Welcome to the village of Strathyre, which is the first village in the Highlands of Scotland travelling north and is the first Smart Village
in Rural Scotland.
Strathyre is an attractive and historic village set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre with towering Ben Sheann hovering directly above the village on its west side. To the south is Ben Vane and Ben Ledi, with twin Munro mountains, Stuc A’ Chroin and Ben Vorlich, on the east side. To the north is the Braes of Balquhidder with majestic Ben More at 3852 ft. There is no higher mountain south of this peak, in the UK.
The influence of early Christianity blessed the Strathyre valley in the 7th century with the presence of St Columba, St Cuthbert and St Angus, who settled for a few years in Balquhidder.
In the late 1700s, our distinguished visitors, guests, and residents included; author Sir Walter Scott, poet and authors - William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Dugald Buchanan from Ardoch Strathyre was famous for his translations of the bible into Scots Gaelic.
Some early settlers in Strathyre were 18th-century gold panners working for the Earl of Breadalbane, who set up shacks, which were shared with passing cattle drovers. The panners used sheep fleeces laid in the base of small streams to capture tiny gold nuggets from the flowing water and gravel. Queen Victoria was a visitor by horse and carriage, until her arrival on the steam train in the 1870s.
Rob Roy MacGregor was perhaps the most renowned resident of the area. He was a Jacobite, a cattleman and Scottish folk hero. Rob Roy married Mary Helen MacGregor from Leny Farm in Strathyre.
BLS COMMUNITIES - BALQUHIDDER, LOCHEARNHEAD AND STRATHYRE
Balquhidder has a significant history with St Angus, the ancient church and churchyard, Rob Roy’s home, his grave and the picturesque Balquhidder Braes. The village hall is developing as a hub.
Lochearnhead lies at the western end of Loch Earn, a popular fishing loch and water sports area with some attractive loch-side properties, impressive Edinample Castle and its resident ghost. The village hosts a popular Highland Games and Sheep Shearing competition.
The triage of the three BLS villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, and Strathyre are popular tourist destinations. There is a wide choice of accommodation with hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering cottages, camping and caravan parks, and an outdoor adventure centre. There is a double award-winning Broch Café, Golden Larches restaurant, village shops and post office, some retail businesses and local artisans.
To satisfy leisure needs, there are music festivals, music sessions in the local pubs and concerts are held locally. Many race events are hosted in the hills and glens. There's an outdoor adventure centre, three caravan and camping parks, boat and bike hire, river and loch fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and board paddling, all available locally.
Strathyre has acknowledged its environmental responsibilities with electric car charging pods installed along with a recycling refuse unit.
A list of other Scottish charging points can be found HERE
Two river-level monitoring systems are set up to provide flood risk warnings to benefit the council and those at risk.
The winding river Balvaig cuts through the heart of Strathyre linking Loch Voil in the north to Loch Lubnaig at its southern end. The river Balvaig is home to brown trout, the occasional passing salmon and its downstream section is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at an area known as the Loch Lubnaig marshes.
The rich invertebrate fauna found here includes two notable and rare species of cranefly, damselfly and many water beetle species. Freshwater pearl mussels are present in the river and are listed as an endangered species as a result of its dramatic decline throughout its European range. Strathyre in Scotland is seen as a stronghold for this species.
The hillside fauna and flora is impressive, Strathyre also has wildlife in abundance including deer, red squirrel, pine martens, otters, badgers, mink, and the occasional fox. In the skies, golden eagles circle and ospreys are also spotted over the lochs. No less than 138 bird species have been recorded in Strathyre by local “Bidyman” and wildlife ranger, Duncan Cameron.
Strathyre is the perfect base for outdoor adventures and we have a wide range of activities provided at the Strathyre adventure centre and through local ranger, Jack Black. Further details can be found at the "Visitor Guide / Things to do" section on the top menu.
CYCLING, WALKING AND TRAILS
The national cycle network route 7, draws many visitors to the village. The 78 mile-Rob Roy way hiking trail, runs from Drymen to Pitlochry via Strathyre. There is a wide network of interesting forest tracks and trails. A special feature of the area is the treble-award-winning BLiSS Trail as featured on TV, which links the villages of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans. The BLiSS Trail showcases metal and wood artist exhibits which are placed along the length of the trail's 14-mile route.
ABOUT SMART VILLAGE - STRATHYRE
Strathyre has gone through a period of revival with a bottom-up approach to community development achieved through a number of initiatives and enhancements led by Kenny Higgins. This provided a much-needed boost to tourism and to help sustain the local economy.
The learning from this experience and the resulting improvements were catalogued into a strategy and action plan. A digital portal is added as an information reference to serve the village, local businesses and visitors to the area.
In 2018 Kenny launched Strathyre as a pilot project which was successful, leading to Strathyre becoming the first Smart Village in Scotland and paving the way for others to follow. The Strathyre portal is now extended to include the village communities of Balquhidder and Lochearnhead with many more in development in Scotland.
Smart Village Scotland is powered by partner organisation GrowBiz, which provides enterprise support to rural businesses - through a combination of 1-1, peer learning, mentoring and networking. If you’re a small/micro-business, or a social enterprise, in need of advice or a friendly chat, contact us here and we’ll put you in touch with someone who can help. You may also be able to get support from Business Gateway or Scottish Enterprise.
Every village and small town in rural Scotland is different, with unique challenges and opportunities. In most rural communities, there is a diverse range of businesses and social enterprises covering many sectors - including tourism, creatives services, care and wellbeing, retail etc – many of whom are ‘under the radar’ and in need of marketing or development support.
This is where the Smart Village digital portal can help. You can promote your products, services or activities – with a directory entry to let potential customers know how to get in touch. If you need help with your digital skills, please contact GrowBiz and the team will be in touch to point you in the right direction.
We would like to acknowledge the support and contributions from the following individuals and organisations:
The villagers of Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead.
Visit Scotland and Scotland is now. for marketing and photographic support.
Kim Proven, Chair of Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LET1) for access to local information from robroycountry.com
David Johnston and Richard Harris, Balquhidder Community Broadband and Balquhidder hub project.
Thomas Anderson, Barbara Higgins, Kim Proven, Cooper Cottages and Kenny Lam for Photography.
Duncan Cameron for wildlife information
Bill and Lesley Lindsay for allowing the hosting of meetings at the Broch Cafe Strathyre, and for some great coffee.
Hippo IT Management
Director, Smart Village. Scotland