Auchterarder is a small town in the heart of Perthshire, not too far from the vibrant city of Perth. The town has long been referred to by the Scots as ‘The Lang Toun’ as it is home to the longest high street in the whole of Scotland, stretching through the town for more than a mile until it finally connects with the neighbouring town of Aberuthven. Though you may not instantly recognise the name of the town, Auchterarder is home to the internationally renowned Gleneagles Hotel, which is set to host Golf’s Ryder Cup in 2014. There are still some remains visible of Auchterarder Castle just to the north of the town, once an important stronghold and then a hunting lodge for King Malcolm III. As with many towns and villages in this part of the country it was the site of many battles and was razed to the ground by the Jacobites. Much of the town you see today dates from the eighteenth century.
Things to See and Do
The high street has to be one of the main attractions of the town, it is something of a paradise for window shoppers as there are many locally owned, unique shops to be found here that you will not encounter anywhere else. Comfortable shoes are the order of the day if you want to do both sides of the high street from end to end as there is quite an incline to the road.
Gleneagles is also well worth visiting; even if you have little or no interest in the sport of golf, the building itself is magnificent. There are plenty of woodlands to explore around the town and some spectacular views to be enjoyed. Aside from the courses at Gleneagles there are also golf courses in Auchterarder, and at Aberuthven and Whitemoss. This is a wonderful area for outdoor activities and there are many to choose from such as horse riding, falconry, fishing and shooting.
Places to Visit
This is an area which is immersed in history and you will find remains of Pictish forts as well as Roman roadways, ancient Celtic chapels and beautiful Benedictine abbeys. There are two bottling plants for the local spring water which has gained a good reputation around the world as this region is home to the Highland Spring and Gleneagles Spring Water sources. Some of the nearby villages have a history worth exploring, such as Braco. This is the village that was closest to the ancient roman encampment of Ardoch which stood guard over the Antonine Wall, some of which can still be traced. At Dunning you will find not only a Roman camp but also an Iron Age fort and a twelfth century Norman tower where allegedly St Serf slayed a dragon! You will also find a memorial to a woman by the name of Maggie Wall, who was convicted of practicing witchcraft and was burned at the stake in 1657. There are also a number of distilleries in the area to visit and plenty of museums and galleries too.