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A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2018.

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Athole, a mountainous district in the N of Perthshire. It is bounded on the N by Badenoch in Inverness-shire, on the NE by Mar in Aberdeenshire, on the E by Forfarshire, on the S by Stormont and Breadalbane in Perthshire, on the W and NW by Lochaber in Inverness-shire. Its area has been computed at 450 square miles. Its surface is highly picturesque, presenting lofty mountains, deep glens, solemn forests, extensive lakes, grand waterfalls, impetuous rivers, and all other striking features of Highland scenery. A central portion of it, around Blair Castle, and forming the most populous and cultivated portion of Blair Athole, is open fertile vale, traversed by the river Garry, and generally presenting only low rounded eminences; but most of the rest is alpine, and ascends to the lofty watershed of the Central Grampians. The chief mountains in it are Benvrackie, Benvuroch, Benglo, Ben Dearg, Ben-a-Chuallaich, Coire-Cragach, Sron-na-Eagaig, and Benvolach; and several of these, as well as others on the boundaries, rise to altitudes of more than 3000 feet. Chief glens are Glen Garry, Glen Erichdie, and Glen Tummel through the centre; Glen Edendon, Glen Bruar, and Glen Tilt in the north; and Glen Brerachan, Glen Fearnach, and Glen Shee in the west. The principal rivers traverse these glens, and bear their names; and all are, directly or indirectly, tributaries of the Tay. The chief lakes are Erichd on the north-western boundary, Garry in the NW, Rannoch in the W, and Tummel in the S centre. The chief waterfalls are on the Bruar and the Tummel.-Athole Forest is a part of the district preserved for deer and other game; comprises upwards of 100,000 acres; is famed above every other forest for its hunting attractions and its magnificent scenery; possessed, in former times, great immunities and privileges; belongs now to the Duke of Athole; is stocked with about 7000 red deer, and with numerous roe-deer; abounds with red and black game, plovers, partridges, and ptarmigans; has also multitudes of foxes, wild-cats, polecats, martins, weasels, and alpine hares; is frequented, in some parts, by the jay, the woodpecker, the kestrel, and the eagle; and possesses a rich variety of rare indigenous plants. -Athole gives the titles of Earl, Marquis, and Duke, in the peerage of Scotland, to a branch of the family of Murray. The earldom was grafted on a prior earldom of Tullibardine, and created in 1629; the marquisate was created in 1676; and the dukedom was given to the second marquis in 1703. The seat of the family is Blair Castle.-Athole is celebrated in song, claims special excellence for its performers on the bagpipe, and was once noted for a compound of whisky, honey, and eggs, called Athole brose.

Athole and Breadalbane, a poor-law combination in the N of Perthshire, comprehending the parishes of Blair Athole, Caputh, Dowally, Dull, Little Dunkeld, Fortingall, Kenmore, Killin, Logierait, Moulin, and Weem. Pop. (1871) 19,412. Its poorhouse has accommodation for 60 inmates.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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