Fairies are alive and thriving in the forests around Kinloch Rannoch in Scotland making seven-year-old Flossie one happy little lady.
Flossie is fairy mad and when ever we head out for a walk, we have to look for the dust (lichen to the non believers) which signals plenty of the winged ones in residence and also very clean and healthy air.
This fabulous part of Perthshire is a real gem and I can see why the fairies love it so much, after all what is there not to love, when you have the stunning Loch Rannoch and Schiehallion Mountains to look at too.
Accompanied by my fellow trusty travellers, Flossie, Ruaridh (10) and Kenny, we headed up the A9 to the Highland haven for a two night stay in the Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel, which perches majestically overlooking the loch.
It’s a big place, with self catering and holiday homes alongside, but the hotel has that small and intimate feel too, which comes from having friendly and efficient staff, who obviously have an affection for their workplace.
It is traditionally furnished and in a bit of a tartan timewarp, but that adds to its attraction and the facilities on offer are up to date with a bar and formal dining room and a lounge to relax in.
Food is of a high standard, you can eat dinner in either the Schiehallion bar or Ptarmigan restaurant, meaning there is a good choice on offer, with a special menu for the children.
We opted for the bar the first night and enjoyed home-made yellow lentil soup, gammon steak with all the trimmings and Cullen Skink soup and a fabulous fish platter, all rounded off with some tasty Arran ice cream.
In the restaurant, the smoked venison and chicken liver parfait went down a treat, with main dishes of confit of duck and lamb shank and a raspberry pudding with macaroons and tasty cheese board, finishing off, what proved to be a lovely evening.
Breakfasts are excellent too, with freshly cooked dishes complementing the cold buffet and setting you up for the day.
And we needed the fuel, when we set off to Carie Forest, a few miles away from the Kinloch Rannoch village, which is worth a look itself with independent shops and galleries.
The forest has a very unusual shaped bridge at the foot of its burn and there are easy, moderate and hard trails to follow.
Keeping the mileage a secret, we took the children off on the five mile hard trail and after a few minutes of moaning, they were soon happily skipping through the woods, looking for fairies and their dens, pine martens, red squirrels and deer, which are familiar sights.
The weather was just perfect, with clear blue skies, allowing us to take in the crystal air and the panoramic views of the loch and mountain.
Three hours later and we headed back to the hotel, to squeeze out our last bit of energy in the swimming pool and thermal suite.
The next day, we headed back down South and stopped off at the lovely village of Blair Atholl, home to the Atholl family for the last 700 years and the main attraction being the family's impressive castle and gardens.
We’ve visited this wonder before, so headed towards Pitlochry and to Killiecrankie, which is cared for by The National Trust for Scotland.
The autumn colours were out, so we were treated to a spectacular scene. This wooded gorge is simply lovely and historic too, as The Battle of Killiecrankie took place here and is home to the Soldier’s Leap, a spot where a Redcoat soldier leapt 18 foot across the raging River Garry to flee from angry Jacobites.
You can enjoy the views from a footbridge and spot wildlife as well as trains which pass over the ancient viaduct. It's well lloked after by The National Trust for Scotland and popular with sight-seers.
The site is also home to rare mushrooms and toadstools, so Flossie’s chums, the fairies, must pass through here quite often too!
Accommodation: We stayed in a traditional Highland style hotel. The Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel is old-fashioned, but in a nice comfortable way and the stunning views of the loch and Schiehallion Mountains are out of this world. It boasts all the plus of a chain hotel, well trained and friendly staff, good sized bedrooms with all the mod cons and top notch dinners and breakfasts, as well as a handy gym and swimming pool to work off those pounds. For latest offers and to see what the hotel features, log onto www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-loch-rannoch-hotel
Attractions: The Kinloch Rannoch area in Perthshire has some of the best countryside in Scotland and there are plenty of things to keep you occupied, from walking to sight-seeing, we enjoyed a five mile trek through Carie Forest (http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/tay-forest-park/carie) and enjoyed some history at Killiecrankie, scene of one of the goriest battles in Jacobite history in 1689. Check out www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Killiecrankie