Plunging through the countryside, not ten miles traveling from Glasgow, is a hidden world. A world cloaked by the dense forest canopy and invisible to the oblivious. Simply setting out in search of this magical place is futile. You’ll never stumble across it. Nature has concealed it well.
Yet for those who have heard the whispers - those who have been shown the way - the journey begins in a relatively benign farmers field. Hop over a fence or two, follow the weather beaten track and there, partially obscured by the earth, is the beginning of a flight of anicent stone steps cutting down into a narrow gulley.
This is where we found ourselves earlier in the week. The good folk from Miscellaneous Adventures had travelled north for a visit, and we thought it was about time we shared this secret with them. We clambered down the steep steps, slowly and steadily, finding fingerholds on the damp walls of the gulley. Below us, the staircase narrowed as the rock constricted around it to leave a gap barely wide enough for our shoulders. Water trickled down past our feet, leading us downward.
Squeezing ourselves through the pinch in the rock, we found ourselves in another world - a deep gorge cut into the earth by a fast flowing stream over the centuries. The vertical, moss covered walls soared twenty metres above us and the air was heavy with damp. Fallen trees and other natural debris littered the ground, but what really struck us were the rich colours - more likely to be found in the tropics than the Trossachs.
We clambered over fallen trees and waded into the turbulent water, exploring the chasm as it narrowed and widened. At the end of the narrow corridor of rock lay a boulder - The Devil’s Pulpit they call it, though no-one knows why. Despite the real world blaring above us, we felt completely removed. Isolated in this enchanted world full of mystery and legend. A place of discovery and adventure. It was a secret worth sharing - and the Miscellaneous team were the worthiest recipients. After all, Nature Endows Secret Wisdom.
One of the most recognisable prints in Scotland, Emily Mackenzie's "50 Shades of Scotland" print manages to pick 50 simple shades from this beautiful country, and transforms them into a journey through Scottish history, and Scottish culture.
We caught up with Emily and asked her about her hometown of Edinburgh, and for her advice on how to make the most of being an artist in the city.
The Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens is the green and growing heart of Edinburgh. Big enough to spend the day in, it's the perfect place to take a packed lunch and try to get lost among the trees.
If it's a little too far for you to visit, then here's a little tour from our most recent visit to the Gardens.