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Travel blogger picks north-east locations among best dog-friendly picnic spots in Scotland

Casper and Scotty at Calton Hill
Casper and Scotty at Calton Hill

Now the summer holidays are in full swing there will be plenty of opportunities to get out and about to enjoy the great outdoors.

And if you’re fancying a picnic with friends – both the two and four-legged variety – Craigievar, Bow Fiddle Rock and Dores by Loch Ness have been named some of the best spots in Scotland.

With more people staying close to home this year, Scotty Brand and blogger Samantha Grant – and her dog Casper – have teamed up to find the best dog-friendly picnic spots in Scotland.

The Scotland with the Wee White Dug blogger said: “Choosing 10 favourites would be impossible. Instead, I’ve complied a list of 10 perfect dog-friendly picnic spots in Scotland. I hope you’ll love them as much as Casper and I do.”

Michael Jarvis, head of marketing for Scotty Brand, added: “With more people holidaying in Scotland this year, we are delighted that our very own “Scotty” has teamed up with Casper to find the perfect dog friendly picnic spots and celebrate our Scottish produce.”

Here are the top 10 picnic locations – including spots in the north and north-east – to explore during your next day trip or staycation:

1. Calton Hill, Edinburgh

The first dog-friendly picnic spot chosen is the popular Calton Hill in Scotland’s capital, also named as the best place “to catch a sunset” in the city.

The area around Edinburgh’s national monument features green space and city-wide views to be enjoyed alongside its historic monuments and walking paths.

2. Alloway, Ayrshire

The village of Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns, is the perfect place to learn about the Scottish poet’s history.

The Burns Monument and Memorial Garden has been picked as the ideal picnic spot in the area, while a visit to Burns Cottage and Poet’s Path lined with Burns inspired sculptures are also recommended.

For those who have time to explore further, Alloway Auld Kirk and Brig O’Doon mentioned in the poem Tam O’Shanter are worth a visit.

3. A Hebridean Beach, Inner and Outer Hebrides

Claigan Coral Beach on Skye. Picture: Shutterstock/Diego Marriotinni.

A visit to the Inner and Outer Hebrides for a beach picnic has been highly recommended. The travel blogger said: “Think white sand, turquoise sea and wildflowers growing in the machair. Better still, you may get the beach all to yourself.”

While visiting most islands will require a ferry trip, it is possible to drive to the Isle of Skye. The Claigan Coral Beach or Staffin come highly recommended, with the latter offering the opportunity to search for dinosaur footprints.

4. The Hermitage, Perthshire

The Hermitage in Perthshire, known as Big Tree Country, is perfect for a woodland picnic according to the travel blogger.

The forest near Dunkeld is a popular beauty spot with “towering Douglas firs, a tumbling waterfall, a magical Victorian folly and a hidden cave”.

5. Craigievar Castle, Alford

Craigievar Castle, Alford. Picture: Heather Fowlie/DCT Media.

Aberdeenshire is home to many castles and stately homes, but Craigievar Castle near Alford has been picked to offer a “magical picnic experience”.

The pink 16th century castle is believed to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle and is surrounded by a lawn and woodland trails.

6. Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, Dumfries and Galloway

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse stands on an RSPB nature reserve on the Rhins of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point.

The spot has been chosen due to its vast views which include sightings of Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and England on a clear day.

The Wee White Dug blogger highlights the Nine Tides, a natural phenomenon that turns the sea into a swirling maelstrom. Around the lighthouse there are also seabirds to look out for and walking trails to explore.

7. Bow Fiddle Rock, Moray

Bow Fiddle Rock, near Portknockie. Picture: DCT Media.

The natural rock formation of Bow Fiddle Rock resembles a large fiddle bow which is located near the coastal village of Portkncokie on the Moray Firth.

There is a coastal path above the rock where people can enjoy a walk before keeping an eye out for bottlenose dolphins and mike whales during a picnic.

8. Devilla Forest, Fife

Devillaa Forest at Four Lochs in Kincardine “feels more Highland than Lowland” and is perfect for a wildlife watching picnic, according to the Wee White Dug blogger.

Visitors can enjoy a six mile walk through towering pine trees and look out for “red squirrels, colourful damselflies and lochans covered in waterlilies”.

The forest also has a hidden history, including Maggie Duncan’s Stane said to be scarred by a witch’s apron and the Standard Stone linked to Macbeth.

9. Dores, Loch Ness

Dores Beach. Picture: Jason Hedges/DCT Media.

The shingle beach at Dores sits on the western shore of Loch Ness and is the perfect spot for a lochside picnic – and some Nessie spotting.

The location has been picked for its impressive scenery where visitors can enjoy “a wander by the shore and a cooling paddle in the loch”.

10. Dun na Cuaiche, Inveraray

Dun na Cuaiche in Argyll is a prominent landmark on top of a hill with a summit offering a bird’s eye view of Loch Fyne, Inveraray and Inveraray Castle.

Those planning a picnic with their four-legged friend at the top will have to complete a climb first but Samantha Grants and Casper said it is “worth it”.