The Pass of Killiecrankie.

Start. Killiecrankie Visitors Centre.

Route. Killiecrankie Visitors Centre - Soldier's Leap - Killiecrankie Viaduct - B8079 - Garry bridge - B8079 - Killiecrankie Visitors Centre.

Notes. A wonderful deep cut sylvan river gorge playing host to two main roads, railway and one of George Wades military highways, all these transport arteries do nothing to detract the intrepid visitor from the beauty of the place. The Pass of Killiecrankie was at one time one of the most dangerous and difficult passes in Scotland. Today it forms a riverside walk through a steep gorge with predominantly oak, beech and birch woodland and abundant wildlife. Come take a stroll with us along the banks of the River Garry, we'll visit some interesting features as we wander in the footfall of clansmen, drovers and the army's of the Jacobite cause. This excursion through the pages of the Scots history books turned out to be a lot shorter than expected, with a considerable amount of storm damage around leading to bridge closures we were forced to narrow down our expectations, shorten the route.

It was quiet when we left the Killiecrankie Visitors Centre, a lot quieter than it was in July 1689 when the Jacobite armies met red coats supported by William of Orange, the shots of the first Jacobite uprising were fired marking a new era in Scottish history. A good path guided us first to the Soldier's Leap. Donald MacBean a soldier in the defeated government army, escaped his Jacobite pursuers by leaping across this18.5ft rocky chasm, it left us wondering what kind of 17th century athlete could clear a gap so wide. From the Soldiers Leap we followed the churning waters of the River Garry down stream, soon we encountered problems, bridges closed due to storm damage, we followed diversions which guided us via the main road to Garry Bridge, we'd had enough cars are one thing heavy goods vehicles are a lot scarier. Lets be honest Garry Bridge was worth the walk alone, lets call it the vertigo creator, the views from it's parapet up and down the gorge are dizzy, I don't suffer vertigo but gingerly peering over the parapet gave me that falling feeling. Once we'd had enough dizzy views we made our way back via the diversion that just happened to lead us along the B8079.

view route map.


Approaching Soldier's Leap looking to the many arches of the Killiecrankie Viaduct.

Truth or Legend, the Soldier's Leap, make your own mind up.

Some information for railway buffs, the Killiecrankie Viaduct dates back to 1863, built for the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (The Highland Railway Company from 1865), ten masonry arches span a total of 510ft, each arch being 35ft wide and 54ft high.

Looking back to the Soldier's Leap.

An excellent path guided us through the sylvan gorge.

You don't come across things like this everyday, a charcoal burner. The gorge is home to a wealth of flora and fauna, semi-natural woodland being strangled by non-native invasive species such as beech, the beech are felled turned into charcoal and sold as BBQ charcoal at the visitors centre.

Then we have this 17th century speed bump, Balfour Stone, here Brigadier Barthold Balfour of the Dutch Brigade, who commanded the left wing of General Mckay's Redcoat army was killed by one of the Jacobite Atholl men, the stone is reputed to mark Balfour's grave.

Unfortunately for us the bridge is closed, the foundations somewhat undermined, our route should have crossed the River Garry at that point, alas we're on the diversion....

....which ushers us across the railway line....

....and on to the vertigo creator. The Pass of Killiecrankie seen from the Garry Bridge.

View taken looking south from the Garry Bridge.

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