Weekends in Perthshire

I love my home here in Argyll, and one of my favourite things is its coastline, rocky inlets, turquoise seas (ok sometimes grey seas ) but sometimes it’s nice to go inland and enjoy a different type of landscape. That’s what we did this weekend, sneaking away to one of Perthshire’s Big Tree areas.

We’ve had unusually dry and calm weather* so the trees are putting on a great show. First we headed to the lovely town of Aberfeldy, with its shops, cafes, riverside walk and lovely ArtDeco cinema.


We had lunch at the dog friendly Habitat cafe, DogS was given a nice big bowl of water but I preferred one of their excellent coffees. And maybe a little something solid…


Then it was time to stretch our legs properly so we took a walk around the Birks of Aberfeldy and up to the falls of Moness. We had to keep a tight hold onto DogS as she’d have loved to jump in!



Our home for the night was the gorgeous Fortingall Hotel which could be the Mary Poppins of the hotel world**. A beautiful  Arts and Crafts building outside, warm and welcoming inside, with calm, comfortable rooms, cosy lounges and a lively bar. Dogs are very welcome and we were delighted with the table set for us in the lounge,  so that DogS could stay with us over dinner.

I think this is a style to which she could become accustomed ….


Next day the weather changed, the low cloud and mist shrouding the hills turned into heavy rain. We still enjoyed a drive around Loch Rannoch, a quick visit to another dog friendly cafe and a very wet walk around Pitlochry.



But if it didn’t rain the countryside wouldn’t be so beautiful, and we were toasty and dry inside our waterproofs.


Back home for now with the stove lit.


Until next time.


Marina x

Useful links:

Aberfeldy tourism website

Fortingall Hotel

Dugs’n’Pubs excellent info. for dog owners


*not any longer

**practically, perfect in every way (I might be paraphrasing slightly)


Days out with DogStarke

Not just something I like, one of my favourite things. Even better when MrS comes too, but today he was busy.

So off we set for culture,  lunch and walkies. As it turned out we didn’t do things quite in that order.  I had a few work thing sort before we could leave and it’s only fair to do a let Dogstarke stretch her legs before getting in the car,so we had local walkies first.  Then I was just a tad peckish so lunch topped culture.

We drove north to my “K” place heading for the Holly Tree hotel. Dogstarke got her usual warm welcome and a bowl of water before settling down for a sleep.


I was more hungry than sleepy so tucked into this.



After lunch we took a turn along the cycle path/walkway before heading for my cultural fix.

The Glencoe Folk museum* is a group of thatched cottages on the main street of Glencoe village. Jacobite memorabilia, slate mining artefacts and a fascinating cabinet of curiosities are just a few of the exhibits. I even found out how shinty balls are made.**

I’d planned a longer circular drive but my fuel gauge was blinking at me and it was a bit too wet for even DogStarke to enjoy another walk,  so we headed towards home,  stopping  for a quick cup of tea and a browse in the shop at The View overlooking Castle Stalker.

The beautiful, bright weather we’ve been enjoying have disappeared for now, but the view and autumnal colours are still gorgeous.

Until tomorrow.

Marina x

Featured places:

The Holly Tree Hotel

Glencoe Folk Museum

The View, Castle Stalker ***

* museum closes for the season on 31st October. Dogs are not allowed inside

**cork derived from a fungus which I’m annoyed I didn’t note the name of, string/wool, leather. Shinty is a popular team  game in the Highlands.

***cafe and shop are dog friendly






My first ever blog was a travel one. It was private, a way to share my trip to Australia with my sister. I’d got an iPad as an early birthday present and MasterS researched the options and helped me set it up. Then I got the bug….

Track back two years.

It’s 2010. I’d started reviewing on TripAdvisor, I’ve never been an early adopter, I only joined Facebook in 2013. Anyway, Trip Advisor,  we’d stayed at a B&B which encouraged reviews   It was very good, and newly established so I didn’t mind going ahead.

And so Mrs Starke made her find appearance.


Return to 2012.  I decided to continue with my blog, but this time to make it public.

I intended it to be a travel blog.


And there we hit a snag………



To write a travel blog, you really should travel. But a lot of my travelling had been accompanying MisterS on his trips abroad. And in 2012, he retired.




But then we got…..




And she became the subject of many posts.


And travel took on a whole new emphasis. We began to search out dog friendly places.

We discovered  Le Shuttle was the most dog friendly way to travel to Continental Europe.

And made some trips to France.

Though we had to leave her at home with MasterS for this one


And then we moved. And started a whole new life. Welcoming travellers .

So our own travels tended to be curtailed and restricted to “staycations”


But I’ve still got itchy feet, so we plan to use our off season to travel.



And I’ll tell you about it.

Marina x





Mull.  A fairly near neighbour, famous for the town of Tobermory with its brightly painted facades and travelling cat.  Tobermory is a lovely little place which has a life beyond the tourist  trade, though tourists are important.

A ferry can  take you from there, across the water to Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and then onwards to the most westerly point on the Scottish (and British) mainland.


Somehow I’ve never taken a picture of Tobermory, or the cat.            But I did buy these there


Away from Tobermory there’s lots more of Mull to explore. Castles, beautiful beaches, more ferries, and  smaller islands to explore; one  the holy island of Iona.


We go for day trips and longer stays. We spent our tenth wedding anniversary there. DogStarke loves it too. And what better recommendation can you get?


DogStarke enjoying Calgary beach, that’s white, white sand, not snow

Dog friendly places to stay:

Tiroran House hotel

Isle of Mull Hotel and Spa

Dogs welcome in the bar (food served):

The Mishnish

Getting there:

Calmac ferries

Just some things to see and do: (a small selection of what’s on offer)

Duart Castle

Ardalanish weavers


Ross of Mull historical centre

Iona Abbey


Marina x



In Gaelic, Ceann an-t Sailean, head of the small inlet. And it’s a perfect small inlet, perhaps a tad shady, but a welcome return to the coast after the A828 Oban to Fort William road turns inland at Duror.  Once a stop along  the Oban to Ballachulish railway the old Kentallen station buildings now form part of the delightful Holly Tree Hotel. It’s a very welcoming place, friendly and most importantly,  dog friendly*. Highly recommended.  We stayed there at the end of my birthday weekend, a touch of luxury after a couple of days afloat.

It’s a beautiful spot too with views across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour;  the old railway line is now part of the Oban to Fort William cycle path, perhaps one of the prettiest sections, and just as well suited to pedestrians.


Along the way you can stop off at the site of the Appin Murder ,



and then past the old station buildings at Ballachulish,


the monument commemorating the execution of James of the Glen.


If you’d travelled on the old railway you could have made a round trip by via bus and steamer by way of Glen Coe, Glen Etive (of “Skyfall”fame),  Loch Etive and Taynuilt, returning back to Oban. These days you’re probably best retracing your steps (or pedals?) back to Kentallen and then enjoying a coffee or something stronger at the Holly Tree, enjoying the view as the sun goes down.

Happy travels.

Marina x

*links to my idea of dog friendly