A lovely walk in the Craigvinnean Forest and along the banks of the River Tay taking in some of the highlights of the area. Visit the Falls of Braan, Ossian’s Hall, Ossisan’s Cave, Torryvald Folly, Pine Cone Point viewpoint and Niel Gow’s Oak on this 7.5 mile woodland and riverside walk.
- Distance: 12 km / 7.5 – 8 miles
- Ascent: 350 m / 1150 feet
- Terrain: Forest tracks, unsurfaced/uneven paths, some steep bits
- Start / finish: Hermitage, Dunkeld. Free parking at Craigvinean (NO 009 419) and Newton Craig. Pay and Display at the Hermitage.
From the Craigvinean car park head east(ish) on an unsurfaced path / mountain bike trail steeply down hill to the river. Ignore the waymarked routes starting from the car park for now. On reaching the riverside path turn right for a lovely walk alongside the River Braan with its many cascading watefalls. If starting at the Hermitage follow the river path under the railway.
The first landmark you reach is the folly of Ossian’s Hall (or Hall of Mirrors) and the Hermitage Bridge. Take a bit of time to enjoy the views from the hall and of the building itself perched above the cascading river.
Continue alongside the river for a further 500m to reach the next landmark of Ossian’s Cave, described by Historic Environment Scotland as an “enhanced natural feature”. A black waymarker arrow points towards the “cave”.
From this point leave the river on a rough path heading north east and then north to join a forest track. Keep to the track for about 300m until you reach a signpost for Pine Cone Point. Before heading up the hill it is worth making a short detour to your right following the yellow waymarkers to view the Torryvald folly.
Return to the signpost and follow it up a steep zig zag path to reach another forest track where you turn right. The track contours around the hillside to reach its termination at Pine Cone Point. This is a particularly good viewpoint with an unusual pine cone shaped wooden shelter perfect for lunch or coffee stops.
An unsurfaced and uneven path heads north-west(ish) from the shelter into the forest. Although uneven the path is easy enough to follow and makes a delightful contrast to the more usual forest tracks. Although many up and downs, the path generally sticks to the contour line so there is no significant ascent. After about 900m it rejoins the forest track network.
A straightforward track walk of just over 1 km brings you to a junction where you want to turn right to start heading down the hillside. Keep to the track, losing height, for a further 1.1km ignoring a grass track on your left hand side. The track then starts to zig zag as it further descends the hill and you will reach a couple of signposts for Dunkeld and Newton Craig car park.
Follow the Dunkeld signposts and waymarkers along the grassy path / track to exit the forest at a small car park. Cross over the quiet road to join another path that takes you through a tunnel under the railway and under the A9 road bridge to reach the banks of the Tay.
The next 3km is on the Fiddler’s Path alongside the river passing Niel Gow’s Oak where the famous fiddler is reputed to have played and composed. It’s certainly a beautiful spot for musical inspiration or even just quiet contemplation on the thoughtfully provided carved bench seat.
Beyond the Oak, the path continues, hugging the Tay, until the mouth of the Braan at Dunkeld is reached. At this point the path turns “inland” along the Braan, passing under the A9, to arrive at the small village of Inver. Walk through the village following the Inver Path signposts and then along a path squeezed between the main road and the river to reach the entrance to the Hermitage car park. If you are returning to the Craigvinean Forest car park you can either follow the forest track (the vehicle route) or walk through the car park, under the railway, alongside the river to reach the mountain bike trail leading up to the car park.