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Photo courtesy of Fred Oudney Collection

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‘There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.’ -Washington Irving.

In Blairgowrie and Rattray we enjoy the convenience and comfort of travelling by the public bus service. From the Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie, we can be in Dundee or Perth in around one hour.

Compare this with travelling between Blairgowrie and Dundee in the 19th century as detailed in this advertisement in the Dundee, Perth and Cupar Advertiser dated Friday 14 May 1852.


John Cameron begs respectfully to intimate to the Public that, at the solicitation of a number of his Friends,he will RUN a COACH betwixt the above places every lawful day, until further notice, commencing on Monday first, the 17th instant. The coach will start from Mr McLaren’s Inn, Blairgowrie, at 20m. past 7 o’clock morning, arriving at the Royal Hotel, Dundee, about ten; and returning at 45 past 4P.M., reaching Blairgowrie at ¼ before eight. 

Return Tickets will be issued every Tuesday and Friday, betwixt Blairgowrie and Dundee, at the following rates:- Blairgowrie to Dundee and back – Fares, outside, 3s; inside, 4s.

Return Tickets will also be issued at Dundee, on Saturdays only, entitling Passengers to return the following Monday - 

Fares, outside, 3s;  inside, 4s. Dundee, May 11, 1852. 

Back then stage coaches were pulled by teams of horses, and Blairgowrie and Rattray had several Coaching Inns which provided not only accommodation, food and drink for travellers, but also stabling for horses and coach houses. Tired horses could be changed for fresh ones or stabled overnight, with staff (ostlers) employed to care for the horses. The Royal Hotel, The Queen’s Hotel, The Balmoral and the Old Cross Inn were all Coaching Inns.

David Brown of Thorngreen (1798 – 1865) was the proprietor of Brown’s Hotel (latterly the Queen’s Hotel) and ran a coach known as the Braes of Mar between Perth and Braemar as detailed in this advertisement in the Perthshire Advertiser dated Thursday 18 July 1833. 


This Coach will leave the Coach Office, Perth, opposite the George Inn, on Thursday the 25th July current, at 7 o’clock A.M. and passing through Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, by Bridge of Cally, and Spittal of Glenshee, will reach Castleton of Braemar at 6 P.M. It will leave Castleton on Friday, 26th July current, at 7 A.M. and passing the same places will reach Perth at 6P.M., and will thereafter continue to leave Perth each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 7 A.M.; and Castleton each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 7 A.M., during the season. The communication betwixt Castleton and Aberdeen is continued by Stage Coaches which run betwixt these places. 

Every attention will be paid to Passengers and Parcels. Blairgowrie, 15th July, 1833.

Our Heritage is pleased to be able to share these images of local public transport as it evolved over the years.

This is “Highland Mary” which was owned by Peter Melville of the Aldchlappie Hotel in Kirkmichael and operated between Kirkmichael and Blairgowrie from around 1919.

Blairgowrie to Perth Bus, around 1920s.

This W. Alexander & Sons bus was photographed by Fred Oudney at the bus stop in the Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie, in the early 1950s.

The Devil’s Elbow was a double hairpin bend on the A93 in Glen Shee north of Blairgowrie on the route to Braemar. The ‘elbow’ was bypassed in the 1960s.

To learn more about Scotland’s public transport history visit The Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond, Dunfermline, KY12 0SJ .

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