Enchanted by the wild

Cara McKee, a writer and mum-of-three living in Largs, is having a magical autumn…

Cara works in her local library and writes poems, most recently she’s been published in Picaroom Poetry magazine. Find more from Cara at caralmckee.blogspot.co.uk

Over the October holidays we took the kids to Pitlochry for the multi-award-winning sound and light show at The Enchanted Forest (otherwise known as Faskally Wood), which has now been lighting up the hidden beauty of the forest after dark for seventeen years!

This year the show was called ‘Of The Wild’ and was put together by a team of talented specialists in sound and music installations for the Enchanted Forest Community Trust, which works hard to ensure the show also benefits the local community (by bringing in an estimated £3 million to the local economy).The overall experience is so much more than just a light and sound show. There’s a huge story yurt (which I think I loved more than the kids) where you can relax and enjoy a magical tale told under twinkling fairy lights. There are plenty of delicious food and drink pit stops to warm you up from the inside out as you explore the beautiful woods (even hot chocolate with a cheeky tipple in it for the grown-ups!). It’s amazing how everything just works together to make it so memorable. Of course, you could check out the beautiful, breathtaking images on Instagram, but it’s simply no substitute for being there. It’s also no surprise that it currently holds the title as the UK’s best cultural event.

Pitlochry is always a lovely destination, but in late autumn it’s perfect. The trees are alive with vivid colours, even in the daytime, and it feels like the entire place has pulled together to bewitch visitors with its stunning scenery. We ended up taking five kids with us, so I thought finding a place to stay would present us with a bit of a challenge, but no problem for the Atholl Centre, who found us a perfect solution at a super price – and there are lots of other places to stay around the town to suit all budgets.

Seven-year-old Jessica McIntoshfrom Auchterarder was the winner of the 2018 national competition to open the show as the voice giving all the necessary need-to-know safety info on the bus out to the forest – another fun family adventure. Then there’s the forest itself. It was very busy, but they had clearly thought about the numbers and it wasn’t so hectic that you’d rather not be there. Plus, it’s set up to get people all moving in one direction (mostly), so everything flows nicely.

We were completely charmed. The effects weave together to create a memorising fairy-tale show to watch and wonder at while there are lots of surprises in store with the interactive parts. It’s possibly not the cheapest family evening out, because you’ll probably need to stay over as well as going to the event itself, but in my opinion (and by the look on my kids’ faces) it’s well worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. After all, you can’t put a price tag on the best childhood memories.

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