A Daunder Around Dunkeld

Route: Loch of Lowes and the Fungarth, Dunkeld

Date walked: 01/04/2018

Distance: 10km

As someone who enjoys getting outdoors, exploring different areas and experiencing new things, being tied to life at home can really put a downer on things. That's why when I heard from my mother - who also loves a good walk - to say that she would be visiting from her Shropshire home for a week I knew we had to try and fit in a stroll somewhere, big or small!

Hoping for both days out over the weekend, but with the weather looking less than favourable on the Saturday, we decided Sunday would be the better option. Trusty weatherman Windy Wilson did say it would be the "best day o the weekend" after all!

My mother mentioned that she hadn't brought her walking shoes with her, as the forecast had been for snow and ice, but she did have a trusty pair of wellies (you can't be without them in the Shropshire countryside!). This narrowed our options down quite a bit. :lol:

We have both been following the progress of the 2 resident ospreys at Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld (who had both arrived in the days prior) and she was keen to visit the loch's Wildlife Reserve to see them and any other creatures that may be hanging around. We visited last year and noticed a sign for a walking route near the reserve, so of course I did what anyone planning a walk in Scotland would do.... I came onto walkhighlands to look for tips and tricks! :wink: We fancied a lot of the walks on offer, but settled for "Loch of Lowes and the Fungarth" so we could nip into the visitor centre on the way round.

At an hour's drive each way, and also wanting to visit our favourite burger establishment (more on that later) on the return, we decided to set off at 8.30am, and with the sun shining it looked like it was going to be a good day.

When we arrived at Cally car park around 9.30am there were half a dozen other vehicles there already. Some people had parked up for the night, some had already gone off for the day, and others were busy getting ready for walks and cycles. We set off with our walkhighlands printout in hand, ready to embrace a day of sunshine.

Sun splitting the trees at the beginning of the walk

As we walked through the initial wooded area next to the main road, the sound of woodpeckers made a lovely change to that of the hustle and bustle of home. There were no vehicles on the road and the people setting off from the car park at the same time as us must have headed in the other direction as there was nobody to be seen. Bliss!

Heading through Dunkeld Golf Club car park, the next instruction on out printout was to follow the "Fungarth sign" at the far end, and ignore the gate to the left. We were unable to find any sign stating Fungarth but the rest of the instructions made it clear which direction we were to head in, which turned out to be marked by a "Loch of the Lowes Path" sign instead.

Walking through the next field gave us some good views of the golf course and sneaky glimpses of the loch. However, it soon became clear that underfoot conditions would be less than ideal in places (which we had anticipated, given the recent weather) and the wellies would prove useful after all!

Not so desirable...

After some more vacuum-like sinking into bogs, and having still not seen another soul, we found ourselves at the loch. Two swans were peacefully gliding past when we arrived, and went on to rest on the banks of the loch as we watched the ospreys.

Loch of Lowes

The Scottish Wildlife Trust have installed a replica osprey nest and accompanying osprey carving outside the visitor centre. We figured that both of us could comfortably curl up in the nest with plenty of room to spare; something that you cannot fully appreciate from the online CCTV feed or through the telescopes in the hides.

Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre

We sat in the hides for a while and were lucky enough to see both ospreys for a short period of time. The photograph does not do them justice (who knew it was so difficult to take a photo through a telescope using a mobile phone?!).

Loch of the Lowes resident ospreys

The assistant at the visitor centre advised that there had been Great Crested Grebes performing their elaborate mating display earlier in the morning and a red squirrel had also visited for a spot of breakfast, but we weren't fortunate enough to see either during our visit. After an hour or so, we decided head back to the marked route to begin our descent to the centre of Dunkeld. We noticed some plastic eggs randomly placed along the path back, waiting for an Easter Egg Hunt to get underway - I am proud to say I found all 10! :wink:

Easter Egg Hunt

View of the golf course on the way back from the loch

Thankfully underfoot conditions were much better on this section of the walk!

When we emerged from the wooded area and onto the road we spotted what seemed to be a large birdhouse type structure, but it was on stilts at the entrance to a property. We discovered that the people at the property were actually offering different kinds of eggs here, relying on the honesty of the public in paying for the goods. We thought this was a great idea!

Fresh eggs for sale

As we were approaching the centre of Dunkeld we realised that we had completed our trip to the wildlife reserve a little quicker than anticipated, so we decided to take a short detour via the river and the cathedral; both spectacular sights in the glorious Easter sunshine.

Telford's Bridge

We were beginning to feel the heat on the walk back to the car park, and non-essential layers were removed with much huffing and puffing. It's worth noting that previous walk reports detail walking up the busy Blairgowrie road, and Google Maps shows this as being a grass verge job, but a pavement has now been laid on the left side of the road which makes things much easier.

When we got back to the car I was happy to find that the extra bottle of water I'd left there had been kept out of the sun and was still ice cold. A couple who had been setting off on bikes as we arrived were also returning, both their bikes and their clothing looking a little worse for wear. Obviously the mud managed to catch us all.

We then set off for Dunfermline, and the Meathammer restaurant, which we had been looking forward to all week. We've visited a few times before and thoroughly recommend it if you're in the mood for a "not your average" burger. We arrived around 3.30pm and there was a very large group of people making the most of the Easter holiday by being completely sloshed at this point. Unfortunately this meant we had to wait for our food a bit longer than usual, but once it arrived it was delicious as always. Every other time we have visited the place it has been very quiet so we took comfort in knowing the delay was just a one off!

Ohhhhhh yes

After the well-needed feed we set off back home to enjoy the rest of the sunshine.

We really enjoyed this walk around Dunkeld and the opportunity to visit the ospreys on the way round, and with the sun shining all day we couldn't have asked for anything better. Give it a go if you're in the area and fancy a wee daunder.

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Mini Mac

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Distance: 10 km

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