THE BIRKS OF ABERFELDY
Burns Night is approaching and thoughts turn to all things verse, not least in Perthshire.
At the Birks of Aberfeldy he was impressed enough to write: “The braes ascend like lofty wa’s,
The foaming stream deep-roarin’ fa’s
O’erhung wi’ fragrant spreading shaws
The birks of Aberfeldy”.
Now a statue stands at the bottom of the walk up the dramatic gorge carrying the Moness Burn. With waterfalls at the top and great views over Strath Tay, this is a great walk at any time of year, especially in the run up to January 25.
DISTANCE: 4 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED: 600ft.
TIME: 2 to 2½ hours.
MAP: OS Landranger 52.
PARK: From the centre of Aberfeldy, take the A826 Crieff road. After a few hundred yards you reach a stone bridge where you should turn right to enter a car park for the Birks of Aberfeldy.
WALK: Follow the path at the top of the car park into the trees for about 50 yards and turn left to cross a wooden bridge. The undulating path follows the east bank of the Moness Burn, passing a sculpture of Burns sat on a bench. Beyond this the path climbs through a mixture of trees, with enough sky above to stop you feeling hemmed in. Once past a plaque indicating the spot where Burns is said to have been inspired to write his poem, walkways lead above the side of the gorge and at times the burn itself can only just be glimpsed through the canopy of tree branches.
Steps take you up the steepest parts of the gorge until it levels out near the top and you reach a good view of the Falls of Moness.
Continue following the path round to the right and across a bridge above the falls – from the bridge you get a bird’s eye view of the water as it cascades over rocks before plunging straight down.
On the other side you can make a quicker return by going right at a fork to follow a path, through birch and beech trees, down the west side of the gorge and back to the car park.
To enjoy a longer walk and good views of Perthshire go left at the fork, following a sign for “Aberfeldy via Urlar Road”. Go right at a road then go left on reaching a gate to follow a track across a grassy hillside with many birch trees.
The path drops down as views open up over Strath Tay with hills and mountains beyond. Go through a metal pedestrian gate next to a field gate and continue to another, similar, metal gate. After this go straight ahead at a junction, following a sign for Aberfeldy down a track. At another track near some stone cottages go right and follow it over a cattle grid all the way to a road junction.