Walking Highland Perthshire
Walking guidebook to the highlands of Perthshire. Areas include Pitlochry, Rannoch, Aberfeldy, Ben Lawers and Ben Alder. 80 graded routes between Stirling and the Cairngorms explore grassy mountains and include 42 Munros, 22 selected Corbetts, 15 smaller hills and the Gaick and Minigaig passes. A range of walks for all abilities.
SeasonsApril to August for all routes, with April and May the best of all; autumn is great under the trees, but not necessarily on the hills with gales and rain fairly common, and some stalking season restrictions mid-August to 21 October; winter is good for the low level routes, and can also be magnificent on the high mountains for those suitably experienced and equipped
CentresComrie, Crieff, Aberfeldy, Killin, Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl
DifficultyRoutes are graded low/medium/mountain, and for difficulty from 1: clear smooth paths, with no steep sections to 5: featureless plateau requiring compass bearings in mist or pathless forest; heather tramping; remote high ground; long steep rough ascents and descents; rocky ground and easy scrambling. No serious scrambling
Must SeeBen Lawers, Schiehallion, Beinn a' Ghlo; historic passes through the wilds of Atholl; Perthshire's 'big tree country' at Birnam Wood, under the Birks of Aberfeldy, at Fortingall's ancient yew tree; the great rivers Garry and Tay
This walking guidebook to Highland Perthshire has over 80 graded routes which explore the ridges, plateaus, glens and woodland of highland Perthshire. The mountains, or 'grassy green giants' include the 42 Munros, including Ben Lawers and Ben Adler, as well as 22 selected Corbetts, 15 smaller summits and the historic Atholl passes of Gaick and Minigaig - all within easy reach of Perth.
The hills of highland Perthshire are spacious and soothing, a place to relax after the rigours of Scotland’s rocky north and west. But relaxation is relative, when Scottish hills are concerned. Perthshire’s mountains may be soft edged and noted for their wild flowers, but easy they are not. They are jolly green giants and, from Schiehallion to Atholl, from Rannoch to Ben Vrackie, there are a lot of them.
The nature of the landscape here results in heather and pebble-strewn plateaus and rounded ridges, with a break from the scrambling other Scottish ranges require. However, the lumpy tussocks and high heather can make walking strenuous even at lower levels. Each route is categorised by landscape; forest and riverside, moorland and hills or mountains, to help you gauge which routes fit your tastes and abilities. There is a real variety of skill levels catered for, from shorter walks on clear paths with little ascent, to day-long challenges with steep climbs and descents. Several routes also include pathless stretches and so require navigation skills, especially in bad weather.
Routes are grouped into ten geographical areas: Comrie and Crieff, Killin and Glen Lochay, Glen Lyon, Bridge of Orchy, Perth and Dunkeld, Aberfeldy, Tummel and Loch Rannoch, Rannoch Moor, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl and Drumochter. Information about places of interest along the way, as well as wildlife, geology and history are included, as are practical details on the deer stalking season, when to go, and getting around Highland Perthshire are also included.
- clusters of ascents described for some key summits: Ben Dorain, Ben Lawers, Beinn a’ Ghlo and Ben Alder
- ascents of 42 Munros and 22 Corbetts as well as a selection of low-level routes
all illustrated with 1:50K and 1:100K mapping
Jolly green giants
When to go
Safety in the mountains
Compass and GPS
Using this guide
PART 1: Comrie and Crieff
1 Meal na Fearna to Ben Vorlich
2 Beinn Dearg
3 Water of Ruchill
4 Comrie: Deil’s Caldron
5 Glen Tarken tracks
6 Ben Chonzie and Auchnafree Hill
7 Crieff, its Knock, and River Earn
8 Glen Almond and the Lochan Slot
PART 2: Killin and Glen Lochay
9 Looking at Loch Tay: Meall Clachach
10 Cam Chreag and Ben Challu
11 Beinn nan Imirean, Meall Glas
12 The Tarmachans
Summit summary: Ben Lawers
13 Edramucky Burn
14 Up and down from the Lairig road
15 Lawers Four from Lawers village
16 The Cat’s Bowl (descent)
17 Down via Beinn Ghlas to Lawers village (descent)
18 Glen Lyon: Da-Eig Circuit
PART 3: Glen Lyon
19 Carn Mairg from Fortingall
20 Back of Schiehallion
21 The Black Crag of Glen Lyon
22 Beinn Dearg and the Mairgs
23 Meall Ghaordaidh from Glen Lyon
24 Around Loch an Daimh
25 Beinn Heasgarnich and Creag Mhor
PART 4: Bridge of Orchy
Summit summary: Beinn Dorain
26 Beinn a’ Chaisteal and Beinn nam Fuaran
27 Beinn Mhanach, the Monk
28 Dorain and Dothaidh Bridge of Orchy from the back
29 Bridge of Orchy to Beinn Dorain, Beinn an Dothaidh
30 Beinn Mhanach long crossing
31 Rannoch Edge: Chreachain and Achaladair
32 Beinn an Dothaidh from Achallader
33 The Lyon side: Chreachain, Achaladair, Mhanach
PART 5: Perth and Dunkeld
34 Perth and Kinnoull Hill
35 Dunkeld, Birnam Hill and the Tay
36 Tracks to Loch Skiach
37 Craig Lochie
PART 6: Aberfeldy
38 Farragon Hill from Strathtay
39 Aberfeldy: Rob and Rabbie
40 Aberfeldy and the Tay
41 Kenmore and the Tay
42 Falls of Acharn
43 Falls of Acharn to Creag an Sgliata
44 Creagan na Beinne and Ardtalnaig
45 Creag Uchdag
PART 7: Tummel and Loch Rannoch
46 Schiehallion end to end
47 Schiehallion Foot: Limestone and McGregor’s Cave
48 Craig Varr and Kinloch Rannoch
49 Beinn a’ Chuallaich
50 Black Wood of Rannoch
Summit summary: Ben Alder
51 Walk in to Benalder Cottage
52 Ben Alder from Benalder Cottage
53 Benalder Cottage to Culra Bothy via Beinn Bheoil
54 Benalder Cottage to Culra Bothy via Bealach Beithe (and in reverse)
55 Walk/ride in to Culra Bothy
56 Long Leachas from Culra Bothy
57 Short Leachas from Culra Bothy
58 Ben Alder to Bealach Breabag (descent)
PART 8: Rannoch Moor
59 The Road to the Isles
60 Two Munros and Beinn Pharlagain
61 Meall Buidhe and Cam Chreag
62 Tracks to the Foxes Bog
PART 9: Pitlochry and Blair Atholl
64 Pitlochry and its loch
65 Ben Vrackie and River Garry
66 Blair Castle to Glen Tilt
67 Glen Tilt and Carn a’ Chlamain
68 Old Bridge of Tilt to Dearg, Mheadhonach
69 Bruar Falls and Glen Banvie
70 Bruar Falls and Blair
Summit summary: Beinn a’ Ghlo
71 Around Beinn a’ Ghlo (with optional ascent of Ben Vuirich)
72 Beinn a’ Ghlo from Loch Moraig
73 Carn nan Gabhar north ridge to Glen Tilt (descent)
74 Glen Tilt to Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain by Carn Torcaidh
PART 10: Drumochter
The Atholl Passes
75 Glen Tilt
76 Minigaig Pass to Glen Feshie
77 Minigaig Pass the ancient way
78 Gaick Pass
79 A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag by the Crooked Corrie
80 Udlamains and the Sow
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Access (especially in the stalking season)
Appendix C Shops, accommodation and transport
Some people enjoy exploring in mountains that are badly mapped or not mapped at all. They should stay away from Highland Perthshire, as it has been excellently mapped – three times over. The mapping in this book for the shorter and lower routes is from the Ordnance Survey’s Landranger series at 1:50,000. For these low walks this book’s mapping may be all you need. For mountain walks, however, it’s advisable to have a larger map that shows escape routes, and the other glen you end up in when you come down the wrong side of the hill. This guide shows mountain routes on 1:100,000 scale maps.
Harvey’s excellent British Mountain Map: Schiehallion at 1:40,000 scale covers about half this book, south of Lochs Tummel and Rannoch, and west of Aberfeldy – so Schiehallion is in the top right corner. The map is beautifully clear and legible, marks paths where they actually exist on the ground, and does not disintegrate when damp. Harvey also cover Ben Lawers in their 1:25,000 Superwalker format.
The 1:50,000 Landranger mapping, as used in this book, covers this area on sheets 42 (Glen Garry & Loch Rannoch), 43 (Braemar & Blair Atholl), 50 (Glen Orchy & Loch Etive), 51 (Loch Tay & Glen Donart), 52 (Pitlochry & Crieff), 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs) and 58 (Perth & Alloa).
The Harvey maps mark fences and walls on the open hill, but not on the lower ground; Landranger doesn’t mark them at all. So if you’re planning complicated valley walks, you’ll prefer the OS Explorer maps, also at 1:25,000 scale. They are bulkier and less robust than the Harvey ones, and the contour lines are less legible. But if Harvey hadn’t done it better, they’d be excellent maps. Sheets 368 (Crieff, Comrie & Glen Artney), 369 (Perth & Kinross, one walk), 378 (Ben Lawers & Glen Lyon), 379 (Dunkeld, Aberfeldy & Glen Almond), 385 (Rannoch Moor & Ben Alder), 386 (Pitlochry & Loch Tummel) and 394 (Atholl) cover the ground.
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Correction to the June 2013 printing
On the 'Location of Routes' overview map, the boundary marked is of the current Perth & Kinross District ('Perthshire') rather than the old county of Perthshire (which included Ben More and Ben Lui) as indicated.
p315 Kinloch Rannoch information
Dunalistair Hotel: closed, in receivership Winter 2012
Routes 30, 31, 32: Coire Achaladair now has a micro hydro scheme, with a smooth new track for the lower part of routes above Achallader farm.
'What a gem of a book. It is a model of accuracy, information, and mapping.It engenders interest in the geology and glaciation which formed our landscape, and the flora and fauna which inhabit it. Add to that judicious details of past and present human use, and you have full interest and fascination in the walks. The 80 routes are well chosen, well characterised in terms of distance and terrain, and described in considerable, accurate detail.
...All of this is included in a small volume, fit for the hand, rucksack or pocket, on leaded paper within plasticised covers. It is thus a must for those who love our county. Armchair walkers need not leave the sofa; walkers will enjoy using it before, during and after their walks.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.'
Hamish McBride, Highland Perthshire News and Comment, June 2013
"Anyone who's ever done any walking in Scotland (and, indeed, just about anywhere in the world) will have come across Cicerone Guides for walkers. Meanwhile, that same audience will almost certainly have encountered the writing of Ronald Turnbull, whether in one or more of his many books about walking in Scotland or the Lake District (or further afield), or in magazines such as Lakeland Walker, TGO and Trail.
You'd expect the combination of Ronald Turnbull as author and Cicerone as publisher to come up with something pretty special when they turn their attention to Highland Perthshire, and we approached this book with high hopes. We were not disappointed. This is an outstanding little book, though whether "little" is a wholly appropriate description of a volume offering over 300 pages is open to debate."
Undiscovered Scotland, July 2013
It's astounding how much Cicerone's walking guides pack into a genuinely pocket-sized space. This one has 80 routes, clear maps and instantly noticeable symbols showing level of difficulty and time required - yet there's also a wealth of photographs and quirky facts, such as the number of Munros bagged by Queen Victoria (nine).
Scotland Outdoors, Autumn 2013
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Ronald Turnbull writes regularly for TGO, Lakeland Walker, Trail and Cumbria magazines. His previous books include Across Scotland on Foot, Long Days in Lakeland and Welsh 3000ft Challenges. He has written many other Cicerone guides, including Walking in the Lowther Hills, The Book of the Bivvy and Not the West Highland Way.View Articles and Books by Ronald Turnbull