Celebrating Disney Pixar's Brave
To celebrate the release of Disney Pixar's Brave we invite you to discover the beauty and magic of Perthshire's Big Tree Country. Through a break in the trees, by turning a bend or simply by opening your curtains, you'll discover a magical mix of mountains, forests and lochs. Brave captures this awesome landscape perfectly, and you can experience it for yourself in Perthshire’s Big Tree Country with its rich history of fierce battles, legendary creatures, breathtaking castles, mysterious standing stones and majestic rivers, woods and glens.
Castle Menzies and Weem Wood
The present Castle Menzies dates from the 16th century and replaced one razed to the ground in local feuding. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed there in 1746 on his way to Culloden.
A circular wooded walk climbs up and around the crags of Weem Rock, said to be the home of dragons. A legend that possibly arose from the way morning mist clings to the rock ‘like dragon’s breath’. Visitors can find dragon symbols and images carved into boulders along the trail.
Weem, from the Gaelic ‘uamh’ or cave, was also the home of several hermits, including David, formerly chief of Clan Menzies, who gave all his wordly goods to the church and lived out his life at the spot now known as St David’s Well. The mysterious cup and ring marked stones were left by the earliest settlers in the Neolithic period, when the rock was a vantage point.
Marauding bands of cattle thieves who flourished in the Highlands from the Middle Ages to the 17th Century. More feared than wolves, and with good reason, the caterans’ only loyalty was to the Clan.
The medieval Litany of Dunkeld has this heartfelt prayer:
A cateranis et latronibus
A lupus, et omnia mala bestia
Domine libra nos
From Caterans and robbers
From wolves, and evil creatures
Lord deliver us.
Infamous caterans include the Wolf of Badenoch (1343–1405) whose tomb is in Dunkeld Cathedral, and Rob Roy (1671–1734).
Today the exploits of the caterans, and the local heroes who resisted them, is told along The Cateran Trail (64 mls/103km). One of Scotland’s Great Trails. www.caterantrail.org
A designed landscape by the River Braan near Dunkeld created in the 1750s by the 3rd Duke of Atholl and one of the most popular beauty spots in Perthshire. The Hermitage was built with a commanding view over the Black Linn Falls and wows visitors as much today as it did such early tourists as the poet William Wordsworth, painters JM Turner and Millais, and the composer most taken with all things Scottish, Felix Mendelssohn.
When the works of Scotland’s ancient bard Ossian, son of the hero Fingal, were ‘translated’ from the Gaelic they were the literary sensation of the Romantic movement. The Hermitage was re-branded as Ossian’s Hall, and other sites such as Ossian’s Seat and Ossian’s Cave were ‘discovered’ in the landscape.
Ossian’s Stone is a huge megalith in the Sma’ Glen (between Aberfeldy and Crieff) venerated as the bard’s last resting place.
Ancient Wood of Caledon
Perthshire is renowned as Big Tree Country and has the greatest concentration of Heritage Trees in Europe. The oldest, possibly the oldest living organism in Europe is the Fortingall Yew. Among the many Heritage Trees in Big Tree Country is the Birnam Oak, last remnant of Shakespeare’s ‘Birnam Wood’.
The Ancient Wood of Caledon once covered most of the Highlands but now amounts to about 1% of its previous extent, in pockets scattered across the Highlands. One important remnant is the Black Wood of Rannoch, where all regeneration is by natural means and no planting allowed.
Popular walks there are to be found at Kilvrecht on the south side of the loch, with sculptures of otters, salmon and other fauna, including wood ants whose massive nests are a feauture of the area.
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