• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Killiecrankie - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.



Located in the Highlands of Scotland just north of Pitlochry, this SSI is a narrow wooded gorge through which the River Garry passes, to meet up with the River Tummel at the southern end.

The woodland, which is mostly sessile oak with birch, hazel, ash, alder and wych elm, is a remant of ancient woodland.


Notable Species

Resident species include Common Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch and Treecreeper, along with Grey Wagtail and Dipper at the river edge.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye, Common Buzzard, Osprey, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Common Sandpiper, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Common Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Sand Martin, Tree Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Dipper, Dunnock, Common Wren, Eurasian Robin, Common Redstart, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing, Sedge Warbler, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Common Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Brambling

Other Wildlife

Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus and Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris are common, Grey Squirrel is also seen. Other mammals include Fox, Mink, Otter, Pine Marten, Stoat, Wildcat, Brown Hare, Hedgehog and Rabbits.

Rodents include Mole, both Common and Pygmy Shrews, Bank, Field and Water Voles and Wood Mouse.

Both Pipistrelle and Long-eared bats are present.

Several reptiles and amphibian species have been recorded and include Common Frog, Common Toad, Common Lizard, Palmate Newt, Adder and Slow Worm.

There is a rich and varied flora within the reserve. Yellow Mountain Saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides, Scottish Asphodel Tofieldia pusilla, Globeflower Trollius europaeus, Grass of Parnassus Parnassia palustris, Marsh Lousewort Pedicularis palustris and Northern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza purpurella grow in the wetter parts as well as rare species of rush and sedge.

The moorland has Lesser Twayblade Listera cordata, Intermediate Wintergreen Pyrola media, the rare Sticky Catchfly Lychnis viscaria and Shining Geranium lucidum and Bloody Cranesbills Geranium sanguineum.

Site Information

Although there are many resident species the best time to visit is May-July.

History and Use

This is at the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie, though more famous now for the Soldiers Leap, where Bonnie Dundee leapt the river (around 18 feet) to escape the Jacobites.

Areas of Interest

On the other side of the river, at Balrobbie Farm, a track leads up through woodland to open hillside.

This track passes through a range of habitats, the most important being the wooded hillsides, mainly Sessile Oak with a mixture of Birch, Ash, Alder and Wych Elm and an understorey of Hazel. Above the woods is pastureland and further still, birch-covered crags and a ridge of heather moorland.

The woodland has Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard, Common Crossbill, Common Redstart and sometimes Pied Flycatcher, various warblers and Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The fringes of the woods have Black Grouse, Tree Pipit and Whinchat, Common Sandpiper, Common Dipper and Grey Wagtail nest along the streams. In the higher parts of the reserve there are Red Grouse and the crags have Northern Raven and Common Kestrel.

The wetter areas in the northern part of the reserve are nesting grounds for Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew and Meadow Pipit.

From the village take the minor road to the left and head south-westwards over the railway and river to Balrobbie Farm.

Access and Facilities

Situated in the Highlands just north of Pitlochry this site is reached on the A9, turning off onto the B8079 road to Killiecrankie. The National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre and car park is on the left just before entering the village.

From the north leave the A9 about 2.5km south of Blair Atholl onto the B8079 to Killiecrankie.

Parking charges apply (£2 in 2010), though free to members.

There is a cafe, shop and toilets.

The paths are steep and muddy in places, so sensible footwear is essential.

There are woodland and riverside trails. The year round Ranger service offers guided walks in summer.

Open: Site -All year, daily Visitor Centre, shop and snackbar - 1 April (or Good Friday if earlier) to 31 October, daily 10am -5.30p.m.

Contact Details

Visitor Centre: tel: 01796 473233
Ranger Office: 01350 728641


  1. National Trust for Scotland

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve