News News Top 10 Autumn Walks in Perthshire There is nowhere better in Scotland to take in the glorious colours of autumn than Perthshire. Home of Big Tree Country, the whole area blazes with reds, oranges and golds as the leaves turn. Salmon leaping and dear rutting add to the seasonal sights and sounds waiting to be discovered. As autumn officially starts on Friday, here are our Top 10 autumn walks in Perthshire, ie some of our favourite places to do a bit of leaf peeping: The Hermitage The Hermitage is impressive any time of year, but autumn is when it truly comes into its own. The banks of the River Braan become a kaleidoscope of autumn colours, giving sites along the water like Ossian’s Hall an dreamlike feel. This is also the time of year to witness the salmon leaping up the river’s rapids to their spawning grounds – a spectacular natural sight to behold! Lady Mary’s Walk, Crieff Opened to the public in 1825 and a favourite of Lady Mary Murray, Lady Mary’s Walk is a peaceful stroll besides the River Earn along an avenue of mature oak, beech, lime and sweet chestnut – some of which are over 150 years old. The canopy of trees provides one of the most quintessential autumnal colour scenes in Perthshire. Take a seat on one of the many benches to take it all in – it is a site that simply must be seen to believe. Lady Mary’s Walk, part of the Crieff Path Network, is about 3 ½ miles / 5.5 km and takes about two hours to explore on foot. Faskally Woods Faskally Woods is home of Scotland’s premier sound and light experience, The Enchanted Forest, and is a spectacular woodland comprising old estate paths around the small but picturesque Loch Dunmore, with its timber bridge and boat house. The autumnal colours shimmer off the loch during the day, and The Enchanted Forest, on from 28 September to 29 October, takes over at night, lighting up the entire forest. It is an experience one simply has to see! Cluny House Gardens Cluny House Gardens is the best place to spot red squirrels in Perthshire, and autumn is a fantastic time to find them foraging among the multi-coloured leaves. The gardens feature rare and exotic plants from around the world merged with native plants to create the unique atmosphere of a Himalayan woodland paradise, which becomes vibrant with autumnal colours from late September. Don’t forget to visit one of Britain’s widest trees – a 130-year-old giant redwood! Cateran Trail Stage 5 – Alyth via Bridge of Cally to Blairgowrie Besides featuring the Hill of Alyth and Bamff Estate where beavers keep busy, this stage of the Cateran Trail features an optional short diversion into the Den o’ Alyth, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) covering more than 54 acres. The Den is a deep-sided wooded valley along the Alyth Burn that features a variety of walks for all abilities. The canopy of oak, ash, horse chestnut, birch, beech and sycamore trees throughout the Den turn every shade of red, orange and gold and carpet the ground in all of autumn’s colours – a spectacular sight and experience! Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park Providing a dramatic backdrop to the ‘Fair City’ of Perth, Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park showcases all the spectacular colours of autumn for which Perthshire is renowned. Its rich diversity of broadleaved trees, including oak, birch, ask, beech, rowan, hawthorn and larch, carpet the woodland floor in fiery reds and oranges. Climb Kinnoull Hill (728 ft / 222 m) to a folly built in the 19th century that reflects the castles along the banks of the Rhine and admire the views of the Tay Valley below. The Knock Path For those who love a walk or cycle with a view, there is none better than The Knock. From its summit, admire all of Perthshire’s fantastic autumnal colours as well as the dramatic contrast between the rugged mountains of the Highlands and fertile plains of the Lowlands. Keep an eye out for red squirrels stocking up for winter on your way up through a coniferous forest. The Knock Path, part of the Crieff Path Network, features a short, steep walk to the hill’s summit of ½ miles / 1 km and a longer one that continues down the other side of the hill of 4 miles / 6 km. Queen’s View The Queen’s View is one of the most famous viewpoints in Scotland, offering stunning views across Loch Tummel to Schiehallion (3,547 ft / 1,081 m). Over 150,000 people visit the site per year and it’s no wonder when the trees below turn every colour and the mist rises from the forest. Killiecrankie Path The Pass of Killiecrankie is one of the most renowned sites in Scotland for autumn colours. Every shade of red, orange and gold highlights the oak, beech and birch woodland that flanks the River Garry through the steep gorge. The Pass is best known for Soldier’s Leap, across which it is said Donald MacBean leapt to escape pursuing Highlanders following the Battle of Killiecrankie. Keen photographers who are not already overwhelmed by the brilliant choice of colourful photos should make sure to pause at Garry Bridge on the B8019, which offers one of the most photographed views in Scotland down the River Garry. Killiecrankie Path, part of the Pitlochry Path Network, is about 12 miles / 19 km and takes about 8 hours to explore. Birnam Hill Path Climb Birnam Hill (1,200 ft / 365 m) to King’s Seat for stunning views across Dunkeld and Birnam in the heart of Perthshire Big Tree Country. Enjoy the 4-mile / 6.4 km walk around and up the hill that includes Stair Bridge – a 19th century folly with an unrivalled view south-east towards Perth. Birnam Hill Path is part of the Dunkeld Path Network and takes about 2 ½ hours to explore on foot.