Walk of the week: Birks of Aberfeldy

Picture: Nick Drainey

Picture: Nick Drainey

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ROBERT Burns was impressed by the Birks of Aberfeldy and was inspired to write a poem of the same name. That alone would probably draw thousands of visitors but the natural beauty really is enough to entice any lover of the outdoors.

There is a wonderful mix of trees which crowd a dramatic gorge you can climb up the side of to reach a “proper” waterfall which throws water straight down.

If you want a more literary description the Bard said:

“The braes ascend like lofty wa’s,

“The foaming stream deep-roarin’ fa’s

“O’erhung wi’ fragrant spreading shaws

“The birks of Aberfeldy”

Just next to the gorge is a great view over Strathtay with the chance to see Highland Perthshire at its best as you stroll along.

All in all a good walk, whether you are in the mood for poetry or not.

DISTANCE 4 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED 600ft.

TIME 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

MAP OS Landranger 52.

PARK From the centre of Aberfeldy, take the A826 Crieff road. After a few hundred yards you reach a stone bridge where you should turn right to enter a car park for the Birks of Aberfeldy.

IN SUMMARY

Follow the path at the top of the car park into the trees for about 50 yards and turn left to cross a wooden bridge. The undulating path follows the east bank of the Moness Burn, passing a sculpture of Burns sat on a bench. Beyond this the path climbs through a mixture of trees, with enough sky above to stop you feeling hemmed in. Once past a plaque indicating the spot where Burns is said to have been inspired to write his poem, walkways lead above the side of the gorge and at times the burn itself can only just be glimpsed through the canopy of tree branches.

Steps take you up the steepest parts of the gorge until it levels out near the top and you reach a good view of the Falls of Moness.

Continue following the path round to the right and across a bridge above the falls – from the bridge you get a bird’s eye view of the water as it cascades over rocks before plunging straight down.

On the other side you can make a quicker return by going right at a fork to follow a path, through birch and beech trees, down the west side of the gorge and back to the car park.

To enjoy a longer walk and good views of Perthshire go left at the fork, following a sign for “Aberfeldy via Urlar Road”. Go right at a road then go left on reaching a gate to follow a track across a grassy hillside with many birch trees.

The path drops down as views open up over Strathtay with hills and mountains beyond. Go through a metal pedestrian gate next to a field gate and continue to another, similar, metal gate. After this go straight ahead at a junction, following a sign for Aberfeldy down a track. At another track near some stone cottages go right and follow it over a cattle grid all the way to a road junction.

Enter trees on the other side of the junction and drop down a winding set of wooden steps. At the bottom go left to follow a path above the Moness Burn, back to the car park.

REFRESH

There is a wide choice in Aberfeldy.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA

Dewar’s World of Whisky (www.dewars.com), on the road out of Aberfeldy, towards Pitlochry, offers tours and tastings.

Twitter: @ScotlandWalk

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