It's no doubt that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From the vast rolling hills to the bustling of the cities, it's often hard to find those small places which make it feel like your own.
1. The Lighthouse
A truly magnificent building opened in 1999 which promotes design and architecture through exhibitions and is also home to one dedicated to Rennie Mackintosh. This exquisite building lies on Mitchell Lane, a five minute walk away from Glasgow Central, and provides one of the most breathtaking views of the city. To reach the top, however, there is what seems a never-ending spiral staircase, and if you are unfit like myself and don't want to be embarrassed by the wee old grannies overtaking you, I highly advise taking a bottle of water and maybe some energy bars.
2. The Devil's Pulpit
A walk which I have only recently completed myself. A simple half hour drive from the city centre, this gorge walk is definitely not for the faint hearted. A particularly busy spot near Drumgoyne, however, does show how breathtaking gorges can be. A crack in the wall along the main road is the best way to get there with a quick walk through a forest. Watch out for the low hanging branches. I learnt this the hard way, and then you are greeted with the steepest set of "stairs" I have ever seen. Known as Jacob's ladder, I highly advise a good pair of walking boots to undertake this. No rope. Sides of the gorge are extremely far apart; extremely wet and slippy no matter how sunny it is. Caution is advised; however, it is worth it once you get to the bottom. The water well and truly runs red and provides the perfect opportunity for wannabe photographers to capture some fantastic images. There is also then the option to tackle the stairs again, or perhaps go for the easier route which I seemed to take, which was climbing up the other side. Much easier to grab on to branches and have solid ground to walk on, but be careful of the spiders, they have a tendency to jump.
3. Lunderston Bay
This hidden gem is one which was prominent throughout my life. Not too far from Wemyss Bay and Greenock, this little beach will provide you with enough views and privacy to make you believe it is your own. There is also a park for the little ones (and big ones) to play at and nature trails which you are able to follow. Even the sheep are friendly. As it begins to get darker, it provides the perfect backdrop for BBQs and sunset pictures as well as the obvious Scottish sport of hunting for crabs underneath rocks. Not as well known as other beaches, however, it is one of the more beautiful ones.
A personal favourite of mine. This little village sits to the west of Loch Lomond and provides one of my most favourite views. At first it may remind you of the little village in Hot Fuzz, believe me that's where my mind went first, but as you venture through this quaint little place you will then truly appreciate the charm which it holds. From friendly people willing to talk about the history of the place, to friendly ducks who will eat out of your hands, it is a place for all which can be used as a full day out. If you're lucky enough on the drive, you might come across some stag in the fields. Just don't be like me and wear a pair of trainers if you decide to chase after them. A lot of bogs. Everywhere.
5. Falls of Falloch
Perhaps more well known than others, but this waterfall is well and truly breathtaking. A little bit passed Luss and on the way to Glencoe, you will see the sign for this beauty, and I urge you to follow it. A bit tight for parking but other than that a stunning place. Not even a five minute walk and you will find yourself at the waterfall. There is a little lookout place which you can use for your photography needs and if you aren't afraid to get a little bit wet you can even jump in from the top of the waterfall. Don't get me wrong, I would have totally been down for this if it wasn't absolutely freezing, so I had to settle with splashing my feet around. A place which can be both enjoyed by young and old, it is one which I highly suggest people take the time out of their day to see.
6. Culzean Castle
If castles are more your style, believe me, Scotland has no shortage of them. Culzean Castle is one which I particularly recommend. From the tours which you can take around the castle to venturing around the grounds yourself, this is truly a place open for all. There are play parks and beaches and it is a place which can be seen in all weather. I particularly advise going here on a clear day as you are able to actually see Ireland. There is also no shortage of animals here as well such as llamas and highland coos, a perfect day out for children.
7. The Fairy Pools, Skye
I have saved my most favourite for last. This stunning place is one which no picture can truly do it justice. What should be a simple four hour drive to this place I found myself stopping practically every half hour to 45 minutes as the drive here alone is stunning, and all in all took me six hours to reach my final destination. Probably considered more as a long weekend break, I highly advise camping for going to this place. There are a number of places around the fairy pools which you can camp; however, if these are unavailable, if you continue down the road which they are on and head towards the sea, there is an established campsite where you can stay for only a tenner for the night! Again, I would recommend going here when it is a bit warmer so you are able to experience it in full, but the hike which you can go on would work just as well if it is at least dry. There are a number of places in Skye which are absolutely breathtaking; however, being next to the Fairy Pools underneath a dark night sky and seeing all the stars steals the show for me!