The Cateran Trail – a walkers dream

The Cateran Trail, aptly acknowledged as ‘the sort of Scotland walkers dream of’ by TGO magazine is a fully waymarked circular route through the spectacular Perthshire and the Angus glens.  Andy Barrie, is Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust’s Strategic Routes Officer and he provides an insight into the management of the trail.

Cateran Trail - Kirkton of Glenisla - © Mike Bell

Cateran Trail – Kirkton of Glenisla – © Mike Bell

The trail can be divided into five stages, which can be comfortably walked in five days. It has no official beginning or end and can be joined at any stage.

It mostly follows old drove roads and ancient tracks across a varied terrain of farmland, forest and moors, which includes some boggy bits especially after rainfall. It undulates with the land between and over hills, alongside rivers and burns, across rolling countryside, over bridges, and through towns. Its highest point reaches 650 m / 2,130 ft at An Lairig gate.

Cateran Trail - GlenIsla to the West © Mike Bell

Cateran Trail – GlenIsla to the West © Mike Bell

The top selling points of the Trail are definitely the views! The scenery of East Perthshire and the Angus glens is breath-taking and always leaves people in awe. Some great points of interest along the route include: Blackcraig, Dalnaglar and Forter castles; prehistoric buildings; the Upper Lunch Hut, once visited by Queen Victoria; Dirnanean Gardens (open in summer); Auchintaple Loch and Loch Shandra; Mount Blair (774 m / 2,440 ft); and a 19th century wrought iron bridge across the River Isla.

Cateran Trail - Feet crossing bridge © Zoe PKCT

Cateran Trail – Feet crossing bridge © Zoe PKCT

The land through which the Cateran Trail passes is held by 42 land owners, so our biggest management challenge is ensuring that all of the land owners continue to support the Trail and the people using it. It also means we aren’t able to simply carry out maintenance or other works along the Trail but need to get several different sets of permissions before we are allowed to work on any of the land.

Currently, we’re working on installing new self-closing gates funded by Scottish Natural Heritage at various points, new signage along the Cateran Mini Trail between Kirkmichael and Lair, and new drainage across the Trail to try to make it less muddy underfoot.

Plan a trip soon – find all you need at


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