• Secret Bothy

pic by Angus Findlay

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Delightful as the prospect of escaping to a stylish hideaway may be, at some point you will want to venture beyond the garden gate. Situated in stunning Perthshire countryside, Secret Bothy is a perfect base for visitors who want to follow sporting, historic, cultural or outdoor pursuits. This page, called Open Secret, allows you to check what the district offers. It is teeming with possibilities.

Open Secret does not pretend to be a definitive guide but it does give a quick idea of what to expect. So firstly, see below to check the local weather forecast. Then take a look at key words arranged alphabetically in a cloud of references. Hover on a particular word of interest so that more information on that topic can pop up.  After that, you can often click on the word to trigger a link to another related site.  Finally there is a calendar loaded with red letter dates. Activities such as walking, climbing, cycling, golf, sightseeing which can be pursued daily without formal organisation will not feature in the calendar. Take these as given. Nor will the daily programme for, say, the theatre or cinema be synchronised with this one. However, this calendar is good for other date-specific events. To move the date far forward, click on the little arrow beside today's date on the top, coloured line. 

Munro-lovers get extra help from the map on the left.   Secret Bothy is denoted by the comfortable looking bed in the middle of the mountains. 



Aberfeldy Birks Cinema   .    Atholl Estates   .    Battle of Killiecrankie

Ben Vrackie
   .    bike hire   .    Blair Castle   .    bungee jumping    .    birdlife

Cairngorms National Park    .    castles    .    climbing    .    cricket    .    curling   

cycling    .    Enchanted Forest    .    Escape Route    .    Etape Caledonia    .    fishing

geo-cache    .    golf    .    grouse    .    gym    .    hiking    .    horse trial    .    massage

Macbeth    .   mountain bikes    .    munros    .    music    .    Nae Limits  

National Trust of Scotland    .    natural history    .   Pass of Killiecrankie

Pitlochry Festival Theatre    .    quad trek    .    restaurant    .    River Garry

River Tummel    .    running    .    shopping    .    skiing    .    Skinny Tyres

Splash    .    stalking    .    standing stones    .    tennis    .    trekking    .    trick riding

walking    .    whisky    .    white water    .    wild flowers    .    wildlife    .    yoga



There are more photographs on each page. Click on the Secret Snapshot icon on the left to view.

Newest addition on the cultural map, the Birks is a wonder. It has an enormous selection of films from mainstream to wacky, Hollywood to foreign language, opera to sport. Check the programme.
Local working Highland estate with something for everyone: country sports, cycling, walking, ranger-led walk or land rover safari to discover the abundant wildlife, castle tours, formal gardens, restaurant and much more
A significant battle on 27 July 1689 marks the start of the Jacobite uprising. According to the latest battlefield map, the location of Secret Bothy would have been in the thick of the action.
Our lofty landmark whose name means speckled hill is popular with walkers. At 2759 ft it is not a munro but a corbett that rewards visitors with majestic views. It is a Special Site of Scientific Interest for its “breeding bird assemblage, upland assemblage and vascular plant assemblage”.
Available in Blair Atholl and in Pitlochry
Ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl with the earliest known part dating from 1269. It has evolved through Medieval, Georgian and Victorian periods into a historic gem. Tours of castle, attic and gardens available.
Highland Fling offers the ultimate for adrenalin junkies right here in Killiecrankie. There should be a health warning with this link. Only those with a stout constitution should proceed because you are being invited to throw yourself 132 ft from a platform to within a hair’s breadth of the River Garry below. You have been warned.
Recommended birdwatching sites are: Killiecrankie, Loch Faskally, Ben Vrackie, Linn of Tummel, Rannoch Forest, Rannoch Moor, the Hermitage and Loch of the Lowes. Birds that may be spotted here include: little grebe, greylag goose, mallard, gadwall, goosander, red-breasted merganser, goldeneye, common buzzard, osprey, eurasian sparrowhawk, eurasian oystercatcher, eurasian woodcock, black-headed gull, common gull, common woodpigeon, common cuckoo, common sandpiper, tawny owl, barn owl, common swift, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, barn swallow, northern house martin, sand martin, tree pipit, grey wagtail, pied wagtail, common dipper, dunnock, common wren, eurasian robin, common redstart, eurasian blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, fieldfare, redwing, sedge warbler, wood warbler, willow warbler, blackcap, garden warbler, spotted flycatcher, european pied flycatcher, coal tit, blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, common treecreeper, eurasian jay, eurasian jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, chaffinch, european greenfinch, eurasian siskin, european goldfinch, eurasian bullfinch and brambling
Secret Bothy is within the southern perimeter of the national park. The Cairngorms are Britain’s highest and most massive mountain range. The park too is massive and stretches from here up to Grantown-on-Spey in the north and well past Ballater to the east.
Pristine castles, historic ruins, forts, baronial tower houses, spooky strongholds, we have them all. The nearest is undoubtedly Blair Castle. Then there is Huntingtower Castle where Mary Queen of Scots honeymooned and Lochleven Castle where she was imprisoned. Nearby is Castle Menzies, a restored and impressive Highland fortress. Elcho Castle is easy to access on the banks of the river Tay in Perth while Drummond Castle, near Crieff, boasts one of the finest formal gardens in Europe. The gardens are open all year. The visitor enters through an iron portcullis to discover a spectacular Italianate parterre which featured in the film Rob Roy. Other important local castles include: Doune, Edinample, Finlarig, Loch Earn, Methven, Monzie and Taymouth. And there are others.
nearest crags are at Dunkeld and of course, there are hundreds of climbs in the Cairngorms
local club, Breadalbane CC, encourages visitors to attend nets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the season that runs from April to September. Matches are on Saturdays and are either at home in Aberfeldy’s Victoria Park or some other picturesque location in Perthshire. Everyone welcome from the keenest juniors to the most elderly!
The nearest venue is the Dewars Centre in Perth. There is a large viewing gallery with a bar and café. From September to April games are played every day from 6pm – 11pm. Games are also played, albeit sporadically, throughout the day when there will be sufficient spare sheets for newcomers to give it a go. There is also a curling development officer on site who will help to give rookies a crash course.
The district is a mecca for both mountain biking and road cycling
Autumnal sound and light show in nearby Faskally Woods, worthy of the many accolades it garners
Specialist bike shop in Pitlochry which can attend to every cycling need
Annual 81 mile road race that attracts thousands of cyclists
River salmon and hill loch brown trout fishing available through Atholl Estates and visitor permits on rivers Garry and Tummel plus lochs Bhac and Kinardochy also available from Pitlochry Angling Club
If you know about this, you won’t need to read more. If you are a geo-cache aficionado, Secret Bothy is a real find!
Click to download PDF
Available on neighbouring estates
Circuit training available two evenings a week in the village for visiting fitness fanatics
Look at options of at least ‘3 boot’ difficulty to find best routes
The Blair Castle International Horse Trials attract around 40,000 visitors to watch or participate in all things equine including three-day eventing, show jumping, Pony Club games, Hunter show and more. A country fair is incorporated into the 4-day extravaganza to showcase most other country pursuits. And of course, there are hundreds of stands and stalls to tempt shoppers.
In need of a sports massage after so much activity? We can arrange a domiciliary treatment or you can stroll to a nearby treatment room. Bowen therapy is available likewise.
In Act IV of Shakespeare’s tragedy, the ghost of a child appears to Macbeth and warns: ….”Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him.” Macbeth may have pooh-poohed the idea but on a clear day you can see the woods around Birnam from the top of Dunsinane, an Iron Age Hill Fort, brimming with atmosphere and said to be Macbeth’s cursed stronghold. It is near the village of Collace in Perthshire, about 35 miles from Killiecrankie. Meantime, what is said to be the last survivor of the legendary wood is still standing by the River Tay near Birnam village, about 25 minutes from Secret Bothy. The ancient sessile oak is centuries’ old and can be accessed via a footpath at Dunkeld bridge
Click to download PDF
Details of munros (over 3000ft) corbetts (2500 – 3000ft) and grahams (2000 – 2500ft are here. Best known peaks closest to Secret Bothy are the 3 peaks of the Bein A’Ghlo group (Carn Liath, Braigh Coire Chruinn-Bhalgain and Carn nan Gabhar) and the ‘fairy hill’ Schiehallion
Music in Blair Atholl is a hidden gem. We are extremely fortunate to have regular concerts and recitals performed at nearby Lude House by British or foreign artists and ensembles. All topped off with the summer festival of chamber music.
For wild water and land activities
The NTS centre in Killiecrankie has a shop, restaurant and ranger services. Excellent stop for historians, wildlife enthusiasts and walkers
Surrounded by woodland, mountains, moors, lochs and rivers there are rich and varied habitats throughout this area. On the doorstep are Special Areas of Conservation at Beinn A’ Ghlo, Tulach Hill & Glenfender Meadows, Shingle Islands (just south of Pitlochry) and the River Tay. In addition the Cairngorm Massif is a Special Protection Area, Ben Vrackie is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as is the Pass of Killiecrankie, Aldclune & Invervack Meadows, Glen Tilt Woods, Linn of Tummel, Struan Wood, Blair Atholl Meadow, Loch Moraig and Glen Garry. All are very close.
Click to download PDF
Outstanding theatre, excellent productions, spectacular setting: PFT has it all. It presents a different show every night of the week throughout an extended summer season without compromising on quality. The programme changes in the winter. Something is (nearly) always happening
Highland Offroad is located in the pretty village of Dunkeld, close to the A9 trunk road and within easy reach of Secret Bothy. Make a Quad Trek with Highland Offroad a top priority when visiting us.
Within easy strolling distance is the Killiecrankie Hotel which has a bar and restaurant open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Our guests are made especially welcome.
Some claim that this has been the ‘most abused river in Scotland’ due to the abstraction between Loch Garry and Struan for hydroelectric purposes . However, the ecological damage has been recognised and moves are afoot to re-water the dried part of the river. Thanks to flows from the River Tilt, Bruar Water and Allt Girnaig, the Garry is in good shape at Killiecrankie and is a major tributary of the Tummel. Salmon and trout beats on both rivers.
Discharges from Loch Rannoch and falls into the River Tay after 58 miles of sensational scenery. Popular for white water sports, fishing, photography and nature lovers. Live water camera link
From Secret Bothy, there is an array of trails that provide ideal running or walking options. Faskally Woods have an abundance of trails that can be accessed directly from Killiecrankie. A route from the Visitor Centre to the Pitlochry Golf Course (ask for details) is also a lovely walk or run and those who are keen can then loop round to Secret Bothy via the Pass of Killicrankie. If you are looking to up the mileage for some longer races, a really picturesque route is at Shinagag (the foot of Carnliath) where you follow a dirt trail out and in the Cairngorms. This is ideal for runners for although you are at a reasonable altitude, the trail is undulating rather than overly steep and you are able to keep a reasonable pace whilst admiring the herds of deer that surround you.
Grocers, supermarkets and vintners available in Pitlochry which is home too to our award winning traditional butcher, Macdonald Brothers. Upmarket rural emporium, House of Bruar, is 10 minutes away and a destination in its own right.
Click to download PDF
From guided trips to performance coaching these people deliver the complete cycling package
For white water sports and all adventure activities
Available on neighbouring estates
There is a menhir or prehistoric megalith in Killiecrankie known as Claverhouse’s Stone, supposedly where John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, fell at the Battle of Killiecrankie. The area is littered with standing stones, stone circles and Pictish symbol stones. Some are scheduled ancient monuments but not all are on public land. Nevertheless there are enough ancient landmarks to satisfy the most avid historian without venturing too far from here.
Secret Bothy guests can get temporary membership of Pitlochry Tennis Club for a nominal payment. The courts are at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry.
‘Bombproof’ Highland ponies available for private or group hacks from one of the oldest riding establishments in Scotland
Equestrian tricks, stunts, vaulting and theatre provided by our local heroines, Riders of the Storm (Lessons can be arranged)
Miles and miles and miles of possibilities for all abilities
The distillery trail in these parts is full of superlatives. Starting at one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, Blair Athol in Pitlochry , the visitor can then visit Edradour, the smallest distillery in the country. Dewar’s Aberfeldy centre gives a comprehensive guide to the World of Whisky. The heritage route then goes a little south to Glenturret, the most visited distillery and home to the Famous Grouse. Finally the journey takes you to the highest distillery in Scotland at Dalwhinnie to complete one of the most thirst-quenching trips possible.
White water rafting, canyoning, adventure tubing, white water mambo, kayak with Nae Limits (https://www.naelimits.co.uk/) . More of that with Splash (http://rafting.co.uk/) who also offer river bugging on rivers Tay, Tummel and Orchy. The Rafting Company (https://www.theraftingcompany.co.uk/) has similar plus some medium grade rapids on the River Garry in Inverness-shire. A paddlers’ guide to the Tummel will interest aficionados.
Ben Lawers, designated a National Nature Reserve, is 36 miles from Secret Bothy and is considered by botanists to be one of the richest areas for alpine fauna in the UK.
Not for nothing is Perthshire known as the Big Tree Country. Wildlife thrives here
With this amount of activity available on the doorstep, you may need to recover your Zen. Excellent yoga classes are available nearby with June Mitchell, the founder of The Classical Yoga School (Scotland and London), which runs teacher training courses as well as Yoga classes at the Birnam Arts Centre and in Pitlochry.