Archive | July 2017

A modest grand tour of the Highlands and Islands – Stage 1: Knaresborough to Pitlochry

I used to think of North Yorkshire as ‘The North’, Southerner that I am, but there’s a lot more north to The North! Once you leave the A1 at Newcastle, having passed Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North, you enter a bleak wilderness of spectacular beauty punctuated by occasional villages and small towns such as Jedburgh with its impressive ruined abbey.

This is a great way to arrive in Scotland, as the border runs along the ridge of the Cheviot Hills. The road comes over a ridge and the landscape drops away, green and rolling. Bonnie Scotland!

It is also a great way to approach Edinburgh. So often cities are entered through anonymous suburbs, but Edinburgh stands out clear in front of you with Arthur’s Seat drawing the eye in.

The next scenic spectacular are the bridges over the Firth of Forth. We saw this in slower motion than we would have wished for, thanks to a horrendous traffic jam to get onto the road bridge. However, the sight of all three bridges – the new, as yet unopened, road bridge, the existing road bridge and the rail bridge – completely filling the horizon is awe-inspiring and must be one the greatest bridgescapes in the world.

Our arrival in Pitlochry was magical because we were almost immediately treated to the sight of red squirrels playing in the garden of our B & B. A great end to a very good first day!