Castle lies at the southern end of the Drumochter Pass and, together with
Ruthven Castle at the north end, was built by the Comyn family to secure
their power right across the Scottish Highlands.
Blair Castle was first built around Comyn's Tower in 1269, and by the time
of Mary Queen of Scots' visit in 1564, the castle had been extended
southwards to include the Great Hall. Cromwell's troops captured the
castle during the Civil War, and in 1703 Queen Anne rewarded the family's
loyalty to the crown by creating the second Marquess as Duke of Atholl.
During the Jacobite rebellion in the eighteenth century, the castle was
held by the Hanoverians when it became the last private castle beseiged in
Britain, and General Lord George Murray, who had forfeited his inheritance
by supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie, laid siege to what had been his own
The castle is the traditional
home of the Dukes of Atholl. The present Duke, who lives in South Africa,
remains head of the famous Atholl Highlanders, Britain's only private
army. The castle itself stands in impressive scenery and was restyled as a
Georgian mansion in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1868 the
architect Sir David Bryce carried out further work when he remodelled the
castle to reinstate its earlier appearance.
A Guide to Blair Castle,
Hercules Garden, Diana's Grove and St Bride's Kirk
General Wade's fine five-arched bridge, built 1733, still spans
River Tay, overlooked by kilted figure on monument commemorating Black
Watch regiment. Dewar family's distillery open to visitors.
The Kirkton or village of Balquhidder is situated in the parish of
Balquhidder at the east end of Loch Voil, but the name is also applied to
the Braes of Balquhidder, an area, celebrated in a song by Robert
Tannahill, that extends along the lochside. Once the home of the Clan
MacLaren, it came to be more closely associated with the MacGregors,
especially Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) who lies buried adjacent to the
roofless old church of the parish along with his wife and two sons.
Rising 3984ft over Loch Tay's north shore, entire mountain is
national nature reserve. Visitor centre, 1400ft up southern slope, is
start of 1'/2 hour nature trail.
Birks of Aberfeldy
Network of burns cascades over stepped rocks, below Falls of Moness.
Footpaths weave their way through birch-clad sides of ravine, and nature
trail leads to footbridge above falls.
Pepper-pot turrets and castellated towers adorn granite buildings
of village, which stands at meeting point of several highland glens. Mill
dating from 17th century is still in operation on River Carry --its
products can be sampled.
Braes of Balquhidder
Steep glens and windswept hills, framed by mountain peaks to
north-west. Outlaw Rob Roy lived his last years here; he and other
MacGregors are buried in Balquhidder churchyard, his grave marked by slate
slab carved with kilted figure.
Castle built 1488 with later additions, seat of Clan Menzies chief.
Two towers and central block with four storeys. Copper cast of Bonnie
Prince Charlie's death mask on display. Castle also houses Clan Menzies
Clan Donnachaidh Museum
Purpose-built museum housing memorabilia of Donnachaidh clan, which
included several families. Relics from Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and
1745, tartans, glass, silver and books. Starting point for walk to Falls
Resort town at meeting point of two glens. Museum of Scottish
Tartans includes reconstructed weaver's cottage and plant dyes. Path up
Glen Lednock leads to Deil's Caldron, where river disappears through hole
Marked trail, north of Pitlochry, leads through woods to 1,300ft
summit of beacon hill. Views from summit across water meadows to
Visitor's centre has two walk-around craft factories, allowing
visitors to see pottery and paper-weights being made. Octagonal mercat
cross stands within iron railing. Old stocks stand near the 17th-century
Drummond Castle Gardens
Originally laid out in 1600s the gardens were Italianised about
1830. Terraces with geometrically shaped beds, lawns and hedges slope away
from medieval keep. John Mylne, Charles I's master mason, created obelisk
sundial furnished with 50 different faces.
Glengoulandie Deer Park
Red deer, Highland cattle and rare breeds of sheep roam free at
foot of Schiehallion peak.
Castle ruins and standing stones dot steep slopes of Scotland's
longest glen. MacGregor's Leap marks spot where ancestor of Rob Roy
bounded to safety across ravine. Fortingall is legendary birthplace of
Whisky distillery, established 1775, where traditional methods are
on display. Samplings of whiskies up to 21 years old are offered.
Restaurant and audio-visual theatre.
Scotland's first public library still exists. Founded 1691, library
now housed in 18th-century building. Rare Scottish books displayed,
including pocket Bible taken into battle by Montrose, general who won
brilliant victories in Scotland for Charles I. Church nearby dates from
Village on eastern shore of Loch Tay, noted for salmon fishing.
Bridge over River Tay here was built by Earl of Breadalbane in 1774. In
1787, Robert Burns wrote verse about view from bridge, copy in Kenmore
Fishing resort on Loch Tay with walking, climbing, skiing and
motoring in surrounding mountains. Finlarig Castle, former Campbell seat
built 1609, has beheading pit where crude guillotine, The Maiden, was
used. Falls of Dochart rush through town.
Winter sports resort in Spey Valley. Highland Folk Museum complex
has Hebridean black-house, water-powered clack mill, and 18th-century
shooting lodge. Inside are objects of everyday Highland life. Free tours
of nearby china factory.
Village at eastern end of Loch Rannoch. Car parks around loch
pro-vide views of 3554ft Schiehallion peak. Stone cottages, forge and
Reservoir created when Tummel was dammed in 1950; breeding site for
greylag geese. At southern end, salmon leap up fish pass in season. Forest
trails along east and north shores of loch.
Tummel flows into Tay here in narrow gorge of historic military
importance. In local churchyard are three mortsafes (metal frames
padlocked round coffins to deter body snatchers).
Short detour off Glen Lednock. Circular Walk leads to Dunmore Hill,
840ft, with obelisk in memory of Lord Melville. Fine views of Highlands.
In churchyard opposite the Moulin Inn are remains of the Old
Judging Tree, under which local justice was dispensed until 1746.
Churchyard has two medieval warrior graves. An Caisteal Dubh (black
castle) of 1320, now in ruins, was inhabited until 1500 when plague wiped
Village has 15th-century church with 12th-century tower. Local folk
museum housed in c. 1760 Georgian cottage.
Centre for walking, pony trekking at foot of Monadhliath Mountains
and head of Spey Valley. Clan Macpherson Museum displays historical relics
including 15th-century bagpipes. Path to Loch Dubh by 3087ft Carn Ban.
Pass of Killiecrankie
River Carry gorge where English were defeated by Jacobites under
Bonnie Dundee in 1689. Visitor centre explains battle's history. Soldiers
Leap is where English soldier sprang 18ft across ravine to escape his
Summer festival at hillside theatre above River Tummel. Highland
games take place each September. Scotland's smallest distillery lies
north-east of town. Viewing chamber allows public to watch salmon
struggling upstream at southern end of Loch Faskally.
Viewpoint of Loch Tummel's wooded valley, with Schiehallion's peak
in distance. Named after Queen Victoria's 1866 visit. Four way marked
paths through woodland; picnic spot with loch views. Steep trail to loch
Old and new woodlands south of Loch Rannoch. To west are Scots
pines, remnant of ancient Caledonian Forest. To east are stands of
recently planted larch, pine and spruce. Three marked trails from Cane car
About 60sq miles of peat bog with pools, lochs and burns. Haven for
wetland birds; treacherous for walkers in places. Surrounded by mountains.
Roadside ruins of English barracks built 1718. Built for troops
brought in to control Highlanders after 1715 rebellion, Highlanders
captured it 1746 and later blew it up to stop English using it again.
Church dating from 16th century contains notable 17th-century
wooden ceiling. Its 29 painted panels portray Biblical scenes and coats of
arms. Panels separated by paintings of fruit, vases of flowers and birds.
Village has late 15th-century church housing Menzies family
memorials and two crosses from 8th-century monastery.
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