I love autumn. The misty mornings, the damp air, the abundance of fungi in the woods and of course the fabulous colours as the leaves change. What I’m not a fan of is the clocks changing but I won’t rant about that, we just have to make the most of the daylight we do get. With that in mind the Dude and I yesterday ventured up the A9, just north of Perth, to see autumn at The Hermitage. I can confirm it is in full swing!
Armed with my camera and a change of lens, a pair of bino’s and some water I realise that I had forgotten my magnifying lens for close inspection of the little things that many people don’t see when out walking. Not impressed but nothing I could do about it, so we get on with our walk.
The car park is busy and there are lots of people either coming back from walks or, like us, about to start off. The Hermitage is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and so members, like myself park for free by displaying our passes in the window. For those without membership a small fee is required.
This 33 acre site was planted in the 18th century by the 3rd Duke of Atholl, John Murray, for his guests to enjoy as they walked to Ossians Hall. The Duke is said to have used a canon to spread the seeds of the trees for the most inaccessible places across the site. I would love to know if this is true or not?
One of the first things that struck me about this walk was the diversity of the trees. Both deciduous and pines thrive along the river Braan and the surrounding woodland. A great mix of the strong straight trunks of the pines and at this time of year the autumn colours of gold, orange and browns of the beech trees.
There are several points along the river where it is possible to get level with the river and onto the rocks and I am sure I don’t need to say be careful if you decided to do this! There was a noticeable difference in the amount of water flowing along from our previous visits and so care must be taken at all times.
As always I am sauntering along, looking down on the floor, up to the tree tops and everywhere in between, I would hate to miss something really cool. In amongst the leaf litter and just off of the footpaths we spotted so many different varieties of fungi – varying in shape, colour and size. They always fascinate me and the places they pop up.
As the bracken starts to die off too it also is turning such pretty shades of classic hillside autumn colours. And then soft sunlight really does make them look stunning.
Ossian’s Hall is a small folly built in 1758 and it’s restoration in 2007 again allows visitors to admire the dramatic Black Linn falls. The roar of the falls at this time of year is so loud and you can feel its power. There is only room for a small number of people to stand on the balcony at any one time and as it was busy when we visited we didn’t stay long and continued our walk through the woods.
It was only on our return circuit that as we stopped to watch the mesmerising falls once more that we witnessed one of the natural wonders, the leaping of Atlantic salmon. Oh my word this was incredible and we were willing these beautiful creatures up the waterfall with big gasps for those that were knocked back down!
Seriously impressive stuff! Their natural instinct to get up river to spawn is really quite special to watch. Far more exciting than T.V. You can see a video of the Hermitage over on my YouTube channel too.
I can’t recommend autumn at The Hermitage in Perthshire enough. Obviously each season will bring it’s own special thing to the river and woodland but as the trees go to sleep for the winter there really is still plenty going on – all you have to do is open your eyes.