Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I haven’t quite got my blogging mojo back for 2016, so in the meantime here are a few pictures John took yesterday from the wildlife hide at the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Lodge near Aberfoyle. More posts soon!

  
   

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An autumn walk

View from Doon Hill
Autumn mists

Yesterday was a lovely autumnal day for a walk, with the mist hanging low over the ground so that it was easy to get above it. We drove to Aberfoyle, less than 30 miles from Glasgow, and followed a waymarked trail of about 4½ miles around the village.

Our first stop was the ruined church and graveyard. The minister here between 1685 and 1692 was Reverend Robert Kirk who had a strong interest in local folklore and wrote a famous book telling the secrets of the fairies.

A little further on is the site of their revenge, Doon Hill. Allegedly the fairies were so cross with Kirk’s revelations that they kidnapped him and encased his soul in the pine tree at the top of the hill. Even if you don’t believe it, and plenty seem to given the number of requests left for the fairies, it’s still a haunting place.

After Doon Hill, the path took us through Easter Park, following the River Forth for a while, before returning to Aberfoyle via the old railway line.

As an added bonus, on the drive home the sunset was magnificent with the cloud formations and shades of orange and pink changing at every corner we turned. What a beautiful afternoon.

Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset

 

Scottish Snapshots: Lime Craig Trail

Scottish Snapshots is a series of short posts about places I visited in 2013 but didn’t write about at the time

Lime Craig Trail is in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Start or finish with lunch in the recently refurbished Visitor centre above Aberfoyle and have a great walk. It was eerily misty on the November day we went, but we’ve also been to Lime Craig by a different route in summer weather – brighter pictures here.

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

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QEFP, created in honour of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, is a beautiful area of forests, lochs and hills. We must have done most of the walks in it at least once, because it’s so accessible from Glasgow. Today saw a break in the torrential rain we’ve had recently, so it was a good opportunity to get out there again. Aberfoyle was full of tour buses and, given that it’s also the first weekend of the Scottish school holidays, we decided to give the visitor centre at the David Marshall Lodge a miss and walk from the Braeval car park instead. This is just half a mile the other side of the Rob Roy roundabout from Aberfoyle and was a good choice – we barely saw another soul. We did Lime Craig, a circular walk waymarked with red posts – you need to know this before you get there because, unfortunately, the information board has disappeared. It’s about 3.5 miles, so not too taxing – and, although the skies looked ominous at times, we always managed to keep ahead of the rain!

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Away with the fairies……

It was a lovely, bright afternoon, so we decided to go for a walk in the Trossachs. Doon Hill is a short stroll from Aberfoyle and, allegedly, the home of the fairies. The top is festooned with offerings – people leave clouties (rags) in the hope that as the cloutie rots the illness or misfortune affecting the person on whose behalf it was placed would also vanish. Last time we came it was summer and there were a lot more offerings, also the breeze stirred the bells and wind chimes so that you knew you were at the top before you saw it. It was still quite weird enough today though. We did a one and a half hour circle and this is what we saw:

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