Of Scotland, Blair Castle
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 house.
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.
places to visit in this area include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
baronial castle, home to Dukes of Atholl. Restored to Gothic style
in 1868. Rooms filled with fine furniture, paintings, tapestries,
arms, clothes telling story of Highland life from 1500.
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.
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
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
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 in rock.
trail, north of Pitlochry, leads through woods to 1,300ft summit
of beacon hill. Views from summit across water meadows to Schiehallion'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
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.
deer, Highland cattle and rare breeds of sheep roam free at foot
of Schiehallion peak.
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
distillery, established 1775, where traditional methods are on
display. Samplings of whiskies up to 21 years old are offered.
Restaurant and audio-visual theatre.
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
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 Hotel.
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.
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.
at eastern end of Loch Rannoch. Car parks around loch provide
views of 3554ft Schiehallion peak. Stone cottages, and shops.
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.
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).
detour off Glen Lednock. Circular Walk leads to Dunmore Hill,
840ft, with obelisk in memory of Lord Melville. Fine views of
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
has 15th-century church with 12th-century tower. Local folk museum
housed in c. 1760 Georgian cottage.
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
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
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.
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
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
60sq miles of peat bog with pools, lochs and burns. Haven for
wetland birds; treacherous for walkers in places. Surrounded by
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.
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
has late 15th-century church housing Menzies family memorials
and two crosses from 8th-century monastery.