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Visiting Scotland: Perthshire in Autumn

Updated on November 11, 2014

Visiting Perthshire in Autumn

I originally wrote this when I was preparing for an autumn trip to Perthshire, to show where I was going, what I would be doing and where I would be staying.

Perthshire is particularly beautiful in autumn and combined with 10 days of wonderful music and company at Dougie MacLean's Perthshire Amber Festival, is hard to beat.

In the event I did have a couple of problems, the biggest of which was finding the cottage I had booked was far further out than the brochure had indicated and was smack in the middle of a hunting estate at the height of the pheasant hunts. For an animal lover and confirmed vegetarian I found it extremely distressing to have killing fields behind and in front of me where men with big guns shot beautiful creatures that never did them any harm. It ruined my holiday. I would never have booked a cottage on a hunting estate if I had been told about it. So, take warning, ASK before you book if you are anything like me.

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My temporary home in Perthshire - The Bothie

The blurb described it as a quiet private estate in the Tay Valley, close to Dunkeld. Ths cottage called The Bothy was lovely. Just a living room with open plan kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom. What we would have called a But 'n' Ben in the old days. It was immaculate, well decorated, clean with ample equipment and its own spring water. I particularly enjoyed the open fire even if it meant cleaning it out every morning.

The views from the house were lovely, open pastures and woodland. It was only on my first day did I discover those lovely open pastures were actually killing fields. I had delighted in the abundance of pheasants all around including one black one.

One stern warning though - this is a hunting estate! I was extremely distressed to find myself in the center of the killing fields as men with big guns and eager dogs slaughtered these beautiful creatures.

Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve (SWT)Nr. Dunkeld - To satisfy my photography opportunities!

Loch Lowes
Loch Lowes

Many us in Scotland know the Loch of Lowes because it is one of the very few places where ospreys breed. The nests are under 24 hour surveilance against egg thieves which also means you can view the nest via cam corder in the visitors centre. This is a great place to capture sightings of a huge variety of wildfowl from grebes to gosanders. You may well also catch sight of roe deer and red squirrels.

Video: The Enchanted Forest at Faskally - Light and Sound in the Autumn Forest

Perthshire's Forest are at their best in autumn. A definite must for me this year is a trip to Faskally Woods to witness the sound and light show. It won't even matter if it rains!

Link for The Enchanted Forest

The dates for visiting the enchanted forest for 2012 are - 5th - 27th October 2012. They will celebrate their 10th birthday this year.

Dunkeld: Perthshire, Scotland

Dunkeld is a gorgeous little town on the banks of the Tay. It is lies nestled among ancient trees and has it's own attractive cathedral. From here you can walk for miles and miles in unspoiled countryside. The town is small but picturesque with a range of individual independent shops, enough to temp the tourist in you. There is a delightful little market square which is where you will find the tourist office. Lots of good places to eat and you must visit The Tay Hotel, once own by Dougie Maclean and family and still a centre where live music is played. Dunkeld is also the centre for the Dougie's Perthshire Amber folk festival.

Perthshire Amber: Dougie Maclean's Folk Festival - October - November every year

One the of best reasons to visit Perthshire in autumn is to take part in the Dougie Maclean Folk Festival in Dunkeld and surrounds. The main base is the Dunkeld Hotel but the festival spills over with concerts in Dunkeld Catherdral, Blair Castle, The Scottish Crannog Centre, Blairgowrie Town Hall, Perth concert hall and various pubs and hotels. and we can't forget - the CALEDONIA HALL at EDRADOUR DISTILLERY, the smallest distillery in Scotland with close ties to Dougie and family.

Singers, songwriters and musicians come from all over the world to join this friendly festival. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 10 days!!!

Singer songwriter Dougie Maclean - Caledonia

Dougie wrote this when he was on tour in France and was feeling kinda homesick - he never realised just how massive his 'little song' was going to be.

The Scottish Crannog Centre Loch Tay
The Scottish Crannog Centre Loch Tay

The Scottish Crannog Centre

Loch Tay

If you don't know what a crannog was, let me tell you. A crannog was a wooden house built out into the loch as a defensive measure and were relatively common in both Scotland and Ireland - some from 5000 years ago. The one at Loch Tay is a faithfully rebuild reconstruction of one that existed on the site 2600 years ago and was aided in design with evidence provided by underwater archaeolgists. "Oakbank Crannog" would have been 1 of 18 crannogs build on the loch during the Stone Age.

The Scottish Crannog Centre

Blair Castle

Blair Atholl Castle

The castle at Blair Atholl is spectacular - set against Perhshire's verdant hills, it is well worth a visit. It dates back to the 13th century although their have, of course, been many changes. The castle is set in beautiful gardens and all are open to visitors. I think I am right in saying it is the only white and black painted castle in Scotland and it fits it's setting perfectly. There are about 30 rooms within the castle you can view, a visitor's centre and of course the gardens. You won't be sorry you stopped here. Blair Castle is often the venue for events such as concerts, Highland Games and concerts in the great hall.

Blair Castle.

Essential Visiting in Perthshire in Autumn - The Hermitage - Woodland Walk and Salmon Leap

This is one of my favourite places in Perthshire - you park near the road and can walk up between towering Douglas Firs to the Black Linn waterfall and beyond. One features is a folly build as an observation point overlooking the falls. From here you can watch the salmon trying to leap the falls in an attempt to get back to their spawning ground. Don't miss the wildlife, flora and fauna around you.


Have you ever visited Perthshire?

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    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @Virginia Allain: Fortunately Virginia this year's stay was a dream.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm sorry to hear your holiday was so distressing. If you'd been there on a different date, you might have had a totally different experience.

      I dream of a cottage vacation sometime in Scotland and also Ireland.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      blessed by a passing angel on a Travel Quest!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      I'm not a traveller but I love the United Kingdom and never feel as happy and relaxed than when I'm in England. However, Scotland is also on my list of places to visit when I cross the Channel!