The sky was turning a magical shade of pink.
I had to admit, Koala was right… again. The autumn clouds really do make a sunrise. I would have acknowledged it to her but at that moment of realisation I was struggling to keep pace as we ran along the track beside the River Lyon. She wasn’t however really in the mood to accept any form of supportive dialogue, as she clutched her chest, complaining that she ‘hadn’t worn the correct sports bra for this shit’
She was a little irritated. The sun was rising too fast and we really needed to have been in position half an hour earlier on the hillside above. She was right again.. we should’ve got out of bed at 4am.. be on the road, not get stuck behind the milk truck, wear the correct clothing… and be in position in front of a rock that we didn’t know the location of… before the sun rose.
The sheep were bemused it was 6.45am. We were running. The deer too were a little annoyed that we had disturbed their morning graze. But Glen Lyon was coming alive. I stopped to take in the beauty of scene.. and readjust the tripod that had hit the back of my head as I leapt the burn, in a valiant effort to cut a corner and catch the frantically racing Koala.
I really am too old for this I panted just as the dual pinnacles of the ‘Praying Hands of Mary’ appeared over the crest. The sun was now up, well it should’ve been according to her app… it was 7.03am? We ran sweating past the rock formation, desperate to get to that optimum position.
‘They were a lot taller than I had expected’ I noted, before realising that the sun wasn’t actually about to rise above the slope and illuminate the scene as Koala had anticipated. Uh oh.. she isn’t going to be happy. It was Autumn and we were too late in the season, the sun wasn’t high enough now! I presented my Peakfinder app showing the track of the sun behind the hillside horizon. Perhaps not the most helpful application under the circumstances.
I recall the beginnings of a somewhat.. ‘heated’ exchange that had words like ‘Lack of’ and ‘planning’, ‘feckin sunrise’ and ‘sore tits’.
It began to rain… A rainbow came to my rescue and lit the valley. The golden rays exploded on the hillside across the valley. It was stunning. We stood in awe, as the bracken was set ablaze in the revealing autumn sunlight. We turned to each other and smiled. The Praying Hands wasn’t the shot today, it was simply the majestic beauty of Perthshire in Autumn and we were privileged to have witnessed it. Yes perhaps we did need to plan the trip better but sometimes nature just happens and reveals its magical beauty to you.. if you know where to go.
Now.. where can we get a coffee, I have an idea!
Perthshire knows how ‘to do’ Autumn. I am sure there are reasons for this. Perhaps it’s the climate or possibly the geology, Maybe it is simply, the trees. After all, Autumn needs trees… to be Fall? There is a t-shirt there. I am no David Attenborough but I do know Scotland and Perthshire is where it is at.
The sunrise in Glen Lyon got me thinking. I once taught the 7P adage for planning and really should adopt it for our photo road trips. I gather that the politer ‘civilian’ acronym only has 6Ps, but the principle is still the same – we need to plan trips and avoid any further errors of underwear selection for hapless travellers who also want to share the romantic beauty of the ‘Shire’ in its seasonal glory.
Apologies in advance, I maybe showing my age, but a blogging Alan Whicker I am not! Here is my attempt to share our:
‘Whimsical World Top 5 Autumn Road Trip Ultimate Guide Blog.. of stunning Perthshire … in Fall’
Kinnoull Hill can begin from the very centre of Perth, but for me, the walk begins at the Jubilee Car Park to the East. It is quieter here but no less impressive, as you approach the 19th century folly through the mature beech and pine trees. The kids love this walk, it isn’t too taxing and there are plenty of sticks to entertain as long as they stay clear of the rather dramatically steep cliff!
The Fairytale Tower at Binn Hill is less well known,
although Walt Disney was here..
Well… that is what I tell the kids, and in my opinion, Rapunzel would have been pleased with her incarceration and the magnificent views over the Carse of Gowrie and the River Tay. It is a great spot for a picnic and a survey of our farm below.
2) Dunkeld and Birnam
Dunkeld is my choice of… ‘urban’. The walk along the River Tay, from the Abbey to the Dunkeld House Hotel is one of my favourite strolls in Scotland. A grand statement, but I have always found a sense of peace here, through the majestic Larch and Douglas Firs that tower above. The iconic Birnam Oak celebrated in Shakespeare’s Macbeth… sorry ‘Scottish Play’ can be found here too further along the banks of the Tay. Visit the Dunkeld ICentre for more information or alternatively grab a spectacularly delicious sandwich at the Scottish Deli on Altholl Street.
Oh and if you still have time.. there is always The Hermitage… a ‘little known’ spot with a rather nice hut above a river.
3) Aberfeldy, Kenmore and Dull
I must admit that I first visited the ‘Birks of Aberfeldy’ because it was.. well… called The Birks!?
Only to find that it is in fact the circular path to this woodland paradise is particularly beautiful in Autumn, with views through the Birch.. aka Birks!?
Kenmore at the northern end of Loch Tay is a picturesque little village that I generally neglect and need the persuasion of coffee at the Courtyard Shop to return. However, the Church sat amid trees, beside Loch Tay, has provided the autumn cover for many a jigsaw. The Falls of Acharn beyond the Crannog Centre, is a spectacular wooded gorge walk with a tumbling waterfall and even a hermits cave that is well worth a visit.
Dull was, admittedly, another ‘just because’ destination and the kids never tire of the sign proudly proclaiming the twining with Boring, Oregon. I, however love a toasting at the Highland Safaris Cafe. Castle Menzies is just down the road and where the ‘Magical Faraway Tree’ lives.. or so Koala thinks! There is a lovely woodland walk behind the 16th Century Castle that is great place to roam and explore… but no sign of Moonface.
4) Glen Lyon
Walter Scott said it was the ‘longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland and Koala refers to it as ‘Middle Earth’, so who am I to disagree?! The ‘Roman’ Bridge and the ‘Praying Hands of Mary’ are found here, but facilities are scarce, so be sure to pack a picnic, go to the toilet and wear the right bra for a real adventure. The Glen Lyon The Glen Lyon Post Office and Tearoom has good coffee and massive scones though but check opening times.
5) Pitlochry, Glen Tilt and Blair Atholl
This is Big Tree Country.. which isn’t a tribute band, but a must see trip for ‘Scottish Autumn’. I’m no expert, but Faskally is possibly the most photographed area… and even ticks the kids box, boasting an ‘Enchanted Forest’!?
Fairies cannot be guaranteed
The Killiecrankie circular walk is a favourite.. and there is history in these here hills but I’m reminded that this is not a dissertation, so will put away my geek hat and recommend a coffee at the Escape Route Cafe and perhaps a Historic Scotland Guide book.
Blair Atholl has provided hospitality to travellers for centuries and the House of Bruar certainly typifies this. Away from the coffee, tartan and scones, the Falls of Bruar is a beautiful yet surprisingly strenuous little walk. The views of the cascading waterfalls through the Scots Pines are worthy of the climb.. and the benches are conveniently located to catch middle aged breath.
Glen Tilt has a delightful mix of wooded glens, trails and the mountains of the Cairngorm range. It follows a geological fault which I could explain but suffice to say it provides scenic views through to Deeside.. and is home to some great little stone bridges.. if you’re interested.
This isn’t a hidden guide by any means but merely plans out a couple of our trips with reminders of why we need to go back and visit.. particularly in Autumn.. with the right underwear.
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