Brook Street
Alva, Clackmannanshire
Scotland, FK12 5AW
Telephone: 01259 769638
Email:mail@thebollcottages.co.uk

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Clackmannanshire

Historically Clackmannanshire is Scotland's smallest county and has undergone dramatic changes in its character.

Once a place of pagan worship for the sea-god Mannan and a hunting seat of the Kings of Scotland, Clackmannanshire was also a significant centre for overseas trade and a thriving industrial community, world renowned for its woollen industry. Yet throughout, Clackmannanshire has retained its own claim and identity as the 'Wee County' of Scotland.

Set at the very heart of Scotland, against the rolling backdrop of the magnificent Ochil Hills, Clackmannanshire offers a surprising blend of beautiful countryside with an abundance of wildlife, peaceful villages (of which Alva is one), and a wealth of leisure opportunities coupled with a rich and evocative history.

The name Clackmannanshire is derived partly from the word 'Clach' meaning stone and 'Mannan' an ancient district located around the head of the River Forth associated with the sea-god Mannan. Pagan worship focused on a large standing stone known as the Stone of Mannan. The ancient stone now rests by the Tolbooth in the centre of Clackmannan village.

The town of Clackmannan developed on the site of an early royal castle and was the hunting ground for the Kings of Scotland until the lands were sold to Robert the Bruce in 1359. Clackmannan became a thriving market town with a port on the River Forth.

During this time nearby Alloa was a small rural village. Later, under the patronage of the Erskine family, Alloa developed and prospered, overtaking Clackmannan as a centre of commerce and industry to become the county town in the first half of the 19th century and remains so to this day.

The Erskine's influence can still be seen in their former stronghold Alloa Tower, a traditional 14th century tower house. The tower has recently been restored and is now open to the public.

Later, other small settlements sprang-up along the River Forth and beneath the Ochils. Other villages like Dollar and Sauchie were developed by powerful land-owning families. Sauchie, has historic connections through Sauchie Tower and a fine country park at Gartmorn Dam.

The dominant characteristic of Clackmannanshire is the Ochil Hills, which run from Dunblane, near Stirling, eastwards towards Dollar for more than 20 miles. The hills themselves are grassy rather than heather covered, providing shelter for the 'Hillfoots' villages below, a fertile place to graze sheep and also provided ample motive power for mill wheels in local textile factories during the early industrial revolution.

The legacy of woollen production dates back to the early 16th century. This lasting tradition lives on today in Scotland's Mill Trail Visitor Centre at Alva and along the Mill Trail - a signposted route that links factory shops offering many bargain buys all year round.

The 'Hillfoots' villages of Alva, Menstrie, Tillicoultry, Dollar and Muckhart have a magnificent scenic backdrop and a traditional Scottish charm.

The charming village of Alva had in its industrial hey-day, nine water powered spinning mills, the finest of which Strude Mill (built in 1820) still stands, an impressive sight silhouetted against the Ochils.

While staying in Alva seek out the Ochil Hills Woodland Park with sheltered woodlands open to all the walkways to nearby Tillicoultry. Menstrie has Menstrie Castle; a late 16th century fortified laird's house (architecturally speaking), restored in 1961 and now boasting a commemorative room to the Order of the Baronets of Nova Scotia. The connection is through Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, who was born in Menstrie Castle and encouraged King James V1 to found the order.

Neighbouring Tillicoultry was once the site of a Pictish Fortress, which according to local legend was dismantled to help build part of Stirling Castle. More bargains are to be had here at Sterling Mills, a discount designer retail outlet.

Dollar is a charming village with its handsome houses set spaciously back from Dollar Burn overlooked by Castle Campbell, high in beautiful Dollar Glen, which was the 15th century home of the Earls of Argyll. The castle has superb panorama views across the Lowlands and the valley of the River Forth. The history of Dollar village and the Devon Valley Railway is revealed through the fascinating displays at Dollar Museum. Other features include the cherry tree lined burn of the famous Dollar Academy.

At either end of the great Ochils escarpment are two highly attractive hamlets. Blairlogie to the west has a quaint village square, while in the east Muckhart has often been recognised in Scotland's Best Kept Village Competition.

For outdoor lovers, Clackmannanshire offers a wealth of leisure pursuits, notably hill walking in the Ochils. There is fishing on local rivers and at Gartmorn Country Park and six testing golf courses to choose from. More modern pursuits can be enjoyed at Alloa's Leisure Bowl, with squash courts, carpet bowls, snooker tables and a modern leisure pool. The Leisure Bowl also has a ladies gym and a separate gents gym, including various aerobics classes on a pay as you come basis. There are also sunbeds, toning tables with a hairdresser and a beautician on site.

At the Clackmannan Road Sports Centre in Alloa there is a multi-gym and facilities for badminton, five a side football, tennis and weight training.

In nearby Fishcross, the Devon Leisure Park Equestrian Centre has training and competition facilities for all standard of riders. In Drumbrae Riding School in Bridge of Allan 40 horses are available.

Clackmannanshire has much to offer visitors, so when in the 'Wee County', don't forget the county's motto: 'Look aboot ye'.

 

 

Alva
Clackmannanshire
Scotland
Alva lies right at the foot of the Ochil Hills. The Ochil Fault, movement of which gave rise to the steep southern scarp of the Ochils, coincides approximately ...

As Scotland's smallest historic county, it is often nicknamed 'The Wee County'.



Scotland is derived from the Latin Scoti, the term applied to Gaels, people from what is now Scotland and Ireland and the Dal Riada who had come from Ireland to reside ...

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