Area focus: Blairgowrie
Writers including CJ Schüler, Rachel Joyce, Billy Kay and James Robertson, among others, will appear at Blairgowrie Community Campus to discuss their work, ideas and inspirations.
The festival’s motto, “Go with the flow”, is a reminder, say its organisers, of the liberation of being largely free of Covid constraints and to look ahead to the future.
With that, those dreaming of a property in a spellbinding setting surrounded by the unparalleled Perthshire countryside should take heed and head forth to Blairgowrie and Rattray.
A half-hour drive north of Perth, the twin burgh sits on the banks of the salmon-filled River Ericht with Blairgowrie on the south-west side and Rattray to the north-east.
It is home to some 9,000 people and the idyllic town of Blairgowrie, one of Perthshire’s largest at the base of the Grampian Mountains, is renowned across the country for its soft fruit produce – in particular its splendid strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
In fact, strawberries were first cultivated for market in the town in 1848, according to the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Local History Trust, and by the 20th Century, the area’s soft fruits were being dispatched across Britain.
The origin of Blairgowrie’s name is uncertain, with some claiming it comes from the Celtic term for “the battlefield”, and others suggesting it means “plain of the goats”. But, one thing for sure is that its population has been steady from as far back as the 1600s.
A century on, the location became the starting point of a military road to Braemar, around the time that Blairgowrie and the village of Rattray were linked by road.
Flowing downstream from the Cairngorms, the River Ericht has played a key role in Blairgowrie’s history as it led to the construction of many textile mills along its banks during the 1800s.
They originally processed flax, then linen and later, jute, causing the town’s economy to boom, and its population to grow from less than 1,000 to 7,000 souls between the 18th and 19th centuries.
These days, Blairgowrie is a popular tourist destination, ideally positioned in the heart of Scotland to provide a base for tours around the surrounding area.
The town’s High Street has an abundance of independent businesses with traditional shop fronts in historic stone buildings.
And now, it seems, is the time to buy a home there, as the average price of a property is £203,277, according to Zoopla – down almost 2 per cent over the last year.
The town boasts a number of attractive Victorian villas, most notably on Perth Road, which is the main route south of Blairgowrie and arguably its most desirable address.
The thoroughfare has grand detached houses with well-maintained and spacious gardens, with some having been converted into flats.
They cost anywhere between £100,000 and £345,000, which is a bargain when compared to larger locations around the country.
Newton Street, to the west of Blairgowrie’s centre, is another highly sought-after address, featuring well-presented four and five-bedroom semi-detached 19th-Century villas.
One of these stone-built traditional homes in this leafy part of the town will cost about £254,615 and are very much in demand.
Riverside Park is a more modern development of apartments that is just a stone’s throw from the town centre, overlooking the River Ericht. A two-bedroom apartment here will have a price tag of between £149,000 and £164,000.
There are primary schools in the area and secondary education is provided by Blairgowrie High School. Independent schools Glenalmond College and the High School of Dundee are 40 minutes away by car.
Blairgowrie is surrounded by outstanding walking, cycling and horse-riding trails, quaint spots for fishing and, being at the centre of Scotland, is within easy reach of larger towns and cities.
Average market value of a property in the area (Source: Zoopla)