THE release of a teaser trailer for Amazon’s landmark television series The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power has millions around the world yearning for one more adventure in Middle-earth. Luckily for those in Scotland, we need not wait for its debut to get started.

As both a Tolkien superfan and explorer of Scotland’s historic landscapes, several locations have inspired in me countless daydreams of hobbits, elves, and battles for the ages. So, if you can’t wait until September then these are the best places to go on an unexpected journey. Bring a copy of The Hobbit, fire up Howard Shore’s soundtrack, and join the road that goes ever on.

Edoras – Stirling

The National: Stirling Castle surrounded by trees displaying their Autumn colours. Photo: Jane Barlow

The capital of Rohan, Edoras is perched atop a crag with the snow-capped peaks of the aptly named White Mountains.

The Golden Hall of Meduseld radiates like a beacon, and the expanse of land beyond its walls is the perfect gathering place for great armies.

Find some high ground and look to Stirling Castle, and you will see Edoras’ doppelganger. The Renaissance-era hall, restored to a golden hue, can be seen for miles all around. Stirling, like Edoras, is built upon a volcanic crag, rising like a ramp before ending in sheer cliffs. The mountains of Ben Ledi and Ben Vorlich, often snow-capped, loom behind the castle like the White Mountains.

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It was here that nation-defining battles like Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge were fought, and it is here that one can vividly imagine the horse lords of Rohan riding forth against the legions of darkness.

Rivendell – Hermitage of Dunkeld

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Rivendell, home to Elrond and the place where the Fellowship of the Ring was brought together, is a haven among havens. Protected and preserved by elf magic, it is a place of rest, learning, and wonderment at its beauty. Sited in the gorge of the river Bruinen, the forces of good are healed by Rivendell’s tranquillity.

Rivendell was inspired by Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, but a taste of its wonders can be seen at the Hermitage of Dunkeld. There, lore swirls with nature, the waters of the River Braan churning down a series of falls. Ossian’s Hall looks straight down into this cauldron, and a very old stone bridge spans the waters. The Hermitage of Dunkeld never fails to work its magic, the perfect place for modern Aragorns and Arwens to embrace under the light of the stars.

Mirrormere – Ben Cruachan and Reservoir

The National: DALLMALLY, SCOTLAND - MARCH 30:  A boy and his dog view Cruachan hydro electric power station in Argyll on March 30, 2016 in Dalmally,Scotland. Following the possibility of a Brexit the UK would be released from its renewable energy targets under the EU

After Gandalf was dragged to the depths of Moria by the Balrog, the Fellowship of the Ring fled from the mines. Emerging onto the high rocky slopes of the eastern Misty Mountains, they look down towards the elven realm of Lothlórien. A zigzag path leads to a hollow among the high peaks, and there they see a dark, still pool of water. It is Mirrormere, a hallowed place to the dwarves of Middle-earth that grants visions to those who look into it.

Looking down from the summit of Ben Cruachan near Loch Awe, Argyll, an astonishingly similar vision greets you. The slopes of the mountains form a great bowl, at the bottom of which is Cruachan Reservoir and Power Station. In both form and stillness, Cruachan Reservoir is a dead ringer for Mirrormere.

Opened in 1965, the power station is deep within Ben Cruachan itself, giving it the moniker of the Hollow Mountain. It is not drums you’ll hear in the deep, but turbines, pipes and the rushing of water capable of generating 440 megawatts of power, a harnessing of nature that would make Saruman blush.

Fangorn Forest – Birks of Aberfeldy

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For many people raised with the words of Tolkien in their imaginations, any forest with suitably moody lighting and mossy trees instantly brings to mind the forests of Fangorn and Mirkwood. There are many places in Scotland that fit this bill.

In my experience, however, nowhere evokes it quite like a walk through the Birks of Aberfeldy at dusk.

Thankfully free of the many perils of Fangorn, the Birks of Aberfeldy have well-signposted paths tracing either side of the Moness Burn as it cascades down into the River Tay. In the fading light, dark pools swirl with fallen leaves and the forest mosses give the dense trees an eldritch feeling.

Robert Burns wrote about the Birks’ “crystal streamlets”, its braes ascending “like lofty wa’s”, but visit with torch in hand as the sun sets and you’ll find yourself within a magical forest that feels old – very old, indeed.

The Barrow Downs – Rousay cairns

The National: The Midhowe Broch on Eynhallow Sound on the Island of Rousay. Neolithic. The Orkney Islands come under the juridisction of the Scottish government. It is one of the most remote regions in the UK and has been inhabited for over 9,000 years. It has one of

After their surreal stay with Tom Bombadil, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin journey through the perilous Barrow Downs. Made by men thousands of years past in the First Age, the barrows are large, hollow mounds of earth used as burial places for the likes of the Dúnedain. There the hobbits are attacked by Barrow-wights, spectres lurking in the mounds.

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Of the thousands of cairns in Scotland, arguably the best set is in the Orcadian island of Rousay. 5000-year-old cairns with names like Blackhammer and Knowe of Yarso look out onto the Eynhallow Sound. They are archaeological marvels, many yielding human remains and grave goods that shed light on prehistoric Scotland.

One in particular, Taversoe Tuick, is a perfect dome with two levels of stone chambers within. Orkney lore holds that creatures called Hogboons, from the Old Norse haug-buinn meaning “mound-dweller”, inhabit these cairns. Hogboons are relatively benign, though their counterparts, trows, could wreak horrors worthy of Tolkien’s Barrow-wights.

The Lonely Mountain – Buachaille Etive Mor

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While far from lonely, Buachaille Etive Mor at the head of Glen Etive is one of Scotland’s most imposing and distinctive mountains. A perfect pyramid overlooking the vastness of Rannoch Moor, it draws the eye in a way that feels like some great power dwells within.

The Lonely Mountain, where the dragon Smaug dwells in The Hobbit, is a more genuinely solitary slope. Site of the mighty kingdom of Erebor, it rises to 3500 metres compared with the Buachaille’s 1021. Like all things in fantasy, we must look to more modest versions in our own world. Still, the millions who have laid eyes on it will likely never forget the awe that the Buachaille instils and, like Bilbo after returning from his quest, will yearn to return once more before the end.