My first destination on the way up to Perth was Dunning. Sod’s law, the church was closed (which was a pity as it contains a Pictish stone cross that I’d wanted to see), but I did manage to have a look round the graveyard and the village.It’s a really cute little place and much smaller than I’d expected (though it HAS shrunk over time, from 2200 inhabitants in the 1850s to less than a thousand today).


Muckhart Road (right of picture) is where my widowed 4G grandmother Ann Rutherford was living with her children on the 1851 census…. and here’s her father James Graham just down the road…


“Aged 58 years” was helpful as his age isn’t shown on his burial record and with no other indication, I hadn’t been able to figure out which of the small number of James Grahams of the period he might have been.

I investigated a few other local villages and their graveyards during my stay in Perth, principally Forteviot and Forgandenny (where I also have ancestors) but also a number of the other nearby villages that might turn out to be relevant. No Eureka moments but I got a better idea of the lie of the land….

A trip into Perth included a visit to Balhousie Castle which houses the Black Watch regimental museum and coincidentally also had the Poppies at the moment (we’re going to see them at Caernarfon Castle later in the year).


I was somewhat underwhelmed by Glamis Castle. Perhaps I just had overinflated expectations…. Scone Palace was OK but again, I wouldn’t drive for miles to see it.

As I left Perth to head back to Edinburgh for another few days at the ScotlandsPeople Centre, I stopped off again in Dunning and (hurrah) the church was now open. A guide was on hand to explain in quite some detail all about the Dupplin Cross and the church. Amazingly, it was free, though they did get a few £ from me as I raided the church “shop” for the leaflet of the church (containing the info on the inscriptions on the cross and the development of the church over time), a “Historic Dunning” booklet that contains so much really good stuff from prehistoric times right up to recent history that I won’t even start to summarise it or I’ll be here all day, and a booklet of the Memorial Inscriptions for the graveyard, from which I identified another gravestone for a direct ancestor, this one being completely illegible nowadays but mainly readable back in 1993 when the local Historical Society produced the records. Marvellous….


I had one night in Fife on the way back to Edinburgh (the Edinburgh CC site being full on Saturday night). I had a look at Falkland Palace (NTS – Savings!) where the highlight was the room guides, all in full costume and doing little talks packed with useful information rather than the usual fluff.


I also managed to check out a few ancestral villages on a different branch of the family tree (Markinch, Dysart, Wemyss). Fife didn’t really do much for me, so I was happy to continue on to Edinburgh on Sunday, stopping at a couple more NTS properties along the way: Culross (a 17th century village) and The Binns House (another property made by the quality of the guided tour).


I arrived back in Edinburgh on Sunday evening ready to hit the records first thing Monday morning…..




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