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Dunkeld, Scotland in Winter

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This morning, I went off to one of my favourite spots in Scotland, namely the Dunkeld area in Perthshire.

This region suffered from the recant bout of extreme weather with temperatures down to minus 16 centigrade together with heavy snow which still lingers on the hills and sheltered places.

During my travel around the area the temperature was just above freezing with ice still evident on one particular loch (lake).

Images from the trip can be found below together with commentary.

This was taken from the 200 year old Bridge over the River Tay looking towards a snowy Dunkeld with Craig a Barns (hill) in the background.

This was taken from the north bank of the Tay with the Telford Bridge on the right looking towards Birnam Hill in the centre. Birnam has connections with Shakespeare's Macbeth via Birnam Wood and the Birnam Oak.


The following three images cover Loch of the Lowes, maybe 3 miles from Dunkeld. This is a wildlife reserve (predominantly birds) with well placed viewing hides. I was the only visitor. Ice still covered large sections of the loch.

In summer, Loch of the Lowes is famous for its visiting Ospreys which breed there and can be viewed on CCTV. There are many other water birds, red squirrels, pine martens, otter and deer. I was particularly intrigued by the bird feeding stations which attracted a huge range of 'customers' particularly siskins (small yellow birds). This is a quality experience for visitors interested in wildlife and ornithology.




This shows the snowed over Dunkeld and Birnam Golf Course. No teeing off today!

This was taken at a fishing beat on the bank of the River Tay near Dalguise looking towards a snow capped Capel Hill.

Overall, an interesting trip. A completely different micro climate to that prevailing in Glasgow.

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Dunkeld Cathedral, Scotland

Monday, November 16, 2009


This evening, I am focusing on possibly the most charmingly situated ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland. The Cathedral sits on the banks of the River Tay which in turn is within the magnificent scenery of Highland Perthshire.

Historically, Dunkeld was an important Christian centre to the extent that, in 849, King Kenneth McAlpin deposited part of the relics of St. Columba at this site. From this date we have some early carved stones, including the elaborately carved Apostles Stone which can be found in the Chapter House and features in video no 2 below.

The present Cathedral building was built in the late medieval era, viz:
  • The eastern limb was started in the mid- thirteenth century and finished by Bishop William Sinclair (1309-37).
  • The Nave was started by Bishop Robert Cardeny (1398-1437) and was eventually completed by Bishop Thomas Lauder (1452-75) who officiated at the consecration in 1464.
  • The South Porch which was extended by Bishop Thomas Lauder (1452-75).
  • The Chapter House. Again, initiated by Bishop Lauder. Building commenced on April 13th. 1457. This structure is a rectangular, two storeyd projection on the north side of the eastern limb. Its function may have been to house ancillary functions of the Cathedral's clergy.
  • The Tower and West Front.This four story tower was, again, commenced by Bishop Lauder.
The building was extensively damaged during the Reformation in about 1560, principally removal of the roof of the Nave subsequent to which the community used the eastern limb for services.

In 1689 the Cathedral, because of its sturdy nature, played a central role in the Battle of Dunkeld when Government troops under Lieutenant Colonel William Cleland defeated a force of rebel Highlanders. Repairs were undertaken by the Duke of Atholl in 1691 and again in 1762. Further extensive restoration took place in 1814-15 and in 1908.

This building is popular with visitors to Dunkeld and is an integral part of the region's heritage.

Note the memorial to the famous local fiddler, Neil Gow which features in video no 3.

video video video

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Atholl Highlanders at Dunkeld Scotland

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This afternoon, I visited Dunkeld, a small town which sits in the centre of Scotland. The reason was to witness a march by the Atholl Highlanders, the only legal private army in Britain (and Europe), to commemorate the 200th anniversary of completion of the bridge over the River Tay at Dunkeld. There are a couple of issues of significance here, viz:

  1. As stated above, the Atholl Highlanders are a private army. They were originally authorised by Queen Victoria in 1839 and 'belong' to the Eleventh Duke of Atholl who has a castle nearby at Blair Atholl. The regiment is about 100 strong but has never seen active service. However, many of the regiment served with the Scottish horse in both World Wars.
  2. The bridge was designed by one of Britain's leading engineers, Thomas Telford, originally for horse and cart traffic but today comfortably accommodates 40 ton trucks and its robustness is testimony to the skills of Telford and the builders.

Here is the regiment marching over the bridge.

Local ladies in period costume

Ladies with the bridge in background


Atholl Highlanders
Atholl Highlanders

Video of the Highlanders marching across the b ridge.

video

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Tour Dunkeld Region Perthshire Scotland.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This evening, I am presenting a selection of images following my visit to Dunkeld yesterday.

Images were taken in the early morning and temperature about zero Centigrade.

This first image is of the River Tay looking upstream. On the right bank, behind the trees, is located Dunkeld Cathedral, a famous religious site dating back about 1500 years. The Tay represents Scotland's largest river system. Origin of the name 'Tay' is unknown but may mean 'fast flowing water' or similar. Phonetically, not dissimilar to the River Tyne in England.


Hear is an image of Dalguise, a small village located in the Tay Valley about 3 miles from Dunkeld. Dalguise is a rural/residential community with connection to Beatrix Potter who vacationed there and obtained inspiration for some of her characters, e.g.Mrs Tiggy Winkle.

Another winter morning view of the Tay Valley at Dalguise looking east.

The following two images are of Dunkeld town centre. This is a prosperous small town, popular with tourists. Central location is ideal for touring Scotland. Note the hotel is named 'Atholl'. Many places and streets feature the name 'Atholl' in this part of Scotland with reason being vast tracts of the area are owned by the Duke of Atholl whose base is nearby at Blair Castle.


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Ossian's Hall and the Hermitage, Dunkeld, Perthshire

Friday, November 17, 2006

The waterfall of the Braan at the Hermitage is the great attraction to some 200,000 visitors each year . It has been described as one of the most ingenious and pleasurable ornaments to rural scenery that can be beheld.

The Hall comprised part of a 'finger' of landscaped garden which in turn was part of the nearby Atholl Estates.

The approach to the Hall is via a trail through a large grove of Douglas Firs which was planted in 1920. The trees originate in North America and will probably last another 300-400 years.

The river hurtles through the dark and deep chasm then under the highly picturesque bridge (c.1770) that crosses the river then runs black and silent into a pool on the edges of which grows one of the tallest trees in Britain, a Douglas Fir with a height of about 200ft. Salmon are found in the pool but they have difficulty moving upstream through the falls.

Ossian's Hall sits forty feet above the bottom of the waterfall and was constructed (1758) in such a manner, that the visitor, approaching the cascade, is entirely ignorant of the waterfall, it being concealed by the walls of the Hall. In its original design, the visitor would undergo a series of "experiences", firstly a painting of Ossian, the last of his race, blind form age, lamenting to Malvina the death of his son Oscar:-

Darkness comes on my soul, O fair daughter of Toscar!
I behold not the form of my son at Carun,
Nor the figure of Oscar on Crona
The rustling winds have carried him far away
And the heart of his father is sad.
But lead me, O Malvina! to the sound of my Woods,
To the roar of my mountain streams.
Let the chase be heard on Crono;
Let me think on the days of other years.
And bring me the harp, O maid,
That I may touch it when the light of my soul shall rise.
Be thou near to learn the song:
Future times will hear of me!
The sons of the feeble hereafter will lift the voice on Cona
And, looking up to the rocks, say, 'here Ossian dwelt!

Then the visitor was presented by a loud noise, and the whole foaming cataract before him/her was reflected in several (20?) mirrors, and roaring with the noise of the thunder:-

A gay saloon, with waters dancing
Upon the sight wherever glancing;
One loud cascade in front, and lo!
A thousand like it, white as snow,
Stream on the walls, and torrents foam
As active round the hollow dome.
Illusive cataracts! of their terrors
Not stripped nor voiceless in the mirrors;
That catch the pageant from the flood,
Thundering a-down a rocky wood,
Strange scene! fantastic and uneasy
As ever made a maniac dizzy.
When disenchanted from the mood
That loves on sullen thoughts to broad.

The Hall interior was decorated with finely executed Arabesques which captured visitors attention. It was originally decorated by a Mr.Stewart of London, a native of the Strath in which the Hall is placed.

In 1860 the Hall was blown up by local rioters. The mirrors were shattered but not replaced and remained in situ until the 1920s. The Hall was in danger of collapse in 1944 when the National Trust acquired the property. It was then rebuilt using a design by Basil Spence (architect). Another rebuild was undertaken in 2006 with aim of retaining the original series of experiences. Doors reinstated and also the mirrors; the latter using polished stainless steel.

The building described above is not the true Hermitage (or Ossian's Cave) which is situated a little further on.

Experience the Hermitage with catswhiskerstours




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