SUPPORT DATA

This part of the website carries all the information that a walker will need at the planning phase of any walk on the Trail.

This page includes information on the following topics:-

Walking Distances & Options

The overall length of the walk as measured by Walking Support using GPS techniques is 65 miles / 104 Kilometres.
Below is an image of the distance matrix for the Trail, you can download a pdf copy of this document by clicking on the image.

Distance Chart

For the majority of the walkers the Trail will be walked in 5 sections however we have detailed below other alternatives that might suit the walker's pace and time. It should be noted however that in many of these options there will not be accommodation readily available at the end of each section.
The options where the total mileage is less than 65 we are suggesting that the walk ends at the common point of Bridge of Cally or the walker utilises the alternative Alyth to Blairgowrie* route via Drimmie Wood.

3 Day - option 1

3 Day - option 2
Blairgowrie - Enochdhu
18

Blairgowrie - Enochdhu
18
Enochdhu - Kirkton of Glenisla
20

Enochdhu - Kirkton of Glenisla
20
Kirkton of Glenisla - Bridge of Cally
20

Kirkton of Glenisla - Blairgowrie*
18
Total
58

Total
56

4 Day - option 1

4 Day - option 2
Blairgowrie - Kirkmichael
15

Blairgowrie - Kirkmichael
15
Kirkmichael - Dalnagar
14.5

Kirkmichael - Forter
16.9
Dalnagar - Alyth
19.3

Forter - Alyth
16.9
Alyth - Blairgowrie
16.2

Alyth - Blairgowrie
16.2
Total
65

Total
65

5 Day - option 1

5 Day - option 2
Blairgowrie - Kirkmichael
15

Blairgowrie - Kirkmichael
15
Kirkmichael - Spittal of Glenshee
8.5

Kirkmichael - Spittal of Glenshee
8.5
Spittal of Glenshee - Kirkton of Glenisla
14.5

Spittal of Glenshee - Kirkton of Glenisla
14.5
Kirkton of Glenisla - Alyth
10.8

Kirkton of Glenisla - Alyth
10.8
Alyth - Blairgowrie
16.2

Alyth - Blairgowrie*
7.2
Total
65

Total
56

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Walking Terrain

This has been divided into section for each of the days, and may be helpful for those who are undertaking only parts of the route.

Section
Terrain
Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael
This section is best considered in two parts.

This starts on a riverside track that can accommodate vehicles on a rather rough and potholed surface before it arrives on a tarred narrow road for a short distance. It is then back onto a vehicle track which is generally well maintained but easier on the feet to that of the tarred road. By East Gormack the terrain is onto grass paths at the edge of fields. Following another short road section the subsequent farm track slowly becomes more narrow and rough as it rises onto Moorland. This peat based path can be pitted and sometimes very wet underfoot. The final part of this section is again by way of a track by the side of a grazing field, it proving perhaps easiest to walk on the field rather than the track. After a gate the path is on a typical woodland path.

Leaving the woodland junction at Bridge of Cally the initial walk is on forestry roads but with the trees generally well set back from the path and plenty of open views. After Blackcraig the next section is on a mixture of grass path, grass track and sometimes the equivalent of a farm track. This is generally easy walking until Dalnabreck at which point the trail start to traverse rough pasture and lower hillside terrain. The line of the walk is more difficult to descern and can prove to be rough and sometimes wet with water running off the hill.
The final part from Dalvey is back to a mixture of track and farm road before finally entering Kirkmichael.

We would recommend good and watertight walking boots for this section and walking gaiters would be helpful. On the more uneven ground a walking pole might be helpful.

Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee
Starting on a farm and cottage track, often inclined to potholes and puddles, the trail then changes into a grass path through woods and by fields before reverting again to farm track and forest road. After a very short tarred section passing through Enochdhu the terain starts to include a constant increase in height and a change from farm track to forest track then hillside path. On the final ascent to the highest point the path is a single file walk up the hillside but generally this section is good for shedding of any casual water.
The descent from the cairn at Alt Lairig is generally a little more uneven to that experienced on the ascent and can therefore be in wet conditions slightly slippy demanding care with footing. The descent is however relatively short and basically straighforward.

We would recommend good and watertight walking boots and a set of walking poles would be helpful for this section. As for clothing we would recommend that you have with you a full set of waterproof clothing and adequate layers should the wind or rain be a possibility. On the lengthy ascent and on the Alt Lairig weather can change quickly and what may have been warm at Enochdhu might be wet windy and cold at the top.

Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkton of Glenisla
The first part of this section on the east side of the Shee Water is over grass land used for sheep and cattle grazing. Dependent on the season it can be wet underfoot but generally pleasant walking conditions. There are a couple of rougher stoney sections apart form frequent stile, gates etc, good pace can be expected on this part of the trail.
From Dalnaglar Castle there is a tarred section on what is a generally little used road over to Forter Castle. After crossing the River Isla the walking terrain is onto hillside track and path sometimes becoming no more than a grass path. This is again at a higher height and can be exposed to the changeable weather with no shelter until reaching the forest path around the side of Auchintaple Loch.
The trail is now passing over heather covered moorland hills with generally a track of some form to follow until Loch Shandra can be seen in the valley ahead. The next 2 km is over open hillside grazing and the line is often defined by the route the sheep have created. This in wet conditions can be slow in one or two places as you pick your way across little water courses. From the side of Loch Shandra the remaining walk is on vehicle tracks used by fishermen and farmers.

We would recommend good and watertight walking boots for this section and walking gaiters might be helpful. Walking poles are also something that we would recommend on certain parts of this section.

Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkton of Glenisla via Loch Beanie
The first part of this section on the east side of the Shee Water is over grass land used for sheep and cattle grazing. Dependent on the season it can be wet underfoot but generally pleasant walking conditions. There are a couple of rougher stoney sections apart form frequent stile, gates etc, good pace can be expected on this part of the trail.

After crossing the River Isla the walking terrain is onto hillside track and path sometimes becoming no more than a grass path. This is again at a higher height and can be exposed to the changeable weather with no shelter until reaching the forest path around the side of Auchintaple Loch.
The trail is now passing over heather covered moorland hills with generally a track of some form to follow until Loch Shandra can be seen in the valley ahead. The next 2 km is over open hillside grazing and the line is often defined by the route the sheep have created. This in wet conditions can be slow in one or two places as you pick your way across little water courses. From the side of Loch Shandra the remaining walk is on vehicle tracks used by fishermen and farmers.

We would recommend good and watertight walking boots for this section and walking gaiters might be helpful. Good quality waterproof jacket and trousers are also essential to carry as this is on open exposed high countryside. We recommend Walking poles are also something that we would recommend on certain parts of this section.

Do not go on this section without letting someone know where you are walking and the expected time of arrival at Glenisla. There are several parts of this route where no mobile signal exists and the walker may be unlikely to meet others if they run into difficulty.

Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth
A very short sectionon the road to the school at Kirkton is followed by a climb from the river onto a higher moorland area to the south. This is followed by a woodland walk which can be somewhat muddy as the area is sometimes used for cattle grazing. Shortly the trail returns to a typical farmers track as it winds its way along the west bank of the Isla. This track then merges onto a single track tarred road and for a further distance till reaching Knowehead Farm the walking surface is solid underfoot. The next section to Ardormie farm is over field, woodland edges and grass tracks. This section is concluded with a path running between the Hills of Loyal and Alyth which is a mixture of grass, woodland path and farm track finally leading into Alyth.

As with all other sections we recommend a pair of good and watertight boots. Although there are some sections where lighter footwear might be acceptable these sections are interspersed by rougher terrain where boots are essential. We would again suggest that a walking pole might be adventageous.

Alyth to Blairgowrie via Bridge of Cally
This section is immediately onto Alyth Hill which is not that high but has no protection from surrounding hills. This is typical sheep grazing land and the tracks are best defined on the top by the route the sheep take. Around Bamff the trail is on woodland paths and tracks before there follows a section of country road over open moorland. In many parts of this section you can get off the hard surface and walk on the adjoining grass verge. The route then takes to a rough track, through a long ribbon wood prior to a track and single track road on the final descent into Bridge of Cally.
The leg from Bridge of Cally to Blairgowrie has already been described as a mixture of forrest track, moorland path, farm tracks and field walking with a final riverside walk to the end.

As with all sections, boots, walking poles and in wetter conditions gaiters are recommended.

Alyth to Blairgowrie via Drimmie Woods
This section is immediately into the Den O'Alyth Hill which is well sheltered from any adverse weather. Around West Tullyfergus the trail is on woodland paths and tracks before there follows a section of country road descending into the north of Rattray. The final section is on the paths on the side of the River Ericht.

As with all sections, boots, walking poles and in wetter conditions gaiters are recommended.


Return to topic list by clicking here.

Accommodation Locations

Accommodation should be available at all the standard stopping points as defined on this website although in some locations the choice may be restricted and availability on a specific date difficult to guarantee. On some of the options above accommodation will not be available at the stop over destination (Enochdhu, Dalnagar, and Forter). There are however some providers who are willing to offer a collection and return drop off service to walkers especially if it means more than one nights accommodation.

It is our intention to develop a directory of accommodation and service providers but until this is developed walkers may approach Walking Support who can offer a full planning and booking service to walkers in this route. To link for suggestions on service providers click on accommodation, or transport & bag carrying provision.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Transport Options

Although in theory the walk can be started from any point on the circular route the most logical start end end is Blairgowrie as this is the areas most populated centre with the best transport links.
Blairgowrie is not well served with direct links from the major cities of Scotland but there is a regular service between Perth and Blairgowrie using the bus route detailed below.
Perth is much better service from the central belt of Scotland and this can be by both bus and train. From Glasgow there is a direct rail service to Perth and it take approx 1 hour 45 minutes. From Edinburgh the train services is via Stirling to Perth and the train travel time is about 2 hours. The alternative use of bus is not recommended as in both cases there may be at minimum 1 change but in may circumstances 2 or 3 and the travel time is about an hour longer to the train alternative.
The bus number is Stagecoach Bus No 57 Perth to Blairgowrie. Journey time approx 50 minutes

Once in the area of the walk there are limited services between Blairgowrie and any of the stopping points with the exception of Alyth. On this route the bus number is Stagecoach Bus No 57 and the travel time is15 minutes.
For Bridge of Cally there are two route operating these being the No 874 and the No 71, both run by Stagecoach. There tends to be a more frequent service when the schools are in term. A post bus service also operates but the timings are long. Expect the buses to take about 15 minutes.
The locations of Kirkmichael and Enochdhu are served by the No 71 to Tarvie and some of the limited journeys are also restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays. If running they will take about 35 minutes from Enochdhu and 25 from Kirkmichael.
There are no meaningful services to the Spittal of Glenshee or to Kirkton of Glenisla other then post bus services that are too infrequent and very time consuming. The use of private hire / taxi is recommended in these circumstances.

Useful Contact Numbers


Return to topic list by clicking here.

Refreshments

This is a walk where you can only rely on finding shops and eating places on certain sections of the Trail.

Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael
Plenty of shops at the start in which to buy a packed lunch. Only one stopping point on the section, this being the Bridge of Cally Hotel where bar meals can be had or the General Store and Post Office where snacks can be bought.
Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee
A single shop at the start in which to buy a packed lunch. No stopping point on the section for purchased food but you can stop over at the Lunch Hut if you want a bench and table to sit at for you packed meal. On arrival at the end of a shorter section there is the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel where bar meals can be had.
Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkton of Glenisla
No shops at any point in which to buy a packed lunch. Neither is there any location where food is on offer until the end of the section at the Glenilsa Hotel.
Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth
No shops at any point in which to buy a packed lunch. Neither is there any location where food is on offer until the end of the section at Alyth
Alyth to Blairgowrie
Plenty of shops at the start in which to buy a packed lunch. Only one stopping point on the section, this being the Bridge of Cally Hotel where bar meals can be had or the General Store and Post Office where snacks can be bought.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Walking Kit

What the walker carries is to some extent a personal choice and a compromise between essential - desirable and space - weight.
For many walkers the ideal is to have the overnight luggage forwarded from place to place leaving you only with the need to carry the kit for the days walk. On the Cateran Trail there is a service offered for door to door baggage transfer.
We list below what we feel you need in such circumstances.

Some of the kit relates to what you will be wearing, the balance what you will take in the rucksack.

  • The most important kit relates to walking boots and sock, without this being correct and walked in your chances of completion or of enjoying the Path are unlikely. This is a walk that needs waterproof good quality boots for all of the sections.
  • Clothing that provides comfort, warmth and breaks the wind is vital, along with waterproof jacket and leggings for times of poorer weather.
  • Hat and gloves, there are thermal and waterproof varieties. Remember that almost parts of the route are in the hills and mountains and the wind and temperature can be very different to that experienced on the same day but in the glens below.
The next consideration is what needs to be carried.
  • Rucksack which is of sufficient size and comfortable to carry. A waterproof cover is worth including or at least a bin liner of poly bags to protect the contents from the rain.
  • Sufficient water as well as other liquid refreshment
  • First aid kit including some blister pads
  • Compass, maps and whistle.
  • Other than in a very settled period or in the height of the summer we recommend that you carry a survival bag, in the hope that it will never be needed.
We believe the following are desirable items
  • Walking poles
  • Gaiters to protect your legs and trousers in muddy conditions
  • Insect repellent and sun block (dependent on time of year)
  • Folding umbrella - to some this may seem unacceptable and we would have fallen into this camp until walking with two very experience international walkers. They used them to shed off the worst of the downpours keeping the clothing on the body dry.
  • Camera and binocular - there is plenty of wildlife to seen.
  • Spare battery for mobile phone if you have one
This should be taken as a guide only, you should plan for the unexpected weather, and the unexpected difficulty that might mean you being in the open for longer than you anticipated. For this reason also look at the Emergency Precautions section.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Maps

The walk is well waymarked for the entire way using the logo as shown on the left. There are however some posts where other discs are also used so be certain that you follow the correct arrows (yellow on green background).
We would not advocate that the walker navigates purely by the waymarks but also carries up to date maps to a scale of atleast 1:50000. Walkers should come prepared with compass. The O/S Landranger maps relevant to the walk are Nos.43, 44, & 53.
The O/S Explorer maps (1:25000) required are Nos 381, 387 & 388.
Please be aware that the route as shown on the O/S maps is not totally up to date with the route as presently revised and detailed on this website. It may be helpful to therefore purchase the Route Direction Table as produced by Walking Support.

 

There is also a combined guide book and map for the Trail produced by Racksack Readers this being on sale via their website www.rucsacs.com or through a range of local bookshops and Visitor Centres.
By clicking on the image or the URL link above you can get more information and purchase online.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Weather

This can vary from day to day and section to section. Being in the Scottish Highland and having many parts in excess of 1500 feet and some over 2000 feet, the conditions can be very variable and quick changing

For information on the weather forecast within the region you can call Weathercall. (This is a premium rate telephone service run by the Met Office.)
Relevant Region and Dial Number:
Tayside
Complete route
09014 722 073

Alternatively access the Met Office Website.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Communications

Communications in the form of mobile phones cannot be relied upon throughout the entire route with significant sections where the signal may be lost totally. There is also a wide variation between networks, with some providers servicing the Glenisla region and other leaving this area blank.
In addition the walk passes through some communities where there is the provision of public telephones, this being the case at Blairgowrie, Enochdhu, Forter and Alyth.

It is therefore on this trail good practice to leave a note with someone to indicate your walking route for the day and the anticipated arrival time. Accidents and emergencies can happen and it could be in one of the less frequently walked sections.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Emergency Precautions

The walk in the middle stages takes you into more remote and higher paths where you may not see others for some period of time. These are also areas where the terrain may be more uneven and demanding and there are few points of natural shelter.

We recommend that on all sections and especially north of Enochdhu and Kirkton of Glenisla there is a person proficient with the use of a compass and who carries with then a set of appropriate maps. We also recommend that for every group there is a message left with a responsible person detailing the route being walked by the group, and the expected time of arrival at the end of that day. We have additionally suggested that in the group's kit there is a first aid kit and a survival bag should one of the group get injured or become unwell and therefore cannot be immediately taken off the trail.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

Ordnance Survey Direction Table

This route is well waymarked and is also defined on the Landranger maps. There have been some minor changes in the route over the years and therefore some of the Landranger details will not match the current day route. However even with these details it may be helpful to have a table of grid references with defined details for what to do at these key points.
Walking Support (an associate business) has surveyed the complete route using GPS to plot all the key points. To obtain a copy of this directional table simply click below on the "BUY NOW" button and for 2.90, which you can pay on-line, you will be sent by e-mail attachment a Word Document containing this valuable data. Allow up to 2 working days from payment for receipt of data.

Return to topic list by clicking here.

©Copyright   I-Net Support
Designed by I-NetSupport