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Pitlochry

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, 2002-2016.

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Pitlochrie, a prosperous village in Moulin parish, Perthshire, is situated on the left bank of the river Tummel, and has a station on the Highland railway, 6¾ miles SE of Blair Athole and 12¾ NNW of Dunkeld. Partly from its position, in the midst of and near most romantic and picturesque spots in Highland scenery, and partly from its healthy situation and salubrious climate, the village annually attracts a large number of tourists, visitors, and invalids. Its development, which, as the census returns show, has been considerable, is entirely due to its two qualifications of picturesque situation and healthy climate. In the immediate vicinity are Ben Vrackie (2757 feet), the pretty little waterfall, known as the Black Spout, the village and castle of Moulin, the Falls of Tummel, the junction of the Tummel and the Garry, the Bridge of Cluny, and the Pass of Killiecrankie; while only a few miles off are Blair Athole, Falls of Bruar, Loch Tummel, Kirkmichael, Aberfeldy, and Dunkeld, and other celebrated spots. A considerable number of houses for letting purposes have been built of late years, and Pitlochrie has long ranked as a favourite summer resort. The most important provision for visitors was the erection of the hydropathic establishment.

The village consists mainly of one street, built along either side of General Wade's highroad between Dunkeld and Blair Athole, but at the little bridge which spans a small burn tributary to the Tummel near the centre of the village, another road leads uphill to one or two newer and shorter rows of houses. Till lately, Pitlochrie had no Established church nearer than Moulin, though services were conducted in the public school. But in September 1883, there was laid the foundation-stone of a new Norman Gothic church, which is estimated to cost £2000, and will accommodate 468 persons. A special feature in its interior arrangement is the position, in the tower, and immediately behind the pulpit, of a class-room, which, by the removal of a screen, will afford in summer, additional accommodation for 40 persons. The neat Free church, on the slope overlooking the main street, was built to supersede the older structure, raised at the Disruption in 1843, about a mile to the N, and afterwards used as a school. At the SW end of the village is the Gothic Episcopal church of the Holy Trinity (1858; 125 sittings), surrounded with a neatly laid-out garden. A Baptist church, with 300 sittings, was erected in 1884. The Athole hydropathic establishment is a very large and striking building, and occupies an elevated site to the S of the town, commanding a lovely and extensive view. It was built in 1875 at a cost of £50, 000 or £60, 000, and it is surrounded with tastefully laid-out grounds, extending to between 30 and 40 acres, and access is obtained to it by an avenue which gradually ascends from the lodge on the level of the public road. The public school occupies a building formerly belonging to the Established church.

Pitlochrie has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Commercial and Union banks, the Bank of Scotland, and the National Security Savings' Bank, 17 insurance agencies, two hotels, besides a temperance lodging house. The railway station is both handsome and commodious; lawn tennis courts were opened in 1883; and a pretty fountain has been erected in the town to the memory of Colonel Butter, yr. of Faskally, who died in 1880.

Though at one time spoken of as a centre of trade for Perthshire, N of Strathtay, Pitlochrie has but little commerce; though the almanacs still record that there are fairs for cattle and horses on the Saturday before the first Wednesday of May, and on the third Wednesday (o.s.) of October; and for sheep on the third Tuesday of August. There are two small factories,-one of tweeds and one of chemicals; and there is some distillation of whisky, while the ordinary shops are numerous enough and fairly good. The village enjoys a supply of water through pipes, and is lighted by gas. Pop. (1841) 291, (1861) 334, (1871) 510, (1881) 777, of whom 410 were females and 255 Gaelic-speaking. Houses (1881) inhabited 151, vacant 15, building 6.

Though now possessing comfortable and elegant houses, Pitlochrie at no distant period was a mere rude Highland village, with only some two or three slated houses. Prince Charlie, on his way to Culloden, is said to have occupied what was at the time the mansionhouse of the Pitlochrie property. The parochial registers, whose first entry is dated 1707, mention that owing to the presence of the rebel army in 1745-46, public worship was suspended for several Sundays. The modern prosperity of the place dates from about 1845, when the Queen visited Blair Castle. Sir James Clarke, the royal physician, was struck by the character of the air and climate of the place, and began to prescribe to his patients a residence at Pitlochrie. It is related that on one occasion one of the neighbouring landowners went to London to consult Sir James Clarke, and was assured of a cure if he spent some time at Pitlochrie or its neighbourhood! Sir James Simpson, of Edinburgh, was also convinced of the wholesomeness of the air of Pitlochrie.—Ord. Sur., sh. 55, 1869.

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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