Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

A trek over two trails

Post Thumbnail

Creag Shoilleir, Kirkmichael, Perth & Kinross


The Pitcarmick Loop is one of a handful of waymarked routes that form the recently established Kirkmichael Path Network.

Climbing from the Perthshire village through a woodland dotted with log cabins, the circuit crosses Glen Derby before rising over the peaty, heather-clad slopes of Creag Shoilleir where views across Strathardle await the walker.

The loop offers a well signed three-and-a-half-mile outing, but I planned to extend it by ascending Creag Shoilleir before dropping into the valley to join the Cateran Trail for the hike home.

Running through Kirkmichael, the Cateral Trail also played a part in sending me on my way. Joining this well-walked long-distance path above the village school and, stepping out into my first snow of the season, I followed it briefly above the River Ardle before turning on to the driveway of Balnakilly House.

Before the property is reached, a track branches left, crossing between fields to meet a minor road that guided me up to the Log Cabin Hotel. Across reedy pasture to the north, where cows grazed. the distant snow-dusted mountains of the southern Cairngorms caught my eye.

The hotel was closed when I visited so, in the lea of the front porch, I settled for a warming mouthful of coffee from my flask before returning to the track.

The gravel road weaves between timber lodges which, along with the hotel, were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A couple of waymarker posts kept me on course and, clearing the cabins at a gate, I skirted the southern edge of Kindrogan Wood to a crossroads.

Walk west from here and the track meanders up the glen, forking right into Kindrogan Wood or left to an isolated and long abandoned farmstead at Mains of Glenderby.

I, however, turned south, a gravel pathway sweeping down between pockets of pine to Balnald Burn. The ground flanking the stream is boggy but a bridge and boardwalks aid the crossing and, as the path rises on to Creag Shoilleir, the terrain becomes firmer.

The trail runs parallel with the boundary of a plantation, first climbing then crossing the slope to the site of four Bronze Age huts where an information board outlines the history of this early settlement.

The hillsides around Strathardle are dotted with evidence of ancient occupation in the form of shielings, hut circles and field systems, remote communities abandoned as the Industrial Revolution took hold, drawing people from the countryside into towns and cities.

The quartet of huts enjoyed a fine vista across the valley which I shared before passing through a high gate to continue my way along the edge of the forest, turning south with the fence-line.

The official Pitcarmick Loop begins its descent from a pedestrian gate in the fence, but I headed uphill at this point, a path ascending through woodland and over moor to meet a track below the prominent cairn crowning Creag Shoilleir.

Avoiding the temptation to make a beeline for the top through rough, ankle-grasping heather, I wandered down the track a way, a branch on the right offering a clear line to the summit.

Back on the moorland track, and after a leisurely descent south, the way cuts down through pine and larch where deer shelter to meet the Cateran Trail which in turn picks up the Pitcarmick Loop on its way back to Kirkmichael.


1. Follow road up past school and turn right on Cateran Trail (signed Spittal of Glenshee), passing row of cottages. Continue ahead along track above river.

2. Turn left through stone gateway and, in 120m, go left by metal gate along track to meet minor road.

3. Ascend road (signed Log Cabin Hotel).

4. Continue straight ahead at junction with Rowan Hill, ascending to Log Cabin Hotel then follow track (signed Kindrogan Forest) up past woodland lodges.

5. Turn left (signed Pitcarmick) and descend track to stream.

6. Cross bridge over weir, progress along boardwalks and ascend waymarked path south before turning east.

7. Turn right at junction by metal gate and ascend path through forest and over moor to meet track.

8. Turn left and follow track south-east, descending to meet Cateran Trail near Dalvey.

9. Turn left and return north to Kirkmichael on Cateran Trail.



Distance: 10km/6¼ miles

Ascent: 250m/825ft

Time: 3 hours

Grading: Moderate route following well-defined tracks and paths through woodland and over moor with some sustained ascent. Stout, waterproof footwear recommended as some sections can be boggy underfoot. Keep dogs under close control to protect livestock and wildlife

Start/finish: Public car park opposite Kirkmichael Primary School (Grid ref: NO 079600)

Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 53; Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer sheet OL52

Tourist Information: Blairgowrie iCentre, 26 Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie PH10 6AS (Tel 01250 872960)

Public transport: Stagecoach bus service 71 offers a link from Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael (no Sunday service)

Already a subscriber? Sign in