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Ask a local: 5 of the best things about being from Aberfeldy

Looking for things to do in Aberfeldy? Let Val Ferguson be your guide.

Val Ferguson standing next to the Black Watch monument in Aberfeldy.
The Black Watch and Val Ferguson - two of Aberfeldy's most formidable exports. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Aberfeldy has been immortalised in verse by everyone from Robert Burns to Ed Sheeran.

It won international recognition in 2022 when residents opened their homes to dozens of families fleeing the war in Ukraine.

And it welcomes visitors in their droves every year, boasting attractions such as a distillery and a volunteer-run Art Deco cinema (with none other than Aberfeldy-born Alan Cumming as a patron).

But what’s it like to live there?

Absolutely brilliant, says Val Ferguson.

Val Ferguson standing next to fountain in Aberfeldy town square.
Val is just the person to ask about things to do in Aberfeldy. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Val is a straight-talking stalwart of the community council and various other local organisations.

She swung into action with the Tayside Waders group, distributing sandbags, supplies and sound advice when the River Tay burst its banks in October.

And next weekend she’ll don her Aberfeldy Festive Committee hat and get stuck into the celebrations when the Christmas lights are switched on in the Square.

So who better to let us in on five of the best things about living in Aberfeldy?


Feldy-Roo was started during Covid as a food delivery service. Gavin Price, who runs the Fountain Bar and a number of other places in the town, and Julie Dunbar were behind it.

Group of people, standing metres apart from one another outside the Fountain bar in Aberfeldy during the Covid lockdown
Socially-distant Feldy-Roo project volunteers in 2020.

They started out making meals for elderly people who were isolating because of lockdown. And at first they were using their own money.

But then a number of other local business and volunteers got involved. And before long they were delivering free meals seven days a week to people in their homes here and in places like Grandtully and Strathtay.

They won awards for it. And since Covid, they’ve kept Feldy-Roo going. It’s still doing things for the community in other ways.

The latest thing is the Feldy-Roo fitness trail down by the river. Its for walkers and runners and cyclists, and it’s wheelchair accessible too.

man walking past wooden sign for Feldy-Roo fitness trail in Aberfeldy.
The Feldy-Roo fitness trail is the latest addition to the list of things to do in Aberfeldy. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

They’ve done such a lot for Aberfeldy in a short time and it’s something they should be really proud of.

Black Watch

A lot of people don’t realise this, but the Black Watch was founded in Aberfeldy.

The first muster of the regiment was held here in 1740 and they built a monument in 1887. It’s near General Wade’s Bridge and it’s one of the things people really should see if they’re visiting the town.

Aberfeldy is still really proud of its links to the Black Watch today. Lots of local families have people serving in the regiment, or people who have served in it in the past.

Black Watch monument by the River Tay in Aberfeldy
Aberfeldy’s Black Watch monument. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

There’s a muster every two years and the Black Watch has the freedom of the town.

They held a parade not that long ago and loads of people turned out to see it.

The Birks

The Birks is one of the best known things about Aberfeldy.

Rabbie Burns even wrote a poem about it. That’s before Ed Sheeran was writing about the Hills of Aberfeldy.

It’s a walk through the birch trees (the birks) beside the Falls of Moness, on the edge of the town.

Falls of Moness running through autumnal trees at the Birks of Aberfeldy.
The Birks of Aberfeldy is a much loved local beauty spot, as well as a Robert Burns poem. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

It’s not a long walk – maybe a mile up and down. There’s waterfalls and a lovely bridge at the top, and the trees, of course.

It really is beautiful, especially in the autumn.

It’s really popular with visitors, and locals too.

People walking through fallen birch leaves at the Birks of Aberfeldy
Walkers crunch though the autumn leaves at the Birks this week. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

We used to go there at the weekends when I was younger, and it’s just a lovely peaceful spot to have in your town.

Location, location, location

We get people coming here from all over – plenty of famous names too – and it really is a beautiful part of the world.

The setting is pretty perfect. We’re sitting in a valley with amazing scenery everywhere you look.

There’s Schiehallion, and we have the River Tay running right through the town. All the kids play down there.

Aberfeldy nestled in countryside with autumnal trees and mountains behind.
Aberfeldy boasts a stunning setting. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

It’s a great place for photographers. And it’s lovely at any time of the year but autumn and winter is when it’s really at its best. The colours on the trees have been unbelievable this year.

It’s beautiful here, pure and simple.

The community

There’s nowhere like Aberfeldy for community spirit.

Feldy Roo is a good example – just a simple idea to help folk that grew and grew.

Val Ferguson talking to Julie Dunbar of the Feldy Roo group, outside the Schiehallion Hotel in Aberfeldy.
Val with Feldy-Roo stalwart Julie Dunbar. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

There was a lot of attention on Aberfeldy last year too because of the number of people who offered homes to Ukrainian refugees. There are still a lot of Ukrainian people in the town today.

I’m in the Tayside Waders group. We were set up to help residents whenever there’s flooding, and when we had the last big flood in October everyone just stepped up again.

I don’t know what it is about Aberfeldy but people just seem ready to help each other out.

You know if you’re ever stuck, you can put a message up on Facebook and nine times out of 10 someone will come right back with whatever it is you’re needing.

I’ve lived here all my life and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.