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Stirling Coat of Arms

May 2017+

obar (river) mouth + phuill Scottish Gaelic confluence (of) pool(s) .

Population - 650.

Stirling Coat of Arms

The large, free car park should be able to accommodate but be warned, this can make for a popular place.

It's a fine-looking affair on Main Street and the River Forth, yes, of 'Firth of' fame, has been known to make the occasional visit here.

Aberfoyle - Main Street Aberfoyle - Main Street

The kayakers no longer have to disembark at nearby Loch Ard, they've actually been seen paddling past the Post Office.

This is '  Rob Roy' MacGregor country and he used to have a cave next to the loch. Liz MacGregor has a cake next to the Co-op™ and quite a few of them, actually.

She might not be real but used to run the café in the David Marshall Lodge but more on that in a minute. She's here now, still banging out her brilliant shortbread but more on that in a minute.

The  Scottish Wool Centre[1] can sort you out on the shortbread and tartan shirt front and there's also a resident shepherd who puts on daily shows with their dog and ducks[2].

Aberfoyle - Scottish Wool Centre

It doesn't look like Ricardo's still here, he was from Lake Como in Northern Italy...

'Vieni-vicino! Vieni-vicino!'... 'Va-via! Va-Via!'... 'Fermo! Fermo!'... 'Va! Va!'... and they're all back in the pen.

[1] Or whatever it is, these days, since the Edinburgh Woolie Mill™ went into administration.
[2] So they were geese.

There's even a small 'zoo' round the back with some rare-breed sheep, goats and the most endearing of all the captive animals, the tiny horse.

Aberfoyle - Wensleydale Longwool

He's inexplicably not shown but received an inevitable pat all accompanied with an unavoidable grin.

There's something of a supernatural diversion over the river, which will helpfully pass an hour and a half. Fairy Knowe[1] just means a bit of a hump in a field and yes, fairies.

Back in the 1690s, the local reverend Robert Kirk sharpened his quill and penned some inky nonsense on the nature of fairies and the conventions of their society.

He had taken to walking up the hump every day but during one in May he only went and collapsed, his carked corpse not found in the copse until later. Local legend has it that he passed into the fairy realm and now lives in this tree.

Near Aberfoyle - The Minister's Pine

There's a little bit more to his new living arrangements involving his begging apparition being stood up on a resurrecting date and the fairy tale element is just about fathomable but the conventions of fairy society? Presumably that's the correct tiny knife and fork to use when in certain fairy circles?

There's a custom of hanging trinkets on the tree and hand-written wishes to be granted. These can get a little tatty over the months and everything was just a little bit too  Wicker Man. 'No sir, it does NOT refresh me!' ©  Eh-Wah Woo-Wah.

[1] AKA Doon Hill, seriously.

You can get up and at it yourself by heading south past the graveyard, in which you can find Robert Kirk, himself.

Aberfoyle Old Parish Church & Burial Ground Near Aberfoyle - Campanula rotundifolia

You can also try and improvise a different route to return by but there's a river in the way and you'll end up looping back with just a carpet of bluebells for company.

Take the  Duke's Pass north out of the village for this stretch of the A821 is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland, scratch that the UK, scratch that the world!

After about a mile you'll come across what was once known as the David Marshall Lodge, named after the chairman of the charitable trust that funded its construction.

Near Aberfoyle - Lodge Forest Visitor Centre

They've since dropped the 'Dave' but the  Lodge Forest Visitor Centre is still the main source of information for the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

It's £3 to park up next to a pond, mind, but the Forestry Commission of Scotland will kindly let you wander along their well laid out woodland trails. where you're likely to see some of these.

Near Aberfoyle - Sciurus vulgaris Near Aberfoyle - Sciurus vulgaris

Or these although it's likely to be the same one.

If you're feeling strenuous, there's a path up to  Lime Craig for quite a view of the Trossachs, albeit one that's not nearly as good in photographic form.

Near Aberfoyle - Lime Craig path

An athletic lady and her dog shot past on the way up and she's waiting for you at the top.

Is that a... 'Yes, a buzzard.'
Can you hear... 'Yes, a willow warbler.'
Is that... 'Yes,  Ben More.'
You been up there?... 'Yes, I've done  them all.

Yes, well, well, yes, but it's bet you've never had Liz MacGregor's shortbread? That'll learn her!

There's a  GoApe™ here, which at one point had the longest zip wire in the UK. A combination of the wobblies and a reluctance to part with that many pounds means there's zero chance of my business.

Near Aberfoyle - Zip wire

Mrs Guff's slightly better, and less stingy, so is planning a visit on the next big birthday. See you back in the café, then, which used to be run by Liz MacGregor, remember her?

Previously purchasing some shortbread, it was advised to wait 5 minutes for a fresh batch. Hot out of the oven, these were the best ever tasted and trust me, 'We've had a few'[1] was cemented in ink in the visitor book's comments.

Imagine the disappointment on returning the next year to find the contract to cater had headed east and by that it's not meant Perthshire, neither, but Poland! Now, who doesn't like a goulash and a dumpling but late afternoon, after a woodland walk?

There wasn't a krótki-chleb[2] to be had.

[1]  Chrystal's are the best you'll find everywhere else.
[2] The shortbread's back on the menu after they demolished and rebuilt the place, dropping the 'Dave' in 2013.