Perthshire Earldoms

These ancient Perthshire Earldoms have always split this Scottish region, owing to its great size and lineage, into areas of Atholl, Breadalbane, Gowrie, Strathearn, Menteith, and Balquhidder, each with its own subdivisions.

These vast areas, the very stuff of Scotland's history, are an integral and vital part of Scotland's exciting past. Perthshire is, in fact, a historically exciting county.

Atholl  Breadalbane   Gowrie  Strathearn   Mentieth   Balquhidder

Atholl

This Perthshire earldom  covers a vast area around the Rivers Tummel & Garry and is one of Scotland's early Celtic Earldoms. Originally the area of Clan Duncan who supported Duncan I who was killed by Macbeth. The line expired in 1211 and the area and earldom remained with the crown until 1457 when James II gave the title to a Stewart of Balvenie. Queen Anne raised the title to Dukedom. The seat of the Dukes of Atholl is Blair Castle.

Pitlochry is where you can experience the summer festivals at the hillside theatre above the river Tummel. Scottish Highland games take place each September. Scotland's smallest distillery lies north-east of town. At the southern end of Loch Faskally is a viewing chamber that allows the public to watch salmon struggling to get upstream to spawn.

Dunkeld and Birnam are on the A9 about 16 miles north of Perth. You will notice the countryside slowly changes to a hillier nature as you approach the Scottish Highlands. At Dunkeld Cathedral around which a battle raged during the Jacobite uprisings, the lawns slope down to the river Tay. Near to the cathedral is the old town with its little white houses. 

Tummel Bridge lies on the River Tummel at the western end of Loch Tummel. A 35 megawatt hydro-electric power station, now the control centre for the extensive Tummel Hydro-Electric Power Scheme, was established here in 1935. 

Kinloch Rannoch is a winter sports resort in the Spey Valley. Highland Folk Museum complex has a Hebridean black-house, water-powered clack mill, and 18th-century shooting lodge. Inside are objects of everyday Highland life. There are free tours of the china factory. 

Nearby is Blair Atholl, the turreted baronial castle, home to Dukes of Atholl, restored to its Gothic style in 1868. The rooms are filled with fine furniture, paintings, tapestries, arms, clothes telling story of Perthshire Highland life from 1500. This Perthshire town with pepper-pot turrets and castellated towers adorn granite buildings of the village, stands at the meeting point of several highland glens. Visit the Mill dating from 17th century which is still in operation on River Carry. 

Bridge of Gaur lies immediately south-east of a bridge that crosses the River Gaur before entering the western end of Loch Rannoch. The three-arched granite bridge crossing the Gaur was built in 1838 by Sir Neil Menzies to commemorate the accession of Queen Victoria. Entering the western end of Loch Rannoch.

Rannoch Station Tea Room & Visitor Centre is situated on the world famous West Highland Railway. Catch a train to Fort William, discover the splendour of heather-clad Rannoch Moor. Back to top

Breadalbane
This Perthshire earldom is broadly the region around the upper silvery river Tay & Loch Tay. It is derived from the celtic Braid Alban or upper Alban which meant 'High Country' in ancient times. Breadalbane was only carried as a title from 1681 when John Campbell of Glenorchy was created Earl of Breadalbane and Holland. Taymouth Castle was the seat of the Earls.

Anyone traveling in Scotland will pass through Crianlarich sooner rather than later as it sits at the junction of two of the main routes from the lowlands to the north west Scottish Highlands. The name Crianlarich comes from the Gaelic for low pass. In the 1750s two military roads met here. One came from Stirling via Callander and approached the town of Crianlarich from the east along Glen Dochart. The other started in Dumbarton and approached from the south along the west banks of Loch Lomond and Glen Falloch. 

Killin is a fishing resort at the head of Loch Tay with walking, climbing, skiing and exploring in surrounding mountains. Finlarig Castle is a former Campbell seat built 1609. Falls of Dochart rush through this Perthshire town. 

Kenmore is a Perthshire town on eastern shore of Loch Tay, noted for salmon fishing. The bridge over river Tay was built by Earl of Breadalbane in 1774. In 1787, Robert Burns wrote verse about view from bridge. A copy can be seen in Kenmore Hotel.

The tiny Perthshire village of Weem has late 15th-century church housing Menzies family memorials and two crosses from 8th-century monastery. 

In the churchyard at Fortingall, surrounded and protected by a stone wall and locked gate are the still growing and flourishing remains of the Fortingall Yew. The central heart of this tree has long since been removed by souvenir hunters (hence the wall), but it is thought to be 5000 years old. If so, it is probably the oldest living thing on Earth. 

The Perthsire town of Aberfeldy with its network of burns cascading over rock ledges, known as the Falls of Moness. Footpaths weave their way through birch-clad sides of the ravine, and nature trail leads to footbridge above falls. General Wade's fine five-arched bridge, built 1733, still spans River Tay, overlooked by kilted figure on monument commemorating Black Watch regiment. Dewar family's distillery is open to visitors.  Back to top

Gowrie
This Perthshire earldom is situated immediately north east of the Perthshire town of Perth. On the banks of the silvery River Tay, in the very heart of Scotland, you'll find yourself in the 'Fair City' of Perth, your perfect center for touring much of the Scottish Highlands. Perth is a city that blends harmoniously with its glorious green surroundings. The Perthshire Earldom of Gowrie lay with the Ruthven family until the proscription of that name in 1600.

Visit the city of Perth, that inspired Sir Walter Scott to write "The Fair Maid of Perth" which in turn inspired Bizet's opera. At one time it has been Scotland's capital city. You will discover that Perth enjoys an air of elegant prosperity and retains the genuine atmosphere of a true country town with a rich history and tradition of welcoming visitors from all over the world. 2 miles outside of Perth is the historic Scone Palace, where 42 of Scotland's Kings were crowned when it was home to the famous Stone of Destiny. It is now the home to the Earl and Countess of Mansfield. The Pass of Killiecrankie, and the Aspen Wood, through which the River Garry flows, is a fragment of the ancient Scottish mixed woodland. It is home to many beautiful and rare wild birds, animals and plants. It has been made a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). It was also the site of the first large battle of the Jacobite Rebellions.

Over the years Alyth has grown from being a very small village in north Perthshire into a small Perthshire town, situated on the edge of vast heather-clad moorlands which stretch all the way to Braemar.

The East Perthshire towns of Coupar Angus, a small market town on the River Isla, and Blairgowrie offer a contrast of rolling fields of soft fruit, quiet glens, peaceful lochs, rushing rivers and the dramatic mountains of Glenshee. These Perthshire towns are situated in the center of rich agricultural area of eastern lowland Perthshire on the fringes of the county of Angus. The successful cultivation of raspberries has made this area the Raspberry Capital of the World. Blairgowrie sits on the banks of the River Ericht, a major tributary of the River Tay considered to have outstanding salmon fishing. Sporting activities and natural heritage are among some of this areas attractions. The riverside itself has a well-interpreted woodland walk amidst spectacular scenery. Blairgowrie also boasts its own Genealogy Centre, popular with visitors hoping to trace their ancestors. Nearby is Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the late Queen Mother. Back to top 

Strathearn
This Perthshire earldom means 'valley of the river Earn'. It runs out from Loch Earn down through the wide and fertile vale of the river Earn, on its way east towards the river Tay. This is another of Scotland's early Celtic Perthshire Earldoms. However the title expired and the lands became largely royal hunting ground from the 12th century.

Passing through the village of St.Fillans situated at the end of Loch Earn. Almost all of the village is situated on the north side of the road at the point where the River Earn leaves the loch on its winding journey eastward. 

Next is the bustling villge of Comrie in the heart of the scenic mid Strathearn area of Perthshire. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Earn, Lednock and Artney with the Scottish Highlands rising to the north. 
Finally passing Crieff is the largest town before meeting the river Tay near the Bridge of Earn. Continuing east and passing under theM90 motorway in the Newburgh road, you pass through the village of Abernethy.

Other interesting Perthshire towns and villages are Muthill designated a conservation area; the village has nearly 100 listed buildings which include some of the finest examples of 18th century Scottish architecture. Nearby is Drummond Castle with its magnificent Italian-style garden. 

Braco lies in the south west corner of Perthshire. The Romans built a number of forts nearly 2000 years ago, including Ardoch at the village of Braco, connected by a li
ne of watchtowers and fortlets across the southern edge of Perthshire. 

The Perthshire town of Auchterarder is known as The Lang Toun, or Long Town, a name derived from its extended High Street that runs for more than a mile and eventually links with the neighbouring Perthshire town of Aberuthven. It is the longest main street in Scotland. 

Blackford nestles in the lee of the Ochils. The village was once on the main road but has now been bypassed by the A9. It is now very quiet except for the gentle murmur of the Blackford burn. 

The small Perthshire villages of Dunning and nearby Forteviot sit high up on the northern slopes of the Ochil hills, portray a breathtaking vista of the Strath of Earn below. Both are steeped in history, with an Iron Age fort, a 1st century AD Roman camp and the 12th century Norman Tower of St Serf. St Serf is said to have slain a dragon. Or if the macabre is your thing, to the west of Dunning is the monument to Maggie Wall, who was burnt at the stake as a witch in 1657. The area also boasts the magnificent nine-foot Dupplin Celtic Cross.  Back to top 

The Trossachs: Earldoms

Mentieth
This Perthshire earldom is situated on the south western edge of Perthshire and north of the river Forth. Another of Scotland's Celtic Perthshire Earldoms held by Gilchrist in the 12th century, the Comyns into the 14th century and then the Stewarts.Although these ancient earldoms were part of the county, along with the Perthshire towns in the late 1990's Mentieth and Balquhidder, both became part of Stirlingshire. The Port of Menteith, or as it was formely spelt Monteith, the mouth of the river Teith, flows into the river Forth.  The small town of Doune is its capital. The southern gateway to The Trossachs, Aberfoyle is situated at the foot of Duke's Pass between the Forth Valley to the south and the first of the Scottish Highland to the North. Driving north you cross over Duke's Pass with superb views of Ben Venue, Lochs Katrine and Achray, Ben A'an, Ben Vane and Ben Ledi, and the Achray Forest. Callander forms one of the main gateways to the Highlands. It sits at the eastern end of the Trossachs and at the southern end, the Pass of Leny, and is an ideal base for those wishing to explore the area. Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth both stayed in Callander and it lays claim to Rob Roy, Scotland's answer to Robin Hood. Back to top 

Balquhidder 
The Braes of Balquhidder are steep glens and windswept hills, framed by mountain peaks to north-west. Once home to Clan MacLaren but usually associated with MacGregors and Rob Roy. Outlaw Rob Roy lived his last years here. He and other MacGregors are buried in Balquhidder churchyard, his grave marked by slate slab carved with kilted figure. Originally this district ran from Loch Earn spreading beyond Perthshire to Loch Lomond, which is now part of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Highland Park. Towns and villages include, Strathyre, and Lochearnhead , a small community at the head of Loch Earn. There is also a water sport center which can be quite busy in the summer. Back to top 


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