Posted by: christinelaennec | April 13, 2013

A visit to Callander

Well, what do you know?  In the midst of house-selling and -buying (no luck yet securing a house in Glasgow), we went on a wee holiday!  We spent two days in the village of Callander, which is in a lovely part of Scotland known as the Trossachs.  In fact it is inside the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

The village of Callander, in the Trossachs.  April 2013.

The village of Callander, in the Trossachs. April 2013.

This map shows you where Callander is – to the north of Stirling, and just inside the eastern border of the park.

Map of The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland.  From

Map of The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland. From

One of the reasons we chose Callander was for its straight main street, which was perfect for “wheelchair walks” with the Dafter.  Another reason was Lorna’s post about the Mhor Bread tearoom, and the bookshop in Callander.  And it proved to be a great place to spend a few days.  The Dafter did walk quite a bit (for her), which was great.  The weather was freezing cold, but not actually snowing – sadly, we lost the earmuffs on our perambulations.  But she loved being in new surroundings, and that seemed to give her energy.  Her ME is very slowly improving – I will write an update at some point, and I thank all who have left encouraging comments once again!

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Mhor Bread, and we also really enjoyed the bookshop.  It is small but delightful.  There is one room full of well-chosen second-hand books, and another room where they rebind some of them.

The Dafter in front of King's Bookshop, Callander.  April 2013.

The Dafter in front of Kings Bookshop, Callander. April 2013.  It was why we came here!

When we first went, it was closed, with this sign in the window:

Sign in the window of King's Bookshop, Callander.  April 2013.

Sign in the window of Kings Bookshop, Callander. April 2013.

We enjoyed browsing when we came back in the afternoon.  I love their colourful chandelier:

The Dafter inside King's Bookshop, Callander.  April 2013.

The Dafter inside King’s Bookshop, Callander. April 2013.

The owners were not always in evidence, but their cat was a beatific presence:

Cat owner of King's Bookshop, Callander.  April 2013.

Cat owner of Kings Bookshop, Callander. April 2013.

I mailed a few postcards home to my family in the States, and I was very impressed by the fact that their post office is also a garden centre.  Look at this!

The garden section of the post office in Callander.  April 2013.

The garden section of the post office in Callander. April 2013.

One morning I went by myself to see two woollen mills in a village just a mile down the road.  Michael and the Dafter collapsed with laughter when, having asked me where I was going, I replied, “To Kilmahog”.  The woollen mills were disappointing – both of them owned by Edinburgh Woollen Mills and both containing identical stock.  There was a dusty exhibition about weaving with a video loop that was rather sad.  But it was a lovely place and I had an excellent view of the hill that you see at the end of Callander’s main street, Ben Ledi:

Ben Ledi, from Kilmahog (a mile down the road from Callander).

Ben Ledi, from Kilmahog (a mile down the road from Callander).

It’s been such a cold spring that even a week into April, the countryside looked very wintry:

View from Kilmahog, April 2013.

View from Kilmahog, April 2013.

It was really great to have a change of scenery, especially for the mostly-housebound Dafter.  One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to a very unusual shop – but I will post about that separately!

I wish you all a very good weekend.



  1. Oh it sounds like a lovely few days! I’m so glad you were able to do this! Callander is on my list and I can’t wait to hear about the other shop you went to. Am bookmarking the book store and cafe.

  2. What a delightful “wee holiday” you have all had! I loved the pics of the scenery and, most epecially, the ones of the beautiful dafter out of the wheelchair! I’m glad to hear that she is steadily improving and we’ll all keep praying she continues on to recovery. I would love a visit to this little town in Scotland…I started singing “you take the high road…” when I read Loch Lomond. 😉 I loved the fact the post office is also a garden center! How cool is that?!

  3. I’m so pleased you managed to visit the bookshop and the tearoom! I like the sign they put up in the window of the bookshop while they were out. 🙂 Kilmahog is disappointing, isn’t it? I remember that from a visit a few years ago, and it’s such a shame as it’s in a lovely setting. Hopefully some entrepreneurial type will take an interest and spruce it up a bit, it could become a great little attraction.

  4. Lovely trip for you all. Years since I was there. Lovely pics.x

  5. Oh what a nice little trip! The dafter looks wonderful in that photo. I am so happy to hear she has experienced some improvement. I have my fingers crossed for this upward trend to continue. All the best to you all. 🙂

  6. So glad you were able to venture forth exploring and that you are sharing the results with us, Christine! [especially glad to see Dafter ta-dah waving…tell her I am waving back :-)]
    The bookstore pictures are especially dear to me, reminding me of the five happy years my husband and I owned a new/used bookstore in a little town on the west bank of the Hudson River in NY. We had a cat, Audrey, who adopted the store and was fond of draping herself around my husband’s neck…a purry furry shawl!

  7. I bet it was difficult to pull yourself away from that bookstore!

    What a wonderful couple of days enjoying spring (or what we call spring) with the Dafter! ❤

  8. Sounds like a good time was had by all! Love the bookshop owned by a cat. 🙂 xx

  9. A mini holiday – how lovely! So good to see The Dafter browsing in the bookshop.
    Callander is nice at any time of year – we pass through it every summer on our way to Loch Tay. It has a good chip shop!

  10. glad you were able to get some travel in – your daughter looks like she is feeling good.. happy to see her standing and walking..Great the buildings

  11. Glad you all had a lovely holiday and that the Dafter is slowly on the mend. Lovely news.

  12. A holiday with a focus on books and a bakery….what more could a person want?

  13. A little blue sky amid the grey, Christine. Both literally and metaphorically.

  14. So glad you had a good time.
    And I really love a bookshop with a cat in it.

  15. “disappointing” “dusty” “sad”

    Much of Scotland relies on tourism, shame that you haven’t heard of the saying “if you can’t say something good, say nothing at all”

    • Unfortunately, there are some rather neglected tourist attractions here in Scotland which are a rather sad advertisement for our country. I’m sure Christine was only trying to give an accurate and realistic description. Perhaps the Scottish Tourist Board will read this blog post and do something about it! 🙂

      • As a potential tourist to Scotland I can assure Anna that Christine’s blog has done more to encourage me to visit the country than any number of only-good-news blogs would do. And if/when I do visit, I’ll know the honesty of Christine’s comments allows me to plan my visit to maximise my enjoyment and I’m sure I’ll end up telling other potential visitors how much I enjoyed myself. But if my trip time was wasted by visiting over-hyped tourist traps, you can bet I won’t be encouraging people to follow me.

  16. Hi, I have just come across this blog and I have to say it is fantastic. I can connect quite closely with all you and your family are dealing with. It must be so difficult for the dafter I really feel for her, I also suffer from an illness that is not visible but equally debilitating. peopel tend to think that I am just a bit of a hypocondriac. I do work, which can be quite stressful and reading through all your posts has made me finally come to the decision that health is more important than money. My doctor has been suggesting for a while that this might not be the right job for me so I have decided to hand in my notice and I feel like a weight has been lifted from shoulders, thank you for your inspirational posts, I will be a regular and avid reader from now on. Feel well dafter and happy knitting.

  17. Christine, Himself and I stayed in Callander for one night on our honeymoon (many years ago) on our way out to Skye. Our hostess at the B&B suggested we drive down the road a ways “out to the loch,” which turned out to be Loch Venachar. On the way, we passed an overgrown pasture with highland cattle, quite near the fence, who calmly suffered through a photo shoot. The loch itself was magnificent: it was late afternoon, and golden sunshine from the soon-setting sun lit the whole scene. Apart from a small campsite far down the shore from where we stood on a pebble beach, we were the only people in sight. I’ll always remember that.

  18. “Out fetching books…”

    That would have been my favorite part of the whole trip. Ok. Maybe not. But, I did love that sign.

  19. Thanks to everyone for sharing our happiness at exploring Callander and also at seeing a happy Dafter on her feet! It’s so interesting to read people’s experiences of the place. I will have to go back to try the chips, and find the pebble beach!

    Gracie – your bookshop must have been a wonderful haven.

    Anna – I take your point, which is actually why I said nothing about the hotel we stayed in. I think my blog is very positive about Scotland, and in our travels we have encountered many wonderful attractions, places to stay and people. I’ve written about these on my blog. But I also feel entitled to give my honest assessment of a place. As Lorna said, Kilmahog has a lot of potential. I do really hope they can realise it.

    Linda – I’m so glad if my blog has been helpful and enjoyable to you, and thanks for your good wishes. Decisions such as the one you’ve just taken are very difficult, and I wish you all the very best in managing your health / work balance. I personally think that our society really doesn’t allow for the possibility of illness. We’re all supposed to be well all the time, and in many cases, there’s a feeling of failure if we can’t “pull ourselves together”.

  20. What a beautiful little town and set in such pretty countryside. I love the scene of the snow on the hills and I think I would love to retrieve my mail with the lovely garden center to amble around in. How Dear that you chose this little village due to it’s level street for the sweet Dafter. I am glad to hear that she is improving and that you all had a lovely time, even if the woolen mills were disappointing. xoxo

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