Going up Doon Hill

River Forth at Aberfoyle

Yesterday, 1st December, was a lovely crisp, winter day so we decided to go for a walk in the Trossachs. We drove to Aberfoyle, less than 30 miles from Glasgow, and followed the trail to Doon Hill, home of the fairies. Allegedly.

The minister in Aberfoyle 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. Doon Hill is the site of their revenge. 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.

People sometimes leave offerings to the fairies in the form of clouties (cloths) in the hope that, as the cloutie rots, the illness or misfortune affecting the person on whose behalf it was placed will also vanish. It’s a few years since we did this walk, and it seems from the new trail notice, that some people aren’t quite getting the concept and are leaving non-biodegradable items which are never going to rot.

Something else that was new to us were the fairy houses, carved from tree stumps, on the way up the slope. Lots of offerings here.

On the other hand, the top of the hill seems to have been cleared quite considerably. We remembered the surrounding oaks all being decorated and bells tinkling in the breeze. Even if you don’t believe in the fairies, that made it quite a haunting place. Now, the offerings are largely confined to the central Scots pine, home to Rev Kirk’s soul. Or not.

After descending Doon Hill, the path took us through woodland, following the River Forth for a while, before returning to Aberfoyle. The frosty trees and the late afternoon light were wonderfully atmospheric.

It’s a while since I’ve linked up with Jo’s Monday Walk. If I’ve made you feel cold, I suggest you hop over there immediately for a warm in some Portuguese sun.

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

 

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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