Ten dog-friendly picnic spots to visit this summer

With summer in full-swing, it’s the perfect time of year to embrace the great outdoors by going for a walk and enjoying a picnic with your four-legged friend.

When it comes to finding the perfect picnic location, we’re spoiled for choice in Scotland.

So, Scotty Brand has teamed up with one of Scotland’s top travel bloggers to share a trail of dog friendly picnic spots in Scotland. Scottish travel blogger Samantha Grant from ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ recommends her top ten – after consulting with Casper ‘The Wee White Dug’ of course!

Samantha Grant said: ‘I’ve travelled all over Scotland with Casper, visiting lots of beautiful places. Choosing ten favourites would be impossible. Instead, I’ve compiled a list of ten 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, said: ‘Summer is the busiest time for Scotty Brand, and our larder truly spans the breadth of the country, from new potatoes in Ayrshire to seasonal berries from Perthshire. 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.’

1. Calton Hill, Edinburgh

As a proud Edinburgher, I had to include Scotland’s capital on this list. Edinburgh has lots of lovely green space, but for me Calton Hill has all of the ingredients required for a perfect picnic. The summit boasts historic monuments, paths to explore and stunning views of the city skyline. It’s also the best place to catch a sunset in Edinburgh – making Calton Hill a great place for a romantic picnic. Watching the sun setting over Edinburgh’s magnificent architecture as you sip chilled bubbly and eat Perthshire-grown Scotty Brand strawberries = a blissful picnic experience.

2. Alloway, Ayrshire

A view of the Brig O’ Doon over the River Ayr

Heading west, my next perfect picnic spot is Alloway. The pretty Ayrshire village is the birthplace of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns. Literary lovers can wander through the village, visiting Burns Cottage, Poet’s Path with its Burns inspired sculptures (Casper’s made his peace with Alloway’s gigantic ‘moose’ in recent years, as it was once his arch enemy). For an immersive Tam o’ Shanter experience, don’t miss Alloway Auld Kirk and Brig o’ Doon. Both locations feature in Rabbie’s spooky poem. After working up an appetite exploring the village, head to the Burns Monument and Memorial Garden for a picnic.

For an authentic Ayrshire picnic, Scotty Brand Ayrshire grown new potatoes are a must. I like to rustle up some home-made potato salad or Spanish tortilla with a Scottish twist.

3. A Hebridean beach, Inner and Outer Hebrides

Let’s head to the beach, for another perfect picnic spot. This recommendation covers a group of West Coast islands known as the Inner and Outer Hebrides. The beaches of the Hebrides are second to none, making them the perfect place for a picnic. Think white sand, turquoise sea and wildflowers growing in the machair. Better still, you may get the beach all to yourself. Don’t worry if hopping on a ferry doesn’t appeal though, you can drive to the Isle of Skye. And while Skye may not have beaches quite as dramatic as some other Hebridean islands, at Staffin you can search for dinosaur footprints on the beach. How cool is that? Being a small dog with a big personality, Casper wasn’t daunted by the fact the dinosaur footprints were bigger than him.

For an upmarket Hebridean picnic, add some Scotty Brand smoked salmon to your hamper. It’s farm-reared in the waters off the Hebrides, West Coast and Shetland and is smoked and packed in Scotland too.

4. The Hermitage, Perthshire

The Hermitage

Our next perfect picnic spot takes us to Perthshire. Perthshire is known as ‘Big Tree Country’, so the region is a great destination for a woodland picnic. The Hermitage near Dunkeld is a popular beauty spot, with locals and visitors alike. With towering Douglas firs, a tumbling waterfall (where you might see salmon leaping if you’re lucky), a magical Victorian folly and a hidden cave, it’s easy to understand the appeal. And when in Perthshire, include Scotty Brand cherries in your picnic. They’re sweet, juicy and grown just up the road in Alyth.

5.Craigievar Castle, Alford, Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire is home to more castles per acre than anywhere else in the British Isles. For a magical picnic experience, visit the grounds of Craigievar Castle near Alford. The pretty pink tower dates to the 16th century and is believed to be one of the castles that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle. If the walls could speak, they’d tell tales straight from a book of fairy tales – some of them rather Grim(m)! After picnicking on the castle lawn, explore the woodland trails behind the castle to walk off those Scotty Brand sausage roll calories.

6. Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, Dumfries & Galloway

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse stands on an RSPB nature reserve on the Rhins of Galloway. It’s Scotland’s most southerly point. On a clear day, you can see Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and England from the lighthouse. If you visit 90 minutes after low tide, you may witness an impressive natural phenomenon that turns the sea off the rocky headland into a swirling maelstrom. It’s known as the Nine Tides. Local legend says witches conjured up the tides in an attempt to sink a ship carrying a witchfinder to Scotland. There are trails to explore beside the lighthouse too, which Casper loves and lots of beautiful seabirds to spot, making this location a perfect picnic spot.

7. Bow Fiddle Rock, Moray

Sunrise at Bow Fiddle Rock near Portknockie (Photo: RPH Stock/Shutterstock)

The cute, coastal village of Portknockie is home to another perfect picnic spot. Next to the village harbour is a unique natural rock formation called Bow Fiddle Rock. The sea arch resembles a huge fiddle bow – hence the name. After exploring the coastal path above Bow Fiddle Rock, sit down and enjoy a picnic with a unique view. During the summer months, keep a close eye on the sea, as bottlenose dolphins and minke whales are frequent visitors to these waters.

8. Devilla Forest, Fife

Devilla Forest is in Fife, but visit and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. With towering pine trees, red squirrels, colourful damselflies and lochans covered in waterlilies, it feels more Highland than Lowland. The forest is full of hidden history too. Look out for Maggie Duncan’s Stane. Legend says it was scarred by a witch’s apron strings. Another stone in the forest, the Standard Stone is linked to Macbeth. You’ll find picnic tables on Devilla Forest’s ‘Red Squirrel Trail’ – perfect for a wildlife watching picnic.

9. Dores, Loch Ness, Highlands

For a fun-filled picnic, head to Dores on the western shore of Loch Ness. Take binoculars and see if you can spot the famous Loch Ness Monster, in the vast expanse of water that is Loch Ness. A full-time Nessie hunter lives on the shingle beach at Dores. He hasn’t found Nessie yet, but you might have more luck. Even if Nessie doesn’t make an appearance, the scenery at Dores won’t disappoint. After a wander by the shore and a cooling paddle in the loch, you’ll be ready for a lochside picnic.

10. Dun na Cuaiche, Inveraray, Argyll

Argyll boasts perfect picnic spots aplenty. For a hilltop picnic with a knockout view, it doesn’t get any better than Dun na Cuaiche in Inveraray. This picnic spot is reached after a short, steep climb up a leafy track to reach a tower on top of a hill. It requires a little more effort to get to than the other locations on this list (unless you’re a mini mountain goat like Casper), but it’s worth it. The summit offers an incredible, bird’s eye view of Loch Fyne, Inveraray and Inveraray Castle – the ancestral seat of the Campbell Duke of Argyll. For a dramatic picnic location, this spot is hard to beat.

If you visit one of these perfect dog friendly picnic spot, then tag #ScottysPicnicSpots to share your pictures.

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