Study Tour 2015 – The Birks o’ Aberfeldy

Visit to the Birks o’ Aberfeldy

Well Cronies, we didn’t make a study tour in 2014 but we did get back on the road again in 2015. This years road trip for the committee was to investigate part of Burn’s Highland tour of 1787 by visiting the place where “The Birks o’ Aberfeldy” was written.

Our chauffer for the day was Charles Collingwood of Sweeny’s coaches of Muthill – he must be getting used to us by now and what a splendid job he did.

Leaving Dunblane and Braco he took us up to Aberfeldy by way of the Sma’Glen. Bob Robertson from the committee was our guide for the day as much of this terrain was his old stomping ground. We stopped off en route to look down over the glen on a typical autumnal day. On arriving at Aberfeldy, we parked up at the top carpak of the footpath to the falls. We ventured down to the new bridge over the Moness and toasted a dram to that Bard with a Spingburn 10 year old single malt. Our minstrel, Kevin Corr gave a song and the company joined in – not sure what any local ramblers thought of that!

Chorus.-Bonie lassie, will ye go,
Will ye go, will ye go,
Bonie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Aberfeldy!
Now Simmer blinks on flowery braes,
And o’er the crystal streamlets plays;
Come let us spend the lightsome days,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.
While o’er their heads the hazels hing,
The little birdies blythely sing,
Or lightly flit on wanton wing,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.
The braes ascend like lofty wa’s,
The foaming stream deep-roaring fa’s,
O’erhung wi’ fragrant spreading shaws-
The birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.
The hoary cliffs are crown’d wi’ flowers,
White o’er the linns the burnie pours,
And rising, weets wi’ misty showers
The birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.
Let Fortune’s gifts at randoe flee,
They ne’er shall draw a wish frae me;
Supremely blest wi’ love and thee,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

We then walked down into Aberfeldy and into the old mill house which is now a shop where an interesting debate was had about the workings of the old mill and the gearing mechanisms – not sure what the Bard would have made of this either!

A stop for coffee and a dram at the Dewars visitor centre where a toast to absent friends – Harry & Donald who couldn’t make it this year and it took all of our restraint to prevent the president purchasing a bottle of Dewars Legacy – at £2,750.00, treasurer Donald would have never have forgiven us!

Back onto the minibus and then out to the Black Watch memorial where Bob enlightened us to the parade ground antics of the regiment that he watched when growing up. From here we too the road north of the river to the village of Dull (twinned with “Boring” in the US – seriously) where once again Bob told us how the cross in the village centre lost one of its arms through a horse and cart hitting it!

Then on to Fortingall to see the Yew Tree. Modern expert estimates put the age of the tree at between 2,000 and 3,000 years, although it may be a remnant of a post-Roman Christian site and around 1,500 years old. Making it one of the oldest known trees in Europe. Bob assures us that he was not there when it was planted!

Next stop was lunch at the Kenmore Hotel in Kenmore. Once again a place visited by burns in 1787 and having written the following verse in pencil over the chimney piece in the parlour – now called the poets bar.

Admiring Nature in her wildest grace,
These northern scenes with weary feet I trace;
O’er many a winding dale and painful steep,
Th’ abodes of covey’d grouse and timid sheep,
My savage journey, curious, I pursue,
Till fam’d Breadalbane opens to my view. –
The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides,
The woods wild scatter’d, clothe their ample sides;
Th’ outstretching lake, imbosomed ‘mong the hills,
The eye with wonder and amazement fills;
The Tay meand’ring sweet in infant pride,
The palace rising on his verdant side,
The lawns wood-fring’d in Nature’s native taste,
The hillocks dropt in Nature’s careless haste,
The arches striding o’er the new-born stream,
The village glittering in the noontide beam-
Poetic ardours in my bosom swell,
Lone wand’ring by the hermit’s mossy cell;
The sweeping theatre of hanging woods,
Th’ incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods-
Here Poesy might wake her heav’n-taught lyre,
And look through Nature with creative fire;
Here, to the wrongs of Fate half reconcil’d,
Misfortunes lighten’d steps might wander wild;
And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds,
Find balm to soothe her bitter, rankling wounds:
Here heart-struck Grief might heav’nward stretch her
And injur’d Worth forget and pardon man.
 A fantastic bill o fare was offered at the hotel with most of the party availing themselves of the Haggis Neeps and Tatties – of course. Oh yes and a dram or two!

The road home took us back through the Sma’Glen, Braco and Dunblane.

A huge debt of gratitude to Peter Scott for organising, Bob Robertson for stories of “Boilings” and the like and Charles Collingwood for doing a sterling job behind the wheel.

Peter Hill

Oct 2015.



31st October 2015


rsz_1the_tay_from_the_kenmore_hotel The road to Aberfeldy The Birks o' Aberfeldy One for the top Table Moness Burn Bridge Moness Burn Headpost 3 HeadPost 2 Head post 1 Entry Board Donal & Harry And at his elbow... Absent Friends 1 a tall tale A Dram on the Bridge 2 A Dram on the Bridge IMG_1294 IMG_1289 IMG_1283 IMG_1266