Thursday, 24 November 2016

Perthshire - Amber

Hidden away in the woods and rugged landscapes above the pretty village of Dunkeld is one of Scotland's best wee hills, Deuchary Hill. It's only 511m high but its position on the southern boundary of the Highland edge provides great panoramas across the rolling Perthshire countryside and the bigger hills of the Grampians to the north. It's also a gorgeous walk to the top through a varied mix of wood, pasture, lochan and hill. In late autumn colours, it’s especially beautiful. Rob, Graham and I headed up a couple of weekends ago to soak up the last of the autumn amber.

The village was decked in bright autumn colours for the annual music festival that takes place at this time of year, Perthshire Amber. The colours of the streamers matched the rich, natural tones along the banks of the River Tay.

I love the pretty buildings of Dunkeld, its old cathedral and the smart little market square at its heart. The white building in the picture is the Taybank Inn, home of folk music and good food.

Our route up Deuchary Hill soon left the village and started to meander up through the autumn woods. In places the track was carpeted with orange larch needles.

Before long we were picnicking at Mill Dam, enjoying its calm waters and lochside trees.

As the track wound higher, the views opened up and ahead Ben Vrackie, above Pitlochry, had a dusting of snow.

Eventually, after a long, meandering approach walk, the top of Deuchary Hill was in sight and the path skirted a high level lochan before making the final steep climb to the wee summit.

There was a wonderful surprise when we all pulled up onto the top as a stunning panorama of snow-covered hills was revealed on the northerly horizon.

Fact File
Start/finish: Dunkeld served by Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness trains.
Route: Walk north along the main street in Dunkeld then turn right up the A923. After 300m take the track signed to the left for the Glack and follow it to Mill Dam, a nice picnic and photo stop. The path up to Deuchay Hill leaves to the right just before Mill Dam and is signed as Upper Loch Ordie path. The path contours north round the hill through pleasant woodland with good open views. After 3.5km at Grid Ref NO024 492, a path crosses the route. Turn right uphill and follow the path to Lochan na Beinne. The top of Deuchary Hill is now in sight ahead. Continue on the path beside the Lochan and up the final steep section to the top. For a different and shorter route back, pick up a narrow path that heads southeast from the top. It's not obvious at the top itself but the start can be spotted just ahead. The path drops steeply then joins a bigger track. Turn right on the bigger track and follow it until it joins the outward route.

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