One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the Cateran Trail is a fully waymarked, 64-mile (103 km) route through Perthshire and the Angus glens in the heart of Scotland.

The Trail is a circular route divided into five stages and can be comfortably walked in five days. The Trail has no official beginning or end and can be joined at any stage.

Click here to jump to Trail Stage descriptions

It follows old drove roads and ancient tracks across a varied terrain of farmland, forests and moors. Some of these routes follow the same ones used by the Caterans – fearsome cattle thieves who raided Strathardle, Glenshee and Glen Isla from the Middle Ages to the 17th century and for whom the Trail is named.

Click here to download the Cateran Trail Leaflet

The Cateran Mini Trail

For those walkers looking for a two-day adventure, the Mini Trail offers the ideal opportunity to sample some of the best bits of the Cateran Trail over a weekend or short break.  The Mini Trail is a circular route of 20 miles (32 km) starting and ending in the picturesque village of Kirkmichael.

Click here for more details of the Cateran Mini Trail

Plan your visit

Details of transport, accommodation and where to eat change all the time in rural Scotland.  To make sure you are always working with the latest information, we recommend that you use the Traveline Scotland website to plan your travel and the Visit East Perthshire, Trip Advisor or Airbnb websites for the latest accommodation information.

The Cateran Trail Guidebook also contains detailed information on planning your visit, including all the information you need on travel, eating, sleeping, weather, underfoot conditions and much more.  Visit our shop to buy a copy.

Don't get lost!

Although the Cateran Trail is waymarked, you should not try to walk the route without a map or guidebook.  Every year a few walkers ignore this advice and end up getting lost.  We have worked in partnership with the publishers of the Rucksack Readers hillwalking guidebooks and Footprint hillwalking maps to create a guidebook and map for the Trail.  We check each new edition of these to make sure they are up to date and accurate.  If you are planning to walk the Cateran Trail and don't have a guidebook or map...

Visit our shop.

Cateran Trail App and GeoTour

A free Android phone app that can be downloaded for your smart phone from Google Playstore. The app gives you a pocket guide to the history and landscape of the Trail.  

For Geocachers, there is also a Cateran Trail GeoTour with bronze and silver geocoins to be earned.

Trail Stages

Stage 1 - Blairgowrie via Bridge of Cally to Kirkmichael - 15.5 miles / 24.9 km

Your walk begins in the busy market town of Blairgowrie, which is at the centre of Perthshire’s soft fruit growing industry. After a gentle stroll along the river, the path climbs over Cochrage Muir. Tremendous views accompany your descent to the tiny hamlet of Bridge of Cally – a popular location for field and winter sports.

From Bridge of Cally, the Cateran Trail passes through Blackcraig Forest and into the peaceful glen known as Strathardle. In the past, this glen was a lucrative plundering ground for the Caterans, who seized on the cattle grazing the rich pastures. Farmed since the Bronze Age, Strathardle was once home to over 3,000 people. Nowadays it’s a little quieter, but the three villages of Ballintum, Enochdhu and Kirkmichael still provide a good range of places to rest and eat.

Stage 2 - Kirkmichael via Enochdhu to Spittal of Glenshee - 8.5 miles / 13.7 km

Leaving Kirkmichael, the route is predominantly upland, following a wonderful moorland route and hill pass from Enochdhu through to Spittal of Glenshee. Dirnanean Garden (open during the summer months) is on the route and well worth a visit for walkers with time in hand.

Rising to over 650m / 2100ft above sea level, there are spectacular views of rugged peaks. For those interested in wildlife, you may be rewarded with a glimpse of red deer or an eagle soaring overhead.  Along the path, a timber lunch hut, originally provided by the estate for shooting parties, offers an ideal resting place. Add your name to the fascinating record of characters in the visitors’ book and you’ll be in interesting company – Queen Victoria stopped here in 1865.

The wild mountainous country on the walk from the Lairig Gate down into the Spittal of Glenshee is spectacular. The Spittal takes its name from the old Scots word meaning ‘a refuge on a remote hill pass' from a time when wolves roamed wild in Scotland.

Stage 3 - Spittal of Glenshee to Kirkton of Glenisla - 14.5 miles / 23.5 km

From Glenshee, the Trail heads south following the Shee Water past Dalnaglar Castle into the fertile farmlands of Glen Isla.

The first five miles of this stretch are through rough moorland, then along quiet minor roads take you past Forter Castle.

For those more energetic walkers, you may wish to take the alternative route into Glenisla by crossing Mount Blair. The summit offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and on a clear day you may even spot Ben Nevis in the distance.

The Trail follows off road tracks and passes Auchintaple Loch and Loch Shandra. It is worth taking a short diversion through the trees to the banks of Auchintaple to witness the fantastic views of Mount Blair set in glorious tranquil scenery.

The final destination for this stage is the village of Kirkton of Glenisla nestled on the banks of the River Isla.

Stage 4 - Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth - 11 miles / 17.4 km

The tranquility of Glen Isla is a real treat in the early morning and, as the Trail rises high above the river and fields, it gives way to fantastic open views over an idyllic pastoral scene.

The area around Alyth has strong links to Arthurian legends as it is believed that Queen Guinevere was held captive by King Mordred at his fort on nearby Barry Hill.

Crossing Alyth Hill, the route rises steeply, skimming the edge of the town, before making it way down Toutie Street – down which cattle were driven in centuries past – to the centre of town. The street takes its name from the noise of the herd-boy's horn as he drove the cattle to pasture.

Stage 5 - Alyth via Bridge of Cally to Blairgowrie - 15 miles / 24.1 km

Leaving Alyth, the Trail again passes over Alyth Hill and follows moorland and pleasant estate roads, close to the massive standing stones of Heatheryhaugh.

At this stage, gradients are generally gentle with extensive views as the route twice rises to around 289m / 950ft above sea level. The homeward trek into Bridge of Cally is mostly on quiet minor tarmac roads.

The last part of the Trail back to Blairgowrie is the reversal of the first part of stage one. A diversion through the picturesque Den of Alyth and Drimmie Woods allows you to vary your return route.

Need a guide book or map? Visit our shop.

All the information on this web page is included in the Cateran Trail leaflet which can be downloaded by clicking here.