Until the assassination of King James I in the 16th century, Perth was Scotland's capital city. Set between the parklands of North Inch and South Inch, the city occupies a strategic position at the junction of the Highlands and Lowlands.
The route runs north from the North Inch in Perth and continues on a traffic-free path alongside the River Tay, with a splendid view of Scone Palace, where Scotland’s kings were crowned. It then follows a track beside the River Almond, passing near Huntingtower Castle, which is worth a detour. The castle is medieval in origin and is a well-maintained and atmospheric time capsule, complete with tales of star-crossed lovers, a Maiden’s Leap and a colony of pipistrelle bats.
The route continues along riverside paths to Almondbank, where the weir makes a pleasant picnic spot. Less than one mile further on is Pitcairngreen. Plans to create an industrial village to rival Manchester failed to materialise, but have resulted in Pitcairngreen being one of the few Scottish villages with a village green.
From here continue on through Bankfoot, and then follow minor roads through Birnam Wood (of Macbeth fame) and join a dedicated cycle route alongside the A9 through the Pass of Birnam.
You’ll travel past Dunkeld and Birnam railway station and into the village of Birnam, where you can visit the Beatrix Potter Garden and the Birnam Institute (café), Just over half a mile further on across the river lies Dunkeld.
The route into Dunkeld takes you over Thomas Telford's bridge over the Tay. Dunkeld was Scotland's first ecclesiastical capital, and its cathedral contains a wealth of Scottish history. If you carry on for few hundred yards through the town and turn left into the grounds of the Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel, you can enjoy a beautiful ride up the approach road to the hotel and then along the wooded banks of the River Tay.
Dunkeld was Scotland’s first ecclesiastical capital, and its cathedral contains a wealth of Scottish history.
From Dunkeld you can ride back to Perth, return by train, or continue northwards along National Routes 77 and 7 to Pitlochry (about 10 hilly but beautiful miles) or to the railway station at Blair Atholl (about another 7.5 miles).
For a shorter six-mile route, finish your journey at Pitcairngreen, from where you can return to Perth via the same route.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.