LOCAL INTEREST

The aim of this section is to provide interest and local history that relates to the Cateran Trail and the area it passes through. We believe that this can add context and interest to the walker, enhancing the experience that comes from the scenery and surroundings.

BLAIRGOWRIE

Today this name is often associated with both Blairgowrie and Rattray as a combined community and to some extent this is the case since in 1928 an Act of Parliament formally brought both communities on either bank of the Ericht River together. Prior to that the two communities had separate histories and some would claim that Rattray on the East side of the river might be the older.

Rattray as a name means “The Fort of the Hunter” and it is thought to refer to what are remains of an ancient fort on the mound to the east of the present community. By 1170 the Old Rattray Kirk was established in the community and then after the building of the Brig o’ Blair in 1777 the community developed ever closer to the banks of the Ericht.

The history of Blairgowrie is not that well documented but it would appear that the fertile lands on which it lies were used extensively in the middle ages and that the rearing of cattle was common. This attracted the activity of cattle rustling – stealing by the outlaws or Caterans and this was certainly going on in the 14th century. This could lead to real problems, one such raid at Glasclune developed into the Battle of the Clans on the North Inch in Perth in 1386. This fight at Glasclune was the inspiration several centuries later for Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lay of the Last Minstral”.
If you are interested in the life of Sir Walter Scott you could be interested in the walk named after him. For more data click on this link:
www.sirwalterscottway.com

Glasclune also features in history from 1554 along with a second castle at Drumlochy. The Herons and the Chalmers owned these castles respectively and there was ongoing feuds resulting in the Herons using a cannon to destroy Drumlochy Castle. The Drummonds who lived in a third castle, this being Newton Castle were also sadly involved in a feud with the Herons which took place on the site of the Mercate Gait of Blair resulting in George Drummond and his son being murdered. From this troubled time the estate of Blairgowrie moved from the Drummonds to the Grahams and finally to the MacPhersons where Newton Castle’s ownership still remains.

By 1634 Blairgowrie was granted a Charter by Charles I creating the Barony of Blairgowrie with the resultant Barony Court and local place of execution which was situated on what is now Gallowbank.

Old mill house on Ericht With the River Ericht being bridged in 1777 the community started to grow with the arrival of the turnpike roads and the harnessing of the river to power the new mills on the riverbank. Over the next 100 years the population of Blairgowrie grew from 400 to 4000 mainly supporting the flax and then jute spinning machines and looms. This industry has now gone and only one restored mill still exists. The the present days' recognised industry sector in the combined communities is soft fruit growing and in particular that of raspberries.

The River Ericht was originally crossed at the Boat Brae, this being at its shallow point. The Brig o’ Blair replaced this but there was also one other crossing of the river that is recorded in history, this being the Cargill’s Leap.
This is named after Donald Cargill who was born in the area in 1620 and later executed in Edinburgh at the Mercat Cross in 1681 for treason and being a Covenanter. His adult life was as a Minister but he could not accept the bishops in the Scottish Church and became a leader of the Covenanters being outlawed by the authorities. In one of his escapes from the authorities he had to run 15 miles from Perth to Blairgowrie and it was only when he jumped the rocks at a narrow point of the Ericht to the eastern side that the pursuers gave up the chase. This point was then known as Cargill’s Leap, but for safety it has since been blasted away.
If the alternative walking route from Alyth to Blairgowrie through Drimmie Woods the walker will pass close by the Donald Cargill's Memorial as they approach Rattray.

The River is today famous for its Salmon fishing and its tributaries are the River Ardle and Shee. If flows into the River isla and then the Tay.

On the eastern bank of the Ericht is the imposing Craighall Castle. This was the second seat of the Clan Rattray, the first having been on the ancient fort mound. Sir Walter Scott visited this current castle and it is thought that it was used in the novel Waverley under the name for “Tullyveolan”.
If you are interested in the life of Sir Walter Scott you could be interested in the walk named after him. For more data click on this link:
www.sirwalterscottway.com

Newton Castle
There is an ancient story, well know in the local area, relating to the Castle and the Green Lady of Newton who feel in love with Lord Ronald. It relates to the fact that however beautiful Lady Jane looked she could not attract the attention of Lord Ronald. After a conversation with the local witch Lady Jane undertook to collect grasses to bind branches from the hanging tree at Gallows Knowe (Gallowbank) then go one night with the bound branches and sit on the Corbie Stane located on the Ericht next to the Boat Brae and remain there all night with her eyes closed. In the morning she had been transformed and was wearing a fairy green dress. On arriving back at the castle and meeting with Lord Ronald he immediately proposed to marry her and the wedding was arrange. During the wedding festivities Lady Jane again hear the voice of the witch and she instantly fainted and died that night. Being associated with witchcraft she was not buried in the Kirk yard but behind the castle. Legend has it that ever Halloween the grave stone moves and the ghost of Lady Jane goes to the castle and the room where she died in search of her lost husband.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following link may be of some assistance.
http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/blairgowrie/history1.html

KIRKMICHAEL

Resulting form archaeological work in the last century it is know that there were settlements in this area around 200 BC. Some of the relics from the Dalrulzion Moor are now housed in the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh.

Kirkmichael Fair It is also known that in the middle ages Kirkmichael was a crossing point on the various Drove Roads that connected the highlands with the cattle markets to the south. This resulted in the establishment of the Kirkmichael Fair held in September and it was thought that this was one of the largest cattle markets in Scotland.

In addition there were frequent local markets held beside the Siller Burn. This was for the sale of household goods, groceries and tobacco and the sale was said to be complete when the purchaser passed money (silver coins) to the seller who was standing on the opposite bank of the Siller / Silver burn.

In 1653 Oliver Cromwell used the village for the stationing of his troops and it is said that there was a local battle fought out in the churchyard. In 1715 Kirkmichael was the mustering point for the Jacobite troops before they marched south in the first Jacobite uprising.

The Duff Memorial Church built in 1891, and sadly now no longer used except as a storage building. It was named after Alexander Duff (1806 to 1878) a missionary to Indian. Alexander Duff lived in the not too distant community of Moulin next to Pitlochry, but as he was seen as a bright youngster he was offered a school place at Kirkmichael school run by a Mr Macdougall. Here he did well going on to St Andrews and Aberdeen Universities and attained a Doctorate in Divinity. He was soon offered a post to be a missionary in India and this led to him establishing a school, a Christian college and a medical college in Calcutta. He was a founder in the establishment of Calcutta University and he also established the first Chair in Missionary Studies at Edinburgh Universities' New College. The Duff Memorial Church was built to replace an earlier church and was named after this important individual who received his academic start in life in this small community.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following links may be of some assistance.
http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/kirkmichael/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Duff

ENOCHDHU

Further up Strathardle is the small community of Enochdhu. This gaelic name mean “Black Moor”. Like many locations in this part of the southern highlands there are Megalithic standing stones, many of which are not yet fully documented or their significance understood. There are two that the way passes, one which is authentic, and the other whose history is not what it would seem to be.

McRae Stone  - bottom right of picture The first is in the very heart of Enochdhu and is known as the Giant’s Grave standing 2 metres high. Located close to the gate lodge to the Dimanean estate it is said to mark the spot where the Danes killed Chief Ard-Fhuil and two of his soldiers.

The second stone on the section out of Enochdhu to Glen Shee is called the McRae’s Stone and is to the north of Dimanean close to the SE corner of Calamanch Wood. The stone may be megalithic in origin but the location of the stone has only been in this spot since 1988, the time when an estate worker Alistair McRae decided to place it by the track. Since then many people have tried to discover the stones history not realising that this must have been done as a practical joke.

Also of interest in this small community is the story from 1819 when Alexander Duff and a school friend got lost in the snow around Enochdhu on their walk back to Moulin at the end of the school week. Having lost direction, suffering from hypothermia they were almost ready to give up when they saw a faint light that they discovered was being used by poachers on the nearby river. The poachers took the boys to their cottage and after food, warmth and a sleep they were able to set off the following morning to Moulin.

In modern times the Kindrogan House, on the banks of the Ardle, is utilised as the first Field Study Council (FSC) centre in Scotland. It offers career development, professional training and courses in environment matters and it a leading provider of taxonomic training. While out walking the Cateran Trail you may well see university students from the Kindrogan House undertaking field studies.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following links may be of some assistance.
http://walking.visitscotland.com/walks/perthangusfife/enochdhu_glenshee
http://www.field-studies-council.org/kindrogan/index.aspx

The UPPER LUNCH HUT

Upper Lunch Hut On the section between the Glens of Ardle and Shee the Trail follows a path taken for many centuries by the drovers and Caterans. It was also travelled by Queen Victoria in 1865, not on foot but on horseback. At the mid-point there was and still is a shelter provided by the local estate and this is known as the Upper Lunch Hut. On this day in 1856 Queen Victoria stopped with her party and had a picnic tea. Before leaving she signed a visitors book that still is there today and open to walkers to sign.

SPITTAL of GLENSHEE

The Spittal if Glenshee is at the joining point of three glens, Glen Shee, Glen Lochsie and Glen Beag. The Spittal gets its name from the old Scots word for “a refuge on a remote hill”. Glenshee is also know as the Glen of the Fairies and is described as the Scotland’s hidden route to the Highlands.

The author Tony Mackenzie Smith describes the glen as follows.
“ What is it that makes Glenshee so special? Not just its beauty – though that is undeniable. Not just its people – though numbered among them are some of the most colourful characters of Scottish history and folklore. It is special because there is nowhere in the world quite like it. It is wild, romantic, unbelievably beautiful, and it is steeped in history and legend. It has always been known as Glenshee, or as it is in the Gaelic, Gleann Shith, the Glen of the Fairies. It has never had any other name, and until the old tongue died out the inhabitants were known as Sithichean ai Ghlinnshith or ‘Elves of Glenshee’.”

Site of the Tomb just along the track on left hand side However prior to the name of Glen Shee being given to the area it had a long and colourful history. One of the sixth century legends relates to the warrior Diarmid, King Fingal and his Queen Grainne. Diarmid was both a strong warrior and a very handsome man liked by the ladies and he was having an affair with the Celtic Queen Grainne. The King became aware of this but based on the custom of that time he knew that to resolve the matter he would have to challenge Diarmid and most likely be killed by him or he had to be more subtle.
The natives of Glenshee were being bothered by a large and dangerous boar that had killed a lot of the livestock and also some of the men who had tried to hunt it down. King Fingal invited Diarmid to take on the challenge of killing the boar and this he accepted, tracking down the boar in the glen some point below the hill “Bad an Loin”. In the struggle to overcome the Boar he was himself injured by the Boar’s spine and this effectively poisoned Diarmid. He returned with the Boars head in triumph and in the knowledge that the hunting party had an antidote to the poison that he asked for from the King. The King had however foreseen this possibility and had disposed of the antidote in the Shee Water. That night Diarmid dies and in her grief his lover Queen Grainne committed suicide. Both are said to be buried in the “Tomb” a point clearly marked on the modern day maps and directly on the line of the Cateran Trail, just to the east of the Spittal.
The Scottish Clan Campbell claim direct descent from Diarmid and it is noted that their clan crest has a boar’s head as its centrepiece.

Cockstane of Finegand
Some 4 miles south of the Spittal there is an area know as Finegand. Two stories relate to this area and although one is not known in date terms the second incident is recorded as happening in the 16th century.

The first story we suspect is earlier but both relate to the Clan MacOmish, later to be known as MacThomas.
One night the clansmen were awakened by the Cock crowing in the middle of the night. The Chief was baffled but got the men to arm and go out from the community and see what was the reason for the Cock crowing. They initially found nothing but just as they were about to return they heard armed raiders approaching and they were able to easily defeat then thus protection their families and houses. The Clan Chief never forgot the Cock crowing on the nearby rock and the rock became a place for clan meetings and events. Although the Clan is now dispersed, once a year in August members of the MacThomas clan return to the stone and re-affirm their allegiance to the clan. This rock is known as the Stone of Justice.

The second story from the 15th century relates to the activities of the centrally based tax collectors who would come up from Edinburgh to collect taxes by fair means or foul. The tax collectors had hounded a widow in the nearby area and this outraged to clansmen. A group of clansmen then surrounded the tax collectors and when they shouted out that “we are the King’s men and will bear witness against you” the reply came back, “there will be no witnesses” and the taxmen were all killed. To add to the slaughter the bodies were de-capitated and the heads thrown into the burn with the comment, “Now swim back to your masters in Edinburgh and tell them what happens to thieves they send to Glenshee”.

Two interesting points from this story, firstly Finegand is gaelic for “The Burn of the Heads” and secondly the MacOmish clan were subsequently driven out of the glen and it is thought that many changed their names from MacOmish to MacThomas, Thomas and Thoms.
Any remnants of the clan were finally removed shortly after the Jacobite uprising, as they were catholic supporters.

Battle of Glen Shee The final Cateran battle is reported to have taken place in the area to the north of the Spittal of Glenshee in Glen Beag in 1606. It records that a party of 500 Caterans had stolen over 2500 head of cattle in the glens around Isla, Strathardle, and Lochsie and before driving them north over the Cairnwell Pass they had stopped at the Spittal, demanded food but did not pay and had damaged the land adjacent with the number of cattle. This must have resulted in the local clans being incensed and as the Caterans went up Glen Beag they were attached by local men, with reinforcements coming from all of the adjoining glens. The arrival of Cam Ruadh from Glen Taitneach saw the tide turn as he used his skills with the bow and arrow. Finally the Caterans were defeated and only a few escaped with their lives. Such was the defeat that most local families lost at least one or two males but it did also bring to a close this illegal trade in cattle rustling.

Dalnaglar Castle
The present Castle stands on the site of what was a former 16th century hunting lodge. The present building in privately ownership, and let out to guest and for weddings. The Castle was commissioned by Lord Clyde, who was Queen Victoria’s banker, and it was designed by the Queen’s architect. This is the same person who designed Balmoral Castle.

The Dalmunzie Railway
Situated to the NW of the Spittal of Glenshee Dalmunzie House is located in Glen Lochsie. This is now a hotel and is very much involved in the hunting and shooting business.
The owner in 1920 made the decision to build a narrow gauge railway in the estate to transport the shooting parties from the hotel further up the hill and glen to the shooting butts. This was at a time when for some money was no object and the train travelled for 2 to 3 miles with carriages and wagon to handle the day’s provisions and guns. In 1970 under new legislation the railway would have had to spend over £60,000 to remain open so it was dismantled but the rolling stock still remain at the hotel.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following links may be of some assistance.
http://www.glenofthefairies.co.uk/index.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finegand
http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/glenshee/history.html

FORTER CASTLE

Forter Castle Forter Castle, built by James Ogilvy, 5th Lord of Airlie in 1560 was to protect the Balloch pass to Glenshee and the Moneca Pass to Braemar. At the time of construction Caterans threatened the folk in this area and religious differences between the Protestants and the Catholics made it necessary to build a new fortified home of Ogilvy. Te Ogilvy clan were staunch Catholics will at this time the Protestants were is the ascendancy. The position of Forter Castle made it hard to take it by surprise and it served its purpose for 80 years until a force of some five thousand men with heavy artillery attached in 1640 and the castle was extensively destroyed. The destruction of Forter itself as well as the neighbouring castles of Airlie and Craig was enacted as retribution by the Scottish Committee of Estates who declared the Ogilvys ‘malignants’ and therefore commissioned their principal strongholds to be brought down.

The problems that finally led to this destruction emanated from the initial sale of the land on which the castle was built to James Ogilvy the 5th Lord by the Abbot of Coupar Angus, Donald Campbell. Donald Campbell's niece was James Ogilvy's wife and the Campbell's saw this as being the reason for the sale of land to an opposing Catholic family. So conditions were placed on the sale whereby a clause in the agreement reserved several tenancies at the head of the glen who were Campbell clan and owed allegiance to the House of Argyll, this being a strong Protestant clan. Lord Ogilvy later objected to these Campbell tenants and set about evicting them from the land and installing partisans of his own.

The result was a deep resentment between the two families despite their close ties. Lord Ogilvy and his brother Sir John Ogilvy of Craig decided to carry this feud further and in 1591 they raised a force and plundered the Campbell’s in the vicinity of Coupar Angus, leaving behind at least four dead. The Duke of Argyll taking this as a personal matter decided to take the law into his own hands and invaded Glenisla with a force of five hundred men but with a warning of the advance Lord Ogilvy managed to spirit away his wife and child and minimise some of the worst effects on the Glen. Forter Castle was assaulted but held off the attack with only some damage.

Lord Ogilvy appealed to the privy council and the council ordered Argyll to stop these onslaughts which he half heartedly did until a force of Caterans made up of Campbell men attacked from over the hills and more destruction was wreaked in Glenisla and Glen Clova where the old castle was destroyed. The Caterans made away with all the sheep, horses and anything they could not carry they burnt and destroyed.

By 1639 The 7th Lord Ogilvy rode south to York in support of King Charles I who in gratitude created him the first Earl of Airlie. On hearing this news in Scotland the "Committee of Estates" challenged the new Lord Ogilvy to sign the National covenant which he refused to do as a staunch Catholic and as punishment the Committee of Estates sent the Earls of Montrose and Kinghorn to the place of Airlee and to cease the Ogilvy Castles. The Lord’s son countered this raid and for other family connections no casualties or great damage was done by Montrose and Kinghorn. The Duke of Argyll was so annoyed that he would not end this feud until the Ogilvys had been brought down. In June he obtained authority from the Committee to suppress the Ogilvy's of Badendoch, Atholl and the Braes of Angus. This time the target was all three castles of Airlie, Forter and Craig.

Leaving nothing to chance The Duke of Argyll raised a force of five thousand men armed with heavy artillery. They approached Airlee Castle first before their presence was known. The Earl of Airlie was still away in England so his son yet again had to act on his own. Realizing the futility of resistance against such a force Ogilvy withdrew his men hoping that Argyll's retribution would be stayed. But this was not to be the end with the raid carrying on up Glen Isla to Forter Castle where the Countess Ogilvy was located, this being thought to be the safest of all the Ogilvy Castle. Fortunately the countess escaped to the surrounding hills and witnessed the burning of Forter and the spoils of war being marched away from under her nose.

Craig Castle was never re-built and Airlie Castle which was the principal residence of the Ogilvy family for the previous seventeen years had to wait a further 150 years before being re-occupied. Forter castle had to wait a full 350 years until it’s restoration.

For more details on this period of history and the renovation of the Castle in 1990 link to the following website.
http://www.fortercastle.com/homef.html

GLEN & RIVER ISLA

River Isla at Forter The River Isla, a tributary of the River Tay rises from the Monega Pass (3000 feet) which to the east of Glas Maol, one of the high mountain on the Glenshee Skiing range and on the watershed between the Tay and the Dee Rivers. It flows through Glen Isla tumbling over the Reekie Linn before being joined by the Ericht and then flowing into the Tay close to The Meikleour Beech Hedge south of Blairgowrie.

PATRICK SMALL - KIRKTON OF GLENISLA

The Patrick Small Monument is located across the ford on the west bank of the River Isla opposite the Kirkton of Glenisla village. This imposing obelisk stands on elevated ground and although the route does not pass directly it can be seen from around the village and from the hill as the walkers sets off from Kirkton towards Alyth.

Patrick Small seems to have been a very popular individual in the community in his short 30 year life (1840 to 1870). He is credited with the establishment of the Glenisla Market but it was perhaps his great hospitality, his concern and actions for his neighbours and his smart highland attire that he was best remembered.

ALYTH

Alyth has a historical connection that runs back to the time of the Picts. Its Christian connections started in the 6th century when Saint Moluag established a community in the area of Alyth with the intention of it being a centres of education and ministerial support for the local Churches.

Also around this time there are references in this area to King Arthur and more particularly to his wife Queen Guinevere, who may have been imprisoned in Alyth by King Mordred prior to her execution by the Picts. The nearby Barry Hill (just to the east of the Hill of Loyal) was an iron age fort that is reputed to have been the place of imprisonment.

The Christian theme remained with the area and the Arches, which still remain as a ruin in the present church yard, were part of the first stone built church in this area of Scotland. In 1326 it is reported that Robert the Bruce worshipped in this church.

Alyth Cattle Jumping ahead to the 15th century, Alyth was granted a Charter by King James III in 1488, then rising to the status of Burgh of Barony with the rights to hold markets and fairs. This was a time of importance with Alyth being at a cross roads of the many cattle drove roads that connected the Highlands with the Lowlands and England.

Around this time the Packhouse Bridge was built across the Alyth Burn, then later its importance as a meeting point for travellers was recognised with the building of the Lossit Inn in 1760. By this time Alyth was bigger than neighbouring Blairgowrie and it held the unusually high number of nine fairs annually.

The 19th century saw the community’s industrialisation with brewing, and textiles in the form of linen. This was aided by the arrival of the railway in 1861 but like the railway little of this industry remains today.

The religious heritage has survived from the time of Saint Moluag through the Arches to the present day parish church designed by Thomas Hamilton and built in 1839. Other interesting history and relics of the town can be seen at the Alyth Museum located in the centre next to the Alyth Burn.

Alyth as a name is subject to much speculation. One suggestion is that it is a Pictish / Welsh name “ar leithio” meaning a “place overlooking soft ground subject to flooding”. This could be a description of Strathmore over which the town sites.

Saint Moluag 530 to 592 AD
Originated from Bangor in Ireland, he was one of the Celtic Christian Giants. His influence in Scotland was initially in Lismore, Rosemarkie, Morayshire and then Alyth.

The Pictish Stone
This is located in the present Parish Church and is regarded as its most valuable antiquity. It is thought to date back to the 8th century and is a stone slab of gneiss onto which is engraved a Latin Cross, thought to be the beginnings of more elaborate Celtic Cross.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following links may be of some assistance.
http://www.scottish-towns.co.uk/perthshire/alyth/
http://www.alythvoice.co.uk/history.html
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/alyth/alyth/index.html
http://www.alythparishchurch.org.uk/html/history.html
http://www.scotland247.co.uk/alyth2.htm
http://www.pkc.gov.uk/Education+and+learning/Museums+and+galleries/Alyth+Museum/

Alyth Museum
The museum overlooks the countryside of Strathmore, an area rich in farming which has been the inspiration and resource for the displays you will find here. The visitor will enjoy a wealth of pictures and objects reflecting life as it was, in and around Alyth.

The rich and varied collection covers a wide range of material from the past to the present day including industrial and agricultural machinery, modes of transport and communication, shop fittings, photographic and textile equipment, models, medical, musical and scientific instruments, commemorative and ornamental items, toys, games and sports equipment, weights and measures, religious and educational items and everyday domestic materials. The Museum is in the very heart of Alyth on Commercial Street.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following link may be of some assistance.
http://www.pkc.gov.uk/Education+and+learning/Museums+and+galleries/Alyth+Museum/


BAMFF

The present Bamff House was built between 1585 and 1926 and consists of an old tower with a Georgian wing and some rather magnificent additions and alterations that were done in 1843. The land has been in the possession of the Ramsays of Bamff since 1232. This was given to Neis de Ramsay by King AlexanderII as reward for his attention to the King's ailment.

Guests are welcome to explore the 1300 acres of the Bamff Estate that lies on the edge of the Scottish Highlands and encompasses farm, forest, and hill. In recent years a conservation emphasis has led to an increasing in wildlife though the re-introducing boar and beaver to the land. In 2007 Paul Ramsay won the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Environment Award in recognition of his work.



Netherton Church and Mill NETHERTON

Netherton, located below the Braes of Cloquhat, is on the side of the Black Water, the name given to the lower stretch of the Shee Water. This water was used to power a mill that is now converted into a private dwelling. Beside this is the Netherton Church, built in 1891 and worth looking at for its timber internal ceiling and stain glass window.

MOUNT BLAIR

Mount Blair standing at 744 metres is located between Glenshee and Glenisla and is a dominant feature on the Cateran Trail from Dalnaglar Castle until Kirkton of Glenisla. The sweeping, symmetrical cone of Mount Blair (Hill of the Moor) offers excellent walking. Standing boldly between these two glens, the hill is heathery with some rough and crag grit lower slopes. Mount Blair has a long history with prehistoric sites, some famous wells and even a suicide grave under the summit cairn.

Mount Blair Wonderful 360 degree views from the summit, although now slightly spoilt by the communications mast on the peak.

There are also legends associated with Mount Blair, these relate to Colly Camb who was a giant who lived in a cave on the south slope of Mount Blair. Colly's giant wife was Smoutachanty and her cave was further up the Isla at Auchintaple. It is said that Colly would go into great rages and would pick up large rock and throw them down at people and dwelling in the glen below. The Gled Stane and Sow Stane are two of them.

Cooly was finally lured to his death by a band of locals who stoned him for repeatedly robbing from their corn mill. Nobody went near the cave for years, and then two brave men ventured in to explore it. A while later someone heard their voices from underground near the Alrick Burn almost two miles away. The two men were never seen again.

WATER POWERED MILLS on the ERICHT.

Water-powered linen mills were starting to take advantage of the location by 1790, when about 100 weavers were employed. By 1860 there were 11 water-powered mills on this stretch of the river, employing 1600 people, so many that the town had to be significantly expanded to accommodate them. Of these mills, eight were turning flax into linen, while three were processing jute.

The Keathbank jute mill was added to the eleven already in operation in around 1870, bringing with it the largest water wheel in Scotland. This mill lies on the Rattray side of the river approximately a mile or up from the Brig o' Blair. Today none of the mills remain as working mills the Keathbank mill stopping operations in 1979. Now only three are in alternative functional use. The Keathbank Mill houses a Heraldry Centre and has been converted into modern housing while still retaining Scotland's largest water wheel. On the alternative bank and to the north of Cargill's Leap and beside the Trail is another private dwelling. The final one is know as Cargill's Visitor Centre, a converted corn mill close to the Brig o' Blair. This building is now an antiques warehouse, picture gallery and bistro. Blairgowrie also has its own Genealogy Centre, popular with visitors hoping to trace their ancestors.

JAMES CRICHTON ('The Admirable') 1560 - 1582

The 'Admirable Crichton'. Son of Robert Crichton, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, Crichton was most likely born at Eliock House in Dumfries but spend his early years at Castle Clunie on the small island on Loch Clunie to the west of Blairgowrie. He was subsequently educated at St. Andrews University, where he was taught by poet and politician George Buchanan (1506-82). He completed his degree at the remarkable age of just fourteen. He was noted for his mental and physical prowess, together with his good looks. By the age of twenty, he could speak ten languages, was an accomplished musician, horseman, swordsman and noted for his social graces, as well as having a reputation as an orator, debater and scholar.

He travelled to Europe, serving in the French army for two years before arriving in Italy, where he challenged professors in Genoa, Venice and Padua to test his knowledge. He then entered the service of the Duke of Mantua but, unfortunately, the Duke’s jealous son, who he had been charged with tutoring, killed Crichton in a street brawl.

Clunie and its now derelict castle lie in the parish of Stormont, 4 miles (7 km) west of Blairgowrie. On a knoll by the village are traces of a building said to have been used as a base for hunting in the nearby royal forest of Clunie and on an artificial island on the loch are the ruins of Clunie Castle, a tower house of the bishops of Dunkeld built on the site of an Iron Age lake dwelling or crannog. Robert Crichton, the last pre-Reformation bishop handed the property over to his near relative Robert Crichton of Eliock whose son James, detailed above was the Admirable Crichton.

Not on the route of the Cateran Trail but close to it or on the road to the area the following landmarks are worth visiting.

REEKIE LINN

Reekie Linn ('smoking pool') so called because of the clouds of spray which rise above the plunge pool when the River Isla is in spate. This is at a point where the waterfall formed on the Highland Boundary fault and hard metamorphic rocks to the north give way to the softer sedimentary rocks of Strathmore. The waterfall is one of the most spectacular and accessible waterfalls in Scotland, located a short walk from the Craigisla Bridge. Under normal conditions Reekie Linn is a fall of 6 metres followed by one of 18 metres but when the river is in spate, the two falls unite to form a single fall of 24 metres.

Meikleour Beech Hedge MEIKLEOUR HEDGE

The great hedge of Meikleour was planted in 1745 and forms an incredible living wall of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica), 100 ft high and a third of a mile long. The trees are now officially recognised in the Guinness Book of Records since 1966 as the highest hedge in the world.

Legend has it that following the death of her husband Robert Murray Nairne, a Jacobite sympathiser, at the Battle of Culloden (April 1746), Jean Mercer of Meikleour allowed the hedge to grow towards the heavens in a tribute to his memory.

Although it's at its most spectacular in the autumn, its size makes it impressive at any time of year. The Meikleour Trust looks it after and maintenance takes 4 men approximately 6 weeks.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following link may be of some assistance.
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/blairgowrie/meikleourhedge/index.html

GLAMIS CASTLE

This has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years. It is thought to be a living, breathing monument to Scottish hospitality, a place of enjoyment, reflection, laughter and wonder for all.

Glamis Castle Glamis Castle has a fascinating and exciting history. It has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore since 1372, when King Robert II (the first of the Stuart Kings) of Scotland gave the castle to Sir John Lyon. But references to a castle pre-date this period one of its greatest references being from Shakespeare's Macbeth. In Macbeth Glamis is referred to specifically: -
"Glamis thou art" "and yet woulds't wrongly win: thou'dst have great Glamis"
It is popularly believed that Macbeth murdered Duncan here.

In more peaceful and recent times Glamis has had close connections with the present Royal Family, being the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (she being the youngest daughter of the 14th Earl), and Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret was born here in 1930.

If the visitor to the website would like to explore the areas history more fully we suggest the following link may be of some assistance.
http://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/

BIRNAM & DUNSINANE

Maintaining the connection with Shakespeare's Macbeth are the areas of Birnam Wood and Dunsinane Hill. The former is west of the Trail close to Dunkeld, the latter is south of Alyth in Strathmore and upon the neighbouring hill is the " King's Seat," from where the Birnam Wood can be seen to the west. The Shakespearian reference to "when Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane" alluded to the invading army led by Malcolm, son of old King Duncan, whom Macbeth had murdered. The Malcolm on his father’s death fled to England for protection, and Edward the Confessor is said to have given him a kind reception, and supported his claim to the Scottish throne. This support was manifested in a powerful army commanded the Earl of Northumberland moving north in support of Malcolm. This army may have been seen by Macbeth from the " King's Seat" at a great distance. Macbeth who was an experienced general hastened to collect his forces, and appeared to have concentrated them twelve miles east from Dunsinane Hill. There a furious conflict is said to have ensued between the two armies, and where tradition asserts Macbeth was defeated, after he had slain Osbert, the gallant son of the Earl of Northumberland in 1054. Macbeth is said to have been killed in the battle but there is also a suggestion that he was actually killed in 1057 by Macduff at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire
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