One of my go to mountains is Ben Vrackie and I’ve explored lots of variations from the Moulin side, be it in daylight hours or in the hours of darkness, however I am ashamed to say I have never explored the hill from Killiecrankie. In fact I don’t think I have ever visited Killiecrankie despite driving past it numerous times every month!! What swung it this time was the magnificent display the autumn trees were putting on. On another trip north with work, I was in awe of the colours as I swung onto the dual carriage way, the woodland on the hillside wouldn’t have looked out of place in New Hampshire!
Waking on a drab Sunday morning I switched on the TV to catch the weather and it was suggesting the drabness I was seeing out of the window was soon to change to blue skies and sunshine! Feeling the need to feed the rat, I set about doing some chores in the morning with the plan to head off to Killiecrankie around lunchtime. This I did, and my timing was good with the clouds starting to part as I past Pitlochry and my mountain before taking the right hand turnoff for Killiecrankie! Parking was limited at the visitor centre as many others had obviously had the same idea, although not many were headed where I was going!! The hill walk starts opposite the visitor centre and is just as well sign posted as it is from the Moulin side. Off I strode and the views soon opened out in all directions – the wonderful autumn colours around Killiecrankie were superb and the mountain view of Beinn a Ghlo started to appear as I gained height. I good path takes you over some fields and there are a few styles and dykes to cross on the way up. I reached a junction in the path and as opposed to heading over towards the lochan I took a left as I wanted to head up the subsidiary top of Meall an Daimh. Now if you don’t like heather bashing – then this route is not for you!! The path is ok for about 500m but you need to strike off up hill and at this point it’s a wade through the heather until reaching the top!
One of the main attractions about this route is the solitude that is encountered and I had only met a few other walkers on the path up from Killiecrankie. As I headed for Meall an Daimh, I wasn’t expecting to see another soul, but nearing the summit I was surprised to see a couple of walkers making their way down towards me. As they approached I immediately recognised them as regular contributors to the walkhighlands forum, it was Weaselmaster and Sick kid – great to meet you both!! After a nice chat we set off on our ways , hope you got home ok folks.
On reaching the top of Meall an Daimh the heather shortened and the grass took over. The views were amazing, Beinn a Ghlo and the other Perthshire hills looked absolutely brilliant with the lovely blue skies over head. It was a superb autumnal day and after taking an hour or so to enjoy the solitude on the minor summit I soon set about striding to the summit of Ben Vrackie, which wasn’t so quiet! Understandably so, many people had taken the opportunity to hike in this glorious autumn weather!
Summit views by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
A little drink and bite to eat on Vrackies summit and I started to descend over pathless ground towards Killiecrankie again. The sun the starting to lower and the rays of light hitting the Perthshire Landscapes was grand. I was soon on the path and heading back to Killiecrankie.
Perthshire Landscapes by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
Perthshire Glens by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
I still had about an hour of light left and decided to head down to explore the soldiers leap. It was amazing, the colours in the woodland were perfect and the crowds had dispersed by this time. There is a real feeling of history here and after reading a little about the history ,it was nice to visit a small part of were these battles had occurred. I’ve decided I will be coming back next Autumn to spend more time in the lowlands to see where Bonnie Dundee led his army against the Redcoats… Can’t recommend it enough – well worth a visit
Autumn Trees Killiecrankie by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
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