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24 Sept 2020

Discover our Hidden History Trails

A winding path through some sparse woodland.
Explore our Hidden History Trails, which uncover Scotland’s secret past. The trails featured are located at two of our places, where the Archaeology team have carried out digs and other investigations.

The walks tell stories of survival and of Scotland’s people, from the Neolithic period to the modern era, and how landscapes have changed and been cultivated across the centuries.

Visitors can walk ancient paths and get a tantalising glimpse of Scotland’s ‘forgotten history’. They offer a dream day out for every aspiring Indiana Jones – no matter how young or old!

The routes have been drawn up by the Trust’s Archaeology team as part of Scottish Archaeology Month.

“You’ll see nature, wildlife and archaeology – there really is something for everyone along the trails.”
Derek Alexander
Head of Archaeology

Derek continued, ‘Normally we’d cover these routes on guided walks, but we obviously can’t do that for groups at the moment and are instead encouraging people to discover these places for themselves.

‘We know that people want to get outdoors again and enjoy our places, but do so in a safe environment and somewhere that has good parking and safe footpaths. That’s the beauty of Trust locations – they offer all of that.

‘And more often than not, what you’ll come across is the archaeology of the everyday. We’re telling the stories of Scotland’s people – not of the elites.’

A mountainous landscape with a snow-capped mountain in the distance under a blue sky.
The Kiltyrie Hidden History Trail is one of the walks at Ben Lawers

You can download two of our Hidden History Trails:

The Ardess Hidden History Trail at Ben Lomond

At first glance Ben Lomond looks like one of Scotland’s wild places. But walking this trail you’ll come across the ruins of houses, farm buildings and field walls – reminders of a community who lived by the banks of Loch Lomond several hundred years ago. By the early 1800s all but one of the houses on this trail were abandoned. The people who once lived here spoke Gaelic, hence the name ‘Ardess’, which is Gaelic for the high (ard) waterfall (eas) on the slopes above.

Kiltyrie Hidden History Trail at Ben Lawers

This trail will take you on the original track that once led from a pre-18th-century settlement through woodlands, along sunken trackways, past abandoned quarries and ruined buildings. One of these buildings is a farmstead built in 1798 and excavated by the Trust in 2003. Our research here has helped to unearth the hidden history, not only of Kiltyrie but of Perthshire and the Highlands as a whole. It tells a story of dramatic change and Clearances, but goes even further back with tantalising traces of medieval settlements, now visible as turf humps.

Three people on an archaeological dig on Ben Lawers.
Excavating one of the sites on Ben Lawers