Showing posts from November, 2012

Walk: Ben Vrackie & a leap of faith

Perth & Kinross | Pitlochry | Full day walk | ★★★★

A full-day's circuit taking in Ben Vrackie and Killiecrankie Gorge is surely one of Scotland's most varied hill walks. Starting in the centre of bustling Pitlochry, the return route winds along the beautiful River Garry (with wonderful colours in autumn), taking in the dramatic Pass of Killiecrankie. In 1689 this was the scene for a major battle during the first Jacobite rebellion: one soldier escaped by jumping across the gorge - the spot is now named The Soldier's Leap. Oh yes, and there's also the small matter of the hill itself, its majestic bulk speckled with scree, heather slopes and a small loch, with the summit visible even from the town beneath. This is a route that has it all...

📌 Walk: Ben Vrackie & a leap of faith ★★★★
▶ 17 km / 11 miles | ▲ 860 metres
Summits: Ben Vrackie (841 metres, Corbett) | Features: Pitlochry; Killiecrankie gorge & visitor centre; Loch Faskally
Start / finish: Street parkin…

Walk: Underground, overground, Acharn amble

Perth & Kinross | Acharn | Short walk | ★★★

The unique feature of these potentially spectacular cascades on the south side of Loch Tay is the dark passage through a Victorian hermit's cave required to reach the amphitheatre-like viewpoint. "Potentially" here means "weather-dependent": the waterfalls are tall (80 feet in total) but it's not a huge river, so wait for a spell of wet weather to see them at their best.

📌 Walk: Underground, overground, Acharn amble ★★★
▶ 2 km / 1 mile | ▲ 140 metres
Features: Falls of Acharn
Start / finish: Acharn village centre, G.R.: NN 755438 ///

Route: Start - Falls of Acharn via west bank & Hermit's Cave - cross Acharn Burn above falls - return by east bank
Terrain: Steep track for ascent with detour on a path through the cave to the falls. Rougher path for descent.
Wildlife today: Solitary red squirrel in the forest; small birds.
Weather today: Showery and cool with fresh snow on hills.

Route map


Scottish Crannog Centre

Perth & Kinross | Kenmore | Reconstructed crannog | ★★★

Hovering above the mysterious waters of Loch Tay and in the shadow of Kenmore Hill lies the Scottish Crannog Centre, re-telling the story of how some people lived thousands of years ago, in wooden dwellings perched on stilts above Scotland's hundreds of lochs. The highlight is the reconstructed crannog itself: a dark, sometimes smoky affair in order to make the experience as authentic experience as possible, but a fascinating step back in time. Atmosphere is backed up by education back above dry land, with opportunities to use replica bronze age tools and a small museum area.

📌Scottish Crannog Centre★★★
Location: Minor road a mile south-west of Kenmore, G.R.: NN 770449 ///energy.nervy.developed
Open (2019): Daily, February to October; shorter tours in February & March
Cost (2019): £10 (adults), £7 (children)

Walk: Kenmore Hill - Loch Tay vista

Perth & Kinross | Kenmore | Short walk | ★★★

Kenmore Hill isn't really a proper hill at all - it's really just a minor bulge on the northern slopes of higher Meall a' Choire Chreagaich. However it offers wonderful views across Loch Tay with the mighty Ben Lawers ridge beyond, and the Bolfracks Estate have created a network of waymarked paths which make a circular walk possible through a mixture of woodland and open ground. Access to the car park is quickest from the north for most visitors, but the long drive through lonely Glen Quaich to the south is quite exciting.

📌 Walk: Kenmore Hill - Loch Tay vista ★★★
▶ 5 km / 3 miles | ▲ 220 metres
Summits: Kenmore Hill / Creag an Fhùdair (515 metres)
Start / finish: Car park just off minor road 2 miles south of Kenmore, G.R.: NN 786446 ///engage.certainly.engaging
Anything else? Access road to car park is a rough track which could be tricky for low clearance vehicles.

Route: Car park - Kenmore Hill - path curves south, then west, …

Sloc of Dess

Aberdeenshire | Kincardine O'Neil | Waterfall | ★★★

It's the setting rather than height that makes this small Deeside waterfall such an attractive spot. Rocky walls and woodland surrounding the Dess Burn hide the Sloc of Dess away from passing cars, and the fall isn't signposted. But for those in the know, it's only a short descent to the burn from a nearby layby - well worth a stop if you're passing.

📌Sloc of Dess ★★★
Off minor road 2 miles west of Kincardine O'Neil, G.R.: NJ 566004 ///intruded.smoothly.tall
Always open | Free

Anything else? Park at the layby (space for a couple of cars) at G.R.: NJ 566004 ///fairy.badge.campsites and wander down to the bank nearby. There's a rough burnside path with lots of steps taking you down to the bottom of the waterfall.

Kincardine O'Neil Old Church

Aberdeenshire | Kincardine O'Neil | Church | ★★★

It's easy to drive through the roadside village of Kincardine O'Neil with barely a thought on your way to the more popular upper reaches of Royal Deeside. Indeed, there isn't much more to the place than what you can see from the A93, but the ruined kirk on the south side of the road is worth a stop. Once twice as long and two storeys high, this used to be the local parish church and dates to the 12th century.

📌Kincardine O'Neil Old Church ★
By the A93, Kincardine O'Neil village centre, G.R.: NO 592996 ///
Always open | Free

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh | Stockbridge | Garden | ★★★★

If you live close to the Royal Botanic Garden you'll already know that you're fortunate to call one of Edinburgh's most beautiful and green suburbs home. Amongst the several generous areas of open space are more than 70 landscaped acres within easy walking distance of Edinburgh New Town: beautiful woodland, rock garden, Chinese hillside, ponds and the magnificent Victorian Palm Houses are just a few of the highlights. Obviously the gardens show their best colours during the warmer months, but they're worth a visit at any time of year. If it happens to be a Sunday, make sure you pay a visit to nearby Stockbridge Market. If you're not hungry you soon will be...

📌Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh★★★★
Location: Arboretum Place, a mile north of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 244753 ///origin.head.hunter
Open (2019): Daily
Cost (2019): Garden: Free; Glasshouse: £6.30 (adults), free for children

Walk: Blackford Hill - batting above average

City of Edinburgh | Blackford | Short walk | ★★★

Blackford Hill is one of the Seven Hills that Edinburgh is said to be built upon. Despite its lowly height the ancient hill fort summit commands excellent views over a large swathe of the city, its castle and beyond into Fife. The area extending west into the Hermitage of Braid along the Braid Burn is a local nature reserve rich in birdlife. Visit at sunset when the views are at their best - you might also catch a glimpse of bats hunting for insects in the evening air. For a longer circuit, consider adding on a jaunt over the neighbouring Braid Hills.

📌 Walk: Blackford Hill - batting above average ★★★
▶ 4 km / 2 miles | ▲ 160 metres
Summits: Blackford Hill (164 metres) | Features: Hermitage of Braid (doocot, ice house & visitor centre); Blackford Pond
Start / finish: Street parking on Braid Road, 2 miles south of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 245703 ///

Route: Start - Hermitage House visitor centre via south side…


West Lothian | Town | ★

Linlithgow is one of the most attractive towns in the middle of the Central Belt, with plenty of history and a popular commuter town for both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Linlithgow Palace is its most famous tourist attraction: birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots and enjoying a beautiful setting above Linlithgow Loch, itself worth a wander around at any time of year. St Michael's Church stands on the other side of the palace: proximity to the palace dictates that its history is closely intertwined, and Mary, Queen of Scots was baptised here. Don't leave before visiting some of Linlithgow's other highlights: the bustling high street, the canal running through the southern side of the town, or nearby Beecraigs Country Park.

📌Linlithgow ★
West Lothian, G.R.: NT 003771 ///icon.reconnect.hiking

Within walking distance

📌Linlithgow Loch ★★
Description: Pleasant lake behind the town centre, with Linlithgow Palace on its shore.
Access at various points immediately nort…