A mainly sheltered gravel bike route past an old curling pond through the woodlands of Kindrogan Forest. An extension, for more adventurous riders, passes the site of Bronze Age roundhouses at Pitcarmick, but involves carrying the bike over a small bridge and some boggy terrain.
Scottish Outdoor Access Code: Know the code before you go
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Suitable for: Gravel bikes (we recommend at least 39mm wide tires)
Total Distance: 15.4 km (17.1km)
Total Ascent: 300 m (340m)
Terrain: A mixture of quiet roads, gravel roads/tracks and singletrails
Access: Some gates that can easily be opened
Route Category: Straightforward
Riding Time: 2 - 2.5 hrs (2.5 - 3.5 hrs)
Start/Finish: Kirkmichael Village Shop
OS Grid Ref: NO 07989 60145
Nearest Parking: Public car park with EV chargers at the fire station (160m from start over the bridge)
Key Facilities on Route: Kirkmichael (shops, accommodation, EV chargers, restaurants, cafe)
OS Landranger Map: 43/53 (or custom Cateran Ecomuseum map)
The route starts at Kirkmichael Village Shop, which also serves coffee and light meals. After passing an impressive bridge over the River Ardle, the route follows the Cateran Trail to a curling pond, where it enters a dense forest. Sections of the forest have recently been felled, but after the Cateran Trail branches off on the right at Enochdhu, a wide gravel road is sheltered by native woodland, passing Kindrogan House.
At Balnald the route climbs steeply into Kindrogan Forest, following the Balnald Burn upstream. The route continues through the forest to a pit. A few kilometres from here a track on the left leads to Loch Curran, a worthwhile detour which offers great views towards the hills in the north. The route continues through Kindrogan Forest and descends towards Glen Derby. The views to the south where the route exists the forest are great, while the track becomes more rugged, with a few muddy sections and small river crossings. As the track broadens again, the route descends past some houses and a hotel, and from there on a tarmac road towards Kirkmichael. A small singletrail to the right leads past a fence to another small road and a bridge, and from here on tarmac back to the start.
For an alternative, on the top of Glen Derby a track to the right leads down to the Balnald Burn. A few steps and a narrow bridge need to be negotiated here, and the next section is only partially covered by a wooden boardwalk over wetlands. Expect a boggy climb towards the edge of the forest, where an interpretation board tells the story of the Bronze Age roundhouses. The alternative route continues on the edge of the woodland to meet another track that leads over open farmland to the River Ardle. Once the river is reached, the route follows a small path on the river banks over the Bannerfield back to Kirkmichael.
Find out more about some of the key Points of Interest below.
Points to visit
Along the way you will find these points of interest:
The ancient heart of Strathardle Glen. Located in Strathardle, 13 miles north-west of Blairgowrie, Kirkmichael village dates back over 1,000 years and was once an important market in the cattle trade between the Highlands and Lowlands, with various...Read more
An ancient well. The old roadside water well opposite the church is fed by an underground spring which never runs dry. The ice cold water has an excellent clean sharp taste and is completely drinkable.Read more
A forgotten corner linked to the Black Death. There is a corner of Kirkmichael Parish churchyard where, despite the lack of space, there are no marked graves. This is because in 1350 AD, a terrible plague, the Galor Mor, better known as the Black...Read more
A memorial to Scotland’s first missionary to India. Born in the parish of Moulin in 1806, Alexander Duff was first educated in what is now the Kirkmichael Session House. He boarded with the brilliant teacher Mr Macdougall, returning home to...Read more
An important site in the 1715 Jacobite Rising. A large area of open ground on the west bank of the River Ardle, just south of the Kirkmichael village, is known as the Bannerfield. It was here in September 1715 that John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar...Read more
One of Strathardle’s most significant houses. Kindrogan House is an imposing early 19th-century building, incorporating earlier fabric (possibly mid 18th century), with later additions and alterations. Originally the Kindrogan Estate was the...Read more
Site of one of Scotland’s favourite winter pastimes. Curling is a team sport played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice. Its nickname, “The Roaring Game”, originates from the rumbling sound the granite stones make when...Read more
Site of Bronze Age dwellings. This area has been farmed since the early Bronze Age, during which time people lived in round houses – remnants of which, like these, you can see today. Indeed, this part of Perth and Kinross contains one of the...Read more
The story behind the word Cateran. ‘Cateran’ derives from the Gaelic word ceatharn meaning ‘warrior’, but usually one that is lightly armed. The term was originally given to a band of fighting men of a Scottish Highland clan but in the...Read more