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Cateran Trail completed, and some advice

Cateran Trail completed, and some advice

Postby Crinan » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:13 pm

Route description: Cateran Trail

Date walked: 03/07/2016

Time taken: 3.5 days

Distance: 90 km

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My friend Gabi and I completed the Cateran Trail yesterday. We really enjoyed it, were very lucky with the weather, and highly recommend it to other walkers. Here goes what we did and some advice:
We started in Blairgowrie on 3rd July. The Cateran Trail was very well waymarked, and the path was easy-going. The stretch after Dalnabreck was somewhat boggy, but not too bad and we arrived in Kirkmichael on the first evening. There's a very friendly café/shop there, though it closes and 4pm on Sundays (6pm weekdays). We were wildcamping and found it a bit hard to find a place to camp around Kirkmichael, as most of the land is private fields.
The next morning we walked through Kildrogan forest (very nice!), past Enochdhu and stopped for lunch at the Lunch Hut. This small hut is great for a stop though may be cold and damp at night, so not ideal for sleeping. The ascent to the hill pass was pretty easy, if a bit muddy, and we arrived at the Spittal of Glenshee around 2pm.
After the Spittal the Trail passes through multiple fields with cattle in them (so perhaps not ideal for walkers with dogs!). We then took the alternative route past Loch Beanie. We recommend this as the route is very scenic, but it must be noted that around the Loch and in Glen Beanie the ground is very very boggy and wet, even in July. The river is not hard to cross but if wildcamping you may be hard-pressed to find a dry patch for the tent. We camped at the edge of the conifer forest at the bottom of the valley which was somewhat dryer.
The next morning we continued through Dalvanie and once again the path was easy and well waymarked. The stretch before Loch Shandra was slightly unclear and boggy again.
Kirkton has a nice hotel to stop for a coffee, but no shop (we were counting on it to buy lunch!). The Trail then continues up and over the side of the valley with some better marked and some less well marked stretches. If in doubt just follow the main path.
Wildcamping between Dykehead and Hill of Alyth is hard, as there are mostly fields, but we found a great wee spot on the side of the Hill of Alyth. A bit wet but great views!
Alyth proved to be a lovely village, and we recommend the strawberry tarts at the café in the square. We then took the alternative route back to Blairgowrie, following Bamff Road and then the river. Some stretches may be not so well marked but if in doubt follow signs for Tullyfergus. Then follows a stretch of forest and and easy descent into Blairgowrie.
In general the trail was a great experience, not too challenging in terms of hill-walking but good as it allows you to cover large distances at a relatively fast pace. Our variant of the Trail was around 90km and we finished it it 3 days and a half. The best advice we can give is good waterproof boots, gaters, and many spare socks!
Good luck to all!
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Re: Cateran Trail completed, and some advice

Postby Bedsforsleepypeople » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:08 pm

Thanks for posting this. I am heading up there in two weeks and looking forward to it.
You noted that camping spots were hard to find, can you give any fiuther advise on where you ended up.
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Re: Cateran Trail completed, and some advice

Postby jassinc » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:29 pm

cheers for the review. I will be heading up there in 6 weeks time May2019. I will be starting at Alyth heading for Blairgowrie then camping around the Bridge of Cally area. Day 2 onto Spittal of Glen Shee area. Day3 Kirton of Glen Isla area. ?Final day down to Alyth then home. Your review has helped a lot and have added gaiters to my gear list now. CHEERS
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