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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > Scotland > North East Scotland > Perth and Kinross > Blair Atholl

Blair Atholl

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Blair Atholl is a village in Perth and Kinross, in the Scottish Highlands, notable for its castle. It's on the main route from Perth to Inverness, at the confluence of the rivers Tilt and Garry, amidst the last large patch of farmland in the valley (Gaelic: blàr, a field or plain). Further north, the route rises through Calvine and over bleak Drumochter Pass, before descending into the Spey Valley. So if you led an invading army of Jacobites, or a vengeful loyalist army in pursuit, you'd have to march this way.

The village is ringed by the Cairngorm mountains and lies within Cairngorms National Park. The Tourist Information Centre just west of the Tilt river bridge is open daily 09:00-16:45.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

On the A9 34 mi (55 km) north of Perth, 89 mi (143 km) south of Inverness .

By train[edit]

Blair Atholl is on the main railway line from Edinburgh and Glasgow via Perth, then north to Aviemore and Inverness, with Scotrail trains every hour or two.

Reaching Blair Atholl from England usually involves changing in Edinburgh, as the one direct daytime train from London to Inverness doesn't stop here.

Nightly except Saturday, the Highland Sleeper leaves London Euston around 21:00 to reach Blair Atholl by 06:15 on its way to Inverness. (So you might do better to take the Lowland Sleeper to Edinburgh then change to a daytime train.) The southbound sleeper picks up around 22:30, reaching Euston by 08:00.

1 Blair Atholl railway station Blair Atholl railway station on Wikipedia is west end of the village.

By bus[edit]

Most of the buses along the A9 bypass Blair Atholl, and there's usually only one Citylink bus per day from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth.

Get around[edit]

Stagecoach bus 87 runs every couple hours from Pitlochry via Blair Atholl to Calvine.

See[edit]

  • 1 Blair Castle. Apr-Oct daily 09:30-17:30. Ancestral home of Clan Murray; parts of Comyn's Tower may date to the 13th C, but the castle was mostly built in the 15th and 16th C. It had a big Baronial makeover in the 19th C and the contents and fittings are mostly Victoriana. The Dukes of Atholl no longer live here - Bruce Murray the 12th Duke lives in South Africa - but they continue to maintain the Atholl Highlanders, Europe's only private army. Adults £13, concs £11.25, children £8.30. Blair Castle (Q532627) on Wikidata Blair Castle on Wikipedia
Blair Castle
  • 2 Falls of Bruar (At Pitagowan behind House of Bruar shopping centre.). Spectacular series of pools, waterfalls and natural arch, as the Bruar Water cuts a gorge through the rugged landscape. Best viewed in full spate after heavy rain, and in autumn with the colours of the leaves. In the 18th C, the poet Robert Burns was one of many visitors who found the setting barren, so he wrote a poem to the Duke of Atholl, as if from the river, begging for some trees to adorn it. The Duke later set about planting the area and laid out the present path; William Wordsworth complained it was too neat. Falls of Bruar (Q38010) on Wikidata Falls of Bruar on Wikipedia
Falls of Bruar

Do[edit]

  • The Highland Gathering and Atholl Highlanders' Parade is held annually at the castle in late May. The next event is Sat 25 - Sun 26 May 2019.
  • Scouts, Venturers and Sea Scouts aged 14-17 are welcome at the Blair Atholl Jamborette, held in the castle grounds in the summer of even years. The next will be held in July 2020, dates yet not confirmed. The "Jamborette" intends to be not as big as international scout jamborees have become, so numbers may be capped at around 1200.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 House of Bruar, Pitagowan PH18 5TW (Follow the A9 three miles north towards Calvine), +44 1796 483236. Daily 10:00-17:00. Tweeds, knitwear and gourmet food.

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

  • 1 The Inn at Loch Tummel, Queens View, Strathtummel, +44 1882 634317.
  • Sorry, but Blair Athol (one "L") whisky distillery isn't here, it's in Pitlochry; it's still worth sampling. There's another in Dalwhinnie, then more than you can imagine on Speyside.

Sleep[edit]

  • Blair Castle Caravan Park accommodates camping and touring caravans, and has fixed caravans and pods. These are open March-Nov, "woodland lodges" are available all year.
  • 1 Atholl Arms Hotel, +44 1796 481205. Traditional 3-star Highland hotel full of tartan, roaring fires and stags' heads (mainly for the benefit of the coach parties, but you can enjoy them ironically). Has a restaurant and cosy pub serving good food. B&B double from £90.
  • 2 Ptarmigan House, The Terrace, +44 1796 481269.
  • There's a handful of small B&Bs in the village. The long-established Bridge of Tilt Hotel went bust in 2015.

Go next[edit]

  • The valley of Strath Tummel leads west up to lonely Loch Rannoch, where the road dead-ends.
  • North, you climb over Drumochter Pass to Dalwhinnie, where you can either stay on A9 to descend into Spey Valley and Aviemore, or go west on A86 across the hills to Fort William, Ben Nevis, and routes to Skye.
  • It's a twisty slow road to go east across the hills, but you can go via Pitlochry and A924 to Kirkmichael and Glenshee; thence over the pass to Braemar and the Dee valley.
  • Or head south on A9 to return to the lowlands and Perth.


Routes through Blair Atholl
InvernessKingussie  N UK road A9.svg SE  PitlochryPerth


This city travel guide to Blair Atholl is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.