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.

Dunkeld, Perthshire

Dunkeld in Perthshire, or what I think is now called Perth and Kinross is one of my favourite places to visit, the drive up there is lovely and it isn’t too far from where we live. This time our visit was a bit different as we took an old friend with us, she hadn’t been there for decades, it’s not really the sort of place you go to on your own.
Dunkeld bridge, Perthshire

Anyway, I took some photos, mainly to show to another friend who used to fish in the area, but hasn’t been able to do that for years now. In the photo above I was standing on the bridge that takes you over the River Tay and into Dunkeld. My friend used to stay in the Atholl Hotel on the right on his fishing holidays.

Dunkeld Bridge, Perthshire

It was October but I think we were just a wee bit too late for the best of the autumn tree colour. The area in the photo below has changed quite a bit over the years, not the buildings obviously but they’ve spruced up the foreground and added more parking places by the side of the river which is just out of view. In the summer they put tables and chairs out near that area.

Dunkeld hotels, hills, Perthshire

The view to the other side of the bridge as you get into the Dunkeld is obscured by trees, but the trees are nicer than houses anyway.
Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland

Standing more or less on the middle of the bridge I took the photo below of the River Tay looking north.

River Tay north, Dunkeld, Perthshire

I pointed the camera a bit further to the right for the photo below, Dunkeld Cathedral is just beyond that area.
River Tay north, Dunkeld, Perthshire

I crossed the road to take the photos below of the River Tay looking south.
River Tay south, Dunkeld, Perthshire

River Tay south , Dunkeld, Perthshire

Really the trees below were looking good but they could be doing with having some trees with red leaves too, copper beech or maybe red maples, but maybe they wouldn’t grow so well there.
autumn trees, River Tay,Dunkeld Scotland

Beatrix Potter was inspired by the countryside here as she visited Dunkeld and Birnam with her parents on holiday every summer. You can read about that here.

When we were moving house all of almost six years ago now we looked around the Dunkeld area, just online, but there were only four houses for sale at the time and they were pricey in comparison with the other places we were looking. It’s maybe just as well, because it is quite far away from Edinburgh and we do enjoy being able to visit the city easily whenever we fancy. And if we lived in Dunkeld we wouldn’t be able to go there for a nice afternoon out every now and again!

For lots of information on what to do in and around Dunkeld you should visit My Voyage Scotland. It’s a great Scottish travel blog.

Dundee Botanic Garden

I did a blogpost about the glasshouses at Dundee Botanic Garden a few weeks ago and I was absolutely sure that I had previously posted ones about the actual gardens, so I was amazed when I couldn’t find that post on ‘Pining’. Has it somehow disappeared or did I only write it in my mind while I was doing the ironing or something? Anyway – here goes again – or maybe not!
It was a gorgeous Indian summer day but it was midweek and we almost had the whole of the botanic gardens to ourselves.

Dundee Botanic Gardens conifer

Dundee University uses parts of the gardens for research. This area is the genetics garden. The three trees below are Ginkgo bilobas, sometimes known as the Maidenhair tree. I’m sure that I recently read that the most northerly Ginkgos are growing in the north of England – obviously that was wrong as these ones are thriving. I love these trees, they look so delicate, but there are fossils of ginkgos which are 270 million years old. They originate from China.

genetics garden , Dundee

The stylish stone walls are a fairly recent addition I believe.
genetics garden, Dundee Botanics, Scotland

Dundee University and nearby Ninewells Hospital do a lot of very good medical research.

genetics garden, Dundee Botanics, Scotland

There’s a large old house within the gardens, in the photo you can just see the steps which lead up to it. It looks to me like it has been split up into flats, but presumably the Botanic Gardens were originally the gardens of the grand house.

flowers and house, Dundee Botanic Garden, Scotland

And below is the house.

house Dundee Botanic Gardens

Walk through the arched yew hedge and you enter a darkened yew room, lovely shade on a very bright day.
yew hedge arch

The botanic garden is built quite high up from the main road and from the edge of them you can look down on Dundee airport which is very small but fairly busy. I suspect that the biggest planes it can cope with seat about 50 people. The river is of course the Tay and the bridge that you can see is the one which replaced the old bridge which collapsed in a wild storm in 1879. You can read about it here. You can still see the stumps of the original bridge.

airport  + Tay Bridge

Dundee airport
We visited the Dundee Botanic Gardens on the third of September and below is a photo of an acer which was already changing into its autumn clothing, but it certainly didn’t feel like autumn was on the way. I took some more photos but I’ll keep them for another day. Hope you enjoyed the walk!

Dundee Botanic Garden path

Random photos

I must have walked past this window in St Andrews hundreds of times but I only noticed it recently. The buildings are generally very old but this is obviously an Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts window, somebody did a bit of refurbishment over the years.

Art Nouveau Glass Window

Across the road I noticed the stone owls sitting on the edge of the portico. I think that like many buildings in St Andrews this one is owned by the university, so presumably the owls are symbolic of wisdom and learning.

Owls

It’s rare to see an empty street nowadays, they’re usually full of parked cars on both sides of the street, but on their Open Arts Festival in Cellardyke, a coastal village in Fife, the place was deserted of cars for once. The clutch of red balloons being the only evidence of modernity, denoting where an artist was exhibiting work.
Cellardyke

I took the photo below in the fair city of Perth, the hanging baskets and window boxes were looking so lovely. I think the rather grand looking building was a bank originally – remember them?!
hanging baskets

I have visited the small town of Dunkeld hundreds of times as it’s one of my favourite places, but I had only ever been into the cathedral ruins there. The photo below is of the newer cathedral which is obviously still in use as a place of worship.
Dunkeld Cathedral Stained Glass

The photo below is the view of Dunkeld that you get as you drive over the bridge.
Dunkeld From Bridge over the River Tay

After visiting the cathedral I walked over the bridge to get a photo of the River Tay. I’ve never seen it so low before, there were actually people walking out to the ‘islands’.
River Tay From Bridge at Dunkeld

I bet it was still cold though!

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.

Dunkeld, Perthshire

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day, unseasonally warm for early April and we drove up to Dunkeld again. After having lunch at Palmerston’s and having a poke around a wee antiques shop and an unexpected church jumble sale – where I bought a big bag of tapestry wool (when will you use it? said Jack) and some cute wee individual Pyrex dishes, we set off for a walk around the outskirts of the town. So we walked through the gateway below which is at the beginning of a long driveway leading to a hotel in beautiful surroundings.

Dunkeld

As you near the hotel they have a boat planter full of spring flowers and an ‘angler’ catching a wooden fish.

Dunkeld

Perthshire or Perth and Kinross as I think the county is called now (why do they have to keep changing names?) is well known for beautiful trees and some of the ones around here are quite historic. As you can see from the ‘hills’ of earth on the bottom left hand of the photo the moles have been hard at work!

Dunkeld

As the walk goes uphill towards the end you end up quite high above the River Tay.
Dunkeld

It looked really placid from a distance but when you are close up it’s really fast flowing.
Dunkeld

This is a circular walk and it leads you back into the centre of Dunkeld, straight to the cathedral, you can see images of it here.

Beatrix Potter visited Dunkeld and the neighbouring village of Birnam every summer with her parents for years and was inspired to write some of her stories here. She also took up the study of fungi and painted beautiful specimens she had collected, unfortunately as a woman she wasn’t taken seriously by the men in charge of such sciences. There is a Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden at the Birnam Arts and Conference Centre which displays some of her botanical drawings. Birnam and Dunkeld more or less run into each other but are separated by the river.

There’s also the nearby Birnam Oak which is all that is left of the Birnam Wood of Shakespeare’s Macbeth fame, but I’ll save that for another post.

The River Tay

River Tay

One of the first things we did when Peggy got here was to take her to visit the author and farmer James Oswald at his very remote farm on the edge of Fife. The yellow patches which you can see in the photos are fields of oilseed rape, a very lucrative crop for the farmers but seen close up they can be painful on the eyes and on a hot day (if we get any) the smell is rather overpoweringly sweet.

River Tay

These photos are of the view which he gets from the new house which he is having built. It’s a lovely area but so remote that we thought we had somehow taken a wrong turning as he lives miles down a farm track, right on the edge of Fife. As it happens the view over the nearby River Tay is of Perthshire or Perth and Kinross as I think they are calling it nowadays. Our youngest son lives in that part of Perthshire, where the scenery is much more beautiful than anything in Fife, in my opinion.

River Tay and Fife farmland

If you want to see some of the animals in James Oswald’s farm you can look at this post I did earlier.

A Farm in Fife

sheep and lambs

You might know that Peggy of Peggy Ann’s Post is staying with me at the moment and one of the places she really wanted to visit is the farm in Fife where the Scottish crime author James Oswald breeds Highland cattle and sheep, so that was one of our first ports of call.
lambs

Almost all of the sheep had had their lambs recently and they were happily doing sheepish stuff in a large field, but there were a few lambs and sheep which were being kept in a sort of creche consisting of a large open ended poly tunnel which keeps the worst of the weather off them but allows them to have the benefit of fresh air.

lambs and sheep

Some of the lambs had been abandoned by their mums and others were there because their mums didn’t have enough milk for them. One wee lamb had been lying at an awkward angle inside his mum and so he was born with distorted front legs but they seem to be straightening out as he grows although I think they’re still a wee bit swollen.

lamb
There are also a few big fat sheep in with the lambs, a couple of them are past their due date for giving birth, ladies in waiting!

James kindly took time out of his busy life to drive us to the field where his ‘coos’ were busy munching away. I think everybody loves Highland cattle and I remember a time when they were really quite rare, but they are becoming more common now, partly because they are so placid. They backed away from us when we went into their field but when they realised we weren’t a threat to them they settled down and became quite interested in us I think. Some of the cows are around 15 years old and he knows them from birth so I suppose they’re like part of the family. The cow on the far right of the first photo looks rather comical as it looks like it has a set of horns front and back like a pushmi-pullyu.

Highland cattle

James Oswald and Peggy

James gives all his cows names and there are several generations of them in this field. People tend to think of Highland cows as being red haired but some of them are sort of honey blonde and even black. The cow which he called Catriona has black hair, I couldn’t help thinking that she should have been a redhead. The females seem to be kept for breeding but I suspect the males which are born have a somewhat shorter life. James Oswald says he would never want to give up on his animals to concentrate solely on his writing.

Highland cows

Highland cow
The farm’s location is wonderful, what a view he has from his front window, which looks right over the River Tay to Perthshire, or should I say Perth and Kinross nowadays? But I’ll show you that in another blogpost.

A Saltire in Perthshire – a portent?

We were driving in Perthshire one day last week and I spotted a Saltire in the sky! You might have heard of how Scotland’s flag (the Saltire) came to be a blue background with a white Saint Andrew’s cross on it, if not then you can read about it here.

Anyway, below is a photo of last week’s Saltire. Is it an omen for the independence referendum I wonder? I took the photo through the windscreen as Jack was driving along so it isn’t nearly as clear as it looked on the day.

A Saltire?

Oh all right, it probably is just two jet trails crossing the sky, but you never know, it might be an omen!

a saltire  from bridge

I took the photo above just a few minutes later as we were driving across the Friarton Bridge over the River Tay, just south of Perth. You can still just see the cross in the sky.

Perth, Scotland

Whenever I Google Perth the one in Australia pops up but it’s the original one which we visit. I was looking for secondhand bookshops and looking at a map thinking – I don’t recognise anything here, no wonder, it was in the Antipodes. And if you’re interested, the Oxfam bookshop seems to be the only secondhand one in Perth.

Perth is one of the places we’ve been looking at with a view to moving there, it’s a city, but quite a small one and is close to some fantastic countryside. The only worry is that the place is prone to flooding. The photo above is of the River Tay and it flows past the High Street. As you can see, it was a lovely blue sky day when I took this one last Friday.

They have spent loads of money on a flood defence system which seems to be working. The whole riverside has been done up and looks very smart, modern but stylish.

The above photo is a close up of one of the bridges at the top of the Perth High Street area. Although we like Perth we decided against moving there, we looked at four or five houses which were quite nice but they were all located close to something called ‘The Lade’ which when we were there was a fairly menacing small river. One of the houses was just about 10 yards away from it and I could imagine that The Lade might be a frequent visitor to the house. I was assured that this wouldn’t happen but I know that in heavy rain I would just worry my head off about being inundated by it.

The photo above is of the top of the High Street, before you get to the shops and the River Tay is just opposite this building.

The photo above is of a pedestrian precinct just off the High Street, it was about 4 o’clock when I took this photo. It’s a strange thing but in Perth all the shoppers disappear home very early. At the end of the street you can just see the Salutation Hotel, Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed there when they were planning the 1745 Rebellion.

Above is a close up of the hotel, which is in need of a bit of buffing up before the tourist season begins, if you ask me. I’ve been told that it’s very nice inside though.

The photo below is of the other side of the River Tay. I took all of the river photographs within a very short distance of each other, just pointing the camera in different directions. It’s a lovely riverside I think, but the houses that we viewed weren’t tempting enough to make us want to live there. We’ll just keep Perth as a great place to visit for a day out.