Glen Shee

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Glen Shee
Glen Shee (Scotland)

Coordinates: 56°48′N3°26′W / 56.800°N 3.433°W / 56.800; -3.433

A by-passed Glen Shee Bridge Old bridge at Spittal of Glenshee - - 1232429.jpg
A by-passed Glen Shee Bridge
The rebuilt Spittal of Glenshee Hotel before the August 2014 fire Spittal of Glenshee Hotel - - 1232393.jpg
The rebuilt Spittal of Glenshee Hotel before the August 2014 fire
Part of The Devil's Elbow Devilselbow2009.jpg
Part of The Devil's Elbow
A view of Glen Shee from the Spittal Glenshee from the Spittal.jpg
A view of Glen Shee from the Spittal

Glen Shee (Scottish Gaelic : Gleann Sith) is a glen in eastern Perthshire, Scotland. [1] [2] 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 main settlement is the Spittal of Glenshee, now by-passed, which has a historic hotel, first run by monks from Coupar Angus Abbey to provide shelter and hospitality for travellers, hence the name "Spittal", an outdoor activity centre, self-catering lodges, the church and an original General Wade humpback bridge. The first record of a refuge for travellers there dates back to 961 AD. Over the centuries it has had an unenviable record of being destroyed by fire and in 1959 it was destroyed to be rebuilt in a Scandinavian style only to completely destroyed again in 2014. Currently it is a burned out shell.

Other old settlements are at Finegand, Dalnaglar, Lair where there is a craft shop, cafe and tourist information point known as The Wee House, Cray, Mountblair, Blacklunans, Glenkilrie, Dalrulzion, Blackwater and Persie.

At the Spittal, the Allt Lochay and Allt Beag join to form the Shee Water, which changes its name at Blacklunans to the Blackwater and eventually joins the River Ardle to form the River Ericht.

The A93 road, part of General Wade's military road from Perth to Fort George, runs north through the glen and on into Glen Beag, where it crosses the Cairnwell Pass, which at an elevation of 2,200 feet (670 metres) is the highest public road in the UK. The road climbing to the summit is now wide and straight but until the late 1960s included two notorious hair-pin bends with a 1 in 3 (33%) gradient known as the Devil's Elbow. One of the most spectacular roads in Scotland, this was a favourite subject for postcards. It was so steep that at the bottom buses unloaded passengers who had to walk to the top and until it was rebuilt the AA maintained a well in a layby for overheating engines. Locally the pass is still known simply as "the Elbow". At Dalrulzion, the B950 leads off to Strathardle and Kirkmichael village (4 miles) and at the Lair the B951 leads over into Glenisla. The long established caravan site at Dalrulzion is a favourite with weekenders from Dundee and Fife. Between Finegand and the Lair is the historic Cockstane (Clach Na Coileach), the ancient meeting place of the Clan MacThomas. There is a car park and information board with all the history. Current members of the Clan MacThomas from across the world gather here regularly.

The Glenshee Ski Centre sits at the head of the Cairnwell Pass and is Scotland's biggest, with 21 lifts spread over four mountains and three glens and associated hire shops, cafes etc. Informal skiing started there in the 1930s, with the first tow being set up by the Dundee Ski Club in 1947. In the 1960s with road improvements easing access, the Glenshee Chairlift Company was set up, modern facilities were built and business boomed throughout the 1970s and 80s. A succession of mild winters and poor skiing conditions led to the Ski Company going into receivership but a management buyout ensured skiing survived and once again business is good.

Glenshee is known for high snowfalls and the A93 features regularly on the list of roads closed in adverse weather.

The old Church of Scotland kirk at the Spittal has regular services and its scenic setting makes it a popular wedding venue. There are disused churches at Netherton, Persie and Cray. The former Glenshee Lodge mansion became home to the Compass Christian Centre in the 1980s and provides a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities as well as courses and classes.

Dalnaglar Castle dates back to the 16th century and the current castle was built by the architect responsible for Balmoral Castle in the 19th century. It now provides tourist accommodation specialising in field sports and weddings.

The old Glenshee Hall opposite Glenshee Lodge has been demolished but Blackwater Hall has been completely refurbished and modernised and is home to many local groups and functions.

Branching off at the Spittal is the private road up Glen Lochsie leading to Dalmunzie Hotel whose scenic 9-hole golf course opened in 1922, having been laid out by leading course designers Dr McKenzie and James Braid.

Hotels serving the glen sit at either end (Bridge of Cally Hotel to the south and Dalmunzie House Hotel to the north) and in Kirkmichael but there were at one time hotels at Blackwater (the Blackwater Inn which before that was a garage/shop/petrol station), Dalrulzion (the Dalrulzion Hotel, once a popular ceilidh venue), at Blacklunans (the Drumore Hotel) and at the Spittal..

In the 1960s a basic Fire Station consisting of an ex-army Nissen Hut was built by Perth & Kinross Fire Service within Finegand Farm steading with the appliance manned by local volunteers. In the 1990s this was replaced by a one alongside the A93 just south of Finegand with a modern appliance still manned by volunteers now trained by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Shops/post offices serving the glen are at Kirkmichael and Bridge of Cally. At one time there was a shop/post office at Blacklunans.

Primary school children now attend Kirkmichael Primary and secondary pupils Blairgowrie High but there were originally primary schools at Strone of Cally, Blackwater and Glenshee. The former Blackwater School is now an outdoor centre for Dundee city schools.

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Blairgowrie and Rattray Human settlement in Scotland

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 Ayrshire then over the tiny bridge to the hill Fort George. The town's centrepiece is the Wellmeadow, a grassy triangle in the middle of town which hosts regular markets and outdoor entertainment.


The Mounth is the broad upland in northeast Scotland between the Highland Boundary and the River Dee, at the eastern end of the Grampians.

A93 road

The A93 is a major road in Scotland and the highest public road in the United Kingdom. It runs north from Perth through Blairgowrie and Rattray, then through the Grampian Mountains by way of Glenshee, the Cairnwell Pass and Glen Clunie to Braemar in Aberdeenshire. At Braemar, the road then switches east down the strath of the River Dee before crossing the A90 and terminating in Aberdeen.

Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around 58 miles (93 km) west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an elevation of 339 metres (1,112 ft).

Glenelg, Highland Human settlement in Scotland

Glenelg (Scottish Gaelic: Glinn Eilg, also Gleann Eilg is a scattered community area and civil parish in the Lochalsh area of Highland in western Scotland. Despite the local government reorganisation the area is considered by many still to be in Inverness-shire, the boundary with Ross-shire being at the top of Mam Ratagan the single track road entry into Glenelg.

Glen Nevis

Glen Nevis is a glen in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland, with Fort William at its foot. It is bordered to the south by the Mamore range, and to the north by the highest mountains in the British Isles: Ben Nevis, Càrn Mor Dearg, Aonach Mòr, and Aonach Beag. It is home to one of the three highest waterfalls in Scotland, Steall Falls, where the Allt Coire a'Mhail joins the Water of Nevis in the glen. Below the waterfall is a steeply walled and impressive gorge. The scenic beauty of the glen has led to its inclusion the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland.

Shee Water

The Shee Water is a river in the highland portion of eastern Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The Allt a' Ghlinne Bhig, Allt Ghlinn Thaitneach and Glen Lochsie Burn drain south out of the Grampian mountains. They converge at the Spittal of Glenshee to form the Shee Water. This runs through Glenshee to the Strathmore valley where it becomes the Black Water for a short distance and, close to Bridge of Cally, joins the River Ardle to form the River Ericht. The Water eventually reaches the North Sea via the River Isla and the River Tay.

Spittal of Glenshee Human settlement in Scotland

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.

Finegand Human settlement in Scotland

Finegand is a farming hamlet located in eastern Perth and Kinross, Scotland and also refers historically to the portion of lands surrounding the hamlet. Finegand is located in Glen Shee and encompasses the lands east of the Shee Water adjacent to a burn which joins it about 4 miles below the Spittal and about 18 miles north of Blairgowrie.

Glenshee Ski Centre

Glenshee Ski Centre is an alpine snowsports area in the Scottish Highlands. It is located above the Cairnwell Pass at the head of Glen Shee on either side of the A93 road between Blairgowrie and Braemar. Glenshee is Britain's largest alpine snowsports area and is referred to as the 'Scottish Three Glens'. in reference to Les Trois Vallées. The ski area covers 2,000 acres (8.1 km2).

Cairnwell Pass

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, Perth and Kinross Human settlement in Scotland

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.

Borgie Human settlement in Scotland

Borgie is a hamlet in Sutherland, Highland, Scotland. Historically it was part of the 12,600-acre (5,100-hectare) Tongue estate with shooting rights, and it contains the Borgie Lodge, now a bed and breakfast. Borgie is noted for its salmon, which are caught in the River Borgie which flows to the east of the hamlet.

Càrn Aosda

Càrn Aosda is a Scottish mountain situated 12.5 km south of the town of Braemar, in the county of Aberdeenshire. It stands near the summit of the Cairnwell Pass on the A93 road, in the midst of the Glenshee Ski Centre.

Càrn a Gheòidh

Càrn a' Gheòidh is a Scottish mountain situated 15 km south of the town of Braemar. Its summit stands on the border between the council areas of Perth and Kinross and Aberdeenshire.

Cateran Trail

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.

Glas Tulaichean

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.

Bridge of Cally

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.


  1. Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 52 Pitlochry & Crieff (Aberfeldy) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2012. ISBN   9780319229859.
  2. "Ordnance Survey: 1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer" (csv (download)). Ordnance Survey. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.