Five Go Mad In Killin

Last weekend was spent in Killin, Perthshire, with some old nursing friends. We first met in the mid-late 80’s when we worked at The Gilbert Bain Hospital in Shetland. We enjoyed some lovely walks in the stunning Perthshire countryside in fantastic November weather.

finlarig castle, campbells of finlarig, Killin, Perthshire

Finlarig Castel Ruins , Killin

I was sort of in charge of the map and we decided on a shortish, flattish walk in view of the amount of wine consumed the night before. We set off along the old railway line, by the banks of Loch Tay, which was beautiful. We made a slight detour to visit Finlarig Castle, Built in 1629 by ‘Black’ Duncan Campbell, on the site of an existing much older castle. It really had a gloomy energy there, something to do with the beheading pit and the gallows tree perchance? Anyway, we carried on our walk and part of the route by the loch was flooded due to recent heavy rain but I had a cunning plan for a shortcut that was sure to bring us out at that nice hotel we spotted   for a sit down and a hearty lunch. However I may or may not have been holding the map upside down, but it turned out that I had absolutely no idea where we were. Hours and miles later we came across The Falls of Dochart Inn, like an oasis in the desert, which was my …  er  … plan all along, cough cough.

Falls of Dochart, dochart Falls Falls of Dochart Inn, Killin, Perthshire

Ready for lunch at Falls of Dochart

Falls of dochart, dochart Falls

Bridge at Falls of Dochart

We had a fabulous lunch at the Falls of Dochart Inn and were forced against our will to partake in some wine to wash it all down. After lunch with the memory of my map reading errors at the forefront of everyone’s minds again, we shuffled off to have a look at the Stone Circle by Kinnell. Despite the fact that I didn’t get us lost this time I noticed my friends behaving in strange fashion,

druids, standing stones, stone cirlce, outlander, Kinnell, Perthshire

Druids doing dopey doings at Kinnell Stone Circle

… and it turns out they were plotting to sacrifice me to the Druid God in return for my shocking navigation.

sacrifice, sacrificial lamb, stone circle, megalithic, Kinnell stone circle, Killin, Perthshire, footprintmaps

The sacrificial lamb at Kinnell Stone Circle

I think it’s fair to say that there is committed intent to sacrifice in the body language of my companions. I managed to remind them that I was a dabhand at making chips, notwithstanding my usefulness at getting everyone home that evening.

Luckily they let me off and I lived to walk another day. The very next day, in fact. We planned a low’ish level walk in the hills the next day, over some more wine and food. It turned out that instead of a wee dander of a mile or two on this day, we had covered nearly 10 miles – whoop whoop. My new Samsung phone app (S Health pedometer) was loving me. Anyway, I digress. Next day we got up in the morning, if not bright eyed, then certainly bushy-tailed, and made our way to the National Trust for Scotland car park at Ben Lawers. We were planning to do the Ben Lawers Nature Trail. This is a lovely walk which crosses the Burn of Edramucky several times, taking in lots of wildlife and plants and trees. The views were fantastic and the day was sunny and glorious. Our mood was chipper and upbeat – how good were we eh? This is the life etc etc

selfie, beinn ghlas, ben glass, Ben Lawers,Killin,Perthshire

Five go mad on Beinn Ghlas

Here we are before we … got lost. Guess who was in charge of the map? Yup moi. But I don’t think it was entirely my fault. We reached a junction and should really have taken the left hand path, which would have meant returning by the same path. so we improvised a bit and went up the right hand path instead so we could come down a different path, and arrived at the Sheillings.

Sheillings Beinn Ghlas, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers Nature Trail, National Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Loch Tay

The Sheillings, Beinn Ghlas, Perthshire

… eventually. At this point we were supposed to descend again to civilization. But for some reason, the correct path disappeared into thin air. and  my cerebral navigation centre (clearly underdeveloped) directed us all in the opposite direction … for quite some distance. Thankfully, there were no standing stones with a sacrificial alter nearby. So we quickly descended (by the wrong path) back to the car park. We drove to Kenmore for a (late) lunch. After that we parted company (possibly for ever!!). Sharon and I headed back to Perth. Annette headed back to Wales, and Eleanor and Caroline headed back to Edinburgh.

On our way home as the day and a perfect weekend was ending we saw this magnificent sunset in Dunkeld

sunset, Dunkeld, Perthshire

Sunset in Dunkeld

Just beautiful. And I was again reminded how lucky I am to live in the best country in the world and the best county, Perthshire, Garden of Scotland.