Historical Aberfeldy

Wades Bridge Aberfeldy crossing over the river Earn

There are many legends surrounding historical Aberfeldy, but none so famous as that of "Rob Roy" of the Clan MacGregor,known throughout the world. Robbed of their lands by Grey 'Mad' Colin Campbell 6th Laird, who built a new castle at Balloch (now Taymouth Castle), Kenmore. He was followed by his son the infamous Black Duncan 7th Laird, another Campbell, the Laird of Glen Lyon. General Wade's Bridge over the Tay is a beautiful structure still used by modern traffic, though only in one direction at a time. It was built as part of the network of military roads put in place by General George Wade following the 1715 Jacobite uprising. The bridge was designed by William Adam, father of the rather better known Robert Adam. From the bridge the military roads headed south towards Crieff, and north to Tummel Bridge. Today the bridge is also used by the 79 mile Rob Roy Way which passes through Aberfeldy on its route from Drymen to Pitlochry. Overlooking the river and bridge, and with stunning views north west to the Glen Lyon and Ben Lawers hills is the Black Watch Monument. This was erected in 1887 and records another aspect of the troubled first half of the eighteenth century. Aberfeldy itself spills out in all directions from its heart, the Square, and offers visitors access to a range of shops, amenities and accommodation. There are many events in industrial historical Aberfeldy like cotton milling dating back to 1799 through to laundry and machine tool businesses in more recent times. Today the most striking and, for many, most interesting, industrial heritage revolves around distilling. Another event in Aberfeldy was distilling in and around the area, dates back several centuries, and fits the pattern common across Scotland of informal illegal distilling taking place anywhere the locals thought could be kept hidden from the excisemen. Changes in legislation in the first half of the nineteenth century made legal distilling more attractive, leading to fewer but usually more legitimate stills. Distilleries were set up on the outskirts of Aberfeldy and along the Tay valley at Grandtully. Grandtully distillery survived until 1909. Aberfeldy's own distillery, Pittiely, closed in 1867. It was replaced in 1896 by Aberfeldy Distillery which uses the same supply of water from the hills to the south. Aberfeldy Distillery was expanded in the 1960s and 1970s.

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