The Cateran Trail is a fully waymarked 64 mile (103km) walk in the Perthshire and Angus glens. The walk is circular, starting and finishing in Blairgowrie in Perthshire, some 60 miles north of Edinburgh. The walk is never more than seven miles from the nearest village and is fairly moderate in nature, with a highest point of a little over 2,000ft or 650m.
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 to the upland areas. It goes without saying that those living in the glens did not appreciate the activities of the caterans and it was far from unusual for raids to be followed by running battles with many killed as the rightful owners of the cattle tried to recover them.
The walk is shaped (if you use a little imagination) like a leaf on a stem, with Blairgowrie at the end of the stem. The route description below is broken into five daily sections, each of which contains links to further information on Undiscovered Scotland. The Area Pages provide links to accommodation providers and other businesses. The Feature Pages each contain detailed background information and a collection of images about particular places or attractions on the Cateran Trail or near it.
Note that this page does not set out to provide you with the full range of detailed information you need to walk the trail, but it should give you a good starting point. And when used with the rest of Undiscovered Scotland it will give you a clear idea of what the Cateran Trail and the places you will be passing through are like. Anyone considering doing the walk should get hold of a copy of Jacquetta Megarry's guide listed above right.
Section 1: Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael, 15 Miles
The first day 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". From here it heads up the west side of Strathardle before concluding at Kirkmichael. Accommodation and other businesses in the area can be found listed on the Perthshire area pages.
Section 2: Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee, 8 Miles
The second section heads north east to the highest point on the trail, the Lairig Gate, at 2,130ft or 650m. It then descends to Spittal of Glenshee. Accommodation and other businesses in Spittal of Glenshee can be found listed on the Perth Area Pages. This is one of those occasions when you might wish to consider extending your accommodation options by taking public transport or hitch-hiking to a convenient centre, before returning to pick up the route in the morning.
Section 3: Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkton of Glenisla, 14 Miles
The first third of the section takes you along a moorland track with some rugged walking. The rest of the day's walking is on minor roads. En route the energetic have the option of climbing Mount Blair (744m). Accommodation and other businesses in Kirkton of Glenisla and the wider area can be found listed on the Perthshire area pages and Angus & Dundee area pages.
Section 4: Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth, 11 Miles
In walking the fourth section you are heading generally south, and during the walk you make the transition from highland landscapes to lowland landscapes. At the end of the day to come to the largest settlement you have seen since leaving Blairgowrie, Alyth. Accommodation and other businesses in Alyth can be found listed on the Perthshire area pages.
Section 5: Alyth to Blairgowrie, 16 Miles
The final day of the walk takes you over two minor high points as you follow minor roads and tracks back to Bridge of Cally. It then retraces the first few miles of the fist day as you progress back to Blairgowrie.
Visitor InformationThe Official Website of the Cateran Traily provides a range of further information for walkers:
Maps: The Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps of the areas crossed by the Cateran Trail are Landranger maps 43 and 53.
Guide: The Cateran Trail: Jacquetta Megarry (October 2004). Robust, waterproof, comprehensive and enjoyable: an essential companion for anyone wanting to tackle the 64 mile Cateran Trail, starting in Blairgowrie and following in the footsteps of 16th century cattle rustlers.