The Pitlochry Trip 2022


Another birthday, another long weekend break. This time we decided to stay, a little above midway between Edinburgh and Inverness, in Pitlochry. Having decided to travel by train and which attractions to visit, I booked travel and entry tickets then set up an itinerary to manage our time.

Here is my account of our trip, arranged with summaries of daily activities, supported by slideshows, videos, and the odd photograph. As usual, for those who wish to view them in greater detail, all photos used in the slideshows can be viewed individually at the end of this blog!


A notification hit my phone Thursday night, advising that Trans Pennine Express had cancelled the train booked to take us from Preston to Edinburgh Haymarket. We had to board the next available (Avanti West Coast) train, which resulted in an additional change, at Perth, following our onward connection. Our reserved seat bookings were lost with the cancelled train and we found ourselves sitting in rear-facing seats, away from the luggage racks! Even worse, Margaret and I were in separate rows on the train from Haymarket to Perth. Denied access to window seats, for the journey to Perth, severely hindered fore-warning of photo opportunities and preparedness, and subsequently, deletion of most of the snaps I took! Those which survived are still not of the best quality but are included to support the narrative and to give some idea of what can be viewed from a coach of a train.

Our itinerary had scheduled 20 minutes to register and drop our bags at Fishers Hotel, before setting off for the Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre. However, by the time our train pulled in, 89 minutes later than the one originally booked, the Visitor Centre had closed! Foregoing the Visitor Centre, we could now be more leisurely settling in our room, before walking through the hotel and out onto the main street. This allowed us to browse shops as we walked up the street, towards the junction where we turned down to the dam. Crossing the dam, then a short walk alongside the River Tummel, brought up the suspension bridge, which we crossed for the return to the town center, and a reconnoiter of the restaurants where, potentially, we might choose to dine during our stay. Reaching the main street we turned back up to the hotel, completing our initial browsing of the shops.

Margaret wasn’t enticed by the dinner menu selection our hotel had posted, so we walked down to Fern Cottage Restaurant, where the menu had appealed during our earlier walk – only to discover that they were fully booked! The next choice – was the restaurant at McKay’s Hotel and Bar. They too were fully booked so we queued up and dined at McKay’s Fish and Chip shop, also at the McKay’s Hotel and Bar. The town was far busier than usual – no doubt due to the number of visitors coming to visit the Enchanted Forest!


Monarch of the Dining Room!

After breakfast, we visited the Saturday market and did more shop browsing, including a visit to Heathergems. The Heathergems process, which makes affordable jewellery from heather stalks, is unique and it is well worth a visit to the factory and shop. Unfortunately for our visit, there was no one working at the benches as it was Saturday!

View the large selection of discounted jewellery made on the premises
Also a wide selection of non-Heathergems goods displayed for sale

Before leaving the lower end of town, we called in at Fern Cottage Restaurant to book a table for Sunday evening, then headed back up to the top of the town for a late lunch/early dinner at the McKay’s Hotel and Bar Restaurant. After a few more drinks, in our room, it was time for our pick-up by shuttle bus for the short journey to Faskally Wood.

For around four weeks (October/November) each year, the wood hosts the ‘Enchanted Forest’ event. Rather than describe the event with words, let me offer the following video as a sample of what is on offer.


Our friend watches over us again at breakfast!
This morning’s choice – Eggs Benedict!

From Fishers Hotel, dropping down out of the town, the main road passes under the railway. After around 0.75 miles there is a sign, on a lamp post on the left, indicating parking for Black Spout. We walked down this road and took the next turning after the sign, under a low, narrow bridge to re-cross the railway and reach the Black Spout car park. Shortly after, a signpost pointed to Black Spout Waterfall. From then on, signposts, together with our GPX trail and written directions, guided us through Black Spout Wood, past Black Spout Waterfall Viewing Platform, Edradour Distillery (the world’s smallest?), and then round to Blair Athol Distillery (the world’s oldest?) for a tasting tour. To complete the walk, we returned from Blair Athol Distillery via the main road to the hotel for a total distance of 3.12 miles (5k).

Dinner at Fern Cottage Restaurant


We were seated across the other side of the hotel restaurant for the final morning’s breakfast.

There was no stag keeping us company!

The Journey Home

The Trainline App had notified us, on Sunday night, that our train from Edinburgh Waverley back to Preston had been cancelled – again by Trans Pennine Express! More reserved seats lost – as we switched to the next available Avanti West Coast train!

As the waiting time for that train could be spent in Edinburgh, connecting trains were unaffected. However, both had been sold on a ‘select any vacant seat’ basis! We only just managed to squeeze, with our suitcases, into the space between the doors of the train to Perth and were standing for the whole journey. We were more fortunate on the next stage to Edinburgh where, although there were only interspersed seats available, a lady gave up her seat so that Margaret and I could sit together.

Rather than use our time in Edinburgh otherwise, we elected to board the train, which was starting from Waverley, as soon as it became available. We secured two unreserved seats close to the luggage racks while other passengers, from the earlier cancelled train and without reserved seats, became increasingly frustrated as the train filled.

And Finally –

The Photographs from the Slideshows

Click on the first image to activate the lightbox view – which provides left-to-right photo viewing.

Click on the X at the top right of the image at any time to return to the full-screen view.

Or, scroll down for a rolling, full-screen viewing!

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