Our Luxury Pony Picnics are set in the heart of Highland Perthshire. Experience the wild and dramatic landscapes that Atholl Estates has on offer.
On your magical walk through mixed woodland, with various conifer species and lots of impressive beech trees, you’ll pass the iconic Whim, which was built in 1761 by the 2nd Duke. With panoramic views across the vast moorland, you’ll venture along an old hill track that runs alongside a fast-flowing river. As it races down the glen, and under the ancient Rumbling Bridge, your guide will share stories of old, which bring to life the traditional Highland way of life.
Guests are invited to head out to Lady March’s Cairn. Your expert guide and pony-man will be dressed in traditional Atholl Estates tweeds and will take you – together with the native Highland Ponies (led-in-hand) – on a guided walk up to the Cairn.
The Highland Ponies time on the estate dates back to the 1860s, according to the archives. Traditional wicker ‘Grouse Panniers’ will be filled with delicious local, Scottish produce for you to picnic at the Cairn while being surrounded by the breathtaking, vast views of moorland.
The walk will be taken at a comfortable, steady pace, with plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the surroundings and wilderness on offer.
For the nature enthusiasts of the group, you will relish the opportunity to spot wildlife. Through the woodland, you may spot red deer and red squirrels. Once onto the moorland, you may get the chance to see red deer, black grouse, raptors such as buzzards, kestrels, or even the magnificent golden eagle.
Equally as impressive are smaller birds such as meadow pipits, skylarks, and wheatear, which can often be seen.
Book now for a truly unique and unforgettable day in the Scottish Highlands.
COST: £400 for up to 6 people, including adults and children (Covid rules apply for mixing households)
TIME: 12 noon to 4 pm
DATES: Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Other days are available upon request, excluding weekends. Available from May-August.
HOW TO BOOK: To book, please contact us by email or call 01796 481 355.
OTHER INFORMATION: A good level of fitness is required. Please wear appropriate footwear (walking boots are recommended) and clothing suitable for the weather conditions. No dogs allowed.
DISTANCE OF WALK and ASCENT: The entire route is 8 kilometres, with 200m of ascent. Lady March’s Cairn sits at 350m hill, with fantastic views.
Dominic has over 20 years of knowledge of Atholl. Starting on Forest Lodge before moving to Glen Bruar, Dominic will take you for a walk to see the stunning scenery on the estate. Dominic’s main role is as a stalker on the estate’s Glen Bruar beat. As such, he is available for picnics until the beginning of August, when grouse shooting and deer stalking starts again.
Stalking is a key enterprise at Atholl Estates. Highland Ponies/Garrons is the traditional way to bring deer off the hill, and it requires skill and patience to train the ponies to carry out this job. The ponies you see on the estate today are bred from generations of Atholl ponies. The first records in the archives go back to the 1860s.
Training a pony for the hill also takes many years.
They are taken as a foal at foot – along with their mother – to learn there is nothing unusual or scary with the smell of deer and blood. This is reinforced for the next couple of years with deer skins by their water troughs and feeders. They are subsequently saddled with the special deer saddle to get used to the straps, noise and weight.
If all goes well, a deer calf would be used first to accustom them to carrying the weight.