Start location: Fenderbridge, Blair Atholl (NN 880 667)
End location: Linn of Dee (NO 061 897)
Geographical area: Perth, Kinross and Stirling (part), Cairngorms National Park
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 33.8km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes
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This route is a serious undertaking with a potentially difficult remote river crossing at the north end.
For those who walk in from Braemar to the Linn of Dee, the public road could be taken, but our surveyor recommends that instead paths through the Morrone Birkwood be followed to a conifer plantation at its west end which has stiles at entry and exit before meeting the public road just east of Corriemulzie. The walker can then continue by Mar Lodge to Linn of Dee avoiding the worst of any traffic.
From Linn of Dee to the Geldie Burn a good estate track exists. At the Geldie Burn there is no longer any bridge. After this serious river crossing, a rougher track and footpath (avoiding further river crossings) leads to the ruins of Bynack Lodge. From there a track leads on for about 1km then becomes a footpath leading as far as the watershed. From there a clear path, leads to just south of the Bedford Memorial Bridge at the Falls of Tarf where a reasonable estate track is met. This continues to Auchgobhal where this old right of way rises out of the glen as a grassy track until Kincraigie farm from where a farm road and tarred public road lead to Blair Atholl.
The route is cycleable on good tracks except for the section between the Tarf and the Geldie where bikes will often have to be wheeled or carried.
OS Landranger 43 (Braemar & Blair Atholl)
This old route is one of the great historical rights of way in Scotland. In 1847, a group of Edinburgh University botany students had an acrimonious encounter with the Duke of Athole and his ghillies. This resulted in a lengthy legal battle between the Scottish Rights of Way Society and the Duke to establish the route's status, a dispute which ultimately went to the House of Lords. It is likely that this case did more than any other to raise public awareness of rights of way.
Click here for Ben Dolphin's heartfelt video about Glen Tilt's important part in the story of securing public access rights in Scotland.
The route is said to have been a drove road. However, due to the narrowness of Glen Tilt although it was used as such, other nearby routes may well have been better suited to such traffic.
The Tarf Water is crossed just below the Falls of Tarf via the Bedford Memorial Bridge. On the bridge, a plaque reads: "This bridge was erected in 1886 with funds contributed by his friends and others and by The Scottish Rights of Way Society Ltd to commemorate the death of Francis John Bedford, aged 18, who was drowned near here on 25th August 1879". This young man had died trying to ford the Tarf. Queen Victoria did the same crossing in 1861 on a pony - those who led her steed had been almost up to their oxters in the water.