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Strutting and fretting for an hour or so on Birnam Hill

Strutting and fretting for an hour or so on Birnam Hill


Postby playedoutscenes » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:15 pm

Route description: Birnam Hill, Birnam

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Birnam Hill - King's Seat

Date walked: 17/10/2015

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Set off this morning from Perth in sunshine, once the early mist had cleared, and had high hopes for some photos of early autumn colours against the backdrop of a blue sky. Not to be! Once the train rounded the bend at Stanley, we turned into clouds, with a very visible weather front, and that pale blue backdrop rapidly receded into memory. Oh well - though it was still a very decent day out.

Walked this walkhighlands circular route more or less in reverse: from the train station, leaving by the little steps that take travellers to the Birnam-Dunkeld path underneath the big, bad A9; but turning right instead under the railway (and hugging the side of the underpath following the red and orange arrows), quickly reaching a junction with Birnam Hill helpfully signed to the left and to the right. Left takes you to the quarry car park described on the route, with the walk route then easily followed; right takes you up the short and sweet route: a lung-busting, artery-clearing, sweat-raising climb past denfinella's famous fungus tree up, to the crag which has absolutely super views of Dunkeld, Loch of the Lowes and Craiglush, and Deuchary Hill (an old friend) - which is Stage 5 on the official route.

IMG_2273 (Small).JPG


After that, it was pretty gentle sailing following the route, somewhat muddy in places, with a bit of climbing in one place, up to the summit cairn which lends lovely, if apparently de rigeur, views of mist over the upper Tay valley.

IMG_2287 (Small).JPG


And also across the windfarm - over to Schiehallion?

IMG_2278 (Small).JPG


And thence the long downhill slog (do ignore the rather optimistic signboard at the summit which talks about a 1.5 mile walk to the quarry car park!) via a clear path, down the steps, and then through woodland to the bottom.

The closest I got to the pictures I was hoping to get:

IMG_2312 (Small).JPG


With a choice of 20 minutes before the train to Perth or a 2 hr 20 wait, of course I wandered through Birnam via the Beatrix Potter garden, down to the Birnam Oak and the Tay shore and the out-turn of the Inchewan Burn before winding up at a busy Birnam Inn for a refreshing Lia Fail.

And the best autumn colours? Of course, they were in Birnam itself, around the hotel (and also reflected in the might Tay).

IMG_2333 (Small).JPG


Pretty happy with the walk in reverse - and in spite of the stiff climb - although this way seems to unload most of its treasures in the first sections: walking the 'official' route means they reveal themselves more slowly, perhaps giving you a better reward for efforts.

Wildlife watch: dozens of spider webs in the heather, glistening in the dew; pheasants; finch street (just up from Stair Bridge), with plenty of chaffinches, a greenfinch or two and, er, 'others'; a stonechat; two jays screeching close to the bottom of the walk, in close proximity to the call of a buzzard. Oh, and a fox (though only in the Beatrix Potter garden :D )
playedoutscenes
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Re: Strutting and fretting for an hour or so on Birnam Hill

Postby K-Burn » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:49 pm

Hi there, I enjoyed reading your account of this walk which I also happened to be on yesterday. I get the feeling we met at the big rock that overlooks Dunkeld. Were you the gentleman from Perth who I spoke to for about five minutes who was looking at the spiders webs?
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Re: Strutting and fretting for an hour or so on Birnam Hill

Postby playedoutscenes » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:05 pm

Hi K-Burn - yes, that was me. We'll need to choreograph our reports next time :)

Enjoyed your report, too - and some great photos: sharp and showing not only great autumnal colours but also the quality of the light: probably the benefit of getting up a bit earlier in the morning! I think I saw the same cyclist buzz past me while I was on the crag - but he was heading towards the north side hill at the time. Wonder what he made of it? Short work, probably :lol:
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Re: Strutting and fretting for an hour or so on Birnam Hill

Postby wjshaw2 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:25 pm

Thanks for both of your reports! We did this in complete clag the other day - we only got the close up autumn colours and no views at all. Maybe one day we'll be back for the views, but, for now, thanks for the photos and reports.
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