Want the best of Scot­land? A new book can point you in the right di­rec­tion

The Herald Magazine - - ETC -

BRID­GET SAWYER

IT’S no sur­prise Scot­land was voted the sec­ond-best coun­try to visit in 2017 by Rough Guides be­cause there is al­ways some­thing new for even those who know the coun­try best. Peter Irvine, the man be­hind the Scot­land the Best se­ries of travel guides, has over­seen a new paper­back edi­tion which fea­tures 100 ex­tra­or­di­nary places ac­com­pa­nied by im­ages from Scot­land’s finest pho­tog­ra­phers.

Irvine’s se­lec­tion veers away from the ob­vi­ous land­marks and at­trac­tions and in­stead of­fers glimpses of lesser-known trea­sures such as Plodda Falls and Stone­haven Pool. “This book is about place, our sense of it and how it in­forms our aware­ness and per­cep­tion of Scot­land,” he says. “Al­though a pho­tog­ra­phy book, it is also a man­ual, help­ing read­ers find the places in the pictures they might oth­er­wise walk by. Whether sit­ting in Char­lotte Square Gar­den in Au­gust, or on the shore in Iona, or ar­riv­ing by boat to Knoy­dart or Strom­ness, you know you’re in a very good place, that it’s great to be in Scot­land.” Here, he shares three of his favourite places. Loch Awe The longest fresh­wa­ter loch in Scot­land, it slices through the heart of Ar­gyll with forests and ru­ined cas­tles on its is­lands and shores. Ar­buth­nott Church and the Howe of the Mearns Lewis Gras­sic Gib­bon’s tril­ogy, A Scots Quair, and es­pe­cially its first part, Sun­set Song, is one of the great works of Scot­tish lit­er­a­ture. The Howe of the Mearns, the area of rolling agri­cul­tural coun­try­side be­tween the Grampian Moun­tains and the coast is the place he so ef­fec­tively evokes in the time of in­no­cence be­fore the wars. It seems hardly changed. Roth­iemurchus Roth­iemurchus, a rem­nant of the an­cient Cale­do­nian For­est, lies be­tween the River Spey and the Cairn­gorms. With more than 40 miles of trails, any­one who loves the out­doors loves Roth­iemurchus.

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