Perthshire – History and Culture

Scotland’s history and traditions are world-renowned, rivalled only by its culture and scenery; and right at its heart lies Perthshire. Perth, a former capital of Scotland, lies on the banks of the River Tay. It’s a beautifully presented city, with lots to explore, but go beyond the boundaries of the ‘Fair City’ and the possibilities are endless.

crannog-1218415-1278x988Go back 2,500 years in time at the Crannog Centre, a recreated Iron-Age dwelling that perches on stilts in the dark waters of Loch Tay near Kenmore. Faithfully reproduced using Iron Age building techniques, it’s a fascinating insight into how some of our predecessors lived.

Perthshire has castle upon castle, all worthy of a visit. Balhousie Castle is the ancestral home of the historic Black Watch Regiment and to this day houses a museum charting the history of Scotland’s most famous regiment; or there’s Scone Palace, the original home of The Stone of Destiny (aka The Stone of Scone), where 42 kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce, were crowned; or even Castle Island in Lochleven, where sits the tower that held Mary Queen of Scots prisoner for a year back in 1567; and what about Huntingtower Castle, scene of The Maiden’s Leap, where the daughter of the first Earl of Gowrie jumped more than 9 feet between the two towers to avoid being caught in her lover’s chamber by her mother? The girl is said to haunt the castle to this day and the sight of ‘Lady Greensleeves’ is said to be an ill omen!

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Across the River Garry is The Soldier’s Leap, where a redcoat soldier fleeing from Jacobite clansmen during the Battle of Killiekrankie, made the death-defying leap across the 18 foot gorge to safety.

Perthshire isn’t stuck in the past, however. The Fair City itself has a vibrant cultural present with museums and art galleries, music, ballet, opera, theatre and arts festivals. A notable attraction is the Fergusson Gallery, home to many works by John Duncan Fergusson and other Scottish colourists.

Across the region you can find galleries and shops showcasing an array of arts and crafts from jewellery to furniture, from painting to ceramics made by local artists and craftspeople.

Peter_Rabbit_first_edition_1902aPerthshire’s scenery is simply stunning. As well as influencing local artists and writers, it has also inspired famous literary figures. ‘Beatrix Potter’s Perthshire’ at Birnam Arts & Conference Centre shows how much influence the area had upon the eternally popular children’s author during the eleven summers she spent there. Her characters Mrs. Tiggy Winkle and Mr. McGregor were almost certainly based on local characters of the day.

And of course it was Birnam Wood that featured in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy ‘Macbeth’ as it was prophecied that he would be safe until the Great Birnam Wood walked to Dunsinane.

Of course, the scenery of Perthshire is not just there to be admired. It’s there to be engulfed by and be involved in. There is a multitude of forest walks, mountain treks and more long-distance routes, like The Rob Roy Way, to explore. The River Tay rightfully lays claim to some of the finest salmon fishing in the world and on Loch Tay, it’s not only about the salmon. Fishing enthusiasts come from far and wide to also cast their line for sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, grayling, pike, perch and roach.

Perthshire can rival any Scottish region for golf, with courses to suit all abilities, from lesser-known gems such as Killin, which reportedly has one of the most breathtaking holes in Scotland. The 9 hole courses of Comrie and Muthill are ideal for those seeking for a more gentle round of golf. The more testing Pitlochry, is one of the most picturesque, with views down the Tummel Valley; but it is Gleneagles, arguably the most prestigious course in Scotland, if not the world, with 3 courses including the PGA course designed by golfing legend, Jack Nicklaus.

If you really want to experience Perthshire at its most extreme try the UK’s only static bungee jump over the River Garry, or some cliff jumping or canyoning.

Whatever pace you like to take your holiday at, Perthshire is certainly a region to explore.

Why not plan your Perthshire self-catering break? Take a look at some of the properties available.

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