Grampian Highlands Field Guide: Provisional itinerary - travel and access details
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Author: J R Mendum, BGS
Provisional itinerary — travel and access details
The notes below give details of the travel routes and parking places for the localities to be visited. They include an estimate of the overall distances to be walked and height differences involved at each locality. Note — these are estimates only and may prove to be inaccurate.
The plan is to leave Kindrogan by 9.00 am each day, returning for 6.30 pm.
Day 1 – Sunday 27th July: Little Glen Shee, Birnam and Benachally
From Kindrogan drive to Bankfoot via Pitlochry, the A9 and the B867 (turn right by Birnam). At Bankfoot turn right in the centre of the village and then after 500 m left onto the minor road to Tullybelton and Little Glenshee. Parking by the ford across the Shochie Burn at [NN 988 340]. Take the good track northwest for c.1 km past Little Glenshee farm steading, to near a large boulder by the track, painted (very faint) with ‘No dogs’ [NN 9792 3447].
Ascend the heather-covered slope up the right-hand side of the valley (about 50 m) to reach the exposure at [NN 9792 3453]. In total c.2.2 km with c.50 m height difference.
Return to Bankfoot and turn left (north) onto the B867. Some 300 m before the junction with the A9, park in a car park on the left hand side of the road adjacent to where a public footpath goes under the railway [NO 0410 4045]. Take the track under the railway (walking around the gate), and after c.50 m take the footpath on the left signposted ‘To Birnam Hill’ (King’s Seat). After a further 50 m [NO 0403 4039], turn right along an overgrown track, partly followed by a stream, which leads after about 100 m to the small disused quarry (on left). In total some 400 m and c.20 m height difference.
Take the A 9 north to the turn for Dunkeld. Proceed through the town centre (toilets) and on the outskirts turn right following the A923 towards Blairgowrie. At Butterstone (c.5.5 km) turn left (sharp turn) onto a minor road (single track) up the valley of the Buckny Burn.
Follow the tarmac road to Riechip Lodge and pass through the gate and over the grassy pasture to near Craigend cottage. Park (with care and permission) on the side of the unfenced road at around [NO 0704 4010] near where the power line crosses. This is the start of the traverse up the SE ridge of Benachally, the round trip is c.3.5 km mainly over irregular rough heathery ground involving a height difference of c.170 m.
Return to Kindrogan via the A923 to Blairgowrie, the A93 to Bridge of Cally, and the A924 to Kirkmichael and Enochdhu.
Day 2 – Monday 28th: Glen Ogle, Killin and Lochan na Lairige
From Kindrogan drive to Pitlochry and take the A9 southwards to Ballinluig. Turn left (complex junction) onto the A827 and proceed to Grandtully and Aberfeldy. Continue on past Kenmore, Loch Tay, and Killin to the junction with the A 85 at Lix Toll. Turn left (south) and after c.2.2 km stop in the large parking at Glenoglehead [NN 5590 2850]. Proceed through a gate onto an obvious forestry track but immediately traverse left for 20–30 m to reach the burn section and take the poor ‘path’ up the right-hand side (leads to a water supply tank) until good rock exposure is visible in the burn. The burn section is a round trip of about 1 km and c.150 m height difference.
From Glenoglehead retrace the route to Killin and continue some 7 km along Loch Tay to Edramucky [NN 620 363] where a single track road goes north towards Ben Lawers and Bridge of Balgie. Turn left and after about 500 m park by an old metalimestone quarry where recent forestry clearance has been taking place.
From the quarry carry on northwards past the revised Ben Lawers parking area and information boards up to the dam at Lochan na Lairige. Park some 200 m north of the dam [NN 6012 3942] where a good track leads down to the loch. Examine the exposures on the rocky and cobbly foreshore just below (unless water levels are particularly high).
Proceed along the road above Lochan na Lairige to its northern end. Park by the good track that leads down to the loch at [NN 5954 4126]. Traverse — overall a c.3 km round trip with a height difference of c.110 m. No paths and rough, locally hummocky ground, mainly grassy.
Return to vehicles and drive back down to Loch Tay, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry and Kindrogan.
Day 3 – Tuesday 29th: Upper Glen Lyon
As per Day 2 — from Kindrogan drive to Pitlochry, take the A9 southwards to Ballinluig, the A827 to Aberfeldy, and continue past Kenmore and along Loch Tay to Edramucky. Turn right up the Lochan na Lairige road, cross the watershed (past the loch), following the road down a short way towards Bridge of Balgie. Park on the corner at [NN 5823 4168] or nearby. Inspect section below in the Allt Bail a’ Mhuilinn. Overall a c.300 m round trip with a height difference of c.30 m.
Carry on northwards alongside the Allt Bail a’ Mhuillin to park in a large parking area (on right) at around [NN 571 453]. Inspect section in the adjacent burn.
Drive north to Bridge of Balgie and turn left (west) up the glen. Proceed up Glen Lyon past Meggernie Castle and park by the unfenced road at around [NN 5130 4215]. Inspect section in the nearby River Lyon.
Retrace route down the glen to the road junction at [NN 537 454] and turn left up the road to Loch an Daimh. Park at the start of a track at [NN 5116 4638]. Walk up the road to the south end of the dam and descend onto the adjacent exposed rocks. 1.1 km in total with a height difference of c.30 m. Retrace steps to parking and then take the good track to the north that traverses above the loch on its northern side. Traverse as far as the burn section at [NN 4862 4736], c.6 km in total and height difference of some 80 m. Return to the vehicles and to Kindrogan via Glen Lyon (Fortingall, Aberfeldy).
Day 4 – Wednesday 30th July: Tomintoul area
Travel from Kindrogan to Pitlochry and northwards up the A9 to Aviemore. Take the A95 and then turn off into Dulnain Bridge — turn right here onto the A938 and park at the eastern edge of village at [NJ 0020 2500]. Roadside outcrops.
Carry on via the A95 to Grantown on Spey and thence onto the A939 towards Tomintoul. Stop just beyond the Bridge of Brown at [NJ 1241 2056] — limited parking — bus parking around tight bend at [NJ 1263 2046]. Inspect the section in the Burn of Brown at three separate places. About 500 m in total — damp in parts, some fences to negotiate.
Drive on to Bridge of Avon. Park by the old bridge at [NJ 1501 2013]. Easy section by the River Avon. About 100 m in total.
Drive a little farther along the A939 to the disused Creag Chalcaigh Quarry and park at the entrance [NJ 1558 1937]. Inspect quarry (Care near quarry faces). Walk up short ramp for the view up Glen Avon.
Drive to Tomintoul and take the minor road to Delnabo — park at [NJ 1648 1766]. Walk up Glen Avon (good track and then road) to reach the lower part of Muckle Fergie Burn — locally steep slopes. Return via Auchnahyle. In total c.8 km and c.50 m height difference.
From Tomintoul take the A939 southeast to the Lecht. Park at viewpoint [NJ 254 098] on the Hill of Allargue overlooking upper Donside. Return to Kindrogan via Gairnshiel, upper Deeside (A93), Braemar, and Glen Shee. Just after the Dalrulzion Hotel turn right onto the B950. After 6 km turn right onto the A924 to Kirkmichael and Enochdhu.
Day 5 – Thursday 31st July: Loch Laggan, Loch Treig and Laggan
Travel from Kindrogan to Pitlochry and northwards up the A9 to Dalwhinnie. Take the A889 (line of Wade Road) over to Laggan and turn left (west) onto the A86. Proceed to Loch Laggan and park at [NN 4590 8494] near Rubha na Magach (roadside — limited space).
Inspect section on loch shore — in total c.600 m and some 10 m height difference (if water level low).
Proceed WSW for 5.5 km to the Moy — Craigbeg road cuts — park at [NN 4138 8218]. Roadside traverse (N side) — c.400 m in total (Care with traffic).
Carry on past the Laggan Dam and take the minor road (left) to Fersit. Park at the end of public road (spacious area) at [NN 3501 7818]. Walk along good track to the Valve Tower by Loch Treig. In total c.5 km and height difference of c.50 m.
From Fersit return to A 86 and retrace route eastwards past Loch Laggan to park by the village hall at Kinlochlaggan [NN 5464 8976]. Roadside outcrops (Care with traffic) — c.500 m in total.
From Kinloch Laggan return northeastwards along the A86 to the village of Laggan. Turn west onto a minor road to the Spey dam and Garva Bridge. After c.2.5 km turn up a long drive to Coul Farm and park with permission at [NN 5890 9402]. Traverse — glaciated outcrops in wet pasture behind farm — in total c.600 m and height difference of 30 m.
Return to Laggan and turn right onto the A86. Cross bridge over the Spey and almost immediately turn left on the A889 to Dalwhinnie. Return to Kindrogan.
Day 6 – Friday 1st August: Glen Lyon, Strath Fionan & Trinafour
As per Day 2 — from Kindrogan drive to Pitlochry, take the A9 southwards to Ballinluig, and follow the A827 to Aberfeldy. At the west end of the town turn right onto the B846 to Weem, Tummel Bridge. Optional stop to view the Wade Bridge over the River Tay (‘Green Beds’). After 8.5 km turn left onto the minor road to Fortingall and Glen Lyon. Beyond Fortingall turn right up Glen Lyon. Follow the single-track road past Inverar to Camusvrachan [NN 6200 4784]. Turn left here onto a good track, and park just before bridge over River Lyon. Walk to T-junction, turn left along a very good gravel track to Balnahanaid Farm [NN 6333 4718]. Just beyond the farm traverse up along grassy cart track to near the watershed. Out and return, in total 4.7 km and height difference of c.100 m.
From Camusvrachan retrace route eastwards. 2 km along the road just past Slatich, stop to disembark passengers by a gate onto the unfenced hill ground then carry on for a further 550 m to hopefully park by a gate into the field on the left (limited parking). Traverse around base of Creag Mhór and eastwards. Alternatively ask for permission to park at Slatich and walk east along the road (Care). In total c.1.2–2 km and a height difference of c.60 m. Mixed terrain — grass, bracken (high in summer), gorse, rocks, poor footpath in part.
Continue down Glen Lyon past Fortingall to the Coshieville Hotel and turn left onto the B 846 towards Tummel Bridge. After some 6 km turn left towards Strath Fionan and Kinloch Rannoch. After c.8 km park by the old metalimestone quarry [NN 7150 5742] just beyond Lochan an Dàim. Short walk to quarries and exposures on hill, above c.250 m in total and height difference of c.30 m.
Follow road to Kinloch Rannoch and turn right (east) in village onto B846. After some 4 km take the B847 northwards to Trinafour [NN 728 646]. Turn left onto the minor road to Dalnacardoch. Drive up hairpin bends (now improved) to park by a track at [NN 7255 6560]. Outcrops at roadside. Reverse route to Trinafour stopping by the new roadside cut to view the exposed section.
Return along B847 east to Calvine. Join the A9 and return south to Pitlochry and Kindrogan.