Four of the best Scottish autumn walks

Falls of Leny. Picture: Nick Drainey

Falls of Leny. Picture: Nick Drainey

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WHEN the autumn weather is being kind and bright sun burns off early morning mist, the sight of a hillside of trees with their leaves in an array of differing colours is truly one of the best things to behold in the Scottish countryside. So put on a jumper and enjoy the brilliant natural show going on outside.

BIRNAM HILL, PERTHSHIRE

DISTANCE: 4 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED: 1,150ft.

TIME: 2∫ to 3∫ hours.

MAP: OS Landranger 52.

PARK: It is best to arrive by train at Dunkeld and Birnam Railway Station but there is also parking in the centre of Birnam.

IN SUMMARY: Birnam Wood features in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and can be seen on an ascent of this wonderful tree-clad hill. But it is the scenery that really captures the interest. There are plenty of gaps through the woodland to enjoy the views to the Highland mountains, as well as the far off Grampians. It is also well worth the detour to enjoy the Stair Bridge Viewpoint from where you get a good view over Perthshire and the Sidlaws, which includes Dunsinane, mentioned by the Bard.

CALLANDER TO FALLS OF LENY

DISTANCE: 5 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED: 150ft.

TIME: 2 to 3 hours.

MAP: OS Landranger 57.

PARK: Callander Meadows car park is off the main street, opposite the Dreadnought Hotel.

IN SUMMARY: The Callander to Oban railway stopped running in 1965 but the track bed is now a great way to enjoy some easy walking amid wonderful scenery. Once the town of Callander is behind there are fantastic views of Ben Ledi ahead before the turbulent Falls of Leny are reached. The gorge through which the foaming water is forced is bordered by woodland which is currently putting on an autumnal display to match the performance of the river, aptly named Garbh Uisge (Gaelic for rough water).

PUCK’S GLEN

DISTANCE: 1∫ miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED: 400ft.

TIME: 1∫ to 2 hours.

MAP: OS Landranger 56.

PARK: About 6 miles north of Dunoon on the A815 there is a Forestry Commission car park for Puck’s Glen, on the right.

IN SUMMARY: This glen is named after Shakespeare’s character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and no-one could fail to be impressed by the magical character of the rich vegetation clinging to the rocky walls of a deep chasm, covered in a canopy of trees. The way down from the top of Puck’s Glen offers views over the hills of Cowal, and if you wish you can make the route longer or combine it with Benmore Botanic Garden.

GLEN TANAR, DEESIDE

DISTANCE: 5 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED: 310ft.

TIME: 2 to 2∫ hours.

MAP: OS Landranger 44.

PARK: Near the Glen Tanar Estate visitor centre, just over three miles from Aboyne.

IN SUMMARY: Glen Tanar has wonderful pine woods which are home to the capercaillie and crossbill and the mixed woodland is filled with the song of other birds. Waymarked routes lead you past the old St Lesmo’s Chapel, the Knockie Viewpoint and the Water of Tanar – try the Old Pines route for the full experience. n

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