THE interaction between different land users has traditionally been a source of conflict in rural Scotland; walkers blocked by locked gates, dogs worrying sheep, or even people tramping across a grouse shoot.
Things have changed for the better and are continuing to do so in many places. Atholl Estates is a good example of how it can work; in the car park near to the Old Bridge of Tilt is a notice board informing walkers when stalking and rifle shooting is going to take place. Instead of issuing a “keep out” message, alternative routes are proposed.
This seems a sensible way to go, making the landowner responsible for what is happening on their land, while also indicating to walkers how they can still enjoy the countryside and respect others’ rights.
DISTANCE 4∫ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 400ft.
TIME 2∫ to 3 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 43.
PARK Turn off the main road in Blair Atholl opposite the Bridge of Tilt Hotel to follow a sign to Old Blair. After just over half a mile go left, following another sign to Old Blair. There is a car park a few hundred yards further on, on the left.
IN SUMMARY Leave the car park by the entrance you drove through and turn left, up the minor road. At a fork keep right to stay on the single-track road which runs between fields then, at a crossroads, go right. The road climbs up to pass cottages and farm buildings to the right. Further on more cottages are passed on the left before the road, which has now become a track, enters forestry. After crossing a bridge you reach a junction and should go right. On reaching a fork in the track keep on the lower track, to the right, following a green arrow on a marker post.
About 50 yards further on another green arrow points right, down a grassy track. This is the way back but it is well worth continuing ahead for a couple of hundred yards to a great view up Glen Tilt, just before a stone bridge. If you do want to go further up the glen, be aware there is a rifle range ahead and when in operation access is restricted – check the information board in the car park or Atholl Estates (www.blair-castle.co.uk/ranger_rifle_range.cfm).
For this walk, retrace your steps a short way to take the grassy track, down through trees. After crossing a bridge the gradient eases and you eventually reach a wide track, where you go right.
Once past fields on the right you re-enter woodland. After only about 20 yards it is worth taking a path on the left to get a glimpse through trees of the Falls of Fender which pour into the River Tilt. The path starts by a marker post with a yellow arrow pointing in the opposite direction to which you are walking.
After passing a viewpoint to the falls the path climbs back to the track, where you should go left. At the end of the track cross a road to re-enter the car park.
REFRESH Blair Atholl has a good choice.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Blair Castle (www.blair-castle.co.uk) is a real gem of a big country pile and opens to the public from 1 April.