As the sun sets ever sooner on these last few evenings of summer, the prospect of the Scottish autumn ushers in its own attendant joys. Cycling and walking become less sweaty. Uniform verdure gives way to a thousand burning hues. Brambles bloom, horse chestnuts broaden and crack. Underfoot, a carpet of crisping leaves begs to be welly-booted, and the potholed puddles that so often come with idyllic territory must be thoroughly splashed in.
And before you enter winter hibernation mode and take root in the sofa, Breadalbane beckons with a weekend of adventure.
Be it canter, trot or gallop, set the pace for your weekend at the Mains of Taymouth Riding Stables and book a trek through forest trails of Kenmore for Saturday morning. Experienced riders will be paired with suitable steeds, but where this attraction truly excels is in accommodating beginners and small children, with short pony treks for mini equestrians and family outings for all ability levels.
Rest any sore saddles across the road in the Waterfront Restaurant and replenish calories with one of their mighty chicken subs. Then, take the short walk round the edge of Loch Tay to the Crannog Centre for an educational afternoon in thrall to this world of ancient loch-dwelling. If you’re still on the hunt for adventure, Taymouth Marina Watersports is just next door. Here, keen sailors can refine their technique with one of three types of boats. Wild cards might prefer to try one of the more unusual options. As well as paddle boards, pedalos and motor boats (ideal for family jaunts), you can arrange bike hire for the weekend, or be taken on a guided rib ride or canoe excursion. There will be plenty of the great indoors come winter, so hire a log cabin, wigwam or yurt at Loch Tay Highland Lodges, and retreat to a sweet-smelling wood fire on the banks of Loch Tay to toast marshmallows and stray midges before bed.
Make it an early start, and before checking out, continue your loch-side adventure with a heated round of morning archery. Once your partner and/or the kids have been suitably schooled, drive, bike or walk the four miles to Killin. Either of the latter methods will earn you the excuse to scoff your fill of pies and cakes bought from The Wee Bake Shop, which is best done in sight of the tumbling autumnal hues reflected in the Dochart Falls. Then, perfect your backswing with a Sunday afternoon round of golf in the graceful surroundings of the Killin Golf Club. Note that after the 30th of September, the Moirlanich Longhouse will be closed for the winter season, although, thankfully, the welcoming fires of the Falls of Dochart Inn burn bright all year round. This former blacksmith’s forge is a grand spot in which to enjoy some post-adventure scran, or book a night in advance, and spend the evening in careful consideration of the local ales in their traditional wooden-beamed bar.