Moody & Magnificent Beecraigs Forest
After our recent trip to the Isle of Mull we tagged on another few days to spend some time near Linlithgow to see a Jousting event organised by Historic Environment Scotland. It was another one of those 'really want to do one-day' events that had not happened for many years. So when we were south of Inverness anyway - well it made sense to keep going! (That's Highlander logic for you)
When we travel in the Central Belt of Scotland we are usually passing through or staying in a city and the usual cheap & cheerful chain hotels are our normal haunts. This was a camping holiday though so it was my mission to keep camping! I hit a jackpot straight away when googling 'campsite near Linlithgow' and an amazing looking one in a country park came up - affordable and with good reviews even.
But then the deliberations set in ... a country park? Really? They are a somewhat strange concept to those of us from the wild parts of the country where it's all country and a park is something manicured you find in a city. Too often we forget that in other places with cities and towns and a lot of agricultural land the needs are different and thus a country park is indeed something wonderful.
Anyway - we went with it and so glad we did because it was a great experience! We arrived after battling our way across a few stretches of busy motorways around Glasgow but then were quickly thrown back into nature when we went up the hilly roads outside Linlithgow. We had gotten a lot of paperwork relating to our campsite booking (the site is run by the local council and is taking admin more seriously than most other campsites we had ever been to) and checked in at the brand new Beecraigs Country Park Visitor Centre. As soon as we got out of the car we were rewarded with an amazing view over the new Queensferry Crossing and the other Firth of Forth bridges.
Having spent a whole week erecting tents meant we were pros by now and the tent was up in no time. Exploring next! As this was very much a practical camping solution rather than a destination chosen for a holiday in its own right we didn't have special hopes BUT wow were we in for a treat! We pretty much aimlessly followed some dog walkers along the edge of the forest before branching off into the woods - and this is where the magic happened!
I do love our home woodland of characterful twisted birches, hazel and rowan trees. But I always had a fascination for those coniferous forests with straight and very tall pines and moody brown colours at the bottom that look all spooky and atmospheric.
Well tall and moody and great atmosphere I got aplenty in the Beecraigs forest. I was mesmerised and hooked and in absolute AWE. The rest of the family took a bit longer to see and feel the magic but it didn't take them long to be drawn in and we spent a wonderful time just meandering through the woods on various paths, looking up and up and up. We saw amazing gnarly trees too and a lot of green mixed in with the coniferous forest.
As dusk approached it even got more moody and special. They had to literally drag me back to the campsite - with the promise to return in the morning. Which we did. And then we returned again the following evening too! I've heard of forest bathing but not forest binging - but it was too good to not indulge. And we only scratched the surface. There are many more miles of paths in Beecraigs Country Park that need to be explored another time.
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (7), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats. We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.
Favourite place in the world:
Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.