Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh and became a popular novelist. He died forty-four years later on a small Samoan island in the Pacific. During his short life he travelled the world, defied convention, and made himself one of the most famous writers of the 19th century. Among his best-known works are Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, and A Child's Garden of Verses
In the summer of 1881, Stevenson moved to Kinnaird Cottage near Pitlochry, picturesquely set in the hamlet of Kinnaird beyond Moulin on the road to Kirkmichael. Here he wrote some of his most successful short stories, including Thrawn Janet, The Body Snatchers, and The Merry Men. Unfortunately, the rainy weather turned out to be most unfortunate for Stevenson's ill health, and his doctor ordered Stevenson and his wife to move to Braemar.
For a time, Stevenson stayed at Fisher's Hotel in Pitlochy while the cottage was readied. You can't miss the hotel in downtown Pitlochry today. As you drive southeast on A924/Atholl Road through Pitlochry, you'll see the hotel on the right side of the street.
Continue driving southeast on this road and you'll pass the Tourist Information Centre (where you can pick up a leaflet for the Black Spout Wood/Edradour Walk), the Blair Atholl Distillery, and the Atholl Palace Hotel (all on your left). You'll need to turn left at the first intersection past the ornamental distillery still to reach the car park for the Black Spout Wood, which is signposted on a wooden sign posted low on a wall (but only viewable for cars coming from the opposite direction!).
Drive under the railroad bridge and you'll reach the car park. Park here.
Follow the yellow waymarkers for the Edradour Walk, an easy three-mile round-trip walk. You'll soon come to the viewing platform of the Black Spout, an impressive 60-metre high waterfall. Once you've enjoyed the falls, continue on the path as it heads uphill and emerges from the woodland, with open fields on the left and the Edradour Burn below you on the right.
You'll soon emerge in the tiny hamlet of Milton of Edradour. Across the street is the Edradour Distillery, a cluster of small white buildings with red trim. This is Scotland's smallest distillery, first established in 1826. There is no charge to tour the distillery (which includes a wee dram); make sure to check the hours of operation before you set out.
From the distillery, the path continues north on the road, and then turns left on a hedgerow between two open fields. Below the fields, turn left where the pathway is joined by another track and continue back to the Black Spout Wood, entering the woods just beyond the fence.
Now, watch for a pair of wooden signs with arrows that point back to Moulin and Edradour. Continue for 10 paces past the sign to a fork in the trail, where a Pitlochry waymarker points to the branch on the right.
From the signpost, head 39 paces west down the path and stop. Look to your left, due South. You should see a very large pine tree atop a slight incline, approximately 22 paces from the path. Check its base.
Continue on the path, following the yellow waymarkers. (You will come to an intersection where the path isn't well posted; continue on your right on the main track at this junction instead of heading down towards the burn on your left).
You'll eventually emerge in town on the A924. Turn left to walk on the sidewalk back towards the car park. Pass under the railway line and by the charming Holy Trinity Church, and soon you'll reach Blair Athol distillery. Established in 1798, Blair Athol is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. It's also home to Bell's Blend, the most popular blended whisky in the U.K.
From the distillery, it's a brief walk back to the Black Spout Wood car park.
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