We are delighted to share this third piece in the series by Ally, one of our regular guests at Ben Lawers, Shoreside on Loch Tay.
Alexander Whytock o’ Blairgowrie
A favourite walk we enjoy begins and ends at Fearnan village, pivoting at the village of Fortingall. It is a five mile there and back again stroll with lovely scenery on the way.
Following the tarmacked road, we begin at the junction with the A827, taking in the westward view of Loch Tay. The village sits on a south facing slope, with the road winding its way upwards, following a gurgling burn, winding its way down to the loch. On the northside of the burn there are scattered houses, with lovely gardens, a mix of wild and ornate landscapes. On the opposite side of the road other dwellings lay hidden behind high hedges, surrounded by small fields & pasture.
Advancing upwards, taking care of the occasional vehicle, we approach a row of cottages, one of which is an artist’s gallery. As the road levels we approach the outskirts of the village. To the right is a memorial to Russian and Czech aircrew who were killed during a training mission in 1943. Even though Fearnan is a relatively remote village, we’re reminded that world events do affect these tranquil retreats, yet serenity and tranquillity continue.
Leaving the village, we observe the silhouette of Scheihallion range to the north, with the ridges of Carn Gorm and Carn Mairg; to the west the outliers of the Ben Lawers range and to the east the gently wooded slopes leading to Drummon Hill. In the evening, with the sun to the west you can spot, with binoculars red deer on the far ridges; or to the immediate left and right, roe deer deftly shifting from copse to copse.
We pass various dwellings, some of which are splendidly outlaid with young orchards or landscaped woodland. To the right there is a view of the River Lyon, with evenly well grazed and tree lined embankments reaching down to the river.
To cross the River Lyon there is a stone bridge. Parapets girded by iron straps, with the dark peaty waters flowing underneath through the arches. This late July evening has a blue sky mottled with small rain clouds, creating shafts of sunlight to embellish the lush green banks and reflect chaotically of the river. Rain is expected.
After the crossing we continue to the junction with Glen Lyon. Fields of sheep, cattle and domesticated deer. Can a eye out for reindeer and in particular albino individuals. An interesting sight.
Approach Fortingall we realise that this is delightful village with thatched cottages on the left and long fields of hay rolling down to the river. Families play outdoors, fun and games with a bounty of warmth and joviality. The countryside is the place to recover, regroup and reconnect with ourselves, our friends and our family.
Arriving at Fortingall Hotel we order a welcoming refreshment. The hotel provides a range of beverages and foods, which can be consumed outside and enjoyed whilst sitting watching the evening roll by.
Next to the hotel is the church and within the church yard are two yew trees of immense age. Estimated to be between 2500 to 5000 years old, these trees are living testimonials to the annals of history. What stories they could tell of the visitors from late prehistoric, ;the bronze age, the Roman invasion and the history of Scotland through Dark Ages to now. As a request I plead that folks admire the tree from outside the fence and do not snip cuttings, tie things to the branches or break into the enclosure to sit for photographs. Within the church, which is normally open, a dropping from the tree can be purchased with a donation.
After a relaxing drink we decide to head home, to Fearnan, our second home, retracing our steps. A fresh & warm evening rain falls, but the it doesn’t dampen our spirits. The air is warm and even though we a soaked, we’re in high spirits. I say second home because that’s how we feel. We relax, we chill, we laugh and sometimes we cry. It is home.
Strolling with your loved one,
a companion, with whom there is serenity.
Moments of surprise, a hawk or a deer,
followed by whispered observation.
Joy with laughter, sharing a thought,
embracing a new idea with passion.
Walking, then talking, talking whilst walking,
stopping to look, to wonder and to remember.
Senses absorbing the evening world,
colours, smells and shapes of deep clarity.
Indelible memories, enshrined with love,
Cherishing, each new experience, memories that complete us.