If you’re looking to challenge yourself this year, get out and explore Scotland, get fit and explore the history and heritage of the country, then this blog might be for you.
Who were the Caterans?
In the middle ages, cattle thieves known as the Caterans terrorized the areas around Glenshee. The gaelic ‘ceatharn’ (warrior) was once used to refer to highland clans, but latterly became associated with cattle rustling. They had largely disappeared by the 17th Century and know they are remembered through the name of the area they once lived in.
What is the Cateran Trail?
This 103km walking route takes you through Perthshire, linking several small villages along the way. The walk is divided into 5 stages, so can be attempted over 5 days, or visitors can choose to do only a part of the walk. The circular route means that it is easy to join anywhere. The route connects Blaircowrie, Kirkmichael, Spittal of Glenshee, Glenisla and Alyth.
What is the Cateran Eco Museum?
The Eco Museum highlights a number of sites of historical interest. Everything from Pictish Stones to old mills from Perthshire’s industrial past. The Eco museum sites are located on the Cateran Trail, so you can check them out while walking, or take a trip to visit them individually.
What’s on the way?
Blairgowrie is a bustling market town on the beautiful River Ericht. A great selection of shops on the high street including second hand book stores, arts and crafts, and lots of places to get a bite to eat or something to drink. The Wellmeadow green often hosts events and markets. If you are lucky enough to be in town when there is an event on it is worth checking out. Blairgowrie is also known for growing much of Perthshire’s soft fruit and is home to the World ‘Jampionships’, so a summer visit isn’t complete without sampling some delicious berries. For history lovers, check out the remnants of the old jute and flax mills that were a major part of the town’s industrial history.
Kirkmichael Kirk has an corner of unmarked graves believed to belong to those who succumbed to the Black Death (Gaelic: Galor Mor) in 1350. The Bannerfield by Kirkmichael is the place where in 1715 John Erskine raised his flag in support of King James, allying himself with the Jacobite Rising.
Nearby Dirnanean Garden is open from June to August with a small price for upkeep. A tour of the garden begins at the museum which has a collection of old gardening tools and local historical artefacts. The walled garden, shrubbery and orchard can all be visited as well as a highland garden with wild flowers. Also near Dirnanean is the ‘Lunch Hut’ built in 1950. It is believed Queen Victoria passed this spot with her companion John Brown on one of her highland visits in 1865.
The route through Glenshee and Glenisla passed through stunning scenery and it is possible to see red deer and eagles.
Alyth Museum is open from May to September and includes many objects relating to Perthshire’s agricultural past. Arthurian legend has it that Queen Guinevere was held captive by King Mordred at nearby Barry Hill.
Find out more about The Cateran Trail: https://www.pkct.org/cateran-trail
Find out more about the Cateran Eco-museum: https://cateranecomuseum.co.uk