Walk of the week: Aberfeldy to Grandtully

From the town centre square take the short pavement stroll heading east on the A827 towards Aberfeldy Distillery, passing a caravan park on the left.

The line of the old railway is on the far side of the road. Continue on the pavement past the distillery to a graveyard on the left to reach a green sign - path to Grandtully 4 miles.

At first the path stays adjacent to the road, then zigzags gently down to the Tay. The path continues by the river, then by a gate to a large open grazing field with sheep - dogs on lead please. Cross a side stream by a wooden bridge and enter another open field.

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You are likely to see canoeists and rafters paddling easily downstream on the peacefully meandering broad River Tay - that is, until reaching Grandtully.

The path goes through a lovely stand of silver birches to reach the old railway line.

The walk reaches Grandtully, pronounced Grantly, when the line goes under a bridge that carries the A827 to arrive at a large car park, once the site of Grandtully railway station, just off Lageonan Road. Adjacent to the car park is a Scottish Canoe Association camp site.

Although there is a good choice of refreshment spots in Aberfeldy, bearing in mind that our one-way route ended in Grandtully we opted for the Chocolate Centre coffee house. I recommend their hot chocolate drinks.

(The Scottish Chocolate Centre is open daily, 10am-5pm, though winter hours may be from 11am-4pm).

But how to get back to Aberfeldy? The best way is simply to retrace steps from the prominent sign - path to Aberfeldy 4 miles - though that really is the distance to the distillery.

Alternatively, there is a bus service between Grandtully and Aberfeldy almost every hour, Monday to Saturday. You can get further information from tourist information centres; Aberfeldy, 01887 820276, or Pitlochry, 01796 472215.

Jimbo was delighted to observe that part of the walk could be a possible outing for the Forth & Tay Disabled Ramblers group. Using the firm and level base of the old railway line, ideal for the motorised scooters, their outing could go west for a mile then back again, then be extended by another mile out towards the B898. We explored that eastern extension.

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Looking for a shorter low-level winter walk, I was browsing through a booklet, Perthshire Big Tree Country, when I came across an Aberfeldy riverside walk; a five-mile waymarked stroll by the banks of the Tay from the centre of Aberfeldy to Grandtully.

The route passes through woodland and alongside fields and meadows, at first by path, then following the line of an old railway. Aberfeldy was the terminus of a short branch railway line from Ballinluig. Opened in 1865, the line operated for exactly 100 years until the Beeching cuts ended both freight and passenger services.

Amid pre-walk research, my sister, Frances, telephoned. By strange coincidence she said that she and Munro had just recently done the walk and highly recommended the outing - and now so do I.

It was scarcely above freezing on leaving home and the distant hills were capped with the first significant snowfall of winter.

Nevertheless, with clear blue skies it was a lovely day for a walk, albeit cold in the shade, with traces of frost around. Jimbo and Joe joined me; Jimbo with his two Springer spaniels, though with the proximity of the A827 and grazing sheep in places the dogs were on the lead for most of the outing.

Although the short walk is shown on Ordnance Survey map 52, Pitlochry, Crieff & Aberfeldy, in truth a map is not required; simply follow the path.


Map Ordnance Survey map 52, Pitlochry, Crieff & Aberfeldy

Distance 5 miles

Height Negligible

Terrain Pavement, good path and track

Start point Aberfeldy town square

Time A generous 2 hours

Nearest town Aberfeldy

Nearest refreshment spot The Scottish Chocolate Centre tea room,


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This article was first published in The Scotsman, 11 December, 2010