Falls of Acharn

By Colin Hogarth

Perthshire's countryside is dotted with signs of life from the earliest times. Many of the best examples are to be found around Loch Tay, and on this walk some obvious remains line the way. An example is the small but well preserved stone circle occupying an airy roost on the open hillside above the loch. Many of the stones are still upright, and those which have fallen away over the years remain on site. Nearby, a tumulus is another indication of early occupation, while the surrounding hillsides boast signs of settlements dating back thousands of years.

Above the Falls of Acharn is a hermit's cave. Even though evidence suggests this is a much more recent, visitor-oriented addition to the landscape, it is well worth exploring and the underground passageway will doubtless keep children amused.

From the east side of the road bridge in Acharn, head south up a minor road, past Old Mill Cottage and a red telephone box. The route continues by houses and a children's park on the left before climbing into a woodland of beech, oak and silver birch, with Acharn Burn to the right.

The path rises quite steeply to a wooden fence. Bear right of this and climb to a wooden bridge above small waterfalls. Don't cross but continue up on the left side of the burn, with the path hemmed in between two fences, to a kissing gate at the top. Go through the gate to join a track by a stone bridge over the burn. Turn left. Go through a wooden gate and follow the main track as it curves right and then left to run east over open hillside. There's a grassy mound on the left, and beyond it the track skirts above a barn with recently felled woodland on your right.

The route reaches a junction above the Remony Burn. Bear right and follow the track up over an open grassy field. The way is a little indistinct but soon becomes much more obvious as you approach a gate. Go through, and up to the right is a stone circle with excellent views to the Ben Lawers range and Schiehallion.

Back on the track, continue over open moorland to a junction. Turn right here and follow the track into a small plantation of Scots Pines, with views over Loch Tay. The track curves south again and, after a brief climb, descends over open hillside. At its lowest point, just beyond a burn crossing, a smaller track branches off to the right. Follow this down to cross the Acharn Burn. There's no bridge, but a line of stones just upstream from where the track fords the water offers a good crossing point.

Once safely over, follow the steep track up to a small wooden bothy on the hillside above. Turn right at the bothy and follow the track north, descending over open hillside. At the next junction, bear right and continue on the main track down to grazing fields above Acharn. The route emerges at a gate above the Falls of Acharn. Beyond the gate, turn left and descend to the Hermit's Cave on the right. This is well worth exploring, as the short and dimly-lit underground passage leads to a spectacular viewpoint opposite the Falls of Acharn. The tunnel comes out again further down the track.

Continue down to Acharn and join the road opposite a horn carver's workshop. Turn right to return to the start.


Distance 6 miles/10km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 51.
Start Bridge over the Acharn Burn in Acharn, a mile and a half west of Kenmore on the south Loch Tay road (grid ref NN 756438).
Parking Leave cars to the east of the bridge on the roadside.
Grading Path up through woodland and tracks over open hillside and moorland.


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