Distance: 13.5km / 8.5 miles
Ascent: 490m / 1600 feet
Start / finish: Dowally, near Dunkeld
The area north of Dunkeld lies on the Atholl Estate and provides many opportunities for walking on a network of paths and tracks. The walk described below is just one possible option. There are a number of lochs and lochans in the area and Loch Ordie is particular attractive. It is an excellent area for wildlife and you may even be lucky enough to spot an osprey fishing.
The walk starts from close to the Dowally Craft Shop, just off the A9 about 5 miles north of Dunkeld. Turn off the A9 at the brown sign for the craft shop. Before you reach the shop park at the bridge on the right hand side of the road where there is room for a few cars (grid reference NO 000 481). Ask permission if you want to use the shop’s car park.
Start by walking south along the cycle track at the bridge to reach the hamlet of Dowally (you can cut through the church car park if you want). Go left along the private road past the cottages and uphill slightly to reach the end of the road where a path starts. Just beyond the start of the path is an Atholl Estates information board. Follow the path as it gradually ascends between the burn and fields. Once you have crossed over a stile go straight on at a green sign post (which is actually right and immediately left) through a large deer gate. Continue gradually gaining height until you reach Raor Lodge. Please keep dogs on a lead whilst passing the house as there is free range poultry around.
Turn left on to the landrover track at Raor Lodge still following signs for Loch Ordie. The landrover track winds its way across the moorland alongside the Dowally Burn. Stay on the main track ignoring side tracks. At an average pace it will probably take you about 45 mins to reach Loch Ordie. The loch keeps its presence hidden until you are almost upon it. Just before the track reaches the loch go right over the bridge and then leave the track on a grassy path alongside the rhododendrons to reach the lochside. There is a large cairn sited here which makes a good coffee / lunch stop. The cairn was built by the estate at the spot where Queen Victoria allegedly enjoyed the views of Loch Ordie.
If you want a longer walk you could do a circuit around the loch returning to Lochordie Lodge to start on the ascent of Deuchary Hill. This will add just under 2 miles to your walk.
After you’ve finished admiring the views or watching the wildlife, follow the path through the rhododendrons towards Lochordie Lodge. The path rejoins the landrover track where you go left towards the lodge but before you reach it follow the yellow arrow marker to pick up the start of the path to the Mill Dam on your right. At the back of the lodge, follow the path through the high gate. About 750m after the gate is the start of the grassy hill path on your left. This path is not signed and there are no obvious landmarks so keep your eyes peeled.
The hill path now starts to wind its way up the hill first through woodland and later through heathery moorland. Lochan na Beinne is a pretty lochan nestled in a hollow just before the final steep but short pull up to the summit.
Descend the hill in a roughly south south east direction on a narrow but well trodden path. This descent path is quite steep in a few places and is a bit muddier than the path by which you ascended. The descent is quite quick and you will soon join a wider path where you go right. This next section of path can be rather muddy after heavy rain as it has been well used by bikes. After about 1km the path joins a landrover track at a green sign post.
Ignore the sign post and instead go straight on by using a path (mountain bike trail) through the trees. Look across to your left for views of the Mill Dam. Just before the path joins a landrover track there are signs of beaver activity (Spring 2017) with freshly felled trees. Go right on to the landrover track which passes the lovely lochans of Rotmell Loch and Dowally Loch before it reaches Raor Lodge where you were earlier.
Go left at the lodge, now downhill to reach the green sign post at the next junction. Cross the stile opposite and continue downhill alongside the burn back to Dowally.
View / download this route from Viewranger.
View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.
© 2017 Fife Walking. All rights reserved. If using this route for a group or organised walk please credit Fife Walking as your source.