THIS column is dedicated to walking and ramblers’ groups from across Scotland, where they can suggest the best routes to enjoy.
Over the coming weeks, The Herald Magazine writers will be suggesting their favourite walks too. See the panel at the end of this story if you want to get involved.
Dunmore Trail, Faskally Wood, Perthshire
By Susan Swarbrick
Start: Faskally car park.
Distance: ¾ miles/1.2 km.
Time: Allow 30 minutes.
Terrain: Firm, smooth gravel surfaces, with some slightly uneven sections and a few short slopes.
Level: Easy. Suitable for wheelchairs, prams and buggies.
Access: If travelling by car, Faskally Wood is off the B8019, around a mile north-west of Pitlochry. When heading north on the A9, there is a sign for Faskally. If travelling south, follow the turn-off for Pitlochry, then signs for Faskally. Nearest postcode: PH16 5JZ.
By public transport, Faskally is around 1.5 miles from Pitlochry train station. There is a taxi office next to the station.
What makes it special: A jaunt to Perthshire’s Big Tree Country is always a joy.
THE best of the autumn colours may be fading, but this gentle, scenic trail around the tree-lined Loch Dunmore in Faskally Wood, Perthshire – part of the Tay Forest Park – is a gem no matter what time of year you visit.
As we creep closer to winter and the daylight hours dwindle, it is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll to help boost the mood and enjoy time outdoors among nature.
Route: Starting from Faskally car park, there is a choice of two routes. The red waymarked Dunmore Trail is the shorter and easier option, aimed at all abilities as it follows a pleasant, meandering path around the loch.
Head down the access road from the main parking area until you reach an information board. From here, take the path to the left and within a few minutes the loch will come into view through the trees on the right-hand side.
As the path continues on, you will see a fork to the right leading to the start of the Dunmore Trail. Take this and soon you will see a glorious panorama begin to unfurl in front of you.
From here, it is nigh-on impossible to get lost; simply follow the trail around the loch in a loop. Keep an eye out for herons standing statue-like among the reeds as they fish, or perhaps a flash of electric blue as kingfishers flit back and forth above the lily pad-covered water.
Don’t forget to look up: if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of red squirrels performing aerial acrobatics through the branches or spy some tree-nesting goldeneye ducks.
Faskally Wood has no fewer than 23 tree species, including Douglas fir and Scots pine. Some of the magnificent specimens that grow here are more than 200 years old.
The layout of the woodland is largely man-made, created in the 19th century in the grounds of Faskally House, which was used as a Forestry Commission school.
Loch Dunmore has a pretty boathouse and timber footbridge, both hugely photogenic, particularly when reflected in the surface of the water. There are several wooden platforms where people can be seen fishing for carp, tench, roach and perch.
When you reach the far-end of the loch, continue to follow the signposts for the red waymarked trail as it sweeps towards the opposite bank. Once you have completed a full loop of the loch, retrace your steps back to the car park.
There is the option to further stretch the legs with the white waymarked Foresters’ Trail – covering a slightly longer 1½ miles/2.4 km – which follows an extended loop through the wood, around the base of Dunmore Hill and skirting the edge of Loch Faskally.
This trail is ranked as moderate difficulty, containing uneven gravel surfaces and muddy sections with some exposed tree roots, as well as a few steep slopes and some flights of wooden steps, that make it unsuitable for wheelchairs, prams and buggies.
Don’t miss: Pop into nearby Pitlochry for a hot drink and slice of cake at one of the many fantastic coffee shops. It is hard to pick a favourite but Hettie’s Tearooms, Cafe Calluna and Escape Route are all superb. Or pop up the hill to the Moulin Inn for some hearty fare.
Swing by Priory Books to browse the extensive range of second-hand and out-of-print titles, including maps and guides.
Do you have a walk you would like to suggest? Email firstname.lastname@example.org