What is The Year of Natural Scotland?

As part of the ‘Winning Years’ initiative created by the Scottish Government and headed by the Scottish Natural Heritage, 2013 is being officially promoted as the year to showcase the natural beauty, eminence and splendour of Scotland. The initiative has been designed to celebrate all that Scotland has to offer with an emphasis on its natural assets.

What is there to do in Scotland?

For those of you who have yet to visit Scotland then you have been missing out on one of the best holiday and short break locations. Scotland, recently named one of CNN Travel’s Top Holiday Destinations for 2013, is a mesmerising country that has some of the best scenery, dramatic landscape, vibrant cities and areas of outstanding natural beauty in the whole of the United Kingdom. There is so much to see and do on a break to Scotland and this can be highlighted by looking at a few of the themes that the Year of Natural Scotland is looking to promote in 2013:

Natural landscape

Glen-Coe-the-Highlands-of-Scotland-UK
Image: Glen Coe Valley (Glen Coe is a glen in the Highlands of Scotland) shared by Ben Christian via Flickr

Scotland has a diverse landscape from coastal areas to mountainous terrains as well as many national parks and nature reserves. If you are looking for a break where you can get outside and enjoy nature then Scotland is the place with its numerous walking routes by the coast, forest or mountains and hills. Scotland is also home to two National Parks where unspoilt wildlife and views can be experienced.

Flora & fauna and wildlife

Graylag-Geese-nature-Scotland-UKImage by David-White via Flickr

Due to the diverse landscape in Scotland it means that it is a haven for wildlife and with Scotland having over 40 Nature Reserves there is ample opportunity to see many species of birds for example, including geese, red bunting and redwinds. The flora & fauna is also unique and there are many rare as well as indigenous plants that can be seen on a visit to Scotland.

Art in Nature

The country and landscape in Scotland has been an inspiration for many painters, musicians, artists and writers among others. No visit to Scotland is complete without understanding how nature and art work together and have aroused the creative talents to create natural textiles and crafts to outdoor art. Scotland is also the place where films such as Braveheart and Rob Roy were filmed and these scenic inspirations should not be missed.

 

Nature in the cities

Salisbury-Crags-in-Edinburghs-Holyrood-Park-Edinburgh-Castle
Image: Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, with Edinburgh Castle in the backgound. By Richard Milnes shared via Flickr

Scotland is home to seven vibrant and culturally diverse cities including Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh. They all offer visitors a different taste of Scottish life and traditions as well as different places and areas to visit. Edinburgh is the main tourist draw in Scotland and it is easy to see why with its Castle, Royal Botanic Gardens and historic Holyrood Park.

Natural playground

ski-Scotland-UK
Image by tjmwatson via Flickr

If you are a lover of outdoor pursuits then Scotland is the ideal location for an activity break. The landscape is ideal for sports including walking, mountain biking, water sports and snow sports. On a visit to Scotland it is possible to explore Scotland’s renowned waterways by kayaking the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail and see dolphins and minke whales along the way. You can also take one of the numerous walking trails and spot indigenous wildlife along your trek.

Events

Wickerman-Festival-2010-Scotland
Image by miss.libertine via Flickr

As well as the ability to experience the great outdoors it should be noted that there are many annual events that take place in Scotland each year. These events include the Glasgow Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Seniors and Ladies Scottish Open, the Mountain Bike World Cup and Fringe by the Sea.

 

Where to stay in Scotland?

There is no better way to explore Scotland than by staying in the countryside and enjoying the scenery. That way you can wake in the morning to stunning views and truly feel you are on a break, giving you the opportunity to unwind and relax in the most pleasant of surroundings.

angus-castle
Image source: Stately Escapes

If you are looking for a self-catering break then Scotland is home to some of the most unique rental accommodation. With luxurious accommodation available which includes castles, towers and manors you will be spoilt for choice.

This post was written by Erika who is a travel blogger and native Scot. She writes for Stately Escapes, specialists in holiday home and castle rentals in the UK.

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