Are you looking for somewhere to Swim, Cycle or Run? Well look no further. Here are a few routes in Highland Perthshire for you to tackle and get yourself moving. From Beginners looking for a shorter route to those who want to go up hill we have it all.
With summer approaching and weather improving, Richard Pearson, one of the organisers of the Aberfeldy Multi Sports festival, which is set to take place in August 2021, helped me to put together some Open Water Swim, Cycling and Running routes across Highland Perthshire. This article will give you some tips and guides to the routes, along with downloadable GPX files that can give you the Run and Cycle routes straight to your phones, or other devices.
There are three locations for each, giving you plenty of choice.
Open Water Swim Routes
Highland Perthshire is not short of wonderful Open Water Swimming locations but before you head out, please remember a few things that will keep you safe when you take the plunge outdoors.
Richard’s Top Tips for Staying Safe in Open Water
- Think before you swim. Check your entry and exit points and consider currents and tides
- Don’t mix swimming and alcohol
- Swim with other people – ideally that know the area and have swum in open water before
- Don’t jump in. Enter the water slowly to prevent ‘cold water shock’
- Let people know where you are and what you’re doing (e.g., inform venue operators, beach lifeguards or even the coast guard if planning a long coastal swim)
- Make sure you’re visible in the water. Wear a brightly coloured cap and consider using a tow-float
- Be aware of other Marine traffic and check where they are operating on the water
- If someone gets in trouble, help where you can but don’t put yourself at risk and call for help – dial 999 or 112
- If you find yourself in difficulty FLOAT TO LIVE
I would recommend three places to swim from at the East end of Loch Tay near Kenmore. Firstly, the Forest Commission Picnic Area, Dalerb on the North shore of the Loch. This has good parking and safe shallow access points into the water. The small beaches are shale and a bit stony so be careful as you make your way to the water, wet shoes, or neoprene booties will help to protect feet. The gradient is shallow once you are in the water, but you soon get into swimming depth. Once you are in choose your route and distance, I would recommend keeping close to the shore heading East towards Kenmore.
Second location I would recommend is Kenmore Beach. Use the small pay and display car park, it can fill up quickly in summer months so if its full then there is limited car parking in the village but please be respectful of locals and park responsibly. The beach offers a safe and shallow access and if you are a newbie to Open water swimming a really good place to start. It can also be the start and finish for longer swims either heading West along either South or North shores.
Finally, Taymouth Marina offers a great venue for your Open Water Swim, there is ample car parking, and you can book into the Taymouth Marina Hot Box, Sauna and Spa after your swim. Check out their website for further info. https://www.taymouthmarina.com/hot-box-spa/ Access is from the slipway alongside The Scottish Crannog Centre, and you are soon into swimming depth. If you head eastwards down the South shore you can swim into Kenmore Bay and around the Island locally known as rough island and head back towards the slipway a nice route of around 1500m
Loch Rannoch can offer a quiet and peaceful open water swim. Just off the B846 at the West end of the Loch on the North shore is a beautiful crop of small sandy beaches at Killichonan. A small parking area is available, please use this and don’t park on the side of the Roads. Access to the water is off the sandy beaches with shallow water that extends a short way out before increasing in depth. Marine traffic is light with only a few fishing boats on the Loch, but keep close to the North shore for a safe and enjoyable swim
Loch Tummel also offers a great open water swimming experience. I would recommend using the Loch Tummel Sailing Club site for access on the south side of the Loch where there is ample parking and safe access to the water. Be aware of other Marine traffic particularly when the sailing club is in operation. Pick your route carefully either heading east or west but I would keep to the South shore to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable Swim
Highland Perthshire offers some of the best on Road and Off-Road cycle routes in Scotland, http://perthshiregravel.com/ is a superb resource for those wanting to get off Road, I will give you an insight into three of my favourite road bike routes:
Loch Tummel Loop from Pitlochry
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/4412863645
Starting and Finishing from Escape Route Cycles the route circumnavigates Loch Tummel experiencing some short punchy climbs rewarded with spectacular views across the Loch and surrounding Hills.
Aberfeldy to Logierait Loop
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/4413290608
Starting and Finishing from the Public car park behind the Co-Op on Moness Terrace in Aberfeldy the route takes you along the B827 following the River Tay South Bank. Through the picturesque Highland Perthshire Villages of Grandtully, Ballnaguard, Logierait and Strathtay heading back to Aberfeldy along the North Bank of Tay.
Kenmore Loch Rannoch Loop
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/4413351544
A classic 90km routes Starting and Finishing from The Courtyard Car Park in Kenmore this is a tough punchy 90Km route heading to Loch Rannoch where you circumnavigate The Loch. This maybe a tough half day ride but it’s rewarded with some of the best scenery Highland Perthshire has to offer. If you need a café stop the River Ban Café offers a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks. On the way back you will experience the infamous Schiehallion Climb but yet again you are rewarded with spectacular views as you reach the summit, take a breath to look around and take it all in.
Aberfeldy Core Path – Golf Course
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/4413417385
An easy 4.5km loop starting from Victoria Park heading along the North Bank of the River Tay on the Core path network. Be careful to keep to the paths and don’t deviate from these. The route is waymarked, and you turn away from the river heading towards Castle Menzies. When you leave the path follow the road through Weem and towards the Golf Course. There is a recognised Path across the Golf course please keep to the path.
Griffin Forest Loch Kennard Loop
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/2795938048
A wonderful trail run in the Hills above Aberfeldy starting from the Griffin Forest car park you begin with a gentle climb out of the car park. This starts to flatten out quite quickly and views open up across Loch Kennard, simply stunning at all times of year. You navigate around the Loch and head back on yourself to the car park. The trails are all good forestry tracks trail shoes would be an advantage in wet weather.
Drummond Hill Trail Run
Download GPX file from the More Tab here https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/2374564387
Distance: 10.4 Km
A classic hilly trail run on famous Drummond Hill above Kenmore starting from the Recreation Ground in Kenmore. You begin on the road so be careful of traffic and other users as you run through the village and over Kenmore Bridge. When you come off the Hill you will cross the road and follow the Riverside path back to Kenmore and finish at the Kenmore Recreation Ground. The trails are all good forestry tracks, trail shoes would be an advantage in wet weather.