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Blair Atholl & Bridge of Tilt

Old Blair AthollBlair Atholl and Bridge of Tilt is the largest village in the area being bounded on the south side by the River Garry and bisected by its tributary, the southerly flowing River Tilt. The area of the village on the left bank of the River Tilt is known as Bridge of Tilt.

Click on any of the images to see enlarged aerial photographs.

Until 1822 the military road from Dunkeld to Inverness ran from the Craggan corner below Lude House and then by Kilmaveonaig to Old Blair. The new bridge across the River Tilt on the current line of road was opened on 16 September 1822, so that Blair Town (now Old Blair) was bypassed. At that time also, the haugh (low-lying area) of Blair Atholl contained little other than the corn mill, its associated farm and buildings

About the same time, the McInroy laird of Lude moved his villagers from the old village at Kilmaveonaig Church down to Ballentoul and by 1823 the duke's factor, Fred Graham, wrote that Mr McInroy had contracted to build an inn near the new Bridge of Tilt, and inferred that the duke might consider it unnecessary to build a new one of his own in Blair. However, the duke was not to be outdone by his neighbour and in 1830 laid the foundation stone for a new inn - at that time a small coaching inn beside the new road. It was completed in 1832 and the former inn, "Tigh Glas" in [Old] Blair Town closed down. The central part of today's Atholl Arms Hotel formed the inn at that time and contained a dining room, some bedrooms and offices, along with stabling, coaching facilities and servants' quarters at the rear.

Bridge of TiltIn 1825 the building of the present Blair Atholl parish church was completed beside the new road and in 1833 a new school and schoolhouse were built beside the River Tilt where the Atholl Country Life Museum is now housed. Also in the 1850s Lude Estate granted a feu to build St Andrews Free Church [now demolished] by the present Blair Atholl manse. In 1854 considerable additions were made to the Atholl Arms, when an east wing, now containing a lounge bar, was built on. A baronial style dining room was part of an added west wing, to be used for the Atholl Gathering Ball which had formerly been held in a marquee. Further stabling, coach houses and servants' quarters were extended at the back to service the considerably enlarged inn. These additions were finished in 1877 when further building at the rear formed a rectangle and completed the courtyard.

Also in the 1850s there was an expansion of further building in the village, when plans for "Cottages in Blair" were drawn up, comprising of a row of substantial stone houses, with shops, a police station and a post office. At the same time a smiddy was built beside the mill lade. In 1856 the building of a row of houses at Garryside, close to the river, was begun.

A hundred yards below the old ford, a footbridge across the Garry was completed in the early 1860s. This replaced the three-arched stone bridge which was built in 1737 and destroyed six months later by a severe flood. The remains of a buttress of this bridge can still be seen on the south bank on the down side of the footbridge.

Blair CastleProposals for building a railway line from Perth to Inverness were first mooted in 1845, but a parliamentary bill to this end was thrown out as it was considered impossible for steam locomotives to haul trains over Drumochter Pass. By 1863, however, these problems had been overcome and the Perth and Inverness Junction Railway Company, later the Highland Railway Company opened the line for railway traffic in 1863.

In 1871 a gas works was built in the village a few hundred yards east of the corn mill and within a year the castle was lit throughout by gas. This was extended to both the church and school in the late 1890s.

In the late 20th century the road to the north, now called the A9, was again re-routed, this time on a line running from south of Blair Atholl along the other bank of the river Garry to Bruar, thus by-passing Blair Atholl completely. Contrary to many fears, this bypassing has improved the quality of life and made the village a more pleasant place, having been freed from the passage of thundering through traffic.

Our Villages

Blair Atholl & Bridge of TiltOld Blair Atholl

Blair Atholl and Bridge of Tilt is the largest village in the area being bounded on the south side by the River Garry and bisected by its tributary, the southerly flowing River Tilt. The area of the village on the left bank of the River Tilt is known as Bridge of Tilt. Read more...

Calvinandstruan

Bruar, Calvine & Struan

Some 4 miles North of Blair Atholl lie the hamlets of Bruar, Calvine and Struan, where the A9 main road and railway to Inverness leave the broad green valley of Strathgarry in Atholl and begin their ascent through the lofty Drumochter Pass into Badenoch. Read more...

Killiecrankie

The name Killiecrankie derives from Coille Chneagaidh meaning Wood of The Aspen or, because Aspen leaves shimmer, Wood of the Shimmering. The area is steeped in history and is popular with walkers, fishers and anyone intent on spending time in one of the most beautiful areas in the UK. Read more...