Lockdown has made many of us appreciate staycations, ditching airport security queues and strict baggage rules for the freedom to travel at leisure. Better still, you can combine a road trip across Scotland with the chance to sample some of our finest produce on a dedicated food and drink trail. We’ll be looking at the trails in depth over the coming weeks, to give you some gastronomical inspiration ...  starting with the Scottish Cheese Trail.


Fancy spending a holiday scoffing various types of delicious cheese? Of course, you do. The good news is the Scottish Cheese Trail lets you do exactly that, while visiting some of the most scenic locations in the country.
Scotland’s cool climate, while a source of annoyance for many, is an ideal environment for making cheese. From traditional cheddars to artisan goats’ cheese, tangy blue cheese to subtle cream cheese, there’s an array of excellent producers across the country that can be visited as part of the trail. True cheese devotees may wish to tackle the trail in its entirety, but with stops stretching from the Orkney Isles to southern Ayrshire there’s a considerable amount of travelling involved. 
Fortunately, you can visit as much or as little of it as you want, with several stops clustered close together for those who would rather explore the trail in a long weekend or a day trip. Here’s some of the highlights.


ERRINGTON CHEESE 
Lanarkshire
If you are starting around Glasgow, your first port of call should be Errington Cheese, near Carnwath in Lanarkshire. This is the home of Lanark Blue cheese, created by Humphrey Errington in 1985 using unpasteurised milk from the farm’s flock of Lacaune ewes. 
All the cheese is handmade on the farm, with the milk sent from the parlour each morning to on-site vats, before the cheese matures for weeks in their traditional stone buildings. 
Errington produces a range of both sheep and goats’ milk cheeses.
Visitors can take a trip to their pop-up shop to pick up some of this famous delicacy, before heading west towards Dunlop Dairy.
erringtoncheese.com


DUNLOP DAIRY 
East Ayrshire
Located near Stewarton, this is an award-winning cheesemaker that’s been in production since 1989. It is perhaps best known for traditional Ayrshire Dunlop (a hard-pressed cheese not unlike cheddar) as well as a range of goats cheese and unusual soft cheeses. 
You can watch some of the cheesemaking process through a window, while visiting the tearoom and farm shop, as well as exploring the picturesque countryside around the farm and visiting the grazing cows.
dunlopdairy.co.uk

HeraldScotland:
ISLE OF ARRAN CHEESE SHOP
Arran
From Dunlop Dairy it takes less than half an hour to drive to Ardrossan, the departure point to catch a ferry to Arran. As well as being a wonderful island to explore, particularly by bike, Arran is home to one of Scotland’s most highly regarded cheese shops. 
You can browse a delectable range of cheeses on offer, including a rather unusual whisky-flavoured variety, as well as watch the cheddars being flavoured and waxed. 
And if you are a fan of brie, be sure to check out the Arran Brie, awarded ‘Best Scottish Cheese’ at the World Cheese Awards last November. arranscheeseshop.co.uk


ISLE OF MULL CHEESE
Sgriob-ruadh Farm, Tobermory
It might be a bit of an undertaking if you are travelling from the Central Belt, but true cheese fanatics wouldn’t miss making the journey to visit Isle of Mull Cheese. 
Owned by the Reade family, who moved to the island from Somerset, this is the only dairy farm left on Mull – with a focus on making cheese as naturally as possible. 
They avoid pasteurising their milk and they don’t add colour to their cheeses, meaning the cheeses made in winter are whiter than those made in summer when the cows eat more fresh grass. 
Cheese-aside, the Sgriob-Ruadh farm is famed for its spectacular Glass Barn café where visitors can tuck into some home baking while enjoying views across the countryside.
The Reades are one of the island’s largest employers, with their dairy, bakery and houses powered by a hydroelectric plant, wind turbine and log burners.
Visitors can also stay in the farm’s picturesque holiday cottages.
sgriobruadh.co.uk

HeraldScotland:


CAMBUS O’MAY CHEESE CO 
Ballater
Enjoying a scenic location in the heart of Royal Deeside, Cambus O’May Cheese Co have been using the same methods – and the same family recipes – to make their cheese for the past 50 years. 
Visitors can enjoy a tour of the cheese-making process as well as a lunch in the on-site café – where the star dish, of course, is a selection of cheese toasties.
cambusomay.com