Somewhat hypothetically – help me choose a location to live in Scotland please

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  • Somewhat hypothetically – help me choose a location to live in Scotland please
  • Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    Hmm, was about to start a rant about Brexit and all that bollocks, and go into all the justifications, but I’ll cut straight to the chase:

    After 11 years in Switzerland, would like to move to somewhere close-ish to our parents (Gourock and Embra) and to well connected airport (Paisley International or Embra, no more than 1hrs drive, ideally a lot less)

    MUST have good mtb’ing, and general outside fun (dog walks, fishing etc)

    Have reasonably dark skies (astronomy related)

    Good primary and secondary schools (we have three kids, 7, 11, 13)

    Nice community feel, scout group.

    Peebles and Biggar spring to mind, had a look at houses and we could manage a 4 bed one there. Nothing seems logical west or North, but could be wrong!

    Somewhere like Aviemore, but not 3hrs up the A9 🙂

    Any thoughts, comments or questions greatly appreciated.


    Perth, Aberdeen? Both reasonably close to the Cairngorms.


    Falkirk / Stirling area comes to mind




    Similar topic done before, tl:dr you want Strathblane.



    I live in Larbert which is a few miles from Falkirk.

    It’s bang in the middle of central Scotland so Embra (40 mins), Glasgow (35 mins) and Stirling (10 mins) are all handy.

    There’s easy access to the M876/M8 to Glasgow and the M9 to Embra.
    Larbert station serves E/G/Stirling/Perth and trains also go up north to Aberdeen/Inverness etc.

    It’s got a massive high school, several primary schools, 2 scout groups and brownies/guides.

    In terms of MTBing the Callendar Estate Trails and Carron Valley are close. A bit farther and there’s Comrie Croft and a mass of other options.

    Pure dark may be an issue.

    Premier Icon tomd

    Bridge of Allan or Dunblane could be a good shout. Easy to go in any direction, both nice places.

    Pretty sure Strathblane doesn’t have a Secondary school.


    Torphichen, West Lothian!

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    I’m surprised no-ones suggest the delights of upper Port Glasgow, or maybe New-Cumnock.

    Interesting thoughts about Stirling/Falkirk -hadn’t really thought about that, was kinda fixated on Peebleshire.

    Only thing we’re really giving up here is the skiing, being a wee bit closer to Scottish skiing is somewhat of a plus, especially if the promised shut off of the Atlantic conveyer happens and Scotland turns into a year round skiing Mecca…

    Premier Icon andy4d

    Another for stirling/dunblane area. I used to live along tbe road in the Hillfoots with the ochil hills literally in my back garden and Perth/glasgow/edinburgh all less than 1hr away.


    Stirling is right on the fault line where the Highlands begins so should have drier weather. In terms of location it’s pretty good, close to both airports and an easy drive into Glasgow. Straight up the A84 you’ve got the Trossachs, which is a fantastic walking area as the mountains are in easy reach.


    Well living in Stirling, i’d probably recommend…Stirling.

    Central Scotland, as others have said, so close to all airports and the big two major cities. The property prices are also good, and you can get a spread of a place for about half of what it would cost in Edinburgh or the borders etc.

    The biking is sublime – we are properly spoilt for trails on our doorstep. There is a smattering of actual trail centres nearby (carron valley 15mins, Comrie 30mins, Glentress 1hr etc…), but its more for the natural, rooty goodness all around us (cambu, n3, dumyat, mine woods, Glen Ssshhhh, Dollar, even Aberfoyle etc). There’s also loads of family paced forest type gravel stuff (trossachs, Callendar etc). Have a look on trailforks, there is stuff everywhere.

    The biking community is also super active – you either meet people on the trails, or there are a couple of facebook groups who have gotten very organised and have rides heading out 3-4 times a week, and have a presence at most scottish races.

    In terms of dark sky, I know that Carron Valley started opening the car park up later into the night to let in the astronomers, as the dark skies are meant to be pretty good. i have no personal experience of that though.

    There are plenty of active scouts, guides, rainbow troops also, and there are some pretty decent schools ranging from good modern states, to Dollar Academy if you prefer the finer things.

    If you like easy access to the outdoors whilst maintaining a connection to the urban life, its a pretty decent location to be in.

    Premier Icon stevie750

    Dunblane also has direct trains to both edniburgh and glasgow.

    You are not going to get dark skies anywhere in the central belt


    Continuing the recommend where you live theme – Currie / Balerno.

    15mins to Edin airport, but not on flight path so quiet.
    12mins & £3 to central Edin on the train
    2 of the best high schools in Edinburgh
    Mountain biking from the front door in the Pentlands
    an hour to Glentress / Innerleithen
    Almost straight onto the M8 & M9
    a few nice pubs within walking distance
    nice community feel – we even have a community cinema.

    ABA Anywhere But Aberdeen (or Ardrossan)


    One place that has impressed me a lot is Comrie near Perth but I bet it’s expensive as it’s full of retired folk.

    I’m surprised no-ones suggest the delights of upper Port Glasgow, or maybe New-Cumnock.

    You’d get yer baws kicked for hyphenating New Cumnock.

    Aberdeen and Ardrossan? there’s a hell of a lot worse than both!

    Dunblane is a good shout, I really like it there.

    I live in Melrose and it ticks all of your boxes. Train 55 mins to Edinburgh city centre, 50 mins drive to EDI if able to avoid bypass peak hours traffic.

    Heaps of kids activities, mine do cubs, football, rugby, tennis, dancing, hockey, athletics, music and bike club. Earlston High School is one of the best state schools in Scotland.

    Tweed Valley biking on doorstep, Inners and GT 20 – 30mins away. Plenty of riding from doorstep.

    Genuine community feel, Sunday Times listed it as best town to live in Scotland.Not the cheapest though and relatively static housing market.

    Pretty sure Strathblane doesn’t have a Secondary school.

    I meant the general area as opposed to the town. The nice end of the Campsies.

    As far as dark skies go its Dalmellington for that. Lol. My father in law is in the Glasgow Astronomical Society and they have no issues that I know of.

    Comrie is okay but completely cut off, bus is to Crieff or Stirling every couple of hours. Crap for kids depending on their age and interests. Nice place otherwise.

    Stirling, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane would be my choices over that neck of the woods.

    Premier Icon seosamh77

    geogrpahically, gourock and edinbugh, would suggest cumbernauld! 😆

    Just another thought though, you live in Switzerland. FFS, stay there! Its rubbish here at the moment.

    I live in Melrose and it ticks all of your boxes

    My sister is in Gattonside, it’s a shit drive from the west coast (as OP says they will be going to Gourock), whatever way you go.


    Dundee 🙂

    My sister is in Gattonside

    Consultantside? So called as it is predominately occupied by consultatns form the hospital.

    Fair point abut drive to west cost though. Peebles side of Tweed Valley would suit better. Peebles is an awesome place, great community, world class riding, plenty going on. Biggar is also nice but Peebles would get my vote.


    I also like Moffat, that bit closer to west coast.

    Moffat is a dark sky town if you didn’t already know.


    Depends what your real priorities are and work/kids etc. Driving anywhere from W-E into Edi on a day to day basis is a right ar$e for traffic, do you honestly want to be stropping to and fromtown on a FT job basis? I’d agree though – close to town & nice with access Colinton/JG/Currie/Balerno. Pentlands are good enough, i can ride in from my house in < 5 mins and it fits the bill to squeeze riding and running in. 90 mins to Glenshee from home to lift. I’d consider Perth and/or surrounds as well or further West into Crieff (although its the norths Hebden Bridge apparently), Comrie etc. Honestly, it depends what your situation is. Schooling obv a consideration and in the Colinton/JG/Currie/Balerno area you have options state and private. Staff of mine live in Stirling and Callander etc and love it – I don’t know the area but have ridden round there and top notch, better than Pentlands.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Dunblane resident here.

    Since moving from Killin (and Sheffield before that) I have noticed about Dunblane:

    – So much drier than proper highlands at Killin
    – All the resources like schools and shops on your doorstep – I don’t miss the ‘big’ resources in the city.
    – the walking / cycling / outdoors is just like Sheffield. Right. On. The. Doorstep.
    – Even better within an hour you are heading up any number of Munro’s, lochs and rivers. Extend to two hours and you are in Fort William, Braemar or Aviemore.
    – North = big, south = trail centres galore.
    – great network of trails and walks – much more than rural Killin, and a great riding scene.
    – schools are great – Stirling struggles to do a ‘bad’ school.
    – dark skies are not great, but not that far away.
    – the Tappit Hen is ace.

    After living in (deep breath) India, Cambridge, Lincoln, Penrith x2 places, Liverpool, Barmouth, Kirkcudbright, Sheffield x 3 houses, Killin and Dunblane I can safely say I have no intention of moving – and genuinely like living here. I can’t say the same for the other places.

    the Tappit Hen is ace.

    Still never drank there, I miss the Stirling Arms. You’re right though, it is a great town. If I ever got the chance I think I would head for that part of the world.

    would suggest cumbernauld

    The future has arrived, bustling with life!

    The local youths enjoy the world class facilities:
    Seafar Young Team

    And the thriving nightlife:
    Meanwhile in Kildrum


    Dunblane sounds about best IMO – The borders towns are nice but transport links are a lot worse. dunblane is nicer than the central scotland towns IMO

    Premier Icon bowglie

    Alishand has done a good job of promoting Stirling😉  I’d move up there tomorrow if I could.  As others have suggested, Falkirk is another option.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes

    I’d take Bridge of Allan over Dunblane and the Kinnoull side of Perth over both of them. All three are nice though.

    Premier Icon fruitbat

    Another vote for Falkirk area – specifically Dennyloanhead, a quiet residential suburb of Denny 🙂

    I quite like Cambusbarron too, good riding from the door, and just off the motorway.

    Premier Icon Fat-boy-fat

    As a Dunblane local, nah, don’t move here. Rubbish biking, terrible schools, pubs are rotten and it is miles from anywhere. 😉


    Over a wee hill from Loch Leven where Mary Queen of Scots used to bide, almost in Tayside and cheap as chips Ballingry Fife lovely wee place wi’ a friendly pub

    Premier Icon lightfighter762

    Bridge of allaaaaaan.

    Has a nice malt shop. Some local riding spots too. 60mi from Innerleithen if you get bored.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    Hmmm, very interesting folks, thanks. Cumbernauld you say? 😆

    To answer a couple of questions – don’t need to get to Edin or Glasgow for work, only need to be able to get to the airports (I travel for work/work from home), and of course close-ish to the parents.

    Pentlands would be a good call, but the in-laws live in Roslin so I fear that would be a bit too close! 🤯

    Premier Icon ceept

    Stirling, BofA, Dunblane, Auchterarder, Crieff, Perth, Callander & the Trossachs, or Pitlochry/Dunkeld could all work & have good biking close by.
    Cast a wide net & see what comes up in price range vs size, and an acceptable distance from town/shops.

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