Katharine’s 5 favourite things to do in Scotland this summer.
BAG A MUNRO
My favourite thing to do when I am staying at Forter Castle? It has to be hillwalking in the indescribably beautiful surrounding landscape. If you like a challenge then consider the popular Scottish pastime of ‘Munro bagging’. A Munro is a mountain that is over 914 metres tall (there are 282 of them) and the list is named after Sir Hugh T. Munro who surveyed and catalogued them. Climbing these peaks is a great way for experienced walkers to explore some of Scotland’s finest scenery and further-flung locations. Mountaineering Scotland is good for advice on equipment, while Visit Scotland has guides to the best Munros for beginners.
SEE SOME WILDLIFE
Many come to Scotland for the remarkable wildlife, and I find nothing more peaceful and evocative than the sight of a stag silhouetted in the dusk on a heather clad hill top. Forter Castle has easy access to many of Scotland’s great sporting estates, indeed Balmoral, the Queen’s own slice of heaven is only a few miles further north by Braemar. Surrounded by the beautiful Angus Glens there is so much to see and do and a sporting, hiking or wildlife safari adventure can easily be arranged through Sandgrouse.
GET KITTED OUT LIKE A LOCAL
I love tweed and tartan, and it makes sense to dress for the elements in a Scottish Summer. Established in 1858, Campbell’s of Beauly is an iconic privately owned, family run country tailor and outfitters globally recognized for its commitment to quality. The shop has been operating in the same premises since 1858 stocking both men and ladieswear, and still maintains the same charming character which has been carried throughout the five generations. In 2017, Campbell’s of Beauly was granted the Royal Warrant for supply of tailored goods to Her Majesty the Queen and they specialize in sporting tweeds and Highland dress, their kilts and jackets can be found across many a Scottish reeling dance floor! My top tip? Check out their Jerry Can Mini Bar, perfect for a memorable gift.
SHOP SCOTTISH CERAMICS
I like to bring a little bit of the Highlands home with me every visit. It’s so important to support fabulous Scottish creatives and makers and one of my favourites is ANTA. The Stewart family create beautiful home furnishings, textiles and stoneware that take their inspiration from the Scottish landscape and seasons. I love their tartan cups and bowls (the KP Design Studio team eats lunch every day on this beautiful pottery!), while their sustainability credentials are super with their factory in the Highlands powered by solar panels. Through my work as an advocate for the British Campaign for Wool I know how important it is to celebrate suppliers like ANTA, they offer a completely unique twist on contemporary Scottish design.
Scotland is such a special place and spending the holidays every summer at Forter castle is magical family time for me. A ruin for many years, it was first spotted by my father Robert Pooley on his way skiing in Glenshee as a young man in his twenties. He immediately fell in love with the idea of buying it and breathing life back into the ruin. Many years later he was able to buy it and it has proven the love of his life – of all the projects he has undertaken it has been the most personal and every detail of the castle reflects his tenacity and passion. It is so special for my two young sons to spend time there with their Grandpa each year.