The Heart of Scotland wood is marked on Ordnance Survey maps just south-west of Aberfeldy.
The local museum also calls it Lord Breadalbane’s Wood and shows it on a National Library of Scotland Map dated 1888-1913. Beyond that, there is little information available, except the odd claim that this is the very centre of Scotland. So, map in hand, off we went to find it for ourselves.
Eric could not quite decide whether it is called the Heart of Scotland because of its shape or its location, but that didn’t matter – finding it was what counted for this 11-year-old. The car park for the Birks of Aberfeldy seemed a good place to start, but the path by the side of the Moness Burn didn’t bear right towards our destination.
A scramble up a bank led us to a road . A path led uphill towards it, this seemed easy enough until the path bent left, away from the wood we were aiming for. A cry of, “Oh no!” was followed with more map study by Eric and an excited exclamation of, “We need to go this way!” before a speedy stride through birch trees.
Traipsing over fallen branches and tangled roots, we emerged at a gate – and there was the wood itself on the other side of a field beyond. Success! Getting to the edge of the wood was mostly straightforward, but entering it meant searching for a way over a high deer fence.
A few minutes of tramping over boggy ground led us to a stile, and in to the woods we went. Exploration followed and it became apparent that the deer fence split the wood, protecting young-ish birch and rowan growing amid older deciduous trees and firs which presumably comprised the original wood.
An ancient stone wall was still standing – just – around the edge. Gazing down on Aberfeldy, Eric decided it was time to climb one of these trees, but not before we made it to the other side of the wood. More scrambling eventually led us to another stile and the continuation of the old wall, which led us down, under the wood.
“This is much better than going on a walk where you have to follow a boring path,” Eric enthused. As we neared the road leading us back to the start, he remembered a vital component of the day. “We forgot to climb a tree – I’ll do it next time we come.”
Finding The Centre Of Scotland
The location of the heart of Scotland has long been debated, with no definitive conclusion.
Not including the islands, the Ordnance Survey calculated it as being close to Schiehallion – with islands included it is above Loch Garry, near the Pass of Drumochter.
Some say it is the furthest point from the sea which is Glen Quoich in Upper Deeside.
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