ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in Blair Atholl
At Atholl Estates (www.atholl-estates.co.uk) you are spoilt for accommodation choice – there is everything from camping and caravans, to wooden lodges and grand old stone estate boltholes fit for the Duke of Atholl himself.
Time for lunch with the Duke, well at least in his palatial Blair Castle (www.blair-castle.co.uk). The Tullibardine Restaurant offers tempting homemade soup, chunky sandwiches and delicious cakes.
Explore 700-year-old Blair Castle on a guided tour. This is the best way to hear about all the anecdotes that bring this historic building to life.
Explore the castle grounds, enjoying the ornate gardens and snake of footpaths, with a wee forest playpark too. Look for peacock and deer.
It’s proper Highland Perthshire pub grub at the grand old Atholl Arms Hotel (www.athollarmshotel.co.uk). It’s hearty, filling and ideal after a day yomping around the village and the estate.
Myriad estate activities are available, from clay pigeon shooting and pony trekking, through to ranger led walks and thrilling Land Rover rides.
The Watermill (www.blairathollwatermill.co.uk) in the village is actually a working 16th century watermill. Buy bread made with grain milled on site and sandwiches filled with local Dunkeld smoked salmon.
Cross the railway tracks and the A9 with caution and a path weaves its way up the hillside to the west of town, opening up epic views of the estate’s mountains.
Dine in tonight on local food sourced from the Watermill and the village shops. Afterwards enjoy the stars as there is little light pollution in these parts.
If you’ve driven, curl around to House of Bruar (www.houseofbruar.com) on your way home. You can pick up a tweed jacket or some fresh Perthshire produce. Hike up to the Bruar Falls before lunch at their restaurant.
• Scotrail (www.scotrail.co.uk) runs trains direct to Blair Atholl from many Scottish destinations.