If you are planning to travel up to the highlands of Scotland for a well-deserved break, just for fun, let’s explore the quirkier side of this northern country. Scotland has so much to offer the traveler with its fascinating and rugged scenery, unusual cuisine (you have to try the haggis), swirling kilts and the best Scotch whisky.
The great cities in these northern climes, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, have much culture and history to offer the tourist too. However, in this article, we are going to explore some of the more unusual places to rest your weary head while traveling in Scotland, along with some really different and fun activities on offer.
Accommodations with a difference
If you are up to it, financially-wise, you can stay in a Scottish castle. This can include either a 5-star stay, or even a self-catering option where you can do your own thing in style.
These castles are all placed in strategic positions beside the famous Scottish lochs, in glens or on islands, so they all over wonderful views and surrounding scenery.
How about a stay in an old converted church, for that holier-than-thou lodging? Many old and historic churches in Scotland have been converted, respecting the original history and architecture, into comfortable accommodations
You’ve no doubt heard of camping, but have you ever come across glamping? On offer in various locations in Scotland are luxurious Mongolian yurts . Yurts are normally known as the portable structures used by nomads, as an alternative to the old-fashioned tent. In the case of the Scottish yurts, these are really luxuriously appointed and don’t move around too much! The best can be found at Great Glen Yurts, Torlundy near Fort William, up in the Highlands.
As an alternative for your glamping experience, try camping pods and wigwams, cleverly designed and built with wood, such as those in the Ardlui Holiday Park on the shores of Loch Lomond.
Of course, you could just choose one of the many lovely, comfortable and more traditional bed & breakfasts available to you during your trip! You can enjoy travel in Scotland without participating that closely in the quirkier side of the country.
Unusual activities abound
Guardian Liberty Voice recently reported on some pretty weird activities going on in a Welsh town called Llanwrtyd Wells. While it’s hard to know who did these things first, it seems that Scotland has its own quaint and quirky events each year.
World Stone Skimming Championships
Easdale Island, which is a tiny island in the Inner Hebrides, used to be part of the Scottish slate mining industry but is no longer and it was decided that one of the quarries would make a perfect area for the World Stone Skimming Championships.
Every year on the last Sunday in September anyone, with any skill level, can enter this exciting event. All you need to do to qualify is ensure your stone bounces a minimum of three times before heading down to the depths.
Gold Panning Championships
Another great activity for both young and old is the famous Gold Panning Championships. While you might not consider Scotland a place to mine gold, it seems this precious metal is available in several areas of Scotland and mainly, apparently, in the Lowther Hills.
In the area around Leadhills and Wanlockhead, the practice of gold panning has been going on for centuries and they decided to make it into an annual event.
World Porridge Making Championships
What would a visit to Scotland be without participating in the World Porridge Making Championships? Held in Carrbridge every year, the title is awarded to the chef making the very best traditional porridge, which consists, basically, of oatmeal, water and salt. As well as watching the event, there are many other activities on offer including baking competitions, food tasting stalls, craft stands and rides for the children.
So much to do, and so many places to stay, makes Scotland an attractive venue for your next vacation. Whether you are looking for the more traditional or the quirkier side of Scotland, travel through this beautiful country is a joy and an adventure indeed.
By Anne Sewell