Return to Scotland… where to go???

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  • Return to Scotland… where to go???
  • Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Life is moving on and after my decade long relocation experiment to the Lake District I am thinking of going home in the next couple of years.

    But where?

    My plan is to set up a new business venture based on walking and photography workshops/guiding  plus possibly some holiday lets, as well as continuing with my current stock/fine art/freelance stuff which is slowly building up so we are pretty free as to where to go.  The current focus has been on Mull, but I am open to anywhere from Fort William(ish) to the Isle of Arran and anything inbetween.

    It would be nice to be somewhere with a friendly mountain bike scene that random strangers can get into – not managed to find that down here, which after living in Stirling was a bit of a shock to the system 😉

    Suggestions from locals/people who dream of moving/whatever welcome.  I need easy access to stunning landscape and coastal scenes though… this is really the priority.  Decent internet connection is also kinda critical for sending large files out to clients.

    Ta

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
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    East Kilbride, simply stunning.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    lol… I was expecting Cumbernauld…. 😉

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
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    Too close to Stirling mate!.

    In all seriousness, there are plenty properties available on Arran, but it’s not cheap. Generally as folks are selling their second homes and are under no pressure to drop prices, lots of houses that have been for sale for 3 or 4 years now…

    That would be my choice though, as I bloody love the place and would move there in a minute (if I could get the ferry times a bit earlier to get to work!).

    For such a small island, it has everything, amazing landscape, stunning ridges, cracking biking and tourist aplenty for your business. RET has made it a lot cheaper for tourists to take a car over, used to be 140 quid for us 3, it’s now just over 50.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    Not sure of internet on Mull though probably better than it was. You’d never fit in Rob, you don’t have a Yorkshire accent..

    Coastal / mountains / MTB – I’d be biased of course but here is pretty good – Moray Firth coast. Decent transport links but is quite a bit further north than your drawn area. I’d also be forced to put in a decent word for the Black Isle / Easter Ross scene – also coastal (differently so) and some stunning MTB routes in the area, Strathpuffer and some other gems.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
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    A Yorkshire accent definitely helps on Arran too!

    Premier Icon iainc
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    He was right about East Kilbride y’know…. 😜

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    lol – I have been in Cumbria long enough to fake Yorkshire 😉

    kcal – whilst I do like the Moray Firth it hasn’t quite got the drama that I am looking for (going to be passing that way a week on Friday on the mahoosive drive to the homelands, but apparently Orkney is too far north….)

    House prices shouldn’t be too much of a challenge since we will be selling in the Lake District National Park which is stupidly expensive in comparison.   I have half an eye on Arran, but I need to go for another visit with the business specifics in mind to see if it would work.

    I am trying to keep within 2.5/3 hours of Glasgow if I can – partially to make airport transfers kinda reasonable (and because most of my social life is there these days!)

    Premier Icon iainc
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    What about Cairngorm area ? Easy drive, no ferries, some great riding and good markets for what you are planning to do ?

    I have been holidaying there, and on Arran, for over 30 yrs. Retirement plan will hopefully involve buying a house in either of these areas (but not near nobeer 😜)

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Yeah, there are some nice opportunities in Cairngorm.  It may be worth a bit more of a look, although it is a bit rubbish for the coast!  It would open up some other ideas though.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Get yirsel to Braemar big man and help kick some life back into it. 😉

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Had a wee holiday there once… it was somewhat spoiled by the ex wife actually coming along mind 😉

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
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    Dunkeld? Biking is great, town has some nice places to eat and drink. Handy for most things ie Glasgow/Edinburgh and the hills. Peebles maybe moreso but with not quite as good access to the mountains.

    I really like Mull be get the feeling it may be saturated with people of an artistic bent. Maybe a good thing though?

    Arran does tick a lot of boxes but would island life suit? I like to visit but couldn’t imagine living there.

    Premier Icon Trekster
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    Dumfries & Galloway?????

    Not many, if anyone offering guided walks. There are not many “mountains” but there is scope and numerous walks in the area.

    Castle Douglas in particular has a thriving photography scene as well as other arts & crafts. Dumfries also has a thriving community of photographers and clubs.

    An auld squash buddy/retired vet is just one of many: http://rogerleverphotography.com/projects

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Lots of stuff round Oban area. Easy access to Glasgow, Highlands, Islands and coasts. Thriving tourist destination. Should be getting the extra coaches next year for lots of cyclists.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    The Oban area is looking strong at the moment – been talking to family and it seems more popular with them than the islands perhaps.  Need to go and look a bit more I think!

    Dumfries was an option a couple of years back, before the inception of this new idea!  I don’t think it would work so well though for what I am after now… Highlands work a lot better.

    Hmmmm  – loads to think about 🙂  Glad I have given myself a couple of years!!!!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    Kilmelford area is nice and not too far from Oban for “services”, but I’d go and have a good look around. Port Appin is lovely too.

    Premier Icon convert
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    This will be me in circa 5 years.

    Always fancied further north. Gairloch. Or possibly Ullapool

    My folks lived in Oban for a few years in their 50s. I liked it then and access to the islands is ace. But it’s long way to anywhere that is not Oban (or Fort William). Whilst Ullapool is a lot more remote it’s only 1hr 15 from Inverness and its airport. Oban to Glasgow is double that. You also get a lot more for your money when buying houses.

    thecaptain
    Member

    Somewhere without midges.

    Not scotland then.

    rene59
    Member

    Is there that many people daft enough to pay someone to take them on a guided walk? I understand it for some of the more technical munros but just going for a normal walk in the hills?

    notlocal
    Member

    +1 for Braemar. It has a gallery, but the potential customers of the refurbished Fife Arms may want another. The owner of the Fife is also an art dealer from Switzerland I believe.

    Loads of biking, short and long distance, with a friendly scene. House prices probably on a par with Lakes with older and new build available.

    munrobiker
    Member

    Oban sounds the place, or Braemar/Ballater.

    I’ve had a few mates live in Oban – it’s got easy access to the islands, a friendly mountain bike scene and easyish access to Glasgow.

    Ballater seems like a great place to live if you can afford it, it’s much drier than the west coast and the mountain bike scene there is very friendly. It’s also really close to Aberdeen and the coast, whilst feeling very remote and with excellent access to the mountains. I’d be tempted to live there if I could.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Re people willing to pay for guided walks.  Yes – even more so as I was an archaeologist once 🙂  Photo workshops even more so… plus freelance and fine art work.

    I am on a pretty modest income at the moment too, and selling up in the Lakes… both of which help.

    Shall look at the suggested areas too, cheers 🙂

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
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    People definitely pay for walks, and so they should – 3 seperate groups rescued on Arran alone last weekend in perfect blue sky conditions.

    I reckon there’s scope for guided night walks in particular, Lots of folk seeing pics on insta/facebook etc of beautiful starry nights with minimal light pollution, but not really confident enough to do it themselves.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Oooh, good call on the night stuff 🙂

    It was in the back of my mind, but something I keep forgetting about 😉

    fasthaggis
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    @ Nobeer.

    Good shout on guided night walks,I think guided night rides would work just as well .

    We did the illuminator run/walk through the night last year (Glen Taner) and it was brill.

    A big part of the fun was knowing that it was an easy route to follow and that there was some support,so you just got on with it.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    I was toying with Mountain Bike Leader too (eventually) 😀

    globalti
    Member

    We’ve just bought a plot in the Trossachs, the clincher was discovering that the villagers have grown so tired of the empty promises from Openreach that they clubbed together and installed their own broadband. That says a lot to us about the kind of people we will have as neighbours. The entire Trossachs area is within easy reach of Glasgow and even Edinburgh airports and stations so property prices are strong.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
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    I’m not a fan of Oban tbh, always seems to be pissing wet, and it’s also one of those many west coast towns that seem to be in a bit of a perma-decline – Girvan, Lochgilphead, Largs etc. Appreciate it’s position though, very well placed for a shitload of outdoor stuff.

    Premier Icon Trekster
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    poly
    Member

    For what you describe I’d avoid an island.  They may be accessible in 2-3hrs from Glasgow when the timetables all match up but first/last ferries, prebooking cars in summer, reduced timetables in winter means you aren’t going to be socialising in Glasgow regularly (and if that is what you really want you might be better looking at very close to Glasgow anyway).  Those issues also make it harder and more expensive for your clients to get to you – although of course does provide a captive market for people who will be on the island and need something to do.  I suspect your clients will be making the trip primarily for your offering rather than using your offering as one form of entertainment during the week.

    My suggestion would be to take something like Dougie Cunningham’s Photographing Scotland and work methodically through that to see which locations appeal to you for photographing, and which you think you could sell guided walks / trips for.  Bear in mind you’d be taking strangers so consider how far you want to drag an enthusiastic but overweight, unskilled photographer and his less enthusiastic wife especially in winter!  Do you need ML to charge for this?  If you colour code the value (financially or aesthetically) and put them on a map, when you overlay the transport links (air, rail) I think you will naturally centre on a cluster you can build on with your own slant but knowing there is a great base.

    I think if you add in the potential for holiday lets (so recognisable / google friendly names) and the variety with multiple directions to chose from, as well as a good passing trade for gallery type fine art stuff, I think you may find that Glencoe village is a natural choice.  If you want bargain property not that far from there then you can probably buy half of Kinlochleven for the price of a really nice pad in the lakes (but it wont have quite the marketing dream location).

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Hi Poly, will get that book, ta.

    The idea of doing ML is to offer a service that  isn’t currently available and give a USP to the overall idea. To be honest it isn’t really necessary but I thought it a nice idea 🙂

    I was looking at Glencoe a while back, but want to be closer to some good coastline than that really, but close enough to still make use of it.

    Got a couple of years of planning yet,and to run some mini workshop test runs… if I could move tomorrow though I would.  I want out of the sewage industry and the Lakes 😉

    alpin
    Member

    Not anything to add other than I find this a great bit of info /tip..

    colour code the value (financially or aesthetically) and put them on a map, when you overlay the transport links (air, rail) I think you will naturally centre on a cluster you can build on with your own slant but knowing there is a great base.

    Looking to do something vaguely similar, but on the continent and I think that little snippet above could be a great help. Cheers!

    Premier Icon kcal
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    @tartanscarf is in Glencoe area, may be able to give you some real life pointers..

    Premier Icon irc
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    Don’t forget climate, especially east V west.  Oban – 1678m rain and 198 days with rain. Aviemore – 965mm rain and 160 days with rain.Less midgies further east as well.

    I’ve always thought Aviemore area a good choice. For outdoors stuff loads right there and most of the highlands within 1 or 2 hours drive. City stuff close by in Inverness. 2h:30 to Edinburgh/Glasgow.

    tjagain
    Member

    Trossachs sounds pretty perfect for what you want.   My guess is the type of tourists who go to the Trossachs is less adventurous than those who go further north and there is a lot of history in the area.  Rob Roy for American tourists etc

    Good access to the cities, plenty of tartan tat  😉

    poly
    Member

    TJ – he’s a photographer seemingly specialising in seascapes/coastal shots.  Can you see an issue with the Trossachs?

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
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    Its also what do people want to do on workshops.  The Trossachs, lovely as they are, don’t really fall into the remit (plus I have been photographing the Lakes for a decade and want something very different going forward.)

    I have quite a few friends who are really quite qualified photographers who have been telling me where they want to photograph too (National Geographic Masters of Photography and such like) and that is having a big influence on locations…. partially because having them in board is damn good business advertising 😀

    On the other hand I have a lot of friends on the Trossachs so I aint entirely against the idea!  A lot will depend om where my wife is happy to go to be honest 😀

    rene59
    Member

    I need easy access to stunning landscape and coastal scenes though… this is really the priority.

    Even if you relocate to the place in Scotland furthest from the coast (somewhere between Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie I believe) you are still only 2hrs away by car. Just how easy do you want access to be? Fall out of bed and you’re there easy, or walking distance, driving distance etc?

    poly
    Member

    Rene59 – Blair Athol and Dalwhinnie might only be two hrs from the nearest bit of sea, but is it a photographically interesting part?  Are those two easy hours of driving or twisty roads with bloody cyclists 😉 slowing you down on a Sunday morning? I don’t know what the OPs workshops entail but if there as any “studio” discussion before you go or post snapping processing he may want his clients to start/finish with him for at least some stuff – and that’s a long drive for the client getting zero value in transit.

    All the comments about the east coast climate are true but if the market is west coast scenery then leave the east coast for your own “down time” which will only be 2-3 hrs away…

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