HERE are quite a few named walks in and around Auchterarder, Provost’s being the best known.
It takes its name from Provost TE Young who in the 1930s extended the existing footpath across the golf course – a man ahead of his time when you consider the number of councils currently promoting walking routes. This route takes in Provost’s Walk as a well as a number of others.
The provost’s vision for the Lang Toon, so-called because of the length of its High Street, is still evident today. Very quickly you can escape the bustle of traffic and shops and find yourself in the countryside. Although the route described dips back into the town at one point, you are largely in peaceful surroundings.
It was a dank day when I set off, and it only went on to get worse. The mist on the nearby Ochils dropped lower and lower until it surrounded everything. Despite the gloom, a lack of wind meant the stillness was amplified as fine droplets covered hedgerows, fallen leaves and the spindly branches of bare trees. It can be said at this time of year that nature is asleep and sometime in these conditions it is a privilege to tiptoe through it. n
DISTANCE 5½ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 310ft.
TIME 2 to 2½ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 58.
PARK The Crown Inn Wynd car park is off the High Street in Auchterarder, opposite the post office.
Head east, down the High Street, to walk past the police station and parish church before turning right, down the residential Abbey Road. Go all the way to the bottom of the road and when you see a sign for Glenruthven Mill pointing left, go right – along a lane by the side of Ruthven Water.
Continue on the lane which bears right, away from the burn as arrows direct you up to a metal pedestrian gate just past Milton House. Follow a path on the other side of the gate with a field on the other side of a fence to the right. Ignore steps going up to the right and at a weir where the Ruthven Water comes from under the A9 go straight ahead, keeping a hedge to your left and following a sign for Jubilee Walk.
Ignore turnings to the right then, after a little dip and a short flight of steps, go left at a signpost, down a grassy path into woods. Go straight on at a signpost, keeping a hedge to your left with the A9 beyond it. After emerging from the trees continue on the path, now with fields to the right and go ahead again at the next signpost. The path veers right at a small wood and reaches a road, which you cross and turn right. After only about 20 yards go left through a gate at a golf course, following a sign for Provost’s Walk. Arrows guide you, right, across the course, emerging at another road, where you again go right.
Go left at the main entrance to the Cairn hotel, down Tullibardine Road which you follow to the edge of the town. Go left here, down a path between trees – this is known as the Oak Walk. Drop down the path with a burn joining from the left. Just after crossing the burn go right at a fork, cross a stile and follow a path past a cottage. A long straight track then leads to a road where you go right. At the end of the road is Auchterarder’s High Street, where you go left to return to the start.
REFRESHMENTS There is a wide choice in Auchterarder. However for a real treat you could head a few miles west to Gleneagles Hotel and Andrew Fairlie’s Michelin-starred restaurant. (You may want to change out of walking boots.)
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA In 2014 you can watch the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles although it is probably a bit much to combine that with a walk. However, you can visit the golf resort at any time and try a lesson on the fairways (www.gleneagles.com/golf).
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west