You're sure of a big surprise... No, seriously. If you take a trip to Doon Hill near the Scottish town of Aberfoyle and take a circular walk into the countryside, you will stumble across the magical land of Scottish fairies. I'm not even kidding.
|You have been warned...|
Apparently, in the 1600s, a local Vicar spotted some sparkly little beings in the woodland and, in honour of this fairy story (see what I did there?), the local authority decided to bring the whole thing to life and carve some dead trees to create some affordable council houses for their tiny little residents.
And they did it well. In what is already a popular area for family walks, the council has endeavoured to increase visitor numbers and encourage people to take more exercise in a fantastically creative way. I'm not sure if the work was carried out by the council's own staff but, if so, they got some serious chainsaw talent in Stiring.
Behold the fairy houses in all their glory:
You can park for free at the Aberfoyle Woollen Mill or adjoining car park and wander up over bridge to start the trail. There are so many carvings to discover as you explore the woods and enjoy some fresh Scottish air. I swear you won't catch the slightest smell of deep fried mars bars as you go on your merry way (you know we don't actually eat those, right?).
Depending on the time of your visit, you might, as we did, spot families walking with their little girls, all dressed up in pink tutus and fairy costumes. The kids, I mean, not the adults. That would be weird. Even for Scotland.
Should you make it aaaall the way to the top of the hill, there you'll find decorated trees, with hand written notes to the fairies and lovely, heartfelt messages written to loved ones who have passed. It's wonderful to see a normal wooded area transformed into a beautiful and serene area for fun or reflection.
And if mingling with the fairies wasn't enough, if you walk a little further past the main event, you'll find yourself on top of the world. Or, you know, on top of a hill in central Scotland. Either way, the scenery won't let you down.
Have you visited the fairy hills??