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Our little gems may be off the beaten track but are well worth a visit!

From an impressive Cisterian monastery founded in 1229 and visited by Mary, Queen of Scots to wildflower-rich grasslands with a hilltop viewpoint there are some amazing stories behind them. Take a look at our little gems below and find out more.
Balmerino Abbey
The abbey is a ruin of an impressive Cistercian monastery, founded in 1229 and visited by Mary, Queen of Scots. The monastery building is not accessible but can be viewed from the grounds which provide a tranquil setting, with interesting plants, wildlife and trees including a 400-year-old Spanish chestnut. Guided walks are also available by arrangement.

The abbey was donated to the Trust in 1936 by the Earl of Dundee.

Location: Balmerino, Fife. Off A914, 5m W of Tay Road Bridge; 10m NW of St Andrews. On NCN 1

Black Hill
Black Hill has a rich archaeological history and provides a spectacular viewpoint over the Clyde valley. The site of a Bronze Age burial cairn, the hill was once an Iron Age hillfort adjoined by a settlement enclosure, and has field dykes which may date to the prehistoric and medieval periods. The site was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1969.

Black Hill was donated to the Trust in 1936 by Messrs Robert Howie and Sons (2ha).

Location: South Lanarkshire. Off B7018 between Kirkfieldbank and Lesmahagow, 3m W of Lanark

Boath Doocot
Boath is a 17th-century doocot on the site of an ancient motte. The Doocot is significant as it is located close to the site where Montrose defeated the Covenanters on 9 May 1645; a battle plan is on display.

Boath Doocot was donated to the Trust in 1947 by the late Brigadier J Muirhead of Boath, MC.

Location: Auldearn, Nairn. Off A96, 2m E of Nairn. 1m from NCN 1

Bruce's Stone
It is said that King Robert the Bruce rested against this stone after using guerrilla tactics to defeat an English army here in 1307.

The stone was passed into the care of the Trust in 1932 by the Earl of Mar.

Location: Moss Raploch, Dumfries & Galloway. By A712, 3m W of New Galloway

Bucinch & Ceardach
These two small uninhabited islands, between Luss and Balmaha, were passed into the care of the Trust by Col Charles L Spencer of Warmanbie, Dumfries, in 1943.

Location: Loch Lomond

Caiy Stane
This impressive 2.7m (9ft) tall prehistoric cup-marked stone, also known as General Kay’s Monument, or the Kel Stone, traditionally marks the site of an ancient battle, perhaps between Picts and Romans.

Caiy Stane was donated to the Trust in 1936 by Mrs Johnston.

Location: Caiystane View, Edinburgh. Off B701, Oxgangs Road. 2m from NCN 75

Cameronians' Regimental Memorial
The memorial is a Statue of the Earl of Angus, the first Colonel of the Cameronian Regiment which was raised at Douglas in 1689. The statue is situated at north edge of the village.

The memorial was passed into the care of the Trust with an endowment in 1991 by the Cameronian Trust.

Location: Douglas, South Lanarkshire. Off A70, 2m W of M74, junction 12. 1m from NCN 74. Bus: Lanark to Douglas

Cunninghame Graham Memorial
This cairn marks the memory of R B Cunninghame Graham of Ardoch, a distinguished Scottish author, politician and traveller. The memorial was erected one year after his death in 1937 at Castlehill, Dumbarton, and moved to Gartmore in 1981.

Location: Gartmore, Stirling. Off A81, in Gartmore, 21/2m SW of Aberfoyle. On NCN 7

Finavon Doocot
Finavon is the largest doocot in Scotland, with 2,400 nesting boxes. It is believed to have been built by the Earl of Crawford in the 16th century. Finavon was passed into the care of the Trust by the Angus Historic Buildings Society in 1993.

Location: Angus. Off A90, 6m N of Forfar

MacQuarie Mausoleum
The Mausoleum is not a Trust property but the Trust has, since 1963, managed it on behalf of the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales). Lachlan Macquarie, who was born nearby at Ulva Ferry in 1761, died in 1824 after distinguished service as Governor of New South Wales and was known as ‘the father of Australia’. The Mausoleum is on the Gruline estate, which he owned.

Location: Gruline, Isle of Mull, Argyll & Bute. Off B8035

Murray Isles
The Murray Isles are two small uninhabited islands in the Islands of Fleet, Wigtown Bay, off Carrick Point. The islands are host to a colony of cormorants and are significant as a site for breeding gulls.

The Isles were passed into the care of the Trust in 1991 by Mrs Murray Usher, OBE.

Location: Dumfries & Galloway. Near Gatehouse of Fleet, off A75. Near NCN 7. Accessible only by boat. Please do not visit during bird breeding season, May-July.

Shieldaig Island
The island is almost entirely covered in Scots pine, thought to have been planted over 100 years ago to provide poles for drying the nets of local fishermen. The island is still a haven for wildlife as herons use the trees for nesting platforms, and seals haul themselves out of the water onto the rocky foreshore.

Shieldaig Island was purchased by the Trust in 1970.

Location: Torridon, Ross-shire. In Loch Torridon. Off Shieldaig, A896

Strome Castle
This ruined castle is romantically situated on a rocky promontory jutting into Loch Carron, commanding fine views westwards to Skye. First recorded in 1472 when it was a stronghold of the Lords of the Isles, it later belonged to the MacDonnells of Glengarry. Following a quarrel with Kenneth MacKenzie, Lord of Kintail, it fell in 1602 after a long siege and was blown up.

Strome Castle was donated to the Trust in 1939 by Mr C W Murray.

Location: Ross-shire. Off A896, 41/2m SW of Lochcarron

Tighnabruaich Viewpoint
The indicators, attributed to the Trust and the Scottish Civic Trust, were erected by a Trust supporter in memory of two brothers, who gave generously of their time to the work of the Trust.

Location: Argyll & Bute. On A8003, NE of Tighnabruaich

Venniehill is 1.4ha (3.5a) of wildflower-rich grassland topped by a hilltop viewpoint. The hill is located at the west end of the main street, and is managed to encourage the diversity of flora and associated invertebrates. The hilltop is partially surrounded by a low earthwork, perhaps the defence structure of an old fort or early settlement.

Venniehill was passed into the care of the Trust in 1981 by Mrs Murray Usher, OBE.

Location: Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries & Galloway. Off A75. 1m from NCN 7