THE SCOTTISH PLAY
‘Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill, Shall come against him.’ So say the Weird Sisters in Shakespeare’s Scottish play. Spoiler alert: his enemies carry branches from the wood to disguise their approach and Macbeth is killed. But the forest still thrives, including the Birnam Oak*, which survives from the Bard’s time. This area, known as Perthshire’s Big Tree Country, also inspired JMW Turner, William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Niel Gow, an 18th-century fiddler who composed many of Scotland’s reels under a tree that now bears his name.