We enjoyed our holiday at Ardgartan last year, so we decided to go to another Forest Holiday site at Strathyre this year. It wasn’t a difficult decision as these places are VERY fur friendly and, sure enough, there were lots of furry friends staying the same week as us. As well as our friend, Ally, of course, who came to Ardgartan with us last year.

strathyre map

Here’s where we were staying

There are lots of Forest Holiday places to stay – this signpost points to all the others!

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The cabin looks a bit different to last year. This year, our bedroom was up some stairs, which was fine, but the bathroom smelled of pee and the man who came to spray it said it was “pet pee”, looking at me!! How rude…

cabin

Our deck got the morning sun…

hot tub

…and had the obligatory hot tub for the humans

The other thing we noticed was that there were no hooks for coats or dog towels. Not one! And the place for boots and shoes was nowhere near the door but in the living room. It was fine for us because we had a nice sunny dry week, but I’m not sure what it would be like if it was wet (this is Scotland, after all!).

They did have some hooks at a special place for dogs outside the main building though…

dog parking sign and hooks

Not so sure about being “parked” outside!

The cabin information said dogs weren’t allowed in the shop, but they seemed to be okay with me being at the reception desk and they even had a big jar of cookies for their doggy visitors 🙂

Once we’d settled in, me and @HeatherAlex went for a walk. We did part of the walk on the map above, setting off up the side of Loch Lubnaig.

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Lots of new sniffs…

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…just right for a spot of woogling 🙂

Some of the track was quite rough with new stones put down and it was a bit sore on my paws so I dawdled a bit, I confess, but it got better once we were up higher and I enjoyed it more then.

view across the loch

Nice views…

Ben Ledi

…with Ben Ledi in sight

We decided to take the short cut back to the site as we were getting hungry, and that turned out to be a much nicer path for my paws.

shortcut to cabins sign

A helpful signpost when you’re hungry…

tennis ball

I even found a ball to play with!

path to cabins

It’s a much nicer path (and it’s downhill!)

The next day we went for a walk in the village of Strathyre itself, which is up a bit further beyond the loch. We followed the walk described on the WalkHighlands site (we use that site a lot to find our walks in Scotland), which is a bit longer than the one shown on the trail sign.

path guide

We came down on the blue trail

This walk has a little bit of everything…

wood carving - eagle

…sculptures…

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…history…

That’s part of a “broch”, an ancient type of building which only seems to be found in Scotland.

metal highland coo

…more sculptures…

war memorial

…memorials…

path by stream

…and a lovely path through the woods

silhouette pic

Sometimes I do wonder about the humans…

After the woods, we ended up on a forest road for a little while. The humans played spot-the-butterfly for a while, which I found very boring. Apparently they were “orange-tips“, as the boy butterflies have (you guessed it) orange tips on their wings. They are, I admit, quite pretty but once you’ve spotted one or two, they do all look the same and I wasn’t sure why we had to keep looking for them…

forest track

Lots of orange-tips were spotted along here…

The way back to the village was down a very different kind of forest track. It’s named after Don MacCaskill, a forester and naturalist who helped change the way the Forestry Commission looks after its forests.

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This path was among less dense forest, with native trees, shrubs and berries – all  advocated by Don. It leads to a memorial to him and his work, and is a really lovely path.

Another REALLY good thing about this walk is that it ends up at The Broch. Not the ancient building but a fur-friendly cafe with outside and inside seating. And ice cream!!

metal/wood bikes as seats

Sitting patiently by the seats/sculpture…

licking ice cream tub

…earns me my reward!

That afternoon, me and @HeatherAlex went on our now-regular walk along the lochside, not least because there are some great spots for playing Fetch with a stick in the water (the only time I ever get to fetch a stick is from water, no idea why). And when it’s warm, like it was for our holiday, a wee black dog like me just loves splashing about in some nice cool water.

But when we went back to the swim-for-a-stick spot, there’s was all this gunk along the shore. And we’d passed a large truck saying “Drainage” on it at one of the cabins by the lochside, so she was a bit nervous about me swimming in it 😦

But when we checked back at the Forest Retreat, they said it was just pollen and we shouldn’t worry about it. I refrained from saying “I told you it’d be fine”. So we went back for a swim 🙂

When I get out of the water, I just have to rub myself down on the grass…

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…and then a good shake!

We did that walk at least once a day and it was lovely, with gorgeous bluebells much of the way along it.

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Beautiful place for an afternoon stroll…

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We met all sorts of folk – children, cyclists, dogs – enjoying it, and I was VERY well-behaved. I sat down at the side out of the way when cyclists came and I was nice to the other dogs, for a change 😉

The next day, we went with Ally to walk by another loch, Loch Venachar. More great views, more bluebells and a small lochan (that’s like a baby loch) to explore.

loch venachar

Another day, another loch…

…and a lochan. Nice place for a picnic in the sunshine, complete with a treat for me 🙂

And the walk back to the car was equally beautiful.

The next day, Ally decided to go look for evidence of beavers further north, so we headed off to a nearby walk: the Bracklinn Falls.

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It’s quite a popular walk, and one we’ve done before, but it wasn’t too busy when we set out in the morning.

There are better views these days as you head out on the path to the falls, as quite a lot of the trees have been cut down.

view from path

You can see much further nowadays…

dog on stump

A new addition to my #StumpClub collection!

There’s lots of information about the falls and the new bridge, but I was keen to explore.

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For a long time after the floods, there was no bridge at all but then they built a new one. It’s quite impressive.

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We hadn’t had a lot of rain so the falls didn’t have as much water as last time, but they were still good to look at.

We crossed to the other side to walk through the woods. There was one quite steep bit, and someone (naming no names) was definitely slower and out of breath.

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Even the zig zags didn’t help…

dog on path

…and I had to wait for her at the top

We followed the track through the trees till we got to a good viewpoint.

view to north

At the highest point…

We’d planned to walk the route as described but when we got to this point, we could see just how much of it was back along a road. A quiet country road, but still a road. And I would have to be on the lead for all of that. So in the end we turned round and went back the way we’d come, enjoying all the views again on the way back (which was much busier by then).

That afternoon, we went back along “our” loch (Loch Lubnaig) and I went for yet another swim.

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dog on stones

Complete with a woogle on the beach to dry off…

On our last day, we went back to do the Strathyre village walk again, but this time just following the blue trail. Truth be told, the humans just wanted an excuse to go to The Broch for lunch before heading home! I wasn’t going to disagree, because I did get some of their extremely delicious chips 🙂

As you can probably tell, we all enjoyed ourselves again this year. The cabin wasn’t quite as good as last year but the walks in the area were much easier to get to, so we’ve booked to go back next year already! It helped that there was a nice juicy discount for booking ahead while we were there – and I got a tasty biscuit while @HeatherAlex did the paperwork.

We also got to pick our cabin (which normally costs extra) and that was really handy. As I said, we had lots of dogs as neighbours and they walked past our cabin quite a lot and I was a bit barky whenever that happened. So for next year we have a cabin that doesn’t have so much of a path running across in front of the deck. She thinks that means I will be a bit quieter! 😉

I’m already looking forward to my next holiday 🙂

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