I chose Perthshire for my June trip along part of the Cateran Trail. For those who are interested, the complete trail is a 65 mile / 104km circular route which includes Strathardle as well as parts of Glen Shee and Glen Isla. It is named after the bands of cattle thieves known as Caterans who previously brought terror to the glens here

My route from Blairgowrie to Kirkmichael. Map courtesy of Walk Highlands and Ordnance Survey ©

The section I completed between Blairgowrie and Kirkmichael (above), contains all the different types of terrain which this area is known for; various types of woodland, untamed heather moorlands, rolling farmland pastures, and many burns feeding into the Ericht and Ardle rivers.

I set off from Blairgowrie along the Ericht River in the sunshine.

River Ericht
River Ericht near Blairgowrie

After a couple of miles, the route turns westwards to climb into the hills above Lornty Burn for three or four miles, before turning northwards at West Gormack towards Bridge of Cally.

Lornty Burn
Farmland near Lornty Burn

At Bridge of Cally, I turned westwards into Blackcraig Forest along good broad tracks which follow the River Ardle.

Blackcraig Forest
Views across Strathardle from Blackcraig Forest

After about four miles with some pleasant views across Strathardle to the north, the track re-emerges into open pastures at Easter Dalnabreck, where I perched on a rock for a snack and a drink.

Near Easter Dalnabreck

Once I had finished, I continued towards Dalnabreck where the track became a bit muddy underfoot. I had been warned that there had been a recent event on the trail, but not that it had left it quite churned up in places.

Near Dalnabreck

I perservered slowly, trying to keep my attention on the views to distract attention from the mud. To compound the wetness on the ground, it began to rain quite heavily at the picturesque bridge over Pitcarmick Burn (below)

Pitcarmick Burn
Pitcarmick Burn

At Pitcarmick I happened on a fairly flat grassy plateau so I decided to pitch early to get out of the rain. Once I was under cover, I made some hot food and a drink while peering out into the dreich landscape.

I believe this land may be part of a shooting and fishing estate, although there were no signs, so apologies if I shouldn’t have been there. It was an unplanned camp in an area with a complete lack of alternative places.

Pitcarmick Camp
Dreich view from my tent at Pitcarmick

My trail shoes and socks were soaked by this point, so it was a relief to take them off and hang a few things up to dry on my improvised clothes line.

Drying out
Drying out

The following morning I packed up and continued to hike down the verdant country lanes into Kirkmichael. Even if some people don’t thrive so well in the Scottish rains, the wild plants do really well and looked magnificently abundant. At the village shop I lingered over a hot breakfast and tea before heading for a dry room overlooking the Ardle. I would like to return to this trail when it has had the chance to recover, so I can focus on the fine scenery rather than being constantly watchful of where I am putting my feet. A video of this trip is available on YouTube.

Since this trip in June it has been confirmed that I have Lyme Disease, so I suspect this affected my stamina on this trip. Hopefully my strength will return soon.

Best bits of kit; Jetboil Stove, Black Diamond Distance poles, PHD Minim bag.
Not needed; Sun cream, Head net, Cuben LED light.

June 2017