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Ask a Local: 5 of the best things about Alyth

Packed with things to do and friendly locals, Alyth is the star in the east of Perthshire, say George and Michele Hall.

George and Michele Hall on a bridge over the Alyth burn
George and Michele Hall admire the view from Alyth Burn. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

For a wee town, Alyth packs a big punch.

It sits five miles east of Blairgowrie, close to where Perth and Kinross meets Angus, and is home to around 2,500 people and an admirable community spirit.

That strength came to the fore in October when torrential rain hammered Perth and Kinross. The town’s resilience team swung into action when the Alyth Burn breached its flood defences, and residents were spared a rerun of the damage that occurred after the devastating floods in 2020 and 2015.

But Alyth has plenty more positive stories to tell.

Alyth Burn running through the centre of the town
Alyth Burn helped put the town on the map. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

And for the last eight years, the Alyth Development Trust has been working with the community to make the most of life here for locals and visitors alike.

It is working to turn a series of dreams into realities, including Alyth allotments, an upgrade of the Diamond Jubilee Park and a bid to bring a skatepark to Alyth.

The group marked another milestone earlier this year when it acquired a former sawmill site at Millhaugh.

The plan now is to reopen it as a community space and enhance the nearby Alyth Den.

George and Michele Hall smiling outside Alyth Museum
Alyth has a proud history and a bright future, say Michele and George Hall. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

George Hall is part of that project. As chairman of the trust, he’s proud of all that’s been achieved in Alyth – and excited about everything that’s up ahead.

And he and his wife Michele were only too happy to take The Courier on a tour of their adopted home town’s many gems.

1. Alyth Hill is perfect vantage point

“We love to walk up Alyth Hill and take in the magnificent views across the Strathmore valley,” says George.

“We enjoy hanging out with a flask of coffee soaking up the peace and enjoying the birdsong and occasional deer and red squirrel.”

View of Alyth, with hill, farmland and forestry all around
Alyth is perfectly placed. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Alyth Hill is also an excellent vantage point for the beaver project on the Bamff estate, where the animals have been creating new wetlands for around 20 years.

“The town has a community woodland, orchard and bike park on the south end of the hill, something for everyone to enjoy,” adds George.

“And a little further on you can see the changing landscapes of the beavers at Bamff.”

2. The Square and Burn – Alyth’s natural heart

“The town square with its trees lit up at night, the burn flowing nearby and the fabulous bridges, including the 17th century packhorse bridge, gives the town a natural heart,” says George.

“It’s often used for community events, most notably the twice yearly Alyth Market.”

Market Square, Alyth, with cars parked and a signpost leading to a number of local attractions
All roads lead to Market Square, Alyth. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Again, the town square is a tribute to Alyth’s community spirit.

The Market Square Regeneration Project, completed in 2018, followed several years of work by local groups including Alyth Development Trust, Alyth Community Council and Alyth in Bloom in conjunction with Perth and Kinross Council.

3. Alyth people make town tick

George and Michele hadn’t planned to live in Alyth. But when the town takes you to its heart, it’s hard to let go.

“We originally bought a small flat in Alyth as a base from which we could explore the local region and the highlands,” says George

George and Michele Hall talking to a smiling George Brown outside the Thrifty One shop in Alyth
Michele and George chat to Gordon Brown, centre, from the community interest business Thrifty One, on Airlie Street, Alyth. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

“After a year, we were so taken by the welcome and generosity of the neighbours and strong feeling of community, we decided to sell off our city property and move to Alyth full-time.

“The community spirit is epitomised by the local charity shop – Thrifty – with its band of volunteers and many generous givers. Profits go back into the community.”

4. Location, location, location

Alyth is the star in the east of Perth and Kinross. It’s five miles beyond Blairgowrie, close to the border with Angus and only 17 miles from Dundee.

So while it’s surrounded by gorgeous scenery, on the doorstep of the Cairngorm National Park, it’s no distance at all to the city when the bright lights call.

David Sim hardware shop and a row of other business premises in Alyth with flats above
Just some of the shops on Mill Street, Alyth. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

For George and Michele it offers the best of both worlds.

“We feel close to everything here,” says George.

“We’re surrounded by lovely countryside, so it’s easy to get lost in the Cairngorms. But it takes no time at all to get out to the coast. And within two hours we can be in any of the five main cities of Scotland.”

5. Shop local

Alyth was an important market town in its heyday.

It was granted the status of Burgh of Barnony by James III of Scotland in the 15th century, entitling it to stage markets and fairs. Later, it became a centre of the textile industry and a popular tourist town, with all the shops and businesses that came with it.

Sign for The Alyth Traditional Fish Bar
Alyth’s award-winning fish and chip shop is right up there with the best of them. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Much of that industry might be gone today, but Alyth can still deliver service with a smile.

“There may not be many, but the shops we do have serve us very well,” says George.

“There’s a good variety within the supermarkets, a quality butcher, a local farm shop, cafes and a great wee chippy. What else do you need?”