The MacBeth Stone
Ordnance Survey Map Reference NO280435
MacBeth's Stone looking south
The stone looking west
Cup marks on the south face of the stone
More cupmarks on the south face
Leave Meigle on the road marked "Belmont Centre" and follow this for approximately 1-1/2 km west from Meigle. Pass the entrance to Belmont Castle and proceed to the entrance to Belmont Centre. There is sufficient space to park at the side here. Enter through the gate, and about 25m in there is a little path cutting back on the right hand side. Follow this and you'll see the stone almost immediately. It stands nearly 4m tall, and is quite an impressive sight.
There are cupmarks on both main faces of the stone, 4 or 5 on the north face, and quite a number on the southern face. Unfortunately, it has also suffered from vandalism with some names and initials carved on the eastern portion, along with (more suitably), a thistle...
MacBeth's name is strongly linked with this area. Birnam Wood lies up by Dunkeld, there are traces of a hill fort on Dunsinane Hill a few kilometres SSE, and a nearby hill to this is still named King's Seat. Despite the bad press he received from the Saxon playwright, Shakespeare (who never visited Scotland, and was sucking up to the Stewart monarchy), MacBeth is regarded as one of the better monarchs of Scotland during the troubled times he lived in. He reigned for 17 years, and was the penultimate Celtic King of Scots. He managed to visit Rome on pilgrimage in 1050, when it was reported that he 'scattered money like seed to the poor'. He is described thus in the prophecy of Saint Berchan:
'The ruddy faced king... will possess Scotland.
The strong one was fair, yellow-haired and tall.
Brimful of food was Scotland, east and west,
During the reign of the ruddy, brave king
It is appropriate that this immense stone bears his name.