Landscapes – Native Scottish Trees

Native tree species are those which arrived naturally in Scotland without direct human assistance as far as we can tell. Most of our native tree and shrub species colonised Scotland after the last Ice Age (which ended roughly 9,000 years ago), with seeds dispersed by wind, water, and animals. The Cateran Trail’s most common native […]

Landscapes – Highland Boundary Fault

The Highland Boundary Fault is a geological fault line that runs across Scotland from Arran in the west to Stonehaven in the east. Along the way, it goes through Blairgowrie, Alyth and Kirriemuir. The Boundary Fault’s heyday was around 400 million years ago, during collisions of ancient continents. This was a time when both the […]

Landscapes – Drove Roads

Cattle drovers, people who drive cattle to market, were regarded as important members of the Highland community. The upland soils are ill-suited to growing crops so cattle-rearing was a vital part of the Highlander’s life and economy. Hardy Highland cattle were gathered from settlements and farmsteads across the northern glens and driven south along traditional […]

Places – The Bannerfield, Kirkmichael

Marching south from Braemar, the Earl of Mar raised the standard (or banner) here during the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion to gather support for the exiled Stuart King James, known as the Old Pretender. James father, King James VII of Scotland (James II of England) had been overthrown by William of Orange during the revolt of […]

Places – Oakbank Mill

  The waters of the River Ericht at Blairgowrie once drove a remarkable series of 14 spinning mills. Originally working with flax, but later mostly spinning jute, these enterprises brought employment and prosperity to the area. Oakbank Mill was one of these mills. It was built by James Grimond and was the first mill in […]

Places – Barry Hill Fort

Barry Hill is one of the best preserved examples of an enclosed hilltop settlement in Scotland.  Although Barry Hillfort has not yet been excavated, similar monuments have been found to date from the late prehistoric period, around 3,000 years ago. During this period, people began defining and enclosing their settlements. This was a time of […]

People – The Caterans

‘Cateran’ derives from the Gaelic word ceatharn meaning ‘warrior’, but usually one that is lightly armed. The term was originally given to a band of fighting men of a Scottish Highland clan but in the lowlands, came to be  associated with Highland cattle raiding. The earliest documentary evidence we have for Cateran raids is in the mid- […]

People – James Sandy

James Sandy was born in Alyth in 1766. Crippled in both legs from an early age as a result of two accidents, he nevertheless soon displayed remarkable talents for inventing all sorts of different kinds of objects which he made from a circular bed he had created with raised sides which allowed him to use […]

People – Belle & Sheila Stewart

Belle Stewart and her daughter Sheila were Scottish traditional singers and storytellers. Their roots were in the Scottish Highland Traveller community, known in Scottish Gaelic as the “Ceardannan” (the Craftsmen) or “luchdsiubhail” (people of travel). This community has a long history in Scotland going back, at least in record, to the 12th century as a form of […]