At the beginning of this week when the sun was shining and it was a balmy 15°, Dude and I decided we would go out for a walk. Looking through some of our walking books we thought Loch Faskally would be perfect and we could visit the newly opened Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre too.
With a drive of only a 45 minutes north of Perth, Pitlochry is perfect for a day out. It’s a cute and bustling town with plenty of places to eat and shop for outdoor gear you may have forgotten, lost or need to replace. There is something here for everyone: woodland walks, Ben Vrackie for those looking to gain a height advantage over the town (841metres to be precise), cafes, a theatre and the salmon ladder amongst other things. If cold water swimming is your thing then there are places locally where you can do that too.
Our walk started at the salmon ladder on the opposite side to the new and rather impressive cantilever building of the Pitlochry Damvisitor centre. Climbing the steps to the top of the dam we turned left and continued up a few more steps then following the trail off to the right, taking us along the loch side. The views opened up to show Ben Vrackie in all it’s glory, sitting proudly beyond Pitlochry. It’s a rather pretty mountain and one that I am yet to venture up. Not quite a Munro but I’m told it’s worth the effort.
As we follow the path (you can’t really go wrong, there are no other places to deviate to), we go down and then up the other side on some wooden steps and these take us much higher over the loch. The path lead us out on to a road but only for about half a mile and then we dropped off right under the A9 onto a smaller suspension footbridge. This gives a great view of the river Tummel and the hillside.
Carrying on further round we came to a boat shed where there were lots of mallards and a few swans.
From here you can turn left and carry on to Faskally woods for a bigger walk but as we didn’t have water or extra sun cream (yes we still wear it in winter too) we turned right. Just after the hotel there is a right turn into some new build housing and our book said the route continued down here and then the alley way would reunite us with the river views. And so it did.
Keeping to the path closest to the water we walked for about 20 minutes and found ourselves at the Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre.
Don’t forget to visit
We were greeted by a very enthusiastic member of staff who told us that they have already had over 5000 people through the doors since opening at the beginning of February. That is pretty incredible!
By way of engaging it’s visitors, with video, interactive displays and touchscreens ensures both young and old will enjoy a visit here. A brilliant way to learn something new about hydro-electricity, salmon migration or the importance of renewable energy today. The fact it is open all year round, is free to enter and it has a cafe are all an added bonus.
The cafe provides hot meals, cakes, snacks and hot drinks, perfect way to thaw out after a winter walk.
The building itself is beautifully designed and looks as good inside as it does outside. It feels light and airy inside. The close up views of the dam from the cantilever balcony are pretty special too. Although I’m guessing if you are scared of heights this might not float your boat.
This walk is just over 5km and really is lovely. Because of all the steps at the start it’s not really suitable for buggy’s etc. There are optional extentions that you can add on to this walk like going to Killicrankie or other Perthshire walks.
We’ve been to Loch Faskally and the Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre many times now and would highly recommend it. It’s well worth visiting at any time of year and on a stunning day in February like we had, it really does feel like Spring is on the way.