The steep road leading to the car park lets you know you are in hill country – make sure your low gears work. But once at the start, the stillness of this area – high above the village of Kenmore and busy A-roads below – overcomes you, with the sound of birdsong filling the air.
The Bolfracks Estate has done good work here in restoring Caledonian pines, making it a haven for crossbills. Capercaillies are also said to live here but whether you see this elusive bird or not, the mix of old and new pines on a hill surrounded by great views make it a brilliant short walk in Highland Perthshire.
DISTANCE 2.5 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 780ft.
TIME 1.5 to 2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 51.
PARK Just to the south of Kenmore there is a steep, unsigned route at the start of the road running along the south of Loch Tay. If heading from Aberfeldy on the A827 go left at a sharp right-hand bend then immediately left again. After just over a mile, there is a sign for a car park for woodland walks at the start of a track on the right.
IN SUMMARY Head back down the track which leads to the parking area and turn right at an information board. Almost immediately, follow a signpost pointing right, up a grass track – for this walk you are following marker posts with red flashes for most of the way, although for the first section follow yellow flashes.
The track climbs up through young pines with views opening up behind over Strath Tay and Taymouth Castle.
Keep following yellow marker posts until you have crossed a small burn. Go right just after this to begin following the marker posts with red flashes. As you gain height, the pines thin out and duckboards lead across peaty ground. A steepish path then leads through heather and past scattered old pines to reach a large cairn with wood protruding from it. This is not the top, but it is the place for the best views over Loch Tay and towards the sprawling Munro of Ben Lawers.
Continue on the path which leads below the high point of the hill – you can detour left and traipse through heather to reach it, and the views over the Perthshire hills to the south, before returning to the path.
The route down follows the path as it veers away from Loch Tay before dropping round to the right through more young pine trees. The north side of the hill is eventually reached and a grass track is joined – this is known as Queen’s Drive, after Queen Victoria, who passed along it in the 1840s on her way to Taymouth Castle. The track emerges at the road you drove along earlier. Turn right to reach the track which leads to the parking area.
REFRESH The Kenmore Hotel, well-loved by salmon fishermen, is the obvious place.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Below the hill is the Scottish Crannog Centre on the south side of Loch Tay – turn right at the bottom of the steep road. It has a reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch dwelling (www.crannog.co.uk).
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS