Scotland 2017 - Day 20

Aberdeen to Pitlochry and the Enchanted Forest


After staying overnight at the Premier Inn at the Bridge of Don we headed south into Aberdeen. It was a grey, damp Sunday morning and the sun took a long time to make any impression on the gloom. We had planned to see a little of the "Granite City" especially the Marischal building but the central roads were a mess of closures due to road works. The weather was so grey we decided it was not suitable to view grey buildings as well, so we headed west towards the Cairngorms, stopping for the "Queen's View" and then the ancient stone circle near Tarland. The road turns south passing Braemar, Balmoral Castle and on to Pitlochry. By mid-afternoon the cloud had lifted and there were a few patches of sun, so we walked around Pitlochy, had an early dinner at the hotel then boarded the bus for the Enchanted Forest.

Aberdeen - the grey granite city in the gloom

Aberdeen may be a beautiful city, known for its old granite buildings, but it is not at its best on a grey, gloomy, wet morning in October.The inner-city road works did not help so we moved on..

Aberdeen early on a grey Sunday morning...
No light, no life and blocked off streets.

Echt, Queens View and Tarland

From Aberdeen we found the A944 west, turned onto the B9119 and drove through Echt with its line of new and old terrace houses. The cloud lifted (for a while) and we found the Queens View. We then descended the hill into Tarland.

New terrace houses in Echt.
The open road heading west.
The Queens View - there are many of these in Scotland,
The view.
Another aspect of the view.
"Erected by the Deeside Filed Club in 1970 to mark its jubilee".
The car park next to the view.
Broom in seed - another aspect of the Queens View.
The Antiquities of Cromar.
We moved on to the Culsh Earth House near Tarland. Too wet to visit...
But the Autumn colours were nice
as were the black sheep.
Tarland in the distance.

Tomnaverie Stone Circle at Tarland

The British Isles are littered with stone circles, big ones, little ones, tall standing stones, recumbent stones, little stones. Despite the proliferation their purpose remains unknown. The best known, of course, is Stonehenge, but many of the others are equally impressive in their own way. So why not stop at another one, this time in the middle of Scotland, just outside the town of Tarland. As with many of the stone circles, this one has an astronomical alignment. This may be just coincidence, but the sun at mid-summer forms an alignment with a prominent hill and the distinctive recumbent stone.

Sign to Tomnaverie Stone Circle.
The Recumbant Stone.
Part of the stone circle.
Looking back to Tarland.
Panorama of the whole stone circle.

Tarland to Pitlochy

From Tarland we drove on more country roads heading south. One of these took us through the XX Forest with its range of trees displaying their autumn colours.

Tarland Church.
Take your pick of destinations. Note there are Queens Views either way.
We took the dogleg to Braemar through some pleasant forest.
The main street of Ballater.
Heading west on the A93 towards,,,
Balmoral Castle.
The bridge over the River Dee at Crathie, one of the entrances to Balmoral.
Designed by Isambard Brunel
The Dee downstream
The Dee upstream.
Balmoral War Memorial
Gatehouse for Balmoral Castle.
The gates.
More of the bridge.
After Braemar, the road turns south and climbs.
The Spittal of Glenshee.
Where we stopped for lunch - The Wee House - a surprisingly good choice.
War memorial at the junction of the B950 and A924.
Avenue of trees...
and a pheasant near Moulin.
Entering Pitlochry.
The Tigh Na Cloich B&B where we stayed for the night.

Pitlochry and its Salmon Ladder

After checking in to the Tigh Na Cloich Hotel early, and with the sun making a valiant effort to break through the clouds, we decided to walk the circuit down to the river, across the dam, view the salmon ladder, back across the suspension bridge and back up the main street passing all the shops.

Pitlochry dam
Looking downstream
The salmon ladder.
The Visitor Centre
And the foot bridge
Also sprouting padlocks...
The Pitlochry war memorial
Shops on the main street
With enough chimneys to keep a coal mine going.

The Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest is an art installation in the forest just outside Pitlochry. It is a combination of imaginative lighting of the trees and kinetic lighting and water features. It has become hugely popular, this year being booked out well in advance with 70,000 tickes sold. Access can only be obtained with a ticket which includes the shuttle bus ride to the forest entrance. The tickets are timed to control the number of people arriving. Ours were for 1900 hours, after dark but early enough to avoid the crowds of people who walk around the circuit two (or three) times. It proved to be a magical experience. The music, light and water performance at the centrepiece of the show was particularly inspiring. But so too were the static lighting and other installations. It was well worth the time and cost.

And the movies of the Forest

These should play on any device. You get a better image if you click on the arrows icon to make it "full screen". And turn the sound on...


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Last updated: 30/01/2018