In 1787, Robert Burns the Ploughman Poet walked along the riverside by the Falls of Bruar.
Bruar Falls, in Athole, are exceedingly picturesque and beautiful; said he, misspelling ‘Atholl’ as he did so,
but their effect is much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs. Thus inspired to action, he did what any of us would do. He wrote a poem and addressed it to the landowner.
Let lofty firs, and ashes cool,
My lowly banks o'erspread,
And view, deep-bending in the pool,
Their shadow's wat'ry bed:
Let fragrant birks, in woodbines drest,
My craggy cliffs adorn;
and so on and so on
There was already a birk adorning those cliffs, but he'd gone home to write a poem.
As a result the Duke of Atholl instituted a massive tree-planting programme. Because some inkstained twit wrote a poem. Is that how you get a public works project approved? Is some latter-day Bard even now penning
A Humble Petition to just get the damn trams finished already? Or is that, as I suspect, a niche that these days is filled by the letters page of the Scotsman?
Nonetheless, a couple of weeks ago I popped up north to view the result. The Falls of Bruar is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and these days you can't see any of it because there are trees everywhere.
I already can't stand Robert Burns. Now he's actively ruining things I like to do (viz., looking at waterfalls). I'm inclined to start taking this personal.
I can't write like Burns (thank Christ), so perhaps a humble petition after the style of Scotland's other favourite son will suffice.
Ohh, 'twas in the month of July two thousand and twelve,
Into the woods around the Falls of Bruar did we delve,
And tho' the scenery was beautiful like a painting or a frieze,
None of it could we see because of all the bloody trees,
and ooowhhh ...
I may have slipped into a Milligoon voice towards the end there, but in my defence, it's hard not to.
Remainder of the photoset is here. I had to climb down slippery rocks on cliff edges to get some of these shots. Rabbie is actually trying to kill me.