I was out that way today. It's pretty easy to find. If you're heading east along the road, keep going till you see a metal barrier on the south side of the road - barring access to the wood. Cross to the north side, head east about 30m and it will be just at your feet!
The Long Man’s Grave
This time I simply have to see what this is- we’ve passed by this site on many an occasion but always in the car and have never managed to se anything as we whizz (or crawl!) past. We park up next to an old quarry and I jump the stile into the field and head off in search of the Long Man’s final resting place. Before I know it I’m opposite the entrance to Pitmiddle Wood. I must have gone past the grave but I’ve only walked about 200 m. I retrace my steps along the side of the field, but can’t see a thing apart from cow shit. I check the map again- the grave should be on the opposite side of the road from the trees (where I am) and halfway between the start of the wood and the track. It looks like it’s right next to the road so I leap the fence and almost leap onto the top of it- aha! A large stone slab. The grave of the Long Man at last! The reason I’ve not seen it from the car is that it’s level, if not, slightly below the tarmac. The stone slab is about 0.75 by 1.5 m although it’s difficult to judge due to the vegetation and a dry stane dyke running at the head of the stone. The slab is unmarked and looks a lot more ancient than I anticipated (it’s not marked in antiquarian font on the map). What an amazingly atmospheric place to be buried below the cliffs of Black Hill and Dunsinane.
When Malcolm Canmore came into Scotland, supported by English auxiliaries, to recover his dominions from Macbeth the giant, as the country people called him, he marched first towards Dunkeld, in order to meet with those friends who had promised to joint him from the north.
This led him to Birnam wood, where accidentally they were induced, either by way of distinction, or from some other motive [disguise, surely??] to ornament their bonnets, or to carry about with them in their hands the branches of trees. The people in the neighbourhood stated, as the tradition of the country, that they were distinguished in this situation by the spy whom Macbeth had stationed to watch their motions. He then began to despair, in consequence of the witches predictions, who had warned him to beware "when Birnam wood should come to dunsinnan;" and when Malcolm prepared to attack the castle, where it was principally defended by the outer rocks, he immediately deserted it; and flying ran up the opposite hill, pursued by Macduff; but finding it impossible to escape, he threw himself from the top of the hill, was killed upon the rocks, and buried at the Lang Man's Grave, as it is called, which is still extant. Not far from this grave is the road where, according to tradition, Banco was murdered.
p321 in The Beauties of Scotland, by Robert Forsyth. v4 (1806). Online at Google Books.
Stuart McHardy, in his 2005 'On the Trail of Scotland's Myths and Legends', says that the Lang Man was a "weel-kennt and successful horse trader who regularly visited the annual fair held in the glen." He cut an imposing tall figure but "one of the great delights of the fair was [to have] a dram with the Lang Man."
One year the Lang Man disappeared and when the fair finished, his tent was still there with his horse tethered up next to it. No one knew what had happened to him and people felt scared and suspicious. Was it witchcraft? No-one wanted to take down the tent and gradually it deteriorated over the years in the wind and rain. "The tale began to spread that he had been murdered for his poke o gowd and buried beneath the great stone lying by the road."
The stone has been treated with reverence: "for many years the roadmen cleaned the small gravel bed surrounding it." McHardy says "perhaps we will never know if anyone lies in the Lang Man's Grave, but its proximity to Dunsinane and the reverence shown to the stone have led to suggestions that this is where the original Stone of Destiny was buried when it was taken away from Scone at the approach of the English army in 1296."
It was thought that the actual stone was a 'druidical stone' which had toppled over.
Legend has it that the stone marks the final resting place of a suicide or murder victim. It has also been suggested that this is the grave of Macbeth.