Last week I set out on another gentle hill walk in the countryside around Dundee. This one took me to the little town of Alyth in Perthshire. Alyth is a very pretty, traditional stone built Scottish burgh. It now has a population of just over 2,000 souls, but is still a rather prosperous and attractive place. Our walk was to take us up and over Alyth Hill in a circular route, which happily starts and ends in the town centre. As you walk away from the centre you come across this lovely example of a 17th stone built packhorse bridge. Alas the route doesn’t actually cross the bridge.
Once outside the town the route takes you past the Lands of Loyal Hotel. Loyal to whom or what I wonder. Was this area full of supporters of the Jacobites? Anyway a fine sounding name for a hotel, which this year is host once again to the World Jam Awards. The hotel boasts itself as Jam HQ for the World Jampionship, as can be seen on this quaint poster outside the hotel entrance.
A bit further on up the steepish hillside you can take a short detour up the aptly named Hill of Loyal. Which we did. Unfortunately, due the heavy rain that has been a feature of summer hereabouts, and the lack of a distinct path, this was not as easy a climb as it at first looked. Added to which you had to traverse through an old wood. The summit is pretty flat and featureless, though with good views south to the Sidlaws. We tramped out way back to the fork and retook the well trodden path to the summit of Alyth Hill. More fine views and this curious plate attached to the trig point on the summit.
At first we thought this might have been a spelling mistake, but no, it is not. What’s more there is a bit of history and current disputation about this plaque. According to Black’s Law Dictionary in Scotch law, a Commonty is land possessed in common by different proprietors. In the case of Alyth Hill, it seems it was bought by the Forestry Commission some years back and this has triggered a dispute with some of the residents of Alyth who claim that the land was held in common. Hence the plaque. Good stuff and good luck to the good people of Alyth in their fight to reclaim the land for common use and ownership.
On the way down from the summit you can vary your route among the various paths to take you past the local Millenium Beacon, which I must say looks a bit like a small rubbish bin high in the sky. Does have an ancient look about it though and you get a fine view of Alyth in the background. A bit hazy in the photo though.
Once back in the town we relaxed with a bowl of soup, a slice of cake and a cup of tea in the oddly named The Dirliebane, a fine little café/restaurant in the town square. The name may come from the old Scots word for funny bone, but I am not certain about this. Anyway, a perfect end to a fine walk.