As one of the current Rural Wisdom local areas, we’re working with a range of communities west of the A9 in Highland Perthshire, these areas offer a wealth of history, culture, stunning landscapes and adventure. Here we give a bit of background about the particular communities that we’re working in. You can read more about what we’re doing in these areas on the Highland Perthshire page, and in more detail in our Rural Wisdom in Highland Perthshire Autumn report.
The Rural Wisdom worker for this area is Jill Davies; please get in touch with Jill if you’d like to know more about what’s happening.
Aberfeldy is the largest town in the area, population 1986 (2011 census) with many accolades; made famous by Robert Burns, Scotland’s first Fairtrade Town, John Dewar & Sons Ltd Distillery established in 1898, mountains and glens, The Watermill Bookshop – award winning book shop, Wade’s Bridge, Community owned Birks Cinema and The Birks of Aberfeldy woodland walk to name but a few.
There are many local hotels and B&B’s, restaurants, a caravan park and eateries welcoming visitors to the area. Visit the Explore Aberfeldy website for more information.
There is a strong gaelic speaking community in the Aberfeldy area with the long standing Aberfeldy Gaelic choir, the language taught in school and Aberfeldy hosting the mod in 2017. There is a Community First Responders Scheme in Aberfeldy and some of the outlying areas have the highest call out rate for the Air Ambulance due to the distance to emergency care.
When asked what they love about living in the area local residents talk passionately about the fabulous scenery and the very friendly people who live there.
Kenmore sits at the tip of Loch Tay surrounded by stunning scenery just 6 miles from Aberfeldy. Tourist attractions abound; The Scottish Crannog Centre, Loch Tay Safari, Ben Lawers – highest mountain in the Southern Highlands, Taymouth Castle Estate, Mains of Taymouth Country Estate and Golf Course, to name but a few.
A range of accommodation providers and catering establishments serve the tourists coming to enjoy the great outdoors. However, many houses are now holiday homes in the Kenmore, Fortingall and Glen Lyon area.
Fortingall and Glen Lyon
Fortingall is a hamlet about 8 miles west of Aberfeldy where the Fortingall Yew Tree grows in the churchyard. Estimated to be 2000 to 3000 years old it is one of the oldest trees in Europe. An area of outstanding natural beauty, it is peppered with up to 75% holiday homes. Glen Lyon is the longest enclosed glen in Scotland running for 34 miles from Loch Lyon in the west to the village of Fortingall in the east.
Narrow rural roads with passing places link the villages to the main routes, walkers share the route so care is essential to move about.
Around 750 people live in the Rannoch and Tummel area. The area is very remote and mountainous and qualifies for government assistance through their lack of access to amenities. The doctors surgery is served by the Aberfeldy practise, volunteers run the Community First Responders Scheme and their nearest hospital is the Pitlochry Community Hospital.
Kinloch Rannoch sits between Dunalastair Water and Loch Rannoch, surrounded by stunning scenery about 20 miles west of Pitlochry. On the way from Aberfeldy you can take the mountain road round Shielhallion, one of Scotland’s most popular hills. Loch Rannoch is a popular destination for people to retire to, settling here after developing a love of the area over years of visiting. Trains are available from Pitlochry and Rannoch Station approximately 18 miles away, connecting to Perth and Fort William respectively.
There is a small but active primary school, a busy village hall and many community groups and activities. There is no Community Council currently. The Rannoch Community Trust carried out a consultation in 2016, leading to the community action plan.
Due to its remoteness, Kinloch Rannoch has a Demand Response Transport Service when the service bus provision discontinued. This allows residents from both sides of Loch Rannoch to come together and is used by all age groups in the community.
Kinloch Rannoch is a very active and empowered community, embracing new arrivals and supporting them into community life. However, they are aware that the pool of volunteers is getting older and from time to time have other commitments.
Grandtully & Strathtay
This small village of Grandtully has around 750 residents and is the home of award winning chocolatier Iain Burnett. On the A827 about 6 miles from Aberfeldy, the River Tay offers watersport adventure. The Scottish Canoe Association have a campsite nearby. Over the bridge and up the hill, the village of Strathtay sits beside the Strathtay Golf Course. There is a Primary School and Inn on the Tay in Grandtully and the Strathtay Village Stores offers food and a Post Office.
Amulree is a hamlet with a church and Village Hall about 8 miles from Dunkeld and 10 miles from Crieff. The surrounding area is mainly farmland, though some of the ground is rented out rather than farmed by local farmers. The village school closed in the late 1990s, the hotel and shop have also since closed.
There is a thriving community with more young families moving into the area swelling the school numbers in Birnam. The Village Hall is a social hub and like many other rural communities they embrace new arrivals and include them in activities through a community email and The Bridge newsletter.
There is a large Christmas Decorations supplier near Amulree, with mainly internet sales. Road connections are relatively good so small businesses in the area can enjoy a good quality of life alongside work.