Blair Atholl is a part of Scotland that offers so much that once you arrive for a Scottish holiday there is no need to get in the car for a day out until it is time to go home again. The area has everything apart from queues; there is history galore, walking and outdoor sports, wonderful food and drink all with the back drop of Scotland’s very best countryside.
The battle of Killiecrankie was fought in 1689 between the James VII loyal clans and William of Orange. It is remembered for more than just its funny name as this was a rare defeat for Jacobites against the new king of England. As a strange twist to the story James then fled Scotland and, in doing so, it was decided that he had abdicated and the throne passed to William and Mary. The battle site, where Viscount Dundee faced General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, is 2 miles south east of Blair Atholl. The result may have been a convincing victory for the Jacobites but it left Dundee dead and the Jacobites in disarray forcing James to flee his land.
Blair Atholl was the site of the battle because of the strategic importance of Blair Castle. Some 750 years old the castle has long been the home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. The castle’s residents have had a rather chequered past in choosing the winning side with a particular misfortune at Culloden.
One of the jewels of Blair Atholl is its distillery. Not known for its single malt, which is a shame, the distillery was owned by Arthur Bell and Sons. The hot gingery flavours mellow with the aroma of digestive biscuit to form the back bone of the famous blended whisky. Whisky has been important to the area long before the legitimate distillery was founded in 1798. Illicit distilling and smuggling of whisky was rife in the area where the countryside was ideal for hiding a still from the excise’s prying eyes. So ingrained was smuggling that the Duke of Atholl was even believed to have used his ownership of the Isle of Man to make a considerable fortune from smugglers.
Should you be looking to get out in the beautiful countryside that surrounds the village of Blair Atholl then there is a range of activities to choose from. Everything from walking to cycling even deer stalking is available locally. Mackays offers a charming, compact, timber cottage enjoying a peaceful secluded location tucked away off a quiet, residential street to the rear of the owner’s house. It is the perfect spot for a relaxed and tranquil holiday amidst stunning scenery.