Pitlochry

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Coordinates: 56°42′18″N 3°43′59″W / 56.7050°N 3.7330°W / 56.7050; -3.7330

Pitlochry
Scottish Gaelic: Baile Chloichridh
Scots: Pitlochry
Pitlochry is located in Perth and Kinross
Pitlochry
Pitlochry
 Pitlochry shown within Perth and Kinross
Population 2,564 
OS grid reference NN941582
Civil parish Moulin
Council area Perth and Kinross
Lieutenancy area Perth and Kinross
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PITLOCHRY
Postcode district PH9, PH16-18
Dialling code 01796
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Perth and North Perthshire
Scottish Parliament Perthshire North
Website www.pitlochry.org
List of places
UK
Scotland

Pitlochry (/pɪtˈlxri/; Baile Chloichridh or Baile Chloichrigh in Gaelic), is a burgh in the council area of Perth and Kinross in Scotland, lying on the River Tummel. Its population according to the 2001 census was 2,564.[1]

It is largely a Victorian town, which developed into a tourist resort due to Queen Victoria visiting the area in 1842, and the arrival of the railway in 1863. It remains a popular tourist resort today and is particularly known as a centre for hillwalking, surrounded by mountains such as Ben Vrackie and Schiehallion. It is popular as a base for coach holidays. The town has retained many stone-built Victorian buildings and the main street has an unusual period cast iron canopy over one side.

History[edit]

Pitlochry today dates largely from Victorian times, although the areas known as Moulin and Port-na-craig are much older. History records that Moulin Kirk was granted by the Earl of Atholl to Dunfermline Abbey in 1180 and Moulin became a burgh of barony in 1511. Port-na-craig was the site of the original ferry over the River Tummel which operated until the suspension footbridge was built in 1913. Building between these two separate communities followed the construction of the military road north in the 18th century which followed the line of the present main street.

In 1842 Queen Victoria visited Perthshire on one of her grand tours and her favourable opinion of the area caused the town to be more widely noticed. After the railway station was built in 1863, Pitlochry became a favoured destination for tourists.

In 1947 Pitlochry became a burgh. That year also saw the beginning of construction of a dam as part of the Tummel hydro-electric power scheme. The dam and its fish ladder are a popular tourist attraction today. The damming of the river created an artificial loch, Loch Faskally but flooded a large area north of the town including the old Recreation Park which was relocated to its current position.

From the 1960s, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, an inventor of radar, and his wife, Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes, Director of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in World War II, lived at her summer house, "The Observatory", in Pitlochry. Both are buried in the churchyard of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity at Pitlochry.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre[2] was founded by John Stewart in 1951, originally situated in a tent in the grounds of Knockendarroch House in Lower Oakfield. The tent became semi-permanent and remained there for 30 years until the current building at Port-na-craig opened in 1981.

The town was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2009 Britain in Bloom horticultural contest, and outright winner in the category of Small Town.[3]

Governance[edit]

Town clock
Shop canopy
Pitlochry Church of Scotland and Tryst

Pitlochry is part of the Perth and Kinross council area. The Scottish Parliamentary constituency is Tayside North, represented by John Swinney of the Scottish National Party. The British Parliament constituency is Perth and North Perthshire. The MP is Peter Wishart, also of the Scottish National Party.[4]

Demography[edit]

Pitlochry had a population of 2,564 at the 2001 census. According to the census, 34.17% of the population was of pensionable age and older, compared to a Scottish average of 18.61%. Pitlochry's 75 years and over population is 14.08%, this is almost double that of the Scottish average at 7.09%. The median age for males was 47, compared to a Scottish median age of 37, while the median age for females was 52, compared to a Scottish median of 39.[5]

Economy[edit]

Fish ladder in Pitlochry

Pitlochry's main tourist attraction is its setting, with the surrounding mountains attracting hillwalkers and climbers. Other outdoor activities, such as angling and boating, are also popular. Being in the geographical centre of Scotland, it is a popular touring base (it is a well-known local saying that a map of Scotland can balance on the head of a pin under Pitlochry).

The town has two whisky distilleries, whose visitor centres are popular attractions: Edradour, which is the smallest legal distillery in Scotland, and Blair Athol Distillery,[6] which dates back to 1798. Edradour sits to the east of town at the foot of the Moulin Moor. It is privately owned and produces only 12 casks per week with a production workforce of three men. Unchanged since it started making whisky, it is the last example of a traditional distillery and hugely popular with visitors. Blair Athol sits on the main road at the southeast of town and since 1933 has been owned by Bell's, now part of the Diageo group. Its visitor facilities are state-of-the-art.

The power station's dam is known for its 310-metre salmon ladder; fish can be viewed swimming from weir to weir within the ladder, via an underwater viewing station or a video from inside the visitor centre. Over 5,000 salmon pass through annually. The dam and power station were completed in 1951 as the last link in the Tummel hydro-electric power scheme which comprises nine power stations and reservoirs. The new reservoir, which was named Loch Faskally, was built across the River Tummel, flooding a large area upstream. The concrete dam incorporates massive steel floodgates to control water levels, with a walkway across the top with viewing windows to the powerhouse. Despite considerable local opposition to the construction of the new loch and power station, it became an instant attraction and now includes a visitor centre, explaining hydro-electric generation and the lives of the gangs of workmen who built the system. The chain of reservoirs and dams has been a great help in controlling the flooding problems of the Tay valley to the east.

The motto of Scottish Hydro-Electric is Neart-na-Gleann (power from the Glens).

Churches[edit]

There are a number of churches in Pitlochry, including the Church of Scotland Parish Church of Pitlochry Church of Scotland on Church Road which was built in 1884. Holy Trinity, an Episcopal Church at the eastern end of Pitlochry, was built in 1858. Pitlochry Baptist Church, built in 1884, is situated at the east end of the main street. There is a small Roman Catholic Church, St Bride's, at Rie-achan near Loch Faskally which was established in 1949 as a temporary facility for workers building the dam and power-station there. However when the workers moved on the chapel remained and following a fire the present building was built on the same site.

Ben Vrackie, at 841m, dominates the scenery around Pitlochry. The view is from the A9 looking north and shows part of the town of Pitlochry.

Transport[edit]

The town, which lies 26 miles north of Perth is bypassed by the main A9 Inverness to Perth road since 1981, and has a railway station on the Highland Main Line.

The town lies at the eastern end of the Rob Roy Way, a long distance footpath that runs from Drymen.

Arts and culture[edit]

In 1951, John Stewart created the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, originally held in a tent.[7]

The Winter Words Festival, first held in 2004,[8] is a 10 day literary festival that takes place every year in early February. Most events take place at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, which attracts over 40 authors, broadcasters, wordsmiths and personalities.

The sound and light show, The Enchanted Forest,[9] takes place in Pitlochry's nearby Faskally Wood every year in October, attracting 20,000 visitors to the town.

Every Monday during the summer, the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band,[10] hosts a traditional evening of music, dancing and song, beginning and ending with a short parade along the high street.[11]

Climate[edit]

As with the rest of the British Isles and Scotland, Pitlochry experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is Faskally, about 2 miles North West of the town centre. Typically the warmest day of the year will rise to 26.3 °C (79.3 °F)[12] and the coldest night will fall to −10.6 °C (12.9 °F).[13]

Climate data for Faskally, 94m asl 1971–2000, extremes 1960– (Weather station 2 miles (3 km) NW of Pitlochry)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.7
(56.7)
14.5
(58.1)
19.4
(66.9)
23.5
(74.3)
25.6
(78.1)
29.0
(84.2)
30.0
(86)
28.7
(83.7)
26.8
(80.2)
21.8
(71.2)
18.6
(65.5)
14.4
(57.9)
30.0
(86)
Average high °C (°F) 5.4
(41.7)
6.1
(43)
8.4
(47.1)
11.4
(52.5)
14.8
(58.6)
17.3
(63.1)
19.2
(66.6)
18.6
(65.5)
15.5
(59.9)
11.8
(53.2)
8.0
(46.4)
6.0
(42.8)
11.88
(53.37)
Average low °C (°F) −0.9
(30.4)
−0.4
(31.3)
0.9
(33.6)
2.6
(36.7)
5.0
(41)
8.1
(46.6)
10.3
(50.5)
9.8
(49.6)
7.6
(45.7)
4.7
(40.5)
1.2
(34.2)
−0.3
(31.5)
4.05
(39.3)
Record low °C (°F) −19.6
(−3.3)
−13.3
(8.1)
−13.9
(7)
−7.2
(19)
−3.9
(25)
−1.1
(30)
1.5
(34.7)
0.0
(32)
−2.5
(27.5)
−5.7
(21.7)
−12.6
(9.3)
−18.2
(−0.8)
−19.6
(−3.3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 112.6
(4.433)
70.14
(2.7614)
79.83
(3.1429)
46.58
(1.8339)
59.67
(2.3492)
54.27
(2.1366)
61.56
(2.4236)
66.65
(2.624)
79.26
(3.1205)
94.52
(3.7213)
89.32
(3.5165)
94.33
(3.7138)
908.73
(35.7767)
Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI[14]

Sport[edit]

Pitlochry is home to the Vale of Atholl Football Club.[15] The "Vale" were founded in 1879 and originally played at the old recreation park now situated at the bottom of Loch Faskally. Relocating along with the pavilion in the 1950s when the dam was built to the current location the Vale were regular competitors in the Scottish Cup in the past having played ties against the likes of Dundee and Hibernian. The Vale's most famous former player is Paul Sturrock, who remains a committed Vale supporter. The Vale's only First Division championship victory was in the 1990s but recently tasted Second Division success in 2004/5.

The newly[when?] created Atholl Highlanders[16] rugby team also play at The Recreation Park.

Pitlochry Highland Games has been held annually on the second Saturday of September since 1852 and is the last event in the Scottish Highland Games calendar. In 1852 the original Recreation Park was formed on the north bank of the Tummel at the foot of Rie-Achan Road across what is now known as Lady's Dell. However with the building of the dam the old park was flooded in 1950 and the Games moved to the new and current Recreation Park. The original pavilion had been dismantled and was re-erected for 1951. It remains unchanged externally today but was upgraded internally in 1964. A feature of the Games is the Pipe Band Championship which attracts a large entry and culminates in the unique Massed Pipe Band parade at the end of the day.

Eve Muirhead, the Olympic curler, plays at a club in Pitlochry.

Twin towns[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scotland's Census Results OnLine
  2. ^ http://www.pitlochry.org.uk
  3. ^ http://www.pitlochryinbloom.co.uk
  4. ^ upmystreet.comThe political reps for Pitlochry
  5. ^ Scotland's Census Results Online Pitlochry Locality
  6. ^ Blair Athol Distillery
  7. ^ "60th Anniversary Season Line-Up Announced". Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Winter Words Festival 2014". Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  9. ^ "The Enchanted Forest". Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  10. ^ "Vale of Atholl Pipe Band (Grade One)". Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Highland Night Season 2014". The Vale of Atholl Pipers Association. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Mean Warmest day". KNMI. 
  13. ^ "Mean Coldest Night". KNMI. 
  14. ^ "Faskally Values". KNMI. Retrieved 2 Nov 2011. 
  15. ^ http://www.valeofatholl.com
  16. ^ http://www.athollrugby.co.uk

External links[edit]