When it comes to nature and the great outdoors … the Crieff area has an embarrassment of riches.
Rolling hills and magnificent mountains sit alongside fast-flowing rivers and stunning lochs, while an intricate network of paths and trails meanders through the stunning Strathearn countryside making the area ripe for exploration on foot and on two wheels.
The landscape is especially beautiful in October when the leaves turn into a riot of autumnal reds, ochre, copper and orange. It’s not surprising then that Crieff attracts walkers from all over the UK and further afield to the annual Crieff and Strathearn Drovers Tryst walking festival in October (www.droverstryst.com).
The seven-day event from October 5-12 is run by volunteers and celebrates the life, work and play of the people who made Crieff the cattle-droving crossroads of Scotland in the 1700s.
Walks are graded from easy to extra hard so there’s something for walkers of all abilities. All the walks are enriched by wildlife, plants, trees, history and the company of like-minded people.
As in previous years, the Tryst offers a range of opportunities to go “walking with” to learn from experts: including subjects such as photography, archaeology, flora and fauna, Innerpeffray Library, beekeeping, and local wildlife.
The social programme, most evenings, offers talks, films, whisky tasting, food, and drama at a variety of venues. The Tryst culminates in a ceilidh, open to all, on the final Saturday night.
Here’s a taste of what’s on option from each category:
EASY WALKS – Walking with the photographer
In effect this walk is an ‘outdoor workshop’ delivered by professional nature photographer Jo Cound. Walkers should bring a camera, lenses, spare batteries and a clear memory card with them.
MEDIUM WALKS – Acharn Hill and Falls
In addition to the spectacular falls of Acharn, this walk benefits from superb views over Loch Tay and the mountains beyond – weather permitting of course!
HARD WALKS – Schiehallion – Hill of the Caledonians
During this walk you will climb an iconic Munro, learn about the part it played in a science experiment in the 18th Century and enjoy some of the best views in Scotland.
EXTRA HARD WALKS – Ben Vorlich, Stuc a’Chroin & Beinn Each
These mountains form a dividing line between the mountains of the North and the central lowlands of Scotland. The walk takes in two Munros and a Corbett and so demands a high level of hill fitness and confidence on steep ground.
More details about all of the walks on offer this year and the social programme can be found at www.droverstryst.com