Where can I go next? It’s a question that has been floating around in my head ever since I made my debut visit to Dundee earlier in the month.

I have been drawing up a wish list of places to explore. Which got me thinking about the myriad historic and natural wonders on our doorsteps - everything from Skara Brae and the Forth Bridge to the dark skies of Galloway, beaches of Harris and rugged wilderness of Sutherland.

This, in turn, saw me start to ruminate about some of the other special spots that don’t get top billing. So, just for fun, here are my contenders for Scotland’s alternative must-see marvels.


I finally made it to Dundee - what took me so long?

Shh... The best kept secret of running? The post-race buffet table ...

Sorry, Gen Z chums - I'm happy in my 'old lady spring' era

The bings of West Lothian

I’ll admit that, as a kid, seeing photographs of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in Australia never impressed me a whole lot because, to my mind, West Lothian had plenty of its own equivalent red behemoth landmarks: the oil-shale bings.

These once barren spoil heaps, which include the Five Sisters near West Calder and Greendykes between Broxburn and Winchburgh, are now brimming with wildlife, such as hares, foxes, badgers, red grouse, skylarks, butterflies and ladybirds, as well as rare flora, moss and lichen.

Craigmin Bridge, near Buckie, Moray

Sometimes it looks like a cross-section sheared from a giant catacomb, others a troubled, skeletal face peering out from the leafy vegetation that creeps up from the sloping banks of the Burn of Letterfourie.

Craigmin Bridge is certainly characterful and while it is often overshadowed by a plethora of other remarkable bridges with their feats of engineering and design ingenuity, this is a joy-inducing architectural gem in its own right.

The Herald: Whitelee WindfarmWhitelee Windfarm (Image: free)

Whitelee Windfarm, Eaglesham

This is arguably a controversial one as I appreciate not everyone is a fan (pun accidental but I’m keeping it in) of wind turbines. Yet, there is a spellbinding allure about taking a daunder around the largest onshore wind farm in the UK. The whoosh and thud of the blades sounds almost like a heartbeat. Oddly comforting.

The Rannoch Rowan

A lone rowan grows from a small crack in a craggy boulder within the sprawling expanse of Rannoch Moor. The diminutive, solitary tree can be seen beside the A82, around five miles north of Bridge of Orchy, as the road climbs above the Loch Tulla Viewpoint towards Glen Coe.

Glasgow’s murals

From a balloon-powered, floating taxi and a clowder of playful kittens to portraits of Rab C Nesbitt, a modern-day St Mungo and a windblown Sir Billy Connolly, Glasgow has plenty of colourful murals to make the spirits soar. Not least, a newly painted, tongue-in-cheek addition on Clyde Street by artist Ejek that depicts the ill-fated Willy Wonka Experience.

Stroma, Caithness

There is something otherworldly about the bleak beauty of Stroma. A smattering of deserted and decaying structures dotted around the island - crumbling cottages, outbuildings and even a church - are visible off the Caithness coast near John O’Groats. It feels like a monument to the ever-shifting sands of Scottish life.

Mighty bears

I only recently discovered there are a clutch of bear statues and sculptures that can be viewed in various locations across Scotland. Among their number: “The Dunbear” at Dunbar; “Bruin” in Dundee; “Wojtek the Soldier Bear” in both Duns and Edinburgh; “Hercules” on North Uist; and “The Bear Gates of Traquair”. Each has its own fascinating history, legend or tale of derring-do.

And where next for me?

In the coming months, I’d love to tackle a leg of the West Highland Way, try wild swimming and paddle-boarding, go camping in a forest, climb a Munro (or more likely a Corbett), do some parkrun tourism and sample the best garden centre coffee shops around Scotland. 

All recommendations welcome.