Pitlochry revisited…July 27th, 2006
Having paid it a fleeting visit last May, I decided that it was time to pay Pitlochry another visit. Last time, I left it in rain but this time I found it dry apart from a few drops late on Saturday evening. While the rest of the U.K. was sweltering in sunshine, it seems that Highland Perthshire was not feeling the full benefit of the sun. After a warm sunny day on Wednesday, it was a case of sun versus cloud. The former is good for photos but the latter is better for walking so long as conditions remain dry. On Thursday, I was in Kingussie where the sun made no appearance while it was out and about when I returned to base. Friday and Saturday saw the sun in and out of the clouds.
Overnight coach travel got me to Pitlochry for a four night stay that saw me explore the surrounding area. Wednesday itself saw me walk from Kinloch Rannoch on the shores of Loch Rannoch through the hills to Trinafour. Next day, I took myself off to Kingussie to explore its nearby hills, particularly Creag Mhor. On Friday, I managed to return to Kenmore on the shores of Loch Tay for the first time in nearly eight years. I then walked to Aberfeldy, again through the hills. The only fly in the ointment was an unexpected no entry sign to a farmyard, understandable on safety grounds, that made the journey longer than planned, not what you need when you are making for a bus back to Pitlochry. On Saturday, I focused my attention on Ben Vrackie near Pitlochry on a walk that also took in Killecrankie and the shores of Loch Faskally. As if to prove that mountains do make weather, Ben Vrackie got covered in clag when I was there and was anything but warm and summery. If anything, it was breezy and nippy on top: and I always thought that I was overcautious, I was well prepared for this. Things opened up and warmed up later on in my walk.
Unlike the last time, I left Pitlochry basking in sunshine with a cloud-speckled sky. However, like the last time, I left it wondering about a return. Despite all that I had seen, it was just a small sample of what the area held and I felt that I had only scratched the surface. And I encountered friendly people too. For instance, from Pitlochry, it is possible to get to Balmoral and Aviemore in the Cairgorms. Dalwhinnie and nearby Loch Ericht is another possibility. Also, revisiting places that I saw under a blanket of cloud in sunny conditions could be a revelation.
Another idea also holds its attraction: bringing or hiring a bike to explore the area. It is certainly bicycle-friendly and I was cycling around Loch Tay the last time that I visited Kenmore. It is also an idea that gets around the gaps in the public transport network in this part of Scotland and allows more intimate exploration of the area. Before I took up walking, it was the bike that I used to explore the countryside but hilly country and the need to carry/hire one convinced me of the advantages of walking. Maybe, a partial return to previous ways might be in order…