Itinerary: This is a typical itinerary for our Mini Highlands Day Trip
Scotland certainly has no shortage of myths, legends and fairytales to share with the world, but none is more recognised or shrouded in mystery than the enduring tale of the Kelpies. These shape-shifting water spirits are traditionally thought to haunt rivers and streams; usually taking the form of a horse. Although it holds roots in legends of human sacrifice, the story was much more likely created to keep small children away from large bodies of water. Whatever its origins, there’s no better tribute to this ageless story than with two colossal 30 metre high statues; designed by Andy Scott – the same sculptor of the Beacon of Hope in Belfast.
Completed in October 2013, the 300-tonne structures appropriately tower over the River Carron, near Falkirk in Central Scotland. These two horse head designs are absolutely breathtaking; leaving many of our guests surprised at just how big they are! This first stop is an exceptional example of the combination of Scottish heritage and innovation; and kicks off our Mini Highlands day tour!
Please note: these statues are absolutely callosal, so have your cameras at the ready!
As we approach our next stop, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that you’ve stepped back in time! The quaint village of Culross was founded in the 6th century on the banks of the Firth of Forth, and due to its strategic coastal location, the village soon became a thriving port; trading goods such as salt, wool and coal with countries all over the world – reaching as far as Sweden and Spain! Due to their immense trading power, the residents of Culross soon found themselves becoming very, very rich; and how did they spend their fortunes? Why on their village of course!
Culross boasts streets and streets of beautifully preserved buildings, squares and gardens; including the 16th century Culross Palace, the village hall, rows of fishermen’s cottages, and of course the historic Mercat Cross. If you’re wanting to explore some of the best-preserved examples of historic living in Scotland, Culross is the place to do it!
Fun Fact: If you’re a fan of the TV series “Outlander”, you may be more familiar will Culross than you think, as many scenes throughout the series were actually filmed in and around the village!
With a wide array of perfectly preserved 16th century buildings, squares and streets to wander, a visit to the hidden gem of Culross is a must for any Scottish adventurer!
As our tour journeys deeper into the Highlands, our first point of call is Glendevon; a picturesque glen that boasts exquisite views over the mountains around Loch Earn, and of the River Devon which flows directly through the heart of it. The area is rich with fine examples of Scottish flora and fauna, including Otters, Pine Marten and Deer, so keep your eyes and ears alert for any approaching visitors! Once our walking boots are muddy, and our cameras have clicked, we’ll continue onwards through the stunning landscape of the Ochil Hills to Glen Eagles.
Although the landscape of the surrounding glen will become steadily wilder the further north we travel, you can rest assured that Gleneagles only becomes increasingly beautiful with each passing mile. When we reach our destination at Gleneagles Village, there’ll be plenty of time to explore the area; including the world-renowned Gleneagles Hotel and Golf Course, the quaint village high street and the high selection of boutique stores found along it.
This is certainly no regular route for big tour companies, so rest assured that you’re really exploring the very best side of Scotland!
Just as we begin to feel a million miles away from humanity, the lively town of Crieff will suddenly appear on the horizon. And although Crieff only boasts a couple of thousand residents, the town is jam-packed with history, bloodshed; and at times, cattle too!
For centuries, Highlanders have flocked to Crieff for the yearly Michaelmas cattle sale; when cows of every variety line the narrow streets, waiting to be sold. In 1790, for example, the population of Crieff was just 1,200, which gave the ratio of 10 cows for every resident! The immense amount of cattle may have brought a lot of money into the area, but with it came a lot of crime; with killings and robbery running rife. To combat the crimes with punishment, the “Kind Gallows” was introduced at the bottom of Burrell Street, with the sheer amount of hangings taking place there becoming renowned even throughout Europe! Today, however, Crieff is much more recognised for its wide selection of cafés, coffee shops and local craft stores. Its star attractions include Scotlands oldest Glenturret Distillery, the Caithness Glass Visitor Centre, and don’t forget to borrow a book from Innerpeffray Library – founded in 1680, it’s Scotland’s oldest lending library! From foodies to history buffs, Crieff is a stop everyone will love.
Everything from Highwaymen to Highland cattle have passed through its streets, and for a town that’s not particularly big, it always surprises our guests at the amount of history associated with the area; alongside its wide selection of cafés, shops and museums of course!
Our final stop on this Mini Highlands day trip will see us arrive on the banks of the River Tay, where we’ll find the picturesque village of Dunkeld. Hailed as one of the most complete 18th-century towns in Scotland, Dunkeld holds a plethora of beautifully preserved cottages, townhouses and squares for intrigued travellers to lose themselves in.
We’ll take a wander around the towering Dunkeld Cathedral, discovering the tomb of the notorious ‘Wolf of Badenoch’ who was buried there in 1405. Heading back into the town and down Atholl Street, there’ll be a perfect photo opportunity of Dunkeld’s brightly coloured “little cottages”, as well as the unforgettable backdrop of Dunkeld bridge spanning the river. And no tour of this historic town would ever be complete without a visit to the famous Ell Shop; featuring the original ‘ell’ measure which stands at just over a metre long, originally used for measuring cloth in days gone by.
Sadly though, all good things must come to an end. However, we hope that our Mini Highlands day trip has given you a sample of all the best bits the Scottish Highlands has to offer. We’ll be able to transport you back to your hotel, or onwards to another adventure!
You may also be interested in our Outlander & Film Locations Day Trip
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