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Kinnoull Hill (222 m / 728 ft), Perth, Perthshire, Scotland

THE STORY

A personal landmark / Homage to Kinnoull

Contrasting perspectives - and wildlife

Walking options

The Tower Walk

From Branklyn Gardens

Deuchny Hill and Coronation Road

Corsiehill

Back to Perth via Gannochy

Panoramic views

Sketch Map

< Back to Scotland page with links to other walks

 

A personal landmark / Homage to Kinnoull

 

(Skip this first section if you just want to read about the walks!). Everyone has a personal perspective on the shape of the world around them, with some significant landmarks that feature strongly in their life story in the midst of a wider landscape where memories and associations are much more hazy.  This is completely subjective – others will have a different set of memories to help them navigate by (this is the main message I took from a conference on Cultural Landscapes at Aberdeen in the mid-1990s).

 

For me, Kinnoull Hill is one of those places that has built up special significance.  In my teenage years, our family stayed at Kinfauns Castle during its days as a CHA centre for walking holidays, and I had a wildly enjoyable time for a fortnight with other young people – climbing peaks such as Schiehallion and Ben Lawers for the first time, swapping endless jokes, and taking a carefree approach to Scottish country dancing in the evenings.  We also found a hidden location for late night parties in the castle turret.  Even now I can remember the two Sunday mornings, when we stretched our legs on the walk up to the Tower on Kinnoull Hill, and I got to know the other guests. 

 

After that, we lived for a while near Perth, and this was a local hill to climb with family and friends.  It was also a regular training location in the summer for the Perth Strathtay Harriers, and I can see us now, crashing along the little tracks that cut between the main trails under the trees.  There were walks and runs with other friends scattered through the years – two of our running friends had a tea room at Corsiehill for a while.  When Kinfauns Castle become a luxury hotel in the late 1990s, we had a meeting of work colleagues there, and afterwards went for a walk up to the Tower (without much encouragement from the weather, I recall). 

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More recently, it is once again one of the hills to climb within easy reach, this time from Dundee.  My parents came to visit, and we have a picture of them at the Stone Table on the top of Kinnoull.  A couple of years ago the Dundee Roadrunners finished off an epic hilltop run along the Sidlaw Hills with the final climb to the top of Kinnoull before we collapsed at the end of the trail at Branklyn Gardens. 

Now, when I get the chance, I still stop off in Perth for a quick run up Kinnoull Hill.  And it’s always worth it, with something different to notice in the light or the trees.  Most recently I climbed from Branklyn Gardens, starting along a track lined with daffodils (see below).

 

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Contrasting perspectives - and wildlife

 

Standing in Perth, looking across the playing fields of the North Inch or standing by the river in Tay Street, Kinnoull Hill appears as a gently sloping wooded hill rising above houses to the east (see panorama below).  This is in marked contrast to the view you get as you drive across the Friarton Bridge with the motorway curving towards Dundee below the steep summit crags.  Forested slopes rise up steeply, their colours providing a guide to the seasons, and one of the rocky outcrops is surmounted by a ruined tower.  If you continue towards Dundee, you will notice that the next hilltop (Bill Hill) on the left also has a tower tucked away among the trees.  Both were built as follies – ruins which would enhance the view and recall the landscape of the Moselle and Rhine rift valleys in Germany.  (The second panorama shows this view coming from Dundee).

 

On the lower land between the two hills is the squat red sandstone shape of Kinfauns Castle, built in the 1820s by Francis, 15th Lord Gray.  After a period as a centre for walking holidays, and several years as a luxury hotel, it is now once again a private house owned by Ann Gloag, once of the founders of the Stagecoach bus company.

 

Occasionally I drive west from Dundee when the early morning sunlight catches the cliffs of Kinnoull, bathing them in a rosy light.  It’s a dramatic spectacle at any time of the day, and one of the splendours of Perth.

 

The hill is also notable for its wildlife and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.  There’s a wide diversity of woodland habitats, some more natural than others, and if you’re walking up and around the hill you’ll be able to enjoy the contrasting surroundings and views.

 

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Walking options

 

There are any number of permutations which you can choose from, but it’s worth visualising a figure of 8 lying on its side, next to Perth.  Kinnoull Hill is the left-hand circle closer to Perth, and Deuchny Hill is to the right (east).  The Jubilee Car Park sits at the centre, between the two hills, and is the best starting point if you don’t want too much climbing to the hilltop.  The sketch map below is slightly more complicated, but you shold be able to get the idea.

 

You can take a short walk from here, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, running through the mixed woodland just across the quiet road from the car park.  It’s a marked circuit of under a mile, taking 20 minutes to half an hour, with one section providing views down the Deuchny valley towards Kinfauns Castle and the River Tay.  However, this doesn’t take you to the summit.

 

There are two routes marked which lead to the top of the hill from the Jubilee Car Park, and both also take in the parking area and Quarry Car Park on Corsiehill Road.  Choose the latter as your starting point if you prefer to have your picnic with an expansive view north over the Tay Valley (either from a picnic bench, sitting on the grass, or through the windscreen of the car).  I used to come up here for a lunch break when working in Perth, and it’s a great spot to relax and gaze out over the fields towards the line of mountains in the distance. 

 

The waymarked routes from the Jubilee Car Park provide relatively gentle ascents of Kinnoull Hill – alternatively you can take the steeper more direct route south from the picnic area at Corsiehill.  You should allow between an hour (if you are fit and in a hurry) and two hours to complete any of these routes.

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The Tower Walk

 

My favourite route, which I have enjoyed with many people, is the Tower Walk (marked in yellow) from the Jubilee Car Park, crossing the road, through the gate, then skirting around to the left side of the woodland.  From here you can enjoy the views down the Deuchny valley, over Castle Farm and Kinnoull Castle to the River Tay (as with the short route mentioned above).  We often saw a donkey and other livestock in this field, and we would stop so the children could talk to them.  The path bends to the left (the shorter route turns through the trees to the right), then starts to climb, gently at first, as it enters the edge of the woodland.  This is a super stretch of path, especially when the sun shines through onto the tall shafts of the tree trunks.  It’s the steepest part of the climb, so take your time and enjoy the surroundings! 

 

The track levels off, bends right, then you have to take a turn to the left for the final section round the top of the cliffs to the Tower.  This impressive ruin was built as an incomplete façade by the 9th Earl of Kinnoull, in imitation of the castles on hills overlooking the Rhine rift valley in Germany

 

Like many other monuments on Scottish hilltops, it’s a lasting memorial to the aristocracy, but somehow it seems more in keeping with its rocky location than the columns that can be seen elsewhere.  It's become something of an icon for Perth.

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You have to take care here as the Tower is right on the edge of the cliff, but it’s safe enough if you keep to the path.  Follow this past the Tower, down close to the cliff, then steeply up again to reach the grassy top of Kinnoull Hill itself.  (An alternative route is to walk into the woods away from the Tower, along a clear trail, and then cut across to the left down a dip and up to the summit trig point).

The broad top has a stone table close to the edge of the cliffs, with extensive views across the River Tay and Moncrieffe Hill with the Lomond Hills (near Kinross) away in the distance.  Down to the right the busy Friarton Bridge stands out.  Take extra care here when enjoying the view, especially if you have children or a dog with you.

Turning in the other direction, you should walk up to the highest point, with its concrete trig point at 222m.  The trees are intruding on the view but you can see over them to the Tay valley and the line of the Highlands in the distance.

From here, you can head north towards the view just described, descending along a track marked with yellow indicators (Tower Walk), which goes down through the trees to the Corsiehill Car Park.  As indicated above, this is quite steep and stony in a few places so you need to take some care.  This is why sturdy footwear is required. 

Before you get down as far as the car park, the Tower Walk track marked yellow turns to the right, merging with the Nature Walk marked in red.  These direct you left down another track coming directly down from the Tower, and around through tall conifers back to the Jubilee Car Park.

There's a longer route down from the summit, heading west from the stone table marked by the red indicators (Nature Walk).  This descends quite steeply at first, then bends to the right around the lower slopes fo the hill through mixed deciduous woodland until it reaches Corsiehill car park.  You can then follow this back to Jubilee Car Park as indicated in the previous paragraph.

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From Branklyn Gardens

If you climb up from Branklyn Gardens, as I did a couple of weeks before writing this, it's a fairly straightforward but steep climb.  Just follow the road (Fairmount Terrace) past the car park for the Gardens.  A couple of routes are indicated to Kinnoull Hill, one up to the left, the other going straight ahead.  I went straight ahead and it soon changed from a tarmac road into a wide grassy track beside large private gardens.  After a stretch lined by daffodils and trees (see photo), I reached the gate into the Kinnoull Hill woodland park.  The path is steeper from here, as it climbs up the rising clifftop (but a safe distance back from the edge), through trees.  Again, you need good shoes for this route.

The views improve steadily, with the Tower coming into sight across the steep wooded slopes.  The track passes through a line of old beech trees (see photo), dips briefly, then there's a steep climb up to the top.  Alternatively you can take the track (marked in red) to the left then join one of the other tracks leading to the right up to the summit.  Just along the red route there should be another route leading back down to Branklyn Gardens - I didn't spot it, and went back down the way I had come up, enjoying the views from the clifftop once again. 

This is a quieter route than the ones from Corsiehill and Jubilee Car Parks - it's a more difficult climb and descent, but provides a welcome alternative if you've tried the other routes.

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Deuchny Hill and Coronation Road

This can be added on to the Kinnoull Hill walk to make a longer hike, maybe after a picnic at the Jubilee Car Park.  Or you can just walk it as an alternative to Kinnoull (although if you've not done either of them, Kinnoull provides a better variety of woodland and views).  The Jubilee Walk leads from the north side of the car park up a straight stony track along the northern edge of Deuchny woods.  When it reaches a water tank, the woods extend over to the left, and the trail indicators direct you around this way.  After descending for a short distance the trail joins another coming up from the valley near Scone.  This is the Coronation Road - an ancient route which was reputedly followed by Scotland's monarchs on their way to be crowned at Scone. 

Turn to the right along this track across farmland, over the Langley Burn, and back up into the forest.  It becomes a wide track here.  After another couple of hundred metres the Jubilee Walk indicators direct you uphill to the right, passing the highest part of Deuchny Hill.  This isn't easy to reach but if you're determined you can get through the undergrowth and dead branches, but won't be rewarded with a view!  It's probably best to stick to the marked trail, which provides better views now to the west as you start to descend and rejoin the track which you came up, at the water tank.

This circuit is about 2 miles, and should take just over an hour.  There are other forest roads which can be followed on the south side of the hill, but these are also used by mountain bikers so you should watch out!

(If you are looking for a longer hike, Coronation Road can be followed out of the forest, down the grassy slopes to the minor road which skirts Deuchny Hill.  Turn left down this road towards a stream valley, and the Coronation Road turns off it to the right, more steeply, down to Kinfauns Village.)

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Corsiehill

This has been mentioned above as one of the car parks - either in the Quarry Car Park off the road, or the parking bays along the side of the road where you can sit in your vehicle and look out at the view.  Of course, you could climb up the quiet streets from Perth on foot - come up Manse Road next to the Isle of Skye Hotel (steeply at first), then turn right at the cross-roads onto Hatton Road which climbs up past St Mary's Monastery to the edge of the woods and Quarry Car Park.

Various tracks lead up the hill from the roadside, the red-marked Nature Trail leading straight into the woods behind the Monastery, whilst unmarked paths lead up the grassy slope between gorse bushes from the parking bays, to picnic tables and a viewpoint indicator.  This provides more open views across the Tay valley than the summit viewpoint, and is the best place on the hill to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day (see the view in the photo).

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Back to Perth via Gannochy

If you want an interesting route down to Perth from Corsiehill, head down across the grass across the road from the parking bays.  You'll find a grassy path leading down to the left, between the houses, in a sort of trough (not deep enough to call it a valley).  This seems to be an older route - it continues down and you have to cross a couple of streets then you emerge onto the road which runs up to the Jubilee Car Park (it's not easy to describe exactly the route, but even if you lose your way, you should find your way back to this main road without too much difficulty).

If you cross the road, just to the right of the boundary wall of the Murray Royal hospital, there's another track leading down between the wall and the fields.  It crosses another road for ambulances, then joins a track which runs alongside a little burn before reaching Gannochy Road.  The neat model village of Gannochy is well worth spending a little time looking around before you continue down to Bridgend (the end of the Old Bridge) in Perth.

 

 

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Glorious spring colours on Kinnoull Hill

Glorious spring colours on Kinnoull Hill

 

 

 

Setting off from the Jubilee Car Park on the Tower Walk

 

 

 

Looking towards the Tower on the way from Kinnoull summit

Looking towards the Tower on the way from Kinnoull summit

 

 

 

 

The grassy track coming up from Branklyn Gardens, lined with daffodils

The grassy track coming up from Branklyn Gardens,

lined with daffodils

 

 

 

A steep climb from Branklyn Gardens

A steep climb from Branklyn Gardens

 

 

 

Another section of the path through mixed deciduous woodland

Another section of the path through mixed deciduous woodland, near the summit

 

 

 

Passing the line of old beech trees

Passing the line of old beech trees

 

 

 

Looking towards Kinnoull from the minor road

Looking towards Kinnoull from the minor road which runs from Jubilee Car Park down to Kinfauns Village

 

 

 

Kinnoull Hill and Tower seen from the road leaving Perth for Dundee

Kinnoull Hill and Tower seen from the road leaving Perth for Dundee

 

 

Young lambs near the Coronation Walk leading down to Kinnoull Village

Young lambs near the Coronation Walk leading

down to Kinnoull Village

 

 

Looking across the Tay towards the Rhynd Peninsula and Fife

Looking across the Tay towards the

Rhynd Peninsula and Fife

 

Looking down over Corsiehill towards the Tay valley

Looking down over Corsiehill towards the Tay valley

 

 

 

Gannochy

Neat houses and green in Gannochy

 

 

 

 

Kinnoull Hill seen from Tay Street in Perth

Kinnoull Hill seen from Tay Street in Perth

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Approaching Kinnoull Hill (on the left) from Dundee on the A90.

Approaching Kinnoull Hill (further in the distance) from Dundee on the A90.  Binn Hill is on the right, with its tower just about visible in a gap on the skyline.  Kinfauns Castle stands among the trees between the two hills.

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