“ Pitlochry (Baile Chloichridh in Gaelic), estimated population 2,564, is a burgh in the council area of Perth and Kinross, Scotland, lying on the River Tummel. „
Pitlochry is a small town in Highland Perthshire with a population of around 3000 people which has been popular with tourists since Victorian times with Queen Victoria herself visiting regularly. It lies at the geographical centre of Scotland and, unlike many towns in Highland Perthshire or the Highlands, has excellent transport links with easy access by car from the A9 and regular bus and train services.
I have visited Pitlochry many times over the years and still end up in town reasonably regularly but it is somewhere that I find depressing to visit. It is a town which is entirely dependent on tourism for its existence and it seems that the soul has been ripped out of the town. The cost of housing has soared as people have snapped up holiday homes and yet more homes have been bought by retirees so that they can live in a holiday destination all year long meaning that people local to the area find it impossible to get a foothold on the property market here and I think this lack of local spirit means the town has suffered. Retirees make up over a third opf the town's population (double the Scottish average) and this demography and the fact the tourists are often older people gives the town a very slow and sedate feel.
Pitlochry is an extremely attractive town with many of the buildings dating back to the Victorian era. The main street is lined with lovely old stone built buildings and it is possible to walk from one end of the town to the other in around half an hour. The town has stunning floral displays and regularly wins Britain in Bloom competitions for the well maintained environment and the light displays over the winter are always gorgeous. The surrounding countryside is also stunning, some of the nicest in Scotland. The train journey from Pitlochry to Inverness is especially spectacular and you can just sit back and enjoy the views including the famous Killiekrankie pass. The surrounding countryside is popular with walkers and the area around the river Tummel and Tummel bridge is an especially nice walk.
The high street is filled with shops and restaurants. The shops have the tourists in mind with overpriced brick a brack and woollen mill and outdoors shops. The restaurants are all slightly overpriced with a captive market from the tourists and I have detected a slightly snooty vibe from some of the eating establishments too. Visit the town centre outwith tourist season and you will find the shops closed up for the winter and the village looking like a ghost town.
What is there to do in Pitlochry? Very little on an average day. You can have a wander along to the dam where there is a salmon ladder to help the fish make their journey between river and loch Faskally. This is a nice enough way to spend a couple of hours and it is nice to see the fish leap between pools. A couple of whisky distilleries lie outside the town and you can go on tours which again will fill some time. Pitlochry theatre has a good range of plays and musical events but tickets are expensive starting from around £20 per person.
The one child friendly attraction in Pitlochry is the Children's Amusement Park. It is a centre which is primarily designed for the under 5s with small fairground rides, pedal boats on a tiny pond, crazy golf and an amusement arcade. The amusement arcade will provide limited entertainment for the older child with a dance mat and slot machines. The 2p machines are brilliant and seem to always pay out generously.
In the autumn Pitlochtry hosts a festival and at the centre of it is the Enchanted Forest which runs for 17 days in October. Faskally woods is transformed into a light and music show for the duration and buses shuttle visitors from the town to the event every half an hour. It is worth going to visit the Enchanted Forest but make sure you book in advance as tickets sell out quickly. The stalls and entertainment which operate for the duration of this event are lovely with lots of child friendly activities. Halloween itself sees a party in town which I have yet managed to visit but would like to do so in the future for the ghost walks. New Year is another good time to visit Pitlochry with a traditional Ceilidh raking place each year.
Pitlochry is not exactly my favourite place in Highland Perthshire as I find it dull and with a slightly snooty attitude and vibe. I would recommend basing yourself outwith Pitlochry and perhaps visiting for a day during one of the special events.
Pitlochry is one of the most popular towns in perthsire with tourists. in the summer time the town is full of coah parties and day trippers as well as hillwalkers returning from the numerous walks around the town. It lies alongside the ruver tummel and is about 40 minutes north of Perth on the A9. A very popular climb is the hill behind the town - Ben Vrackie. The festival theatre which is situated on the side of the town puts on a variety of shows for all tastes the whole year through. The main street is very touristy, filled with woollen mills, cafes and gift shops. Worth metnioning that if you visit Pitlochry it is also worth travelling further north for about another 20 minutes where you will arrive at House of Bruar - a truly scottish shopping experience with restaurant. Accomodation is plentiful in and around the town with eveything from campsites to log cabins and 4 star hotels available to travellers
Pitlochry is a beautiful town set in rural Perthshire. Largely Victorian in architecture which can especially be seen in the bustling main street.
The town's location, on one of the main routes to the Highlands, does tend to make it a bit of a tourist hub with coaches frequently stopping for rest breaks and leg stretches! This does make it a bit of touristy town but it doesn't really spoil it.
Pitlochry is small but has a lot to do both in the town and also nearby. There is a theatre, distillery (Bells), jewellery factory, children's funpark (summer months) and Blair Castle is only a short drive - as well as many lovely walks in the surrounding woodland, countryside and by Loch Faskally. Popping in to the local Tourist Office is a must so you can really get the most out of your visit!
The main street is also packed full of shops - many tourist type shops, woollen mills, whisky shops, gift shops and even a sheep shop!! As well as the chain shops you would expect to find in any small town - WH Smith, etc. There are also a good variety of cafes, restaurants and bars and accommodation can be found in the 2 caravan parks and the many hotels, guesthouses, B&B's and even a hostel.
You could easily spend a long time in Pitlochry doing lots or not doing much and just relaxing!
Lovely scenic place nestled in the east side of Scotland completely let down by the people who work there.
For example: Go into woollen shop which has two floors, ground floor for mens clothes, first floor for womens. Ask shop assistant why ladies section is closed off response We should be closed for Gods sake!
We thought ok then obviously the lady is just having a bad just a one off occurrence
Next morning we try to hire a boat on the loch to do a bit of fishing from the Pitlochry boating station positioned on the loch down the end of Clunie Bridge Road Never in all my life have I met such an unpleasant mother and son combination! We were told that we would have to leave a £40 cash deposit for the rod, a credit card AND our car keys as a deposit for the boat! We arent talking luxury boats here either just crappy rowing boats with tiny outboard motors! After I laughingly explained that all our valuables were locked in the car he shouted out to his mom Ma, theres people here trying to steal our boats at first I thought he was joking but then his mom came out shouting Away with ye yer scunner go back to where you came from, we dont need your type around here!
Well as you can imagine we checked out of our hotel immediately. The hotel manager didnt charge us for the second night saying Oh no theyve done it again obviously we werent the first to suffer such racial abuse
Shame really because the place is nice but the people who work there just have no idea how to treat other people let alone tourists
The one highlight of our visit to Pitlochry was our trip to the Edradour distillery a scenic place set on the outskirts of Pitlochry where to our great surprise and relief we met a lovely man called Frank!
Hidden in a glen above Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands of Scotland sits an unlikely gem in the brilliant jewels of Britain. Here stands, as it has for nearly 170 years, the smallest distillery in Scotland, perhaps the smallest legal distillery on Earth! Edradour has a history and tradition that continues to flourish.
History and process of Whiskey Making:
(I find this history very interesting!)
It is unclear when the first Scotch whisky was distilled. However, the ancient Celts soon gave this extraordinary drink the name- uisge beatha - which in Gaelic means water of life. Anyone who has had at least a wee dram can testify to the life it ignites in them.
In 1707, whisky production was pushed underground in order for the distillers to escape the high taxation on malt and whisky that the new government had imposed. This continued for over 100 years with illegal stills that produced unaged, lower standard whisky and smuggled it south.
Scotch Whisky then established itself as the worlds leading national drink after 1823 when the Excise Act was passed. This allowed distilling for a fee.
Edradour claims its ancient roots from its Gaelic name- edred dobhar which means the stream of King Eared. The water source is from a spring on Ben Vrakie. The white washed buildings with bright red trim and doors harken to you from the past. Walking near the tumbling stream, breathing the air saturated with the smell of malt and passing the buildings makes one feel as if he is stepping back in time.
Founded in 1825, by a cooperative of farms from Edradour, the existing distillery was established 12 years later. Little has changed since that time. The original wooden mash turns and cooper stills stand proudly as they always have. The stills are the smallest in Scotland and the smallest allowed by law.
Later, in 1841, it became known as John McGlasham and Company. At that time they created the famous blended whisky known as House of Lords. The company again traded hands in 1886 to a USA company called William Whitely and Co. Ltd. After that, in 1947, the distillery came into the 20th century by having electricity installed. However, the actual process changed little with this introduction. Then, in 1986, Edradour Whisky was finally
bottled as a single malt whisky. Before that time all of its whisky had been blended.
The distilling process, from malting of the barley to the full maturation, is over seen by only three men. They use the skills passed down to them from previous generations to make a fine single malt whisky. The process that Edradour uses is not an easy one. Special care is taken in every step in the process and a pride of excellent workmanship in the final product is the reward.
High quality local barley is selected and then moistened to allow the germination process to begin. This readies the starch in the barley grains for the change into sugar. The germination process takes 5 to 7 days. It is then put into the malt kiln to dry out. The peat fire succeeds in stopping the germination and creating the malt. These smoky fires add an extra flavour that can be tasted in the final product.
At this time the malted barley is ground into course flour called grist. The grist is mixed in the wooden mash turn with spring water. This changes the dissolved starch into a sugar that will be used in the fermentation process. Wort, a sweet copper-coloured liquid, is then drained off several hours later. This process is referred to as mashing.
After mashing, the wort has to be cooled. Edradour takes great pride in using the original, through-like Morton refrigerator. This is the only one still in use
and is so old it could be housed in an antique museum. The temperature of the wort is lowered to 20°C.
It is at this point that the wort goes into one of the two 6,000 litre pine vats called washbacks. Other distilleries now use stainless steel washbacks. However, Edradour full of tradition, believes that the taste of their whisky is enhanced by the original vats. One of the three men at Edradour than adds brewers yeast that they measure by hand. Again, Edradour believes in this traditional method over any other conventional method.
Almost magically, 56 hours later a liquid that is about 8.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is produced. This liquid is known as wash.
The distillation process begins with the wash being purified and the alcohol separated from the water. This is done by piping the wash into the wash still for its first distillation. It is heated to the exact temperature that alcohol becomes vapour, 88°C, and the vapour rises into the neck of the still.
The alcohol must then be condensed back into a liquid. This is achieved by passing the vapour through a coiled pipe called the worm. The worm is
submerged into a tank with circulation cold water from the nearby spring. Edradour has been using the same worm since 1825. The result of this process is a liquid called low wines. It is about 23% ABV.
Once this is done the entire distillation process is repeated through a smaller cooper still. This condensed vapour is about 69% ABV. The resulting liquid is now called a spirit and it goes into the spirit safe. The distillers then select the best spirit for aging. Edradour only selects the heart of the run and any that does not meet the distillers quality standards is put back for another distillation. Surprisingly, at this point the spirit is clear in colour. It will get its amber tint during the maturation process.
The experienced Stillman tests for strength and quality and then it is put in the filling store until it is down to a exact strength before it goes to the warehouse for aging.
Specially selected oak casks are used to store the whisky as it matures. The casks allow the malt to breathe. It is during this process that the golden colour and distinct flavour is acquired. 2- 4 % of the liquid is lost due to evaporation every year. Edradour calls this the angels share.
Legally, to be classified as a true Scotch whisky, it has be to aged for at least three years. Edradour goes well beyond that. They age their whisky for at least 10 years. They would not even consider giving it the Edradour name before that amount of time has passed.
Most larger distilleries produce more whisky in a week than what Edradour produces in a year. Only twelve to fifteen casks are laid to age per week. This makes Edradour a limited whisky. Many treat the acquirement of a bottle of Edradour with celebration because of its limited quantity.
The entire process at Edradour reminds me of making a cake from scratch rather than using a box mix. The process is long but the outcome of a quality product is the reward. The men of Edradour take great pride in their work and are happy to show it to the general public
As one leaves this tiny oasis with its babbling stream, sweet smelling air and well used buildings, you hold tightly your own bottle of Edradour and feel happy and excited to have been able to stumble across this gem amongst a crown of jewels.
Tours: Tours are FREE and you get a "wee dram" of whiskey at the end of the tour. The tour takes about 1 hour.
Souviner Shop: There is a small shop where you can buy their whiskey. I
t is well worth buying a bottle or two as it is VERY difficult to buy any where else. We know as we have tried in many places!
Make sure to talk to the shop people and they will help you to pick out one. They also allow you to taste the different whiskeys in order for you to make an informed choice.
Prices can range from £20 to several £100.
How to get to it?
When you get to Pitlochry, follow the signs. It is a small and windy road that sometimes seems to go no where. Be sure to admire the views going up and coming down from the hills. It is gorgeous! Parking is across the road from the distillery. Just follow the signs.
I know that this is only one aspect of a wonderful little place called Pitlochry. It is, however, all that we were able to enjoy as we were on a 4 day trip that took us up to Loch Ness and the Isle of Sky.
Pitlochry has obviously been a popular tourist sport for many years, and it’s easy to see why the town became a haven for holidaymakers. Like many places in the Lake District, and Betws-y-Coed in Wales, it has that bet-the-Victorians-loved it here feel about it, and, generally speaking, it looks like the kind of place that middle aged couples would enjoy. That’s not to say that there’s nothing to attract young families, or those looking for an active holiday, but you know what I mean – there are no rows of amusement arcades or nightclubs. The town is a lively little place, though – and there’s all the shops you could ever really need. There’s also a good selection of hotels. There are plenty of 3 star hotels, as well as cheaper guest houses. We stayed at a Best Western hotel, the Scotlands Hotel, functional enough, 3 stars and with a swimming pool, but it’s clearly seen better days. One of the main attractions is the Dam Visitor Centre, and the Salmon Ladder – this is most definitely worth seeing, as you can actually see the salmon making their way up the river, there are cutaway, aquarium-like sections where you can even watch in a shelter, if it happens to be raining. If you’re only visiting Pitlochry for a day, do call in here. The Festival Theatre is located in a prime location amid the forest, with the River Tummel below. It’s a very peaceful kind of place, and worth a visit for the restaurant, as well as the theatre. The Restaurant does pre-show meals, starting at 6.30 p.m. at a price of £18.50 for 2 courses or £21.50 for 3 courses. The food is excellent, and the views are the best I’ve seen in any restaurant – two of the ‘walls’ are clear glass, and you look down into the forests. The perfect setting. The Scottish Plant Collectors Garden is a fairly new attraction, opening in April 2003. It has an arty feel to it as well
as the more horticultural ambitions. It covers several acres, and includes some specially designed structures, and an amphitheatre. Entrance\to the garden costs £3.00 Some plays are staged in the gardens during the summer period. If you’re driving to Pitlochry from Edinburgh, on the M9, you’ll see a sign which points to the “Tourist Route to Pitlochry”. It’s definitely what you’d call a scenic route, leads you through some very lovely countryside – but only go that way if you have a couple of hours to spare, rather than the 30 minutes or so it’ll take you on the A9. Overall – Pitlochry is a great town for a day trip, and also worth considering if you like walking, great scenery, or generally having a quiet time in a small town.
Pitlochry is an ideal place to either stop overnight on your tour of Scotland or as a base for exploring the surrounding area. Pitlochry itself is a small town with a theatre where there is a summer festival each year. There is a dam with splendid views from the top and a visitor’s centre, which gives an insight into how the whole thing works. There is also a viewing chamber where you can watch salmon make their way up the fish ladder to spawn in Loch Faskally. A fish ladder, for those of you who don’t know, is a series of chambers full of water set side by side with each higher than the preceding one. Each chamber is linked with those either side by a narrow gap in the chamber wall so that the salmon can swim up through each chamber in turn and out at the top, thus climbing up past the dam. To the east of Pitlochry is Queens View. This is basically a viewpoint reached by a relatively easy climb from the car park below to a platform looking out over Loch Tummel. It was named Queen’s View after Queen Victoria’s visit in 1866. The view is that of the wooded valley of Loch Tummel with Schiehallion’s Peak in the distance. Words cannot easily portray the full beauty of that particular spot and it is easy to see why it was a favourite of Queen Victoria and has remained a favourite with visitors ever since. To the north of Pitlochry is Blair Atholl which stands at the meeting point of several highland glens. It has a mill dating from the 17th century, which is still in operation on the River Garry, and the produce made is for sale in the mill shop. Blair Castle, the turreted baronial home of the Dukes of Atholl stands just to the north of Blair Atholl. It was restored to its Gothic style in 1868. Rooms filled with furniture, paintings, tapestries, arms and clothing tell the story of Highland life from 1500.