Is it possible to be shyly hopeful at the dawn of a new year, and yet simultaneously terrified at what the next few months might bring? Before all of this, I might not have believed it could be.

We are a few weeks into 2021 and, under our second lockdown in Scotland, life this year doesn’t feel much different to last. The weekdays blur into one another, staring at documents, tweets, screens; I blink and the weekend has gone.

It’s easy to fall into a mindset that matches the January skies. What at the start of the pandemic we were…

I took my parents on a favourite walk back in November, when we could still travel between local authority areas to see each other. It was a happy blur. Their faces from afar from the car, then less pixellated when we stopped metres from them, smiling. We followed the cobbles of my grandmother’s youth past the abbey, then across the fields to the old kirk.

The morning was muddy white, the only colour the berries in the hedgerows. We had a picnic, from a distance, perched on a ruined wall. The haar hadn’t yet lifted and it felt like the…

I was asked at the start of the year to give a definition of slow travel to accompany an article I’d written for a website.

I thought about it for a while. Although slow travel has its roots intertwined with the slow food movement which began decades ago, when I write about slower travel it’s from a modern perspective. This is my interpretation, for a world where our phones are forever in our pockets, and the term ‘overtourism’ has its own Wikipedia page.

For me, slow travel is not just about reducing the speed by which we reach a destination…

Today we drove a short distance along the coast, deciding to walk a tree-lined stretch of gravel track beside a golf course. Every weather app and news outlet had forecasted an incoming storm; the breeze was powerful, the air so fresh we gulped it into our stagnant office bodies, and the waves turned white in the Forth.

It was a beautiful winter’s day. I had my hat, scarf and little mitts on; B was shivering slightly in his thin waterproof. On our ‘regular’ walks — that is, ones we do on lazy weekend days around our local area — I…

If we explore Scotland through the lens of Instagram, how deeply are we experiencing it?

In the introductory blog to the #HashtagScotland project, I mentioned that the writing I’d shared around social media and travel back in 2018 had led me to meet Nicolas Loisel, an eco-tour guide and fellow Scotland lover.

We decided, following several coffee-shop chats, to set off on a spring road trip to document some of the most popular places in the country — and to contrast them with the silence of similar scenes a few miles off the tourist track. This is how the project began, and the story of that journey is the one I’m going to share now.

‘To make a race of it is to reduce to the level of a game what is essentially an experience’

A postcard from Lochaber, and some thoughts on slower travel.

The first few days it rained almost solidly. Between cups of tea and chocolate-sunk biscuits, we turned pages of books as the raindrops tapped the caravan windows. Reading Kathleen Jamie’s Findings, I imagined myself in an alternative weather reality hoping that, in a few days, I’d be able to get outside and note all the intricacies of the summer season like she had in her novel.

This part of Scotland is known for being wonderfully wild.

On the third day, the cloud broke. Between then and when we left, we saw Scotland wearing its summer best — albeit under an lengthy blanket of heat. Yet, despite the climate change question…

One bright weekend a few Octobers ago, we spent the day in Perthshire.

This is somewhat of an autumnal rite-of-passage for white-collared Scots, eager to forget their commute and embrace nature as the nights darken. A wild, well-off region of ancient trees, hills and back-in-time villages, Perthshire is a photographer’s paradise at this time of year — as we were soon reminded.

Our first stop was the Hermitage.

It’s a glorious river-marked glen of trees, follies and trails that’s looked after by the National Trust for Scotland. During autumn it’s nothing short of breathtaking: the leaves explode into kaleidoscopes of colour; the river swells and spits from the last rains; the air is like perfume, signalling that Christmas is…

Laura Anne Brown

I write about slower travel, social media and Scotland.

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