The Hermitage & Ossian’s Hall

Just off the A9 near Dunkeld, lies a woodland walk with a surprising beauty spot.

On the last weekend in August we decided to venture out to The Hermitage, a National Trust For Scotland protected site which is free to visit (a parking charge applies for non-members). Dunkeld is a gateway to the A9 and the queues of traffic on this particular day showed that we weren’t the only ones desperate to make the most of what seemed to be the last day of summer.

The Hermitage was built in the 18th century by the Duke Of Atholl as a tribute to poet/myth Ossian, and is home to some of the largest Douglas Firs in Britain.

The car park was busy with families and dogs as I went to check the map. Although it’s not a long walk there appeared to be a lot to see, starting with the railway bridges clearly marking the routes in and out.

I took a photo of the map and it was easy to follow. A short walk alongside the River Braan lead us to our first stop, The Hermitage Bridge, which overlooks the Black Linn Pool and gives a glimpse of the waterfall.

The next stop only metres away is Ossian’s Hall, a seemingly normal folly until you walk through the door. The original was built in 1780s to replace a summer house and has been bombed, rebuilt and left to become derelict before being saved in 2007.

I’ll admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the rest of the interior on the way in as I was drawn through the glass doors leading out to a balcony overlooking the Black Linn Falls. The view is spectacular and the sound of the waterfall is immense, not at all what I expected (see Instagram video). It’s little wonder why couples choose to get married here, what a backdrop for the photos!

Up to and including this point the walk was quite busy, especially as people gathered to hammer coins into nearby fallen trees despite the warning of danger to wildlife, instead of popping them into the collection boxes at the entrance.

The rest of the walk was calmer as we passed Ossian’s Seat, a collection of boulders overlooking the river, and on to Ossian’s Cave.

The last point of interest on the way back to the car was a totem pole carved by a member of the Squamish Nation, indigenous people of British Columbia, Canada.

We will definitely come back here as the walk is beautiful, but we’ll choose a quieter day to enjoy these magical woods.

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