way back, we stopped for some delicious chocolate cake / tea, at another unheard town, that was delightful as well, Barnard Castle. That appeared to me, to be more of a “culture” capital of this area, if that can exist; with an abundance of cafes, shops and pubs.
Final day, and we finally had a proper walk around Ludlow, and was amazed at the number of older buildings here; many of the timber frame type.
After this, we had a delightful visit to the main church in central Ludlow, at the very top of the hill, St Laurences C of E, where I met a VERY well informed lady in the gift shop. She told me that Ludlow has over 500 listed buildings! Yes, like a living museum, but that’s fine by me. Also interestingly, on the way out, I noticed a novel way of giving!
In addition, I enquired as to why Ludlow, at least to me, is a secret Shangra La. She stated that the nearest motorway was 45 minutes away, and there were no direct London connections by train (This proved COMPLETELY true on our Day 5, as it did indeed take me 50 minutes to find the nearest motorway.). Fine by me as well, though she did say that there was a “Ludlow Bounce” in the house prices, that explained the slightly higher, though still reasonable, house prices in this area of England.
We finished the day, by going for a partial hike up the nearest hill we could find, Titterstone Clee Hill, that had stunning, 360 degree views of the surrounding area.
I’ll be coming back in September, for their annual food festival, can’t wait.
For this third day, we decided to do one of the many walks that exist here, particularly one that is low level and does not consist of a hill walk.
We started in central Ludlow, and went via Whitbatch, then to the racetrack near the golf club, and finally to the local farm shop, the Ludlow Farm Shop, that had literally everything that a foodie would ever want. On the way back, we had a quick check out of the ancient church, St Mary the Virgin’s, on the other side of the A49, at Bromfield.
Ludlow Golf Club, speaking of which, is designed by none other than James Braid (who would have known!) and is an 18 hole stretch, located entirely inside the race track!
After the arrival in Kirkmichael and a bought lunch (tasted great!), we headed via car, to Bridge of Cally, with the intention of walking to Blairgowrie, which went astray! We stayed the night and the next day shifted with the car to Blairgowrie.
What a very small place, with the hotel the Bridge of Cally hotel, being packed yet the food was wonderful – world class btw. We needed the sleep and chill, and the next morning, I discovered that the A93 to the front of the hotel was closed. After I enquired, I was told that this was due to yet another road fatality on the A93 to Blairgowrie. I can only say, that on the same road heading south to BOC, the level of driving whether a caravan or not, was simply appalling! Take care, though this may have been due to the fact that this was one of the first days where travelling was allowed after COVID.
Once in Blairgowrie, where we discovered that they are the Strawberry or Berry capital of the World, we went for a short roam, and found a path on the Cateran Trail, that followed the river into the town. Some shots are below, and was struck by the sheer beauty of the place. Afterwards had a tea / cake in a cafe, the delightful Cateran Cafe in the heart of Blairgowrie.
Finally, after leaving on the A93 again to Perth, we came to a bend in the road and just simply HAD to stop at the best stocked farm shop (The Strawberry Farm Shop) I’ve seen. The cake / pecan pie / brownie was heaven!
After about £60 worth of grub was bought, we stumbled back to Glasgow.
This week, will finish a look at my recent trip doing part of the Cateran Trail, where we finished the top, circular part. We will also look at some recipes, restaurant / cafe reviews from Glasgow, and a look at Glasgow highlights (their Churches) and maybe a “First Hit, Last Hit” from a pop band from the past . . .
We will finish the walk later in the year, but would first say, that it is one of those rare walks that is circular, and is therefore a relief for people who simply want to start / end in the same spot (where they have either travelled to using public transport, or have parked their car).
The final day, we decamped and left to return to Kirkmichael, in Perthshire. This was probably the most enjoyable of the three days, as it was only 4 to 5 hours to walk, was sunny and was mostly downhill!
Whilst finally in Kirkmichael, I had a very interesting talk with the shop assistant, who told me that they (the village) had had a very tough time during COVID, and the winter. She also noted that the village itself had fewer and fewer people residing there, as the flats in front of the shop on the High Street, were virtually ALL holiday lets.