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Killiecrankie Pass

Struan Church
Struan Church

General George Wade
George Wade

Falls of Bruar
Falls Of Bruar

Perthshire Walks
Dunkeld Walks
Pitlochry Walks
The Birks of Aberfeldy
The Falls Of Acharn
Falls Of Bruar
Glen Lednock Walk
Den Of Alyth
Kinnoull Hill

Loch Garry

Tour Glen Garry

Through this glen, river, road and railway travel side by side. The lower portion is well wooded but beyond Calvine becomes bleak and heather is by far the main vegetation. There are but few habitations north of this hamlet until one is over the summit of the wild Pass of Drumochter and into Inverness-shire and the district of Badenoch.

At the famed Pass of Killiecrankie the main Perth to
Inverness road runs high above the river Garry which now does not have the volume of water that it used to due to the large scale developments of the Hydro Electric schemes and dams. Here there are splendid walks along the pass. The last wolf in Perthshire was supposed to have been killed at the Pass of Killiecrankie in 1680 by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel. Nine years later on July 29, 1689, the Battle of Killiecrankie was fought. John Graham of Claverhouse, the Viscount Dundee, and his Highlanders in the interest of the Stuart Cause smashed the Hanoverian forces of General MacKay but the gallant Graham was badly wounded and was carried from the field of battle to die in the old inn at Blair. He was buried in the nearby St. Bride’s kirk. Situated near to the bridge which crosses the Garry is Fuaran an Trupaire, the Trooper’s Well. Close by this well a trooper of MacKay’s army was shot by the arrow of a local archer as the Hanoverians advanced northward through the pass prior to the battle. Also in this pass and situated on the rocky banks of the Garry is the Soldier’s Leap, so named as having been the spot where one of MacKay’s men made a tremendous leap across the river to save himself from the swords of a few Highlanders who were rushing on him.

Near the Pass of Killiecrankie is the small village of Blair Atholl which stands some 450 feet above sea level. The ancient Blair Castle is the principal residence of the Duke of Atholl and has important historical associations. Although having been added to at various periods the oldest part is the central tower, or Comyn’s Tower, thus named as having been built by the Red Comyn about the year 1280. The property is open to the public during the season.

Not far beyond Blair Atholl is the House of Bruar and close by is the museum of the Clan Donnachaidh Society. At the bridge the House of Bruar commences the path which here leaves the road to enable one to walk to the Falls of
Bruar. The falls are seen to advantage following heavy
rain and consist mainly of three cascades having a
combined height of 200 feet. The banks of the Bruar
are clothed with thick fir plantations thanks to the poem “Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the Noble Duke of Atholl” penned by Burns when he visited the area in the 1780s.

Struan at the junction of the rivers Garry and Errochtie was where various chiefs of the Clan Donnachaidh had their residence. The site of the old house An Tigh Mór, The Big House, is situated near Struan church and sleeping peacefully in the burial ground are thirteen (and possibly fourteen) chiefs of the clan including the Poet Chief, Alexander Robertson, 13th of Struan. It is possible that several other illustrious members of the clan may be resting there including old Rob Ban Robertson of Invervack who died in 1777 aged 104 years, he who had given so much service to the deposed Royal Stuarts, also his son the brave Donald of Woodsheal who had commanded the Struan contingent of the clan throughout the rising of 1745-46.

There is a certain tombstone in the burial ground which bears the simple inscription D.R. and nothing more. This could well be the tombstone of Donald of Woodsheal but it has obviously been removed at some time from its correct and original position. Following the collapse of the
rising in 1746 Woodsheal, like so many other prominent
Jacobites, had required to seek exile in France. He
returned home in 1772 to breathe again the air of his
beloved braes of Atholl but died in 1775. That this stoneo nly bears the inscription D.R. could be attributed to the fact that even as late after the last Jacobite rising as the year of Woodsheal’s death the leaders would still be living under a cloud and so the faithful friends of Woodsheal attended his funeral saying little of the
identity of the deceased to any of the Hanoverian
authorities that were around at the time and when a
stone was eventually erected it had inscribed on it only
his initials D.R. for likely it was another true Jacobite
hand that had carved them.

On the road northward from Struan and Calvine the scenery becomes wilder and in August each year
the heather blooms in great profusion. I have driven this road though, at all times of the year, and have always found the scenery facinating.

At various points in Glen Garry can be seen the line of the old military road constructed under the supervision of famed General George Wade in 1728-29. It ran from Dunkeld to Inverness, a distance of more than a hundred miles. One party worked from Dunkeld and one party from Inverness and the point of their meeting is commemorated by the great stone known as the Wade Stone situated on the old road some two miles from Dalnacardoch and only a few yards from the present modern highway. That the two parties did not meet anything like halfway between Dunkeld and Inverness is proved by the stone’s position at about thirty five miles from Dunkeld and about seventy five miles from Inverness.

A little further north from Dalnaspidal Loch Garry can be seen at some distance to the left. This loch is now impounded for the Hydro Electric power station on Loch Rannoch. An interesting walk of some twelve miles can be taken from Dalnaspidal by Loch Garry over to the north shore of Loch Rannoch, but all about Glen Garry there are points from where one can take a variety of very fine walks.

Not far beyond Dalnaspidal the highest point of the road and railway is reached. By the side of the railway the summit level there is shown as 1,484 feet above sea level. Here also one crosses from Perthshire into old inverness-shire.

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