When you live in a country like Scotland - with vast expanses of open spaces and beautiful walk ways and camping and hiking and hill climbing to your heart's content - it's hard not to take it for granted. I know that seems a strange thing - but it's true nonetheless.
In the years I lived in Edinburgh, just a few hours from some of the best, most beautiful walks in the world - I found my hiking restricted largely to trips abroad and other places that had come to seem more exotic. When I was at home, I seemed to have much less time for this pass time that I love.
And perhaps it's something to do with how much day to day walking takes place when you live in a city like Edinburgh. Perhaps constantly making your way up and down the city's hills takes something of the thrill out of it as a weekend excursion.
But all of that is just the excuses that form, and when I returned to the UK after a year abroad and ready to re-explore my home, the desire to wander the big open spaces at my leisure was the very top of that list.
The fact that there is no law of trespass in Scotland and that most areas not directly in someone's space are open to walkers is something that sets it apart from many other countries where the scenery is equally good.
The summer I spent in Perthshire was to be one of long, long days out in the hills and fields exploring and wandering no where in particular - and occasionally finding some hidden treasure that I'd never even heard of. The first thing to do when arriving in the area is to get a good OS (Ordinance Survey) map - you can pick these up at any Waterstones booksellers or many local shops and post offices also sell them. Find a shady spot or stop in one of the towns or villages for a coffee and cruise it extensively until you've a good idea of what you might want to explore in the area - and off you go!
I'll not say that there aren't more dramatic and stunning areas of Scotland for walking - there are. Glencoe and Rannoch Moor and the Isle of Skye and many others are breathtakingly beautiful, and in my opinion possibly the most stunning landscapes on earth.
But they all have a bit of a bite to them in one way or another and though you're likely to have an amazing walk - it might not necessarily be a particularly pleasant one. Stinging, nonstop rain - freezing winds that bluster across high valleys and along dramatic hills, the unbelievable scourge of midges on the west coast and even the never ending gray and cold drizzle even in the summer time can spoil a good day out walking.
The hardcore walkers with scoff at my criticisms here - every Scot I know who likes to walk revels in just the kind of weather I've just complained about and wear a day out walking in bad weather as a badge of honor. And though I have moments of being bemusedly impressed with their tenacity and seeming lack of concern for being wet and cold - at heart I'm still a Texan, and can't understand why anyone would venture out voluntarily in such conditions.
So for me, Perthshire was a nice repose from the rough walking conditions of the west coast. I spent a long summer of largely pleasant and dryish days - with cool winds and mild sun on my back as I made my way past farm houses and fields filled with sheep, waterfalls and hills, farmshops and strawberry crops. Have your camera (or your binoculars if that's your thing) ready - as there are changes in light and colours in all directions and the same scenery may look completely different from one day to the next. The wildlife here is abundant, too - rabbits are at every turn in the late spring, birds are extremely plentiful here (I'm not much of a bird watcher myself, but my friend the Ornithologist gets very excited about walking in the area...) in all shapes and sizes, and small roe deer hop in and out of rapeseed hedges where their fawns lay and wait. The quiet is vast - even with the farm houses in view.
The land is wide and open here in comparison to many of Scotland's hillier areas, and spending a day next to a forgotten creek near standing stones somewhere in the midst of your OS map in Perthshire is a fine way to spend a summer. I can't recommend it highly enough.