AS the leaves begin to turn, Perthshire dazzles with autumn colour. October is always a great time to visit when tramping through the woodland feels akin to stepping inside a kaleidoscopic swirl of gold, crimson, ochre, bronze, amber and russet shades.
But where to go? Faskally Wood is glorious for an autumnal stroll, as is the Pass of Killiecrankie and the trails around the Queen’s View. Lady Mary’s Walk, near Crieff, and the pretty Falls of Bruar, only a stone’s throw from Blair Atholl, are also sublime at this time of year.
Yet, when tasked with naming the best places to enjoy the changing of the seasons in “Big Tree Country” – as Perthshire is aptly known – it is nigh-on impossible not to be drawn back to old favourites that, year after year, rarely fail to take the breath away.
One such heart-soaring delight is the Birks of Aberfeldy where, when the light hits just right, the trees visibly glow and shimmer with colour, appearing almost aflame at times.
It has attracted far higher praise than mine: Scotland’s bard Robert Burns was inspired to write a poem after visiting on a tour of the Highlands with his friend William Nicol in 1787.
While Burns was most captivated by the striking birks – Scots for birch – that can be found lining the Moness gorge, there are many other species to feast your eyes upon, including oak, ash, beech, hazel, rowan, wych elm and willow. Remnants of the ancient Caledonian Forest are known to grow here too.
A two-mile circular walk through the Birks of Aberfeldy leads to a bridge above the Falls of Moness where the raw power can be felt beneath your feet as the thundering water cascades into a foaming burn below.
As the trail meanders around, you will see a statue of Burns, sitting on a bench, seemingly gazing out at the scenery, perhaps as the muse strikes.
Another much-beloved Perthshire gem is The Hermitage, near Dunkeld, where the woodland paths and riverside walks have been well-trodden by everyone from Queen Victoria to the poet William Wordsworth, artist J M W Turner and composer Felix Mendelssohn.
There is a viewpoint on the approach to the folly of Ossian’s Hall that proffers a picture-perfect glimpse towards the Black Linn Falls where the River Braan – a tributary of the Tay – gallops over the rocks into deep, effervescent pools below.
When it comes to photography, as the accompanying images show, there are no bad angles here. Simply point and click, then let Mother Nature do the rest.