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Autumn In Scotland

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access_time October 21, 2013 chat_bubble_outline 0 comments 3912 views

Aline Dobbie makes her annual pilgrimage to some of the beloved beauty spots in her native Scotland and revels in the “amber colours” of autumn.

Dunkeld’s waterfall in autumn

This year we went up to Dunkeld which is an ancient little town in Perthshire and stayed at the Atholl Arms Hotel.  This quaint old hotel played host to Queen Victoria’s daughter, the Princess Royal in the second half of the 19th century, so you will gather it is a heritage building; the food was excellent, the bed was comfortable and the shower was hot.  It is well located right beside the famous River Tay which is actually the longest river in the whole of the United Kingdom.

Road to the Atholl Arms

The weather lightened soon after our arrival and we pottered about in Dunkeld which has an ancient cathedral, some of it in ruins but nevertheless attractive with fine river walks and other interesting sites.  We then drove up the A9 to Pitlochry which is an attractive town beside the Tay full of shops, cafes, heritage interest, a famous theatre and lovely scenery.  Then we proceeded up to Blair Atholl where the Duke of Atholl’s fine castle stands in the valley and is truly lovely.  It is about 20 years since I visited but it is well worth the stop to see round.  Onwards we went to Bruar where the House of Bruar is a most elegant shopping complex where some of the finest clothes manufactured in Britain can be found – the home of fine wools, cashmeres and other glorious upmarket clothing.  There is moreover a very fine Food Hall which would rival Harrods or Fortnum & Mason in London.  I indulged myself with chocolates and other goodies for Christmas.

That evening as the light died with a glorious sunset we had a lovely bottle of house wine back at the hotel and then a splendid dinner…and so to bed.

The next day we went to see The Queen’s View which is where Queen Victoria marvelled at the beauty of the Scottish scenery and fell in love with Scotland.  We drove along Loch Tummel having passed the Pass of Killiekrankie (renowned for a battle three centuries ago).  That whole area of Perthshire is beautiful and in the autumn one can be lucky and see the stags preparing for the rut with their roaring and stamping.

The Queen’s View

We had coffee in Kenmore which is at the east end of Loch Tay and then drove along the south shore of this famous long loch.  I reflected that I had first set eyes on it 50 years ago when very young and then had the good fortune to catch two great salmon in its dark waters in April 1965.  Playing a 25lb salmon took almost an hour before I won against this king of fish; then half an hour later I managed to land an 18lb salmon as well! That was a memorable afternoon indeed. Now I would not think of fishing as they are far too precious to kill, yet those experiences gave me my lifelong love for Scotland and her wild places.

Salmon on Loch Tay

Aberfeldy is another lovely little town to the east of Loch Tay and worth a visit. We however made our way along the south shore and stopped for a light lunch at the Ardeonaig Inn which is now a most elegant place with upmarket facilities and excellent cuisine. Half a century ago that inn was not a place for a young girl to enter, whereas now it is a wedding location and honeymoon destination and most elegant and well managed. Times change and progress happens!

Ardeonaig Hotel was just a raw Scottish pub in 1965

Killin is a town at the west end of the loch and the famous Falls of Dochart give visitors much pleasure. There are one two small hotels here as well. After visiting here, we made our way home by way of the road through Strathyre and Callander and then home to Peeblesshire where we live. The colours of autumn in Dawyck, the Arboretum at Stobo, which belongs to The Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh, are well worth a visit and at this time of the year the Acers are truly stunning.  There is moreover a first class little restaurant serving good home-made food.

Timeless beauty at Dawyck Botanic Gardens at Stobo

Scotland welcomes visitors throughout the year but I generally recommend that people come between late April and the end of October.  It can become very cold over Christmas and New Year though the City of Edinburgh hosts a world famous Christmas Festival with ice rink, fireworks, street parties and Christmas Market.

Haste ye Back!

About the Author

Aline Dobbie was born and brought up in India and lived there till nearly 17.  She considers the country her second home –  the Land of her birth.  She returns to India annually but lives in Scotland with her husband Graham; they have two adult sons who have families of their own.  Aline enjoys her five grandchildren.  Her books are India: The Peacock’s Call about northern India, India: The Tiger’s Roar about central India and the great wildlife parks, and India: The Elephant’s Blessing about southern India.  Quicklook at India is a précis of India to help business people and readers in a hurry to absorb the important salient facts on India – all are in e-book form as well.  http://www.thepeacockscall.co.uk.

 

Read more about Scotland here

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