Next-door neighbour Dunblane

 

IMG_0596The excitement of having many small towns instead of a one mega city is that they are all different. The visit to the next town over feels like a little daytrip.

An easy six-kilometre walk connects Bridge of Allan and Dunblane making visiting neighbours very easy. It starts from the western end of Bridge of Allan, right before crossing the Allan Water.

The traffic noises die out when you walk away from the main road on Blairforkie Drive. Freshly painted yellow stripes on the asphalt match the autumn leaves that shuffle under the feet.

There is also a river walk to Dunblane but this time we will take the upper route which is slightly longer but nice and wide. Fine for cycling and even pushing trollies.

The route is easy: just walk straight. There are some crossroads but don’t mind them.  Follow the blue bike route signs to the end of the paved road. The trees bend over the path creating a leaf-ceiling and little puddles decorate the ground. Houses give room  to the forest and fields.

If you check the route from a map you know that the path will do a horseshoe turn over the river. However, when the path splits, resist the temptation to turn left over the stream – you are not that far yet. Keep on walking straight towards the landslide warning sign. If the signs are announcing that the path you are on is a public path to Dunblane, you are on the right path.

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The path follows Kipperait Glen, the river flows quickly somewhere down on the bottom of the glen. When the path finally does the horseshoe turn, it will cross the river using a sturdy stone bridge.

Soon, the path jumps out of the forest to a road. First buildings of Dunblane wait on the other side of the golden, recently cut fields.

The main thing to check out in Dunblane is the Cathedral. Every town has its castle, church or cathedral. This one is an old one, but it is still in use. The beautiful Cathedral with stained glass windows and detailed wood carvings is open to visitors a few hours a day.

Behind the Cathedral, a path leads down to the Allan Water river. The river glimmers in the sunshine. It is almost to bright to look at. A green bridge takes you over to the other side to a  small park. You can walk by the river to the centre of Dunblane.

If you didn’t have a picnic by the river, it is time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and a sandwich. There is a happy little tearoom nearby the Cathedral. The red and white front of Another Tilly Tearoom is inviting and the menu is good. It might get busy though. Another lovely café waits just on the other end of the High Street. Beech Tree Café has decent size cups and the service is great.

The easiest way to get back to Stirling from Dunblane is to ride a train to Bridge of Allan or Stirling. There are also buses. And walking is always a good option.

 

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