|Length||103 km (64 mi)|
|Location||Perth & Kinross and Angus, Scotland|
|Designation||Scotland's Great Trails|
|Trailheads||Circular, usually Blairgowrie |
|Elevation gain/loss||2,470 metres (8,100 ft) gain|
|Highest point||653 metres (2,144 ft)|
|Lowest point||59 metres (195 ft)|
The Cateran Trail is a 103-kilometre (64 mi) circular long-distance walking route in central Scotland. The trail has no official beginning or end and can be joined at any stage. The route was established, way-marked and is now maintained by, the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust. A variety of terrain is covered by the trail including farmland, mountains and forest. The path itself follows old drovers' roads, minor paved roads and farm tracks and can be walked in 4 or 5 days. It is now designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by NatureScot. As of 2018 it was estimated that around 8,000 people were using the trail each year.
The Cateran Trail is typically walked in 5 stages, with the stopping points being determined by the availability of accommodation and the walker's fitness. Generally, the trail is started at Blairgowrie and the clockwise direction is taken towards Kirkmichael, Spittal of Glenshee, Kirkton of Glenisla then Alyth. Throughout the walk, the path is well marked. Some waymark posts feature the gnarled faces of drovers (or alternatively caterans, cattle raiders for whom the Trail is named) carved into the edge of the post while most display the Cateran trail logo; a green ring enclosing a red heart on a white background. [ citation needed ]Due to the large number of stiles, the trail is mostly unsuitable for cyclists, and dogs must be kept on a short lead or under control where the path crosses fields with young livestock.
The Cateran Trail has been linked with the hobby of geocaching: each of the "drover's face" posts is numbered, and further information about each one can be obtained by entering the number into the www.geochaching.com website. Additionally, a "passport" is available for walkers to record geocaches found along the way, with points available for visiting each one, or getting a stamp from participating businesses along the way. Small commemorative coins are awarded depending on the number of points scored.
Starting from the centre of Blairgowrie, the trail follows the River Ericht before climbing onto the wide expanse of Cochrage moor. After descending close to Bridge of Cally, the path comes to a T-junction where walkers can opt to travel towards Kirkmichael or Alyth. Following the signs to Kirkmichael, the trail enters Blackcraig forest and offers some fine views over Strathardle. This section is 24.9 kilometres (15.5 mi) in length.
Although this section is, at 13.7 kilometres (8.5 mi), the shortest section in terms of length, it is here where the trail reaches the highest point on the route and so presents its own unique challenges. Skirting Kindrogan wood on the West side of Strathardle, the path passes Tullochcurran Loch before crossing the river into Enochdhu. From here, the trail begins its long ascent through forest and open hillside to the col (An Lairig) between Ben Earb and Meall Uaine. On the ascent there is a wooden shelter known as the Dirnanean Estate upper lunch hut. After the mountain pass, the path quickly descends into Spittal of Glenshee.
This leg of the journey begins with a leisurely walk down Glen Shee. Just after Westerton of Runavey, there is an alternative route to the left which climbs through some rough terrain to Loch Beanie and rejoins the main trail at Forter. The main route continues to follow Shee Water to the grounds of the superb Dalnaglar Castle. Now the route follows the B951 to Forter. Another side path climbs Mount Blair, which offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside on a clear day. Between Forter and Kirkton of Glenisla, the trail loops around Auchintaple Loch and descends by Loch Shandra. This section is 23.5 kilometres (14.6 mi) long.
Over this stage the scenery mellows as the path returns toward Strathmore. To start this section, walk west on the road from the Glenisla Hotel until the primary school, turn left and cross the iron bridge. Here the path climbs rapidly over moorland before passing by a string of farms. A short diversion to the spectacular Reekie Linn is well worthwhile. Finally the trail passes between Hill of Alyth and Hill of Loyal prior to reach the village of Alyth, a distance of 17.4 kilometres (10.8 mi) from the Kirkton.
North of the village, the trail climbs Hill of Alyth and passes through the extensive Bamff estate. From here, the route follows a quiet country road and passes through some mixed woodland before descending into Bridge of Cally. The final section of the Cateran Trail follows the same track as the very first stage, this time returning to Blairgowrie for a total distance of 24.1 kilometres (15.0 mi). An alternative, and much shorter route exists between Alyth and Blairgowrie. The trail progresses through the wooded Den of Alyth before passing the Tullyfergus farms and through Drimmie woods into Blairgowrie.
Perthshire, officially the County of Perth, is a historic county and registration county in central Scotland. Geographically it extends from Strathmore in the east, to the Pass of Drumochter in the north, Rannoch Moor and Ben Lui in the west, and Aberfoyle in the south; it borders the counties of Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire to the north, Angus to the east, Fife, Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire to the south and Argyllshire to the west. It was a local government county from 1890 to 1930.
The West Highland Way is a linear long-distance route in Scotland. It is 154 km long, running from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, with an element of hill walking in the route. The trail, which opened in 1980, was Scotland's first officially designated Long Distance Route, and is now designated by NatureScot as one of Scotland's Great Trails. It is primarily intended as a long distance walking route, and whilst many sections are suitable for mountain biking and horseriding there are obstacles and surfaces that will require these users to dismount in places.
Perth and Kinross is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland and a Lieutenancy Area. It borders onto the Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Fife, Highland and Stirling council areas. Perth is the administrative centre. With the exception of a large area of south-western Perthshire, the council area mostly corresponds to the historic counties of Perthshire and Kinross-shire.
The Pennine Way is a National Trail in England, with a small section in Scotland. The trail stretches for 268 miles (431 km) from Edale, in the northern Derbyshire Peak District, north through the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park and ends at Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border. The path runs along the Pennine hills, sometimes described as the "backbone of England". Although not the United Kingdom's longest National Trail, it is according to The Ramblers "one of Britain's best known and toughest".
Blairgowrie and Rattray is a twin burgh in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Locals refer to the town as "Blair". Blairgowrie is the larger of the two former burghs which were united by an Act of Parliament in 1928 and lies on the southwest side of the River Ericht while Rattray is on the northeast side. Rattray claims to be the older and certainly Old Rattray, the area round Rattray Kirk, dates back to the 12th century. New Rattray, the area along the Boat Brae and Balmoral Road dates from 1777 when the River was spanned by the Brig o' Blair. The town lies on the north side of Strathmore at the foot of the Grampian Mountains. The west boundary is formed by the Knockie, a round grassy hill, and Craighall Gorge on the Ericht. Blairgowrie and Rattray developed over the centuries at the crossroads of several historic routes with links from the town to Perth, Coupar Angus, Alyth and Braemar. The roads to Coupar Angus and Braemar form part of General Wade's military road from Perth to Fort George. The town's centrepiece is the Wellmeadow, a grassy triangle in the middle of town which hosts regular markets and outdoor entertainment.
Alyth is a town in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 5 miles northeast of Blairgowrie and about 17 miles northwest of Dundee. In 2016 the town had an estimated population of 2,400.
North Tayside was a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1983 until 2005. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first-past-the-post voting system.
The Great Glen Way is a long distance path in Scotland. It follows the Great Glen, running from Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast, covering 125 kilometres (78 mi). It was opened in 2002, and is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by NatureScot. The Great Glen Way is generally walked from southwest to northeast to follow the direction of the prevailing wind. It can be walked in 5–7 days, or cycled in 2–3 days. The trail is maintained and improved by the Great Glen Ways partnership, which consists of Highland Council, Scottish Canals and Forestry and Land Scotland. About 30,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 4,500 complete the entire route.
The Spittal of Glenshee lies at the head of Glenshee in the highlands of eastern Perth and Kinross, Scotland where the confluence of many small streams flowing south out of the Grampians form the Shee Water. For centuries, there has been a hostel or inn at the site and, in modern times, the small village has become a centre for travel, tourism and winter sports in the region, sited at a bend on the A93 trunk road which leads from Blairgowrie north past the Spittal to the Glenshee Ski Centre and on to Braemar.
Glen Shee is a glen in eastern Perthshire, Scotland. Shee Water flows through the glen. The head of the glen, where Gleann Taitneach and Glen Lochsie meet, is approximately 2 km north-west of the Spittal of Glenshee; it then runs south-east to Bridge of Cally where it merges with Strathardle to form Glen Ericht. Once known as the glen of the fairies it takes its name from the Gaelic "sith" meaning fairy and the old meeting place at the standing stone behind the present day church is called Dun Shith or Hill of the Fairies.
The Cairnwell Pass is a mountain pass on the A93 road between Glen Shee, Perthshire, and Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in the Scottish Highlands. The border between the two counties crosses the summit of the pass. With a summit altitude of 670 m (2199 ft), the Cairnwell Pass is the highest main road in the United Kingdom, and at the summit is the Glenshee Ski Centre, Scotland's largest and oldest ski centre. Historically, the pass was a drover's route from the Lowlands to the Highlands. The road is often blocked by snow in the winter, with snow gates at Braemar, at the summit, and at the Spittal of Glenshee.
Kirkmichael is a village located in Strathardle, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It is 13 miles north-northwest of Blairgowrie and 12 miles east-northeast of Pitlochry on the A924 Bridge of Cally to Pitlochry road, and is linked to the A93 Perth to Aberdeen road by the B950. The village is centred around Kirkmichael Bridge over the River Ardle.
Glas Tulaichean is a large, complex Scottish mountain located approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) south of Braemar in Perth and Kinross. It is the highest of a group of domed hills which lie in remote land between the head of Glen Tilt and Glen Shee to the east. It is most commonly climbed from the Spittal of Glenshee via Glen Lochsie to the south.
The Rob Roy Way is a Scottish long distance footpath that runs from Drymen in Stirling to Pitlochry in Perth and Kinross. The path was created in 2002, and takes its name from Rob Roy MacGregor, a Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century. It traverses countryside that he knew and travelled frequently. The route crosses the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological fault where the Highlands meet the Lowlands. Views from the trail overlook Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Loch Venachar and Loch Tay. The way is 127 kilometres (79 mi) in length if the direct route along the southern shore of Loch Tay and the River Tay is followed between Ardtalnaig and Aberfeldy. An optional loop also links these places via Amulree: choosing this option increases the length by a further 27 kilometres (17 mi) to 154 kilometres (96 mi).
Craigie is a hamlet 3+3⁄4 miles west of Blairgowrie, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It is situated on the eastern side of Loch Clunie.
Dirnanean House is part of a private, traditional Highland estate located near Enochdhu in Moulin parish, Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 10 miles ENE of Pitlochry. The Dirnanean estate is situated adjacent to the 64-mile waymarked Cateran Trail.
Bridge of Cally is a small village in Kirkmichael parish, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It sits at the junction of three glens, Glenshee, Strathardle and Glenericht and is centred round the bridge over the River Ardle 200m before it joins the Black Water to form the River Ericht. The A93 road from Perth to Aberdeen crosses the bridge where it forms a junction with the A924 road to Kirkmichael and Pitlochry. The village is on the Cateran Trail long-distance path, and is popular in winter as it is near the Glen Shee skiing area.
The River Ayr Way is a long-distance path in Ayrshire, Scotland. The route, which is 66 km long, follows the course of the River Ayr from its source at Glenbuck Loch to the sea at Ayr, where the trail links with the Ayrshire Coastal Path. The path was developed as part of the Coalfield Access Project, a funding package of £2.5m that was used to improve public access to the countryside in the former mining districts of Ayrshire. The route was officially opened in 2006 by broadcaster Fred Macaulay, and is now designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by NatureScot. As of 2018 about 137,000 people were using the path each year, of whom about 41,000 walked the entire route.
Dalnaglar Castle is a 19th-century castle, about 6.0 kilometres (3.7 mi) south of Spittal of Glenshee, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, on the east of the Shee Water.
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