A short walk from Blairgowrie along the River Ericht will take you to Cargill’s Leap - the point at which the famous Covenanter, Donald Cargill, is said to have escaped Government troops by jumping across the river.
Donald Cargill was born in Rattray and was a Presbyterian minister and Covenanter. The Covenanters pledged to maintain their own way of worship following the signing of the National Covenant in 1638. But during the latter half of Charles II’s reign, Presbyterianism was outlawed by the Scottish Parliament. Ministers who resisted were evicted from the Church. Cargill, like many other ministers, was forced to hold illegal meetings called ‘conventicles’. These meeting were often broken up by the military and those captured were cruelly treated. On one occasion Cargill managed to escape the troops by leaping a very narrow part of the River Ericht just above Blairgowrie which is now known as Cargill’s Leap. He was eventually captured in 1681 and taken to Edinburgh where he was found guilty of treason and executed.