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Scotland the rave; HOLIDAY AND TRAVEL SHOW '98.

Scotland is the world's favourite place for a holiday in the UK, outside London.

Last year, foreign visitors spent pounds 852 million enjoying the scenery, the warmth of the welcome, the food - not to mention a dram or two.

But it's not just overseas holidaymakers who are discovering the delights of Scotland. Increasing numbers of Brits are flocking to the Highlands and Lowlands every year.

There is an incredible amount on offer from John O'Groats to the Borders. Even the cities, with festivals, culture, and great eateries, are drawing weekenders as never before.

Here are our suggestions on places to go where even a shower of rain can't spoil the beauty of the landscape as you reslish the slower pace of life.

THE TROSSACHS: Also known as The Highlands in Miniature, this area is within easy reach of Glasgow or Stirling. The Trossachs covers a wild and rugged area around Lochs Katrine, Achray and Venacher.

Here, Sir Walter Scott found the inspiration for Rob Roy, based on the real-life exploits of the outlawed clan chief Rob Roy MacGregor. The Visitor Centre in Callander is a super introduction to the life and times of this folk hero.

Callander is an excellent touring base. Nearby is Aberfoyle, where the Scottish Wool centre is a fascinating visit. It's handy, too, for the Duke's Pass, a favourite picnic area with spectacular views. And don't miss the stunning Queen Elizabeth Forest Park which stretches from Aberfoyle to Loch Lomond.

MID-ARGYLL: From the West Highland sea-side town of Oban to the Mull of Kintyre lies an area cut up by sea inlets and blessed with outstanding natural beauty.

At its heart is Inveraray, a true gem sparkling on the shores of Loch Fyne.

Its castle, home to the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of the Clan Campgell, houses a fine collection of tapestries, porcelain and armour.

There's also a living museum in the old jail where, besides passing through a grisly Torture, Death and Damnation exhibition and witnessing courtroom trials, you can explore the grim cells.

Kids will love the Argyll Wildlife Park where badgers, raccoons, pine martens and wallabies are just some of the unusual animals on view. And the Crinan Canal, Knapdale Forest, botanic gardens at Crarae and Dunadd Fort, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada are all worth seeing.

STIRLING: The famous castle is perched on a 250-ft crag, dominating the countryside.

Bannockburn Heritage Centre tells the story of King Robert the Bruce's famous battle victory in 1314, while the National Monument, a 220-foot tower built on a rocky outcrop called Abbey Craig, gives visitors the chance to meet the "talking head" of William Wallace.

LOCH LOMOND: This is the most famous beauty spot in Scotland, and you need a few days to enjoy its many treasures. It's best explored on a pleasure cruise from the lochside villages of Balloch, Balmaha or Tarbet.

Try hill-walking on Ben Lomond or The Cobbler, or climbing a few Munros - Scottish mountains higher than 3000 feet. Or sample the many water sports.

MULL and IONA: The island of Mull is a picture paradise of moorland, forested glen and breath-taking mountain grandeur with 300 miles of beautiful coastline teeming with wildlife.

Just a short hop from Mull lies Iona, the sacred isle where St Columba brought Christianity and the Gaelic language to Scotland.

THE East of Scotland is a treasure trove of beauty spots with contrasting landscape. Edinburgh, the castle, the Festival, art galleries and theatres, provide a rich short break programme.

The East Neuk of Fife is filled with quaint harbours, history and has a slower pace of life. St Andrews not only has a glorious beach, it is, of course, also the home of golf.

In the North East, there are fishing villages to explore and the glittering granite and bustle of Aberdeen.

And the breathtaking wilderness of the far north of Scotland is nothing short of awesome whatever the season.

Scenery, golf, culture, hospitality, tranquility, sports - whatever your fancy, Scotland caters in abundance.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Ratcliffe, Sandra
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 11, 1998
Words:669
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