The Rob Roy Way 2013

Day Six: 9th June

Weather: overcast

Route: Amulree to Aberfeldy – 15.25 miles with 1080ft of ascent

Shock horror – cloudio. Back to the bumbag today and updated my gear to include a lightweight windproof Montane Gillet, which I needed today on and off. It was overcast all day long with the higher tops covered in mist, so no long views to distant hills – but I won’t complain because it was dry again. It was quite humid, although too cold for the midges with the temperature some 12 deg cooler than yesterday. A mix of surfaces again including the inevitable tarmac section, but an enjoyable walk only marred by a twist to the knee which will make the last day quite painful. I started out at the old Amulree Hotel, closed for business as are many hotels in plenty of small hamlets in Scotland. There is a tea room close by, but when I turned up at around 17:30 yesterday they didn’t want my business – I suspect they won’t be around too long either. Crossing over the River Braan I turned up a well established stone track and plodded along the northern side of Loch Freuchie, with views to my route yesterday down Glen Lochan, but all the tops were obscured. Again it was very peaceful with nobody out and about except a few cattle and their young – these were quite placid really and showed no interest in me as I wandered by. A feature of the northern side of the loch are the many abandoned old farmsteads and shiels – I suspect that SSE owns a vast tract of this land now for updating it’s power lines. One thing you can say about the SSE pylons is that the landscape will suffer again – such a shame they cannot run the lines underground. The track became rougher as the more SSE pylon sites were passed by, and it gently undulates up and down through woodland all the way to the end of Loch Freuchie where it meets a deer fence. The styal here must be 6ft high, so I used the gate alongside walking down towards Turrerich Farm. The Rob Roy Way here takes a turn back to the road as the ground between Turrerich Farm and Easter Shian appears to be boggy on the map. It didn’t look too bad to me so I thought I would save a mile by cutting out some tarmac. I crossed under some pylons and surveyed the way ahead picking out a line to follow close to the fence. It turned out OK because it has been dry for a while, and there was plenty of tussock leaping and reed walking over several small drainage channels. The odd sheep trod helped me out now and again, and I would definitely choose this route again unless it was pouring down, as there are plenty of gates to walk through and no fences to climb over, apart from the one near the start. As with the previous day the nesting birds were keeping me company today, piping and wailing if I came too close to the nests. I came out at the cemetery at Easter Shian and rejoined an old farm track which was so much nicer than the updated power / shooter tracks – well worn like old slippers, with a nice grassy section between the vehicle tracks. Along the river in Glen Quaich it was really pleasant passing a couple of old residences before arriving at the bridge at Garrow where I rejoined the single track road - then it was up, up, up. I could have filled a scrapbook today with squashed animals, all sorts of roadkill – so no wonder I hadn’t seen much wildlife around lately, definitely watershipdown country. Up the minor road with a few hairpin bends took me about 30 minutes, with stops to admire the misty views back down Glen Quaich to Loch Freuchie, with the road topping out on moorland. Here I should have had great views to Ben Lawers in the west and Schiehallion to the north, but not today folks. Up on the top the road wanders down through the managed moorland, which has plenty of shooters tracks here and there, reaching a small lochan to the right of the road, and once more onto a stone track which was very rough in places. There was a little hut to the north side of the lochan and it would make a great location for photography – it was the only time I’d wished I had the big camera with me all week apart from when the Pine Martens sped past. As I progressed along the track to the NE yet more work by SSE is evident with the wind farm of Calliachar prominent on the near horizon – but to be honest from this aspect it didn’t impact that much on the landscape. The track turned to meet the Urlar Burn – which flows down to the Birks of Aberfeldy – cut into a deep valley in the glacial till – probably an outwash channel from the ice-age. I followed the track down and twisted my knee on a rough part – ouch and much cursing ensued, so it was a bit slower walking to reach the Birks of Aberfeldy. The path diverts around the farm at Urlar and returns to a single track road for 1/2 a mile before turning into the woods to see the Falls of Moness. There are paths down both sides of the gorge, so I passed over the bridge above the falls and made my way down the east side. The falls were not too spectacular due to lack of rainfall and surprisingly restricted views – it really needs a lumberjack to get stuck in around the birks and clear out some of the undergrowth. Many steps later I passed by the Robbie Burns seat complete with gent who was trying to mimic the statue – crossed legs etc. Soon enough I was down in Aberfeldy enjoying some apple crumble cake at ‘The Watermill’ cafe, thus ending another fine day on the Rob Roy Way – shame about the cloud and the knee. All today’s pictures are suitably drab…


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the new bridge over the River Braan at Amulree  

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gloomy ahead, but dry as the rough farm track winds away from me  

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looking across Loch Freuchie to Glen Lochan - glad I was there yesterday and not today  

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more power lines. The Rob Roy Way returns to the minor road away to the left, but I didn't  

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a styal for long legs or just use the gate  

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I chose to cross rough ground, probably really wet at times. Good for bog hopping.  

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I came out at Easter Shian by the cemetery - dead good this walk  

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a lovely old farm track led me past Wester Shian  

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and along the floodplain of the River Quaich  

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the path fords the river over some stepping slabs  

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peaceful with just the haunting cries of the Curlew for company  

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what a grey day and the pass to walk over appears in the distance  

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off track now at Glen Quaich cottages Garrow, and on to the road once more for a couple of miles  

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looking back down on Glen Quaiche, with Loch Freuchie in the distance  

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the summit pass and there should be views over to Schiehallion, but not today  

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this hut looked very lonely up here by the unnamed Lochan. Off road again for rough track again  

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no idea what this is, probably bog myrtle, but it looked good  

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the new windfarm at Calliachar looms in the distance across rough moorland  

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looking north to the valley where the Birks lurk  

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some interruptions on the way, with diversions around - no big deal but a mess nevertheless  

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the shooters hut adjacent to the track - not that inviting  

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the Urlar Burn cuts into it's surrounds quite deeply in places on it's way to the Birks of Aberfeldy  

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looking over to the SSE site at Calliachar  

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the track winds gently down towards Aberfeldy  

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the route by-passes the farmhouse at Urlar along a narrow strip  

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after another mile on tarmac it's into the woods for the walk through the Birks of Aberfeldy  

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you can choose left or right to descend the birks - I went right  

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the Moness Falls - I hope they keep pruning the birch in the years to come  

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some pleasant little stretches  

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and small falls  

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with the obligatory photo of the poet himself - he's on the right  

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