We love weekends, and when we’re looking to escape the city for a night or two, Glen Etive is one of our favourite spots. Winding down the singletrack road as it carves through the valley, it never fails to impress. Mountains rise to the left and right, deer roam across the hillsides and a wide river cuts through the base of the valley. It’s a natural playground of epic proportions.
The forecast was poor, so we kitted out the back of the Landy with an airbed and found a passing place by the roadside to call ‘home’ for the night. Arriving late on the Saturday afternoon, we took it easy and cracked open a couple of beers before firing up the stove and rustling up some supper. Thankfully, the rain eased up, so we could cook out of the boot, with a stunning view of the mountains behind us. The air was clean and still - the perfect antidote to urban life.
Sunday morning greeted us with sunshine. Throwing open the door, I got the coffee on the boil before getting to work on a chorizo & egg hash for breakfast. It felt pretty luxurious to prepare breakfast from the comfort of the duvet, but as the caffeine kicked in we began to make plans for the day. If nothing else, Glen Etive has an amazing range of features and scenery.
Below us, on the valley floor lay a small lochan, dotted with tree-covered islands. We forged a path down the hillside, negotiating boggy moorland before ducking through dense thickets of rhododendron to reach the shoreline.
Well, a shoreline, at least. As we’d tunneled through the undergrowth, we’d veered off course and ended up on a stony beach beside the river instead. Hidden from the road, it was a perfect spot for a morning swim, so we prepared a campfire before taking a dip in the icy waters - an essential precaution at this time of year!
Hiking back up to the car, the colours of the landscape really began to pop. Vivid hues of orange covered the ground, in stark contrast to the dark green of the forests. The cloud began to brush the mountain-tops, but even the impending gloom couldn’t detract from the beauty of the surroundings.
We reached our ride home just as the rain began to pour, and with our window of good weather over, we cut our losses and headed back to Glasgow. We’d only had one night away, but nature has a way of clearing the mind and slowing down time. Now we’re wishing away the weekdays, waiting from Friday to come back around.
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.