The first few miles up Glen Tilt, in Highland Perthshire, are a delightful mixture of scenery ranging from woodland to open glen and hillsides. On our recent break in Scotland, we walked the first few miles, from Blair Atholl to Marble Lodge.
This is, of course, just a tiny proportion of this mighty glen, which cuts through high mountains all the way from Blair Atholl to Deeside. I have never walked it all, but commend the first few miles, especially if you can find a fine day.
Glen Tilt was the site of a long drawn-out Victorian access battle, both in the Scottish courts and physically, when the 6th Duke of Atholl tried to eject a party of wandering botanists. An earlier duke evicted a large number of residents from Glen Tilt, to make way for sheep grazing and deer stalking. You can see the ruins of some of their homes on this ramble. Now the Atholl Estate is more welcoming to walkers in this area. The walks booklet published by the Estate suggests routes into the glen.
Following first the west bank of the Tilt, we walked up through woodland, then out into the open glen. Narrow un-eroded paths took us through sheep country all the way to Gow’s Bridge, where we crossed the Tilt back to Marble Lodge, which is now rented out as a very lonely tourist cottage.
The once-disputed Glen Tilt track runs back along and then above the eastern banks of the surging river – a good grassy path, contouring with little ascent or descent, offering fine views back for many miles into the glen and its surrounding mountains.
We saw no deer or eagles, though I understand both can be seen higher up the glen, but there was a good show of heather and harebells, and a fine stand of beeches by Gilbert’s Bridge.