Kinnoull Hill, Perthshire, Scotland

Last Thursday was a beautiful day, such a treat after the twelve hour long thunder and lightning storm of a few days previously, so we grabbed the day and drove to Kinnoull Hill in Perthshire. For decades we’ve driven past the rocky outcrop which towers above the M 90 motorway that takes you into the city of Perth and had just never got around to actually visiting the place, despite it being a really popular beauty spot.

Kinnoull Hill Path, Perth, woodland

The hill is covered with trees and the path is fairly steep but it only took us about 15 minutes to reach the top, we really needed the exercise anyway after being cooped up in the house hiding from the torrential rain of earlier in the week.

Kinnoull Hill Path,Perthshire, Scotland

There’s a wood carving of an owl in flight on the way up, but the woodland itself was bereft of birdlife. I’ve often been puzzled by this when walking in woods. Even when there’s nobody else around and it’s very quiet the woods never seem to have any wildlife in them. There are far more birds around my garden.

Kinnoull Eagle sculpture, Perthshire

Through a gap in the trees you can get quite a decent view of the historic village of Scone which is close to Perth.

Scone, from Kinnoull Hill, Perthshire

From the top of Kinnoull Hill you get a great view east to the Carse of Gowrie and over to Errol, even on what was a fairly hazy day. You can see why the River Tay is called the silvery Tay. Over the river are the hills of Fife.

Kinnoull Hill View , Distant Hills

The photo below is a stitch of three photos that I took looking over to the south side of the river and Fife beyond. The yellowy-gold coloured fields had just been harvested.

River Tay stitch, Perthshire, Scotland

The stitch below is from the top of what was a very blustery Kinnoull Hill, looking down towards the bend in the River Tay. It felt quite dangerous, in fact there are plenty of warning signs to tell you not to go too close to the edge as it just falls away and it would be easy to walk over by accident.

River Tay stitch, Perthshire, Kinnoull Hill

The one below is looking northwards towards Dunkeld and Birnam Wood of Macbeth fame.

View from Kinnoull Hill

Below is an information plaque which tells of all the instances of historical interest around this area.

information plaque, Kinnoull Hill, Perthshire, Scotland

After we walked back down the hill we had another look at the information board at the car park and realised that we had somehow missed a tower which has been built on the hill, so one day we’ll have to go back again and take a close look at it. Obviously we missed a path which leads over to that side of the hill. You can see images of it here.

We should have done our homework before setting out, such as visiting this Visit Scotland site.

David Douglas Memorial, Scone, Perthshire

David Douglas Memorial

I was reading a book called Plant Hunters by Charles Lyte ( I haven’t finished it yet) and I realised that David Douglas – one of the plant hunters featured in it was born in Scone in Perthshire, a place that we often drive through. There’s actually a memorial to him in Scone churchyard so the next time we went past there we took time to go and visit it. It’s quite big! His body is actually buried in Honolulu where he was when he died – under mysterious circumstances apparently. His body was found in an animal trap pit and he had been gored to death by a bullock that had also fallen into the trap.
The photo below is of the back of his memorial.
David Douglas Memorial
As he had been visiting an Englishman who lived in a nearby hut (it was his animal trap) and the Englishman was an escaped Botany Bay convict there has always been a suspicion that David Douglas was murdered by him. He was only 35 when he died but he had discovered so many plants and brought them back to the UK. His most famous plant introduction is probably the Douglas fir but he introduced about 240 other plants to the UK and our gardens would be much poorer without his contribution to botany.

David Douglas Memorial

David Douglas began his botanical life as an apprentice at Scone Palace then moved on to an estate in Fife and from there to the botanical gardens at Glasgow University before embarking on his plant hunting adventures.
David Douglas Memorial

For some reason Scotland produced more professional gardeners and botanists than anywhere else in the past, it’s something that authors have often acknowledged as so many writers of fiction have written their head gardeners as being Scotsmen, including Angela Thirkell. Plant hunters still exist today and sadly in 2013 a young Scottish plant hunter who came from a family with a long botanical history disappeared while on a plant hunting mission in Vietnam and his body wasn’t found until two years later. It’s thought that he died from natural causes after a fall.

Dunkeld in Perthshire

It was a sparkling afternoon in October I think when we visted Dunkeld again, just for a walk around the place. Perthshire is well known for having lovely trees.

sheep

Walking around the edge of the cathedral brought us to these sheep that are in the normal sheep stance – head down and chomping away.

Dunkeld sheep

The banks of the River Tay are very close to the remains of the cathedral, so the grass there is manicured compared to the rest of the riverside. It’s a nice place to sit and is just a hop and a skip from the wee town.

River Tay at Dunkeld

The Tay is really a thing of beauty, swift, clean and somehow honest looking, certainly when I compare it with my recent visit to the River Severn. Don’t fall in though! One of our ‘boys’ once kicked our football into it when he was a youngster, I think he thought we would be able to get it back – no chance.

River Tay

Sometimes they have the salmon season opening ceremony at Dunkeld, they pour some whisky into a quaich which is a two handled Scottish drinking vessel and throw it into the river as a blessing. Nowadays if you catch a salmon you have to put it back in the river, after taking photos of it of course. Conservation is important.

One year I remember they had to crack the ice to get a boat onto the river, but I can’t find any videos of that freezing year. I did find one of the 2018 ceremony at Kenmore though, another wee place I’m fond of and I’ve added it to an old Kenmore blogpost of mine. So if you enjoy listening to a pipeband and you’re interested in seeing a River Tay fishing season opening ceremony have a look here.

Fortingall, Perthshire

Way back in August last year we visited the Highland Perthshire village of Fortingall. The village is well known foor its ancient churchyard yew tree which is thought to be over 5,000 years old, apparently the oldest living thing in Europe. Over the years the yew tree has died in the middle, leaving a cave like space in the middle, so sadly there’s no massive tree trunk to hug! Tourists over the years cut bits off the tree as souvenirs so a wall and railings were built around it for protection.

Fortingall Yew

There has been a church there for centuries, the original one dating from the 8th century, but the church there now dates from 1901.

Fortingall Kirk
The surrounding landscape is typical hills covered with what looks like a Forestry Commission plantation. I hope that fewer of these are going to be planted in the future as they don’t look great en masse and when they do cut them down the place is always a scene of devastation.

Fortingall Hills
I believe that it was the local MP who had these gorgeous Arts and Crafts design houses built for the locals, lucky locals I say!
Fortingall Arts and Crafts

Fortingall Arts and Crafts

But the more traditional Scotish houses such as the one below are lovely too, this one had a lovely garden.

A Fortingall house

It looks like an idyllic village, but as always – I wonder what it’s like for young people to live there. I suspect they would just be stuck in the village unless they have parents willing to provide a regular taxi service for them.

Fortingall Arts and Crafts
However there’s a lovely burn for kids to play in in the summer, that’s something that we all did as kids but I have a nasty feeling that parents don’t allow their children to have fun messing about in burns nowadays.

Fortingall Burn

Fortingall is a very small village but like lots of far-flung places it seems to have a great community spirit, when we were there they were having an art festival and quite a few well known artists were exhibiting.

You can see more images of Fortingall here.

Dunkeld

A couple of weeks ago we decided to go to Dunkeld for the day. It’s one of my favourite wee towns. It was the day we were in search of autumnal trees.

aDunkeld trees 4

I took the photo below from the bridge in Dunkeld, looking north up the River Tay.

aDunkeld trees 1

I crossed the road to the other side of the bridge to capture the view to the south.
Dunkeld trees 3

Some houses just off the High Street in Dunkeld.

aDunkeld street 5

The town was decorated with bunting, it wasn’t long after Halloween but I think it was something to do with a local tradition.

aDunkeld street 3

aDunkeld street 2

If you look closely at the photo below you can just see the beginning of the bridge.

aDunkeld street 1

Here’s the bridge itself, built by Thomas Telford.

Bridge through trees

The River Tay is famous for salmon fishing but you have to put them back if you catch any.

aDunkeld trees stitch

Scenery in Perthshire, Scotland

Last week we pointed the car north to Perthshire, just because it was a gorgeous blue sky day and we wanted to grab it while we could, before the cold days of winter set in. Again I was looking for some autumn colour.

aautumn trees 1

I managed to snap all of these photos from the car, of course Jack was driving!

autumn trees 8

The fields still have their rolls of hay in them, maybe not as romantic looking as a haystack though, if you’re of that turn of mind.

autumn trees 11

You can see the beautiful Perthshire hills in the distance.

autumn trees 12

And a wee bit closer.

autumn trees 13 crop

Some rather ancient and dilapidated farm buildings, quite scenic looking as you go past.

autumn trees 19

Civilisation – after a fashion! This is the outskirts of a wee place called Logierait, on the way to Aberfeldy. We would go to Dunkeld later, but I’ll keep that for another time.

autumn trees 14

Kenmore in Perthshire, Scotland

On our way back from the Highlands recently we passed through the teeny wee village of Kenmore, I say passed through but when I saw how pretty it was we had to stop. I had no idea that this place even existed and it’s really quite close to where we live, well 60 miles or so from us. Just above the Post Office sign to the right it says Telegraph Office, I’ve never seen that before and I’m glad that it has been left there as it’s part of the building’s history.

Kenmore pano 1

The Kenmore Hotel claims to be the oldest hotel in Scotland. I think we’ll have to go and give it a go sometime.

Kenmore pano 2

Kenmore 7

A one minute walk from the Post Office takes you to the banks of Loch Tay as you can see. Kenmore has a really beautiful setting and is very historic, people have lived in that area for thousands of years and a crannog has been reconstructed on the loch, as they would have been there originally in the Bronze Age.

Kenmore 3

It was beginning to get quite chilly and misty when we were there and we were keen to get home after our Highland jaunt but we’ll be going back there to explore it more thoroughly in the future.

Kenmore pano 3

I’ve wanted to visit a crannog for years so I’ll definitely be going to explore the one below, maybe in the springtime.

crannog

Edited to add on 31/3/18

If you’re interested in seeing some more of Kenmore and you enjoy a pipe band, have a look at the You Tube video below. It shows the 2018 River Tay salmon fishing opening ceremony.

Elcho Castle, Perthshire, Scotland

We’ve been having fab weather recently and as we were travelling to Perthshire again to visit our youngest son we thought we would set off early and squeeze in a visit to Elcho Castle on the way. I must admit that I had never even heard of Elcho until recently. It’s very far off the beaten track, unlike many castles which you can see clearly from roads. Elcho is a 16th century tower house, one of the best preserved in Scotland. It’s a combination of a keep and a mansion house, it was built for defence but by the time it was finished there was not much fear of it being attacked.

Elcho is miles down a narrow road and you think you’re never going to get to it, you even have to drive through a farmyard, but when you get there it’s definitely worth it as you can see.

Elcho Castle

Elcho Castle still has its roof on although some of the internal floors are no longer in existence you still get a feeling of how it must have been in its heyday.

Elcho  Castle

The photo above is of the main staircase which is quite a bit wider than in most castles of this age. There are a lot of much narrower spiral staircases all around the castle, those ones were meant to be used by the staff who weren’t supposed to use these ones.

Elcho Castle

That wider staircase leads to the room above which is the grandest room, it’s full of light on a bright day anyway, it must have been lovely when it was all furnished, panelled and hung with tapestries.

And below is a view of the River Tay from the top of the castle. As you can see it’s a great location. The castle has always been accessed by river and road but given that the road nowadays is very twisty turny and narrow I think that most people and ‘stuff’ would have been taken to and from the castle via boat.

Elcho Castle

I have lots more photos to show you but I’ll leave that for tomorrow. If you’re interested in the architectural details of this building you can read more here.

Spring evening sky in Perthshire, Scotland

Perthshire sky

We were driving back from Perthshire to Fife one evening last week and I just had to point my camera out of the car window to take a couple of snaps, sadly I got a couple of power lines in the first photo.

evening sky in Perthshire

The second one is sans lines though – and no I wasn’t driving at the time!

Balvaird Castle, Perthshire, Scotland.

Since one of our sons has moved to Errol in Perthshire we’ve been travelling along a road which we hadn’t been on before and the view of Balvaird Castle from the road is an enticing one. So a few weeks ago we were on our way back home to Fife and as we were in no hurry we decided to stop and investigate the castle. The photo below is just how it looks from the road.

Balvaird Castle

There’s a track up to the castle, it’s not too hard on the legs and it’s not long before you reach the castle.

Balvaird Castle

Some of it is in not bad condition but other parts are ruins as you can see. It all adds to the atmosphere though.

Balvaird Castle
It’s a fairly remote place but the surrounding countryside is lovely.

Balvaird Castle

The view above is of the land around the back of the castle. And below is looking over to Fife.

Balvaird Castle

The castle was built in 1500 by Sir Andrew Murray and it’s definitely worth breaking your journey to go and have a snoop around the outside of it, and it doesn’t cost anything either, unusually.