Tags: Autumn, Dunkeld, forests, gardens, Perthshire, Places to visit in Scotland, Scotland, Scotland outdoors, Scottish forests, The Hermitage, the Highlands, Things to do in Scotland, trees, walking trails
It always amazes me when I hear some Scots wax lyrical about the Fall Colors Stateside. Forget New England and Vermont if you are looking to savour a dazzling burst of fiery reds, burning oranges and radiant yellows. Scotland for me is a brilliant place to check out the changing Autumnal colours.
The most obvious place to start is Big Tree Country. This epithet for Perthshire is an apposite one as this region is one of Scotland’s most heavily forested and it is home to what may just be Europe’s oldest tree, the Fortingall Yew. It also boasts The Hermitage, just off the A9 near Dunkeld, a wonderful oasis for all the family that sports an array of arbour from all over the world. These are Perthshire’s obvious highlights, but just take a drive from Killin along Loch Tay, through Glen Lyon, on to Aberfeldy (checking out its famous wooded Birksas you go) and then down the A9 and you can savour a riot of seasonal colour.
Moving beyond Perthshire some parts of Scotland are never going to excel for Autumn foliage, such as Orkney, Shetland or the Outer Hebrides, but some others surprise. The famous Caledonian forests of the Highlands may have been decimated for numerous reasons, but stunning pockets remain. I love Rothiemurchus Forest near Aviemore,an oasis of native Scots Pine, Rowan, Oak and Birch, which looks its best at this time of year. You can walk around the paths or cycle and search out the highest pocket of CaledonianForest in the country. I’m not going to give away exactly where it is. If you want to find this hallowed wonderland you are going to have to seek it out, but the effort is well worth it!
Back south two places in Argyll really excel for me. Ardkinglas Woodland Garden is an oasis of arbour on the banks of Loch Fyne. Britain’s tallest tree soars high into the heavens here, but it is just one of a spectacular orgy of trees that crown this spectacular location between loch and mountain. A network of trails charm their way around the garden and you can arrange private tours of Ardkinglastoo and even stay in the old butlers’ quarters!
The second deeply impressive Argyll Autumn escape is Benmore Botanic Gardens. Owned by the same people as the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh the vaulting trees here are breathtaking and they come shrouded within a fold of rugged hills, making them impossibly romantic. To get the best view of the Autumn spectacular walk to the frog pond on the upper hill path, where the landscape really opens up in all its glory. There is a great café in the Gardens too and getting here is all part of the fun with the ferry across to Dunoon within a short drive from the M8.
You might be screaming at me now saying I have missed loads of places where you can kick around the Autumn leaves and savour all those spectacular seasonal colours, but that is my point. Scotland excels as an Autumnal destination so get out there amongst it all and forget about jetting off to Vermont or New England!