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Perthshire

What it's like

The hills of Highland Perthshire are big – Ben Lawers failing by only a couple of small schist boulders to reach the 4000ft level. And from Schiehallion to Atholl, from Rannoch to Ben Vrackie, there are a lot of them. They may lack the crags and glamour of Glen Coe and the Cairngorms: instead they offer grassy picnic places, small schisty knolls where wild flowers grow, solitude, and in places some serious remoteness.

The bigness, but not the solitude, apply to Perthshire's two popular mountains. Ben Lawers has a well-built and busy trail from its visitor centre –more serious mountain lovers may prefer the more interesting Meall nan Tarmachan alongside. Schiehallion too has a well-constructed path and great views of Loch Tummel; again, confident hillwalkers will enjoy those same views from many less frequented hills.

Being at the eastern side of the Highlands, Perthshire has rather more sunshine and a bit less rain. So its valleys can be pleasingly bog-free. Green trackways from Blair Atholl, and made paths around Pitlochry or the Black Wood of Rannoch, offer low-level walking as good as any in the Highlands. If you like your low walks really long, there's the 5-day, 64-mile Cateran Trail out of Blairgowrie. Celebrate the lawless rogues who stole cattle hereabouts along their hill raiding paths, as well as minor roads, around the county.

Then there's Lowland Perthshire, a civilised corner. Whether Perth is a small city or a very large town, it's a place to while away a half day in the Georgian centre or along the banks of the River Tay.

Recommended routes

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Meall nan Tarmachan Perthshire's most interesting Munro (3000-footer), with a ridge that's rather rocky and great views over Loch Tay. Just to be helpful, the car park's already half way up.
River Tummel to Pitlochry From Killiecrankie down to Loch Faskally, this is Scotland's big river experience, on good paths all the way. One possible return is over Ben Vrackie.
Knock of Crieff A titchy hill in couthie (cosy and civilised) Crieff, with views of Highland and Lowland

Must see and do

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Blair Castle Equally impressive inside and out, with great walks up into Glen Tilt
www.blair-castle.co.uk
Dance the Duke of Perth It's a Scottish country dance involving a lot of twirling in the corners. Beginner-friendly ceileidhs (evenings of dance and music) are held at the imposing Crieff Hydro Hotel (www.crieffhydro.com) and many other places
www.rscds.org
Be beneath a big tree, please Perthshire is 'Big Tree Country' with the Fortingall yew (over 2000 years old), the world's highest hedge (40m) at Meikleour, Macbeth's Birnham Wood near Dunkeld, the birks of Aberfeldy as sung by Robert Burns, and ancient pines at the Black Wood of Rannoch. www.perthshirebigtreecountry.co.uk

Walker friendly accommodation

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Major calendar events

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Highlander Challenge World Championship
19 - 20 July 2008
Over two days, a combination Highland Games and TV-style 'Gladiator' contest.
01738 552300

Iron Age Olympics
6 August 2008

The Celtic challenge; spear throwing, water races etc. Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, 01887 830583


Crieff Highland Gathering and Fayre in the Square
16 August 2008 (Fayre) 17 August 2008 (Games)

Blairgowrie & East Perthshire Walking Festival
3 - 9 October 2008

Ambitious and varied programme includes Birnam Wood, the whole of the Cateran Trail, Meall nan Tarmachan, and a 3000ft mountain done in the dark.
01828 640763

The Crieff & Strathearn Drovers Tryst
 11 - 18 October 2008

Walking festival, sadly without the 30,000 cows that attended the original event (an end of season party for the long-distance cattlemen who drove the cattle on foot from the Highlands to Crieff market). But including the 'hairy coo' mountain bike event, introductory rock-climbing, and the dreadful 'let's tryst again' slogan.
01764 652578 (Crieff TI)

 

Local gear shops

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Useful contacts

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Scone Palace

Informative site on the Scone Palace

www.scone-palace.co.uk

Cateran Trail

Two websites detailing the Cateran Trail

www.pkct.org/caterantrail
www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/uswalks/caterantrail/

Perthshire Guide

An official guide to Perthshire

www.perthshire-scotland.co.uk

Visit Scotland (Perthshire)

Contact information and website for Perthshire information

www.perthshire.co.uk
Tel: 01738 450600 (Perth) or 01796 472215/472751 (Pitlochry)

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