NTS Killiecrankie

NTS Killiecrankie

On 27 July 1689 the peace and tranquility of this beautiful gorge was shattered when the first shots in the Jacobite cause were fired.

One soldier escaped by making a spectacular jump across the River Garry at the spot now known as Soldier's Leap.

The Visitor Centre features 'hands-on' natural history exhibits, models and maps of the battle. Also, see nesting birds at close range.A starting point for walks through the Pass, the Centre features a souvenir book shop, historical and natural history exhibitions and a Ranger Service.

Take a short stroll through attractive woodland, with stunning views of the Pass, down to the historic Soldier's Leap. Enjoy a longer walk along the river through the magnificent wooded gorge of the Pass of Killiecrankie.

Killiecrankie through the seasons...
Spring generates a floral extravaganza at Killiecrankie. The plants on the woodland floor feast on the sunlight to grow and flower before the blue sky is replaced by the chlorophyll green canopy of tree leaves. White wood anemones carpet the woods on the way down to the Soldier's Leap, interspersed with primroses and violets. The air resonates with bird song as the season progresses, with males showing off and establishing breeding territories. Most notable are the resident tits, finches, blackbirds, wrens and robins.

Summer sees migrant birds such as pied and spotted flycatchers, wood and willow wablers arriving to join the residents. In the evenings both pipistrelle and Daubenton's bats are on the wing, each bat munching its way through 3,000 midges a night! While the best of the woodland flowers are over, the verges beside the Visitor Centre come alive with grassland flowers, bees and butterflies. The bird feeding station helps bring the woodland birds close to the Visitor Centre's balcony, where red squirrels are also regular visitors.

During Autumn the Pass of Killiecrankie is renowned for its splendid autumn colours, each tree species makes its own particular contribution to a mesmerising blend of gold, burgundy, saffron, amber, russet, umber and many other colours. It's a good time to spot red squirrels as they search for nuts and seeds to store away for the winter - they regularly come to the feeding station below the Visitor Centre. During periods of rain you can look for the spectacular sight of leaping salmon at the falls in the River Garry beneath the famous Soldier's Leap.

Often the overwhelming sensation of winter in the Pass is that of silence and solitude. Trees stand tall, no longer burdened by their life-giving foliage, bare spars of branches supporting an ever-interlocking network of naked twigs.
Robins and wrens may be heard singing, but the undoubted star performer of winter is the dumpy, brown, white-bibbed dipper. Its beautiful long warble of liquid and grating notes can be heard above the rushing River Garry. Snow may be deep at the Pass of Killiecrankie in a hard winter. Tracks from deer or squirrels and the runs of small mammals are common, but perhaps the most exciting discovery is the five-toed webbed print of the secretive otter.

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