October is looming and deadlines are slowly starting to appear on the horizon. The bubble seems to be getting smaller as workloads increase and we settle back into a routine that incorporates the Library, Pret, cake from Cottage Kitchen and many meetings in the Union. Time to escape? I think so.
The fantastic thing about our little town is that we are literally planted in the middle of the countryside, so, if you want to get out for the day, clear your head and foray into nature, you can. Over the past three years, I’ve explored a variety of places around the area. Some you can do in a free afternoon, others are further a field and may take a day, and for those that are even further afield, I would suggest spending the night. Here are a few of my top picks.
H A L F D A Y // Adventures
Pagan Shrine, Dunino.
The sleepy little village of Dunino is a 10 minute drive out of St Andrews. Though it does not seem like an awful lot is going on in the village, hidden in a small wood to the left of the main road is a pagan shrine. Venturing down narrow steps carved into the stone, the shrine sits at a lower level. With a stream rushing through it, the shrine feels as if it is nestled at the bottom of a mini gorge. Perfectly circular wells of water are carved into the rocks and there are reliefs of pagan symbols etched into the stone. The boughs of the trees are hung with ribbons, dream catchers, vials of strange coloured liquids, requests and prayers.
Tentsmuir Forest, Leuchars
Tentsmuir is one of my favourite places. I’ve been lost there for 8 hours before, (though I do admit I have a terrible sense of direction). It is a fabulous forest that lies adjacent to the sea. With numerous trails leading to lochs, leafy clearings, ice houses and so on, you cannot get enough of this place. For a short walk or a longer hike, Tentsmuir is the place to go.
W H O L E D AY // Adventures
Pitlochry is a vibrant town set in the middle of the highlands, with plenty of cafes, restaurants and stores for light shopping. But it’s the breathtaking landscape surrounding Pitlochry that makes any trip to the area worthwhile. You can walk through gorgeous forests to find hidden waterfalls, go fishing in the lochs, cycle down trails and visit the famous viewing platform, Queen’s View. Be sure to tuck your trousers into your socks though, the ticks are out and about!
O V E R N I G H T // Adventures
Black Rock Gorge, Evanton
Black Rock Gorge is exactly what the name suggests. Being terrified of heights, my stomach dropped when looking down into its cavernous black depths. The Gorge makes a spell-binding appearance in the fourth Harry Potter film, and is made even more mysterious by a local Gaelic myth. The locals claim that the shrieks of a noblewoman, lured there by a bewitching man (said to be the devil) can be heard from the top.
Images courtesy of: Cawnenrose (goo.gl/JNkKOd); Chris Bis (goo.gl/lp2H2a) [edited]; Neil Williamson (goo.gl/t6E2uc) AdInda Uneputty (goo.gl/fsxWGr) [edited].