Fairy Walk, Doon Hill, Aberfoyle

There is a mystical walk you can do if you ever find yourself in Aberfoyle on a clear day.IMAG8296 Doon Hill is on the outskirts of Aberfoyle and said to be home to the fairies. It’s a easy route (I know because I managed it and I hate going up hills) and has some stunning views from the top. It’s not for buggies or wheelchairs but I think most children aged 4 and over could manage it.

When we did the walk we parked in the Woollen Mill car park (at the opposite end from it). We then walked over the stone bridge and along past houses on our right and a couple of snorting pigs on our left. Next on the left is an auld kirk where there is a gravestone for IMAG8301Pastor Kirk who was fascinated by fairies and folklore. So much so he wrote a book giving away the fairies secrets, which annoyed the fairies so much they kidnapped him and imprisoned his soul in a pine tree on top of Doon Hill.

After the kirk we followed the road round and into the start of the woods. There is a sign that says there is a fairy trail but to be honest it isn’t that well sign posted although further up there are marker posts. We followed our noses and at the bottom of the hill went left and followed a path up. Thankfully I had on my wellies as it was pretty muddy. 20171111_135932-COLLAGEAlthough you have to watch where you put your feet you should also look out for signs of fairies – there is evidence everywhere.

The climb is steep in bits but nothing too demanding.

On top of the hill you will find the fairy treeIMAG8312.jpg covered in ribbons. In the past it was said if you wrote your ailment on to a cloutie (rag) and tied it to the tree as the words faded so did the ailment. Unfortunately, nowadays though it looks more like just ribbons without writing and plastic tat  on display, which will take forever to fade. IMAG8315

If you wander around the top of the hill you are rewarded with some amazing views.

Next to the path you came up, just to the left, there is alternative route down. This takes you down far quicker and past some more fairy houses. You will know you are on thIMAG8319e right path if you see this handsome Green Man smiling at you.

At the bottom of hill we retraced our steps back to the car park. However, there is another route you can you take if you turn left, which circles back in to Aberfoyle following the old railway line and which ends up behind the Woollen Mill. However, we didn’t do that and instead headed straight for a bar lunch in town.




The Roman Camp, Callander

If you’re a regular reader you will have already heard of Lusa, my Scottish born cousin who now resides in L.A. She is visiting again so, leaving OH behind, we decided to take off for a couple of days to spend time together and catch up.

In the 50s our grandfather used to be a gardener at The Roman Camp in Callander so we decided to have our short break in The Trossachs and make Callander our base so we could check out the places our mums talk about and see where they stayed when they were wee.

Having already stayed at The Old Rectory and knowing it was a great B+B, Lusa and I decided to stay there rather than paying double the money to stay in the 4 star Roman Camp. However, we did book an afternoon tea there so we could visit the hotel and walk around the gardens our grandfather used to tend.

When we arrived we were offered numerous places to sit for our afternoon tea. The drawing room, the library…it was a bit like a game of Cluedo. 2016-10-04-16-30-22Eventually we settled on the Library where we sat in front of a log fire on a large comfortable couch. We were the only ones in the library so we were able  to imagine we stayed in the big house and taking afternoon tea was a regular occurrence.

Our white gloved waiter soon arrived with tea and coffee, milk and cream and bizarrely a 2016-10-04-16-41-46-1small haggis bon bon with mashed potato and whisky sauce. After he had gone Lusa and I immediately wondered if we were on the right menu. Maybe we were getting a high tea instead…oh well we thought,  ‘We’re in now’ (obviously being British we would just accept what we’re given and not question it).

Even though it was an odd starter the haggis was lovely and we cleared the small dish. By the way, the waiter wasn’t wearing a name badge but I’m going to call him Stefan.

Stefan then arrived with round 1. A 3 tiered cake stand with lots of savouries on it, which quickly calmed our worries around what menu we were getting. There were 2 of each – Falafel Fritter, Gougere stuffed with Liver Parfait, strong Cheddar 2016-10-04-16-50-18and Chive Quiche, home made Pork and Prune Sausage Roll, Egg Cress and Mayonnaise White Finger Sandwich, Salmon, Cream Cheese and Cucumber Brown Bread Finger Sandwich and finally, Ham and Grain Mustard and Little Gem Bridge Roll. I’m far more into savoury food than sweet so this was just yum for me. The top tier and the falafel were all warm, which was great. The liver parfait was a bit  strong and the sausage rolls tasted christmassy. I’d say the finger sandwiches were actually double fingers as they could easily have been halved again and as Lusa isn’t a ham fan I got two of my favourite, ham bridge rolls.

After executing a different kind of Scottish Clearance the empty plates were removed, fresh tea poured and round 2 brought in for inspection. 2016-10-04-17-21-32This time the tiers were all sweet. Freshly Baked Plain and Fruit Scones with Clotted Cream and Homemade Strawberry Jam, Tropical Fruit Panna Cotta, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Dark Sponge Gateaux, Chocolate Tiffin, Macarons with Vanilla Butter Icing and some Shortbread.

We started with the plain scones and they were amazing. As they were still warm the cream melted slightly making the overall taste sensational. The panna cotta didn’t taste of of tropical fruit so I’m guessing it was just vanilla and the chocolate tiffin seemed to have some citrus zest in it, which I’m not a fan of but they were my only small grievances. Lusa raved about the lemon drizzle cake which was easily her favourite.

I noticed that on the menu there was mention of a double chocolate and cherry cookie but nothing resembling it on the plates so, forgetting I was British, I just happened to mention it to Stefan when he next popped his head in to see if we were okay. 2016-10-04-18-14-21He looked perplexed, disappeared and then returned with yet another plate. This time there were 2 truffles and 2 squares of something wrapped in white chocolate – my guess was dark cherry. Stefan explained there were in lieu of the cookies. I wasn’t complaining the white chocolate square was divine and quickly became my favourite (after the scone).

As we were already sloshing with tea and coffee but had sweet things still to try (and because we didn’t want to leave), we just had to order a bottle of Prosecco.

So as dusk turned to night and the fire crackled and popped, we nibbled and sipped pretending we were to the manor born. It was the perfect way to end a perfect afternoon tea. 2016-10-04-18-22-54-2

The only downside is now Lusa and I believe we have ruined afternoon tea for ourselves as we’re not sure where or what could compete with the ambience, service and food at The Roman Camp – it really was a fantastic experience. 2016-10-04-18-59-43

2 Afternoon teas at £21 and a bottle of Prosecco at £27 = £69 plus tip.