Thursday, April 03, 2008

Craig a Barns





It was eight years ago that sometime blog-commenter here 'Vlad', told me of a great local walk. He recommended taking the track up a hill called Craig a Barns, which begins near the large sawmill just behind Dunkeld. I know it was that long ago, because I carried a very tiny Boris up there along with a thermos of warmed baby-milk! Yesterday I spent much of the day regretting that I had left it eight years without paying the place a well-deserved return visit.

If you have ever sped up the A9 on your way from Perth, perhaps looking forward to a day amongst the shapely hills of the far North-West, or turning left at Dalwhinnie for the West Coast, or disregarding the speed limit in your haste to ascend the Cairngorm plateau, you may have missed Craig a Barns. Next time you are braving the main road, look across to the North - as the A9 bears right at Dunkeld and curves around to cross the Tay. There in the corner with a view Northwards towards Pitlochry and Eastward back across the village is the steep sided, tree-covered Craig a Barns. It's an ancient hill-fort site, and it's easy to see why an iron age general would want to sit on top of its domineering slopes, and utilise its commanding view of the strath below.

We were not there for military reasons, however (having said that, my sons' predilection for pine-cone bombardment does make gaining the higher ground a very sensible option). I was going to have all three kids for the day, my wife was working, and the weather was fantastic - and then I remembered Vlad's recommendation from so long ago. We managed a circular walk, up from the sawmill, under the caves and cliffs, round the the smaller summit and back past the beautiful lochan directly underneath it. This is a place with almost magical qualities, perfectly still, fish jumping, frogs leaping, and ducks following humans around the paths. We could have stopped here for hours, but time was pressing and we had to get back down the road as swimming lessons were awaiting!

A day with the kids, in lovely weather and gorgeous surroundings. Aren't school holidays great!?

10 comments:

Fish Wife's Tales said...

THM, while you were on your lovely walk, ER and I were at ... IKEA!

But we managed a spot of gardening too, planting 200 snowdrops in the green. Something lovely to look forward to next spring!

That Hideous Man said...

I didn't believe in purgatory until we went to IKEA...

His Girl Friday said...

Fantastic photos and commentary. I loved that area, though we were more up towards Pitlochry.

IKEA, hmm, yes, would have to agree with you there, HM...I'm not the shopper in the family.

Hi Fish wife,
Your garden sounds lovely...if we stay with this blog thing, perhaps I'll be enjoying some garden photos next year!! :)

Anonymous said...

Not sure I follow your directions. where is it?

Lins Honeyman said...

One of my favourite parts of the world. We often camp at Inver Mill caravan site near the River Braan and the hermitage. Beautiful photos. Thanks for that.

That Hideous Man said...

Anon, it's a distinctive promintery on the right hand side of the tay as.... oh I'll post a map!

Lins Honeyman said...

Is it my imagination or does the first photo resemble a rather sinister looking teddy bear?

That Hideous Man said...

It's clearly a mouse wearing a white apron, pink cardigan and sprouting an elephant's trunk.

His Girl Friday said...

Lins, HM...very funny...of course I went back to look...quite vivid imaginations you have!! ;)

Rachel said...

Glad someone else has enjoyed the school holidays, although my walks have been somewhat more urban then yours, the sense of beauty, achievement and unity has been felt by all. Almost feel like not sending them back to school at all!