Loch Tummel

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Tummel, a lake and a river in the N of Perthshire. Loch Tummel, on the mutual border of Dull and Blair Athole parishes, 8 ½ miles W by N of Pitlochry, is formed by expansion of the river; and, lying 480 feet above sea-level, extends 2 ¾ miles eastward, with a maximum breadth of ½ mile. Its banks are beautifully diversified with little bays and headlands, with rocks and woods, with dwellings and cultivated fields; and its flanks rise grandly up into masses of rugged mountain 1318 to 2559 feet high. A wooded artificial islet lies near its foot; and on this are the vestiges of a castle, which is said to have been one of the many fastnesses of Robertson of Struan, the chief of the clan Donachie. Pike are numerous; and the trout, ranging between 1 and 10 lbs. in weight, are superior in both shape and flavour to those of Loch Leven. A highish point on the lake's N side, on the line of the public road from Pitlochry to Kinloch-Rannoch, had received the name of the `Queen's View' some time prior to 3 Oct. 1866, when the Queen first visited it, and here took tea. It commands a prospect of almost the entire basin of the river, from the mountains in the vicinity of Glencoe to those southward from Ben Vrackie - one of the grandest glen views in the United Kingdom.

The river Tummel, issuing from the foot of Loch Rannoch, runs 19 7/8 miles eastward and 9 1/8 south-south-eastward, till, near Ballinluig Junction, it forms a confluence with the Tay, of whose main stream it is really a head-stream. It bounds or traverses the parishes of Fortingall, Blair Athole, Dull, Moulin, and Logierait. At a point 4 5/8 miles below the lake, it receives the very large tribute of the Garry, below and above whose confluence the Tummel, as to both its current and its banks, possesses widely different characters. Below, it is a stately stream, grave and majestic in motion, gemmed along its bosom with many pretty islets, and wending among numerous cornfields and enclosed pastures, screened with mountainous heights less wild in character, and much softer in dress, than by far the greater part of those in the Highlands. But above where it receives the Garry it is almost constantly impetuous, tumbles along in rapids, cataracts, and cascades, tears up and rolls before it considerable masses of rock, and runs through a close and wooded mountain glen, so narrow that, with very little exception, the alpine acclivities rise immediately from the water, leaving no flat land or space of any kind on its margin. The narrowness and prolongation of this upper glen, the sudden rise and the loftiness of its boundaries, the great variety and the wonderful intricacy of their outline and surface, the profusion of forest and the intersection and clouding of it with rocks and ravines these, and the exquisite forms and arrangements of the forested and scattered birches which here form the only wood, render this upper glen of the Tummel decidedly richer in the beauties of a grand and romantic style of landscape than any other space of equal extent in Scotland. Near the junction of the Garry stands Faskally House, amid a scene which is magnificently pretty.- strongly pleasing but soon exhausted. A considerable space below this, and towards Pitlochry, makes a remote approach to the character of the upper glen, and exhibits continuous alternations of picture and romance.

But the grand attraction of the Tummel is its celebrated fall, near the foot of the upper glen. Though by no means so high as the Falls of Foyers and of Bruar, it is almost as grand, on account of the greater volume of its water; but its beauties are not likely to be entranced by the salmon ladder proposed in the summer of 1884. In the face of a tremendous rock NW of the fall is a cave, to which there is only one and a very difficult passage. A party of the Macgregors are said to have been surprised in this cave during the period of their proscription, and some of them slain on the spot, while a remnant climbed a tree which grew on the face of the rock, and were precipitated to the bottom by their pursuers cutting away the tree from its root.—Ord. Sur., sh. 55, 1869.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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