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Cateran Trail  The Natural Adventure Company

Cateran Trail

Overview

The Cateran Trail is a 103-kilometre (64 miles) circular long-distance walking route through Perthshire and the Angus glens in Central Scotland. The trail follows old drove roads and ancient tracks across a varied terrain of farmland, forests and moors. Some of these routes follow the same ones used by the Caterans – fearsome cattle thieves who raided Strathardle, Glenshee and Glenisla from the Middle Ages to the 17th century. Enjoy this 7-day self guided walking holiday, divided into five walking stages in the heart of Scotland.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Blairgowrie

You can easily reach Blairgowrie by bus from Perth or Dundee. Blairgowrie is one of the largest towns in Perthshire, sitting to the north of the city of Perth on the banks of the River Ericht. The town is now the focus of the Perthshire soft fruit growing industry (especially raspberries) and is popular with golfers and anglers.

Day 2: Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael | 24.9 km

Let the day start from the busy market town of Blairgowrie. After a gentle stroll along the river, the path climbs over Cochrage Muir. Admire the spectacular views on your descent to the tiny hamlet of Bridge of Cally. From Bridge of Cally, the trail passes through Blackcraig Forest and into peaceful Strathardle Glen, which has been farmed since the Bronze Age. Spectacular views of the area can be seen on clear days. The three villages of Ballintum, Enochdhu and Kirkmichael provide a good range of places to rest and eat.

  • Walking for the day: 8-9 hours, 15.5 miles / 24.9 km
  • Accommodation: Kirkmichael Hotel***

Day 3: Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee | 13.7 km

This stage is predominantly upland, offering spectacular views of glens and rugged peaks. After a short walk by the river, discover a scenic glen that takes you to the Cateran Trail’s highest point between Strathardle and Glenshee. Red deer and soaring eagles can sometimes be spotted. Dirnanean Garden (open during the summer months) is on the route and well worth a visit if time permits, and Upper Lunch Hut, originally provided by the estate for shooting parties, offers an ideal resting place as it did for Queen Victoria in 1865.

Transfer to Kirkmichael for a second night, before returning to the trail the following morning.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 8.5 miles / 13.7 km
  • Accommodation: Kirkmichael Hotel***

Day 4: Spittal to Kirkton of Glenisla | 23.5 km

Today you will have a choice of routes. Explore Glen Shee and Glen Isla along this diverse waymarked path. Enjoy the quiet road past Dalnaglar and Forter Castles. It is worth taking the short diversion through the trees to the banks of Auchintaple to witness the fantastic views of Mount Blair set in the glorious tranquil scenery.

Transfer to your accommodation in Alyth, before returning to the trail the following morning.

Day 5: Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth | 17.4 km

Enjoy the tranquillity of Glen Isla as the Trail rises high above the river and fields to give way to fantastic open views over an idyllic pastoral scene. The route wind through Kilry Wood, between the Hills of Alyth and Loyal and through Alyth’s town centre. The area around Alyth has strong links to Arthurian legends as it is believed that Queen Guinevere was held captive by King Mordred at his fort on nearby Barry Hill.

Day 6: Alyth to Blairgowrie | 24.1 km

More fine views all day – there is an optional short cut of fewer than 10 miles. Climb the Hill of Alyth for fantastic panoramic views of the area then descend through Bamff Estate to discover beaver activity. The path then runs close to the massive standing stones of Heatheryhaugh and back to Blairgowrie. The homeward trek into Bridge of Cally is mostly on quiet minor tarmac roads.

  • Walking for the day: 9-10 hours, 15 miles / 24 km
  • Accommodation: Angus Hotel***

Day 7: Departure

Departure or extra nights upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation in nice 3-star hotels and a luxury guesthouse in Anyth, all offering comfortable double or twin private en-suite rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. Evening meals and packed lunches for the onward journey are available throughout; however, please note that they are not included in the holiday package. Breakfasts are included each day.

Difficulty & terrain

Forest roads, woodland paths, rough moorland and farm paths. Gentle to moderate slopes, with some steep climbs. Some small burns to cross. Some boggy surfaces. Long walking days up to 9-10 hours (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to go

This trip is available to commence every day from 1 April till 30 September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here 😊

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Recommended airports: Edinburgh and Glasgow

By train or bus
  • By train: The nearest mainline rail stations are at Perth and Dundee. From Perth, take bus 57 or 58. The journey takes about 40 minutes. From Dundee, hop on bus 57 taking about an hour. For more information, tickets and timetables, please visit Stagecoach.
  • From Edinburgh Airport take the bus to Ferrytoll (25 min) and then change to the one to Perth (1 h). Bus to Blairgowrie (40 min; Stagecoach).
  • From Glasgow Airport take the shuttle to Glasgow (22 min; First Glasgow), followed by the train to Perth (1 h; ScotRail) and the bus to Blairgowrie (40 min; Stagecoach).

Inclusions

Included

  • Pre-booked accommodation as per the itinerary on 6 nights in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
  • Full breakfast each morning
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkmichael return transfer on Days 3&4
  • Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth return transfer on Days 4&5
  • Daily Itineraries, maps & guidebooks (one set per booking)
  • Info on transport and local services
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights available upon request

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