Blair Atholl (Perth and Kinross)

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Blair Atholl

Iain Stewart looks through the records of the Dukes of Atholl and uncovers just how important, and valuable, planting larch was to them. Demand from the Admiralty led to more and more trees being planted, transforming the hills of Perthshire. Dr Iain Stewart attempts to climb a thirty-five metre Douglas Fir in homage to the tree hunters who travelled the globe searching for exotic species that could be replanted in Scotland. Dr Iain Stewart uncovers how, over thousands of years, the actions of mankind and the climate nearly led to the downfall of Scotland's forests. Only in the 18th century did we realise the extent of the damage, and take measures to re-populate the landscape.

Blair Atholl is a small village in Perthshire, located where the River Tilt meets the River Garry. Just outside the village is Blair Castle, traditional home of the Dukes of Atholl and centre of the Atholl Estates. Like much of Scotland, the estate had been largely stripped of trees until the 18th Century. From then the "Planting" Dukes of Atholl began the process of reforestation to both improve the land and increase their profits from it. During the 18th and 19th Centuries they planted around 27 million conifers on Atholl Estates, many of them non-native species gathered from around the globe.

Features of the area

Perth and Kinross Group

Perth and Kinross is one of Scotland’s 32 unitary council areas. It borders Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee City, Fife, Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Argyll and Bute and Highland. It has its administrative centre in Perth.

It corresponds broadly, but not exactly, with the former counties of Perthshire and Kinross-shire. These two counties operated under a joint county council from 1929 until 1975, when they merged into a single district of Tayside Region. The current council area was formed in 1996.

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