The Spittal of Glenshee, sitting at the head of Glen Shee (and endlessly prettier than a vulgar and unorthographic interpretation of it name may suggest) – it is a tiny place in the midst of the ancient route north and south through the glen, at the meeting of the streams which create the Shee Water. Many have driven through on the road up Glen Shee, between the majestic hills, and I will confess that most of the time I have been hurrying through. This is a place to stop though and appreciate the enfolding mountains, the lonely isolation and wonder about the silent slopes wetted by solitary burns. Then again, you can climb and see.
This is Perthshire, a huge county of accessible spectacle that has to be explored, and is best on foot.
There is a lovely walking route that has been devised to take you off the road, up three of the glens in the north-east of Perthshire and into neighbouring Angus and over the mountains between, from Blairgowrie to the Spittal of Glenshee: the Cateran Trail.
The trail is a circular route 64 miles long with challenging climbs: it is far from a day-walk: it is recommended to do it in five days, and overnight stops are available. (The ‘Spittal’ in Spittal of Glenshee mean a place of hospitality in former days.)
The route is well established and waymarked throughout. It follows old drove roads and ancient tracks across a varied terrain of farmland, forests and moors.
The name of the trail is rougher: it is named after the Caterans: the bands of marauding cattle thieves who raided Strathardle, Glenshee and Glen Isla from the Middle Ages until they were pacified in the 17th century.
Maps and links
- Cateran Trail and leaflet
- Ordnance Survey Landranger Series (1:50 000):
- Ordnance Survey Explorer Series (1:25 000):