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Pitlochry’s Enchanted Forest: Photos and review ahead of big opening night

The Enchanted Forest is back, and Gayle Ritchie had a sneak peek at what you can expect.

Nina, one, with her dad David at the Enchanted Forest.
Nina Mclaren, 1, with dad David at the Enchanted Forest. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

If you go down to Faskally Woods near Pitlochry tonight, you’re sure of a big surprise.

I was among folk invited to a special preview of this year’s Enchanted Forest – on October 4, before it officially opened to the public – and I’m delighted to reveal that the show is absolutely mesmerising.

A record 80,000 visitors are expected for the month-long autumn spectacle, which runs until November 5.

Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

This year’s event, titled From The Deep, sees visitors transported into the depths of a magical underworld through the media of light, video and sound.

The woods have been transformed into an underwater forest, illuminated by a deep watery glow of aqua blue and green.

Plunged into darkness

On arrival, you’re plunged into darkness, but the path is lit with myriad mysterious creatures from the deep coming at you – benignly – from all angles.

Neon, bioluminescent jellyfish dangle from trees above, and pink, green, blue and red lights flash up into the canopy.

Sisters Hallie and Emmie Sinclair, aged 3 and 16 months, with their parents Conor and Katie Sinclair and grandparents David and Jane Wilson, from Perth, check out the jellyfish. Picture: Lesley Martin.

There’s a chance to stop and buy fluffy octopuses, glow sticks and other marine-themed merchandise near the entrance, but my eyes were drawn to a trail of ‘sea bed’ stepping stones. These light up, magically, as you step onto them.

The Beginning

An installation named An Toiseach, which means ‘The Beginning’, greets visitors with the unveiling of a “very special friend” named Solas. This funky wee fish is described as the protector and guardian of life underwater.

He’s projected onto a big screen and is bioluminescent – which means he communicates through light in the deep. Solas, by the way, means “light” in Gaelic.

Lily, 6 and Kelisse, 9 Telfer on one of the interactive exhibits. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

As you listen to his story, you can check out the stunning colourful waterfalls that splash and flow on either side of the screen.

As you walk through the trees, don’t forget to look up! There’s all sorts of light-show wizardry above. You’ll also be able to marvel at a gathering of glowing plankton.

Bubble bridge

Another highlight – and a dream for selfie-takers and influencers – is the Bubble Coral Bridge. Walk over it and be blown away as the bubbles change colour and glow.

Stuart Sharp with son Tom Sharp, 8, on the bubble coral bridge. Image: Mhairi Edwards.

The sounds here are awesome – gurgling, splashing, bubbling, and tinkling noises combine to truly bring the concept of “underwater” to life.


Next up is the chance to explore the fiery sensation of Tamu Massif, the world’s largest underwater volcano. The ground beneath you rumbles as the volcano sends “smoke” and “lava” skywards.

The slopes of the forestare streaked with flowing red “lava”, flashing and burning bright.

One of the exhibits in Faskally woods. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

Living Light on the Loch

As always, there’s an epic display on Loch Dunmore. This year’s showcase tells the story of the ocean’s bioluminescent creatures and how they communicate, find mates and warn off predators.

A light projection over Loch Dunmore shows ‘Solas. Image: Andrew Milligan/PA.

Illuminated sea horses, octopuses, and fish shoot out of the water, via light projection, to meet you. At one point it looks as though Solas is coming right AT you!

The Beastie in The Boathouse

This had to be one of my favourite bits. A beastie in a boathouse? Wow! This beastie is rather a sinister looking one though. I’ve yet to work out what exactly he, or she, is, but let’s say he’s a he.

The Beastie in the Boathouse! Image: Lesley Martin.

He’s got huge purple tentacles that poke out from the boathouse, ready to grab unsuspecting visitors, so watch out!

As you turn the corner, and see the beastie from another angle, you’ll watch his giant eyeball whirling and blazing bright. It’s as if his gaze is boring right into you.

The eyeball appears to gaze right at you! Image: Lesley Martin.

Underwater Springs

These immersive, colourful, bouncing springs seem to drop down from the sky – they’re absolutely mesmerising!

Andrew Russell and Rachel Love from Perth walk through the springs. Image: Lesley Martin.

Kelp forest

Here, you’ve to navigate a forest of neon green kelp fronds and it’s great fun! Yes, you might get a tad tangled, but once you’re out the other side, the chances are you’ll want to go right back through it.

The educational stuff? Kelp forests at St Kilda’s in the Outer Hebrides can grow to depths of 30m, apparently.

James Ward in the kelp forest. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson


The grand finale of this year’s show is an installation called Purpose. Here, we’re told we’ve successfully navigated the oceans along with Solas. And, having won over a giant octopus, and been led by eels through forests of kelp, we’re about to meet the “Queen of Winter, Beira”. (Beira is Gaelic for winter).

Stuart Sharp with son Tom Sharp. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

She appears, on huge screens in the forest, as a woman dressed in white, with antlers, before performing a sort of Highland fling.

The musical soundtrack to this installation features the voices of Pitlochry Primary and High School pupils singing a phrase in Gaelic, meaning “share the light”.


I’ve been to The Enchanted Forest multiple times – because I’m a huge fan – and this year didn’t disappoint. It’s perhaps a little more kids-oriented than in previous years, with the show themed around the story of Solas the cute fish and his funky friends.

The public wandered round the exhibits in Faskally woods. Image: Mhairi Edwards.

The interactive aspect is pretty special and sure to appeal to folk of all ages. A real family affair – enjoy!

For more information and to book tickets see