Dunkeld, Birnam, and Inver (two little towns right next to Dunkeld) are home to some wonderful, massive trees. Two of these monsters can be located on a trail that follows the River Tay right behind Birnam. On the right is the Birnam Oak, which is thought to be the sole survivor of the ancient Birnam Wood mentioned in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. It is estimated to be at least 500 years old and certainly looks it, with struts supporting its lower limbs.
If you've been to Birnam and seen this giant (or even if you haven't) and want to help preserve it for generations to come, consider making a donation here: https://www.pkct.org/appeal/save-birnam-oak
The tree on the left here is the great Birnam Sycamore. Though it is larger than the oak, it is only estimated to be around 300 years old...no less impressive though!
The last tree that I visited was Niel Gow's Oak, or the Fiddle Tree, in Inver. Niel Gow was an important 18th century Scottish fiddler and composer who lived in Inver. Many of his tunes are still played today, even up here in New England. The tune ''Stool of Repentence'' below is thought to have been composed by him, though some say that it was composed a bit before his time.
Legend has it that he sat beneath this tree and played/composed new tunes. There is a wavy bench by the tree today, carved by Nigel Ross with the words ''I'll sit beneath the fiddle tree with the ghost of Niel Gow next to me'' carved into the side by Andy McFetters. The words come from a song by Dundee musician Michael Marra titled ''Niel Gow's Apprentice''.
Also in Dunkeld is the Dunkeld Cathedral, which contains Niel Gow's original tombstone in a wee backroom museum.
Though the session at Dunkeld is normally all instrumental, an ex-member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers stopped in and sang a rippin' version of ''Wild Mountain Thyme'', captured below. This was completely off-the-cuff, as you can tell by the false starts and by members of the pub trying to remember the lyrics. However, despite all of this, the rawness and energy put into it by everyone in the pub was amazing and it was a treat to be a part of.