Menu
Menu

Day 5 - Killin to St Fillans



Summary

Distance

21km (13 miles)

Total ascent

560m (1840ft)

Time

7-8 hours

Download Route PDF

 

The walk starts by the burial ground in Killin of Clan MacNab, who held the country around the west end of Loch Tay. Just before Christmas 1612, their neighbours to the south, Clan Neish, intercepted and stole the food and drink they were bringing home from Crieff. When the clan chief heard what had happened, he is reputed to have said cryptically to his sons “the night is the night if the lads are the lads”. They took the hint and carried a rowing boat over the hills from Loch Tay to Loch Earn, to attack the enemy in their stronghold on Neish Island. Believing they had the only boat on Loch Earn, the Neishes were surprised and all but one boy killed. The MacNab lads carried their boat away, but tired and left it lying in Glen Tarken, where its remains were visible until the 1800s.

This section of the Ring of Breadalbane long distance walk follows a similar route to the McNab lads. It is one of the more challenging parts, as it involves a long climb to cross the high ground between Loch Tay and Loch Earn. Much of it is on good hydro tracks, built to service reservoirs and intakes, but it includes 2km (1.25 miles) of pathless moorland.

Tell us about your Rings of Breadalbane.

Highlights

  • The Clan MacNab burial ground is on Inchbuie (‘yellow island’) in the River Dochart in Killin and its entrance is from the bridge over the falls. In use for 350 years, the graves include those of several clan chiefs.
  • Breadalbane Folklore Centre, in the old mill on the north side of Dochart Bridge in Killin, is currently being run by local volunteers and offers local crafts and tourist information.
  • A stone circle can be seen just to the west at Kinnell House, the ancestral home of the McNabs, as you pass above on the Auchmore track.
  • Lochan Breaclaich, the highest reservoir on the Loch Earn part of the Breadalbane Hydroelectric scheme. The water is piped to a small power station at the head of Loch Lednock.
  • Creag Gharbh, lying 500m north of and 120m higher than the route, this hill has a superb view over Loch Tay. Its trig point is at 637m (2090ft).
  • Jerusalem and Morrell are the ruins of villages abandoned when people were moved down to newly renamed village of St Fillans on the shores of Loch Earn in the 19th century.
  • St Fillans Power Station, which is in an underground chamber and is the second of three generating stations on the Loch Earn part of the Breadalbane Hydroelectric scheme.

Essential Info

Section no.

5

Section name

Killin St Fillans

Start

Killin, Falls of Dochart Inn: NN571324

Finish

St Fillans, road junction on west side of Four Seasons Hotel: NN690244

Grade

Fairly hard: significant climb involved and hill navigation skills needed

Distance

21km (13 miles)

Total ascent

580m (1900ft)

Highest point

560m (1840ft)

Time

7-8 hours

Terrain

Sustained climb on tarmac private road to Lochan Breaclaich dam and along track beyond, then pathless moorland descent for 2km (1.25 miles) to join another good track. Final descent on path through oak wood.

Variations

This is a commiting route route and can only be shortend slightly, by remaining on the Glen Tarken track to descend early to the A85 and Loch Earn. It is also possible to descend the west side of Glen Beich, but that involves another 3km (2 miles) of pathless walking.

Driving to the start

Killin is on the A827, 3 miles east of the Lix Toll junction with the A85 and 17 miles southwest of Kenmore, which is at the other end of Loch Tay. The nearest car park to the start is on the east side of the Falls of Dochart bridge down the first turning on the south side of the road.

Public transport

Killin is on bus service C60 from Callander via Lochearnhead. Killin and Strathfillan are also served by Demand Responsive Transport (a taxi Service at bus fare prices): phone 24/7 Cars - 01838 300307 24 hours in advance to make a booking. St Fillans is on bus service 15A from Comrie, which originates in Perth and comes via Crieff as service 15.


The Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus stops at Killin and St Fillans from 1st June to 19th October on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

Refreshments

Several shops, cafes and restaurants in Killin, mainly over the bridge from the start, plus a few hotels in or nearby the village; one shop and three hotels in St Fillans.

1st Leg

Start at: NN571324 Falls Dochart Inn

From the Falls of Dochart Inn, walk away from the bridge and immediately turn left onto the South Loch Tay road. The road soon bends left then at the next bend keep straight on through pillars onto a dirt track signed Auchmore. Enjoy views over fields to the Tarmachan and Lawers ranges of mountains on the far side of Loch Tay. Pass the drive to Kinnell House and a Whitehouse then cross a wide bridge over a burn.

Keep right of the Auchmore entrance, going up a rough track through rhododendrons. In only 50m, just before the top of a rise, turn right onto an easily missed grassy path, which is initially quite wet. Follow the path uphill and over footbridge then keep right at a fork. Ignore side turns and continue, beside a larger burn, up to the South Loch Tay road.

Go straight ahead over the road, through a gateway and up the tarmac hydro road ahead. Follow the road uphill through forest for 2km (1.25 miles) to a high gate in a deer fence. Leave the trees below a telecommunications mast and continue along the road just above the upper edge of the forest. Another track (the Rob Roy Way) soon joins from above on the right.

2nd Leg

Start at: NN615316 track fork before loch

Within sight of the dam wall of Lochan Breaclaich, a dirt track forks off to the right. Keep straight ahead on the tarmac and soon cross the overflow from the reservoir. Continue on the hydro road, which weaves along the north shore then rises up the southern flanks of Creag Gharbh. (An energetic diversion up this hill reveals a magnificent view up Loch Tay and down to Killin, but the ground is very steep and care must be taken to avoid crags when descending back to the track.)

The track curves around the valley of a stream feeding the loch and continues uphill past another telecommunications mast. Just beyond it crests a rise and starts to go downhill. Only descend for 400m before leaving the track, where it rounds a big left bend and turns northeast (at grid ref. NN638315). There is now 2km (1.25 miles) of pathless walking down the head of Glen Beich to a hydro intake, where another track begins. On a clear day, you can look down the glen and see the ribbon of Beich Burn winding downstream and – way off in the south -– the track you will take running away on the far side.

Initially, pick a way southwards down the hillside towards Beich Burn. Before reaching the bottom, which is usually marshy, turn right along the slope and look for grassy patches between the heather to walk on, using sheep trods where possible. Continue on this line to pass a very green area at Airigh a’ Chinn Chreahaich, the site of ruined sheilings, which were inhabited when cattle were brought up here for summer grazing.

From the shielings you may spot a pool on Beich Burn formed by the dam for the hydro intake, before you drop down nearer to the stream. In drier weather, it is possible to cross the burn and head directly to the intake track. But normally, you will need to skirt to the right of the wet ground beside the burn and cross it below the dam wall, where there is usually little water flowing, before going up the bank to the start of the track on the far side.

3rd Leg

Start at: NN635299 start track by Beich Burn intake

The track runs southeast from the dam, down the east side of Glen Beich. Keep on the main, hard track where a grassy track runs downhill to a sheepfold. The way now rises to the left, to cross a pass into the upper reaches of Glen Tarken.

Where the main track makes a hairpin bend to the left, towards the head of the glen, keep straight ahead on a lesser track. This takes you down the west side of the Glen Tarken, past more ruined shielings. Keep right at a junction where a track crosses the glen towards a spoil heap, created when a hydro tunnel was dug through the hill. From here, work on a smaller new hydro scheme, powered by Tarken Burn, has churned up the track and disturbed adjacent ground.

Go through a gate by sheep pens and continue more steeply downhill. At a large junction, turn sharp left then descend to cross a bridge over Tarken Burn (at grid ref. NN668252). On the far side, follow a grassy track up to Jerusalem.

4th Leg

Start at: NN669252 Jerusalem

Only one intact building remains at Jerusalem, surrounded by the low walls of ruined homes and cattle byres of the small settlement that was once here, high above Loch Earn. Pass on the upper side of the cottage and keep ahead on the level on a vague track, heading towards a partially felled forest, surrounded by a high deer fence.

The route is more obvious in winter and in summer can be obscured by bracken, making it necessary to dodge around the clumps to find a way through. Cross a small burn just above where it descends more steeply through some deciduous trees and go through an old gateway. Aim for a gate in the deer fence ahead. As you approach it, you can see the extensive ruins of Morrell, largely the other side of the fence.

Enter the forest by the gate and keep ahead on a grassy path. Most of the conifers have been felled, but you soon join a broad track that runs downhill through attractive oak wood. Where the bulldozed forest track takes a hairpin bend to the right keep straight ahead, across the rubble bank on its edge and down a path continuing on the same line through the attractive woodland, rich with bluebells in spring. Cross a footbridge across the Allt an Fhionn and soon converge with the railway line.

Follow the path under the railway line and turn left on the track on the far side. Now walking parallel to the route along the railway line on Day 3, you can see more of the railway architecture from below. The track curves under the arches of a viaduct over a burn then crosses a small bridge beside another viaduct over a second burn. At a track junction, turn right downhill past houses and St Fillans Power Station to meet the A85 beside the Four Seasons Hotel and bus stop.

Profile

20.2 km, 00:00:00

The map below is intended for guidance only. You will need a compass and OS Explorers 368 & 378 or OS Landranger 51. You can zoom in and move the map around to see the route in more detail.
Click here to see a full screen Ordnance Survey map of the route


Sign up for news, competitions and offers!

 

Latest News

Winning couple enjoy luxury weekend in Breadalbane

Winning couple enjoy luxury weekend in Breadalbane

Little did Andrew Marjoribanks think when he entered a competition on the Breadalbane website that he and his wife would be enjoying a luxury break in the Aberfeldy area this autumn. But he beat over 500 entrants to the prize of a weekend in one of Scotland’s most beguiling...

Read more
Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus Reaches the End of the Road

Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus Reaches the End of the Road

The Ring of Breadalbane Explorer was a pioneering hop-on hop-off mini bus service launched in 2012 by the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative Ltd. to help visitors and residents explore the Breadalbane area, one of Scotland's best kept tourism secrets!  

Read more
12 adventures to enjoy on the magical Ring of Breadalbane Explorer

12 adventures to enjoy on the magical Ring of Breadalbane Explorer

The “hop-on hop-off” Explorer service runs through spectacular scenery, passing alongside Loch Tay and Loch Earn. The route goes places not covered by other public bus services and links Highland Perthshire and Stirling. Its circular route connects Crieff, Comrie, St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore, Acharn and Aberfeldy and provides...

Read more
Food & Drink Expo 2015 showcases the best of Breadalbane

Food & Drink Expo 2015 showcases the best of Breadalbane

Visitors to the third Breadalbane Expo were treated to a delicious range of products in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre in Comrie hosted the event, which drew exhibitors from Crieff to Killin, Aberfeldy to Auchterarder and beyond to showcase their wares.

Read more
How to have a divine time in beguiling Breadalbane

How to have a divine time in beguiling Breadalbane

Do you love tasty food and drink, enthralling history and culture, and inspirational scenery? If so, come to Breadalbane and let its charms beguile you. Feel everyday cares melt away as you enjoy a delectable meal then sip a relaxing dram while meditating on a mountain view. Be entranced...

Read more
10 ideas for an active break in Invigorating Breadalbane

10 ideas for an active break in Invigorating Breadalbane

Being active in glorious, natural surroundings is a great way to relax and recharge your batteries. Breadalbane is very accessible, only an hour from the Central Belt of Scotland, and has magnificent Highland scenery – a visit here will refresh your senses. You will find many providers offering a...

Read more
Why Breadalbane is Scotland’s most intriguing destination

Why Breadalbane is Scotland’s most intriguing destination

Breadalbane is full of paradoxes, blending ancient and modern, rugged and gentle, exciting and relaxed to make a wonderful venue for short breaks at any time of year. Each visit is an opportunity to unearth ancient mysteries and surprising new places.

Read more
An autumn weekend of adventure in Breadalbane

An autumn weekend of adventure in Breadalbane

As the sun sets ever sooner on these last few evenings of summer, the prospect of the Scottish autumn ushers in its own attendant joys. Cycling and walking become less sweaty. Uniform verdure gives way to a thousand burning hues. Brambles bloom, horse chestnuts broaden and crack. Underfoot, a...

Read more
Breadalbane share their success with community tourism project team

Breadalbane share their success with community tourism project team

A community Tourism Project from Ayrshire and Arran Tourism have visited the high ground of Scotland to sample the Rings of Breadalbane as well as meet and learn from the people behind the successful project. The project team travelled up from central Scotland last weekend to find out more...

Read more
Scottish Communities Inspired By Award Winning Breadalbane

Scottish Communities Inspired By Award Winning Breadalbane

Breadalbane is to welcome a Community Tourism Project who are touring the high ground of Scotland to learn about the group’s award winning tourism model. Having been inspired by the work of the Breadalbane project, Ayrshire and Arran Tourism requested a visit to meet the people behind the project...

Read more
A delicious day’s jaunt on the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus

A delicious day’s jaunt on the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus

Non-drivers, lament not: the beauty of Breadalbane, the high ground of Scotland, has been made more accessible for everyone thanks to the Explorer bus service. Running in summer months, between early June and mid-October, the service allows visitors to the area to hop on and off as it pleases...

Read more
Doing battle with the mighty Clan Ring Walk

Doing battle with the mighty Clan Ring Walk

A challenging six day tramp for the tenacious wanderer, the Breadalbane Clan Ring walk won’t so much blow away the cobwebs, as completely refresh mind and spirit. This wild land boasts a rich and violent history to explore on the way, rewarding visitors with more natural beauty than you...

Read more
Discovering beautiful Breadalbane by bike

Discovering beautiful Breadalbane by bike

Let’s face it; everyone is looking for an excuse to cycle more frequently, and most bikes are egregiously underused. Whether you have an innocuous hybrid sulking in the garage or a mud-spattered, 27 speed beast raring to grind up a new summit, it’s time to dig out the spare...

Read more
Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative launches new brand

Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative launches new brand

The Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative has this week unveiled a new look for the region, claiming the moniker “The High Ground of Scotland”, a translation from the Gaelic name for the area ‘Braghad Albain’, in a bid to capitalise on increased tourism visitors to the region ahead of this year’s...

Read more
The Breadalbane Walking Rings

The Breadalbane Walking Rings

The Walking Rings of Breadalbane are an amazing way to discover our ancient landscapes. Young, old, fit, hoping to get fitter, experienced or newcomer, there's something for everyone in this magical land when it comes to walking.

Read more

Locals Recommend... Suggestions for day trips on the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer

The following trip recommendations by locals residents and businesses will help you experience the very best of Breadalbane. Click on a trip to view or print.  

Read more

Where to stay

where-to-stay

Discover Breadalbane

discover

Things to See & Do

things-to-do

Food & Drink

eat-drink

Maps & Directions

map

Special Offers

special-offers