About Black Spout
The Black Spout Waterfall was a pleasant waterfalling diversion from the shopping, golfing, and the whisky tasting that the town of Pitlochry seemed to be known for. In fact, it was possible to combine this waterfalling excursion in the Black Spout Wood with a whisky-tasting tour or two! But aside from Pitlochry’s other attractions, the waterfall itself was no slouch as you can see from the picture at the top of this page. It possessed an attractive plunge plus a few hidden upper tiers that was said to have a cumulative drop of 60m high. I do wonder how generous of a figure that might be considering Gray Mare’s Tail was also said to be 60m high but clearly was taller than this one. Still, once we got settled at our accommodation in Pitlochry, it turned out that I was able to walk to this waterfall direct from the town itself. What’s even more surprising was that despite the falls’ proximity to town, I pretty much had it to myself as the falls experience was about as tranquil as one could possibly ask for.
Technically, I could have driven to a dedicated car park that was barely less than 15-20 minutes walk from the Black Spout Waterfall itself. This car park was just a minute or two drive east of Pitlochry along the A924 road (see directions below). But I’ll describe my experience from the town of Pitlochry itself since that was where we were staying as well as being a sensible center for having a meal, going shopping, or just checking out the small but charming town itself.
From the visitor center, I walked east on the A924 passing by a railroad bridge as well as a gated driving entrance leading up to the castle-like Atholl Palace Hotel and Museum. Just past the railway bridge (about 10 minutes walk from the visitor center), I saw the Blair Atholl Distillery, which was my first opportunity to take a detour from the Black Spout Waterfall hike and do a bit of a Scottish whisky tasting tour. Another 5 minutes walk along the A924 past a petrol station (with partial views towards the Atholl Palace above the trees) then led me to a signposted turnoff indicating there was parking for the Black Spout in 200 yards to the left.
Once I walked onto the small single-lane road going beneath a railroad bridge, I then encountered the formal car park for the waterfall less than 5 minutes walk from the A924 road. Continuing on the now undrivable road (except for ATVs or 4x4s), the trail went steeply uphill as it went alongside a golf course with the Atholl Palace in the background. After another 10 minutes or so of walking from the car park (maybe 5 minutes past the golf course), I then took a narrower signposted path that led me up to a lookout platform with a direct view of the Black Spout Waterfall. It was a satisfying frontal view where I could use the railings as sort of a makeshift tripod, but other than this view, there wasn’t a whole lot more I could experience as far as the falls was concerned.
The trail actually continued alongside the steep gorge (though the falls became obstructed), and at first I thought it would lead me up to the top of the falls. But instead, it merely led me in a roundabout way back to the main trail, where that trail would continue going further uphill through the Black Spout Woods eventually towards a trail leading to the Edradour Distillery. For kicks, I actually walked all the way towards the distillery as the scenery opened up from woodlands to farmlands with decent pastoral views towards the neighboring hills, but because I didn’t bring any money on me, I wasn’t able to do a hand-made whisky tasting tour at Edradour after visiting the falls. That was an opportunity missed as they were also near closing time when I showed up.
On the way back to Pitlochry, I made a somewhat roundabout detour passing by the Atholl Palace Hotel and Museum (inadvertently stumbling upon a wedding party at the time) before heading back down into town to rejoin Julie and Tahia for an evening dinner and stroll in the town of Pitlochry itself. Overall, I spent about 90 minutes doing this long loop walk, but truthfully, if one were so inclined to just do the waterfall and back, it probably should take no more than an hour or so. Of course, if you parked at the car park for the falls, then the whole excursion might not even take 30 minutes, but the difficulty score I’m giving this excursion reflects the way I was doing it from Pitlochry. Then again, these time commitments can easily be spread out over longer durations if you do the whisky tours.
Pitlochry is about about 28 miles north on the A9 from Perth. This drive would probably take around an hour. From Edinburgh, it’s probably a solid 1.5-2 hours going 70 miles north on a combination of the A90, M90, and A9.
To get to Pitlochry from Inverness, drive about 86 miles south on the A9. This drive would take a solid 90-120 minutes depending on traffic, especially since it’s pretty much two lanes in opposite directions almost the entire way so passing opportunities are very limited.
Once in Pitlochry, we ended up parking at our bed and breakfast accommodation just east of the visitor center. It’s also possible to park in the visitor center itself. However, if you really want to minimize the amount of walking to the falls, you can continue driving east of Pitlochry along the A924 for about 0.6 miles to the signposted turnoff for Black Spout on the left. Then take the final 1/4-mile of single-track road beneath a railroad bridge to the car park itself.
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