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Birnam Wood

9 Cathedral Street, DunkeldSo, I had a rather lengthy and kinda tedious post about Dunkeld, which is a town I stopped in for about 30 minutes on the way to the Highlands, and after much thought decides it wasn't really interesting enough to post up. Especially when I can sum it up in a few sentences: Dunkeld is pretty, and there was a Cathedral. Also, it is near Birnam of Macbeth fame, and Alexander MacKenzie, the first Liberal Canadian Prime Minister, live there for a while. I know this, because there is a plaque. {Other photos of the lovely Dunkeld Cathedral... beautiful place, with lots of bird song.}

But mostly what I wanted to write about is the guide we had on the tour.

I went on the MacBackpackers 3-day Skye Tour, and I recommend it if you like irreverent humour, brief glimpses of history, and really loud music. It was a hoot, but if you're expecting anything of any real depth... well, it's fun!

Ewan, our guide, has his volume set permanently on 11, if you know what I mean. And I do mean that both literaly and figuratively. I ended up buying a set of earplugs on the second day because of how loud everything was on the bus. But he told some very interesting (if not precisely factually accurate) stories about Scotland, about the Highlands, about mythology and stories and legends about this amazing country I'm currently in love with.

Our Fearless GuideThe stories he told were all over the top and fantastical, with everything being larger than life. He told the story of Bonnie Dundee (which is now *stuck in my head* - Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can, Saddle my horses and call out my men), changing the numbers so the Jacobites come out as an even more amazing victory than they had historically. He made Bonnie Prince Charlie into much more of a hero than he was, glossing over a lot of things. He romantised the Highlands and the people from it, turned tragedies into greater ones by adding zeros, told myths and legends like facts, and overall was exactly what a good and fun tour guide should be. He told stories of Scotland like I think a lot of people want it to be. His discription of how Highlanders could fight and take out any five or so Redcoats was inspired. I have a video, you should see it.

{It's interesting to me that I like my tour guides to tell larger than life stories, but I want my historical movies to be accurate, damn it. I have no idea why this is.}

It was more than beautiful, it was fun and funny and irreverant. That's really what I want to tell you about it. I could (and will, I'm certain) wax poetic about the mountains and the bird song and Faery Glen and the waterfall that sang, and about how I loved it all. But Scotland is full of stories, not just pretty pictures and picturesque castles, and I occasionally forget that.

{Birnam Wood... apparently they really did cut down a bunch of trees, and used it to hide the numbers of their armies. I can see how it would work.}

But, damnit... William Wallace is *not* the inspiration for Robin Hood!


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Good lord Anna, I forgot how beautiful Scotland was. Thanks for the reminder in the lovely pics :)

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