Craigvinean – Gaelic for ‘crag of the goats’ – is one of Scotland’s oldest managed forests. Created by the 3rd Duke of Atholl in the 18th century with larch seed brought from the Alps, the Duke allegedly used a canon to scatter the seeds onto inaccessible cliffs. The views from Pine Cone Point across the Tay to Dunkeld and to the mountains in the north are quite spectacular.
The walk begins at the Hermitage car park. Begin from the lower part of the car park on the signed path beside the River Braan. Walk through the underpass under the railway and continue along the river bank, joining another path coming in from the right. Eventually the path forks; take the right fork. Further on the path forks and turns right again – however you can make a short detour to visit Ossian’s Hall and view the waterfalls from its interior before returning to this spot.
Keep on the main path ignoring a path off to the left. Follow the path slightly uphill through pine woods, passing a totem pole on the left hand side. Bear right at the next fork, and the path soon emerges at a forest track. Go straight across and follow the track through a long section of pine forestry.
Eventually a junction is reached where a path crosses the track. It is worth detouring up the path to the left here, signed for Pine Cone Point – the winding path zig-zags, gaining height gently. At a junction turn sharp right and continue along the path to eventually reach a modern folly – a wooden shelter sculpture with seats and a splendid outlook looking out over Strath Tay.