Pitlochry’s famous Dam teaches us that we can work in harmony with Nature and still meet our need for power
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
Pitlochry Dam and Salmon Ladder
550,000 visitors a year have discovered and marvelled at the unique vista of Loch Faskally viewed from Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder. Here, we have a popular visitor attraction, located a short, pleasant walk from Pitlochry town centre. The entire construction is an awe-inspiring feat of Engineering, set amidst stunning scenery. It has held the interest and curiosity of generations of travellers passing through this popular Scottish Tourist destination.
For those interested in technical detail, Pitlochry Dam reveals a fascinating insight into a solution to one of the key critical issues of our time – the provision of low carbon electricity. Hydropower energy has the fourth-lowest carbon footprint of all energy types.
Now, let’s set this this fascinating fact aside. Some folk may pass along without giving the working mechanics more than glancing attention. After all, who could fail to have their focus consumed by the astounding beauty of the entire area. It suddenly fills the senses when you approach. A cynic might view Pitlochry Dam as a mass of concrete. Nonetheless, it sits well in one of the UKs most stunning landscapes.
Loch Faskally and Beyond
Should the appetite for nature’s restorative not quite be appeased, then the appreciative visitor should walk on, over the Dam and follow the path to the right, along the water’s edge. Momentarily, there’s a hint of proximity to the busy A9, but the water entices us further along to the Foss Road (the 12-mile b road along the southern shores of Lochs Faskally and Tummel) and we are soon aware of the calmer state of Nature once again. Soon, we are presented with a choice: The Clunie Bridge appears, maybe a little too quickly, along the shore line.
We can take this bridge and head back to the right along the path to Pitlochry Boating Station and back into town. Nonetheless, my friendly tip to you is to note the whereabouts of the bridge for your journey back and head on further. Alternatively, you could make a mental note to return, empowered with a set of wheels, to explore the delights of the Foss Road with a little more mobile assistance, and take the Bridge back to town.
Along the Foss Road
For those blessed with the energy for a longer trek, we recommend that you continue further. Maybe there’s an urge to photographically account for stunning beauty at every opportunity. Alternatively, the feelgood medicine of stretching both mind, torso and legs in a beautiful location may suffice. At any stage, you can turn back for the Clunie Bridge, so take heart and why not press onwards!
The elevated stance of the Foss Road offers heartwarming vistas of Loch and Glen. It’s an increasingly rare privilege to be able to take a solitary hike along a road that offers such incredible views. Amusingly, whilst you might regard yourself as the observer, remember that eyes may be upon you too! The area’s natural inhabitants include Grouse, Pheasant, Red Squirrels, maybe a Pine Marten, Red and Roe Deer. Water Fowl such as Geese, Ducks, Swans, Oystercatchers and Kingfishers are thankfully not often overly-troubled by masses of visitors and so might make an appearance.
Scenery along Faskally and Tummel, viewed from the Foss Road
Venture Further, to Clunie Dam and the Linn of Tummel
Once you reach the stone clad tunnel leading down to the water’s edge (a recommended detour for a short rest) you are approaching the point where Faskally meets Tummel. The scenery takes on a notable change as views of the hills of Glen Garry open out ahead. The sometimes-raging Linn of Tummel beckons. This series of rapids signals the location of the Coronation bridge which allows the walker to swtich glens and walk to Killiecranke, or, perhaps, even further along the Foss Road.
Should the decision be made to turn back at this point, the value of this walk is not diminished. Such is the richness of the scenery, it almost seems like a brand new walk. Different perspectives of the same vistas again summon hand to camera.
Pitlochry Dam and Faskally/Tummel Walk in Brief
In conclusion, Pitlochry Dam offers the visitor a wealth of opportunity to see and feel the beauty of Perthshire. The Dam Visitor Centre offers great insight into a vital solution to climate challenge, an opportunity to understand the intriguing life-cycle of the Atlantic Salmon, whilst offering a dog-friendly opportunity to take refreshement and enjoy some spectacular scenery.
For the fit, able and curious, there is an opportunity to walk further and enjoy the privilege of hiking a lesser known gem of the area. The scenery along the Foss road is exceptionally beautiful, but do keep this a secret!