This isn’t a complete route per se but more of an interesting place to run that can easily be visited as part of various different possible routes. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been through the tunnels now, but last weekend I went back to take a few pictures and share them with you.
Most of you from Perthshire will know that to get to Edinburgh on the train to you need to either go via Stirling and in to Edinburgh from the East, or through Fife and over the Forth Rail Bridge. The Fife route actually goes straight through Bridge of Earn not too far from our house but there is no longer a station here, sadly. Less well known is that the line used to split near the old Bridge of Earn station with a fork heading South via Glenfarg and Kinross towards Dunfermline. You can read more about the history here, but in the end the Glenfarg line was closed in 1970 and built over to make way for the M90 motorway. Where the M90 goes up and over the hill past Glenfarg village, the railway took a more direct route through the hill, and this approximately 2 miles section is still accessible and a fun place to run!
The runnable part of the railway starts where it crosses the “Wicks o’ Baiglie Road”, roughly 3 miles South of Bridge of Earn. It passes over two impressive stone viaducts, through two tunnels (about 1/3 of mile long each) and a deep cutting before rejoining the B996 – a total distance of about 2 miles. It’s also possible to join the route in between the two tunnels via a farm track which leaves the road near the Bein Inn.
For my run, I set off from Bridge of Earn and headed South out of the village. As the road starts to steepen you can see the remains of an old bridge where the railway used to cross the road with the embankment running off to each side. From here, go through the gate to the left and up a short grassy ramp too reach the old railway track bed. Just ahead is the first viaduct, which crosses the Baiglie Burn. Following the railway just a few hundred metres further on you’ll come to the mouth of the first tunnel.
Both tunnels are approximately 500m long and are slightly curved. The ground inside is fairly level, sandy and mostly dry barring a couple of places where water drips through from above. There is a little bit of graffiti but otherwise they are in remarkably good condition. The first tunnel curves just enough that when you reach the mid-point you’ll be in complete darkness as you can’t see either end! Before too long you’ll see daylight again and pop out of the Southern end of the tunnel onto a level (obviously!) section which runs along the hillside, high above the River Farg and the A912 below. This section can be a “bit” boggy underfoot, and there were several fallen trees blocking the way from the storms earlier in the year but nothing difficult to cross.
In total it’s about 1km between the two tunnels. As you approach the second tunnel there is a track up to the right that crosses back over the cutting on a high bridge and leads down to the road. This provides an exit route if one tunnel was enough for you 😱 Keep straight on, under the bridge and pick your way through the boggiest section to enter the second tunnel. A similar length to the first, this one is not as curved – just enough you can’t see from one end to another but for most of the way you can see both exits.
Exiting the tunnel you are immediately on to the second, and more impressive viaduct, towering high above the road and river. There is a little path to the right which gives a good view of it. Crossing the viaduct, the railway runs straight ahead through another cutting and the road rises up to meet it. The track bed does run on ahead for a while but turns into farmland and peters out where it meets the M90 with no option but to retrace your steps or make a nasty scramble down a banking, across the river and back up to the road!
The B996 is a rather fast road and not much fun to run along, so the best onwards route is to follow the road Southwest for 100m and cross over where a farm track leads up and over the hill to the Wicks O’ Baiglie road. From here you can turn right and follow the road back too where you first joined the railway path to make a roughly 4 mile loop.
Alternatively, it’s possible to turn left and up to Glenfarg Village or take the Wallace Road back to Bridge of Earn via Dron. Another option is to take the farm track between the two tunnels and head up to Binn Hill and on towards Castle Law, Pitmedden Forest, or Abernethy. Take a look at Strava Global Heatmap for more ideas of where to run!
I hope this has inspired you to get out and explore. If anyone local fancies a run here just let me know and I’d be happy to show you around. Just don’t forget to bring a torch!