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The Sma Glen
The Sma Glen

Crieff Map
Crieff, Comrie and Glen Artney (Explorer S.)

Crieff Town Centre

Old Crieff
Old Crieff: Including Bonnington, Dalmahoy, Ingliston, Hermiston, Newbridge and Ratho Station

The Railways of Upper Strathearn,Crieff - Balquidder

Sma Glen

Sma Glen

Tour Scotland, The Sma Glen

One of the many tributaries of the Tay is the river Almond. which joins it above the ‘Fair City’ of Perth, having entered the fertile plain of Strathmore from the
north-west, through the foothills above Methven and Crieff, but the Almond has its source much deeper in the hills than this, rising on the slopes of Creag Uchdag (2,840 feet) which looks down on the southern shore of the great Loch Tay.

Flowing almost due east the river runs through Glen Almond between rugged hills and mountains, Sron a Chaoineidh (2.836 feet) and Auchnafree Craig (2,525
feet) to the north and Ben Chonzie (3,014feet) to the south, past Auchnafree through a land of ancient mystery. A pre-historic stone monolith stands on the
southern edge of the glen while opposite, under the shadow of the hills around Meall Reamhar (2,186 feet) is Clach na Tiompain, ‘the places of the cymbals’, which is an ancient burial-cairn 190-feet long. It lies to the east of the Glenshervie burn and to the north of the private road that runs up the glen from Newton Bridge to Dalriech.

At Newton Bridge the main A822 road is met which runs between Crieff and Dunkeld, via the village of Amuiree,
which nestles at the head of Strath Braan, just to the north. The existing road follows closely the line of one of
General Wade’s military roads constructed in the 1730’s.

It is to the south of Newton Bridge that the river Almond turns abruptly and flows through a narrow pass some four
miles long which is one of the most beautiful sights in Scotland, the Sma’ Glen. The name is a modern one, its old name was equally appropriate, An Caol Ghleann, ‘the Narrow Glen’.

At the head of the glen, just before the narrow pass commences to bore its way between the steeply rising hills on either side that reach up to 2,000 feet, stands
the great boulder of Ossian’s Stone, its sides measuring some eight feet by five feet and still marked by the glacier that carried it there. This marks the spot where, legend had it, Ossian the Fingalian poet was buried more than fifteen hundred years ago. Some remarkable evidence is said to have been found to give weight to the old legend when the military road builders were
engaged in their duties here some 250 years ago. They found that the great boulder lay on their projected route and, after some difficulties, they managed to roll It to one side. Beneath where it had stood for centuries was found a two-feet square cavity which contained bones and ashes but before they could be examined in detail they were taken away by Highlanders and buried afresh in an unmarked grave.

In keeping with the air of a forgotten past, high above the glen is another prehistoric burial mound, known as
Kenneth’s Cairn, located some 2,000 feet up and built with stones that have been worn by water. To the south of the Sma’ Glen the Romans have also left evidence of their passing for it is here that their fortress of Fendich was excavated. All these signs of earlier settlement point to the importance of the glen, situated as it is at the entrance to the lush lowlands of the south and placed so that its narrow bottle-neck made it of enormous strategic importance. An Iron-age fort bears witnesss to the fact that this was fully appreciated well before the Romans
marched north. Situated on the 1,527 feet high Dun Mor it could have been impregnable in its day.

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