Pitlochry & Area
Pitlochry & Tayside has to be one of my favourite areas in Scotland. Many visitors fly past on the A9 or (to the west of Loch Tay) the A82, not knowing the what stunning vistas, beautiful castles, and many, many, many other places of special interest they are overlooking.
We’re going to rectify that.
The fact is that there is so much to see and do in the area that I’m only going to be able to scratch the surface here – for more details, check out the links at the bottom of the post. I hope that you’ll see that the Pitlochry & Tayside area is well worth considering for a base on your next trip to Scotland.
First of all, it is likely best to start off with Pitlochry itself. A town of about 3000 people, Pitlochry grew into a tourist resort largely thanks to Queen Victoria visiting the area in 1842 and the railway arriving in 1863 – and with it, bringing more tourists. In addition to just wandering around enjoying the Victorian architecture, you might want to check out a few of the local artisans and museums…
Angus Clyne is a woodturner and photographer who even does special one day courses on woodturning. http://www.angusclyne.co.uk/
Melt Gallery specialises in unusual jewellery and Scottish art. http://www.meltgallery.com/
In 2005, a local group set up a small used bookshop to raise money for charity. They have donated more than £208 371 to charity since opening. http://www.pitlochrystationbookshop.co.uk/
If you are interested in learning more about the social history of the area, a wee visit to the Pitlochry & Moulin Heritage Centre is recommended. http://www.pitlochryandmoulinheritagecentre.co.uk
Whisky lovers will be spoiled for choice in the Pitlochry area. In addition to Blair Athol, the Edradour and Dewars distilleries are a short drive away. As a bit of a self-confessed whisky snob, I have to say that I was surprised to learn about the complexities involved in creating blends such as Bell’s and Dewar’s. When you think about it, the ability to create and maintain the same expression over and over, using different combinations of many different whiskies is quite a feat indeed.
The Great Outdoors
Whether you are interested in walking, playing golf, cycling, fishing, kayaking, or taking part in something more adventurous like Munro bagging, white water rafting, or bungee jumping, the options to participate in such activities abound in the Pitlochry area.
Walking – You will likely have seen us refer elsewhere to the Walk Highlands website. It really is an invaluable resource if you are looking for inspiration regarding walking destinations. They very helpfully have a catalogue of all of the walks in a given area, along with information on level of difficulty, distance and (estimated) times. From short walks to beauty spots like the Falls of Bruar and the royally named Queen’s View to over a dozen proper hill walks that take you to the top of local ‘Munros’ (mountains over 3000 ft), there is something for every level of fitness. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/pitlochry.shtml
Golf – While the game of golf is not really my bag, I’d be remiss if I did not include some information about the local options for those who do enjoy strolling around and hitting wee white balls with sticks. Originally designed in 1908 by Willie Fernie of Troon (Troon – now, I don’t know much about golf, but I have to admit even I know that Troon and golf go together like… well, many things that go together!), what makes the Pitlochry Golf Club particularly worthy of note is that it has recently been nominated by Golf World, the UK’s leading golf magazine, as one of its 66 “Hidden Gems”. http://www.pitlochrygolf.co.uk
Water Sports – Whether you enjoy a more laid back or adrenaline filled approach to water, you can find places to indulge both in the area. Loch Faskally was formed when the Tummel Valley was dammed for the Hydro scheme at Pitlochry. It was the last of the dams in the Hydro scheme and there is a major power station at its base. Built into the dam is not only a fish ladder, but also a public viewing gallery, from April to October you will often see salmon as they pass through the ladder. Around 5500 ascend the dam every year.
If something a little more active is of interest, you might want to check out what is on offer at the Taymouth Marina or the white water rafting options on the River Tay or River Tummel.
And if THAT is not enough to get your engine going, there is – believe it or not – even bungee jumping just down the road at Killicrankie. https://www.bungeejumpscotland.co.uk/
As mentioned earlier – this just scratches the surface of the many options for those who enjoy outdoor activities in the Pitlochry & Loch Tay area.
The Scottish Crannog Centre
Crannog: typically a partially or entirely artificial island, often constructed in waterways of one sort of another, and commonly found in Scotland or Ireland. If you’ve not heard of them before, I’m not surprised, but if you are interested in Scottish history, they are definitely worth knowing about and a visit to the Scottish Crannog Centre will sort that all out. Crannogs were used as dwellings for over 5000 years and as late as the 17th/early 18th century. Crannogs have been variously interpreted as free-standing wooden structures, as at Loch Tay, although more commonly they exist as brush, stone or timber mounds that can be built upon a foundation of timber piles. Today, crannogs typically appear as small, circular islets, often 10 to 30 metres (30 to 100 ft) in diameter, covered in dense vegetation due to their inaccessibility to grazing livestock. The reconstructed Crannog at Loch Tay and the interactive centre will definitely shift any preconceived assumptions about how the ancient residents of what we now call Scotland used to live. http://www.crannog.co.uk/
The House of Bruar
For the shoppers among us, a trip to the Pitlochry area without a stop at the House of Bruar is like visiting London without going to Oxford Street. Dubbed ‘The Harrod’s of the North’ (I will leave it to you to decide whether that is a compliment or otherwise), the House of Bruar is a pretty impressive shopping centre, with a garden section, upmarket clothing, restaurant and (my personal favourite) a food hall featuring an impressive amount of Scottish fare.
To be honest, Blair Atholl likely deserves a blog post all to itself. And in time, it might get one. But for now this will have to do. Many people would recognise the stark white of Blair Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Atholl and home to the Atholl Highlanders, Britain’s only private army. In fact, you could probably spend a day just visiting the castle and exploring the gardens and parkland.
But that is not all the Blair Atholl area has to offer. Check out the link for more information… http://www.blairatholl.org.uk/
This stretch of magical Perthshire forest was originally designed as a pleasure ground in the 18th century for the Dukes of Atholl. Douglas firs tower over the paths leading to the roaring Black Linn Falls, where the River Braan crashes down into the deep, foaming pools below. Overlooking the waterfall is the picturesque folly known as Ossian’s Hall, built in 1757 as the focal point in an extensive designed landscape. Decorated with mirrors, sliding panels and paintings, it has been refurbished to re-create the illusions of shock, surprise and amazement that were the aims of the folly’s original design. It makes a fine spot to contemplate the roaring, tumbling falls. http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/The-Hermitage