The Knock of Crieff

The Knock of Crieff is a small hill situated just to the north of the town. It is a very popular walk due to its proximity to Crieff town centre. There is a viewpoint at the top of the first hill but for those hill baggers who want to get to the true summit you will have to enter the deep dark forest. This is a walk for all weathers but be prepared if it has been raining because it will be muddy underfoot.

Distance = 6.5km, Ascent = 220m, Time Taken = 2 hrs (It might be faster or slower depending upon your fitness, number of stops and the weather.)

There are a number of good routes you could choose to walk The Knock of Crieff but this walk assumes you are starting from James Square, Crieff and returning to the same.

Leave James Square and cross the road turning into Hill Street walking past Cafe Rhubarb. You will notice a good sign above the cafe on the wall which reads “to the Knock”. A measure of how popular this walk is. Continue up the hill past the Tuckie, an apt name for the school tuck shop, and onto Ferntower Road passing Crieff’s Morrison’s Academy on your left. After a short while you will see Knock Road on the left. Although you could turn left here and walk to the Knock passing the Crieff Hydro Hotel complex, this route continues along Ferntower Road.

Continue along Ferntower Road passing the old St Andrews Church and Strathearn Terrace, home of Crieff Parish Church, until you reach the white gate signalling the entrance to Crieff Golf Course. Continue past the white gate and onto the golf course tree lined track.

You can now relax having left the tarmac behind and entered a lovely nature reserve which of course a golf course is. With well manicured lawns and tree lined avenues, with bunkers and waterways full of wildlife. Continue along the track until you reach a junction. Do not turn left but continue for another 300 metres or so to reach another junction. At this point take a left where the track turns back on itself and continue past the the old ruins of Ferntower House to reach the kissing gate. (A gate designed to allow people to pass through but not livestock). Pass through the gate and turn right at the junction with the main path. You have walked just over 2km at this point.

It’s now a gentle ascent for approximately 1km to the start of the deep dark forest. After a few hundred metres you will pass a track on the left. Avoid any temptation to take this path as mountain bikers will descend this route at speed, instead continue on the main track as it winds its way up the hillside. As you approach the top of this section you will find a well positioned seat at the top where you can rest your weary limbs and take in the surrounding views from Methven and Perth to the west to Gleneagles, Auchterarder and The Ochils to the south.

So onwards we go turning left at the signpost into the woods. You could of course continue on the main track and walk around the hillside if you wish but that is not this route. This route goes left for approximately 30 metres where we chance upon the start of the mountain bikers’ descent path. At this point we take the right fork and head into the deep dark forest. The track, which had been wide open and airy, now changes to a conifer enclosed fairy tale inspired deep dark forest track of tolkienesque stature with tree roots criss crossing the track at every opportunity. You could just imagine if you dare, Shelob, the spider from the Hobbit, living in this dark section of forest, enticing the unwary traveller deeper into his lair then pouncing with a craftily spun springy web of no escape. Mind you if that’s your disposition then it may be best for you to quickly turn around and run for it now hahaha.

The good forest track gets quite steep here and continues for a short while to the small cairn at the geographical top of the Knock of Crieff at 279 metres. There are no views to behold and there is nothing for it but to continue on your way and descend the other side. With some relief you are soon emerging back into the daylight and onto another kissing gate. Pass through and follow the track for 100 metres or so to another kissing gate and pass through once more.

You are now in a small dip between the two summits of the Knock of Crieff. Again there are other paths that you can take to descend from this point but it would be a shame to miss the viewpoint. You will see a small signpost with a path going of at a tangent to the path you are on. This is the path to take. It descends slightly and then climbs the last few metres to The Knock Viewpoint. You will be pleased to hear that you can now have a rest on one of the seats and again enjoy the views. This time you will have views to the North and to the South with in winter the snowcapped peaks of Ben Vorlich and Ben Chonzie (both are Munros, mountains over 3000ft in Scotland) in view or in the summer great views just the same.

Once you have had your fill you can set off in the direction of travel down the forest path to rejoin the roadside above the Crieff Hydro Hotel. There is a small car park here where instead of walking from James Square you could in fact drive up and park and start your walk, but that would not be such an interesting walk in my view. There is a large notice board here advertising the good walk up The Knock of Crieff and another walk around The Hosh.
* If you turn left at this point and stay on the forest track just an arm’s length from the road you can walk down to the stables. From here you continue down to the end of the road and turn right onto Ferntower Road and retrace your steps back to James Square.

 

* Alternatively cross the road and walk down past the houses for 100 metres to another kissing gate. Pass through and descend the track to the bottom of the hill through yet one more kissing gate, past the Hydro Hotel and you will now be on Knock Road. Continue down to Ferntower Road and back to James Square.

If you are very lucky you may see a young roe deer or even a red squirrel on this walk. You might see sparrows, finches and bluetits and sometimes a woodpecker drumming away in the distance can be heard. In the summer you can listen for the high pitched sweet melody of the willow warbler and don’t forget to look skywards for buzzards and other birds of pray floating on the wing.

 

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The Knock walk Route GPX File Download

Click the image to download a .gpx track for this walk here.