As RF Kennedy said ‘Like it or not, we live in interesting times.’ At the moment there are many freedoms that we cannot take for granted including the freedom to travel. So, whether you are able to travel now or are just planning for the future, here’s some inspiration for your next trip to Crieff and Strathearn.
1. Drummond Castle Gardens
As soon as you drive through the imposing gateway into the mile long driveway of beech trees, you know that there will be something special at the end of it. At the entrance to the gardens you are met by the impressive imposing wall of Drummond Castle Keep and Gatehouse which dates back to 1629. Walking through the woven iron portcullis takes you to a courtyard with the gardens spread out below and before you. The gardens are laid out in formal terraces in the Italianate parterre style and so there are quite a few steps. Don’t worry, there are also alternative routes to access them for wheelchair users and the less mobile.
The gardens date back to the 1630’s, although they were restructured in the 19th century and are regarded as one of Europe’s most important and impressive formal gardens. They have featured in many films and programmes including Rob Roy and Outlander where the venue stood in for the ornate park and orchard of the Palace of Versailles.
The gardens are currently closed but will hopefully re-open in the Spring of 2021, visit their website here for more details and for links to videos.
2. The Library of Innerpeffray
Just a couple of miles from Crieff is Scotland’s first free public lending library – The Library of Innerpeffray. This is a gem of a place with an eclectic mix of books dating from as far back as 1476! The library was founded in 1680 and you can still read the rare books in its collections which cover a broad range of subjects from gardening to witchcraft and algebra to zoology. You can see Robert Burns’ handwriting, read the first printed recipe for Haggis and explore the world through travel books and atlases.
While you are there, you could also wander through the graveyard to the medieval St Mary’s Chapel of Innerpeffray to view some rare wall paintings or follow the award winning Heritage Trail which tells the story of Innerpeffray through the ages. It might be a quiet backwater now, but in the past it was in a key location, sitting as it does on a Roman Road, close to a ford and close to the site of Strageath Fort which was an important staging post and supply depot for the Romans during their time in Scotland.
3. The Glenturret Whisky
Sitting on the edge of Crieff in a picturesque location alongside the River Turret lies the distinctive white washed Glenturret Distillery. In its Latin form ‘Torreglen’, Glenturret means land of the rushing streams and several times over it’s long history the distillery has been flooded entirely.
Recently discovered records show that whisky has been made at the site of the Glenturret distillery since before 1763, making it Scotland’s oldest working distillery.
Visitors can take a tour to learn all about it’s history, the famous people to have visited, the traditional hand crafted whisky process and of course to sample some of the amber nectar. Tours are still operating according to Government guidelines, visit their website for the most up to date information.
4. Crieff Visitor Centre
As well as housing a shop, restaurant and garden centre, Crieff Visitor Centre is the home of Caithness Glass. During the week you can watch the skilled craftsmen at work making everything from glasses to vases and paperweights from a free viewing gallery. If you fancy having a go yourself you can spend time with one of their glass makers creating your own paperweight or try glass painting instead. Both of these activities are not currently available due to the pandemic, but this won’t always be the case, so please keep an eye on their website for up to date information.
There is also a permanent display on show which explains the importance of Crieff historically as a trading town for cattle and how drovers walked their beasts from across Scotland to the large annual cattle market.
5. Strathearn Arts
Located in the former Crieff Library building, Strathearn Arts is an arts venue serving Crieff and Strathearn. It is used for a wide range of creative and recreational activities including: exhibitions; film screenings; live music; comedy; theatre and classes. Their events programme is on hold at the moment for obvious reasons but hopefully they will be able to restart soon. Visit their website or Facebook page for up to date information.