Dunkeld, Perthshire

Dunkeld in Perthshire, or what I think is now called Perth and Kinross is one of my favourite places to visit, the drive up there is lovely and it isn’t too far from where we live. This time our visit was a bit different as we took an old friend with us, she hadn’t been there for decades, it’s not really the sort of place you go to on your own.
Dunkeld bridge, Perthshire

Anyway, I took some photos, mainly to show to another friend who used to fish in the area, but hasn’t been able to do that for years now. In the photo above I was standing on the bridge that takes you over the River Tay and into Dunkeld. My friend used to stay in the Atholl Hotel on the right on his fishing holidays.

Dunkeld Bridge, Perthshire

It was October but I think we were just a wee bit too late for the best of the autumn tree colour. The area in the photo below has changed quite a bit over the years, not the buildings obviously but they’ve spruced up the foreground and added more parking places by the side of the river which is just out of view. In the summer they put tables and chairs out near that area.

Dunkeld hotels, hills, Perthshire

The view to the other side of the bridge as you get into the Dunkeld is obscured by trees, but the trees are nicer than houses anyway.
Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland

Standing more or less on the middle of the bridge I took the photo below of the River Tay looking north.

River Tay north, Dunkeld, Perthshire

I pointed the camera a bit further to the right for the photo below, Dunkeld Cathedral is just beyond that area.
River Tay north, Dunkeld, Perthshire

I crossed the road to take the photos below of the River Tay looking south.
River Tay south, Dunkeld, Perthshire

River Tay south , Dunkeld, Perthshire

Really the trees below were looking good but they could be doing with having some trees with red leaves too, copper beech or maybe red maples, but maybe they wouldn’t grow so well there.
autumn trees, River Tay,Dunkeld Scotland

Beatrix Potter was inspired by the countryside here as she visited Dunkeld and Birnam with her parents on holiday every summer. You can read about that here.

When we were moving house all of almost six years ago now we looked around the Dunkeld area, just online, but there were only four houses for sale at the time and they were pricey in comparison with the other places we were looking. It’s maybe just as well, because it is quite far away from Edinburgh and we do enjoy being able to visit the city easily whenever we fancy. And if we lived in Dunkeld we wouldn’t be able to go there for a nice afternoon out every now and again!

For lots of information on what to do in and around Dunkeld you should visit My Voyage Scotland. It’s a great Scottish travel blog.

Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s Home

I’ve always wanted to visit Beatrix Potter’s home Hill Top, in the Lake District. So imagine my disappointment when we drove into the car park and read a notice which said it was closed on Fridays – yes, it was Friday. I can’t really complain because it does have a key at the bottom of the National Trust book which makes it clear that it’s closed on Friday – but why is it? It’s such a popular place, we weren’t the only people who were hoping to get in that afternoon. Well I suppose we’ll go back another time. Of course, the NT shop WAS open! Anyway this is a photo of Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home.

Hill Top House

It’s quite a modest looking house, when you consider how rich she must have been, she was often mistaken for a tramp by visitors because she really wasn’t bothered what she looked like. When my mother-in-law was in the Brownies in the late 1920s her pack camped near this area on Potter land and Beatrix met them and gave them signed copies of her books.

Hill Top farmland 1

These photos look quite faded but that is how it looked, it was a bit misty and the grass looked almost yellow as it had recently been covered with loads of snow.

Hill Top farmland 2

The house above is the nearest one to Hill Top and this is the view which Beatrix would have from the front of her house.

a garden gate Hill Top

This teeny bit of walled garden is to the left hand side of Hill Top. It looks like the original Mr McGregor’s garden, much smaller than I had imagined it to be.

Below is the view you get looking to the left of the gate.

Hill Top garden left

And below is the view of the right hand side of the garden.

Hill Top garden right

And look who else was there, just on the other side of the wall there were some descendants of Peter Rabbit, not at all bothered about us, too busy munching.

rabbits at Hill Top

Some sheep were in the same part of the garden, complete with their lambs. It seems to me that being a ewe is quite a hard life, lambs are fairly aggressive, nothing was going to stop them from getting their milk.

sheep suckling

So we’ll have to go back and try again because I want to see the interior as the furniture which features in the book illustrations is still in the house.

We bought fudge and raspberry curd at the shop. I had only eaten lemon curd before but I recommend the raspberry curd – delicious.


I had been hoping to get this post done yesterday but I’m still decorating our bedroom, it’ll definitely be finished by tomorrow though, then I’ll be starting on the wee loo.

Anyway, on our recent road trip in England we ended up visiting Gloucester which hadn’t been on our original list of places to visit. That part of England, I suppose you could call it the mid-west, has lots of ancient towns and wherever you are you seem to be only about seven miles away from another place that you’ve heard of and it seemed silly not to visit them. We had to call a halt eventually and so we decided to leave Malvern, Hay and Ross-on-Wye for another road trip.

We went to Gloucester after visiting Cheltenham, which I’ll write about soon. Somehow Gloucester wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. I know that quite a few members of the royal family live in that county and I think that was why I thought it would be very up market and posh – but it wasn’t. Then I remembered that a certain serial murderer said that the paving stones of Gloucester had bodies under them, and that gave me a bit of a shudder.

So I was pleased to see the Tailor of Gloucester’s shop, which is now full of Beatrix Potter collectables. This is the actual building which she copied for her illustration but I should have photographed the whole alleyway because that would have been more like her drawing. My mother-in-law’s claim to fame was that she met Beatrix Potter when she was in the Brownies and was camping on B.P.’s land in the Lake District. Beatrix Potter actually gave her a signed copy of one of her books, I wonder what happened to it!

tailor of gloucester

In common with just about every large historical building at the moment, Gloucester Cathedral is having work done on it as you can see.
Gloucester cathedral

Here it is from another angle.
Gloucester cathedral

I can’t say that it’s a place that I’d like to revisit but it was a wet and freezing cold day which doesn’t help things. It might be one of those places that you need to be shown around by a local, I think that’s the best way to see anywhere. I keep going to places and then realising that I missed things which I would really have liked to have seen.

Hopefully I’ll be back with some book chat tomorrow, if I don’t get engulfed with domestic mayhem.

The Birnam Oak, Dunkeld Perthshire

I really like the small town of Dunkeld, there isn’t an awful lot there but all the shops are individual and quirky and the place just has a lovely atmosphere.

There is a scenic old bridge which unfortunately is undergoing some work at the moment so half of it is covered with scaffolding, so no photograph at the moment. However if you cross the bridge from the town and take the Birnam Walk, which is just down the steps at the left hand side of the bridge, and turn to the right at the bottom of them, after about ten minutes you will reach the Birnam Oak.

As you can see, the tree is so old it has been given crutches. It is thought that this is the only remaining tree of the original ancient Birnam Wood which is mentioned in Macbeth.

The bottom three metres is hollow. You can see the gap.

Apparently a company of English players did act at the nearby city of Perth and it is thought that William Shakespeare may have been one of them. It seems plausible to me as something must have given him the idea of writing about Birnam Wood travelling to Dunsinane.

If anything, this sycamore tree looks even older but it is thought to be only about 300 years old. It is wonderfully gnarled, like something out of a scary fairy tale.

Dunkeld is also famous for its links with Beatrix Potter as her family had a holiday home nearby. She got a lot of her ideas from the area and also did some very good paintings of the local flora and fauna which can be seen at the Arts and Conference Centre in nearby Birnam.