Pitlochry Historic Trail short 2 mile walk
back in time
How the Trail was
formed - The trail was set up as part of the
Pitlochry and District Tourism Management Programme with the
assistance of Scottish Enterprise Tayside and the help of Sylvia
Robertson and Colin Liddell in 1997. The full detailed Trail
leaflet can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre in
Short overview of Pitlochry Town
Trail - The Historic Trail offers a short walk of
just over 2 miles (3.2Km), 45 mins to 1.5hrs, exploring the
Victorian resort of Pitlochry and the neighbouring hamlet of
Moulin. Along the trail you will find a number of descriptive
plaques which will provide you with detailed information at each
We start the trail at Sunnybrae
Cottage, (Map Grid Ref A3) Pitlochry's oldest building
dating back over 200 years to the days when Pitlochry consisted of
three small hamlets. Once a public house and the site of a tragic
accident which led to the death of John Stewart of Bonskeid. Now in
the care of Historic Scotland, who have conducted a thorough
archaeological investigation, to help them decide exactly the form
the cottage will be presented to the public.
Archeologists have found 6 or 7 different thatches under the
roof dating from different periods. The roof is a rare example of
an old Highland cruck-framed roof with a hanging lumb in the
kitchen area. It is anticipated that it will be another 2 years
before it will be open to the public. Information is posted around
the cottage so you can see what is going on.
Pitlochry's original Post Office was in
the Lane opposite West Moulin Road where Wilsons of Pitlochry, the
manufacturers of leather and horn goods is now situated. If you
look carefully you will see in the wall the two posting slots
visible in the wall between the shop and Atholl Road.
As you walk up West Moulin Road towards Moulin you will see
Ben-y-Vrackie at 840m (2757ft) on the skyline
dominating Pitlochry. Its name comes from the days the mountain
side was covered in bolders of white quartz, hence the mountain was
'Ben Vrackie' in Gaelic 'speckled mountain'. If you should walk to
the summit you will find one large boulder still remaining there
beside the path. The quartz was removed during the 19th century for
building. The mountain itself is the remains of an isolated
volcano, its crater is approximately half a mile in diameter.
At the top of the trail you will enter the ancient
hamlet of Moulin, arguably the most important settlement of the Upper Tay valley,
for some 2,000 years, here long before the modern Pitlochry. Today
Moulin is dominated by the Moulin Hotel, a former coaching inn
established in the 1600s.
Moulin has the oldest Kirk in the
area, it is unclear when exactly the first building was erected
here. The present church dates from 1875. The churchyard contains
two slabs from local tradition known as "Crusader Graves" as they
have medieval swords carved on their surfaces.
In times past offenders who committed petty crimes where
punished for their misdemeanours by being tethered to a tree known
as the Joung Tree for all to see. You can read all
about this and more from the plaque on the church gate.
Before you leave make sure you visit the small brewery behind the
Hotel, which makes the local ale Braveheart; it can be sampled in
The ruins of Black
Castle can still be clearly seen in the field opposite the
school, as you return down East Moulin Road to Pitlochry. The
castle is believed to date back to the 1320s when Sir John Campbell
built it surrounded by the water of a small lochan that also
existed here until it was drained in 1720 for agricultural land.
The castle was inhabited until 1500, the year of the great plague,
allegedly brought here by a messenger who infected the occupants.
It is said the castle was fired on by a cannon to form a funeral
pyre for the victims.
In the garden of a private house in
Tom-na-moan Road, on the left hand side can be seen the remains of
an old Lime Kiln. In the 19th century it was
discovered that using lime on the acid Highland agricultural land
increased the yield by as much as three fold. Lime Kilns sprang up
all over the Highlands, as local outcrops of lime were quarried and
heated with coal and finally slaked with water to convert the lime
into a powder for application to the land.
The rocks of lime and coal were poured in at the top in the
ratio 5 parts lime to one of coal. The burnt lime was drawn from
the flues at the bottom of the kiln with long handled shovels and
put on carts for transport back to the fields.
Pitlochry owes much to Mr John Stewart, who had the
vision and drive to start a small theatre here in the Perthshire hills. Initially starting as a
tent within a tent at Lower Oakfield, moving to its present
location in 1981. It is now known as Pitlochry
Theatre has been an immense success and contributed hugely
to Pitlochry's prosperity over the years. Unfortunately John
Stewart was never to see the full success of what he had created,
as he died suddenly in 1957, aged 55 leaving his house and the
theatre to Pitlochry Festival Society Ltd.
Once you reach the
junction of Bonnethill Road and Atholl Road, the
main street in Pitlochry, look back up the hill and imagine what it
must have looked like in years past. The metal railing seen in this
sketch can still be clearly seen, with the Moulin Burn passing
underneath it and the church in the background. The name of the
street comes from the fact that in times past bonnet-makers lived
in the small thatched cottages here.