Great British Walks – Glen Tilt
You can follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria on this historic walk that enjoys the variety of the glen, heading through the woods and then out to the open hillsides.
Keep your eyes peeled for buzzards, eagles, wheatears and skylarks
Follow this guide to plan your walk. We've included details on how long it should take you to complete, where to park, and some places to stop for food and drink along the way.
We've also included a recommendation of where to stay if you're looking to book a pitch nearby and spend more time in this area.
Picture courtesy Louise McGilviray/stock.adobe.com
The River Tilt follows a geological fault through the hills for much of its length. This has created a steep gorge in places, but also makes an excellent route for travelling through the hills with little climbing.
Glen Tilt was once a busy route linking Braemar and other places north of the Cairngorms to markets further south.
Queen Victoria came this way with Prince Albert on one of their great expeditions from Balmoral, accompanied by several ponies to carry their packs, two bagpipers and the ghillie John Brown. Chances are you will be travelling a little lighter!
Your walk starts in the Glen Tilt car park. Following the yellow waymarkers, turn right in front of the castle and bear right for a gate into Diana’s Grove, a collection of exotic conifers with some of the tallest trees to be found in Britain.
Beyond the grove, you will find yourself at the tiny village of Old Blair, a small collection of stone cottages adjoining the Blair estate.
From here, follow the Minigaig Pass uphill and carry on through the forest.
After a steep climb up to the top of the rifle range you’ll reach the Glen Tilt viewpoint, giving a fantastic view of the glen ahead.
Consult the rifle range timetable to check for shooting – a red flag shows when it is taking place. The timetable is also available in advance at the Glen Tilt car park or on the ranger service website.
Walking in the area is not banned completely when shooting is taking place.
Picture courtesy Hans-Martin Goede/stock.adobe.com
Follow the main track downhill, and back at the bottom of the hill you will reach the riverside and Gilbert’s Bridge.
Cross the bridge and follow the track along the valley then pass through a gate into the wood, following the track, uphill. At the end of the woods, appreciate the view across Blair Castle to Schiehallion before taking the gravel track that eventually leads you on to the Tarmac road.
From here it’s downhill, passing several waterfalls, until you reach the Old Bridge of Tilt. From the car park, keep following the yellow waymarkers until you reach the corner of the caravan and camping park.
Keep walking along the path under the larch trees and head towards Blair Castle.
The path will take you past a statue of Hercules and the impressive Hercules Garden, then around to the front of the castle, where you began your walk.
Treat yourself to a scone in the castle’s Tullibardine restaurant.
PLAN YOUR WALK
Route Circular route from Blair Atholl through castle grounds, woodland and river valley
Distance 6 miles
Time 3 hours
Terrain Estate tracks and smooth paths
Parking Glen Tilt main park
Blair Castle, with its turrets and battlements, is the most visited historic house in Scotland, with such luminaries as Queen Victoria, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Robert the Bruce among its early guests.
FOOD AND DRINK
Blair Atholl Water Mill and Tea Room
The Struan Inn, Calvine
Atholl Arms Blair, Atholl
WHERE TO STAY
BLAIR CASTLE CARAVAN PARK
This picturesque park is at the entrance to the Cairngorms National Park in the village of Blair Atholl. Easily accessed from the A9 trunk road. With views over Blair Castle and the Highlands, this campsite is a Scottish gem. It is set over nine acres with 200 hard standing and grass pitches across the park including 18m super sized pitches and four-star facilities. There’s also a general store and a laundrette, while kids will love the playground, games room and putting green.
Highland scenery, ideal for families, fantastic reception.
Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5SR
OPEN 1 MARCH - 18 NOVEMBER
Price from £19.00.
EAT & DRINK
Six miles from the town of Pitlochry with its excellent shops, cafés, restaurants
• 5 heated toilet and shower blocks with disabled and baby changing facilities
• Laundrette with washing, drying and ironing facilities.
• Children’s playground, mini football pitch and putting green
• Games room with pool and table tennis
• Shop stocking everyday essentials
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