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One of the great things about cycling is that it gives you time to notice things that would be mere blurs when travelling by car. I am fascinated by the little pieces of history that can be found just off our highways. I hope that you will find this self-indulgent drivel interesting...

Perth & Kinross

Perth & Kinross


Abernethy is home to several interesting features; the pictish stone, the round tower and the Elizabeth Peattie Garden. The pictish stone and the round tower can be found in the same place just off the Main Street, while the garden is at the junction of the Main Street and the A913.

The church has a round tower, one of only two in Scotland (Breechin cathedral being the other) built in the Irish Celtic style, possibly showing the influence of the Irish missionaries on church architecture.

The pictish stone is mounted on a plinth at the base of the tower. Symbols of an axe head, hammer, tuning fork and part of a z-rod can be seen very easily in the stone, though their meanings are not so easily understood.

Beside the pictish stone is a set of Jougs, a wrong doer was clamped onto the collar to be possibly ridiculed or shamed by the towns folk.

pictish stone
the jougs
The Pictish Stone, with the four symbols
The Jougs at the base of the tower
The third curiosity is the Nurse Peattie Garden, Elizabeth Peattie, 1936 - 1963, according to the memorial stone was a district nurse and still must be held in great esteem by the Abernethy towns people to this day.
The Nurse Peattie Garden


Tucked away on the western slopes of Benarty, in Binn Wood can be found a really unusual sight. I do not remember all that much about the grave except to say that its recipient was a local farmer from Brackley and that he greatly loved Kinross-shire.
benarty grave
Benarty Grave

Bridge of Earn

The Great Road North to Perth, involved crossing the River Earn, before the bridge was built, that way north involved fording the river. The line of the ford can be seen between the trees on either side of this picture. The first bridge was built here, it was replaced by a more substantial stone bridge a little farther upstream from here.

A clue to the antiquity of this crossing can be found in the name of the street leading up to the ford, "Old Edinburgh Road," which runs parallel to the modern road through Bridge of Earn. An information board, on the southern end of the "new" bridge, gives details on the history of the village and its crossings.

River earn
The crossing point, looking north.


Surveyors mark

Noticed this one on the road between the B9097 and Kinross, on the right after the junction for Hatchbank Road, carved onto an old stone gate post.

This is the benchmark symbol made by the Ordinance Survey surveyors in the days before GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) and aerial mapping.

The distances, angles and elevations would be measured on the ground and the information entered onto a map. The survey points would be marked with a benchmark symbol so the surveyors could use consistent points for their measurements.

These symbols can be found in all manner of places — one can be seen on the wall of the old Kinross County Buildings, opposite the Kirklands Garage. That one has an unusual lead and more precise horizontal datum mark.

gate post
benchmark symbol
The surveyors mark on the gatepost
The mark


The Cleish Cross.

A Fragment of a stone cross was discovered near the village. The cross has been mounted on a steel frame and is displayed in the parish church-yard.

"The stone formed the centre piece of a free standing 13-14th century cross, found at Cleish in 1980 and may have had links with the Cleish chapel, which came under the care of Dunfermline Abbey in 1208."

There is a curious inscription on the wall of the churchyard to the west of the cross. The oval stone proudy proclaims that, "All to the south of this belongs to Cleish Mill." Going by the style of the lettering I would estimate the date of this proclamation to be 18th century. I would love to know why it was necessary to have made this declaration.

A set of lamps on the gates to the church bears an inscription that they were switched on by the then MP for Kinross-shire, (Sir) Alec Douglas-Home (1903-1995). Followers of Modern History will realise that "old chalky" became Prime Minister in 1963 after the fall of the MacMillan Government and a life peer in 1974.(Isn't MS Encarta wonderful?)

cleish cross
The centre boss of the celtic cross.


Dalqueich is no more than a handful of houses and yet it has this relic from WW2. This is a socket for a wartime road block which formed part of the defences of nearby RAF Balado Bridge.
dalqueich road block
Wartime road block


In the churchyard of Dron church is the grave the covenanter minister, the Rev. John Welwood, who died of natural causes in Perth during April 1679.

Welwood was by all accounts a remarkable preacher spending the last three months of his life in Perth, in secret preaching to selected families one at a time. For a quick run down on Covenanters see Cupar.)

When the Perth Magistrates heard that an intercommuned preacher had died in town, they sent a messenger to arrest the dead body, and forbade it to be interred in the burial-ground of Perth, but gave his friends liberty to bury it outside the civic bounds wheresoever they pleased. The magistrates watched who of the towns people accompanied the funeral and apprehended them and put them in prison.

Welwood's friends sent two men onwards to Dron to prepare a grave, but here the parish minister would not give them the keys to the churchyard. They settled the matter by going over the church yard dyke (wall).

Dron church can be found by taking the Kintillo road off the A912 in Bridge of Earn, remaining on the road as it goes under the M90 motorway, taking the first right, then left at the top of the slight hill. The entrance to the church and grave yard are straight ahead.

welwoods gravestone
Welwood's gravestone


Before the advent of the Tartan Army and the perfection of the art of losing gracefully, the Jacobites, under the Earl of Marr burned down the town after losing the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. The towns folk for some reason or another planted a thorn tree as a reminder of what happens when you loose disgracefully. The tree survived until 1936 but has been replaced since, to celebrate the coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937 and has been replaced again since. They don't make trees like they used to!
The next generation of thorn tree


The Dupplin Stone spent hundreds of years on a hill side overlooking Dunning. The stone and its socket were removed from the hillside and placed under cover in St. Serfs Church, Dunning which is also in the care of Historic Scotland.

This magnificent cross marks the transition period between the last of the Picts and the beginning of the Christian Kings of Scotland. A latin inscription on the back of the cross mentions King Constantine Mac Fergus the first king of a united Scotland.

dupplin cross
dupplin cross detail
The Cross in all its glory What is thought to be Constantine Mac Fergus upon a horse
The next piece of trivia is the standing stone. This standing stone is thought to be the burial place of the Maormor of Atholl AD. 964. Killed at the battle of Duncrub.
standing stone

The Standing stone


This is the oldest headstone in St. Serfs Church, it dates to 1623, not very big but the face carved upon the stone is a lovely mystery.
Dunning gravestone
A 17th century enigma

Gairney Bank

This next wee bit is about religion. Very few people actually stand up for what they believe in, with your job, your stipend (income), your house and your beliefs on the line. What happened in Scotland was unique, both ministers and congregations rebelled against their own church and the "God given" right of a land owner to appoint a minister of their choice

Quoting from "A Historical Guide to the County of Kinross."

"Some 3 miles south of Kinross on the B.966 road is an obelisk erected in 1883 to commemorate the formation in 1733 of the first Secession Church. Its members, who met in an inn or cottage close by, wanted to have the right to appoint their own ministers instead of having to accept the nominees of the local patrons or Lairds. Soldiers had been brought to Kinross Kirk to force the congregation to open up the church for the induction of the Patron's nominee. The Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, a famous preacher and free-thinker, who had been minister at Portmoak Parish, came from Stirling to meet the protesters here at Gairneybridge, and together they formed the first Secession congregation. The Secession Movement for freedom in worship spread throughout Scotland, and by 1765 there were 120 churches with 100,000 members altogether."

A stones thrown from the monument, on the wall of a former farm building is a small plaque erected to perpetuate the memory of Michael Bruce, The Gentle Poet of Loch Leven, 1746 - 1767. Bruce, the son of a Kinnesswood weaver became a poet of note and died at an early age.
gairner mon
gairney plaque
The Gairney Bridge monument
Michael Bruce taught school here
I found this on the same wall as the Michael Bruce plaque, I have been passing this spot for years and never knew that this modern day surveyors benchmark plate was there. This type of plaque is usually found on the now defunct, white triangulation "trig" points that still dot the country side and skylines.
bench mark plate
A "modern day" surveyors mark


In 1975, the old county of Kinross was assimilated into Tayside Region, and forever losing its identity as the second smallest county in Scotland, becoming part of a bigger embarrassment!

This is the last of the old Kinross county road signs welcoming you into the county, in this instance as you crossed the bridge from Kelty (Fife) into Keltybridge.

Kinross sp
The last County of Kinross signpost



The Old Merkit Cross

The Old Merkit (or Market) Cross used to stand in the middle of the road outside what is the town hall. The coming of the motor car necessitated it being moved and if memory serves me right, it was rediscovered in a quarry near Milnathort.

The cross was placed in Sandgate Park, beside the old A90(now the B996), Great North Road, and mounted on a plinth. The old town "jougs" hung from the cross, the iron collar fell off and only the chain remains.

Markit cross
The Old Merkit Cross


Drinking Fountain

Been passing through the hamlet for years and I have just noticed the remains of a drinking fountain with an unusual inscription. All the plumbing has been stripped out of the fountain and flowers planted instead.

Maryburgh well
Keep the pavement dry.... and remember to put the toilet seat down when you have finished.


You would not know it to look at it now, but there was an important railway junction here at Mawcarse. The railway lines came into Kinross from Crook of Devon and Kelty, united for a short spell and split to go to Ladybank and Perth at Mawcarse Junction.

This wartime pill box guarded the approach by road from the east, which was where the German advance was expected to come from.... the lessons of the Maginot Line were quickly forgotten!

Mawcarse pill box
Mawcarse Pill-box


One name on a war memorial...

"13707000 Flight Sergeant George Thomson RAF Volunteer Reserve, 9 Squadron, Bomber Command (Deceased).

"This morning was the Wireless Operator on a Lancaster aircraft which attacked the Dortmund - Ems Canal in daylight on 1st January 1945. The bombs had just been released when a heavy shell hit the aircraft in front of the mid-upper turret. Fire broke out and dense smoke filled the fuselage. The nose of the aircraft was then hit an in rush of air, clearing the smoke, revealed a scene of utter devastation.

Most of the perspex screen of the nose compartment had been shot away, gaping holes had been torn in the canopy above the pilots head, the inter-com. wiring had been severed, and there was a large hole in the floor of the aircraft. Beddn and other equipment were badly damaged or alight; one engine on fire.

"F/S Thomson saw that the gunner in the blazing mid-upper turret was unconscious. Without hesitation he went down the fuselage into the fire and exploding ammunition. He pulled the gunner from his turret and edging his way round the hole in the floor, carried him away from the flames. With his bare hands he extinguished the gunners burning clothing. He himself sustained serious burns on his face, hands and legs.
"F/S Thomson then noticed that the rear gunners' turret was also on fire. Despite his own severe injuries he moved painfully to the rear of the fuselage where he found the rear gunner with his clothing alight overcome by fumes and flames. A second time F/S Thomson braved the flames. With great difficulty he extracted the helpless gunner and carried him clear. Again, he used his bare hands, already burnt, to beat out flames on a comrades clothing.

"F/S Thomson by now almost exhausted , felt that his duty was not yet done. He must report the fate of the crew to the captain. He made the perilous journey back through the burning fuselage, clinging to the sides with his burnt hands to get across the hole in the floor. The flow of cold air caused him intense pain and frost bite developed. So pitiful was his condition that his captain failed to recognise him.

Still his only concern was for the two gunners he had left in the rear of the aircraft. He was given such attention as was possible until a landing was made some 40 minutes later.

"When the aircraft was hit F/S Thomson might have devoted his efforts to quelling the fire and so have contributed to his own safety. He preferred to go through the fire and succour his comrades. He knew that he would then be in no position to hear or heed any order which might be given to abandon the aircraft. He hazarded his own life in order to save the lives of others. Young in years and experience, his actions were those of a veteran.

"Three weeks later F/S Thomson died of his injuries. One of the gunners unfortunately died, but the other owes his life to the superb gallantry of F/S Thomson whose single courage and self sacrifice will ever be an inspiration to the service."

NB.This information is copied from the records in the Public Record Office, Kew, London. I can not explain the difference in the spelling of his surname.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission — George Thompson VC.For Valour

Long before the advent of public water supplies the towns people drew their water from the nearest source, the people of Milnathort drew theirs from the Queich Burn, which runs through the town on its way to Loch Leven.

Tucked in beside the North Street bridge is a set of well-worn steps down to the burn providing a rare insight into this long forgotten daily ritual.

Water steps
The steps down to the Queich


This monument, is on a back road between the B996 Kinross to Kelty Road (the former Great North Road & A90) and Ballingry. At first glance it is a strange place to site a memorial except that it was situated on what was the main route north from Edinburgh before road improvements in the late 1800s and it also "improved the view" from nearby Blairadam House, home of the Adam Family a very notable dynasty of Scottish architects.

The queen and her entourage were on their way north from Edinburgh, they crossed from the port of Leith by ferry, landing at Kinghorn, then as usual made their way inland to turn north, to go through Kinross and Glenfarg to Perth. The Earl of Rothes intended on capturing the Queen, to presumably make her see his kind of sense, however she was warned in advance and missed the trap.

During the "Enlightenment" when it was the vogue to romanticise about history, the Adam family erected this monument in the form of a land-bridge, panels on the bridge depict the incident in verse. Today, the transcription of the event can be read from two plaques under the archway, as the original stone inscriptions are badly eroded.

The Paren Well, from which this monument takes it name can be found a short distance down the farm track opposite the monument, on the left hand side before the old railway. I was prevented from taking a picture of the well due to the high grass and cow pats.

The parenwell
The monument.


Boundary Stones, I've found more! These two can be seen in the wall behind the Police Station at Barrack Street, along the Lade Walk. It would not take a genius to make the connection between street name and the War Department.

See also Other Counties:Cromarty and Fife:Ferry Toll.

No.4 stone No.5 stone
The WD No. 4 and...
No. 5 stone


The Douglas fir? Named after David Douglas, 1799 - 1834, a native of Scone, who became a noted explorer and plant collector, roaming over North America on the quest to gather and catalogue the New World plant species. He came to a grisly end in Hawaii, when he fell into an animal trap and was gored by a wild bull.

There is no information on the Cross, which can be found by taking the first left when you enter Scone from Perth. The cross is on the bend in the road.

The magazine was used for storing the ordinance for the Elementary Flying Training School at Scone Aerodrome during WW2. Either side of the brick walls would have been built up with earth to contain a blast. a small store can be seen on either wall. The magazine is in the trees on the far side of the aerodrome and is accessible by a public path through the woods from Scone.

douglas memorial
The Douglas Memorial
The stone cross
The magazine near Scone Aerodrome


The Well

The waters from this well are reputed to have curative properties, King Robert the Bruce is said to have been cured of Leprosy by drinking the water from this well.

At one time Scotlandwell was an important monastic centre, the monks ran a hospital from which the patients were administered the spring water as part of their treatment. The Dryside Road was an important highway for the monks and pilgrims, linking Scotlandwell with St. Andrews. Today the Dryside Road prematurely ends at Wester Balgeddie and nothing remains of the monastery.

The natural spring water can be seen bubbling up from the ground, indeed it must have some properties as the coins in the water do not tarnish... I wonder if it any good for curing punctures?

Beside the Well is the old communal wash house, which still has the brick works for holding the cauldron for boiling up the laundry. It is not open to the public.

the well
the well
The well at Scotlandwell
The drinking fountain, 1858 style

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