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, 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 at a spot 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. A week's worth of variety packed into a single day?

📌 Walk: Ben Vrackie & a leap of faith ★★★★
Start / finish at A924 junction with Larchwood Road (street parking), 5-min walk west of Pitlochry town centre, G.R.: NN 937583 ///snake.paths.amplified

▶ 17 km / 11 mi | ▲ 860 m | ⌚ Full day | ⬤ Tough

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 particularly big burn, so wait for a spell of wet weather to see them at their best.

📌 Walk: Underground, overground, Acharn amble ★★★
Start / finish on minor road (street parking), Acharn village centre, G.R.: NN 755438 ///

▶ 2 km / 1 mi | ▲ 140 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Moderate
Features: Falls of Acharn
Terrain: Steep track for ascent with detour on a path through the cave to the falls. Rougher path for descent.

Route & map

Start - Falls of Acharn via west bank & Hermit's Cave - cross Acharn Burn above falls - return by east bank

Route credit: Walkhighlands
On our visit

Wildlife: Solitary red squirr…

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.

Location & info

📌 Scottish Crannog Centre★★★
By minor road 1 mi southwest of Kenmore, G.R.: NN 770449 ///energy.nervy.developed
Open daily, late March to October; also on a more limited basis from November to late March | £10 adult / £7 childe

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 ★★★
Car park just off minor road 2 mi south of Kenmore, G.R.: NN 786446 ///engage.certainly.engaging. Access road to car park is a rough track which could be tricky for low clearance vehicles.

▶ 5 km / 3 mi | ▲ 220 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Moderate
Summits: Kenmore Hill / Creag an Fhùdair (515 m)
Terrain: Good paths with a few wet sections; last sections on track and minor road.


Sloc of Dess

Aberdeenshire | Kincardine O'Neil | Waterfall | ★★

The setting, rather than height, 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.

Location & info

📌 Sloc of Dess ★★
Off minor road 2 mi 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.

Location & info

📌 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, pay a visit to nearby Stockbridge Market for tasty treats.

Location & info

📌 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh★★★★
Arboretum Place, 1 mi north of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 244753 ///origin.head.hunter
Open daily | Garden: free. Glasshouse: £7 adult / free for children