Now that everyone can travel a little further afield, we thought it might be useful to have some suggestions of where to go and what to do. It seems that life will be lived a little more outdoors, and if the past year has taught us anything then it is to keep fit by walking or cycling can be good for you.

We have concentrated on places to go using active travel of some kind. Of course it is possible to get there by car, but for those of you who want to get some exercise while going out and about we have a couple of suggestions here.

And, we have also chosen destinations that have a lovely outdoor area to roam in, just in case you are not yet ready to go inside.

Abbotsford

Abbotsford is easy to reach on the train from Edinburgh Waverley. The Borders Railway has really opened up this part of the country. This was home to Sir Walter Scott and is open seven days a week. Tickets are available online and will be timed. This is Scott who made tartan popular, saved the Scottish banknote and who rediscovered his country’s crown jewels. There is a lovely café where you can enjoy the countryside which the house sits in, as well of course as the gift shop which helps the trustees keep the house in order.

scottsabbotsford.com

Cycling to the Pentlands

Cllr Gavin Corbett is a keen cyclist and often posts photos from his various cycle rides. He points out that it is possible to take the family with you. He said: “One of the benefits of being in South West Edinburgh is just how easy it is to get out of the city into open countryside. The new allocated bike space on Lanark Road has made it more attractive for commuters and faster cyclists, leaving the Water of Leith shared path less pressured.

“So when my two sons were smaller, ten years ago and more, a favourite short ride was up to Bonaly and round Torduff and Clubbiedean reservoirs, all the way past Kinleith to Harlaw and back down to Balerno via Malleny Mills and onto the Water of Leith path.  About 15 miles all in all, from the Harrison Park area, almost all of it on paths and tracks.

“On a summer’s evening or a Sunday afternoon you feel high above the city and the Forth Estuary, with the Pentlands on one side.  And while it is a bit of an ascent up to Clubbiedean you have the satisfaction of knowing it is going to be downhill all the way home!”

Cllr Gavin Corbett is often on his bike or on the canal in a canoe. He is the council’s Canal Champion.

John Knox is also a keen cyclist and he proposes taking you a little further afield.

A round trip from Edinburgh city centre to the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian gives a wonderful day out on the bicycle and will cost you nothing, except 24 miles of not very hard work and a possible coffee and cake in the visitor centre café.

Mind you, it starts with a bit of grind uphill to Gilmerton, four miles out on the south side of town (A772). But before you get to the bypass, you’ll be much relieved to find a brand new cycle route, heading south-west, which will take you safely under the traffic and out to Straiton Pond Nature Reserve. Pause here to get your breath, admire the swans and leave the busy 21st century behind. Read more here.

Straiton Pond

The SOC (Scottish Ornithologists’ Club is reopening its visitor centre and art gallery in Aberlady on 29 April.

Joint Exhibition

John Threlfall & Esther Tyson with sculptures by Simon Griffiths

Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC)

Waterston House, Aberlady

until 30 May 2021

Open Thursday – Sunday (10am – 4pm)

This exhibition brings together pastel drawings by John Threlfall and oil paintings by Esther Tyson with ceramics sculptures by Simon Griffiths. These artists take their inspiration from the close observation of animals in the wild. For this exhibition, John Threlfall and Esther Tyson focus on wildlife in the North East of Scotland and the Cairngorms respectively while Simon Griffiths takes his inspiration from the countryside around him in County Durham. Through many hours spent outdoors observing and sketching, all three aim to capture the very liveliness of wild animals in their environment.

About the SOC: The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club is a charity promoting the study, protection and enjoyment of birds in Scotland. 

www.the-soc.org.uk

Jupiter Artland

From 8 May 2021, Jupiter Artland Foundation will unveil Mimi a new permanent outdoor installation by Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, alongside a solo exhibition featuring four key works from the last decade of her career.

Three years in the making, this ground-breaking new commission is the first time Maclean has working entirely with cartoon animation and at an architectural scale, and her ultimate ambition is to transport Mimi’s world to high streets around the UK.Known for her satirical characters and meticulously crafted fantasy worlds, Rachel Maclean has rapidly established herself as one of the most distinctive creative voices in the UK. Based in Glasgow, Rachel Maclean graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 and her work came to public attention in New Contemporaries later that year.

In 2017, she represented Scotland at the 57th Venice Bienniale.

The Glenturret in Perthshire

The Glenturret, Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery, is pleased to announce that they will be reopening their hugely popular visitor’s centre for distillery tours from 26 April, along with the new gift shop and café. 

Set in the spectacular Perthshire countryside, The Glenturret Distillery offers a truly unique whisky experience.

The whiskies at The Glenturret, Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery are traditionally hand-crafted today in the same way that they have been since 1763. Guests will be guided through the making of The Glenturret by enthusiastic and knowledgeable, local hosts. They will witness scotch being made by hand, without the aid of computers, by artisans who are experts in the Provenance, Prowess and Passion for which the distillery is known.

The stunning new gift shop offers an impressive selection of single malts, the full range of The Glenturret, as well as beautiful locally produced, hand crafted gifts. To round off the visit, guests can drop in to the elegant new café serving delicious, lovingly prepared food. All dishes are created using only the finest ingredients and will be served in a safe environment, compliant with government covid guidelines.

Sheenagh McIntyre, Tourism Manager at The Glenturret, says “It has felt like ages since we have been able to welcome visitors through our distillery doors. The Tourism team here at The Glenturret are excited to be able to host tours and tastings again and to pass on the wealth of their knowledge and passion for our traditionally hand-crafted single malt. We have missed the lovely interactions that we have with our visitors and cannot wait to get back to doing what we do best……. warm and genuine welcomes, first class service and memorable experiences delivered in a safe and friendly environment”.

Bookings for The Glenturret Distillery Visitor’s Centre (guided distillery tours available for 6 guests per tour) are now available at https://www.theglenturret.com/tour-bookings 

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