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May 2016

Perth and Kinross Coat of Arms

Just off the busy  A9 on the north bank of the River Tay, the bridge to Dunkeld is inexplicably not shown even though this is just about on it. It was put here in 1809 by  Thomas Telford, who else, and links with Birnam, yes, of  Macbeth fame although it's not known if Willie was ever actually round this way.

Looking down Atholl Street from just about the same spot where there's a chance to browse some tartan knick-knacks or join with the locals in more routine shopping.

That includes T H Stevenson & Sons, the butchers, where  The Merchant of Venison deals in all manner of game, poultry and pies, now come on!

  Royal Dunkeld Hotel (Atholl Street)

After too early a 'start', too quick a curry and too many pubs, you'll discover you're nowhere near as good at Karaoke as you'd thought. Hey, with a royal connection and all that talk of Shakespeare, it was a toast to a different Willie,  HRH, no less, and he'll only get married the once, probably.

Head west towards Cathedral Street and the heart of the historic hamlet where you'll find the Atholl Memorial Fountain dating from 1866.

 As you like, it was restored by the National Trust™ of Scotland in the 1990s who own several old properties around here.

That includes the  Ell Shop where you can feign interest in the facts about the fountain and more knick-knacks of the tartan variety.

Ell, of course, an old  measure for measuring material back when weaving was a thing and you'll have to weave yourself between the tourists today.

The area for coaches in the car park at the top of Atholl Street should be a clue to the popularity of this place with the day-trippers.

They come from far and wide, Europe included, and  two gentlemen, of Verona or Milan or somewhere, were struggling to understand the local dialect.

Mi scusi! Cosa significa 'Wee' e 'Doon'?

  Darjeeling Bangladeshi Restaurant (Atholl Street)

Unexpectedly good spicing but simply too efficient. Before you know it, you'll be killing time in the too many pubs and then think Karaoke's a good idea?

The former Duchess of Atholl Girls' School doesn't belong to the Trust and still bears the founder's name.

Anne Home-Drummond was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria, whatever that was, and the wife of  Henry, the sixth Duke of, no sorry, John, the sixth Duke of Atholl.

It's home to the annual, summer  Dunkeld Art Exhibition. It used to be held in December but  the winter's tailing off of visitor numbers means many more can now enjoy it in July.

Behind the buildings to the right, a courtyard with a voluntarily well-tended garden and behind that, a 'Wynd' that's home to  Progression Bikes.

They hire and sell top-notch cycles and we're tal-  king Learjets™ of the biking world and they can even organise trips into the Perthshire hills for you.

  The Taybank pub (Tay Terrace)

Pick of the too many pubs here, probably. Riverside setting with regular live music, they'll get you in the mood for dancing, then some singing.

At the end of Cathedral Street you'll find, well, Dunkeld Cathedral, which is still one of the main places to worship in Atholl. You might have noticed that name has cropped up quite a lot here, it's just the historic name of the area this is all in.

Now you now know that, whenever you hear it in conversation, you can now cock an ear and give a knowledgeable... '  Atholl-Oh?'

The cathedral dates from 1501 but took nearly 250 years to complete. Now, I've got a mate Chris who's a builder and with a  trowel, us and Chris, I'd a finished the job much sooner.

  The Hermitage

National Trust™ run site that's over the bridge then under the busy A9 at Birnam. With woodland paths and a couple of follies, it makes for a nice stroll out, they say.

Meanwhile, back at the car park by the Taybank, this is what you call a proper river with fish and islands in it and everything. Thanks to last night's downpour, the Tay is in full, ferocious flow, not shown, and there's even a danger of death by dying.

It is now known that  RSC stands for Really Strong Currents or should that be Rather Small Cathedral?

  Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre & Wildlife Reserve

Not Lowes as in 'goes', more like Lowes as in How's it going? Fine, just had a walk to a lovely little loch, thanks. It's just over a mile up and over to a  Scottish Wildlife Trust run reserve where there are ospreys, when in season.