With Black Friday, and the rest of the hectic shopping season, fast approaching.. my mind automatically switches to finding a way to avoid the stressful crowds and dreary trudging around the shops looking for festive bargains.
Luckily, Scotland provides a lot of ways to distract yourself from the masses, and ways to escape completely for a bit of "you" time.
For me, that would mean grabbing my camera, and heading out into the wilds, in search of the many beautiful views and wildlife spectacles to be found in our stunning and diverse country
First stop for me would be a hike up one of our many mountains, yes it maybe requires as much, if not more, effort than a hectic days shopping.. but the views you will get as a reward trump anything you will find in the bargain bin! And you never know.. you could be the only person on that mountain.. bliss
Imagine being the only person taking in that view.. or this one
And if a hike up a mountain doesn't sound appealing, then why not try a spot of wildlife spotting! I find nothing more relaxing than spending a few hours either walking around a forest or sitting on a beach, taking in the sights and sounds, with the chance of spotting some animals.. big or small
Like this curious seal near Kilberry, Argyll
Or this little Red Squirrel in a forest near you
And if we get clear enough skies (rare at times) there are plenty of spots I can think of, with little light pollution, that I like to head to and enjoy the millions of stars above our heads, it doesn't take long to drive from the city or town, or even walk to your local park and completely forget all shopping stresses.. as you gaze upon shooting stars and if your lucky, witness the Northern Lights dancing across the sky
Aurora at Bellanoch, Argyll
So these are a few of my favourite ways to escape the crowds at this hectic time of year...