Auchnafree Hill is 799m corbett located in the high moorland between Strathearn and Loch Tay. The ascent of the hill is relatively easy aided by a landrover track. The better part of the walk though is the return leg over the high ground of Choinneachain Hill.
Auchnafree Hill can be done on its own by simply returning via the outward route. The circular walk over Choinneachain Hill can also be done without the diversion on to Auchnafree Hill if a shorter walk is desired.
Distance: 16 km / 10 miles
Ascent: 700m / 2300 feet
Terrain: Mostly landrover track but also some boggy moorland on rough paths
Facilities: free parking at the Turret Dam, refreshments at the Turret Distillery or in Crieff.
Start / finish: Turret Dam car park at NN 821 264. Take care driving up the Scottish Water road to this point as it has lots of potholes higher up. The road is unfenced and sheep may be encountered.
Other walks in the area: Ben Chonzie Circuit
From the Turret Dam car park proceed along the landrover track alongside Loch Turret for almost 4.5km. The walking is easy on the track although there is a bit of up and down and a couple of shallow fords need to be crossed.
Beyond the head of the loch, a track branches off right steeply up the hillside. Make your way up this track which is a bit of a slog. The alternative is that you cut the corner before reaching the track junction by heading straight up the steep hillside from the head of Loch Turret. When you reach the high point of the track, a further track branches left around the south side of the hill. Follow this track for just 300m to its end point.
From here a rough quad bike track heads to your right up the hillside. It’s approximately 800m to the summit from this point. The rough track forks after 400m with the right hand fork heading directly for the summit. However, the obvious cairn is reached by taking the left hand fork. From the cairn the actual summit is about 90m to the north east along a trodden path. What used to be the summit cairn has been removed but a small pile of stones is starting to grow on its vacated spot.
If you just want to do Auchnafree Hill you can now return by your outward route. However, if time permits it is worth doing the high level walk over Choinneachain Hill.
If you don’t mind a bit of rough boggy walking continue north east from the summit to reach a fence line. Turn right following the fence posts across wet boggy ground at the head of Gilbert’s Burn. Once across the peat hags leave the fence line heading roughly south to rejoin the main landrover track.
If you don’t fancy the peat hags or are not confident of your navigation you can return on the path to the wee landrover track and walk round the south side of the hill to join the main track and then follow it downhill to cross the burn at a ford.
The next section of the walk is on the high level landrover track over the heathery hills on the north east side of Loch Turret. The track is easy walking but there is a bit of height loss and regain from time to time along with a few twists and turns. 2km from the ford, the track approaches two substantial cairns.
Neither cairn is on the track but both are easily reached by short diversions. The second cairn is close to the summit of Choinneachain Hill and is known as King Kenneth’s Cairn. You can make a detour to the summit by following a trodden path from the cairn across a peat bog for 300m to reach a small cairn on the flat topped hill.
Return to the landrover track.
The track now starts its descent and there are lovely views to your left of the crags above Corrie Barvick. Keep on the track for a further 2km gradually losing height until you reach a point where the track makes a sharp turn to the left and then right.
At this point you can choose to stay on the landrover track as it loops its way down the hill and takes you back to the car park; a distance of 5km.
A shorter option however, is to make your own way down the hillside directly to the car park. Rough animal tracks can be followed to ease the descent. Aim southwards towards a hillock with a cairn (not visible from the point where you leave the track) at NN 827 266. From this point further animal tracks and short cropped grass can be followed downhill to a sheep feeding area. After the feeder, tracks can be used to take you to either the road and back to the car park ,or to the stile at the dam up the road from the car park. There is a fence around the car park if you are thinking of taking the direct line so best follow the tracks.
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