An Enchanted Weekend in Pitlochry

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One of the events I look forward to every October is our annual trip to the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry. This was the sixth year that my husband and I visited, but the first year that schedules allowed us to visit the forest with a couple of good friends, and it was lovely to be able to share the experience together.

We have always been lucky with the weather, and although the path was a bit muddy in places, it was a mild and dry evening with a waning gibbous moon just visible above the tips of the tallest trees. The Enchanted Forest follows a path around Loch Dunmore in Faskally Woods using the bridge across the loch to create a figure of eight circuit. It is only a couple of kilometres long but there is always so much to see that we can easily spend an hour or so meandering through the forest savouring all the different sights and sounds of the show, and we always wander around more than once.

The theme changes every year, but the designers often draw their inspiration from nature; this year the show was called Oir An Uisge meaning Edge of the Water in Gaelic,¬†and both weather and water were recurring motifs. I’m often guilty of viewing life through a lens and it’s especially challenging to remember to lower my camera and actually experience the Enchanted Forest because¬†it’s all so wonderful¬†and I want to capture it all.

We have stayed in a few different hotels and guest houses in and around Pitlochry over the years, but this year we returned to the Atholl Villa for a third time as the rooms are clean and comfortable, the staff are friendly and helpful, and it is conveniently located just a five minute walk from where the shuttle buses collect and drop off visitors to the Enchanted Forest.¬†The following¬†morning, we took a wander around Pitlochry itself, which is a pretty town full of boutiques, gift shops and cafes, and although I don’t really start getting excited about Christmas until after Guy Fawkes night, I can’t resist a quick look in the Christmas Emporium whenever we visit Pitlochry.

This was the first time we’d left our cat Mara alone overnight since moving into our new house, and she gave us a very warm welcome when we returned from our little adventure. It’s lovely to be cosy at home again after an enchanted weekend away with friends. Have a lovely week.

Autumnal Adventures in the Dark

When the autumn evenings grow colder and darker, I’m often tempted to curl up on the couch with my cat, Mara, on my lap and a book or TV series to while away the hours. As much as I love being cosy inside when it’s chilly outside, autumn has some lovely opportunities to get outdoors during the darker evenings.

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The Enchanted Forest

Every year, my husband and I travel to Pitlochry to see Faskally Wood transformed with lights and music into The Enchanted Forest. One of the things I love most about the Enchanted Forest is that the theme is different every year, which means it always seems new and familiar at the same time.

Despite earlier forecasts predicting torrential rain, the weather remained crisp and clear as we meandered round the woods with a warming cup of mulled wine savouring all the sights and sounds of the forest together.

The Enchanted Forest holds a special place in our hearts as it is where we got engaged three years ago, and the well trodden paths around the loch and through the trees are filled with romance and happy memories for us.

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Blurry first attempt at astrophotography

On another cold, but cloudless October evening, we went stargazing at the Galloway Forest Park for the very first time. In contrast to the bustling, electronic wonderland of the Enchanted Forest, the dark sky park was almost unnaturally dark and peaceful; yet watching the stars drift across the heavens was no less memorable and romantic.

Once our eyes had adjusted to the darkness, we could see thousands of stars, the Milky Way and even a few stragglers from the Orionid Meteor Shower clearly without a telescope.

Getting outdoors and away from all the distractions of our phones, the TV and internet for a few hours gave us a chance to slow down, clear our minds and reconnect with each other.

As a mild October gave way to a frosty November, on Saturday the 5th (which is Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night here in Britain), we met friends in Glasgow to watch a fireworks display. Wrapped up in coats and scarves, crunching toffee apples and watching the colourful explosions illuminate the sky, we were every bit as cosy outside as we would’ve been inside.

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Fireworks over the River Clyde

The last few weeks have been busy for us, but we’ve returned from all of our adventures in the dark with muddy boots and many happy memories. Have a lovely week.