Scottish staycation: exploration and discovery
After repeated lockdowns and a year like no other, many of us can’t wait for a change of scene this summer.
With limited chances for overseas travel, it’s the perfect time to appreciate what we have right here in the UK with a staycation.
Here in Scotland there’s so much to discover whether you want white sandy beaches, rugged adventure or elegance and culture.
As restrictions begin to ease it’s no surprise that 44 per cent of people in the UK have started planning trips in Great Britain, with almost a third already all booked up according to research by Visit Scotland.
Getting outside and exploring the outdoors has provided a welcome sense of freedom during the coronavirus pandemic.
Adventure awaits once more, but where will yours take you?
With two national parks and scenery that usually attracts tourists from around the world, everything you need to escape can be found within a few hours’ travel from home.
Now is the perfect time to spread an Ordnance Survey map across your kitchen table and plan your Scottish adventure. Let your imagination run wild and take you on a journey across the landscape before you, discovering walks, activities, and places to see: moorlands, rolling hills, glacial lakes, rugged mountains and so much more.
As the region gets ready to re-open, here are our top locations to inspire your staycation planning – plus the Ordnance Survey maps and guidebooks you’ll need for your adventure.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
From breathtaking mountains and glens to the vast tranquil beauty of its lochs, this national park boasts some of the most dramatic scenery on the planet – and was voted fifth on the Best UK Staycations in 2021. Stunning places like Luss and Balmaha on Loch Lomond or Ben A’an in the Trossachs are more well-known, but off-the-beaten-track spots like the Cowal or Breadalbane areas are well worth exploring too.
OS maps: OS Explorer OL38. OS Pathfinder Guides: Loch Lomond , The Trossachs and Stirling
Cairngorms National Park
The UK's largest national park boasts a hugely diverse landscape from the wild high mountains to the heather moorlands and peatlands, to magnificent forests, wetlands and rivers which wind through the flood plains. Stunning scenes at every turn will stop you in your tracks whether you’re hiking, biking or skiing – walkers should check out the Speyside Way that follows the majestic Spey all the way to the Moray Firth.
OS maps: OS Explorer OL57. OS Pathfinder Guides: Cairngorms
Fort William and the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is the crown jewel of the Scottish Highlands, packed with rugged scenery with enchanting fairy pools, craggy sea cliffs and green glens. In addition to breathtaking scenery, the island is home to fishing villages and historical sites like the dramatic Armadale Castle. En route, make a stop at Fort William and enjoy the area around Glenfinnan for views of the iconic viaduct featured in several Harry Potter films.
OS maps: OS Explorer 392, 384. OS Pathfinder Guides: Isle of Skye
Buy your Ordnance Survey maps and guidebooks from all good bookshops and outdoor retailers when available, or online from the OS shop at os.uk/adventure
Find even more inspiration for 2021 adventures at GetOutside.uk