Dunkeld is one of those places that is difficult to spot on the map. Situated between Perth and the Cairngorms, Dunkeld is a wee Scottish town that is home to a beautiful forest known as The Hermitage. While it may not seem like an important place to put on your Scotland itinerary, Dunkeld offers a wonderful day trip from Edinburgh, especially if you want to go on an adventure without travelling too far from the city.
HOW TO GET THERE
Driving to Dunkeld from Edinburgh takes about an hour and a half. The train journey can take between 2 – 3 hours (including a short stop in Perth). You will need to get the train from Edinburgh Waverley Station and change trains at Perth.
Recommended hotel: If you’re looking for a central hotel in Edinburgh, I highly recommend staying at ibis Edinburgh Centre on South Bridge (just around the corner from the Royal Mile). It is very clean and modern – and the beds are super comfy!
THE BEATRIX POTTER EXHIBITION
As you get off the train in Dunkeld, the first building you come across is the Birnam Arts Centre, a conferencing and entertainment venue which currently plays host to the Beatrix Potter exhibition. There is also a cafe if you’d like to have something to eat before or after your trek.
There is a wee car park at the entrance of The Hermitage. If you’re travelling to Dunkeld by train, I highly suggest popping into the Birnam Arts Centre and asking for directions to The Hermitage. While the entrance to The Hermitage trail is only a 15-minute walk from the train station, it is easy to get lost if you’re not familiar with the area.
The Hermitage Trail starts from the car park and runs along the River Braan. The path is clear and relatively safe. although be careful not to trip on protruding roots. Keep walking until you reach a fork in the road – take the left path to get to the bridge that overlooks a spectacular waterfall, known as Black Linn Falls. You will also come across an interesting wee structure with a conical roof. This is Ossian’s Hall, an 18th century folly that offers breathtaking views of the waterfalls. Don’t be scared – open the door gently and head to the viewing terrace.
From the hall, continue walking on the path and you will soon come across another interesting site, Ossian’s Cave, which was also built in the 18th century. By now you would have seen the main attractions at the Hermitage Trail, so you can either turn back or continue walking, following the signs to Rumbling Bridge, where you will get to see an old stone bridge built over a deep narrow gorge. If you cross the bridge and take the path on the left, you will enjoy some stunning views of the bridge and the waterfalls below.
For more information about the walk, as well as other country walks in Dunkeld, Pitlochry and other places in the region of Perthshire, I highly recommend buying a guidebook called Perthshire: 40 Town and Country Walks.
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