Aberfeldy is a small town in Perth and Kinross, administratively part of North East Scotland but scenically very much in the central Highlands. Set on the banks of the River Tay, it grew up as a resort town in the 19th C. Since the 20th C the area has been mined for baryte, an ingredient of drill fluid in the oil industry, but it's small scale and hasn't marred the scenery.
Near Aberfeldy you can also visit the village of Dull. Because someone has to.
- Stagecoach Bus 23 / 27 runs hourly M-Sat from Perth via Birnam and Dunkeld to Aberfeldy, 90 mins. Sunday there's only one morning bus in and one evening bus out.
Had you seen these roads before they were made
You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade
You can walk to the Castle and up the Birks. Dull is three miles away and you need a car to reach the path for Schiehallion ten miles away.
- 1 Wade's Bridge. Roads in the Highlands at the start of the 18th C were often little better than cattle tracks, struggling through fords and bogs. In 1715 the Jacobite rebellion rocked the government - it was quashed, but showed the need to be able to move troops swiftly into troublesome districts. General George Wade (1673-1748), as Scotland's military commander, set about building better roads and bridges. The Crieff to Dalnarcardoch road, built in 1730, crossed the Tay at Aberfeldy by this impressive bridge. Designed by William Adam, it was the most expensive structure in the whole network, and was only completed in 1734. When Wade retired, his assistant Major William Caulfeild took over, building many later roads that Wade's name has attached to, and coining the lines quoted above. Meanwhile the Jacobites rebelled again, and this time got as far south as Derby: bless these new roads!
- 2 Plastic Footbridge over the River Tay links two sections of the golf course. The name is an ironic nod to the great McGonagall, who wrote numerous doggerel odes about the Tay and much else, but his poem about Aberfeldy is sublimely awful even by his exacting standards.
- 3 Castle Menzies, Weem PH15 2JD (B846 1.5 miles west of Aberfeldy). Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:30-17:00, Su 14:00-17:00. Fine 16th C castle, restored in the 20th C (this work continues), transitional in style between a defensive fortress and a decorative chateau. "The man who would be king": Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed here in 1746, and the deposed Maharajah of the Sikh Empire was in residence 1855-58. £6.
- Glen Lyon is a very scenic but little-visited glen 8 miles south.
- The League of Extraordinary Communities: well one of them, not to overdo the excitement. Dull is a tiny farming community straggling along the B846 three miles west of Aberfeldy. There was a monastery in the 7th C; various associated carvings and grave slabs are now in the NMS in Edinburgh. There's nothing here. But in 2012 Dull began trading on its name, linking up with the town of Boring near Portland Oregon. You can image the T-shirts, the photo-ops, the mugs. In 2013 the town of Bland, New South Wales got in on the act, so these three market themselves as the "League of Extraordinary Communities" of Dull, Boring and Bland. Take a photo of the village sign, press "share", your work here is done.
- Walk the Birks O'Aberfeldy, the birch-filled glen south of the village that inspired the poem by Robert Burns. The path leads up to the Falls of Moness.
- Climb Schiehallion, sometimes called "The Mount Fuji of Scotland" for its near-perfect cone and isolation from other peaks. It's a Munro of 1083 m / 3553 ft which looks volcanic but is quartzite polished by glaciation. Its shape made its volume easy to calculate, so in 1774 it was used to estimate the earth's mass and gravity by the deflection of a nearby pendulum. It's a popular ascent, usually from the car park at Brae of Foss, a 3 mile trail.
- Climb Ben Lawers, a Munro of 1214 m / 3983 ft brooding over Loch Tay, with alpine / arctic habitat on its upper slopes. Early geologists supposed that after a first volcanic phase of the earth's formation, later rocks were laid down by sedimentation. But they found more and more awkward anomalies, and at Ben Lawers they discovered that the entire sequence of strata was inverted - which turned conventional wisdom on its head. The path up the mountain is straightforward, from the NTS car park you ascend via the lesser peak of Beinn Ghlas.
- Highland Safaris, B846 highway, Dull/Aberfeldy, ☏ . Off-road wildlife tours, café and souvenir shop.
- Atholl & Breadalbane Highland Gathering is held in mid-August at Wades Park Aberfeldy. The next event is Sat 10 Aug 2019.
- There's also Kenmore Highland Games in early July in that village. The next event is Wed 3 July 2019.
- 1 KB's Italian Kitchen, 25A Dunkeld Street, PH15 2AA, ☏ . M-Sa 11:00-1330 & 17:00-21:00, Su 17:00-21:00. Closed until 13 March 2019 Mains £10-£15.
- Fountain Bar and Black Watch Inn are along the main street.
- 1 Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberfeldy PH15 2EB (A827 just east of village). M-Sa 10:00-16:00. Whisky distillery, opened in 1898, producing some single malts but mostly for blending into Dewar's Whisky. In February production is suspended for annual maintenance, visitors are still welcome but tours are amended. Tour £10.50.
- Aberfeldy Cottages. Two self-catering cottages, let by the week Sat-Sat, shorter lets available in winter.
- Aberfeldy Caravan Park, Dunkeld Road, ☏ . Open mid-March - Oct.
- Some dozen B&Bs and self-catering cottages in town and along the lane to Dull.
- Coshieville House, Coshieville, Perth and Kinross, ☏ . Bed and breakfast, dog-friendly.
- Head east to rejoin A9 then north to Pitlochry and Blair Atholl and over the moors to the Spey Valley.
- Go west past Loch Tay to join A85 to Crianlarich, with routes to Oban or Glencoe.
- The road south comes back into the Lowlands via Dunkeld to Perth.