History beyond the Glen
What is there to see beyond the Glen?
Well, there really is lots to see and so much to do when you base yourself at Fortingall.
Here are a few suggestions.
Oh, and before you go, don’t forget your packed lunch from the hotel.
- Visit the grave of the Great Macnab 1734 – 1816 at Killin. Francis Macnab was the very last of the great Highland Chiefs – an absolute monarch of his own little kingdom. He was a colossus – over 6 foot and hugely strong. His portrait by Raeburn hangs in the London offices of Dewar’s Whisky. He never married, but it is said that he fathered some 90 bairns and would send a cart around Killin every morning with oatmeal to feed his offspring. He is buried in the Chief’s Enclosure on the Island of Inchbuie at Killin.
- A short walk down Killin High Street will take you to Katy MacGregor’s teashop and post office – everything is home baked – enjoy. Katy and her folk band play every Friday night, and Hogmanay, at the Fortingall Hotel.
- Then how about a cooling dip in the Holy Pool on the River Dochart, near to St Fillan in the Parish of Killin? The healing waters were believed to cure many ailments, particularly madness – you can usually find the occasional hotelier or two there!
- Suitably refreshed, go for a quick run over to Ardoch – about 7 miles south of Crieff – where you will find the remains of a massive Roman fort, a signal tower and several Roman marching camps. This fits in well with the Pontius Pilate story. Built around AD 80, forty years before the construction of Hadrian’s Wall – it is the most intact and impressive Roman earthworks in Britain.
- Why not try your hand at Gold Prospecting? Drive over to Strathyre in the Trossachs and just above the old Balquhidder station you will find a former gold mine – once operated by the 2nd Marquis of Breadalbane around 1855. The Marquis also developed some copper veins at Tomnadashan on the south shore of Loch Tay which contained both silver and gold deposits – that’s closer to home and worth a look. You never know your luck.
- A days walking in the Glen Finglas forest would be great value – maybe after you have hunted for gold. There is a special tree in these parts you should look out for; it’s the “tree that eats iron” – you will find it at Brig o’ Turk on the way to Glen Finglas. This tree has consumed a bicycle, an anchor and several items of scrap metal!
- Fast forward to 1715 and the Battle of Sheriffmuir. The battleground, close to Dunblane, is one of the best preserved in Scotland. You will see the mass burial mounds of Jacobite soldiers and the Gathering Stone upon which the Duke of Argyll is said to have stood throughout the battle. The Jacobites, under the command of Mar, won the field, but victory was claimed by Argyll – the Jacobite cause apparently just seemed to fade away at this point.
- A tour of nearby Doune Castle is hugely merited – you are not too far away. It’s a formidable 14th century medieval stronghold built for Robert Stewart, the 1st Duke of Albany. Doune Castle has achieved widespread fame in recent years thanks to its use by various companies that have chosen it for film and TV productions. Doune Castle was Swamp Castle, Castle Anthrax and Camelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and more recently a location in the pilot for Game of Thrones and the fictional Castle Leoch in the TV adaption of the Outlander novels. You will not be disappointed.
- Time permitting, call into the Scottish Antiques & Arts Centre just outside Doune. Stop on the way and say hello to Hamish – the famous Highland Cow – you can’t miss him! Everything about the Antiques Centre is first class. You will be spoilt for choice – the range is extensive and prices reasonable. There is an excellent restaurant at the centre, so if you need a boost to keep you going until dinner at Fortingall – this is just the place.
- Berry picking near Blairgowrie, just over the A9, from May onwards is a smashing way to spend an hour or two. The area is famous for outstanding quality strawberries and raspberries.
That will keep you busy for a day or two. You can, on the other hand, put your feet up at the hotel with a good book, soothing malt and roaring log fire. You choose.
We have directions and handouts available on all of the above at the hotel reception. Plus notes on other interesting Perthshire gems:
- The World’s Worst Author – Angus McDiarmid
- The Fattest Woman in Britain – Muckle Kate Ferguson
- The Curse of the Breadalbanes
- Lost Castles of Perthshire
- Lost Gardens of Perthshire
There is a prize bottle of a 30-year-old malt whisky for the first person to locate each site and return to Fortingall with the photographic evidence to back-up their claim.