Grab your jacket and let's go outdoors
October brings with it the harvest moon, longer nights and shorter, chillier days - sure signs that we're now in the last few weeks of the year. Given the current situation, getting outside and making the most of the outdoor playground within your area is perhaps more important than ever.
Science has consistently established that spending time outdoors has multiple physical and mental health benefits. Add to that, the challenges this year continues to bring - perhaps being outdoors is more important than ever. It's true that the weather doesn't always make that appealing, but as the great meteorologist / comedian B. Connolly once famously said:"There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little."
With that in mind, here's some of our top ideas to inspire you to make the most of the outdoors this season:
Magnificent mountain and coastal garden
On the Cowal Peninsula, the Benmore Botanic Gardens is known as 'Argyll's magnificent mountainside garden'. Walk through 'Redwood Avenue' - a boulevard lined with 150-year-old giant redwood trees. Beyond, you'll find 120 acres featuring global plants - from the Himalayas to the Americas.
Watch the curator of Benmore share his thoughts on the garden's most spectacular views and the learning experiences you can enjoy at the garden in an episode of our 'Bringing the Islands to you' film series:
Further north, Argyll's Arduaine Garden lies at the head of the Sound of Jura, and from the gardens you'll be able to discover a 'secret' path which rewards you with views over the Argyllshire coast. The grounds date back to 1898 and a time when curiosity about foreign travel was at a peak - a trend that plays out in the exotic plants which are nurtured in the grounds, which thrive in the area's mild weather.
Fossil hunting on 'Jurassic Island'
Skye is the best place in Scotland to find fossils. The island's Staffin beach is most famous for the 165-million-year-old dinosaur footprints which can be viewed there. This year the Staffin Museum remains closed due to COVID19 restrictions, but at other times, they offer guided walks of the shoreline and its famous footprints and fossils. At Flodigarry, there's great opportunities to fossil hunt on the picturesque shoreline, and at Elgol too - a particularly atmospheric part of the island, with really beautiful views of the Cuillin range which dramatically drop into Loch Scavaig beyond. Great for keeping the youngsters entertained - but that view is also food for the soul if you're just looking to take time out in a particularly beautiful spot.
Whatever you choose to do this autumn - time spent in the outdoors can only be a benefit. Grab your jacket and let's go.
It's certainly been a different year for everyone, and where travel is concerned, there's a few extra considerations we all need to make.
New guidance is in place from the Scottish Government from 9th October 2020. We're working closely with Transport Scotland and at present there are no national travel restrictions in place. However, in addition to the latest nationwide guidelines, please do follow the specific local measures in the health board area you are travelling from and to, which includes minimising the use of public transport as much as possible.
Things can change quickly, so be extra vigilant and prepared.
If you are travelling with us on our bookable routes - reserve your tickets in advance.
If you need accommodation, don't travel without confirmation.
You must follow all of our safer travel guidance to help keep the islands and one another safe.
Be in the know before you go. Read up on how your destination is handling the response to the COVID19 and find out what arrangements are in place locally.