I’m in love with autumn in Scotland — it’s like a childhood sweetheart I’ll never shake. Watching the leaves fall, mimicking the snowflakes that will come later, seemingly from the heavens. The soft switching of the colours, so hard to spot until the trees and hills are full-blown brown. The movement of the wildlife, the squirrels tapping their swag for faults before hiding it away. All of this in pure northern air, and in the not-too-distant future, the promise of festivity and family.
With this autumn appetite, we booked a trip away (screw saving for a deposit for a house, at least for a little bit!). I found the loveliest Airbnb just outside the rural village of Aberfeldy in Perthshire and — after rolling our suitcases down grubby Leith Walk — we headed north through Fife‘s flat farmland, past the cities of Perth and Dundee to the east, and into the loch-filled valleys of this forested region.
The locals here live in a bubble. A life dominated by the weather — Dundavie‘s owner tells us he can ‘watch the rain coming towards them from the other side of the glen’ — and by the rural rhythms: shopping at the small supermarket, walking the dogs, cooking in a country kitchen. And for three days and three nights, we join that dream too. Lazy mornings followed by leisurely walks through forests and by burns in some of Scotland’s most beautiful countryside…
On day one we took a side road out of town to the Birks of Aberfeldy, a two-mile walk weaving through turning leaves and white waterfalls that famously inspired poet Rabbie Burns. Take a right over the bridge and the trail will lead you in the wake of these falls, peaking at an overpass above the Upper Moness Falls. The return journey is easier with more slopes than stairs, although you’ll be more surrounded by leaves than water. A really lovely walk, especially in autumn.
On day two we ventured further west along the River Tay to Kenmore and Drummond Hill. These Forestry Commission trails give beautiful views along the banks of Loch Tay and to the village below. Follow the markers for Black Rock viewpoint and, as you gain height and twist through the trees, the pines peter away to leave a bench and a picture-perfect panorama down to Kenmore.
During our final day, we took General Wade’s Military Road north to Queen’s View at Loch Tummel. It’ll cost you £2 for a full day’s parking here but only 10 minutes to take in the views, so — wanting another walk — we returned along the road to Allean Forest. This is another Forestry Commission site with a few secrets, the area including not only abandoned eighteenth-century crofts but also a gigantic Iron Age roundhouse. A rather magical way to complete our early autumn escape in Perthshire, wouldn’t you agree?