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1. The  Cateran  Ale  Trail  —  by Nigel Reynolds


This real ale trail can be taken on foot, bicycle or public transport and follows part of the Cateran Trail — a fully way-marked 64 mile walk in the Perthshire and Angus glens. The trail is named after the Caterans, groups of highlanders who from the 1300s until the 1600s supplemented their subsistence income by rustling cattle from the relatively prosperous glens before driving them back north to the upland areas. The walk is shaped (if you use a little imagination) like a leaf on a stem, with Blairgowrie at the end of the stem.


Blairgowrie to Bridge of Cally, 7 miles - If you need an overnight stay before you tackle this trail, then consider the Royal Hotel in Blairgowrie. The Hotel offers comfortable accommodation, one handpull in the bar and good food. The Ericht Alehouse is close to the walk (and bus stop) and has 6 handpulls. This establishment has won numerous Tayside Pub of the Year awards. The Stormont and the Old Cross Inn also serve real ale at either end of the town, as does the Wetherspoons.


The Bridge of Cally Hotel

The walk takes you along the banks of the River Ericht, then via a moorland track to Bridge of Cally, the point at which the "stem" of the walk meets the "leaf". At this point you can stop at the Bridge of Cally Hotel which has two real ale handpulls. The hotel serves bar meals and a la carte meals option; accommodation is also available.


The number 71 bus stops outside the hotel in both directions. So if you just feel like a relaxing drink and a good meal then you need not go any further. The bus journey back to Blairgowrie will take you 10 minutes.


Bridge of Cally to Kirkmichael, 7 miles - From here and for the more adventurous the trail heads up the west side of Strathardle before concluding at Kirkmichael where both the Kirkmichael Hotel and Strathardle Hotel serve real ale and food; overnight accommodation is also available. Again, the number 71 bus stops in the village so there is transport back to Blairgowrie.


On a fine day the full 15 miles can be walked in time to get the last bus back from Kirkmichael to Blairgowrie; a short 25 minute journey. (At time of publication, the last bus left at 18:22 but please check the excellent Travel Scotland website before embarking on this tour.) Also consider that the temptation to relax in a particular hostelry might leave you tight (not in the drunken sense… I hope) for the bus, so bear this in mind if you are doing the full 15 miles.


If your choice is to cycle the route, the A93 can be a busy road so an alternative route would be to take the B road via Drimmie. However, this is quite a hilly stretch to and from Blairgowrie, so take your time and enjoy some of the lovely views across the Perthshire countryside.


If you want to cycle further to Kirkmichael take the A924 just past the Bridge of Cally Hotel on the left. This is a less demanding cycle.

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