Monday, 26 October 2009

100 Best Walks: Loch Faskally

Somebody like myself, used to the obvious, the explicit, the big hills and clear lines, has driven past Pitlochry perhaps a hundred times, zooming along the A9 bypass, thinking that perhaps it would be worth having a look at Loch Faskally, but being seduced instead by those hills towering above the road - Beinn a'Ghlo, the Cairngorms further north: the explicit, the obvious. But this was a walk I had fancied doing for a while - along Loch Faskally at Pitlochry, up the riverside to Killicrankie, round the Linn of Tummel, and back, along an unclassified road, to Pitlochry. I'd had an intimation earlier this year of how beautiful this hidden area was, paddling down the River Tummel on my stag do.

Looking across Loch Faskally (from Faskally House area):


Yet this walk was still a revelation. Dog walkers, young families, ramblers - the path was as busy as Shiehallion on a Sunday, yet these people knew a secret, it seemed to my hillwalking mind, that I had only just been let in on - the beauty of the area around Pitlochry. The reason this was a surprise, I suspect, is that the hillforms around here are no match for those of Glencoe or other areas in the Highlands, and therefore I had dismissed it out of hand. But there is more to the outdoors than hilltops, and the autumn colours and watery reflections around the rivers Tummel and Garry are, in the words of Louis Stott about the The Waterfalls of Scotland 'worth gaun a mile tae see'.

River Garry:


The forecast had been for sunshine and showers - and it was half right! But the rain wasn't too bad once we set off; the area around Faskally House and Clunie power station, a masterpiece in the mould of St Andrew's House, is especially beautiful. The sun even came out briefly as we crossed the footbridge over the Garry, and we saw a red squirrel near the Linn of Tummel.

The Linn of Tummel:


Rowan Berries:


I'd been given a copy of Cameron McNeish's Scotland's 100 Best Walks a while back and was gratified I'd already done most of the walks. This was one of the few I hadn't, though ours also included the dam at Loch Faskally, where at the right time of year, you can watch salmon climb the salmon ladder. I'd recommend this extension, and would have this walk in my own personal top 100.

Above Clunie Power Station:


I wonder what that full list would be?

What would be in your top 100?

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

I've done this route before--only in July! The fall colors in your photos are spectacular. I went from Pitlochry town center along a unmarked road where I then crossed a large suspension bridge which took me to the Pitlochry performing arts center, then I followed the river along until the power plant, crossed over the top. Once on the other side I hiked along the waters edge of loch faskally until I could go no further. What a beautiful find! It was a pleasure reading your post