Thursday, 31 December 2015

A road trip to Perthshire

I've travelled a bit around the world, but no where makes me feel great and makes my heart soar than my own country, Scotland. I was in need of seeing mountains and great scenery this week, so I planned a wee road trip with picnic, dog and who ever wanted to come. In the end four of us headed north on Tuesday, the forecast was to be sunny spells (it wasn't! No surprises there) but it was great to get out. After we got the boring bit out the way (home to Stirling), we took the road to Callander and then north. I love this bit because it signals the start of raw mountains, deep glens, rushing streams, rivers and waterfalls, wild life and wild weather. We climbed the road through Glen Ogle, yet again saying we must do the walk up the disused railway there. Being a houseful of railway enthusiasts, a walk along an old railway usually gets even the most reluctant walkers out! Once at the top of Glen Ogle the road tips over the ridge and we descended towards Crianlarich but turning off the road at Lix Toll towards Killin. As we followed the River Dochart towards the village we could see it was high and flowing fast. Once we reached Killin, it's a must to stop and see the Falls of Dochart flowing under the bridge. The waters were fairly rushing and crashing and roaring, no sunbathing on the rocks this time! 

Falls of Dochart at Killin

Falls of Dochart, I like the lone pine clinging to a rock in the middle

The lone pine



Above is a wee video from You Tube of the falls today after the heavy over night rain, dramatic and alarming! After stopping to admire the drama of the rushing waters we hurried back in a shower of rain to the car and onwards to the shores of Loch Tay. One of many Lochs in Scotland this is a long narrow stretch of water with Killin at the west end and Kenmore in the East. If you ever spend time in this area do visit the Crannog centre. David and I spent a great and very interesting visit here last year. You can visit their website here at the Scottish Crannog Centre. In the village of Fearnan we turned north towards Fortingall, our next destination. It is a pretty little village sitting on the north side of the road from Glen Lyon, with thatch roofed cottages no less. The main attraction here is the Fortingall Yew, a dinosaur tree from another age. 

Fortingall Yew in the grounds of the church

The yew tree (Taxus baccata) is reputed to be anything between 2000 and 5000 years old, modern science is leaning towards 2000 to 3000 years old. What remains are parts of the original trunk and there are markers sunk in the ground to show the massive size of the original. This is the third time I've been here, I find it an interesting and beautiful place to be. I'm not sure the lads were impressed, but hey ho. The church yard has many ancient grave stones with interesting carvings. There are also pictish and early Christian relics that have been found in excavations and are displayed in the church. You can read more about the tree and Fortingall's history here.

Fortingall Church and stone bowl

Fortunately by now the weather had dried up though still over cast for our wee walk along the road to a waterfall recomended to look for, although nothing dramitic, the woodland above the waterfall was very nice, lots of mossy rocks under ancient beech trees. A half hour walk along the road and up a farm track found us at Sput ban falls. The woodland sits on top of cliffs over the falls and it feels like a wee secret spot, I'm sure if we didn't have the dog and spent time sitting quietly we would see lots of wild life. 

Sput Ban Falls

Rushing waters

Bracken, Sput Ban Falls

Gate and trees, Sput Ban falls

Jamie, Sput Ban Falls

Lovely mossy rocks at Sput Ban

It was great to go somewhere different to take some photos. Bracken enjoyed being out and about, well recovered from his car argument a couple of weeks ago. We wandered back to Fortengall and the car where we enjoyed our picnic, though a bit breezy it was unseasonably warm for the end of December. This was further underlined by the distinct lack of snow on the mountain tops.

Looking up towards Glen Lyon

Enjoying some food

From Fortingall we headed back to the shores of Loch Tay and east to Kenmore and then Aberfeldy. There was lots of flooding in the fields, but I suspect it will be a lot worse today. From here we joined the motorway and headed south, across the re opened Forth Bridge and home for tea. It was good to get out in great scenery, for a walk and good company.




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