I was very much looking forward to October. I have seen pictures of Scotland in autumn on Instagram and Facebook and could not wait to see it for myself. The coloured trees and the whole landscape being a mix of yellow, brown, orange and red just looks amazing. Especially on a sunny day with a stunning blue sky and little white clouds.
Most will say the best place to go in autumn is Perthshire. And I am certainly not denying that. The problem is – the places you visit like the Hermitage, Dunkeld, Loch Faskally, Queen’s view at Loch Tummel and River Garry are pretty crowded on a weekend when the sun is out. I did visit the Hermitage the weekend before on the Saturday spontaneously, when my plans for the day have been forced to change.
It was already after lunch time then when I left Edinburgh. And it is never good to leave during the day on a Saturday as the traffic is mad… I also stood in traffic jam on the A9 after Perth due to road works. I was almost regretting my decision to drive up. But the weather was lovely and I was already out now anyways. I also needed to calm down from my disappointment and an awful night of sleep as my neighbour – who has a teenage daughter had a party the night and the walls in the building are fairly thin…
I did not drive to the car park from where you normally visit Ossian Hall and the Black Linn Falls but drove down the Old Military road towards Crieff and parked in the car park near the Rumbling Bridge. From there you have a lovely 2km walk through the woods down to the falls. The path runs along the river Braan and it is just beautiful and you feel like being in Narnia or Middle Earth. I noticed soon that it was very busy in the woods and arriving down at Ossian Hall I was not really surprised about all the people around. The place is just stunning in autumn.
I took some pictures and then already made my way back to the car. When I arrived at the bridge it was slightly raining but the sun was still shining bright as well. The light was just magical. I was hoping for a rainbow but I don’t seem to be very lucky with seeing rainbows when out for some reason. I had one great rainbow when I arrived back home one evening – which went all over the buildings of where I live. I also had rainbows while driving up somewhere. But hardly ever when hiking.
It was already late afternoon and I thought of where to go for some food as I had no lunch. I had not been to Crieff yet so drove on the tourist route down there. Great drive! Again – I love when I discover these things when I have not planned it. I discover so many things by just seeing where I end up or taking wrong turns to be honest :D.
I ended up eating in a pub. Food was not great but not awful either. Afterwards I took the chance to finally see the Kelpies at night. It has been on my agenda for months. But I kind of forgot to see them in spring and in summer the sun just set too late. I could not be bothered to stay up so late or be out. So it was perfect now that the sun was setting at 7pm. I love the Kelpies in daylight but seeing them illuminated at night is really something special. I was definitely not disappointed.
Last weekend I made the new attempt of finding the Praying hands of Mary in Glen Lyon. It is a split rock which locks like praying hands. In stands in the middle of nowhere on a hill surrounded by the hills of Glen Lyon. Glen Lyon is the longest enclosed glen in Scotland. It stretches for 32 miles (51 km) and forms part of the 48,400 hectare Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon National Scenic Area. Glen Lyon was described by Sir Walter Scott as the “…longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland…” And I agree. It is definitely one of the most beautiful areas I have seen around Scotland. But the great thing is, it does not seem to be very popular yet and hence is not as crowded as other places :).
My attempt to find the stone though was kind of a real challenge, which looking back is actually quite funny. Last time I was up to find the rock, I ended up walking up half of the Carn Gorm Munro as I was at the wrong car park… I mean, it was a nice walk with great views even though I did not make it to the top as I realised at some point I was definitely at the wrong place.
So this time I was determined to finally find it.
I left Edinburgh in the early morning again, while it was pouring down, and still dark outside… But the weather forecast said it was supposed to be dry and sunny in Glen Lyon during the day. That is the thing about the Scottish weather. It changes super fast and varies a lot across the country. And it can rain cats and dogs in Edinburgh but drive up somewhere for a few miles and you have blue sky and sun. Shortly after Fife it started to clear up and I had a beautiful light blue and pink morning sky on the East side.
I stopped at Castle Menzies while driving up to Coshieville from where the road goes into Glen Lyon. I had seen it on my way down to Aberfeldy on one of the weekends before, when I was staying at Coshieville and went down to Aberfeldy for dinner. The castle definitely looked very nice with the hay balls around and I thought it was worth a quick stop while I was up there anyways.
The sixteenth-century castle was the seat of the chiefs of clan Menzies for over 500 years. Strategically situated, it was involved in the turbulent history of the highlands. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart pretender to the throne, rested for two nights in the castle on his way to the battle of Culloden in 1746.
I was the only person around as it was before 10am and the Castle itself only opens at 10.30. So I had enough time and peace to wonder around and take pictures. I had a lovely sky and the Castle looks very nice sitting in those autumn coloured surroundings with hills and trees.
When I was driving through the Glen to the right car park to find the praying hands, I stopped as well to find the old pack horse bridge next to river Lyon. Also something where I ended up walking up and down the road until I found it on the other side of the river and then had to walk back a bit to cross a rope bridge. Unfortunately, I did not have the best light when I was at the bridge and quite some heavy clouds were coming above me. But generally the view from the rope bridge on the valley with the river flowing through and the coloured trees next to it, was stunning.
After I had my picture of the bridge I drove on to finally find the right spot to park to walk to the stone. I parked up and just started walking again. No clue if I was going in the right directions. I just followed my intuition to be honest. I came to a junction of where I could either cross a bridge – but there were a few houses and I thought it was private, like a farm or something – or go left and up a hill. I read that you have to go up a hill on the description how to find the stone so I thought it could not be too wrong to go uphill… Hence, why I walked up Carn Gorm last time…
It was a very good path I walked up which started to make me suspicious. 😀 But I kept walking to get at least a better view from further up the top to maybe make out where I am. It was quite a tiring walk for me. Very steep up hill and I was boiling. I kept on walking and walking and when the view opened up a bit more across the valley – I saw it. On the other side of the gorge / river where I would have had to cross the bridge at the junction… I wanted to scream. I could not believe I walked up another hill only to be at the wrong place AGAIN. I mean, the view was great anyways and I am sure the path itself is great to walk further on, but obviously that was not what I was there for. So I had a little rest and then walked all the way down again – frighting some pheasant on the way too.
I crossed the bridge and saw a boggy path leading uphill through a sheep field. Well, I could not go any more wrong could I? So, walking up again it was. It was really a rough path and lots of bog, too. You definitely need good boots to go up. I passed sheep and three ponies before going through a gate again and going up further and further.
And there it finally was. In the middle of the field, surrounded by hills, smaller rocks and sheep. And more bog and wet grounds. Yes, my feet did get a little wet. But I could not care less.
I loved being the only person up there. Taking my time to take pictures with the changing light of moving clouds and sun. I had a little pick-nick on the stone and just enjoy the view and peace up there. It was definitely worth all the hassle.
Walking down, my feet really hurt and it took me much longer to get back to my car. I also had enough of walking for the day and just wanted some coffee and cake. I drove down to Aberfeldy and had some amazing lemon cake at The Watermill. It is a bookshop and gallery with a café in it.
On my way back I had a beautiful sunset accompanying me.
Sunday I was not actually up to go somewhere but I also did not want to stay at home. It checked the weather around Fintry and Balmaha and decided I just go for the afternoon.
I stopped at the Loup of Fintry first. Loup of Fintry is a waterfall on the River Endrick around 2 miles to the east of Fintry. The total height of the waterfalls is 28.6 m. Lowp or “Loup” means leap in Scots. You have to park along the road from where a small path, which was very muddy now… leads down to the waterfall. It is quite a remarkable waterfall. And the views across the the river with the Fintry hills is lovely. I did not expect such a place in the middle between Edinburgh and Loch Lomond. I drove the way before by accident, passing the Carron Valley Reservoir, as I took a wrong turn when I came back from trying to see the Devil’s Pulpit. I discovered quite a few nice places around Scotland now by taking wrong turns. So it is definitely not for the worst.
Afterwards, I drove on towards Millarochay Bay at Loch Lomond. I passed the spot where everyone parks up to walk down to Devil’s Pulpit. It was busy… Of course, as the sun was shining and the landscape looked stunning. Seeing Ben Lomond and Conic hill in the far with the autumn trees around – unreal…
It was very busy down Loch Lomond as well but I got a parking spot and walked along the shores with a beautiful afternoon sun above Loch Lomond. I love the place. It is so lovely and peaceful. You can’t go wrong coming here. I could have stayed for a probably cracking sunset but I do not like to come back home late on a Sunday when I have to work the next day, so I left at about 4.30. I was gutted though as the light of the sun on my way back was magical and I knew there was an amazing sunset happening at Loch Lomond…
But that is the good thing about autumn and winter. I do not have to stay out too late to see a sunset. And I also already love the sunrises happening now on cold mornings. Looking like the sky is on fire.
Autumn is my favourite season. And in Scotland it is even more magical. ❤