McGregor's Cave


Useful Information

Location: Dunalastair, Pitlochry PH16 5QF.
A9 exit Pitlochry north, B8019 towards Killiecrankie, after 2.5 km turn left, still on B8019 for 20 km.
(56.700833, -4.098889)
Open: no restrictions.
[2023]
Fee: free.
[2023]
Classification:  
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: McGregor's Cave, Dunalastair, Pitlochry PH16 5QF.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1603 clan MacGregor outlawed by King James VI.
19th century Crossmount House built.
19th century walls, doorways and a window added to the cleft.

Description

Despite the name, Macgregor's Cave is not a cave, it's actually a Victorian cave house built into an artificial cave. Originally there was only an overhanging cliff face, which was closed by a wall. This created a single room with an opening on each end. A stone shelf is sometimes used by visitors to light a fire and a chimney cemented into the rock above allows the smoke to escape.

MacGregor’s Cave is reputed to be the place which a MacGregor hid from the redcoats before jumping across the river and escaping. The legendary rock from which he jumped was removed when the hydroelectric system was built in the early 1900s. There is also a legend that three MacGregors died in front of the cave. The family MacGregor lost their land at some point, and so they became highwaymen, and as a result were hunted by the english police. All those legends actually habe no connection to the cave, simply because it is a 19th century folly, a useless architectural gimmick created by some lord for recreation. So it is much younger than the stories of the MacGregors, it did not exist when they happened. But local legend has it that the cleft in the rocks was one of several hideouts used by the MacGregors after the clan was outlawed by King James VI in 1603.

The famous exploits of the outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor have left a lasting legacy. He was cast out of his clan and hunted, hiding on craggy slopes high above the river. His story was romanticised by the Victorians in later years, which was the reason why they built the folly.

The cave is not easy to reach. From A9 exit Pitlochry north, follow B8019 towards Killiecrankie, after 2.5 km turn left, still on B8019 for 20 km. At Tummel Bridge turn left and cross Tummel Bridge across river Tummel, follow road for 6.8 km, turn right on Schiehallion road for 9.2 km. There is a gate for Crossmount house but its a private road. It possible to follow the Schiehallion road for 400 m more, ther is the possibility to park and walk back. Following the private road there is a track on the left side which leads around Crossmount house in a semicircle, then down to Loch where it flows into river Tummel. The road ends at a house at the river, the Dunalastair holiday Cottage called Bridge Cottage, turn right here and a trail leads steeply up to the cave. While it is hard to find on a map, it is listed on several walking websites with gps rout file download, so have a look yourself for a download in your preferred format. The walk is 2.6 km long from the parking to the cave, in total 5.2 km. So it's actually a nice and easy 2-hour walking tour.