Perthshire is the heart of Scotland, with lochs and woods, farms and small towns. Too often people just drive through it, because they want to get to the Highlands, but it is really worth slowing down to explore. It is where I choose to go for my short breaks. Pitlochry is a good place to stay, because from there you can take day trips. A few miles north is Blair Atholl, a small village and a large castle – Blair Castle, home of the Dukes of Atholl, who have the only private army in Britain, although they parade only on ceremonial occasions. In the village there is a small museum where you can learn about how life was quite different for the poorer people. Not far from here is the House of Bruar, several shops selling good-quality Scottish goods, but when you have done your shopping, look for the path to the Falls of Bruar, a stiff climb through woods alongside a river, but well worth it. In the evening in Pitlochry a good tip is to go for a walk by the dam and along the paths away from the main road or around the streets on the hill to admire the houses built in Victorian times. In the summer it is daylight until well after ten o’clock. For lunch visit Hettie’s Tearoom in the main street.
I have two additional day trips to recommend, both a mixture of scenery and places to visit. The first one is along Loch Tummel (stop off at the Queen’s View) and then on to Kinloch Rannoch and right to the end of the road of this road where there is the tiny Rannoch Railway Station. Here the train from Glasgow en route to Oban stops briefly, having crossed Rannoch Moor, one of the most remote areas of Scotland, which cannot be reached by road. Stop, look and listen to the silence, broken only by the call of the curlews. There is a tiny tearoom at the station, but check at the tourist information centre in Pitlochry for its opening hours. Another trip takes you on the A827, south of Pitlochry, heading west towards Aberfeldy. You can visit Bolfracks Garden, which is never overrun with tourists and has smaller gardens within it, so it is peaceful and takes time to explore properly. Next on this road is Dewar’s World of Whisky, where you can tour the distillery, have a dram and browse amongst the collection of old – and fascinating – advertisements. In the town of Aberfeldy a good place for lunch is the Watermill – good food, friendly staff, and a good bookshop. From the town centre you can walk to the Falls of Moness through the Birks of Aberfeldy woodlands and enjoy the spectacular views.
Next along this road is Kenmore, a lovely
village on the banks of Loch Tay. It is worth stopping to look around
and visit the Scottish Crannog, the replication of an ancient dwelling
built over the loch. I find it fascinating to see how the people of
Scotland used to live. If you take the road along the north side of Loch
Tay, turn off to Fortingall. Here there is a yew tree which is 3,000
years old, said to be the oldest living thing in Europe. Legend has it
that Pontius Pilate was born here, his father was part of the Roman army
and his mother a follower. If time permits, go west to Killin and then
back east along the south side of Loch Tay – quiet road where you have
to take time to admire the scenery.
From my point of view journeys of exploration from Pitlochry should include:
- Blair Atholl, Blair Castle, House of Bruar and the Falls of Bruar
- Loch Tummel, Loch Rannoch, Rannoch Moor
- Dewar’s World of Whisky, Aberfeldy, Loch Tay, Kenmore, Scottish Crannog Centre, Fortingall
-Professional Scotland Advisor
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