Killin

Killin is a pleasant little village situated at the western head of Loch Tay. It lies right in the centre of Scotland, which means it is close to many places: about 1 ½ hours to Edinburgh, Oban or Fort William, slightly less to Glasgow, and just about an hour to Perth and Stirling.

Killin under the Tarmachan ridge - geograph.org.uk - 63964

Killin under the Tarmachan ridge

 

Its main attraction is the Falls of Dochart, an impressive series of rapids and waterfalls that flow right through the village and can be viewed from a narrow stone bridge, Dochart Bridge. Mind you, it has to be said that the amount of water in the river can vary quite a lot. At times, River Dochart can hardly be found amongst the rocky river bed, whereas at other times there is a furious flood roaring past and burying all the rocks underneath. It goes without saying that the spectacle of the falls relies heavily upon this matter.

Falls of Dochart kayakers

Kayakers on the Falls of Dochart

Killin has an eventful history, too. First, it was at the front of the war between the Picts and the Scots. Surnames like MacNaughton, derived from king of the Picts “Nechtan” or McDiarmid, from Diarmid, the legendary assassin of Fionn (Fingal) and founder of the Campbells, are still common in the area and tell of an ancient story. Later, Killin became the stronghold first of the MacNab clan and then of the Breadalbane Campbells, whose former seat in Killin, Finlarig Castle, is in ruins now. The hanging tree on a hillock is still there, complete with a beheading pit, a very uncommon feature for a Scottish castle. Other historic attractions include Fingals Grave on a hill above Killin, Kinnel House (seat of the McNab clan) with a well-preserved stone circle and the ancient burial ground of the McNabs on the small island of Inchbuie in the River Dochart that can be seen from the bridge.

Killin also offers an excellent base for hillwalkers. The Tarmachan Ridge, an extension of the Ben Lawers ridge, rises above the village. Ben Lawers, overlooking Loch Tay, is a classic Scottish mountain. Ben More and Stob Binnein are two other fine mountains to the west of Killin. The Rob Roy Way, a 79 mile walk from Drymen to Pitlochry makes a stop in Killin, before resuming its course to Ardtalnaig. For the less ambitious walker, there are many easy strolls around the area. More good news for walkers: There is a well-stocked outdoors store at the eastern end of the village. Apart from outdoor clothing and bicycle repairs you can also hire a bike or a canoe.

Stob Binnein from Beinn Tulaichean - geograph.org.uk - 343657

Stob Binnein from Beinn Tulaichean with Ben More in the clouds

 

At the Dochart Bridge you can visit the Tourist Information Centre and the Breadalbane Folklore Centre, which will give you an idea on what life in Killin was like in the 17th and 18th century.

Trout and salmon fishing is also possible. The paper shop issues permits, although rights and boats are limited, so try to book in advance.

As you can see, Killin is quite a historic place and at the same time very attractive for outdoor activities, as well. Hopefully you can stop by one day, and please don’t forget to tell me about your impression and what else there is to report about Kililn!

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