Scotland Highlights – Part II 

After my near miss I settled nicely on my train to Edinburgh Waverley where I then connected to a train for Birnam and Dunkeld in the Perthshire region. I came here to listen to some traditional music at a pub known as The Taybank. They hold trad music sessions every Thursday.  Plus I wanted to see a small Scottish town and this one fit the bill nicely. I lucked out too as during my full day there it was sunny and a bright 21C. Now my face is red – who knew I’d get so much sun in Scotland?! I had booked my stay at Jessie Mac’s Luxury Hostel. The price was good and the location superb. Only 5 minutes from the train station and a pretty 10 minute walk from Dunkeld. I was met by Dot just outside the hostel as I was arriving late. Located in a beautiful old building it was more like a lovely B & B than a hostel. My 4 bed female dorm was clean & cosy. It also had an ensuite which is always a nice touch. Complimentary tea & coffee in-room, clean linens and towel, large lockers, extra blankets, plugs and lights for each bunk – it really had everything. Oh and free WiFi, a large full service self-catering kitchen and a nice lounge area. It was also quite secure. I had pre-purchased a hot breakfast at time of booking (online). I had a choice of full Scottish Breakfast or Vegetarian Breakfast plus all that came with the Continental Breakfast. It was a bit expensive in my opinion but the food was good. The next day I opted for the Continental Breakfast. 

The ensuite
My dorm room
view from dorm room window
My full Scottish Breakfast

Dunkeld and Birnam are both cute little towns. It was perfect for me to start here and adjust to jet lag. I was happy to discover the Beatrix Potter Gardens across the street from my hostel. I learned a bit about her family’s summer visits to the area. There was also statues of Mr Fox, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, Benjamin Bunny and of course, Peter Rabbit. 

A short jaunt away, over the bridge is Dunkeld. A cute town that has a number of walking, hiking and cycling trails. There is also a place for off-road rentals. Fly fishing on the River Tay is popular and there are many places to rent equipment. The Aboretum in Dunkeld is perfect for a lovely walk. The area has been referred to as a “Tree Zoo”. Native and transplanted trees can be found here.  I love trees so it was a perfect walk for me after perusing the grounds around the old church. And yes, I did hug a few trees. The town itself has some historical aspects. One in particular has a tie to Canada. The second Prime Minister of Canada, Alexander Mackenzie lived in Dunkeld. I learned that on a small placard stating what many of the buildings in town were. 

That evening, after a two hour nap (ugh, jet lag) I headed to the Taybank Pub. Not a big place but certainly great for music. I grabbed a pint and chatted with an older woman who filled me in on these “trad music” sessions. Most of the musicians this evening were in town for a fiddle workshop. Part of the program is performing at the Taybank. There was a good number of musicians, over a dozen.  They did take up most of this small pub but it was certainly worth hearing them. One of the musicians was a woman I met earlierthat day at my hostel. She had come all the way from Washington, DC in the US for this workshop. 

The next morning, after a bit of difficulty trying to get train info for Inverness I lucked out. A woman I briefly spoke to at the pub was staying in my hostel. Ends up she was driving up to John O’Groats to catch a ferry to Orkney. She offered me a lift and I paid her for the gas. I made a new friend and has a nice drive up through the start of the Scottish Highlands. I love travel!! 

View of Dunkeld from the bridge

Dunkeld Cathedral
Flowers along the River Tay
Arboreteum Walk
Arboretum Walks

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

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