Names aren't everything, and the town of Pitlochry, Scotland, is a great example of what sounds like a forgettable place. However, it is truly a just-the-right-size kind of town to visit on your trip to Scotland. Here are 4+ reasons for choosing this lovely village (a whisky distillery or two included):
1. It's a brilliant central locale for day-tripping
Pitlochry has a train station and is centrally located for exploring the Highlands of Scotland. Take time to discover the Highland Folk Museum, Kinloch Rannoch (fictional area of Outlander's Craig na Dun) & Loch Rannoch, Blair Castle (recently featured in the Masterpiece production, Victoria), Leault Farms' sheepdogs, Cairngorms National Park, and Grantown-on-Spey.
Or, go east and ride through the town of Blairgowrie on your way towards Braemar, while admiring the captivating views of the Spittal of Glenshee.
2. It's a really picturesque town
Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, Pitlochry can offer travelers a feeling of relaxation and a cozy sense of community. Walk around town, eat in the various restaurants, shop for tartan merchandise (or the like) at the boutiques, and be sure to visit the family-run & compact Heathergems Factory and Visitor Centre, featuring one-of-a-kind designs made from real, pressed stems of heather. Even better, you can find some great sale prices on jewelry here, for yourself and/or for gift-giving.
3. It's situated between whisky distilleries
Whether you like whisky or not, it is Scotland's national drink. Besides,...a little extra knowledge about distilled spirits never hurt anyone. You should at least understand the difference between single malts and blended whiskys before you depart the country.
You can choose to visit Edradour Distillery, one of the smallest in Scotland,
and/or visit Blair Athol Distillery, a few minutes' drive away from each other.
Approximately 40 minutes away sits the famous Dalwhinnie Distillery, which can begin or end your day while seeing some of the other highlights listed in #1. It's an enjoyable way to relax and warm up, while admiring the Scots' passion for and commitment to their liquid spirits.
4. Nature's beauty and sport are all close at hand
Why not 'bag a munro'?
Hiking up a munro in Scotland can be an exhilarating accomplishment. Pitlochry nestles in at the foot of Ben Vrackie, a 2000+ foot mountain, just waiting for you to discover its views. Allow approximately 2.5-3 hours on an easy-to-view pathway with what some hikers say takes 'moderate effort'. Also check out Killiecrankie and Soldier's Leap for more of nature's stunning scenery.
If you are a sporting or fishing enthusiast, or both, there are options for you to try your hand at salmon fishing, falconry, deer or boar (yes--that's right--boar!) stalking/hunting. A wonderfully enriching afternoon can be spent observing sheepdogs live and in action, too. Read my post on this fabulous experience and where to find it.
For Outlander fans, the setting for the fictional, Craigh na Dun, is situated in a lovely area known as Kinloch Rannoch, approximately 53 minutes away, by car from the center of Pitlochry. Explore the lush green valleys and the adjoining Tay Forest Park, via an invigorating hike or while enjoying a picnic lunch. Or, to be more specific, hike up 'Craigh na Dun' and luxuriate in its views while munching on your favorite Scottish foods. While you are at it, make a special whisky toast to the visual splendors surrounding you.
There's so much to do and enjoy in the heart of the Highlands around Pitlochry. If you are renting a car, be sure to read the helpful advice on Driving UK-style and How to Find Transportation Options You Can Trust For Free.
Information about all of the above is available at Pitlochry's Tourist Information Center.
The peaceful views surrounding Pitlochry.