The sites around Scotland that inspired Disney Pixar’s Brave

BRAVE hit cinema screens in the UK this week following months of anticipation and years of pain-staking research into Scotland and its landscape.

The production team from Disney Pixar, who began working on the project in 2006, visited a range of locations from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle to Dunnottar Castle, Loch Ness and the Isles of Lewis and Harris.

The story of “Brave” takes place in a rugged and mythical time, and focuses on the film’s protagonist Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voiced by Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida inadvertently unleashes chaos in the kingdom and must learn the meaning of true bravery before it’s too late.

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Here we look at the venues featured in the film and the others that helped to inspire the film’s plot and characters.

Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow

Nestled high in the Bathgate Hills near the historic town of Linlithgow, Beecraigs caters for a wide range of leisure and recreational activities within its 370 hectares, including archery, fishing, cycling and orienteering.

Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre, Dumfries and Galloway

Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre offers both indoor and outdoor archery. They teach the basics of archery and most importantly, how to have some fun. Following an initial indoor lesson, move on to the Archery Range. Set up in a forest, Castle Laggan Attack dares competitors to conquer the hilltop castle.

Craggan Outdoors, Cairngorms

Enjoy an archery lesson at Craggan Outdoors, their most popular activity for the last three seasons. Their range of recurve bows are suited for use by anybody from an 8-9 year old through to the largest adult. They will teach the basics and give plenty of time to practice, before going into a series of fun games.

The Hermitage, Perthshire

Some of Europe’s oldest and most remarkable trees can be found in Perthshire. With the colours changing with the seasons, getting out and about in picturesque Perthshire is a treat at any time of year. The Hermitage is a circular walk taking in the sites and waterfalls of the Hermitage as well as more open ground with pleasant countryside views. The Hermitage is a wild garden of hidden grottos, viewing areas, bridges, waterfalls and amazing trees. It is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is popular with visitors who enjoy climbing up through the network of paths to find hidden views of the tumbling water amongst the dense woodland.

Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, Dumfries and Galloway

Galloway Forest was established as a Dark Sky Park in 2009 and is more than 70 times darker than Edinburgh. It is a perfect location for star gazing and is one of the few places where the Milky Way is unmissable with the naked eye.

National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride

Escape to the countryside for a full day of family fun at the five star museum and historic working farm. Meet Mairi the Clydesdale horse who stands at 1.83 meters and weighs in at just under a tonne.

The Braemar Highland Gathering, Braemar

Rub shoulders with Royalty at the Braemar Highland Gathering, which takes place on September 01. Enjoy Scottish traditions such as Highland dancing, tossing the caber, putting the stone and throwing the hammer.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven

A dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress in a truly stunning setting. Discover the importance of Dunnottar, an impregnable Castle that holds many rich secrets of Scotland’s colourful past.

William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II all visited the Castle. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world. The Castle is situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and is surrounded by majestic scenery. Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries. 

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens

Built on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Loch Dunvegan once entirely encircled by the sea, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.

Callanish, Isle of Lewis

The magnificent Standing Stones of Callanish (or Calanais, which is the Gaelic version) are famous worldwide. No matter what the weather is like and however many visitors are present, these ancient stones have an enigmatic, magical quality that never fails to move.

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

The Ring Of Brodgar Stone Circle And Henge, which is part of The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, is a spectacular stone circle. The ring is surrounded by a large circular ditch or henge. It was one of the first sites to be scheduled in the British Isles (1882).

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo will celebrate the release of Brave in Scotland by including a 6 minute musical Brave sequence performed by 4 military bands with traditional instrumentation and soloists. The Tattoo runs from August 3 - 25.