A slightly different type of walk this one and perhaps not for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia or doesn’t like dark tunnels. The tunnels were in active service as part of the North British Railway Forth Railway Bridge to Perth route up until the 1970s. There are two tunnels each approximately 500m long which means they should take between 5 to 10 mins each to negotiate. You should take a torch with you for this walk (a mobile phone torch will not be sufficient).
Distance: 5.2 miles / 8.4 km
Ascent: 650 feet / 200 m
Start / finish: Glenfarg
Facilities: Bein Inn Hotel where you may be able to park if you ask permission (a refundable deposit may be requested).
The walk can be started from the Bein Inn Hotel at the junction of the A912/B996 or from laybys on route. If parking at the hotel, please ask permission as their car park is for customer use. From the hotel walk north along the A912 for about 200m to a farm track on your left opposite a road signed for “Binn Eco Park” (a landfill site). This section of the road can be busy and there is no pavement so take extreme care.
The rising farm track takes you across a railway bridge from where you can look over the parapet (if you are tall enough) to the southern tunnel. Follow the track for a further 100m to reach a wooden gate on your right (the second of two). Go through the gate and down the grassy track to join the route of the railway line.
Walk northwards (turn left on reaching the railway) for about 800m on the line of the former railway which provides a reasonable surface for walking on. The entrance to the northern tunnel will start to appear through the trees in front of you. This first tunnel is curved so when you are in the middle you will be out of sight of both ends for a few moments. Beware of uneven ground which may cause trip hazard in the dark.
Once out of the tunnel stay on the railway line for about 600m, passing over a bridge, to reach a quiet road. Go round the gate to the left (gap in the fence) and turn left onto the road. Look back to see where the railway crossed the road but the bridge has now been removed.
This next section is road walking but there is very little traffic on the road and even the noise from the nearby motorway is not too obtrusive. After crossing the motorway, the road starts to go uphill for a few hundred metres which may seem like a bit of a slog. Once over the summit of the road turn left on to the farm track for Miekle Fieldie crossing a motorway bridge.
Keep right once across the bridge and follow the road/track to the farm. As you start to approach the farm look out for a gate on your right opposite the first shed. Go through the gate on to the track beyond. A sign on the gate warns about bulls and there may be bulls in the adjacent fields but the track appears to be fenced off from the fields.
You will reach a double set of gates to your left into a woodland area. The first one is openable if you look carefully. The track continues downwards through the woodland alongside a burn and is quite a contrast to the open farmland that you have just passed through. The track exits the woodland at a gate on to the B996 road.
Cross over the road and you will see the remains of the railway line on the other side of a wire fence. Turn left (north) and walk down the road for about 150m to where a gate can be used to access the railway line. Again there is no pavement on the road. A layby at this point could be used to park a couple of cars without blocking any of the gates. From here it is a short walk of a few hundred metres northwards to the entrance of the southern tunnel. Beneath you is an impressive stone viaduct (over the river and road) leading to the tunnel entrance. This tunnel is slightly longer and straighter than the northern one and you will never be out of sight of one end of it. Note the remains of an old car in the entrance to the tunnel. Again watch out for the uneven surfaces.
On exiting the tunnel the ground may be a bit muddy for a while. You will pass under a bridge carrying the farm track that you used at the start of the day to access the railway. If you are feeling brave you could scramble up the bank on the right hand side of the bridge as a short cut. If you would like an easier option, walk on for about 150m and then turn left back on yourself up on to the grassy track which leads back over the bridge and to the A912 road.
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