The Rob Roy Way 2013

Day Seven: 10th June

Weather: Overcast but dry

Route: Aberfeldy to Pitlochry – 12.2 miles with 1050ft of ascent

The final day of The Rob Roy Way and time to reflect on my journey in a few days to let you know my thoughts. A final dry day as well – how often do you get seven dry days up in the highlands of Scotland? No midges again and not a whole lot of wildlife apart from the usual suspects of the bird world, bunnies and hares. I woke early to pack away all my excess gear in the car for the long drive home to Manchester later on in the day, and replaced the body warmer with a thin merino top as it continued to be a tad chill. Not much wind to speak of as I’ve not had much veg or beans this week. A quick peek out of the window and confirmation that the cloud levels were the same as yesterday so I knew it would stay dry but dull – which makes all the pictures a little flat. Setting out from Aberfeldy I took a picture of the fine bridge over the River Tay, and took a long walk along the high street out of town on the main road. About 3/4 of a mile along ‘Thomas The Tank Engine was stuck at the Dewars ‘World of Whisky’, with a load of white barrels parked behind it. Passing another cemetery the route took me off road and onto the start of a footpath that runs alongside the Tay, following the banks of the river but has limited views apart from the occasional break. But the abundant bird-life kept me amused before a small rise up to the old railway track – not my favourite walking and again limited views, just a glimpse to tease now and again. It didn’t help that my knees were on their last legs and it was a little uncomfortable to make fast progress along here. The trackbed of the railway runs all the way into Grandtully for about 2 miles, and to be honest I could have done with my headphones for this bit to tune out of the long tedious straight bits – still, mustn't grumble as it was dry. Into the small village of Grandtully I swerved away from the ‘Home of Chocolate’ and crossed over to the metal bridge over the Tay. This part of the river is over some small falls and the water is festooned with rope and canoe slalom gates, which would be quite exciting to watch if the river was flowing high. Over the bridge and it was the start of the uphill section and an enjoyable part of the day. A great joy just to be walking on a path again, even if it was all uphill. A small path leads out past some houses and then over the golf course – a brilliant looking golf hole with a really tight area to drive down. There’s a small house to the right of the hole which must be peppered with golf balls at times, but I suppose that’s a small price to pay for the views they have. After the golf course it was up an old lane with bluebells in profusion, it would have been lovely on a summers day with dappled light from the big beech trees – today it still looked good. This vista took the sting out of the uphill section and once through various gates it was out onto sheep grazed pasture. An old stone cross lies alongside the route, simply carved and I’ve no idea how old it is, but it sits well in the landscape. Unfortunately the distant views were limited due to the low cloud, but I could just make out Aberfeldy in the distance and already it looked a fair way away. As the ascent eased it was out onto open moorland which is dominated by the yellow blooms of gorse and broom. I expected to see two fine Scots pines once I was up on the top of the moors, but one of them has been uprooted by storms – so that will be another edition update for the ‘Rucksac Reader’ of the Rob Roy Way. The open ground didn’t last long and once into the forestry commission plantation at Fonab Forest – no more open views until Pitlochry. I was soon upon the site of a 3000 yr old stone ‘circle’ – only three stones standing and in my eyes probably not a circle, more of a square. This bit taken from the ‘Megalithic Portal’ website -

‘When the Clachan an Diridh stone circle was built, it would have had fantastic views to the NE across the River Tummel to Ben Vrackie and the Grampians beyond, and to the SW down the River Tay and Ben Lawers. It was these views that prompted the antiquarian Daniel Wilson to write in the mid-nineteenth century: “Amid this wild Highland landscape the huge standing stones, grey with the moss of ages, produce a grand and imposing effect; and from the idea of lofty height the distant mountains suggest, they convey a stronger impression of gigantic proportions than is produced even by the first sight of the giant monoliths of Salisbury Plain.’

A strong opinion probably formed on a suitably sunny stunning day before all these pines were planted as now you can’t see the wood for the trees. A short distance on the forest ride gave way to a nice grassy trod through the pines which led to the start of the downward spiral to Pitlochry. Again not many views but eventually I walked out onto a farm track to look down over Pitlochry below. A quick dash across the very busy A9 led me to the wobbly suspension bridge over the River Tummel. To my left the big dam could be seen, but I kept straight ahead up to the town, under a rail bridge and into the war memorial site to mark the end of my week. I think Rob Roy McGregor would have enjoyed this walk, especially if he had ‘borrowed’ a few prime cattle to sell at market.

 photo DSC05817.jpg

the fine bridge over the River Tay at Aberfeldy  

 photo DSC05821.jpg

Dewars World of Whisky and an old railway train  

 photo DSC05822.jpg

off road between the hogweed just after the distillery  

 photo DSC05824.jpg

occasional glimpses of the River Tay from the riverbank  

 photo DSC05826.jpg

with plenty of broom lining the path - no views through here  

 photo DSC05829.jpg

the path leaves the river and climbs up to the old railway track  

 photo DSC05831.jpg

once again straight and true with no views  

 photo DSC05839.jpg

but the bluebells still looked good  

 photo DSC05841.jpg

all the way to Grandtully with limited views  

 photo DSC05843.jpg

approaching Grandtully near the Tay once more  

 photo DSC05845.jpg

under the road bridge and follows around to the campsite for canoeists  

 photo DSC05852.jpg

the slalom course on the River Tay to the west of the bridge at Grandtully  

 photo DSC05853.jpg

the bridge leading over the Tay, looking back to Grandtully  

 photo DSC05855.jpg

the waymarker to lead off the road once more  

 photo DSC05857.jpg

I loved the look of the golf course at Stathtay, with the path around to the right  

 photo DSC05861.jpg

the path through is obvious though  

 photo DSC05863.jpg

and climbs steadily up an old lane, walled in sometimes  

 photo DSC05866.jpg

looking back down on the Tay valley on another grey day  

 photo DSC05871.jpg

an interesting stone cross beside the trail - no idea how old it is  

 photo DSC05873.jpg

up on the top and through a gate the way is signposted to Pitlochry  

 photo DSC05878.jpg

plenty of gorse and broom to walk through  

 photo DSC05883.jpg

the Rucsac readers guide to the Rob Roy Way has a picture of two fine Scots Pine - 4th edition needed methinks  

 photo DSC05885.jpg

more forest ride ahead and it's all downhill to Pitlochry  

 photo DSC05888.jpg

the square stone circle is up ahead  

 photo DSC05889.jpg

this would have had fine views all around when it was built  

 photo DSC05891.jpg

hopefully clearing the area will show this in a better light  

 photo DSC05895.jpg

some nice walking down through the edge of the plantation  

 photo DSC05901.jpg

Pitlochry comes into view down below  

 photo DSC05905.jpg

the wobbly suspension bridge over the River Tummel  

 photo DSC05906.jpg

looking up river to the dam where the fish ladder is  

 photo DSC05908.jpg

the end of the Rob Roy Way in the centre of Pitlochry  

Where now:                                                Home        :        Long Walks Menu        :        Accommodation >>