Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Enchanted Forest 2013

In what has become something of an annual family tradition, we visited The Enchanted Forest event last weekend as a group of six adults and five little ones aged between 2 and 8 years. Held each October at Faskally near Pitlochry in Perthshire, the event fuses light and sound effects to create a unique experience in a woodland setting around a small loch.

Each year has a different theme and arrangement, which must be challenging for the designers.  This years theme is "absorb" with the emphasis on the "Orb", featuring circles and globes as a linking theme.  That could range from the literal circle or globe to the circle of life and beyond!  Once again, the whole event lived up to high expectation.

Visitors are taken to the site by bus, a five minute journey from Pitlochry, and are then met at the entrance and shown the start of the path.  Once in the site, you can stay as long as you wish with bus departures back to Pitlochry every ten minutes or so through the evening.  The fun starts with a large orb overhanging a circular area - useful for family photos!

We were fortunate to get a dry, clear evening this year, though in truth the weather isn't a major factor in the enjoyment of the event.  In fact sometimes rain and mist can enhance the effects.  The path is well surfaced as ist's normally a popular Forest Enterprise walk.

There are eight main areas to the display, one of which stood out as truly exceptional - an orchestral piece with a stunning lightshow.  The lighting is superb, but really it's the combination with the forest and the loch, the utilisation and blending with natural elements which makes the whole event work so well.

The subtlety of some of the effects this year was a real highlight (if you'll excuse the pun!) .  Aside from the main displays, there are rocks from which mist and light appear to emanate, groups of small blinking eyes watching visitors watching back and much, much more.

A central bridge which last year was lit in ultraviolet shades with water cascading from it was transformed into a shimmering path of light visible from most of the site.  Along the way is a large  Yurt (tent) where a storyteller is in residence, regular sessions are given through the evening at a very nominal additional charge of £1.

The loch itself forms the setting for one of the main displays with globes appearing to float over their own reflections and respond to music and sound, changing colours and pulsing with light.

Away from the main displays, colour and light continually shifts through the trees whilst individual trees are lit around the paths to provide both light and a striking effect.

The route around the site feels like a proper journey but is short enough that little ones can manage it comfortably.  Many folk go around more than once, as we did with the eldest little one.

The Enchanted Forest runs until 27th October this year.  If you have children, grandchildren or simply a bit of child-like wonder, it's highly recommnded!

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