From early childhood Beatrix Potter loved Perthshire as her father, Rupert Potter, rented Dalguise House every summer from 1871 to 1881. Highland Perthshire, with its exceptional natural beauty, was not only an idyllic setting for a child drawn to nature but also, in those days, was part of Gaeldom. English had become the language of commerce, but Gaelic was spoken among country folk and gentry alike. Queen Victoria advised the Murrays of Atholl to keep a Gaelic-speaking nursemaid in Blair Castle when she and Prince Albert first visited. They so loved the culture that Queen Victoria appointed a Gaelic bard to translate her Leaves from the Journal of a Life in the Highlands, from 1848-1861.
The Scottish Highlands has long been the subject of writers and bards including one of Europe’s most celebrated, Duncan MacIntyre, (1724—1812). His Oran an t- Samhraidh (Song of Summer) details over forty species of flora, many of which feature in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In 1892, while holidaying in Dunkeld, Beatrix Potter wrote her first draft of Peter Rabbit. Not surprisingly, Mr McGregor appears, as Perthshire is home of the ancient Clan Gregor. Now, at last, Gaelic-speaking children may delight in Peter Rabbit and all his family.
Margaret Bennett, Perthshire, 2008