The best of Scottish Travel. Hidden Scotland Magazine
If you’ve known the thrill of cracking into a brand-new Beano annual at Christmas or sitting down with a freshly bought glossy magazine, you’ll understand. The buzz when you get your hands on a copy of Hidden Scotland. The crisp pages, the excitement knowing you’re about to discover some quality stuff, the hit-the-road escapism dripping from each page. A few years old now, this is a sort of coffee-table magazine, full of top-class photography and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
Even the packaging is perfect. Wrapped in brown tissue paper and beautifully boxed, the magazine has the freshness of a mag but the permanence of a book. It’s a boil-a-kettle, settle down and lose yourself in it sort of thing. Full of unusual destinations, creative people, practical tips on places to eat and stay. It’s an unusual read, as it isn’t trying to sell you stuff and it isn’t telling you how to be. It’s just saying look outside. Scotland is amazing. Go and explore. Here’s what you’ll find.
You start off browsing it as a minor act of procrastination and by the time you’re done you have seriously itchy feet. You need to climb a hill. Bathe in a loch. Walk a mossy path to some brooding ruin. Explore historic streets.
The bi-annual magazine grew out of the website Hidden Scotland which was in turn inspired by the Hidden Scotland Instagram @hiddenscotland. This was the brainchild of Jack Cairney back in 2016 when he was already busy running Befound his online marketing app for SMEs. He and his partner Karla travelled around South East Asia and were blown away by what they saw. They took photographs, posted them to Instagram which was just taking off but by the end of the trip it struck Jack that there he was exploring so much of this distant land when he’d never taken the time to properly explore his own home, Scotland. So, on his return he set up Hidden Scotland and started posting beautiful photographs which instead of being about trophy travel (take the picture, take the selfie and get outta there) were about slow, mindful travel. Properly exploring a place. Walking the streets, seeing the view, talking to the people. And it’s been a huge success with a whopping 948k followers at last count. Good going Jack.
What’s good is that Hidden Scotland doesn’t sugar coat Scotland. These aren’t endless over-filtered shots of sunsets and white sandy beaches. There are plenty of dark brooding hills and wind-lashed coastlines that would have you running for your duvet and a roaring fire. Which is why it works, because it’s authentic and a window into a Scotland that whether we live here or far away, most of us don’t get out and experience first-hand as much as we’d like. It’s sold in bookshops, you can subscribe and you can buy the back issues too.