Scotland Traveloholic

Top 9 Hidden Places Around Scotland [2019 update + 5 bonuses]

Are you bored with dull major Sottish tourist attractions which everyone had seen? Are you looking for offbeat, less known but still amazing spots in Scotland? Namely, some amazing hidden places?

Visiting Scotland does not mean only seeing the main tourist attractions and walking the beaten paths. If you know where to look Scotland is packed with awesome hidden gems. 

So here are a few hidden places which I think you will love. Enjoy!

Parallel Roads, Highlands

Parallel Roads of Glen Roy

In a quiet valley, 18 miles to the north-east of the Highland town of Fort William is a geological phenomenon that is unique in Britain.

Glen Roy and its side valley are marked by three strange roads that circle the glen. From a distance, they appear human-made, but they are entirely natural, formed as lake terraces around a now long-gone loch that existed during the last ice age.

The exciting feature of this land is the fact that even Mr Charles Darwin was fascinated by it. He said that “It is far the most remarkable area I ever examined. I can assure you Glen Roy has astonished me”. 

This spot provides excellent views and rough paths which guarantee a fantastic experience, however, prepare yourself for a boggy ground. 

Electric Brae, Ayrshire

Electric Brae

Electric Brae, south of Dunure in Ayrshire, is a site where it appears that the laws of physics don’t apply. On this part of the A719 cars seem to roll uphill.

This is actually an optical illusion – the road runs downhill, but because of the surrounding landscape it appears to be going uphill.

It was so named back when electricity had been newly discovered, and any strange phenomenon could be described as “electric”.

The stone in the parking space ahead is inscribed with the following word:

“The ELECTRIC BRAE”, known locally as “CROY BRAE”. 

This runs the quarter mile from the bend overlooking Croy railway viaduct in the west (286 feet Above Ordnance Datum) to the wooded Craigencroy Glen (303 feet A.O.D.) to the east.

While there is this slope of 1 in 86 upwards from the bend to the Glen, the configuration of the land on either side of the road provides an optical illusion making it look as if the slope is going the other way.

Therefore, a stationary car on the road with the brakes off will appear to move slowly uphill. The term ‘Electric’ dates from a time when it was incorrectly thought to be a phenomenon caused by electric or magnetic attraction within the Brae”.

This place also knows as a “gravity hill” is a perfect spot for those who like to experience something unusual or prank someone who does not have a clue of what this region is famous for.

Kagyu Samye Ling, Dumfries and Galloway

Temple

The biggest Buddhist Temple in the West and, luckily for us, located in the peaceful valley of Eskadalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway. It was the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to have been established in the West.

Founded by two refugee Tibetan monks in 1967 has famous host people who have made the trip to this temple include John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

The Monastery you can see on the photo was open in 1988, and all the work was done by members of the community which consist of 200 people.

Under the direction of Sherapalden, resident artists and craftspeople produced all the images, carvings, paintings and decorations.

This place provides a shop, tea room, unique garden and accommodation for the visitors. What is more, the week courses and teaching programs of Buddhist philosophy and meditation are also added to its offer which is a great idea to spend free time. Therefore, if you like to slow down with your life and just fully breath in a calm atmosphere, it is a perfect spot for you. 

See Also: Secret Buddhist Temple In Scotland

The Fortingall Yew, Perthshire

The Fortingall Yew

In the graveyard of the small Perthshire village of Fortingall stands a yew tree which many believe is the oldest tree in Britain. It has been estimated to be up to 5000 years old, although the latest dating evidence suggests it is between 2000 and 3000 years old.

This extraordinary ancient wonder has definitely seen many things and experience rough times. It is a magical tree. A local tradition has it that Pontius Pilate was born underneath its branches.

It is said that Pontius Pilate’s father was serving in a Roman Legion based here when Pontius was born. Oh, well, this tree has undoubtedly a lot of exciting stories to tell!

Little Sparta Trust, South Lanarkshire

Little Sparta

Little Sparta is a lovely 5-acre garden hidden in the Pentland Hills at Dunsyre, 24 miles from Edinburgh. Created by artist and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay, the garden consists of about 275 works of art including many of Finley’s “garden poems”.

The Arcadian garden includes concrete poetry in sculptural form, polemic, and philosophical aphorisms, together with sculptures and two temples.

It is a beautiful place for a peaceful walk, and exploration of some spectacular art and plants work. Little Sparta welcomes visitors in June, July, August and September each year. 

So if you into nature and beautiful poetry it is a perfect place to combine those two passions. 

HIDDEN PLACES MAP

The Dunmore Pineapple

Pineaple

In Dunmore Park, one mile from the village of Airth in the vicinity of Falkirk, stands a folly ranked as “the most bizarre building in Scotland”.

A “folly” is a building built primarily for its decoration, a 45-feet high pineapple made of stone. This huge royal dockyard was founded in 1761 by the 4th Earl of Dunmore. Today it’s owned by the Landmark Trust and can be rented as a holiday home.  

It may seem hilarious for some, however, during the Columbus’ discovery of the pineapple this exotic fruit spellbind the people of the 15th century. Everyone wanted it! 

See Also:  5 Oldest Places in Scotland

Meikleour Beech Hedges, Perth and Kinross

Meikleour Beech

Outside of the village of Meikleour in Perthshire is the world’s largest and tallest hedges (they are even mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records).

The hedge follows the A93 for more than 600 yards, and it’s now more than 85 feet high. It was planted by Jean Mercer and her husband Robert Murray Nairne in 1745.

Local tradition says it is so high because the hedge is growing towards heaven as so many of the men who planted it was killed in 1746 at the Battle of Culloden.

From the bottom you cannot quite see the top of this hedge, so the feeling like looking up to proper skyscraper makes this place a unique one. It is also important to add that the colours of these trees are changing in the autumn. Therefore, the views are even more spectacular.

Additionally, you can always say that you have seen a place listed in the Guinness Book of Records, that is the achievement itself.

Staffin Bay Dinosaur Footprints, Isle of Skye

Dinosaur footprint

Staffin Bay, located in the north of Skye, is one of the few sandy beaches on the island. Sheltered and quiet, Staffin Bay will provide a peaceful and tranquil day out for everyone.

At An Corran, close to Staffin Bay, there is a geological formation which you can see dinosaur footprints from 165 million years ago! The bay has yielded numerous dinosaur fossils, some of which can be seen at the community-run Staffin Museum.

The experience of discovering the remarkable dinosaur’s footprint can be great fun not only for little ones but also for the adventure seeking adults. 

Can you imagine that the dinosaurs actually walked this same path which you can walk now? It is unbelievable stuff!

Fast CastleFast Castle Descent

Located 4 miles from the Berwickshire village of Coldingham stands the ruined coastal fortress of Fast Castle.

Cliffs on three sides of the castle and a drawbridge to the mainland must made it almost impregnable. The fact that it was located in the Scottish borders meant that the castle was fought over by the Scots and English many times.

Although the castle was destroyed in 1515 after the Battle of Flodden, its colourful history continued – local legends say that it was used for smuggling and ship-wrecking. Now the site is protected as Scheduled Ancient Monument and run by the National Trust for Scotland. 

This castle was an inspiration for many writers including Sir Walter Scott and his novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Therefore, it may also inspire you to write about the beauty of this place.

[ BONUS PLACES ]

Whaligoe Steps

Can you imagine to climb the slippery steps caring crabs, lobsters, herrings and other species of fish on your back in creels up and down 330 crooked steps?

It is hard to imagine that every man and woman had to do that despite the weather conditions daily. These steps called Whaligoe are a deep and narrow cleft in tall flagstone cliffs raising two hundred feet.

Today it is an amazing testimony to the determination of the local fishermen and a great way to get a glimpse of how hard they used to work back in the day.

Badbea Clearance VillageBadbea Clearance Village

Pronounced bad-bay its a ruined village settled in the 18th century during the highland clearances.

Highlanders living in nearby Quasdale village were moved from their homes and their land was replaced with more profitable sheep. Badbea lies on the southwest of the cliffs shaped by salt, spray and wind.

In 1911 when the last inhabitant left the village a massive memorial was erected by David Sutherland which father was born in Badbea and lived there before emigrating to New Zealand.

Tomb Of The Eagles

Tomb of the Eagles

Orkney is well known for its prehistoric sites but one place hides some strange mysteries. Sixty years ago a local farmer discovered a cavity that after an excavation happened to be the tomb full of the dismembered human bones that were cleaned of flesh.

Sixteen thousand bones were uncovered belonging to about a hundred and forty people. Interestingly this tomb also contained around six hundred bones of the sea eagles and was used for over a thousand years hence the name Tomb Of The Eagles.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

Corryvreckan

Infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool is the third biggest in the world and is notorious for claiming lives of the careless. Unusual underwater topography and strong Atlantic currents are responsible for creating the perfect condition for this monster of a whirlpool to arise.

No wonder It is also present in Scottish mythology. it is said that the goddess of winter washes her autumn brown tartan in the whirlpool making it snow white thus announcing the arrival of winter.

If you’re brave enough you can go on a speedboat and swim close or even inside the whirlpool.

Ship Of Death

Midhowe cairn

Rousay is of the most historically abundant isles in all of Orkney with around 160 sites. One of which is Midhowe Cairn that gives the initial impression of an upturned boat hull and inside you will find 24 burial chambers along with remains of 25 people that were discovered in 1932.

No wonder they call this place the ship of the dead. it certainly resembles a Viking galley ship in size and shape.

Our list presents a few top places which can be considered as the hidden secrets of Scotland. Some of these places are very non-obvious.

However, if you know any locations which we did not place on this list, please let us know! We love discovering the inapparent and remarkable areas of Scotland. Allow us to continue this journey.

1 comment

  • Great post Ziggy. I will definitely refer to this list again when I visit Scotland again this year. I just can’t get enough of your amazing country.