MAP 52: Pilochry and Aberfeldy
Distance: 5 miles
Terrain: Mostly Forest tracks
Gear: Boots recommended
OSSIAN’S Hall, near Dunkeld, is an intriguing place, with a history to match. Built in 1758 by the nephew of the second Duke of Atholl, it’s a small folly on a vantage point above the River Braan which provides a stunning view of waterfalls. It’s not especially hard to imagine, in the 1780s, visitors entering to be greeted by a painting of Celtic bard Ossian serenading a group of maidens.
Then would come the gasps of awe as the guide operated a device that withdrew the painting into the wall, providing access to another room - a hall of mirrors - giving the illusion of water pouring all around reflecting the river cascading outside. The structure was damaged in 1869 but was later presented to the National Trust for Scotland in 1944 by Katherine, Duchess of Atholl and thankfully restored. A little further on from the hall is Ossian’s Cave - a great place for children to wriggle into that adds further excitement to the day. This is one of my favourite walks in the area known as Highland Perthshire, and I have done it many times in all seasons, with something different to see every time.
Take the A822 Crieff road off the A9 near Dunkeld and turn immediately right, signed Inver. Take a left fork to cross the railway and stop at a car park on the right just after this. Follow the path signposted to The Hermitage and wander through woodland to a bridge crossing the Braan, with Ossian’s Hall on the other side. Continue along the bank of the river to the cave. After this the path veers right, away from the river. Cross over a main track and after a short distance curve left. Go on again then turn left onto a clear track. Follow this to cross a little bridge over the Craigvinean burn, heading for Rumbling Bridge on a wide, grassy path.
This meets a lane. Turn left downhill for Rumbling Bridge, where the Braan is regained. The river gushes over boulders, squeezed between narrow walls to give and impressive sight. Walk along the road and turn left on a path into woodland. Follow it, high above the river, until it turns right to meet the A822. Cross this and continue on the track ahead until just before a cattle grid. Go through a gate on the left onto another track and continue past Tomgarrow settlement to enter Tomgarrow Wood.
Go round Tomgarrow Cottage and on to a gate in a deer fence into conifer forest. Shortly, turn left along a main track and go straight over a path junction on a broad track. At a major track junction make a U-turn left and at the next junction go right on the main track. Continue to the A822. Cross it and follow the track ahead down to a minor road and the car park at the start.