The Birks of Aberfeldy (and other walks)

Breadalbane Stag

The Birks of Aberfeldy

Between Christmas and New Year we spent three nights in Aberfeldy in Highland Perthshire. The Birks (birch trees) of Aberfeldy is a famous walk, and also the subject of a Robert Burns song, a few words of which you can just about make out on the Breadalbane Stag above (Breadalbane being the name of the wider area).

The walk itself is a steep climb up one side of the Moness Burn and down the other. It’s the third time we’ve done it, the first being at a similar time of year in 2009, but with much more snow. Check out the two photos of Burns’ statue to see the difference! This year Rabbie, like the stag, has been decorated for Christmas.

I actually preferred walking on the deeper snow – it was more stable. In 2017, a thin covering of snow, followed by rain which froze over night, meant we slithered up and down to the Falls of Moness. Again, compare and contrast – in 2009 the Falls are frozen.

Black Spout

Another circular walk starts in Pitlochry, taking you past Black Spout waterfall and the Edradour Distillery (sadly, closed to visitors in the winter – a warming dram would have been nice).

Falls of Acharn

Yet another waterfall, this time above Loch Tay. Again, we slithered up one side of a gorge and down the other. The Falls are seen by walking through a so-called “Hermit’s Cave”, in reality an artificial structure built in the 1760s by the 3rd Earl of Breadalbane in order to conceal the view until the last minute. Some of these pictures look almost black and white but they are definitely in colour!

River Tay at Kenmore

Kenmore Hotel

No waterfalls in this walk! Kenmore is a model village built by the Lairds of Breadalbane. After lunch in the Kenmore Hotel, which dates from 1572, we walked downhill past Taymouth Castle gates.

Crossing the bridge over the Tay, we could see the back of the hotel, with its modern extension, on the other bank.

We walked along the river as far as a Gothic folly named Maxwell’s Temple, built by Lord Breadalbane in 1831 as a tribute to his wife Mary.

Returning through the village, we passed the church, white timbered cottages built by the 3rd Earl in 1760, and the Post Office which still advertises itself as a Telegraph Office (zoom in above door).


Should you ever need to visit Aberfeldy, we can recommend the Townhouse Hotel: comfortable rooms, a great breakfast and pleasant staff.

We ate in the hotel the first night and set out to explore on the other two – not that we got far: The Three Lemons was just across the road. We had a lovely dinner on night 2, but liked the look of the pizzas on the next table so much that we went back on night 3 to try them. Delicious!

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks, which this week comes from Lisbon and is a much sunnier prospect than Aberfeldy.

80 thoughts on “The Birks of Aberfeldy (and other walks)

  1. hilarymb January 17, 2018 / 18:10

    Hi Anabel – those are great compare and contrast photos – loved seeing them … guess you’ll be able to add in 2018 – except you won’t be able to travel there at the moment. Fabulous sounding walks and places to visit – then good food – always helps and that dram or two … cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh January 17, 2018 / 18:44

      Thanks Hilary, glad you enjoyed. Not travelling very far at the moment.


  2. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) January 17, 2018 / 16:01

    I really like that stag, and the way all the text and fishes have been incorporated into the design! Kingston upon Thames’s crest has three salmon and a couple of stags, and since I’m supposed to awkwardly fit it in somewhere on all the merchandise I have made for the museum shop, it would be nice if I had a more streamlined version like this that I could use!


  3. edgar62 January 17, 2018 / 01:17

    Every year – when my father was alive – we spent our summer holidays at Lochearnhead. That was our base for wandering around Perthshire. Interesting, my Uncle Stirling’s song was always “The Rose o” Aberfeldy”.. Great post Anabel, lurved the snow. Will probably keep coming back to this and looking over it when it gets a tad warm here :o) that and some seriously chilled Irn Bru.


    • Anabel Marsh January 17, 2018 / 07:33

      Ah, Irn Bru! Very controversial these days as they are reducing the sugar content. Hardcore fans are stockpiling it.


  4. Ann Coleman January 16, 2018 / 22:47

    You make traveling in the winter look wonderful! Dang, I’m gonna have to get to Scotland one of these days…


  5. Eunice January 16, 2018 / 13:36

    Looks like a nice walk but I think I’d rather do it on a sunny spring or summer day, I wouldn’t fancy all that slipping and sliding in the snow : ( The Kenmore Hotel looks nice, and I can imagine those cottages look really pretty on a sunny day.


    • Anabel Marsh January 16, 2018 / 14:02

      Or the thick snow – that was better! Hard trudging but no sliding.


  6. Susan at FindingNYC January 16, 2018 / 12:23

    Looks like a lovely winter walk, Anabel. I hope the new year is treating you well so far!


    • Anabel Marsh January 16, 2018 / 12:45

      Thank you Susan, it was lovely, and so far so good for 2018 – I hope the same applies to you!


  7. Jemima Pett January 16, 2018 / 10:45

    Lovely – even in winter, or maybe, especially so. Shame about the distillery though. I think I did that walk one summer – it looks familiar although I don’t remember the waterfall. Either that or we did part of it when we had an exceedingly long walk to the start for one orienteering event when the Scottish Six Days was based at Aberfeldy. I’m talking decades ago when I did it!


    • Anabel Marsh January 16, 2018 / 12:11

      It’s possible – you could do the walk without going to the waterfall as it was off to the side. And the viewing platform looked quite new so maybe wasn’t there decades ago!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. January 16, 2018 / 05:38

    The scenery is gorgeous, Anabel. So Christmassy! I agree that many of the photos look like they were taken in black and white — stunning!


    • Anabel Marsh January 16, 2018 / 07:16

      Thanks Donna, it is stunning, I love it up there. We have a covering of white again today but it’s not quite as pretty in the city.


  9. bob January 16, 2018 / 00:16

    Not been up that way for years. Kenmore is a nice wee place. Pretty adventurous walking for winter as I remember climbing up them in Spring and being impressed by the falls.


    • Anabel Marsh January 16, 2018 / 07:14

      It’s a lovely area. The middle time we walked the Birks of Aberfeldy it was in “summer” and the pictures came out quite dull – it certainly sparkles in the snow.


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