spans the River Tay between its namesake village and Strathtay.
On the western side of the bridge are rapids which people canoe
or kayak down and as such, there are wires spanning the river
which make taking photographs of the bridge awkward. As such, I
chose to photograph it from the shady side. For some reason,
despite this photo being taken in early May, it resembles a more
The bridge itself
was opened in 1868, only a few years after the Aberfeldy Branch
Railway was opened. The railway had a station in Grandtully but
the residents of Strathtay had no way of reaching it. As such,
this bridge was built to link the two villages together.
name is derived from the Gaelic garan tullach, meaning
“the rough mound”. The name also applies to the estate
surrounding the village, an area which used to cover some 10,000
acres and which belonged, since about 1400, to the Steuarts of
Grantully. The estate was also a barony (land held directly from
the crown) and in early times it was also a regality (the laird
having the right of pit and gallows within his own
jurisdiction). The site of the moot hill of Grantully, from
whence the laird dispensed justice, is now a rubbish dump beside
the road, where the track to Cultullich joins the road from
Grantully to Aberfeldy, about a mile to the east of Aberfeldy.
history of the village is inextricably linked with that of the
estate, since the whole settlement was part of it until the
estate was sold and split up in 1979.
of the principal buildings is Grantully Hotel, which offered
accommodation and refreshment to all who passed by, and to
parties of fishermen, and fisherwomen, who would stay there,
sometimes for a whole month at a time, to enjoy the Grantully
salmon fishings. Mr. Waddle, who took the fishing for the months
of March and April for many years in the 1950s and 1960s, always
stayed at the Hotel; one year he caught 71 fish in March and 72
in April. That was when John Moffat was mine host and ran the
establishment in a very affable and friendly way, making it the
place of choice for many travelers and long-stay guests alike.
backyard of the Hotel was the scene of a gruesome event in the
mid-19th century, known as the Tomtayewan Murder. The story goes
that there was only one “honest” man in the fermtoun of
Tomtayewan, some three miles to the west of the village; the
other inhabitants, being less honest, disliked him intensely.
Eventually dislike turned to hatred and his immediate neighbors
plotted to do away with him. They lured him to the public bar at
Grantully Hotel one dark winter’s night and managed to get him
drunk. They then dragged him outside, held him down and poured a
kettleful of boiling water into him with the aid of a funnel.
The body was then hidden in a cart of peats and driven back
towards Tomtayewan, as far as the Ward Wood, just beyond
Grantully Castle; there he was buried in what was ever
afterwards called “The Valley of Bones”, being a seemingly
harmless Biblical allusion which masked a much more recent and
grizzly truth. This story was handed down by The Rev’d. John
Maclean, Minister of Grantully at the turn of the nineteenth
John Maclean was a very considerable antiquary and botanist and
possessed a wide range of knowledge of the area’s history and
folklore, but he could never be persuaded to write down all that
he knew, so that he went to his grave leaving only a few stories
in the memories of his hearers. Some of these tales were
subsequently written down from memory and are preserved in the
book The Folklore of Strathtay and Grandtully (1927).
Innes Ewan’s shop, which was a general store established in the
1940s, was housed in a corrugated iron shed on approximately the
site now occupied by the west extension of the Inn on the Tay.
the east of the Hotel stands a house which was known as
Grantully Bridge House. For many years it housed the Post Office
and general store. Eventually an extension was built between it
and the Hotel and this was successively a grocers and general
store, an ironmongers and, in Mr. Moffat’s time an antique shop.
The ground floor became an extension of their antique shop and
tweed and tartan emporium.
Just above the Grantully Bridge is a marking stone, by which
fishermen (and now canoeists) can gauge the height of water. In
the hot dry summer of 1955, when there was no rain for more than
seven weeks, the river reached its all-time recorded low. The
marking stone was so far out of the water that a different
location had to be found to record the level. Another stone was
found, on which the previous record low had been recorded in
1919. The 1955 level was some six inches below the 1919 line.