I no longer remember what brought my attention to the existence of a place near Dunkeld called Hermitage, but as I intended to revisit the Cathedral in autumn anyway, it looked as a good idea to see them both – and it was.
As usual, I was postponing writing about the trip for so long (I went on Wed 19 Sep, more than a month ago) that the initial intention of mentioning every minor feature of the day ebbed away. Which is possibly just as well, because otherwise these blogs would probably usually take a week to write and an hour to read. Still, there are things I can’t let go unrecorded, if only for the fear of forgetting them if I do.
The first tree putting on autumn colours I noticed this year at Dunkeld Station. Down the staircase at the Dunkeld Bridge toll house to the tourist path. Touching the Tay, probably for the first time ever. Following the Braan to the A9 and the path among the pines. A fag on a bench near Black Linn Falls watching the clouds. The Falls from the bridge and from Ossian’s Hall of Mirrors. The Hermitage itself (ay, folly is a good word). The path over the field or meadow between the two gates and then the road to Rumbling Bridge. Back to Dunkeld Bridge and further up to Birnam Oak (& sycamore). Finally across the bridge to Atholl Park and the Cathedral.
Where I sat for a while in the same last pew as I had two years ago, deciding I would immigrate, and one year ago, reporting I have and making an appointment with myself which I was fulfilling just now. I made another: preferably earlier but surely before becoming eligible for citizenship.
Some more time on a bench on the lawn between the kirk and the river. Back and past Birnam Hotel. Birnam Tower Buildings, fittingly occupied by an architectural firm. As far as St Mary’s Episcopal Church. A moment in Beatrix Potter Garden. Past the station into the woods and up to the bench there (breathing heavier this year) before returning to wait for my train back.
I had a splendid day. Tayside is the part of Scotland whose countryside I like the best, the weather was quite favourable, my favourite season was beginning, I was both visiting new places and revisiting old ones, I was meeting only as many people as to be able to soliloquize if I wanted to, there was a bit of a symbolic undertone to the trip… I can hardly imagine anything which could have made me enjoy it even more than I did. (Perhaps a companion, but that would be asking too much.)
And yes, as usual I wasted too much time taking photographs which it later took several hours to prune, title and upload to Flickr – but mostly I was just looking around and savouring it all.