Dunkeld and Birnam

Dunkeld and BirnamDunkeld can trace its history back to the earliest times when ground between the confluence of two rivers was considered to be sacred. Its strategic position being situated among the hills resulted in it being developed as a stronghold of the Picts, hence the prefix ‘Dun’ meaning defensive structure or fort.

There appears to have been a Christian settlement with buildings of mud and wattle here as early as the 6th century, later to be replaced by stone and eventually today’s cathedral. Dunkeld became the centre of the church in Scotland, the ecclesiastical capital, when the relics of St Columba were brought here in the 9th century. It lost this status when St Columba’s relics were removed to St Andrews in the 10th century.

The town of Dunkeld was destroyed by fire lit by government Cameronian soldiers retreating from the Jacobite army that had just defeated their comrades at the Battle of Klliecarnkie 10 miles to the north, in 1689. Today’s town is a result of the new town built after this date, when the Duke of Atholl wanted the town built out of his view of the cathedral.

Dunkeld bridge was built 200 years ago by Thomas Telford in 1809, this was an important development as it made easy access to Inver accessible to everyone.

Today’s Dunkeld has a range of excellent family run shops, two hotels and of course the Cathedral, which is well worth a visit. The Cathedral museum houses many interesting artefacts from the past along with a wealth of information on the area.

Beatrix Potter – we all associated Beatrix Potter with the Lake District of England, and yet she first wrote about Peter Rabbit ….. Here in Birnam today the Birnam Institute tells you the story of Beatrix and her early holidays up here and how she came to first write the stories of Peter Rabbit. There is also a Beatrix Potter garden.

The Dunkeld and Birnam Tourism Association have their own web site http://www.dunkeldandbirnam.co.uk/ and run a very successful weekend in early December when Santa visits town with his reindeer.


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