Tour Scotland - Pictish Stones
Perthshire, now Perth and Kinross, refers to the countryside around the town of Perth. Perth is only 15 minutes south of Dunkeld, one of my favourite base locations in all of Scotland. From Dunkeld we can easily visit the wonderul, but wee, Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum; the famous stones at Aberlemno; Abernethy Pictish Tower, Croft Moraig Stone Circle; Dupplin Cross; Eassie Stone; Glamis Stone and much more.
Eighteenth and nineteenth century agricultural improvements changed land in Perthshire from rough pasture, moorland and bog to the fields, woods and pasture that can be seen today. However the heavy Roman presence in the valley of Strathmore between AD79 and 87 and the high incidence of prehistoric sites demonstrates a long agrarian tradition.
Perth (Roman=Bertha) is the highest navigable point of the river Tay. Perth orders the major routes across Scotland and stands as a gateway between the Lowland and Highland Scotland. The area has strong literary and traditional associations. The Stone of Destiny, Macbeth, Birnam Wood, Dunsinane and the Fair Maid of Perth all spring to mind.
The earthworks of the Roman fortress at Inchtuthil (by Spittalfield), a briefly occupied but very important legionary fortress, were part of a northern line of roman defence against the Picts. Tacitus' account of Agricola's conquest of northern Britain details the Roman presence in this area. Academics today still quest for the site of the battle of Mons Graupius (AD84) between the Romans and the Caledons. Some people believe that this major battle was fought on the 'Stormont' hills around Blairgowrie, indeed the prefix 'blair' itself means battle.
Pre-historic culture can be seen in the many earthworks, cairns, stone circles and standing stones in the area. The linear earthworks at Cleaven Dyke (by Meikleour) is widely acknowledged as a pre-historic cursus or place for ceremonial and burial activity. Good examples of cup-and-ring marked standing stones can be seen in Macbeth's Stone in the grounds of Belmont castle at Meigle and at East Cult by Caputh.
Standing Stones can be viewed easily at the Leys of Marlee. Pictish culture is evidenced in the large number of intrically carved symbol stones in the vicinity of the valley of Strathmore. Meigle in particular appears to be a place of exceptional importance to the Picts from at least the eighth century. The museum at Meigle has an excellent collection of symbol stones. There are fine examples of pictish forts at Kemp's Hold to the west of Caputh and at Dunsinane Hill.
Most of the early parish churches were built and endowed by a lord for the use of his family and retainers. An example of this can be seen at Clunie. A church is reputed to have been in situ at Dunkeld as early as 848. From at least the twelfth century there was an Augustinian abbey at Scone and a Cistercian abbey at Coupar Angus.
Interested in a Tour of Pictish Scotland ?
Please e-mail: Sandy Stevenson
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Please e-mail: Paula Ryan