Dunsinane Hill

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
Dunsinane Hill
DunsinaneHill From BlackHill 12APR03.jpg
Dunsinane Hill from Black Hill
Range: Sidlaw Hills
Summit: 1,017 feet NO213316
56°28’12"N, 3°16’44"W

Dunsinane Hill is stands near the village of Collace in Perthshire. It is word-famous from its appearance in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth:

Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him

(And of course, in the play, the wood does come against Macbeth in his castle at Dunsinane, as Malcom's men conceal their numbers behind branched hewn form the forest.)

The hill has the remains of two early forts. This is believed to be the site of the battle where Malcolm Canmore defeated Macbeth in 1054. Notwithstanding Shakespeare's depiction of Malcolm's complete victory, in reality Macbeth fled and was killed by Malcolm three years later at Lumphannan near Aberdeen.


The pronunciation called for in Shakespeare's play has the accent on the first or third syllable, with a long 'a'. However the local pronunciation has the accent on the second syllable, with a short 'a'. The correct spelling of the name is Dunsinnan, from the Gaelic meaning "The hill of ants."; likely a reference to the large number of people it took to build the fortress.[1]


The village of Collace from Dunsinane Hill

The best access to Dunsinane Hill is from the rear of the Perthshire village of Collace on the northern side of Dunsinane Hill, between the village and the quarry. There is a small parking area there suitable for 4 or 5 cars from which a clearly defined path leads directly to the summit.

The impressive ramparts are still very obvious, though the interior was much disturbed in the 19th century by antiquarians attracted to the site by its Shakespearean connection. Unfortunately, little of value was learned about the history of the monument from these unscientific excavations.

Outside links


  • Aitchison, Nick (1999). Macbeth: Man and Myth. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7509-1891-6.