"The Birks of Aberfeldy" is a song lyric written for a pre-existing melody in 1787 by Robert Burns. He was inspired to write it by the Falls of Moness and the birch trees of Aberfeldy during a tour of the Scottish Highlands. Of course every year on 25th January, Burns Night is celebrated with traditional haggis, neeps and tatties and a dram of malt whisky.
Close by Wade’s Bridge in Aberfeldy stands the Black Watch Monument. It takes the form of a massive cairn topped with a statue of Private Farquhar Shaw dressed in the original uniform of the Black Watch Regiment.
In the wake of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, companies of trustworthy Highlanders were raised from loyal clans. They became known as the ’Black Watch’ for the watch they kept on the Highlands and from their dark government tartan. In 1739 King George II authorised the companies be formed into a regiment of foot, "the men to be natives of that country, and none other to be taken". That same year they held their first regimental parade on the banks of the River Tay at Aberfeldy, on what is now part of the Golf course.
The Aberfeldy Muster Parade, last held on 21st June 2015, is held every two years and aims to bring together the Regimental family to enjoy a short open air Kirk Service which commemorates the first Muster of the Regiment held in Aberfeldy in May 1740. This year we were privileged to enjoy a performance by the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch Battalion.
The monument was unveiled in 1887 by the Marquis of Breadalbane to commemorate the first muster of the Regiment in May 1740. The muster took place on the Weem Cow Park on the north bank of the River Tay, in the Parish.