Day 6: Grandtully
Sat 3rd Aug
Today counts towards the UK Orienteering League.
Grandtully (pronounced Grantly) is well known for white-water canoeing, including sections of grade 3 water. Grandtully is on the River Tay rather than Strathearn, but this area has long been seen as a possible orienteering venue by Event Coordinator Terry O’Brien of St Andrew's (Glasgow) Orienteers or STAG. In 2017 they celebrated their 35th Anniversary at Grandtully, using a very small part of the mapped area. Since then the area has been extended further to the north.
The southern part of the area is on Forest Enterprise Scotland land, and their permission to use the area is appreciated. There are significant areas of light to dark green, but there is on-going thinning and clearance and an extensive network of paths, tracks and rides. The area opens out to an ancient hill fort at Castle Dow or Caisteal Dubh – this was long occupied by Celtic tribes of the Picts. To the north of the area there are gentle slopes covered predominantly with birch, and to the east the area above Balnaguard is notable for the juniper woodland.
Thanks go to David Nairn as well as farmer Shona Calder, as well as nearby Kinnaird Estate.
The A822 from Crieff passes through the Sma’ Glen – for those unable to venture further into the Highlands this is like some of the more mountainous areas of Scotland in miniature. Access up and down the A9 is also possible, but exploratory works for the dualling (upgrade) of the A9 are still expected to be in progress.
The area is close to the A9, allowing an easy departure at the end of what will be a great week of orienteering in some very different terrain.