After celebrating First Grandchild’s (FG’s) first birthday in Edinburgh, we headed north to Dunkeld, ‘The Gateway to the Highlands’, on the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands and on the River Tay.
We arrived in time to take stock of the village and to stroll past the partly ruined Dunkeld Cathedral (now serving as a Parish Church) to a riverside walk along the Tay.
We learnt a little of the history of the village – it was almost completely destroyed in 1689 during and after the battle of Dunkeld between the forces of William of Orange and the Jacobites supporting James VII of Scotland (who lost this one) – and started to plan the following full day in it.
As twilight drew in, we retreated to the bar of The Taybank hotel where we were staying. Our room was tasteful and very comfortable but notably low-tech (no TV). The bar wasn’t as cosy as it looked but dinner in the restaurant was outstanding. We retired to bed very satisfied with the previous few days of wedding and birthday celebrations and the comfort of our new surroundings.
Tastefulness At The Taybank Hotel
All that rather fell apart next morning. LSW was ill having clearly picked up whatever bug had been bothering FG the previous weekend. With the rain tipping down outside I stayed in the room offering a few words of sympathy – probably not enough – and devouring both of our breakfasts that had been delivered to our door. Those breakfasts were, like the dinner the previous evening, excellent.
With no sign of LSW’s recovery, I set about finding a local electric car charging point and getting us up to full battery capacity again. The only charger in the village was in use with no sign of the driver. While waiting, I sloshed through the rain down to the Tay. I must have looked a sad sight with my umbrella substituting for a lack of properly waterproof clothing and I’m sure the few locals I met giggled under their breath about daft English tourists. However, I was strangely content in what felt like a truly Scottish landscape in dripping, autumnal Scottish weather. I then read my newspaper in its entirety in our drenched and steamed up car for a while before, and then after, finally getting use of the charge point. Job done (eventually)!
LSWs lunch was Paracetamol and by the evening I was thinking that I might need some too for an increasingly persistent headache and back pain. It turned out later that many attendees at the previous weekend’s wedding had fallen down with a variety of illness symptoms. Stomach upset, sickness, headaches and back pain in a variety of combinations were tell-tale signs that we had got too close to FG. As my symptoms passed I felt even sorrier for FG who had probably had all the symptoms but had not understood why and had been unable to do much about it.
I managed another wet stroll through the gloaming both around the village and a little further along the Tay. I was astonished by the speed of the river and impressed by the moodiness of the light and the woodland alongside the river. The area is famous for the age and size of a number of its trees including larch, pines and beech and the history of many is set out informatively and proudly. I am looking forward to visiting again in better weather (when we are both in good health) so we can sample more of the numerous local walks and take in more of the alluring but vaguely melancholy atmosphere.
On our last morning in Dunkeld I again hoovered up both breakfasts. LSW couldn’t eat a thing but, by now, was well enough to venture out to sample several of the local, independent shops. Lon Store was particularly good. Then we then set off in the almost relentless rain for Dundee to see another part of a very wet Scotland.