With January almost over, we’re turning our minds to spring. Make the most of these events around Stirling to get outdoors and welcome the new season with open arms!

Help out wildlife at Blackness Castle this February
Help out wildlife at Blackness Castle this February
Blackness Castle also appears in Outlander

Blackness Castle also appears in Outlander

Help out wildlife

On 8 February, drop into Blackness Castle near Linlithgow. This 15th-century fortress looks out over the Firth of Forth and appeared as Fort William in series one of TV show Outlander. During your visit you’ll be able to give wildlife a vital helping hand by making a bird feeder, bird box, or minibeast home to take away. The workshop is perfect for families and is included in your admission price, so is free to Historic Environment Scotland members. For more information: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/blackness-castle/

Reconnect with nature

For spring flowers, emerging bulbs and early blossom, take a leisurely stroll through Bridge of Allan’s beautiful Memorial Park, near the entrance to the University of Stirling. From there, circle the University of Stirling’s Airthrey loch to spot snowdrops, daffodils, and nesting wildfowl – those who love to dote on a fluffy chick or three won’t be disappointed, even this early in the year. Entrance to the University is free, and parking starts at £1. Enjoy lunch in the Macrobert Arts Centre, where it’s well worth picking up an events brochure too. For more information, see: https://macrobertartscentre.org/whatson/

Eat local spring flavours

Everyone is telling us to eat local, eat plant-based, and eat in season, and it’s true; eating what grows locally is best both for us and for the planet. February, March and April will bring asparagus, beetroot, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens, swede and a whole lot more besides. To buy straight from the grower, have a browse round Stirling Farmers’ Market, held on the first Saturday of every month in Port Street, Stirling. What’s more, they even post a list of stallholders in the days preceding on this Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stirling-Farmers-Market/142864599058772, so you can plan both your shop and your menu. You will find not only fresh veg produce but preserves, meats, fish, breads, cheeses and traditional crafts too. There are plenty other markets nearby if you’re out and about: Falkirk holds its Farmers Market on the first Friday of each month in the High Street, while Linlithgow sets up its stalls on the fourth Saturday of every month, in the Vennel. For more details on all these: http://www.scottishfarmersmarkets.co.uk/

Surround yourself in snowdrops

Snowdrops sum up everything that’s good about spring – they are delicate but bold and lift our hearts after the long dark winter. To celebrate their arrival, many of Scotland’s best gardens and woodlands come together to offer visitors and locals a range of fabulous events that collectively make up the Scottish Snowdrop Festival. The festival this year runs from 25 January to 11 March, and includes over 70 events, so you have no excuse to miss it! For more information, visit: http://discoverscottishgardens.org/

Eat local, and in season, at a farmers market near you

Eat plant-based, local, seasonal

Celebrate spring with the snpowdrop festival

Celebrate snowdrops from January to March

Photo credits: Blackness Castle pic source: Wikimedia commons