Dunkeld Historic Trail - Dunkeld Town

Dunkeld Historic Trail - Dunkeld Town


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Dunkeld Town Historic Trail

The Dunkeld Town Historic Trail starts at Dunkeld Cathedral gates taking you through the restored Dunkeld town centre through to Stanley hill (all within the town and a short walk).

dunkeld-town-winter.jpgDunkeld the town - as previously mentioned (in the Dunkeld Cathedral Historic Trail walk) the town of Dunkeld was built around the Cathedral but was burnt to the ground during the Battle of Dunkeld. Instead of rebuilding the town on the old site the Dukes of Atholl rather enjoyed the open view of the Cathedral that they now had from Dunkeld House, so decided to rebuild the town over here where it is today. This is the reason why the cathedral is in this attractive park like setting and the town is separate from it.

NTS-logo-dunkeld.jpgDunkeld has seen many changes both good and bad. It was once a major market town, strategically located at the gateway to the Highlands. In the 18 th century it was a centre for the shoe trade, exporting as far as Europe. But with the advent of the industrial revolution and the opening of the railway to the north, the town went into decline and many people moved away to the larger cities in the south.

By the late nineteen forties the town centre was in a sorry state of decline and decay. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) took over many of the buildings (they now administer 20 houses and 2 shops) and together with Perth and Kinross Council began a major restoration project. This was completed in the late nineteen fifties and has been maintained by these bodies since that time.

The first building to look for is the Rectory, it is of medieval origin and the oldest Alexander-Mackenzie-plaque-dunkeld.jpgbuilding in Dunkeld. It is one of the few buildings to have survived the Battle of Dunkeld

Now walk down Cathedral StreetNo 19, the Deans House, This was the Treasures House, (before he moved to Downing Street.)

Number 9 was the childhood home of Alexander Mackenzie who became the first Liberal Prime Minister of Canada.

You will see the NTS small shields above the doors most of the properties indicating they are owned by the NTS

ElI Shop - At the corner just as you enter the square you will find the ElI Shop - it is the NTS shop in Dunkeld, originally a hospice. The name ElI comes from a weaver's measure, about one metre. This is the ElI or measure on the outside wall. It is well worth while having a look around the shop.Atholl-Memorial-fountain-dunkeld.jpg

Dunkeld town square or Cross in the past was the centre of town life being the market place where people came to buy and sell produce. Today it still hosts a number of events through the year. The main ones being at Easter and Christmas. The square got the name, The Cross, from the large cross that was erected here. This was removed in 1866 by the 6th Duke of Atholl and in its place erected the Atholl Memorial fountain that we see today.

Culloden House - On the south side of the square is Culloden House where Robert Burns stayed in 1787 on his tour of the Highlands. It was later the Scottish Horse Regimental Museum.

Castle Cleirach - On the left here is Castle Cleirach which was the home to the Clerk of the Court and next to it is the Duchess Anne building. This was a girl's school started by Anne the wife of the 6th Duke. Today it is a church hall used for charity events.

Situated on the north side of the Cross is the local VIC (Visit Scotland Information Centre), go past the VIC and through to St Ninians Wynd Gardens.

St Ninians Wynd Gardens are attractively restored area, the site of many things stanley-hill-dunkeld.jpgincluding the gas works. This recent restoration was completed in 1982 and adds this quiet, attractive courtyard garden to Dunkeld's heritage portfolio.

The two buildings on the north side are, on the left is the Bakehouse Cottage and on the right the Old Smiddy.

Now walk to the left to Stanley HillStanley Hill, it is a natural hill and was once part of the gardens of Dunkeld House (which was built near here but has since been pulled down).

In 1730 the Duke of Atholl had Stanley Hill landscaped to give a fortified appearance and even had canons installed to give the impression of a military fort. There is also a large ice-house dug into the side of the hill to serve as the fridge for Dunkeld House, this can still be seen today.

Today Stanley Hill is part of a public park.ice-house-dunkeld.jpg

Dunkeld has many excellent shops many run by sole traders offering goods that you will find no where else, also a choice of Dunkeld restaurants and cafes.

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