LOCH TUMMEL AND LOCH RANNOCH
Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch are often referred to in the same breath, but they are far from identical. Tummel is smaller and less dramatic than Rannoch, yet incredibly beautiful and entirely Highland.
Like Loch Rannoch, Tummel has a road on each side, the northern much the faster to traverse, and more scenic in that it rises higher and gives wider vistas, especially of Schiehallion to the south-west. The famed Queen's View, which Victoria made famous in 1866, tops a pine-crowned bluff high above the water. But the quieter southern road has many pleasing scenic vistas also. At its eastern end, where it threads the wooded gorge of the lower River Tummel, it becomes quite impressive indeed.
There are few settlements on the southern shore of the loch, but at its west end is the small hamlet of Foss, where there is an attractive church within an ancient graveyard, burial-place of various old Stewart and Menzies families. The older ruined church is tiny.
Tummel Bridge, above the head of the loch, is actually two bridges. The ancient bridge built by General Wade in 1730, now has a less hump-backed successor alongside, to carry the road from Aberfeldy. Amongst those who have stayed in this area include Mendelssohn and Swinburne.
East of the bridges is Dunalastair. This was the name of the original estate, formerly the seat of the Struan Robertsons, Chiefs of Clan Donnachaidh, or Duncan, descended from the Celtic Mormaers of Atholl. Much excitement has occurred here. Of all the clans, The Robertsons of Struan were amongst the most loyal to the Stewarts.
The north road along the loch is dotted with the sites of duns, forts and cairn circles. At the east end opens the attractive, fertile, cul-de-sac valley of Glen Fincastle, with a little church under a high-set dun, called Caisteal Dubh, at its mouth. Fincastle House, a 17th century seat of a branch of the Stewarts, with links to the 1745 rebellion, sits high to the north. At the head of the glen, footpaths lead off in numerous directions, including to the standing stones of Clachan Aoraidh in the Allean Forest.