The most accessible tract of Scotland’s wilderness, the Trossachs has long been praised for its rich green mountains and misty lochs. The A821 winds through the heart of the area between Aberfoyle and Callander, the region’s main towns. It also passes near Loch Katrine, the Trossachs’s original lure and the setting of Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. A pedestrian road traces the loch’s shoreline, while the popular Steamship Sir Walter Scott cruises from the Trossachs Pier (1-3 per day, round-trip £5.80-6.80). Above the loch hulks Ben A’an’ (461m); the rocky lhr. hike up begins a mile from the pier, along A821. The Rob Roy and Trossachs Visitor Centre in Callander is a combined tourist office and exhibit on the 17th-century hero who is buried nearby. ( 330 342. Open June-Aug. daily 9am-6pm; Sept. 10am-6pm; Oct.-Dec. and Mar.-May 10am-5pm; Jan.-Feb. Sa-Su llam-4:30pm. £3.25.)

From Callander, First ( (01324) 613 777) buses run to Stirling (45min. 8 per day, £3) and Aberfoyle (45min. 4 per day, £2.50). Postbuses reach some remoter areas of the region; find timetables at tourist offices or call the Stirling Council Public Transport Helpline ( (01786) 442 707). About 2km south of Callander on Inver-trossachs Rd. is Trossachs Backpackers , a comfortable hostel with an attractive setting. (331 100. Internet access. Dorms £12.50; singles £15.) Camp at Trossachs Holiday Park O, outside Aberfoyle. ( 382 614. Open Mar-Oct. £10-14 per person.)


In 565, St. Columba repelled a savage sea beast as it attacked a monk; whether a prehistoric leftover or cosmic wanderer, the monster has captivated the world’s imagination ever since. BLoch Ness still guards its secrets 7.5km south of Inverness. Tour agencies often are the most convenient ways to see Nessie’s home; Guide Friday offers a 3hr. bus and boat tour. (224 000. May-Sept. daily 10:30am and 2:30pm. £15, students and seniors £12, children £7.) Or let Kenny’s Tours take you around the entire loch and back to Inverness on a minibus. (252 411. Tours 10:30am-5pm. £13, students £10.) Five kilometers south on A82, visit ESUrquhart Castle (URK-hart), one of the largest in Scotland before it was blown up in 1692 to prevent Jacobite occupation. Alleged photos of Nessie have since been taken from the ruins. ( (01456) 450 551. Open June-Aug. daily 9:30am-6:30pm; Apr.-May and Sept. daily 9:30am-5:45pm; Oct.-Mar. M-Sa 9:30am-3:45pm. Admission £5.) The Jacobite cause died in 1746 on Culloden Battlefield, east of Inverness, when Bonny

Prince Charlie lost 1200 men in 40min. To get there, take Highland County bus #12 from the post office at Queensgate (round-trip £2). Just 2.5km south of Culloden, the stone circles and chambered cairns (mounds of rough stones) of the Cairns of Clava recall civilizations of the Bronze Age. Bus #12 will also take you to Cawdor Castle, home of the Cawdors since the 15th century; don’t miss the family maze. (Open May-Sept. daily 10am-5pm. £6.50, students and seniors £5.30.)

Trains ( (08457) 484 950) run from Academy St. in Inverness’s Station Sq. to: Aberdeen (2V4hr. 7-10 per day, £19); Edinburgh (3V&-4hr. 5-7 per day, £31); Glasgow (3V£hr. 5-7 per day, £31); and London (8hr. 3 per day, £84-110). Scottish Citylink buses ((08705) 505 050) run from Farraline Park, off Academy St. to Edinburgh and Glasgow (both 4!hr. 10-12 per day, £15). To reach the tourist office, Castle Wynd, from the stations, turn left on Academy St. and then right onto Union St. ( 234 353. Bureau de change and Internet £1 per 20min. Open mid-June to Aug. M-Sa 9am-7pm, Su 9:30am-5pm; Sept. to mid-June M-Sa 9am-5pm, Su 10am-4pm.) Bazpackers Backpackers Hotel O, 4 Culduthel Rd. has a homey atmosphere and great views of the city. ( 717 663. Reception 7:30am-midnight. Dorms £12; doubles £15.) A minute’s walk from the city center, Felstead , 18 Ness Bank, is a spacious B&B with comfortable beds. ( 321 634. Singles £28-36; doubles £56-72.) Try the Lemon Tree 0, 18 Inglis St. for fabulously cheap and tasty soups (£1.80) and balked goods. (Open M-Sa 8:30am-5:45pm.)


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