A walk from the centre of Pitlochry passing through tranquil woodland to a majestic waterfall known as The Black Spout and the ruined Black Castle of Moulin.
When I set off from Pitlochry, flurries of snow were filling the air. This made for a picturesque walk, but also made some of the normally obvious woodland paths rather more difficult to follow! It also meant missing out on some of the lovely views that this walk has to offer, but the stark beauty of the winter scenes more than made up for it.
Distance: 4 ½ miles
Start and Finish: Pitlochry War Memorial (NN 94025 58075)
Access: Pitlochry is well served by buses and trains.
From Pitlochry’s war memorial, head east along Atholl Road and pass under the railway line. As you continue along the pavement, you’ll pass the Blair Athol Distillery on your left. Curiously, the distillery maintains the archaic spelling Athol, with one l, rather than the modern Atholl used by the nearby village and Dukedom. After the distillery, turn left onto a narrow road signed for a car park and pass under the tracks again to enter the Black Spout Wood.
Follow the road uphill past the car park. The path leads through the trees and, after bearing right at two junctions, you will soon arrive at the wooden viewing platform overlooking the Black Spout waterfall, where the water of the Edradour burn plunges nearly 60m on its journey to the River Tummel.
From the viewing platform, a path leads to the left towards the top of the falls. Stick to this path, and you’ll arrive at another junction. Turn right onto the path signed for Edradour and climb uphill slightly, then bear right at the next fork to reach a wall between the woodland edge and a field. Take the left path here to follow the wall, ignoring the paths that lead deeper into the wood.
The wall is eventually replaced by a fence as you meet some houses and emerge by the roadside in the village of Edradour. Across from you on the opposite bank of the Edradour burn stands the Edradour Distillery, which lays claim to being one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland.
Turn left and follow the road uphill. After the road levels out, pass through a gap in the wall near a farm gate on your left to join a path that follows the edge of a field. Upon reaching another path, turn left to re-enter the Black Spout wood. At a crossroads, turn right onto a path signed for Moulin and cross a footbridge.
The path skirts around the edge of a field here, deviating from the route marked on some maps, then crosses another more substantial footbridge and passes through a gate. Continue along the path, which soon joins a road. When you arrive at a junction with another road, turn right to leave the road and follow the path behind a row of houses. The burn on your right leads to another gate at a wooden footbridge. Ignore the bridge, and instead continue straight ahead and into the field where you will find the remains of Caisteal Dubh, the Black Castle.
The Black Castle of Moulin was built around 1326 and once stood on a man-made island or crannog on wet, boggy ground which has since been drained. It serves as a fine example of the enceinte design of castles that would serve as a middle ground between the Norman motte-and-bailey castles of old and the rugged tower houses that would later come to dominate the Scottish landscape. In the early 1500s, a messenger visiting the castle brought more than just a letter — unbeknownst to them they also carried the dreaded Black Death. In an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading, the locals burned the castle to the ground, thus giving rise to its ominous name.
From the castle, follow the fence along the edge of the field until the burn bends off to the right. Continue straight, following the electricity lines. When you meet a fence roughly in line with the buildings off to your left, bear right and aim for the church steeple. Pass through a kissing gate to leave the field, then bear right past Moulin village hall.
When you reach the main road, head to the right, then take the first left onto Baledmund Road and after rounding the bend turn left onto Craiglunie Road. Over to your right stands the Neolithic standing stone known locally as the Danes Stone.
Follow the road past Pitlochry golf club to reach the Cuilc, a small loch with fine views of Craigower hill. Turn left here to follow the road downhill and back to the centre of Pitlochry.