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Return to Glen Tilt

May 11, 2012

Return to Glen Tilt

On a good clear April day we walked up into Glen Tilt from Blair Atholl, along the Glen Tilt track, that once disputed right of way. Patches of snow still clung to the highest mountains and the top edges of the glen. Lapwings called as they flew overhead. After Gaws Bridge, the glen becomes much more rugged and, eight miles up in the vicinity of Forest Lodge, there are crags on the slopes above the river. Every now and again a few snowflakes would fall out of a seemingly blue sky and the temperature would dip.

The River Tilt was in sprawling, energetic mood, rocks smoothed over hundreds of years of its fearsome passage. Its lower stretches are half-hidden by delightful patches of woodland, a splendid stand of beech trees by the lovely Gilbert’s Bridge.

At Forest Lodge, a vast establishment for deer stalkers, built in 1789 and much used by the Victorian Establishment, eight miles up a rough track, you really get a feel of the isolation of the glen. It stands like some outpost in the Wild West, far from civilisation, far from anything very much to do with the 21st century. If you are very well off, or have lots of buddies to chip in, you can rent the place for a break from the Atholl Estates. If you are a seriously-loaded stravaiger I can see its charms, a good base to explore these lonely hills.

As we headed a little way further, above the lodge, a ferocious wind tore its way down the glen, then, as we turned a corner, the glen became still and sheltered once more, the sun warming between the tiny bursts of snow.

Walking back that day, we saw a young red deer stag just a few yards away, obviously so unused to people that he had no fear, feeding regardless. Just one deer seen in so vast a deer forest.

In all we walked seventeen miles in this magnificent glen. If you want a sheltered walk, I commend it to you.



One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2012 9:05 pm

    Very evocative. makes me wish I was there!

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