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The Alyth Burn
The Alyth Burn

Alyth lies just off the main road from Blairgowrie to Kirriemuir on the southern slopes of the hills that form the Forest of Alyth. It is a town with an ancient history, evidence of which can be seen particularly where the village starts to climb the Hill of Alyth to the north.

The Old Bridge
The Old Bridge
Alyth Museum
Alyth Museum
The Losset Inn
The Losset Inn
Sawmill, No Longer in Operation
Sawmill, No Longer in Operation

Whether this history dates back far enough to justify claims that it was the site of the imprisonment by the Pictish King Mordred of Queen Guinevere is debatable. However, it is known that Alyth dates back to at least the 11th century, and that the first church was built here in the 1200s. Remains of this can still be seen as a series of arches within the churchyard on the hillside overlooking the town.

Alyth Parish Church
Alyth Parish Church
Parish Church Interior
Parish Church Interior
Organ and Ceiling
Organ and Ceiling

A little more recent is the packhorse bridge used to cross the Alyth Burn as it flows through Alyth. This was built in about 1500 and can still be crossed on foot as you explore the old part of the town. This marks Alyth's historical importance as a market serving both Strathmore and the wilder Forest of Alyth to the north.

Nearby is another sign of the importance of this route north: the Lossit Inn, built in 1760. By then Alyth was larger than Blairgowrie and had nine fairs a year, far more than most market towns.

The 1800s marked a period of industrialisation for Alyth, though its textile mills came and went in much the same way as its brewery had done. Textiles were at their height following the arrival of the railway in 1861. For a while the town was the location of a 100 loom steam mill producing linen, and by 1870 the industry employed 350 people in Alyth's two mills.

Signs of an industrial past are still on view. Just to the north of the centre of the town is what until the mid 1990s had been Forfar Carpets' main works. This has since been taken over by a company restoring vintage cars. Fans of old cars can enjoy spotting the origins of the various remains and parts held in the yard outside. Close by, and still within the town, is the site of what when we photographed it a few years ago was still an active sawmill: sadly no longer in operation.

Also on the south facing slope above the centre of Alyth is the most striking landmark in the town, Alyth Parish Church. This was designed by Thomas Hamilton and built in 1839. Externally its most obvious feature is the very high spire, giving the church a vertical feel.

Internally you find a church that looks broader than it is long, and comes complete with a gallery on three sides. All the windows are of fine stained glass and in the porch of the church is a Pictish standing stone.

As you complete your tour of Alyth it is worth making time to take a look at the museum, on the east side of the Alyth Burn just north of the town centre.

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