A Lotto ways to enjoy The Year of Natural Scotland
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As the weather brightens, there’s never been a better time to explore the natural beauty and heritage of Scotland.
The National Lottery is proud of its investment In Scotland and encourages residents and visitors alike to experience the wonders the country has to offer. Over £35m a week is raised by National Lottery players for Good Causes throughout the UK with money invested in a variety of projects including heritage and environmental programmes. From maintaining our countryside and preserving island life to funding museums and wildlife sanctuaries, the National Lottery supports many initiatives that celebrate and enhance the natural splendour of Scotland.
Whether you’re enjoying a family day out or a month long holiday in Scotland, chances are you’ll come across the famed National Lottery crossed fingers at more than one of your destinations. We’ve outlined some Lottery-funded attractions celebrating Natural Scotland which are well worth a visit.
Starting from the outside and working your way in, Scotland boasts over 15,000km of coastline to be explored and Lottery-funded volunteers are working hard to protect these shores, as well as learning more about ancient civilisations revealed by coastal erosion. The Fife Coastal Path offers a great walk which runs from Forth Estuary to Tay Estuary past St Andrews, fishing villages of East Neuk, beaches and wildlife reserves. Pop into the Scottish Fisheries Museum located in a beautiful fishing port in Anstruther to learn more about the traditions and heritage of the industry.
On your way round the coast be sure to visit the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick to find out more about the magnificent birds that grace our shores including, ‘clown of the air’, the Puffin. Captain Scott’s RSS Discovery in Dundee is also well worth a visit or have a look around the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, located in Fraserburgh, where you can climb up the 72 steps to the top of the first lighthouse built on the Scottish mainland, Kinnaird Head Lighthouse.
For those who’d like to criss-cross their way across the country on two wheels, the Sustrans cycle network has a multitude of routes catering for all levels of fitness whether you’re a novice or Sir Chris Hoy. Check out the Lochs and Glens North route which passes through both the Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. When you reach Loch Lomond why not take a leisurely trip on The Maid of the Loch, the last paddle steamer built in Britain?
For those who are looking for a less exerting way to see the country, a journey through the countryside can seem all the more romantic on a steam train such as the Strathspey Railway Company Limited through Aviemore. The Glenfinnan Viaduct has reached iconic status thanks in part to its famous role alongside the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies; visit the Glenfinnan Station Museum between Fort William and Mallaig, one of the best-preserved working stations on the West Highland Line which is one of the most picturesque railway lines in the world.
For a great holiday, you don‘t have to jet off to the Caribbean to experience island hopping. Scotland is made up of over 790 islands, although only around 90 of these are inhabited. Take the Skye Ferry, a bonnie boat, and the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland, if you want to go over the sea to Skye and take a look round the largest island in the Inner Hebrides. Journey south and you’ll come across the beautiful Isle of Gigha, the most southerly of the Hebridean islands and, thanks to Lottery support, a community owned island. The Community Trust owned Gigha Hotel is only a few hundred yards from the ferry terminal.
In Uist and Benbecula, a community organisation called Sealladh na Beinne Moire, has used Lottery funding to help locals and visitors explore the Bonnie Prince Charlie Trail with a walking path, podcasts, a trail booklet and workshops. Whereas, if you travel further north to Orkney you can Enjoy Wild Orkney, a Lottery-funded RSPB project which makes it much easier for people to access the island’s fantastic wildlife. In the most northerly of all the Scottish islands you can visit Viking Unst where you will find the remains of at least 60 viking longhouses, which is the highest density of rural Viking sites anywhere in the world, including Scandinavia.
All around Scotland there are wonderful examples of how people lived on the land in years gone by. The settlement at Auchtaven is a very rare example of traditional Highland clachan, a small pre-industrial revolution community. In Auchtaven you can see the hingin lum cottage and horsemill which were restored thanks to help from Lottery funding.
In East Kilbride, visit the National Museum of Rural Life which is a 1950s working farm complete with farmyard animals. Strathnaver Museum near Thurso in Caithness is a local history museum where you can discover the vibrant culture inherited from our Norse and Gaelic ancestors. Or journey to Spey Valley and find Knockando Woolmill which is continuing a 200 year old tradition of producing woven fabric on its historic looms.
Want to explore natural Scotland but the weather isn’t on your side? Head indoors and check out some fab Lottery-funded museums such as Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh where you can find out all about our planet, or take in the excellent wildlife and natural world displays at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow and the capital’s National Museum of Scotland. Other year-round options include Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Winter Gardens at Glasgow Green. Experience the sights and scents of beautiful flowers and plant life under a glass roof to protect you from the elements.
Finally, no trip to Scotland would be complete without seeing the UK’s largest peak, Ben Nevis which thousands of people climb each year. Lottery funding is allowing local communities to get involved in conserving the landscape and managing it more effectively.
To find out more about National Lottery Good Causes visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
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