Weekend in Aberfeldy

To celebrate my grandma’s birthday we hired a lodge just north of Aberfeldy, through the village of Weem and a little before the town of Dull, twinned with Boring, Oregon. The drive from Edinburgh through Fife and Perth is a beautiful one. Turning off the main road onto the Old Military Road our surroundings become increasingly rustic and wild. Familiar browns and darker shades of purple shield the hills and the vibrant greens of thick forest line our journey. In the car, our conversation is in awe.

We approach the lodge, built on a gentle slope, in wide grassy grounds. My granny and I are first to arrive. We explore and unpack, and rain begins to fall, brightening the many flowers’ colourful petals.

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As others arrive, hubbub builds. There are reunions, tales shared and tidings exchanged for the weekend ahead. Dinner is loud and filling, with a mass of home cooked food inviting us for seconds.

My bed is comfy and easy sleep carries me through to Saturday morning. We have coffee and talk of our plans for the day, drifting into groups for various activities. We drive the short distance into Aberfeldy. I’ve been told there’s a famous bookshop - Aberfeldy Watermill Bookshop & Cafe. It’s small with a wonderfully chosen selection. I spend a long time browsing. We pop in and out of local galleries and a hardware shop (in search of some table tennis bats) before stopping for a bite to eat at Habitat Cafe in the town square.

We return to the lodge, no sign of the rain letting. Others return from their adventures, and my cousin inspires us to venture down the road to Castle Menzies. The driveway is potholed, the castle looming in the rain. The heavy doors are closed. A sign saying they’re shutting for maintenance. The custodian sees us, and says to come in - the maintenance people are running late. The castle is privately owned. We have it to ourselves, and there are legends of ghosts - we hear footsteps above. Alone, with rain and ghosts, there’s a thrilling undercurrent to our exploration.

As we drive away, I look back in search of a peering face from an upper window. I see none, although I can believe they’re there. We return to the busyness of the lodge. There’s food, games and an enormous birthday cake.

Sunday brings the sun. We venture into town for supplies and play frisbee on the lawn. The trampoline is dry and I bounce until my heart’s content. At lunch we again venture our separate ways, some white water rafting, others to explore the Birks of Aberfeldy, made famous in a song lyric by Robert Burns.

The Birks of Aberfeldy is an enchanting forest walk, following a river steeped with waterfalls, some little, others towering. The sound of water is constant amidst our green surroundings.

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We return to the lodge refreshed for our final evening food, laughter and games. It’s been a wonderful weekend, one I’d love to last a little longer.

P l a c e s M e n t i o n e d

Aberfeldy Watermill Bookshop & Cafe

Habitat Cafe

Castle Menzies

Birks of Aberfeldy

journal recommendations

Grounds to Explore

Scotland Road Trip - July 2018 - Day 1