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Wednesday June 18th 2014 - Loch Tummel to Aberfeldy - Day 7

Awakening before 7am it was obvious it was going to be another glorious day weather wise. There was a little dew on the tent and some washing that was not entirely dry so we both moved our stuff to a sunny spot while we organised the other stuff in our rucksacks.

All the gear packed away, plaid on once more we had an invitation to breakfast to keep before setting off on our way. Again hospitality given was second to none, a bacon roll, scrambled eggs on toast with a fine cup of tea. The hospitality was further extended when seeing our feet were well sore and a lift was offered to Aberfeldy, which we respectfully turned down due to the nature of completing the walk.

Before setting off we took a few pics to remember our hosts as well as departing on the fondest of farewells.

Before heading onto the road once more, we stopped in past the shop to replenish our supply of liquid. Having spoken to a few people prior to the days walk we were made aware of quite a hill climb ahead of us.

We made our way from the holiday park a short distance along the B8019 to where the road joins the B846 and across the Tummel Bridge. The small village of Tummel Bridge at the head of Loch Tummel takes its name from the bridge that General Wade built here in 1733 to carry his Military Road south from Dalnacradoch on the A9 to his bridge at Aberfeldy. Although the old bridge still stands it only for use by pedestrians and cyclists, there is a newer structure for cars to preserve the old, although it is more likely the old will be standing regardless.

Once again we are walking roadside following the old military road in the shadow of the majestic Schiehallion, it is the only road way between Tummel Bridge and Aberfeldy. We walk a couple of miles before the road starts to incline, this is a long arduous climb which appeared never ending. The heat of the sun in the clear blue sky made us pull over a few times as we climbed uphill, even the sun lotion became liquidised and made our eyes nip, the sun became so hot to the point we both put towels on our heads to shield us from the sun, we looked more like a pair of Arabs.

Walking by road makes you realise just how long it is compared to that of travelling by car, but walking you have more time to be aware of the fantastic scenery.

Reaching the summit, the road continued in an undulating manner, passing a view point and path to Schiehallion and we start to go downhill, by this time our water was running low and we were looking for somewhere to get refills. Again we come across a café, at GlenGoulandie Country Park but once again closed, it makes you wonder what tourists must think places like this being closed in the height of the summer.

The road then winds downward to Coshieville where there is a road which leads off to Glen Lyon four miles and Loch Tay six. Just before this turn off we come across a couple in their garden who when asked more than willingly to fill our water bottles up for us. We chat for a while about where we have come from and where we are going and gained some local knowledge. We are informed we are only about a half mile from a junction to Kenmore and an alternative route to Crieff, but we decide to stick to our plan in case others join us in Aberfeldy, which was now only five miles away.

Walking about another mile on the B846 towards Aberfeldy, there is an option of continuing walking on the road or taking an alternative path along the river side. The road is obviously more straight forward compared to that of the riverside path which is narrow and more rugged, but regardless both routes end up at the Wades bridge at Aberfeldy which crosses the River Tay, the bridge was built in 1733 costing over £4000.

The riverside path branches off where the B846 veers away from the river Lyon, the path is quite over grown with shrubbery and trees, it is not far along the path when the River Lyon joins the River Tay. The well kept fishermen’s huts along the river bank is an indication this part of the Tay is used for fishing. The pathway in places are no better than a sheep trail, rough and narrow. Although the path follows the contour of the river, the road runs parallel but about a half mile to the north. The most iconic and historic site along this route is Castle Menzies a most impressive and stunning location for a castle.

This spectacular sixteenth century castle was restored by the Menzies Clan. Seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies for over 400 years and importantly situated, it was involved in the turbulant history of the Highlands and here Bonnie Prince Charlie rested on his way to Culloden in 1746. Architecturally fascinating, it is a splendid example of the transition between earlier rugged fortress and later mansion house.

The Menzies' came north at some point and were granted lands in Lothian in the 12th Century, almost certainly in exchange for military service. This is the same route that other Scottish clans with Norman origins such as Bruce, Moray (Murray) and St. Clair (Sinclair), established themselves in Scotland.

The first definitive chief was Sir Robert de Meyneris, who became Chamberlain to King Alexander II in 1249. At some point he received a grant of lands in West Atholl, including Culdares and Duneaves. Part of the condition of the grant is that Sir Robert became 'loco pateris' to the people of the lands in accordance with Gaelic custom.

His son, Sir Alexander Menzies was granted the lands of Aberfeldy and Weem. He further extended these possessions due to his support of Bruce during the War of Independence at the expense of some of his neighbours who had supported Comyn's claim to the crown.

Once established in Weem the same family lived there for over four hundred years and was at one time the oldest family in Strathtay.

At the peak of their power, the Menzies' held a significant swathe of the Central Highlands which included Weem, the Appin of Dull and Rannoch. They also held land in Lothian and in Aberdeenshire. The Chief of the Clan was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1665.

During the Jacobite rebellions the main branch of the clan, the Menzies of Weem strived to be neutral but most of the cadet branches (notably Menzies of Shian and Menzies of Pitfodels) fought in all the battles on the Jacobite side.

Passing the Castle and the village of Weem we reach the bridge of Aberfeldy ,the road which crosses the bridge is Poplar Avenue continuing onto Taybridge Road the main thoroughfare to the town, just after the bridge on the right there is a fabulous memorial statue to the Black Watch as the area is well known as a recruiting ground for the regiment.

Heading into the town pained by our days walk the thought of some refreshment kept us going the last few hundred yards and seeing the co-op in the town square it seemed like the best place to buy a couple of cold ones and sit on the bench outside. Being a fine summers night the town was reasonably busy and it was fine just chilling watching life go by for an hour, bringing an end to our seventh days walk.

Click here for Day 8

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