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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...




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 jougs
round tower
The Pictish Stone, with the four symbols
The Jougs at the base of the tower
The round tower
The fourth 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 towns people even to this day.
The Nurse Peattie Garden

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.


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!
thorn bush
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


This is a strange one, why anyone would wish to mount three, well worn curling stones into a wall?

Answers on the back of a £10 note to.....

You can see for yourself, the stones are on the opposite side of the road from the primary school and towards the Perth side of the village.

By the way before the coming of the railway, Glenfarg was known as Arngask, a name which is still carried by the hotel.

Curling stones
The curling stones


Market Cross



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 author whose most famous works include "The Thirty-nine Steps" and "Huntingtower" was born in this house on York Place.

John Buchan, was more than an author, an accomplished scholar, he ultimately became the Governor General of Canada

Buchans birthplace
John Buchans' birthplace

For a long time the old grave yard in the centre of the city was closed to the public, however following a cash injection, the council have again re-opened the old grave yard and placed some of the more notable headstones under cover.

Many of the stones have a representation of the recipients trade on the stone.

This one is typical of the many grave stones in the cemetery, the skull, cross-bones (and hour-glass) is not an indication of piracy, it is the traditional symbols of our mortality and ultimate fate.

The winged face at the top of the stone is a typical representation of an angel.

grave stone
Grave Stone
Came across this one while taking a short cut through Matalan's car park. A row of rings fixed to the wall for tying horse reins to. Perhaps this was once the wall of a stable, these days it is not much good for attaching a Fiesta to.
stable wall
A former stable wall?


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.

This beacon was used to identify Scone airport. The beacon flashed Scones' three or four character airport identifier in Morse Code six to eight times per minute, green flashes denoted a land airport while yellow flashes denoted a water airport. The beacon was made redundant by a "VOR" beacon which emits a radio signal for pilots to fly towards and now sits in an out of the way part of the airport.

I would love to know what letters it flashed, probably something like ".--. - ...." for "PTH."


douglas memorial
code beacon
The Douglas Memorial

The beacon

The magazine near Scone Aerodrome

The stone cross

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