Logo

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

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.

Gallery

Click on any thumbnail to see slideshow. Photography for the walking rings © Felicity Martin, Catkin Press.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.breadalbane.org/day5?tmpl=component&print=1&page=#sigFreeIddad51cd4e0

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


Except where indicated, all content © Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative. All rights reserved.