Scone Palace (pronounced Skoon) is just outside the city of Perth. The ivy clad, pink stoned palace is half castle, half stately home, but is famed for the emblematic ‘stone of destiny’, the coronation of stone of ancient Scottish kings. Aside from the stone of destiny, Scone also has many ornate state rooms and beautifully maintained gardens for which it is equally renowned, and of course, it also has a savoury snack which bears the palaces name.
After Scone, it would be a short 20 miles north to one of Scotland’s most iconic vistas; ‘the Queens View’. It is known that Queen Victoria was much impressed by this elevated Perthshire beauty spot that stretches the length of Loch Tummel to the mountains of Lochaber and Glencoe beyond in 1866, but the likelihood is that the Queen in question is Isabella, Robert the Bruce’s Queen. She was alleged to rest here when journeying back into the Highlands
Killiecrankie is only 10 mins to the east from the Queens View. It’s riverside walk through a gorge but in 1689 an army of Jacobites (James’s men) routed a quasi-English force composed largely of lowland Scots and royalists. The hastily assembled Scottish/ Jacobite army was knowingly under strength but moved swiftly non-the-less to occupy the higher ground at the top of the pass, even if they were out-numbered. Rather than attempt an uphill surge, the English fired muskets all afternoon, to little affect. With a bright sun in their eyes, the Jacobites waited until about seven o’clock before unleashing ‘the clan charge’. Man for man, the Highlander was a fierce opponent and quickly cut the English to pieces within minutes. The site is probably most famed for the ‘soldiers leap’. During the battle, a Donald MacBean, is said to have jumped 18ft across the River Garry to safety.
A push just 10 miles north will bring you to Blair Castle, Scotland’s very own ‘white house’. Blair is the ancestral home of the Clan Murray and set in the majestic grounds against a fabulous Perthshire back-drop of mountains and glens. It’s 35 state rooms are some of the best maintained in Scotland, and curiously has one of Europe’s last remaining private armies guarding it, albeit this is completely ceremonial.
The only thing you might think you’ve missed is a distillery. Well Perthshire has that angle covered too at Blair Athol. Set in open moorland south of the town of Pitlochry in the foothills of the Grampian mountains, Blair Athol’s ancient source of water – the Allt Dour – flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben Vrackie, contributing to the whisky’s, mellow quality and smooth finish. The distillery was founded in 1798 by John Steward and Robert Robertson. The distillery closed down in 1932. The mothballed distillery was bought by Arthur Bell and Sons, but didn’t open again until it was rebuilt in 1949. Today it produces ‘Bells Whisky’
The Blair Athol distillery lays-on organised tours, tastings, and has its own visitors centre.
The final pearl in the string is the ‘House of Bruar’. This is a highland retail village and whereas Faraway Fairways don’t make a habit of trying to steer clients into visitor shopping traps, we make something of an exception for this one. The House of Bruar stocks the very best in quality Scottish produce including knitwear, fine foods, plus sportswear and equipment.
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