One of the most thriving and innovative centres in the history of Tayside's textile industry.

During the Industrial Revolution, Blairgowrie & Rattray was a bustling centre of the textile industry, first spinning flax, then jute and latterly rayon.

This itinerary, which will take you around 1.5 - 2 hours to walk, tells the story of eleven of the old Mills, how they worked, the innovations that were made in them and the challenges that the mill owners and their workers faced.

You can read an introduction to A Spin Along the Ericht here and find out more about each point of interest below.

You can read the leaflet that accompanies this itinerary here, and enjoy a short film about the life and work of local master craftsman and weaver Ashleigh Slater here.

With thanks to Peter Dawson and Meg Luckins for their help in creating the content for this itinerary.
Scottish Outdoor Access Code: know the code before you go

Points to visit

Along the way you will find these points of interest:

  • A Spin Along the Ericht

    A thriving centre of innovation in Tayside’s textile history. The area around Blairgowrie & Rattray has evidence of human settlement that goes back to Neolithic times. The Romans reached here, there are remains of an important legionary...

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  • The Brig ‘o’ Blair

    A key river crossing to Highland Scotland. The Brig o’ Blair offers a fine view of the River Ericht. Its rapid and often turbulent water course descends 80 metres (262.4ft) from its headwaters at Bridge of Cally providing the energy to power the...

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  • Plash Mill

    Flax into Linen. The textile industry in Blairgowrie began with the production of linen; jute was not processed until the middle of the 19th century. This Mill was used for the treatment of linen yarn, which was soaked in water and beaten by wooden...

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  • Muckle Mill & Ericht Linen

    An industry takes hold. Just above the Brig ‘o’ Blair on the right bank of the Ericht stood the oldest spinning mill on the river. This was the Muckle (or Meikle) Mill. Erected in 1798 to spin linen, it seems to have been regarded as a very...

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  • Unfinished Lade

    Lost opportunity. A short distance from Oakbank Mill the Ericht rushes impetuously down a gorge, forming a cascade known as “The Keith.” Tradition points this out as the scene of “Cargill’s Leap”, where in 1679,  Donald Cargill,...

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  • Oakbank Mill

    A first for jute. This mill building is one of the few that remain standing of the group of flax and jute mills that run along each side of the River Ericht. Said to be the oldest of their type in Scotland, they are a classic example of a large...

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  • Keithbank Mill

    Water and steam power. The  original, small  Keithbank Mill  was built  in  1830 by  a  Mr. William Fyfe,  directly  across the  river  from Oakbank Mill.   In the   late  1860s a  new  and larger  mill  was erected  a ...

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  • Ashbank Mill

    Mrs Baxter and Ashbank House. Ashbank Mill was built in about  1836  by a  Mr. John  Baxter. Originally it was used for spinning  flax and  tow (a coarse broken fibre removed during processing flax. The very light colour of flax tow is the...

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  • Bramblebank Works

    Producing flax and tow with cutting edge machinery. Bramblebank was built in 1833 by Mr. David Rattray. It was driven originally by a condensing engine and by a turbine. In 1876 it employed 100 workers and produced flax and tow for Fife and the...

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  • Arnbank House & Tenement

    Mill workers’ housing. Accommodation for mill workers became quite an issue as the 19thc progressed and the mills grew in number and size. The populations of Blairgowrie and Rattray grew considerably to 2,000 – 2,500 people but the mill...

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  • Brooklinn Mill

    Water powered turbines. Near  the  mouth of  the  Lornty Burn  stands  the site of Brooklinn  Mill built  in  1843 by  Mr.  David Grimond,  son  of  the founder  of  Lornty Mill, now privately owned and offering self catering...

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  • Westfield Works

    Ravaged by fire. Westfield  Mill was  built in  1836  by a   Mr John  Milne on  the  site where  once  stood a  lint  mill occupied  by  a Mr Dollas,  whence we  get  the familiar  name  given to this  mill  by ...

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  • Lornty Bridge

    Triple layered bridge. This small single-arch random-rubble bridge built over the Lornty Burn lies on the line of former Military Road, but re-built to incorporate a concrete culvert on its west side in the 1990s. Until 1777 when the Brig o’ Blair...

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  • Lornty Mill

    The smallest of all the mills. This mill stands about 300 yards up the Lornty Burn, a tributary of the River Ericht on the Blairgowrie side of the river. It seems to have been in size and production the smallest of all the mills which existed in...

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  • Craigmill

    The northernmost of all the mills of Blairgowrie and Rattray. The ruins of this mill, the northernmost of all mills in Blairgowrie and Rattray, stand about 500 yards below Craighall Bridge. It was built in 1834 by a Mr. George Saunders and was...

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