Falls of Bruar

Blair Atholl / Pitlochry, Scotland, UK (Great Britain)

About Falls of Bruar


Hiking Distance: 2.1 miles loop
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2014-08-23
Date last visited: 2014-08-23

Waterfall Latitude: 56.77442
Waterfall Longitude: -3.93423

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The Falls of Bruar were a series of at least three pretty significant waterfalls (at least that’s how many we counted) each with a distinct character all their own.

The cumulative height of all the main waterfalls combined was said to be 60m.

Falls_of_Bruar_045_08232014 - Falls of Bruar - what I'm calling the Middle Falls
Falls of Bruar – what I’m calling the Middle Falls

The stream responsible for these waterfalls, the Bruar Water, were said to have been immortalized in a poem by Robert Burns.

That poem was titled, “The Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the Noble Duke of Atholl.”

It told about Burns imploring the landowner (the 4th Duke of Atholl) to plant trees along the banks of the stream to improve the scenery.

Whether it was the Burns-induced heritage that made this place feel different from other waterfall excursions we’d been on, I wasn’t sure.

Falls_of_Bruar_035_08232014 - The Lower Falls of Bruar and natural bridge
The Lower Falls of Bruar and natural bridge

In short, the three main waterfalls that we encountered could be summarized in the following way.

The lowermost of the Falls of Bruar was a short waterfall tumbling beneath an attractive stone bridge.

What made this waterfall stand out, however, was that there was a small natural bridge just downstream of it.

That made it one of those rare waterfalls where you can combine a waterfall sighting with a natural span sighting.

The next waterfall in the series was an attractive three-tiered cascade a short distance upstream of the Lower Falls of Bruar.

Falls_of_Bruar_105_08232014 - Distant view of the Upper Falls of Bruar
Distant view of the Upper Falls of Bruar

Finally, the last of the waterfalls was the Upper Falls of Bruar, which was the tallest and the least accessible of the waterfalls.

An Unusual Waterfalling Venue

Perhaps the thing that was a bit unusual about this waterfalling excursion was that our hike began behind the House of Bruar.

That building turned out to be like a shopping outlet selling souvenirs, sweets, and even fresh farm produce!

It was said to be Scotland’s most prestigious independent store though we totally stumbled upon this by accident and really had no sense of its notoriety or importance.

Falls_of_Bruar_002_08232014 - The House of Bruar fronted the walk for the Falls of Bruar
The House of Bruar fronted the walk for the Falls of Bruar

That said, there was no doubt that this place was packed with people from tour groups arriving in buses to holidaymakers driving in their own family cars.

The fact that we could combine an unexpected shopping trip with a nature hike had to have made this one of the more unusual venues to do a waterfalling excursion.

Trail Description of the Falls of Bruar – the Lower and Middle Falls

From the large car park across the busy B8079 road from the House of Bruar (see directions below), we then crossed the road and walked towards the Bruar Water Stream.

We were mindful to keep off the grass as the signs were imploring as we sought out the trail behind the House of Bruar.

Falls_of_Bruar_006_08232014 - Julie and Tahia taking this walkway past the House of Bruar onto the trail for the Falls of Bruar
Julie and Tahia taking this walkway past the House of Bruar onto the trail for the Falls of Bruar

Then, we followed the short driveway which became a trail as it was sandwiched between the House of Bruar infrastructure and the Bruar Water Stream itself.

After 15 minutes of hiking from the House of Bruar (crossing under a short arched bridge that felt more like a tunnel), we’d eventually get to an overlook area.

This overlook had a view of the Lower Falls of Bruar, the natural bridge below it, and the stone footbridge above it.

A few paces further along the trail just past the stone footbridge, there was a small archway leading to a romantic overlook of the next cascade series.

Falls_of_Bruar_011_08232014 - Julie and Tahia embarking on the hike to the Falls of Bruar after having gone past the House of Bruar
Julie and Tahia embarking on the hike to the Falls of Bruar after having gone past the House of Bruar

This series of attractive cascades is what I’m dubbing the Middle Falls of B ruary, and it was the one pictured at the top of this page.

In addition to the overlook beneath the archway, I was also able to stand on the archway itself for a slightly higher angled view of the same cascade.

It was also possible to stand on the stone footbridge and look upstream for yet another look at this attractive series of falls.

Most of the activity on the trail took place around this bridge probably because the Bruar Water was at its most accessible given its short distance from the House of Bruar.

Falls_of_Bruar_121_08232014 - When the sun came out, the Middle Falls of Bruar and the tanin-laced plunge pool took on a different characteristic
When the sun came out, the Middle Falls of Bruar and the tanin-laced plunge pool took on a different characteristic

That said, we definitely had to be cautious around the stream because getting swept downs over the waterfalls amongst the jagged rocks here would most certainly be fatal.

Trail Description of the Falls of Bruar – the Upper Falls

We then continued hiking further upstream to the left of the stream (so we’d end up doing the long loop in a clockwise direction).

The hike generally climbed uphill as we found ourselves well above the Bruar Water itself.

The trail was mostly a wide dirt path so it was prone to a few muddy patches given the amount of rain that Scotland had been battered with prior to our arrival.

Falls_of_Bruar_058_08232014 - Julie and Tahia continuing their hike to the upper bridge, which was actually upstream from the Upper Falls of Bruar
Julie and Tahia continuing their hike to the upper bridge, which was actually upstream from the Upper Falls of Bruar

Still, after about 25 more minutes of hiking, we’d make it down to the bridge above the Upper Falls of Bruar.

Unfortunately, to this point, we never were able to get a clean look at that waterfall.

However, we did get nice views downstream from the bridge itself.

So we had to continue hiking downhill from the other side of the Bruar Water to continue the loop hike.

After another 10 minutes or so, we reached a downhill stretch where there was a bench with a distant and overgrown look at the Upper Falls of Bruar.

Falls_of_Bruar_103_08232014 - Context of the trail and rest bench with a distant view of the Upper Falls of Bruar
Context of the trail and rest bench with a distant view of the Upper Falls of Bruar

This was probably our most satisfying view of the tallest of the Falls of Bruar.

However, it still left us wanting more as the view was hampered by quite a bit of overgrowth making the falls appear smaller than it really was.

There was a trail junction further downhill where there was a sign warning about the danger of the path going in the upstream direction.

I didn’t pursue going much further than the sign, but I wondered if that spur trail would’ve yielded a less obstructed view of the Upper Falls of Bruar.

Falls_of_Bruar_128_08232014 - When we returned to the Lower Falls of Bruar, we couldn't help but notice abseilers in the Bruar Water wading through the natural bridge and rappeling down waterfalls
When we returned to the Lower Falls of Bruar, we couldn’t help but notice abseilers in the Bruar Water wading through the natural bridge and rappeling down waterfalls

After about 90 minutes on the trail, we made it back to the bridge above the Lower Falls of Bruar.

Now, there was significantly more activity going on, and some of this was due in part because there was a large group of abseilers who were rappeling below the Lower Falls and even swimming beneath the natural bridge below it!

Ten minutes later, we found ourselves back at the House of Bruar where we made a final restroom break with the odd souvenir shopping before returning to our parked car.

We made it to the shelter of our car just as another round of squally rains showed up (attesting to the three-seasons-in-a-day weather we had been experiencing in Scotland to this point).

Authorities

The Falls of Bruar reside in Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland. It may be administered by the town of Blair Atholl. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit the Blair Atholl Tourism Board website.

Falls_of_Bruar_018_08232014 - After about 15 minutes of walking from the House of Bruar, we made it to an overlook taking in the Lower Falls of Bruar and its natural bridge
Falls_of_Bruar_026_08232014 - Focused on the small but attractive Lower Falls of Bruar. There may be a natural bridge (or a wedged fallen rock) spanning the Bruar Water just below the falls
Falls_of_Bruar_029_08232014 - Julie and Tahia continuing past this rest bench nearby the Lower and Middle Falls of Bruar
Falls_of_Bruar_040_08232014 - The small romantic lookout taking in what I'm calling the Middle Falls of Bruar seen while standing atop the small archway
Falls_of_Bruar_049_08232014 - As we continued going uphill on the loop hike beyond the Middle Falls of Bruar, we encountered muddy stretches like this, which I'd imagine were the result of the heavy rains that hit Scotland in early August
Falls_of_Bruar_051_08232014 - We were generally going uphill en route to the Upper Falls of Bruar, and sometimes it involved tall steps like this one
Falls_of_Bruar_056_08232014 - Encouraging signs helped to assure us that we were still going the right way to the Upper Falls of Bruar
Falls_of_Bruar_061_08232014 - Looking across Bruar Water towards some steep rocky cliffs on the other side as we looked for a way to experience the Upper Falls of Bruar
Falls_of_Bruar_070_08232014 - Looking downstream from the upper bridge above the Upper Falls of Bruar towards fields in the distance
Falls_of_Bruar_085_08232014 - Hiking beneath some tall but thin trees as we were making our way downhill on the other side of the Bruar Water in search of a way to better experience the Upper Falls of Bruar
Falls_of_Bruar_106_08232014 - Finally, we were able to get at least a contextual frontal look at the Upper Falls of Bruar
Falls_of_Bruar_131_08232014 - Julie returning to the backside of the House of Bruar after having concluded the loop hike taking in the Falls of Bruar

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To drive to Falls of Bruar from Pitlochry, we drove about 9.5 miles west on the A9 towards the House of Bruar (passing by Blair Castle near Blair Atholl along the way).

There was a signposted turnoff on the right leading onto the B8079 road, where immediately after the turnoff was a very large car park fronting the House of Bruar.

I didn’t recall there being any pay and display charges here.

This drive took about 15-20 minutes.

Falls_of_Bruar_134_08232014 - A war memorial by the car park for the House of Bruar
A war memorial by the car park for the House of Bruar

As for getting to Pitlochry in the first place, we’ll describe the route from Perth and from Inverness.

To get to Pitlochry from Perth, we drove about 28 miles north on the A9.

This drive would probably take around an hour.

To get to Pitlochry from Inverness, we drove about 86 miles south on the A9.

This drive would take a solid 90-120 minutes, especially since it’s pretty much two lanes in opposite directions almost the entire way so passing opportunities were very limited.

For additional context, Pitlochry was 58 miles (over an hour drive) north of Stirling and 70 miles (90 minutes drive) north of Edinburgh.

Focused on the Lower Falls of Bruar including the natural bridge below it


Top down sweep of the cascade just above the bridge spanning the Lower Falls of Bruar. The movie ends with me revealing that I was standing on a smaller bridge over a lookout


View of the Upper Falls of Bruar


Looking down at the Lower Falls of Bruar with abseilers making their way down the falls then through the natural bridge below

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Tagged with: blair atholl, pitlochry, perthshire, bruar, perth, scotland, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, water, house of bruar, highlands



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