Cargill’s Leap at Blairgowrie

The Keith Falls Cargill's Leap
Here is a story from the land of a thousand manses…

In 1899, John MacDonald recorded the following fanciful tradition about Donald Cargill.

‘In 1679 the famous Rattray Covenanter, Donald Cargill, while on a visit to his parents at the Hatton of Rattray, was pursued by dragoons, and only escaped by leaping the Keith [on the River Ericht] above Blairgowrie.’

‘[Where] the Ericht rushes impetuously down a gorge, forming a cascade known as “The Keith.” Tradition points out this as the scene of Cargill’s leap, when he was pursued by the dragoons of Claverhouse.’ (MacDonald, History of Blairgowrie, 43, 233.)

cargills-leap-boardThe information board at Cargill’s Leap. Photograph reproduced by the very kind permission of Angus McPake.

Cargill’s Leap lies in a narrow gorge on the River Ericht just upstream from Blairgowrie.

Map of Cargill’s Leap             Aerial View of Cargill’s Leap

You can see a video of Cargill’s Leap here.

cargills-leap-todayCargill’s Leap Today. Photograph reproduced by the very kind permission of Angus McPake.


Cargill’s father, Lawrence, died in 1657. In 1679, Cargill would have been over fifty. John Graham of Claverhouse was a captain of horse, rather than of dragoons, in 1679. Neither Claverhouse, nor Cargill, are recorded as being near Blairgowrie at that time.

Cargill was born not that far from Blairgowrie.

If you are visiting the site, you may wish to use the riverside car park and follow the path up stream to the leap.

If you are hungry, Cargill’s Restaurant, which is named after the Covenanter who excommunicated Charles II in 1680, is nearby.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

~ by drmarkjardine on May 28, 2013.

2 Responses to “Cargill’s Leap at Blairgowrie”

  1. […] Cargill’s Leap at Blairgowrie is another local site connected with the Covenanter. […]

    • I was brought up in Blairgowrie. I walked to school along the riverbank of the River Ericht. I was given a do or say when I was 12 years old and chose the dare, which meant I had to jump over Cargills leap which I did totally confident that my “say” would always be a secret.

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