Scotland

Meet Scotland's 'most well-travelled dog'

Casper the dog in Crianlarich Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption The village of Crianlarich is located in Glen Strathfillan to the north of the Trossachs, around eight miles north of the head of Loch Lomond

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more "likes" on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that "the wee white dug" should star in her Scottish travel blog.

"Casper is my unique selling point," says Sam Grant, an Edinburgh-based VisitScotland ambassador who spends her spare time travelling the country with her pet.

She adds: "There are lots of travel bloggers out there who are very good writers, but they don't have the wee white dug."

Casper the dog in Carrbridge Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption The village of Carrbridge, in the Scottish Highlands is famous for its 18th Century packhorse bridge
Casper the dog in Arran Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran, offers views across to Holy Isle
Culzean Castle Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Culzean Castle is perched on the Ayrshire cliffs

Her eccentric website details places of interest in areas including Orkney, Loch Lomond and the Scottish Borders.

It was launched in 2015 after an Instagram account written from Casper's perspective proved popular with followers.

The social media profile has nearly 4,000 followers, who Sam says "can't get enough" of the wee white dug's quirky anecdotes about his travels.

Culloden Moor Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Culloden Moor in the Highlands is where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746
Iona, Inner Hebrides Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Iona, Inner Hebrides, is often described as a "tiny island paradise"

Sam says travelling with Casper has given her lots of insight into Scotland's best pet-friendly tourist attractions and holiday accommodation.

She says: "There are loads of good places that you can visit nowadays where you can bring along your four-legged friends."

The Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption The Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney, is thought to be more than 5,000 years old
Casper in North Berwick Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption North Berwick, East Lothian, boasts many great beaches and coastal scenery
Casper at sea Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption "Dolphin Spirit" is a boat to take tourists onto the waters of the inner Moray Firth to see the dolphin pods
Casper at Bow Fiddle Rock Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch near Portknockie on the north-eastern coast of Scotland

Sam hopes the blog could encourage more Scots to look around their own country, as well as attracting other visitors.

She says: "If you visit the beaches in the Outer Hebrides, you'll see there's really no need to go to the Caribbean - unless you're a sun worshipper.

"Scotland's a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told."

Balnakeil Bay is near Durness, Scottish Highlands Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Balnakeil Bay is near Durness, Scottish Highlands
Casper in Dundee Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Casper met Oor Wullie in Dundee city centre
Casper at Glen More Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Snow capped Ben More in Glen More, Isle of Mull, Western Isles
Casper on Gigha Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption The Isle of Gigha is 20 minutes by ferry from Kintyre

Sam says most traffic to her website comes from the UK and US but she has had visitors from more than 100 countries - including China.

"When I see that I've had visitors from far-flung countries, I imagine them on the other side of the world reading about Scotland and the wee white dug," the writer adds.

Kilchurn Castle Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Kilchurn Castle is a ruined castle on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute

Asked if she thinks some people could say her pictures are a bit twee, Sam replied: "I did worry about that at first, so I try to make a joke of it.

"But if people like my pictures and they bring a bit of happiness to someone's day, then why not?"

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