Friday, 14 September 2007

Book - In Famed Breadalbane

This is a history of a district of the Grampian Mountains in western Perthshire, bordered by Lochaber and Atholl on the north and Strathearn and Menteith on the south. We long have been in pursuit of this elusive regional history, which begins with an account of the region in earliest times and proceeds through the coming of the Scots, the Celtic church, the coming of the Campbells, the establishment of the Campbells of Breadalbane, down into the 20th century. It is of particular relevance for the Campbell, MacNab, Buchanan, Cameron, Dewar, Drummond, MacDonald, MacDougall, MacEwen, MacFarlane, MacGregor, MacIntyre, Mackay, Mackenzie, MacNaughton, and Menzies families, as well as many others. A wealth of local history!

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Thursday, 13 September 2007

Take a Pride in Perthshire - Aberfeldy win 3rd place

Aberfeldy flower power. Thanks to a fantastic effort by the committee of Aberfeldy's Move2Improve, volunteers, local community and local businesses the town won third place in the large village category in this years Take a Pride in Perthshire competition.

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Saturday, 8 September 2007

Childrens Activities - Victoria Park - Aberfeldy

Victoria Park in Aberfeldy has a recently upgraded fantastic play area. It includes safety surfacing, earth mounding and natural play logs, boulders and planting, challenging rope climbs, various swings, slide and a silicon-glass shade sail (7mx7m) which will provide some much needed shelter in the park along with a wide range of seating. This new area adjoins the existing skate park.

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Book - Highland Reflections by Donald Fraser(Aberfeldy)

Donald Fraser’s book Highland Reflections is a fascinating insight into a lifetime spent in and around forestry. It is also an account of life in the Highlands, and offers a very personal reflection on the often radical changes seen and experienced by that society over recent generations.

Highland Reflections is the story of a Perthshire man brought up on a highland estate in the 1930’s, who spent the majority of his life working for the Forestry Commission based in a variety of locations in central and highland Scotland.

As well as being the story of a forester, the book charts Donald’s life and is populated by an array of lively characters encountered over his period of service and beyond. Highland Reflections also includes accounts of general and historical interest directly related to forestry life. It unfolds at a gentle, conversational pace and will reinforce the views held by many on the nature of rural life and its qualities.

Highland Reflections takes readers on a lifetime’s journey starting in Blair Atholl, and includes life in Fife, Inverness, Angus and Lochtayside. The story also takes in visits to Avoch in the Black Isle, Islay, and RAF national service in the 1950s England.

This is the diverse narrative of a career in and around forestry and it offers readers an often lighthearted insight into a highland man’s life spent in a very specialised industry.

Highland Reflections by Donald Fraser (Wm Culross & Son, Coupar Angus)ISBN 1 873891 80 6

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Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Loch Tay - Perthshire

A truly picturesque loch, Loch Tay is 15 miles in length with an average width of about 0.9 miles. The shores of Loch Tay were at one time the home to many small farming communities but these were largely destroyed in the times of the 'Highland Clearances'. Many remains of these small communities can still be seen on the lochsides and on the hills above the loch, and noteably in the remains of the old village of Lawers on the shore south of the modern Lawers village, and hillside shielings used by the farming communities during the summer.

Signs of earlier communities may also be observed in the shape of ancient stone circles, standing stones and carver 'ring and cup' markings on the rocks, noteably on the northern shores.

There were a number of Crannogs in the loch (dwellings on stilts or atrificial islands.) Remains of one of these may be seen near the old Killin Pier, and more spectacularly, one has been re-created and is open to the public at Acharn close to Kenmore(The Scottish Crannog Centre).

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St Mary's Chapel - Grandtully, Perthshire

This chapel served the small settlement of Pitcairn, which extended around the walls of the castle of Grandtully, and which was within the parish of Dull. It was probably built around 1533, when Alexander Stewart, who lived in the castle, provided endowments for a priest to serve here. It was enlarged and refitted in 1636 by Sir William Stewart, who was the Sheriff-Principal of Perth under Charles I. In 1883 it briefly became a parish church, but nine years later was abandonded for worship when a new church was built elsewhere, and for a while it was partly used as a byre and farm store.

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Scone Palace - Perthshire

Scone is a place that breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland. Today, in the 21st century, it is the home of the Earls of Mansfield, and a major attraction to visitors from all over the world. Fifteen hundred years ago, it was the capital of the Pictish kingdom and the centre of the ancient Celtic church. In the intervening centuries, it has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of Kings. Scone Palace has housed the Stone of Destiny and been immortalised in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Poised above the River Tay, the Palace overlooks the routes north to the Highlands and east through Strathmore to the coast. The Grampian mountains form a distant backdrop, and across the river stands the city of Perth. Two thousand years ago, the Romans camped here, at the very limit of their empire. They never defeated the warlike Picts, who later came to rule Scone, but the followers of St Columba had more success.

By the early 7th century, a group of early Christians, the Culdees or servants of God, had established themselves here. The early history of Scone as a centre of religion continued for many centuries. In 906, King Constantine proclaimed on the Hill of Credulity that the religious laws and customs of the Celtic or Culdee Church be established. Scone remained a College of the Culdee Church until 1114, when it was superceded by a monastery founded by Alexander I.

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Perthshire History - Dunfallandy Stone

At Dunfallandy, just south of Pitlochry, you will find the Dunfallandy Stone. This Pictish cross slab was probably carved around the 9th century. On the front is a cross divided into panels of interlaced ornament and flanked by angels and beasts. On the back, framed by two serpents, are seated figures to either side of a cross, a horseman, tools and five of the enigmatic Pictish symbols.

These stone slabs are the most enduring and distinctive legacy of the Picts. At a time when the rest of Britain used the Roman alphabet for memorials, the Picts preferred graphic symbols. The symbols were used and understood throughout Pictland: about 200 symbol stones have been found, some complete and others fragmentary. The earliest stones were rough slabs with the designs cut into the surface. Later the symbols were sculpted in relief on elaborate cross slabs.

The stones are difficult to date but seem to span the three centuries between about AD 550 and AD 850. Symbols were also carved on the walls of caves and on small objects including silver jewellery. It is impossible to know what some of these symbols meant to the Picts, for they have left no written records apart from a list of their kings. Many theories have been argued. The stones may have marked land boundaries or the graves of important people. The symbols may represent tribes or noble lineages and their messages record marriage alliances. Perhaps there is no single answer - the Picts may have set up stone monuments for as many reasons as does modern society.

The Picts were converted to Christianity during the late sixth and early seventh centuries, and thereafter the symbols were used on shaped cross-slabs as well as on rough stones. Usually one side was carved with the cross surrounded by clerics, angels and intricate patterns, while the other side might bear a medley of Pictish symbols, huntsmen and Biblical scenes: Pictish symbolism and Christian symbolism in harmony. Themes based on the Biblical stories of David were especially popular.

The use of Pictish symbols was abandoned in the ninth century under Scottish rule in central Scotland and as a result of Viking dominance in the north and west.

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