A Marvelous Stay in Blairgowrie

High above the narrow and deep valley of Strathmore, spills the mighty River Ericht. Its immense strength has long been a source of life for the twin towns Blairgowrie and Rattray that came to rest on the embankments of this river many hundreds of years ago. Unlike so many other villages and towns of old, Blairgowrie had already begun to establish itself as an expanding town with the founding of a school for the local children by the 1600’s. In 1634 it became a burgh and by the early 1700’s Blairgowrie became the official starting point for the military road that runs north to Braemar and which was completed in 1725. Around the same time the twin towns were officially joined when a bridge was constructed across the River Ericht. Unfortunately just more than a hundred years later the inhabitants of this town gaped in horror as all evidence of the original bridge having even existed was completely destroyed when the famed mighty river engulfed it. However the people of the towns were quick to react and soon a second bridge was built. Today this bridge supports virtually all traffic between the two towns.

Much of the original growth of the town of Blairgowrie in Scotland was a direct result of the fact that the town was strategically located along the River Ericht. This enabled the linen weaving industry that gained ground in the late 1700’s to enjoy massive success. This growth in local industry saw the construction of 12 water-powered mills and an increase from 100 weavers to 1600 weavers by the year 1860. The growth spawned a need for increased living quarters and soon the town was growing at an alarming rate. By 1870 eight of the towns mills were used to turn flax into linen while the remaining four were used to process jute. The most famous of these was the Keathbank Jute Mill that later became famous for having the largest water wheel in all of Scotland. Today this mill can still be visited on the banks of the River Ericht in the town of Rattray, which is just over a mile from the Braemar road on the A93.

In the 1900’s Blairgowrie industry made a huge shift away from the textile industry. Once again residents and businessmen took advantage of its surroundings and location, which was now situated on the road to the Glenshee Ski Resort. The resulting expansion of the town saw many of Blairgowrie’s homes and shops converted into thriving Hotels and tailor made ski shops for visiting skiers making their way to the ski resort. The Rosemount Golf Course also draws people to the town. The golf course is situated nearby and is regarded as being one of the greatest inland golf courses in Scotland. It also has a reputation for being designed by some of the legendary names of Scottish golf. Another well respected course is that of the Blairgowrie Golf Club that is situated south of Blairgowrie town. This club offers its members two championship 18-hole courses plus a 9-hole for those who wish to see the many other attractions within and around Blairgowie.

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