It might be a mite colder and darker in the evenings, but Autumn is the most spectacular of Scottish seasons
There’s a wee nip in the air and the nights are “fair drawing in” as they say, but for me this is a small price to pay for the colours of Scotland in autumn.
The leaves start turning, and entire glens appear to glow in the autumn sunshine. This is a brilliant time of year to enjoy our wildlife, too. It’s rutting season for deer so listen out for stags bellowing on the hills, and look out for red squirrels, who are spending more time out and about collecting fallen pine cones.
Bundle up in your scarf and gloves, and talk a wander with me through Scotland’s Top Autumn Walks…
Kinnoul Hill, Perthshire
Perthshire is Big Tree Country after all, so where better to start our list?
This walk up Kinnoull Hill to the 19th century romantic folly is one of my favourites. The views from the top are spectacular, and it takes relatively little effort to get there.
You can walk from Perth itself for a 2-3 hour round-trip, or from the various Forestry Commission car parks for a shorter circuit. Of these, Quarry car park is the most popular, but quieter Jubilee on the east side of the hill makes for the best starting point. Look out for the carved sculptures of birds of prey!
Did you know the area was opened as Scotland’s first official woodland park in 1991?
Falls of Dochart, Killin
The white waters of Dochart are especially dramatic in Autumn
The Falls of Dochart are not as vertical as you might imagine for a waterfall, but that makes them no less dramatic.
The River Dochart widens at Killin, and crashes around the rocks, Crow Island and Inchbuie on it’s way to Loch Tay. Inchbuie is the ancient burial place of the MacNab clan, and you can see the walled enclosure from the bridge. Park in Killin’s main car park and follow signs for the falls. The wander can be extended easily to Loch Tay, too.
Did you know that the Bridge of Dochart, pictured above, was first constructed in 1760?
The Hermitage, Dunkeld
The beautiful, wooded glen is a paradise of falling leaves in the autumn
The woodland features a diverse collection of mixed conifer and deciduous trees, including one of Britain’s tallest Douglas fir trees. The River Braan cuts a dramatic gorge through the woodland, spilling out into the Black Linn Falls. Watching over it is Ossian’s Hall, a picturesque folly built in 1758 and restored in 2007.
You can wander through the Hermitage at leisure, or take the path up to the Rumbling Bridge and back in around two hours.
Did you know the 3rd Duke of Atholl had this woodland created as a pleasure ground in the 18th century? It is said he used a canon to scatter tree seeds onto more inaccessible areas!
Falls of Clyde, Lanark
This nature reserve, owned by Scottish Wildlife Trust, is famous for its spectacular waterfalls
Waterfalls feature rather a lot on this list! Spectacular at any time of year, I particularly like the Falls of Clyde in autumn.
Full of September’s rain the River Clyde bursts through the deciduous woodland of every shade. You can walk along the river from the 18th-century village of New Lanark – a fascinating day out in itself. It’s amazing to think that the water running over these young waterfalls will eventually become the powerful river that meanders lazily through Glasgow.
Did you know that New Lanark is one of Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites? See them all here.
Ness Islands, Inverness
An oasis in the heart of the Highland Capital
A short walk from Inverness city centre lies the Ness Islands, a beautiful natural park of wooded islands. The islands are connected by suspension bridges, built in Victorian times.
Well-placed benches and picnic benches make this walk popular with families – as does the miniature railway! The Ness Railway is over half-a-mile long, over bridges and cuttings.
You can occasionally see seals and – if you’re lucky – otters too from the tranquil islands.
Did you know? The Ness Railway is the UKs most northerly public miniature railway.
Cargill’s Leap, Blairgowrie
The best place for collecting conkers is this spot up the River Ericht!
A varied circuit from Blairgowrie follows the River Ericht upstream, past its weirs, waterfalls and old mills.
After the track leaves the water’s edge and heads through the woods – look out for chestnut trees. A good portion of my childhood was spend collecting chestnuts – some to play conkers with, and some to take home for roasting. You might want to take a bag or some kind of holder for them, as its worth continuing on the track up over the Knockie for a roughly two-hour circuit. Here you get great views over Blairgowrie to the Sidlaw hills beyond.
Click here for the WalkHighlands route
Did you know that in the 1860s there were as many as 11 watermills along this short stretch of the river?