Eilean Donan Castle near Kyle of Lochalsh. (photo: Loch-Ness.org.uk)
The best way to visit a place like Scotland is to make sure that the major touristy places don't dominate the agenda. And the recently launched Secret- Scotland.com wants to keep this from happening. Specializing in hidden, offbeat gems, they customize budget-friendly itineraries that also avoid the pitfalls of traditional guides which often cause the misinformed to try and see Inverness, Loch Ness and Skye in a day. Instead, their guides are logical, day-to-day, easy-to-follow sequences of route directions, punctuated with recommendations for sightseeing, including attractions away from the beaten tourist trails.
"The idea for Secret Scotland came about as a result of helping friends discover just how much there is to see and enjoy in our small, but unique, nation. The market place was crying out for a new style of easy to follow tour guide, but, importantly, a tour guide with sufficient flexibility to allow visitors to create really bespoke itineraries," says Mike Peddie, a native Scot who started the site with his French partner, Aurelia Reymond-Laruinaz. "Of course we will help people to see the main attractions in Scotland, but it's a pity that all too often they leave our country without seeing many of the varied and special places tucked away around every corner. We have spent the last two years meticulously researching every aspect of our guides to ensure that, when a tour is selected, a really successful visit to Scotland is likely to ensue. We also believe that our guides are second to none when it comes to offering value for money."
In order to find out what tourists actually needed, Peddie went right to the source. "Some French tourists were telling me how misled they felt by their guidebook. They had spent £6.50 each to get entry to Urquhart Castle and discovered that the Castle was mainly a ruin. In our guides, we advise people to take a picture from the car park!" Adds Reymond-Laruinaz: "We pride ourselves on our 'local' knowledge base of Scotland. We really do know where to find the scenic spots, quiet side roads, great pubs and eating places that other guides never mention because they only have space to focus on the major attractions".
More info at Secret-Scotland.com.
- The Travel Snob