|Blairgowrie via Bridge of Cally to Kirkmichael
15 miles / 24 kilometres
Starting altitude - 195 Ft / Highest point - 895 Ft / End altitude - 719 Ft
Ahead lies a very varied and interesting walk, moving from the low land of Strathmore into the Highland Hills and scenery bordering onto the Cairngorms National Park.
The starting point is at the car park on Lower Mill Street and immediately heads NW along the side of the River.
The Ericht is a tributary of the Tay, the Ericht getting its clear waters from the Ardle and Shee Water, these being rivers that play an important part in the landscape that will be enjoyed for significant parts of the Trail.
The Ericht is fast flowing at this point and is very deep in parts. In the past it was also a source of power for the Mills, some
of the buildings now renovated and visible from the walk.
Near the point where the Lornty Burn enters the Ericht the Trail changes direction and for a short distance cuts back
towards Blairgowrie before it heads off west along a country track as it makes it way to Gormack. The views are now to the west looking to the expanse of the Forest of Clunie and to the hills behind Dunkeld.
As the track reaches the end at East Gormack the route passes by a farm building that is more correctly a packing and
processing shed for the important soft fruit industry of the area. Blairgowrie and surrounding countryside is especially
renowned for its raspberries. Past the shed the walk is onto the edge of a range of fields before its direction changes
to the north and passes through Middleton Farm.
The countryside is now starting to change with a further elevation as the trail heads onto the moors of Drumlochy and
Cochrage. This relative flat heather clad expanse offers the walker new vistas of the surrounding countryside and allows
the walker to see the countryside of Strathardle on the left, the Forest of Alyth ahead and to the right the Hill of
Alyth and the general countryside associated with the last section of this walk.
As the trail reaches the end of the long straight path over Muir of Cochrage the direction changes towards the north east picking up the line of an old military road that ran from Blairgowrie north into Glen Shee. This is also a point where the walk starts a descent towards Bridge of Cally, first over open land and then entering woods that are at the eastern corner of Blackcraig Forest.
After a number of twists and turns the forest walk reaches a “T” junction with another Cateran Trail display board ahead and a finger post that will help to direct the walker on their way to Kirkmichael or Alyth.
For the purposes of this website we are assuming that the trail walker will be undertaking the route in a clockwise direction although there is no reason why it could not be done in the reverse direction.
The Blackcraig Forest is on the south and west side of the River Ardle and the trail follows one of the main forest roads as it curves west to north west and gradually ascends. The tree line is sufficiently well back from the route that there are good views on the right over the lower reaches of Strathardle.
Shortly the walk leaves the forest and still staying at an elevated height, and a slight distance from the Ardle River below
it, head towards Blackcraig Castle then a few houses at Woodhill close to the community of Ballintuim. This is all very
pleasant walking with little in the way of hills and pleasantly on path, field track or farm road.
At Dalnabreck the trail takes a sudden left hand turn up the side of a wood then turn right over a stile and onto a slightly higher level hillside. This is rough grazing land on the lower slopes of Meall Dubh and Creag nam Mial and dependent on the recent weather it can be much slower to traverse to that encountered in earlier section along Strathardle.
This section does not last for long and at the corner of a tree section the trail turns right and crosses the Pitcarmick Burn at a small pedestrian bridge. One last section of open land is crossed before the trail meets up with a country track that is now followed all the way to Kirkmichael.
On the track into Kirkmichael the route passes houses at Dalvey, Cultalonie and Balchrochan, crosses the Black Burn then enters Kirkmichael past the old and now empty church. The end of this section is in reality on the east side of the Ardle River at the hotel, but if the walkers were heading straight on to Enochdhu they would remain on the west side avoiding the centre of this small community.
Opposite the Hotel there is another of the Cateran Trail information boards and this one tell of the history behind the
Kirkmichael Fairs. Again, from this description, one can gather the importance in the middle ages of the cattle trade and
the need for so many drove road, this all being an encouragement to the illegal happening of the Caterans.
|Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael via Bridge of Cally | Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee | Spittal to Kirkton of Glenisla | Spittal to Kirkton of Glenisla via Loch Beanie | Kirkton to Alyth | Alyth to Blairgowrie via Bridge of Cally | Alyth to Blairgowrie via Drimmie Woods|
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