Today, starting from our lodgings in Birnam and benefiting from hot, sunny weather, we visited a wide range of sites comprising rare ospreys at a wildlife reserve, 9th century AD carved stone cross, a 15th century AD packhorse bridge, Ardoch Roman Fort, and Stirling Castle.


Birnam, Scotland

Loch of the Lowes

This is a freshwater lake near Dunkeld in central Scotland.

The loch and environs comprises a protected wildlife reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Star attraction is a pair of breeding Ospreys in addition to which visitors may be able to spot:

  • Rare Red Squirrels.
  • Deer.
  • Wildflowers.
  • Wildfowl
  • Various small birds at the feeding tables.

This scenic area also includes aquatic flora, reed beds, woodland and wildflowers.

There is a visitor centre, hides for the birdwatchers plus a webcam.

Osprey feeding chick at Loch of the Lowes, Dunkeld

Dupplin Cross, Dunning

The Dupplin Cross was associated with the Pictish Palace at Forteviot, about three miles away and stood on open ground, exposed to the elements for about 1200 years.

Detailed information on the cross can be found here. A summary is as follows:-

  • Dates from around AD 800.
  • Made from sandstone for the Pictish king, King Constantine who ruled AD 789-820.
  • Only surviving complete, free-standing cross from the Pictish region.
  • Stands 3m/9.5 feet high.

The church, St.Serf’s, in which the Dupplin Cross is housed is itself of some antiquity with the tower dating from the 12th century. However, it is likely there were earlier churches on the same site.

Dupplin Cross, Dunning, Scotland

Dunning Church, Scotland

Packhorse Bridge, Braco

This is located close to Ardoch Roman Fort and may be about 500 years old.

Packhorse Bridge at Braco, Scotland

Ardoch Roman Fort at Braco

There are actually three forts here: First, a 1st century AD Flavian era fort of 8.6 acres ( 3.5 ha) which formed part of the Gask Frontier in what is now Perthshire, central Scotland and which lasted from around AD 79-AD 87; Second and Third, two re-occupations from the Antonine Period AD142-160s. During the Antonine period Ardoch extended to 5.7 acres (2.3 ha) and served as an outpost of the Antonine Wall which ran on an east-west line roughly between modern-day Edinburgh and Glasgow, sections of which still exist.

Ardoch Roman Fort, Braco, Scotland

Stirling Castle

Stirling is a large town in central Scotland ( pop 41,000 ) about 38 miles  N.W. of Edinburgh.

In course of the last 1000 years the castle has played a critical role in Scotland’s history. Strategic location has witnessed two major battles in medieval times whilst during the renaissance period the castle was a Royal Palace and, effectively, the capital of Scotland for certain periods.

Royal Apartments at Stirling Castle

Royal Apartments, Edinburgh Castle

Royal Apartments, Stirling Castle

Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle

Great Hall, Stirling Castle, Scotland

Finally, we drove S.E. to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, where guests were deposited at hotel on Royal Mile thus concluding a nine day tour of Scotland.

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