Scotland the Brave – Macbeth has it!

From Birnam Wood to Dunsinane:

Messenger

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.

MACBETH

Liar and slave!

Messenger

Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.

MACBETH

If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:’ and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.

And there we were in Birnam itself and over the hill was Dunsinane – quite a way over the hill true but… and there were the trees of the medieval woodland of Dunsinane and each was labelled. They were around 600 years old so definitely Shakespeare could have know of them and funnily enough the biggest was not the oldest – the biggest being a Sycamore and not an oak, and only 300 years old…

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Birnam Wood oak trees and the Young Pretender

Birnam Wood oak trees and the Young Pretender

We were staying in Birnam itself by the Railway station and walked through the woodlands alongside the River Tay to Dunkeld.

River Tay

River Tay

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Dunkeld was by far the bigger town with quite a lot of nice shops and Dunkeld Cathedral by the river – this was started in the 14th century but largely demolished during the Reformation.

Dunkeld Cathedral

Dunkeld Cathedral

The cathedral shows that Dunkeld must once have been an important town, although now it is very small. And even had a little Dunkeld alongside it. It does have a bagpipe shop and sells locally smoked salmon – which we had and was very nice – some (very expensive) being wild salmon. There were also quite a lot of good local strawberries for sale. The bridge was built by Telford in the 19th century but the original bridge was built in 1510. Before that they had a lot of fords – we were staying right by a ford in Peebles – more of that town later.

Dunkeld Bridge

Dunkeld Bridge

Dunkeld High Street

Dunkeld High Street

We managed to visit more than once and had more than one tea there… once in the County Bakery where coffee was £1.80 and cakes  – asstd including home baked quiche – were from £1.55 each – and note the local speciality – macaroni pie!

The second place we frequented was called Corbenic Camp Hill Café. It was run as a social enterprise for learning disabled children who baked all the fresh bread and I think, also the cakes. It was all about fair trade too and had lots of very interesting local craftwork – but some a trifle too expensive for us! We had green tea at £1.20 and beetroot and chocolate cake at £2.50.

In Birnam we had coffee at the Post Office – yes multi-function as it was also the Police Station – where a strawberry tart (not home-made sad to say) was £1.20 and filter coffee was £1 a mug.

Birnam and Birnam Station

Birnam and Birnam Post Office etc

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