The Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder walk starts in Atholl Road, Pitlochry's main street, where the bulk of the shops, restaurant and some of the Pitlochry Hotels and B&Bs are located. There are a variety of shops in Atholl Road, from small independent retailers to large chains such as Edinburgh Woollen Mills. We would recommend you take your time to walk the length of Atholl not forgetting the two side streets, West Moulin Road and Bonnethill Road where Macdonalds the popular butcher is located, they specialise in supplying beef and lamb from local Highland farms.
See Pitlochry Dam in spate(1mins 25 secs)
Pitlochry's circular walk, starts from either end of Atholl Road via Armoury Road at the west of the town or Ferry Road at the east end of town. Both these routes start by taking you under the railway line. We will talk you through the route along Armoury Road at the west end of Pitlochry to Loch Faskally over the dam wall to see the fish ladder, past Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Scottish Plant Collectors Garden and back to Pitlochry via the pedestrian suspension bridge over the River Tummel.
Pitlochry Dam was built in the between 1947 and 1951 as part of a networks of dams tin the Highlands to generate electricity. The River Tummel was dammed, flooding the old Pitlochry Highland Games field, today known as Loch Faskally. You can hire rods and boats and obtain fishing permits from the Boating Station at the west end of the town. You can also hire boats with life jackets and row yourself round Loch Faskally, an excellent way to explore this wonderful loch.
Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre opened on the 29th January 2017 to great aclaim. It has the story of the building of the dams in the highlands during the 1950s as well as hands on exhibitions about elctricity and generation of power. There is also an excellent cafe which serve very good teas, coffees and some say the best hot chocolates in the highlands.
Pitlochry Fish ladderis one of the town's more famous attractions and the attraction that the town is most associated it with. The Fish Ladder was built as part of Pitlochry Dam to allow the annual migration of thousands of Atlantic salmon past the dam wall. The Fish Ladder has a total of 34 chambers or small artificial pools, each one with a water level slightly higher than the one below, a series of steps, gradually taking the fish in to Loch Faskally. The fish swim from one chamber to the next via small circular entrances, which restrict the amount of water flowing from one chamber to the next.
There is a viewing room, where visitors can view the fish, if they are lucky you might see what of these magnificent fish. The viewing room is in one of the three resting chambers, that allow the fish to catch their breath before the swim through the next set of chambers. The fish counter that records how many fish have passed through seach season, usually annual count is over 5,000 fish each season.
The Fish Ladder Viewing Chamber is open Monday to Friday 8:30-16:00 April to October (These will change when the NEW Dam Visitor Centre opens in 2017).
Visitors then follow the River Garry down stream past the Scottish Plant Collectors Garden, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre and through the hamlet of Port na Craig and over the pedestrian foot bridge back past the recreation ground and it to Pitlochry. In the summer evenings this circular walk is popular with many of Pitlochry Hotel and B&B guests as they stroll after the evening meal.