Britain, Solo Travel, Travel, Travel Story

Fall colours of Pitlochry, Scotland

According to Ben Ross, the head of Telegraph Travel’s, the spine of Scotland is one of the most scenic roads in the world. It commences at Falkirk and goes all the way up to Thurso, the northernmost point in Scotland. During fall, the road passes through a landscape ablaze in fall colours. In Perthshire, fall sets in by the end of September and the entire county is submerged in a hue of yellow, orange, red and green. There is an abundance of autumnal produce; elderberries, blackberries and hawthorne berries begin to ripen and the hazelnut trees shed their nuts before the onset of winter. Autumn heralds the growth of wild mushrooms and the white and round puffballs begin to appear in the fields and hedgerows. Hedgehogs go into hibernation and the red squirrels get ready for the bleak and frosty winters.

IMG_2203
Fall colours of Perth

Pitlochry, a quaint Victorian town in Perthshire is one of the finest destinations to witness the autumn colours. River Tummel flows through the town and becomes Loch Faskally as soon as it flows past the Faskally woods. It was late October and I was on my way to Loch Dunmore. Loch Dunmore is a serene, picturesque lake situated in the heart of the Faskally woods. The road to the Loch was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was late afternoon and the last rays of the autumnal sun came flaring in on the hilltops. The evergreen pines were fiery and glowing ! My surroundings were on fire !

IMG_2037
The flaming woodland

Loch Dunmore is one of the most iconic lochs of Central Scotland. A charming little boat house sits on its bonnie banks. The Oak, Beech and Birch trees embrace the coming of autumn and shed their red and golden leaves on the lake and the surrounding woodland. The Faskally woods is a leafy paradise and the forest floor is enveloped in dry brown leaves, twigs and pine cones. Wooden bridges get lit up at night and the trickling fountains produce a magnificent display of water works.

IMG_0241 2
Loch Dunmore and the boathouse

Faskally woods is the site for the annual Enchanted Forest festival. At night, the trees are beautifully lit up and the woodlands echo the mystical Celtic music from the Gaelic times. Beneath the starry skies and over a glass of mulled wine, the Enchanted Forest festival is a good opportunity to get acquainted with the ancient folklores of Scotland.

IMG_1977
Fall in Faskally woods

On my way back to Pitlochry, I was once again greeted by the flaming conifers. The roads were deserted and the sound of the screeching jays resonated in the neighbouring woodland.

IMG_0246
On my way back to Pitlochry

Loch Tummel is a wonderful place to watch the sunset. As the sun began to set, an arresting shade of diffused golden graced the skies. Ember-red leaves floated along the gently flowing river and lofty pines formed deep reflections in the shimmering waters.

IMG_2048
River Tummel
IMG_2053
Sunset at River Tummel

The next morning, I decided to follow the Killiecrankie path. It is a 12 miles circular walk that offers some of best views of Pitlochry and the fall colours. The days were short and I started at seven in the morning amidst nasty winds and freezing temperatures. It was a comfortable stroll along the gentler slopes of the hills before a moderately steep ascent that led to a golf course. It was beginning to get warmer and the first few streaks of a rising sun illuminated the lush green grass of the valley.

IMG_2069
Sunrise at Pitlochry

After a while, the road forked into two. One of them led to Craigower and I followed the other path towards Killiecrankie.  It was still early and I was the sole wanderer in the woods. The wind had momentarily stopped and the woodland was immersed in a profound silence. I was enticed; the stillness had almost lured me into the deep.

IMG_2077
The silent woods

Just before the forest track descended into Killiecrankie, I received an unobstructed view of the rolling countryside. Silver clouds sailed in the sky and the Perthshire landscape was encompassed in an eclectic mix of green, violet and orange.

IMG_2079
The Perthshire landscape
IMG_2083
The dense foliage

Killiecrankie is one of the most visited towns of Scotland. Where the Faskally woods end, River Tummel divides into two and River Garry flows into Killiecrankie. Killiecrankie is a Gaelic word which means Wood of the Aspen. A large number of Oak, Beech, Birch and Aspen trees grow along the banks of the river and on the low lying hills. The Pass of Killiecrankie is a mountain pass that runs along the river gorge for about a mile. The Scottish railway can be seen at a distance and the trees are a riot of colour.

IMG_2112
The Killiecrankie visitor’s centre
IMG_2115
The River Garry and the Pass of Killiecrankie

The battle of Killiecrankie was fought on 27th July, 1689 between the Scottish highlanders and his majesty’s government. It was a part of the first Jacobite uprising to regain Scottish independence from the English crown. When King William of Orange was crowned king, many Scots were displeased and remained loyal to James VIII. Viscount Dundee was one such man. He gathered the Scottish forces and led them to a temporary victory over the government’s men. He didn’t survive the battle and lies buried at St. Bride’s church. In a narrow section of the gorge, it is believed that Donald MacBean, a government soldier, had jumped across the river while trying to flee from the Scottish forces. This is known as the Soldier’s leap.

IMG_2132
The Soldier’s leap

The Killiecrankie walk goes past the village, crosses the river and continues all the way up to the Garry Bridge and the Linn of Tummel. The river Garry meanders its way through the surroundings and flows towards Inverness.

IMG_2140
River Garry
IMG_2143
Towards Inverness

The Craig Fonvuick is another circular walk that starts and ends in the Killiecrankie path. This is a moderately steep walk that goes past scattered Birch woodland, undulating moors, all the way up to the rugged top. This area is a conservation site and is home to rare species of flora and fauna. This walk was an addition to my itinerary and the breathtaking views from the top of the Craig were worth the climb.

IMG_2145
Towards Craig Fonvuick
IMG_2156
From the summit of Craig Fonvuick

The Killiecrankie path joins the Garry Bridge, which is one of the most photographed locations in the world. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine anything to be so ravishing. The trees were glowing and the river was pitch black ! With an apparent movement of the sun, the black waters slowly changed into a sapphire blue colour; it looked like a yarn of the finest blue silk. Had it not been a race against early sunset, I would have surely captured all the different moods of the river.

IMG_2168
River Garry in pitch black
IMG_2186
River Garry in blue

I sat by the banks of the river and savoured the beauty of the fall colours. The yellow leaves dazzled in the brilliant bright sunlight, complimenting the electric-blue waters of the river. It was a celebration of autumn and I was glad to be a part of that celebration.

IMG_2221
On the banks of River Garry
IMG_2232
A celebration of autumn

The Linn of Tummel crosses the river Tummel and the Killiecrankie path completes a circular loop after passing through the Pitlochry dam and the festival theatre before ending at the car park.

That night, I dreamt of the enchanted forest – the wooden boathouse, the placid Loch and the yellow Aspens.

IMG_2239
The surrounding landscape
IMG_2246
On my way to Pitlochry

The following day, I decided to climb the Ben Vrackie mountain and complete the circular loop of the Bleach path. The temperature was below freezing point and I made my way to the mountain amidst dense woods and a barren moorland. Ben Vrackie reaches 841m in height and Loch a’ Coire lies at the foot of the mountain.

IMG_2261
Ben Vrackie

There are well laid stone steps to the summit and within forty five minutes, I was at the summit. The day was clear and I could see Pitlochry and the whole of Perthshire at a distance.

IMG_2277
At the summit of Ben Vrackie
IMG_2286
The view from the top of the summit

The Bleach path trails along the eastern side of river Garry. Once again, I crossed the soldier’s leap, the Gary Bridge, the Pass of Killiecrankie and the Faskally woods.

IMG_2318
Garry Bridge at a distance
IMG_2337
Walking along the Bleach path

Closer to the woods, river Garry joins River Tummel. The confluence of the two rivers creates a lovely scenery and the Bleach path follows the River Tummel all the way to Pitlochry.

IMG_E2388
On the banks of River Tummel

The Pitlochry boating station is a popular tourist destination during the summers. In the autumn, the river bank is littered with colourful leaves and the crystal clear waters reflect the vibrant surroundings.

IMG_2416
The Pitlochry boating station

After covering a distance of 14 miles in less than six hours, I made up my mind to watch the sunset from a popular spot. The autumnal sunset is truly a blessed sight.

          How beautiful the leaves grow old.

           How full of light and colour are their last days.

IMG_2399
Autumnal sunset

In Pitlochry, the spirit of Autumn is reflected in every tree and rock and creature. Like the leaves, Fall has filled my life with colours. One day, I will return to Pitlochry and grow old amidst the molten-red leaves and the deep blue waters. Until then, I will keep singing praises of nature and her creations.

IMG_2208
On the banks of River Garry

For more information on the walks, click here.

https://theecstaticstoryteller.wordpress.com

22 thoughts on “Fall colours of Pitlochry, Scotland”

  1. Wow! you have an incredible charming write …it’s magically flows with soo beautiful… artistic touchwood….nature love at the pinnacle… excellent description…and lovely photography!loved completely the thought process towards beloved nature’s beauty,keep blogging n keep sharing friend🌼🌹🌸🏵️💐🥀☘️🍀🍁🌻🌺🌷💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Three years back, it was exactly around this time I was in Perthshire. Even today as I re-post this old article of mine, I am reminded of the most wonderful time I had in the vast expanses of the Scottish countryside. As I reminisce over the old and happy days, I can only wish there will be a time in the near future when I can go back to these safe heavens, the memories of which soothe my senses even on the darkest days. I hope you enjoy the Fall Colors of Pitlochry.

    Like

  3. Might be corny, but if I were ever in Scotland, I’d never pull myself away from Loch Ness. I have always wanted to see Nessie. 🤦‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. I wanted to go there too but the reviews of that place aren’t the best. I’ve heard it’s very crowded and the 2 hours loch ness boat tour is very boring. However, I would like to go to Inverness, It is a nice gateway to the highlands.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s