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MARCH 27 2011

Tay tripper

Great days out and things to do in the Big County Photograph: Craig Stephen


MARCH 27 2011

Perthshire offers visitors variety like no other Scottish county, writes Martin Hannan

Deep in the green heart of scotland s et in the heart of Scotland, the Fair City of Perth and the surrounding county of Perthshire make for a holiday and visitor destination unlike any other in the country. No other area encompasses spectacular Highland scenery, lowland riverscapes, not just castles but many different types of fortress and stately home, mediaeval and Jacobite battlefields, art galleries, theatres, award-winning restaurants, magnificent gardens, ancient cathedrals, golf courses and myriad other sporting facilities. Accommodation stretches from the friendliest bed and breakfast establishments up to one of the world’s most famous resorts, the Gleneagles Hotel. You could spend a month in Perthshire and still not see every historic site and monument, which vary from Roman

camps to some of the country’s oldest whisky distilleries. Driving or walking through Perthshire will take you through stunning glens to some of the finest and most varied scenery in Scotland. The River Tay makes its way eastwards across the county from a trickle to a broad sweep after Perth. For mountaineers and hillwalkers, Perthshire is a paradise, with Schiehallion and Ben Lawers just two of the most scenic peaks in the land. Across the county a host of providers offer outdoor pursuits ranging from pony trekking to canoeing and off-road

‘You could spend a month here and still not see everything’

scone mix: clockwise from main, the palace, Ben Lawers, and the world record-holding beech hedge at Meikleour driving to quad biking. And if hunting, shooting and fishing is your bag, Perthshire can provide the lot, from clay pigeon shooting to salmon fishing on the Tay. Perthshire is an absolute delight for gardeners and anyone who enjoys spectacular displays of trees and flowers. Scone Palace gardens beside the ancient crowning place of the Scottish Kings; Branklyn Garden at Perth; and Drummond Gardens south of Crieff are all wonderful examples, while it is worth visit-

Highland Perthshire’s Hidden Gem...

es across the county compete for your attention: Pitlochry and its famous salmon ladder; Aberfeldy with its bridges; ‘Village in Bloom’ winner Comrie; Blair Castle at Blair Atholl; market town and twin burghs Blairgowrie and Rattray; and the village of Fortingall, allegedly the birthplace of Pontius Pilate, and home of the Fortingall Yew, said to be the oldest living thing in Europe. With so much to see and do, Perthshire is well worthy of your holiday consideration in 2011.


MAGICAL setting in the Heart of Scotland. Nestled between majestic mountains and two lochs. The Dunalastair Hotel is a photographers paradise. ROMANTIC rooms of generous proportions with original features including sweeping staircase, oak panelling and roaring log fires. Every brides dream. FABULOUS food featuring local Scottish produce, catering for all dietary requirements. Full A La Carte Menu available offering a wide range of dishes to suit all tastes. Under 2 hours from Edinburgh and Glasgow and 1 hour from Perth.

The Dunalastair Hotel, The Square, Kinloch Rannoch, Perthshire, PH16 5PW

ing Meikleour Estate just to gaze in wonder at its beech hedge, recognised by Guinness as the world’s tallest and longest. For those who just want a quiet break in beautiful surroundings, Perthshire has many locations to suit your mood, while the Fair City itself has all the attractions of a vibrant holiday destination – sports centres, cinemas, pubs, restaurants, and a renowned concert hall and theatre with its own repertory company. Many other towns and villag-

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MARCH 27 2011

yomp is cateran for the masses Where cattle thieves roamed is now the setting for a walk for all ages, writes Fiona Russell


family-focused 24-hour walking event launches this summer in Scotland offering a new hiking challenge to a wide range of people. The Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp is aimed at teams of people who can choose to walk between 23 and 54 miles through stunning Perthshire countryside. There will also be a Mini Yomp for families with young children. The event, which takes place on the summer solstice weekend of June 25 and 26, aims to raise vital funds for the ABF the Soldiers’ Charity. Robin Bacon, chief of staff at The Soldiers’ Charity, says: “There are two aims of the Cateran Yomp. One is to launch a brand-new walking event into Scotland, to offer people of all walking abilities a great new challenge. The other is to raise vital funds for the ABF Soldiers’ Charity, which offers lifetime support for serving soldiers and veterans and distributes grants to Scottish causes, including veterans’ residency projects in Dundee and Glasgow.” What makes the Alliance Trust

Cateran Challenge so appealing to walkers across a spectrum of fitness levels is the range of distances that can be walked. Teams of three to six people can choose to complete the 23-mile bronze challenge, the 37.5-mile silver or the full 54-mile gold. Bacon adds: “Although training is highly recommended for each of the distances, and we have provided training tips on our website, the Yomp is aimed at a range of abilities and should appeal to people looking for a manageable adventure. The family Mini Yomp, live bands, firework displays and a magical, lit forest trail will add to the fun of the weekend.” Starting in Blairgowrie, the Yomp will head through the rolling Highland Perthshire and Angus landscape, visiting Kirkmichael, Spittal of Glenshee and Kirkton of Glenisla. The path of the Cateran Trail was once used by the infamous “Caterans”, a lawless band of cattle thieves who inhabited the regions from the Middle Ages until the 17th century. The Cateran Yomp is set to be-

Quick march: The Cateran Yomp will raise funds for soldiers and veterans

come part of a three-year partnership between The Alliance Trust and The Soldiers’ Charity, with two thirds of the event’s proceeds going to The Soldiers’ Charity that gives crucial support to war veterans, soldiers and their families. The remaining one third will go to the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, which is a youth charity that supports self-employment and business creation among young people. To register, go to www.soldiers

case study Liz Robinson is 48 and lives in Lockerbie. A police officer, she signed up to the inaugural Cateran Yomp 2011, along with her colleague Karen Lypka. She says: “i was looking for a new fitness challenge this year and i spotted a poster about the event at work. “Although i am already a runner i know that walking is a different

thing altogether so i want to get as many training miles in as possible. “Karen and i are also keen to raise as much money as possible for the Soldiers’ Charity. This superb charity does a great deal of good work, especially in Scotland. “My son is in the marines so i am aware of how important such charities can be to serving soldiers and also to veterans.”

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MARCH 27 2011

Spin your wheels in a cyclist’s paradise


reewheeling along fabulously quiet country roads. Heading off-road to explore rolling hills and tranquil glens. Riding in leisurely fashion along picturesque riverbanks, through pretty villages and past historic castles. It is difficult to argue with those who claim that the best way to see Perthshire is by bicycle. For this region boasts a breathtaking range of terrain and a wide network of smooth tarmac roads and inspiring off-road trails to give cyclists of all aspirations huge value for their leg power. As keen cyclist Scot Tares puts it: “Highland Perthshire has everything to keep the full spectrum of cyclists happy.” Tares, who owns cycle tour and training company Skinny Tyres, adds: “From families with young children to serious mountain bikers and experienced road cyclists, there are many different routes in this beautiful and highly accessible region.” Perthshire’s cycling landscape ranges from undulating and quiet back roads to lochside routes,

Saddle up and head off on a scenic tour of routes to suit all abilities, writes Fiona Russell forestry trails, glen passes and numerous challenging hills. The cycle-friendly Sustrans Route 7 ( also passes through the region via Pitlochry and Blair Atholl and offering many miles of trafficreduced and traffic-free options. Perhaps the most important boost to cycling in Perthshire in recent years has come from the hugely popular Etape Caledonia. Now in its fourth year, the 81-mile cycling sportive attracts some 5,000 riders from across the world. Kevin Grant, of Perthshire’s cycle and outdoors specialist outlet Escape Route, has witnessed a huge growth in road cycling since the first Etape. He says: “It has been amazing to see how popular the Etape has become and, as a conse-

quence, how fast the cycling tourism industry has expanded in Perthshire. “While many cyclists do come to cycle the route made famous by the Etape, they discover that there is a lot more on offer, too.” Glenn MacLachlan, 45, from Edinburgh has signed up for the Etape this year, his first such cycling event. In recent months, he has enjoyed several days on Perthshire’s roads, building up his fitness and also checking out the route. He says: “Perthshire is only an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and offers an amazing variety of cycling. I started on flat country roads and I’ve progressed to more undulating routes and also some of the region’s big hills, including Schiehallion, which will be part of the Etape route.”

He adds: “There’s always something new to see, especially in a beautiful place like Perthshire. I also look forward to stopping for coffee and cakes at cafes along the way!” With an increase in cyclists to the region, the number of establishments offering food and accommodation to suit the outdoors visitor has also risen. Grant says: “There is a much greater awareness of the needs of cyclists, partly thanks to the number of riders that stay in the area at the time of the Etape. “B&Bs, guest houses and hotels are much more familiar with a cyclist’s needs, including drying rooms and safe storage for bikes. Even offering an earlier breakfast can make a big difference to whether people will choose to stay at an establishment.” It’s the sheer range of options that makes Perthshire such an attraction for cyclists. For families, a short ride along the river from Pitlochry towards Faskally Woods is recommended. Grant says: “This is an easygoing route and it heads to woodland and Faskally Loch, where

hill start: The popular Caledonian Etape, main pic, takes in the high point of Schiehallion, inset Photograph: Craig Stephen

there are further opportunities for exploring on two wheels. For families with young children this is an ideal cycling experience.” Families with older children will enjoy a route from Blair Atholl to Killicrankie either on quiet back roads or via a quarryonly road. Grant says: “At Escape Route we can provide details but

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MARCH 27 2011

cycle events Kinross CyCle sportive When: 23 April, 2011 What: Provides three routes. The 45-mile Blue route is a good introduction to sportives. The classic 73-mile Red route has lots of flat sections for faster riding. And the 87-mile Black route offers a big challenge. n

which offers a true wild country excursion on two chunky and grippy wheels. The 45-kilometre unmarked trail takes in numerous small loch and some dramatic views. He adds: “Really, though, this is a region where mountain bikers can explore to their heart’s content.” Another increasingly popular cycling activity is guided bike rides, including skills and techniques sessions. Skinny Tyres offers a range of day, weekend and week-long breaks aimed at novice cyclists through to advanced riders. The courses include guided cycle tours or specific training advice for particular events, as well as accommodation. MacLachlan took advantage of a course that introduced him to the wonders of group riding. “I’d never realised how much fun

– and how much of an advantage – it is to cycle as part of a larger group,” he says. “With the Skinny Tyres’ day out, I learned the skills of group riding, which will be very helpful when it comes to doing the Etape. “I also discovered lots of new cycling routes and met like-minded people I’d really recommend it.” Glentrek, a walking and cycling holiday provider, also offers a range of guided and selfguided cycle trips. The selfguided Glentrek Glen Cycle Route heads for 14 miles from the village of Alyth on country roads and trails. As Tares says: “The advantage of contacting outdoors specialists in the area is that you’ll be treated to some of the best cycling routes, and you’ll learn a great deal more about Perthshire and what it has to offer. ”

‘I look forward to stopping for coffee and cakes along the way’

we do find that the quarry road is most popular because it is easy to ride and safe for children.” Ever greater number of mountain bikers are heading to Perthshire thanks to a stunning network of natural, wild-style offroad trails. It is a top destination for more experienced riders, especially those who want to head

off for a day of remote riding with just a map and backpack. Grant recommends the trails leading from Glen Tilt, near Blair Atholl, and onwards into the Atholl Estates, or else to Ben Vrackie, which offers a superb 600-metre climb and descent.Another popular route is The Queen’s Road from Dunkeld,

HigHland pertHsHire CyCling Festival When: 14 May, 2011 What: A day of cycling events at Victoria Park, Aberfeldy. Includes brilliant bike stunt team, The Clan, a cyclo-cross race for kids, and music and stalls. n www.cyclehighland MaCMillan CanCer support etape Caledonia When: 15 May, 2011 What: An 81-mile cycle challenge on traffic-free roads in Highland Perthshire. Open to riders between the ages of 18 and 80. To ensure that the roads are reopened to the schedule agreed, participants need to maintain an average speed of 13-14mph but, even if you are unable to meet this, you can continue to complete the full circuit. The event is sold out for this year so book early for 2012. n www.etapecaledonia.

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MARCH 27 2011

Perth steals a jump in summer stakes


s well as being Britain’s most northerly racetrack, Perth racecourse also lays fair claim to being the UK’s most beautiful one. Set by the magnificent grounds of Scone Palace, the expression “small, but perfectly formed” might well have been coined for Perth Racecourse. This parkland hurdles and steeplechase track on almost totally flat land gives spectators a perfect sight of the dramatic action which National Hunt racing provides, against a backdrop of magnificent views all round the compass. Being so far north, you might think that owners and trainers would baulk at the distance they have to travel to bring their horses to Perth. Not a bit of it – they know they always get a

A new sponsorship deal with Crabbie’s boosts the already attractive offering at one of the UK’s most beautiful race courses, writes Martin Hannan warm Scottish welcome at one of the friendliest courses in the land. Top trainers like Grand National winners Gordon Elliott from Ireland and Nigel Twiston-Davies from Cheltenham are frequent visitors to Perth, not least because the racecourse offers substantial prize money which attracts some of the finest horses, trainers and jockeys. The people who run Perth racecourse are clever – they only host racing from April to September in order to protect the ground,

which means that crowds of up to 14,000 racegoers can often watch spectacular jumps racing in their shirt sleeves or summer frocks. The racing is always entertaining in itself, but for many years now, Perth Racecourse has led the way in mixing horse races with additional entertainment such as live music, funfair rides and falconry – to name but a few attractions – which create the perfect day out for all the family. Highlights of the 2011 season include Gold Cup Day on 5 June,


perth racecourse

making every day an event

Perth Festival Wed 27th, thurs 28th & Fri 29th APril

enjoy a three day festival featuring competitive racing from some of the uK’s top jockeys, live entertainment and a fantastic festival atmosphere!

William & Kate Bank Holiday Friday 29th April 2011

don’t miss Prince William & Kate’s royal Wedding featured on our big screens. Gates open at 11am. Adult: £15, Concessions £10, Children under 18 Go Free Gates Open: Wed & Thur-12 noon, Fri-11am First Race Starts: 2.10pm Final Race: 5.30pm

For further information and to book visit or call 01738 551597


featuring one of the biggest and most prestigious UK jump races of the summer. Tartan Party Night on 26 July presents a summer evening of competitive racing followed by live music on the outdoor stage from Scotland’s most energetic band – the brilliant Red Hot Chilli Pipers. The following day is Forces Day when Perth offers free admission to serving members of the Armed Forces – a popular offer in the Highlands which provides so many people to the various branches of the services. There’s a new attraction for 2011, the Perth Racecourse Charities Race Day on Saturday, 20 August, looks set to attract record crowds alongside many distinguished guests. There’s always fine catering on the course, with both the Galileo and Club restaurants having become particular favourites of racegoers, and on a warm summer’s day the ice cream vendors do a roaring trade. Perth Racecourse is perfect for a corporate event, and many firms and businesses from all over Scotland have made a day at the races at Perth their annual outing. This season, gates will open for day meetings at 12 noon and evening meetings at 4.30pm. Prices start from just £13 for the centre of the course and £15 for the grandstands, with children under 18 always going free. There’s free parking at the course, and shuttle buses to and from Perth. Group discounts are available, and for full details of

‘For years,Perth has mixed up racing with other events’

all prices and to book in advance – highly advisable for the bigger events – visit the website www. This year’s racing season starts with the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Perth Festival. Taking place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 27 to 29 April, the festival is one of the most exhilarating events on the Scottish racing calendar and an integral part of Perth’s social diary. Royal spotters will have noted that the festival encompasses the Bank Holiday Friday when Prince William will marry Kate Middleton. To celebrate, Perth Racecourse will open its gates early on Friday to allow race goers to watch the Royal Wedding on the big screens. The festival atmosphere will continue with additional


MARCH 27 2011

The almost totally flat Perth course gives spectators, below, a perfect view of the top class racing action

Race is on for prettiest in pink Martin Hannan A BIG phenomenon of British racing in recent years has been the spectacular growth in the popularity of Ladies Days. At the five Scottish racetracks, these annual events are virtual sell-outs, and the distaff side of the species certainly knows how to enjoy a day out at the races. Taking the usual fashion, flamboyance and fun one step further this year, Perth Racecourse will be turning pink for its annual Ladies Day. Put Thursday 12 May in your diary now as this will be one of the most popular days on the racing calendar and, undoubtedly, one of the most glamorous race days of the year at one of Britain’s most beautiful courses. It is always a colourful event that attracts some of Britain and Ireland’s top jockeys and trainers. But this year, it will be even more colourful because Perth Racecourse is set to attract racegoers dressed top to toe in pink, due to the venue’s partnership with pioneering charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer. In 2008,

the charity opened Scotland’s first and only dedicated breast cancer research unit and is required to raise over £1 million a year to fund their research, education and campaigning work. It’s a good cause for which money can be raised by racegoers having fun. Ladies Day is recognised as a competitive event, and not just between the horses and jockeys. For the ladies compete – on strictly friendly terms, of course - for the coveted “Best Dressed” titles. To mark the partnership between Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Perth Ladies

Day, every female racegoer is invited to dress in pink to be in with a chance of securing the new title of “Best Pink Outfit”. The new award will accompany the customary titles of “Best Dressed Lady” and “Best Hat”. Also new is the “Pretty in Pink” package offering, within a pinkthemed marquee, a decadent pink afternoon tea and private bar serving pink Champagne – all of which will be served by “Waiters in the Buff”, and all for the bargain price of £45. The evening prior to Ladies Day is the racecourse’s first evening meeting of the summer. Folk Night at the Races promises great racing and terrific entertainment with local folk band Tunna. Sam Morshead, general manager at Perth Racecourse, says: “We are delighted to support Breakthrough Breast Cancer. It’s a fantastic cause and one we’re proud to be associated with.”


perth racecourse making every day an event

Get Your Heart Racing at Perth Racecourse Our racing season runs from April to September and, as Scotland’s most northerly racecourse, we’re well known for excellent form in attracting top trainers, horses and riders.

entertainment, including a music tent which will feature a selection of bands on each day. At a time when British horseracing’s finances have been hit by a steady decline – and poor prize-money is considered to be the death of horse racing – the sponsorship of Crabbie’s is a major coup for Perth. Sam Morshead, general manager of Perth Racecourse, says: “I am absolutely delighted that Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer has agreed a two-year deal to take the Title Rights of the Perth March 27, 2011

Festival. Prize money is the lifeblood of the racing industry and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people depend on it. “Coming at a time when levels of prize money are high on the agenda, this new sponsorship for Perth is not only great news for owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff but also for all those racing fans who come to enjoy our festival.” It should all make for an excellent fun start to the season at Perth’s wonderful course.



Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Perth Festival Folk Night at the Races Breakthrough Breast Cancer Ladies Day Gold Cup Day Challenge Cup Meeting Family Race Day Tartan Party Night (featuring the Red Hot Chilli Pipers) Forces Race Day Perth Racecourse Charities Day

Wed 27th, Thur 28th & Fri 29th April Wed 11th May Thur 12th May Sun 5th June Wed 29th June & Thur 30th June Sun 10th July Tues 26th July Wed 27th July Sat 20th August

Glorious Finale

Wed 21st & Thur 22nd September

Supported by Scottish Hydro

• Attractive group discounts • Under 18s free • Additional entertainment such as concerts, funfair rides and camel racing • Buses from Perth City Centre • Range of Corporate Hospitality packages

For further information and to book visit or call 01738 551597 SCOTLANDonSUNDAY



MARCH 27 2011

Pitlochry’s ‘Theatre in the Hills’ is gearing up for a big summer, writes Martin Hannan

Sixty years of age and still on stage


N THE heartland of Scotland and at the heart of this nation’s theatrical life is a unique theatre where the drama on the stage is complemented by its dramatically beautiful surroundings in Perthshire. Known as the “Theatre in the Hills”, Pitlochry Festival Theatre celebrates its 60th Special Summer Season this year, and, as ever, the top-class drama on show at the theatre is not the only thing worth seeing in this stunning part of the country. Surrounded by rugged highland hills including Ben-yVrackie (2,760 feet), together with lochs and woodland packed with wildlife, the present theatre building at Port-Na-Craig will celebrate its 30th anniversary later this year. The theatre has been expanded and improved in the past three decades, and the present building is a far cry from the glorified tent in which the first season took place back in 1951,


when theatre producer John Stewart arrived from Glasgow with his vision of a theatre in the Highlands. Visitors to Pitlochry often combine their theatre-going with a relaxing break in the town’s welcoming hotels and guest houses. Whatever the weather, there’s always something to do, from visiting distilleries and castles, to playing golf, fishing, walking, or even a spot of retail therapy. The famous salmon ladder runs through Pitlochry alongside the River Tummel allowing the fish to by-pass the hydro-electric dam which created Loch Faskally. The sight of a salmon leaping is always spectacular, but lovers of the stage will tell you that the greatest attraction in Pitlochry is the Festival Theatre. The 60th anniversary season opens on Friday, 13 May with My Fair Lady which promises to be the most dazzling, sophisticated and funny musical yet seen at the theatre – advance sales al-

Play hub: Pitlochry Festival Theatre as it is now, and the official opening of the Theatre in 1951, when it was in a glorified tent

ready suggest it may become the theatre’s most successful production ever. Alan Ayckbourn has long been the most popular living playwright at the Festival Theatre, and, after a four-year absence, his work returns with the Scottish première of his inventive, wildly comic Henceforward. Next to open will be See How They Run by Philip King, one of the greatest farces of all time. Sir

‘Visitors can see a different play or musical every night of the week’


Arthur Wing Pinero’s epic romantic comedy Trelawny Of The ‘Wells’ follows that, and in turn is followed by the Scottish première of the 2001 version of Peter Nichols’ Privates On Parade, the bawdy musical memoir of concert party life during the Malayan Emergency of 1948. To mark the double 60th anniversary of the first season and the death of Scottish playwright James Bridie, the most often performed playwright at Pitlochry, the final show to join the 2011 repertoire will be Bridie’s Dr Angelus, which opens on Wednesday, 17 August. Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s unique repertory programme

sees each of the six productions being added gradually so that the season soon involves a different show at every performance. Giles Conisbee, head of sales and marketing for the theatre, explained: “The theatre operates a unique system which means visitors can enjoy a different play or musical every night of the week, or two on matinee days. “This means you can stay six days and see six plays. Or, you can stay three nights and see four plays. Or stay two nights and see three plays. Whatever you decide to choose, you can be sure of a warm welcome to our 60th Anniversary celebrations.”

March 27, 2011


MARCH 27 2011

The 80s Rewind Festival is set to hit fast forward in Perthshire, writes Bob Gill

Pop art: Human League will perform at the Rewind Festival


s that old saying goes, if you can remember the Sixties you weren’t really there, but for all those who danced and sang their way through the Eighties, the memories are golden and undimmed, and the bands and their fans are very much still alive. This summer, Perthshire will host the 80s Rewind Festival that will bring back those memories of a time when tuneful dance music, passionate soul, acerbic social commentary, thumping rock and picturesque pop fused into the marvellous Eighties sound. Last year’s second festival, at Henley-on-Thames, was at full capacity and attended by almost 40,000 people, so that founder and promoter David Heartfield received literally thousands of requests from Scotland and the North of England asking him to hold a similar event up here. “I was glad to oblige because I believe in giving people what they want,” said Heartfield, which is why the grounds of Scone Palace will reverberate to the sounds of the Eighties on Saturday, 30 July, and Sunday, 31 July. Some 20,000 people are expected to attend each day, and

Young at heart again Heartfield is confident they will have an unforgettable experience. He says: “Perthshire is right in the centre of Scotland and we expect people to come from all over the country and from England and further afield, with perhaps half of them camping for the weekend.” Many big names from the late 1970s and 1980s will be there, with The Human League, Billy Ocean and Bananarama among them. Heartfield said: “There’s

such a great atmosphere backstage. When they were first starting out, these bands were fiercely competitive, but now they are all more mature and there are no egos on display. There’s such a great atmosphere, and these musicians are even better than they were before.” Scottish bands will be to the fore, with local Perth band Fiction Factory reforming just for the festival. Founding members Ken Patterson, Eddie Jordan and

Chic Medley will come together to play their old hits such as (Feels Like) Heaven. Heartfield explained: “We found that Ken Patterson is now working in the IT Department at the University of Dundee. We called him and I am delighted to say that Fiction Factory will be playing on the Sunday.” The Kane brothers, Pat and Greg, will be bringing the distinctive sounds of Hue and Cry to the stage on the Saturday, when The

REWIND LINE-UP What was that tune again? The main culprits and their signature song to jog your memory... Tony Hadley Gold; Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up; Human League Don’t You Want Me; Billy Ocean When the Going Gets Tough; Kim Wilde Kids in America; Howard Jones New Song; Nik Kershaw The Riddle; ABC The Look of Love; Go West We Close Our Eyes; Modern Romance Best Years of Our Lives; Heaven 17 Temptation; The Real Thing You To Me Are Everything; Imagination Body Talk; Hue and Cry Looking for Linda; The Bluebells Young at Heart; The Beat Mirror in the Bathroom ; T’Pau China In Your Hand; Dr and the Medics Spirit in the Sky; Kid Creole and the Coconuts Stool Pigeon; Bananarama Venus ; Cutting Crew Died in Your Arms; Toyah It’s a Mystery; Hazel O’Connor Will You; Fiction Factory (Feels Like) Heaven; China Crisis Wishful Thinking

Bluebells will also feature, and few will be standing still when they play their most famous hit Young at Heart. That might well be the theme tune for those who attend the 80s Rewind Festival. Hair may be greying, knees a bit arthritic, and there will definitely be more poundage round most waistlines, but for the weekend at Scone, hearts will be young again. l For details of tickets, etc, visit


29, 30 & 31 JULY 2011

Plus Funfairs, Fireworks, Silent Disco, Live Karaoke, Street Entertainers and much more...

For full details on the festival and ticket prices go to




The pick of the crop i

f you ever needed an overview of the food and drink produced in Scotland then you could do a lot worse than to take a stroll around the Perth Farmers’ Market. The first of its kind in Scotland, in modern times at least, it was started in 1999 by sheep farmer Jim Fairlie. Keen to find a new way for farmers to get their products to the consumer, Fairlie, the brother of the two Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie, set up a stall on Perth’s King Edward Street with 11 other producers. Twelve years later and some 30 or so stalls are pulling in the punters on the first Saturday of every month. The range of products on offer acts as a showcase for the diversity of Scotland’s and, more specifically, Perthshire’s larder. From fruit wines to meat, vegetables to fish, bread to eggs and chocolates flavoured with locally- foraged herbs, there is an incredible variety on offer. Adeline Watson has been the market’s manager for four years, and she is still astounded by the sheer range of food produced in Perthshire. “I think people used to have a perception that the farmers’ market was all meat producers,” she says. “There is a core group who farm lamb, beef and vegetables


MARCH 27 2011

Put yourself in the market for the food and drink of Perthshire’s fertile landscape, says Jonathan Trew but there are also people making things like honey, bread and chutneys or producing eggs. One of the stallholders, Mark Bush, makes cold-pressed rapeseed oil. There are a few people doing it now but his Summer Harvest brand oil was one of the first.” Andrew Johnston farms wild boar in Craigend. One of the original stallholders at the inception of the Perth Farmers’ Market, he sells the meat under his Hilton Wild Boar label. “We are in one of the richest

‘My preference is wild, Scottish, local, seasonal, as my hierarchy’ parts of Scotland in terms of the landscape,” he says. “Perthshire stretches from the mountains in the southern Highlands right down into the valleys, so you have all aspects of agriculture. It’s also down to the climate. There is an old farmers’ saying that, for every mile you travel from Perth to Crieff, annual rainfall increas-

es by an inch. It’s difficult to grow things like wheat and barley in the west because it is so wet but Perthshire is ideal.” Agriculture has been a mainstay of the Perthshire economy for centuries but some of today’s artisans come up with innovations that might have had our ancestors scratching their heads. Charlotte Flower is an Aberfeldy producer whose surname is perfectly suited to her job as a chocolatier who uses local, seasonal and often foraged ingredients to flavour her chocolates. “I was inspired by a chocolatier called Pierre Marcolini,” explains Flower. “He is based in Brussels and one of the central concepts of what he does is the exoticism of his flavourings.


He is always talking about travelling to far-flung places to find weird and wonderful flavours. I don’t think you have to travel that far – why not just use what is around you?” Like Marcolini, Flower produces seasonal collections of chocolate using ingredients foraged from her local area. In early May, she starts to make chocolates flavoured with wild mint. In November, she uses walnuts collected from near her husband’s office in Dunkeld. The Carse of Gowrie is famous for its soft fruit, and raspberries and blueberries both crop up in Flower’s creations. Flower also has more leftfield ideas. Chocolates made with Scots Pine shoots may not spring

to mind as the first thing you would choose but, according to Flower, it is delicious. However unusual her ideas may seem initially, Flower’s customers have learned to be open-minded and to trust her experiments. “My customers like the idea that I use Scottish ingredients. My preference is wild, Scottish, local, seasonal. That’s my hierarchy.” Local and seasonal is the mantra at both the Aberfeldy Weem and Dunalastair, two Perthshire hotels which are revamping

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Country fare: Andrew Johnston feeds up his wild boar, main; Lamb, inset, is just one type of food you can enjoy Main photograph: Phil Wilkinson

Sweet dream: The Highland Chocolatier’s boxed selection of luxury chocolates

Exotically local taste of heaven Jonathon Trew

their food since being taken over in December 2009 by new owners, Julia and Steve Warrack. “We want to serve dishes that give a sense of the area that they come from,” says Julia Warrack. “The menus are devised using local produce with lots of salmon and game. We like to keep it seasonal as well so it changes as different ingredients come in and out of season. We’re not into buying frozen stuff, and we want to support local producers.” The challenge for the Warracks has been to create a food offer

that satisfies everyone from local customers to tourists, who might want something hearty and home-cooked after a hill walk, or a fine dining experience as part of a romantic get-away. Their solution is two-fold. First up are menus that range from pub classics, such as burgers topped with Strathdon cheese and Ayrshire bacon, to more gourmet options like the roast rump of Scottish lamb with rosemary jus. Secondly, they employ an “eat what you want, where you want” policy. The Dunalastair’s kitchen has

an AA Rosette for fine dining but you can eat its veal marsala in The Stables Bar, the hotel’s traditional highland pub. Equally, you can tuck into bangers and mash on the white linen-topped tables of its Schiehallion dining room. “We are not going to dictate what food you eat in what environment,” says Julia Warrack. “What we want is for people to come to Perthshire and enjoy the scenery, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the food. This is a beautiful place and we want people to enjoy food that reflects that.”

TRADing as the Highland Chocolatier, iain Burnett likes to marry the exotic and the local in his award-winning gourmet truffles and spiced pralines. Thus chocolate from the island of São Tomé in the South Atlantic meets, in his grandtully kitchen, with cream from Crieff. “We did a taste testing from different dairies across

Scotland and included a few dairies from down south,” recalls Burnett, below. “The very best cream we could find came from a dairy over the hill in Crieff. it was really quite wonderful.” The Dairy in question is D and D Dairies which uses milk and cream from two farms on either side of the Perthshire town. “The consolidated dairies tend to produce milk which is monoflavoured,” says Burnett. “The dairy we use produces beautiful milk and you know the cow that the cream is coming from.” it took Burnett three years and 120 adjustments before he was satisfied with his signature Velvet Truffles – which are also appreciated by the Michelin-starred chefs Albert Roux, Andrew Fairlie and Martin Wishart. lSee www. highlandchoc for more details

The Aberfeldy Weem Hotel Highland Perthshire’s Rising Star... FAMOUS FOR FOOD... a foodies delight. An innovative menu serving traditional dishes with a modern twist and a new range of Signature Dishes to whet anyone’s appetite. NEWLY REFURBISHED... now offering a choice of 2 dining rooms. Choose from the traditional wood panelled Wade Bar and Bistro or the more intimate Garden Restaurant depending upon your mood COMFORTABLE ACCOMMODATION... a selection of rooms to suit everyone including Feature Rooms offering King Sized beds and stunning Highland views, Family Rooms comprising 2 adjoining rooms or Superior and Standard rooms that can be either twin or double as required.

Aberfeldy Weem Hotel, Weem, Perthshire, PH15 2LD | Tel: 01887 820381 | Fax: 01887 829199 | March 27, 2011




MARCH 27 2011

Scotland is one of Europe’s top outdoors destinations, but where to start? At our A-to-Z of the best summer activities in Perthshire, of course, says Fiona Russell


bseiling Action: Experience the thrills – and the fun – of descending a crag with the aid of ropes. An expert guide will assist you as you lower yourself down a vertical cliff before gently reaching the ground. See Activity Scotland at www.activityscot and Adventure Scotland at www. adventure


ridge swinging: Harnessed, strapped and expertly supervised, participants launch themselves off the chosen bridge and swing between its underside and the river below. Minimum age is 16, and under 18s must be accompanied by a parent. See VisitScotland Perthshire at


Anyoning: This is definitely not gorge walking as it involves ropes, harnesses and jumps. Perthshire has the only

site in the UK to indulge in night-time jaunts, with a choice of adrenaline-pumping experiences. See Nae Limits at www.naelim


uckies: A cross between white water rafting and kayaking. The duckie is paddled by two people on a white water river, while an experienced white water kayaker provides guidance. See Nae Limits at www.


splashing out

co cAmping : This wild camping, near Crieff, also offers environmental initiatives and hot showers. Choose a field, woodland or high meadow pitch at Comrie Crofts. See www.comriecroft. com

olF: Thanks to a rich golfing heritage, including (purportedly) the world’s firstever golf course at South Inch, Perthshire has 40 courses offering a range of accessible and reasonably priced golf on offer. See



orest sAFAri: This is a great opportunity to introduce the children to the wonders of the natural environment during a Land Rover safari trek amid Perthshire countryside. See Highland Safaris at www.high


over crAFting: Until you have tried hovercrafting you will never know what it’s like to skim the ground on a cushion of air. See www.


ndoor swimming: Perth Leisure Pool has flumes, a

wild water channel, bubble beds and outdoor lagoon. See www.liveac


umping : Or cliff jumping, to be precise. Dressed in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet, cliff jumpers enjoy mini leaps or heart-pumping high jumps into deep water. The minimum age for this activity is 16. See Nae Limits at www. naelim


AyAking: With a wealth of different water ways, including lochs and rivers, there is no end of kayaking

routes. See Activity Scotland at www.activ


And rover experience: Climb muddy banks, tackle rough surfaces and get to grips with a wide variety of offroad conditions during a Land Rover session at Highland Off-Road, Dunkeld. See www.


Ambos: Choose from a meandering river tour or a thrilling white water descent atop this sit-on kayak known as a mambo. Your guide will help you negotiate all the river

    The Perfect Whisky Experience Discover the spirit of Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, PH15 2EB 01887 822010 Please enjoy Dewar’s responsibly



March 27, 2011


MARCH 27 2011


aiNtballiNg: The activity that takes the playground game of tag to the next level, but within rolling countryside. See Perthshire Paintball www. uad bikiNg: A cross between an off-road car and a scrambler bike, quad biking could have been developed with Perthshire’s rugged landscape in mind. See Scottish Quads at



Water world: Perthshire has more kayaking than you can shake a paddle at

throws at you. See Nae Limits at


ordic WalkiNg: Get fit while enjoying the countryside. This activity claims to help with weight loss and endurance. For tuition visit www.breathingspace


rieNteeriNg: All you need for this pursuit is a map, a compass, a bit of energy and the determination to tick off all the checkpoints. See the website at www.

iver buggiNg: Climb aboard your inflatable “bug” – a one-man inflatable armchair boat – and navigate white water cascades, eddies and rapids. See Splash White Water Rafting at


kydiviNg: For the ultimate adrenaline buzz. Try static line, tandem jumping or freefall. See www.


ree climbiNg: Enjoy tree climbing as part of a multiactivity day or choose archery, shooting or rock climbing/ abseiling. See www.cairnwell mountain

family Munro experience. See munros/ben-vorlich-loch-earn


akeboardiNg: A little like water skiing but on a mono-board, and a little like surfing, only you’re pulled along by a high-speedboat. Give it a go at Lochearnhead. See


treme: Old car and tractor tyres are used to make special “tubers” for a dodgem ride down River Tummel. See Extreme Element at www.exele


omPiNg: Join the Cateran Yomp and raise funds for charity. See Page 3 or www.sol


orbiNg: Grab an unsuspecting pal and climb inside a huge inflatable sphere before tumbling down a hillside. Has to be experienced to be believed. See www.


ltimate: Aberfeldy-based Ultimate Limits offers white water rafting, canyoning, wake boarding, kayaking or climbing. See


orlich: Here is your chance to bag one of the easiest of Scotland’s 283 Munros. It’s difficult to beat for a first

Resort to a life of luxury after day of wild pursuits Fiona russell AFTER a day of fun in Scotland’s great outdoors most families and couples are looking for some comfort and relaxation. Top of the most-wanted list is highquality accommodation, a tasty meal and a bit of pampering. At Moness Resort, set amid a 35-acre woodland estate and near the popular tourist town of Aberfeldy, this is exactly what is on offer. It provides first-class, selfcateringaccommodationaswellas hotel rooms, and aims to provide comfortable surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere for people to “come home to”. Jean Kilpatrick of Moness Resort says: “There are still some people for whom camping and bunkhouses are their accommodation of choice after a day of outdoor adventure. However, we find that most people don’t want this so much anymore. “In our experience, more and more families and couples are looking to enjoy their days walking, cycling or on a range of adventure activities but with the promise of luxury afterwards.” Moness Resort is only a 90minute drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow and boasts a range of self-catering apartments suitable for sleeping four, six or eight people. There are 26 hotel rooms that have recently under-

home comforts: Moness Resort gone extensive refurbishment, and guests can also make use of the refurbished leisure complex, including swimming pool and several spa treatment rooms. A recent addition is a drying room, where wet clothes and muddy boots can be left overnight to dry out ready for the next day. The picturesque estate includes a putting green and a duck pond, both popular with younger families. Meanwhile, for couples, families with older children or groups of friends, Moness can book activities such as quad biking, Land Rover and walking safaris and whitewater rafting. Kilpatrick adds: “There are also numerous walks and cycle routes close to Moness and guests only need to ask for advice about longer distance hikes or bike rides in Perthshire. “More walking groups and cycling clubs are basing themselves here because it is so convenient for accessing a wealth of trails and routes across the region.”

Self catering in style

and 25% off any family break*

Unwind at the fabulous Moness Resort in Aberfeldy (Under two hours drive from Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow or Edinburgh) and enjoy a memorable stay in one of our 4-star cottages.

15%Off all beauty treatments

Set in 35 acres of spectacular countryside, it’s a great setting for the whole family! Enjoy the natural beauty of Perthshire; local attractions include the iconic Birks of Aberfeldy and picturesque Loch Tay. Or add some excitement to your holiday by trying some of the popular activities such as highland safaris, white water rafting, quad bikes and much more! All cottage guests have full use of the Resort’s facilities including 2 restaurants and a leisure and spa centre with swimming pool.

To claim your Scotland on Sunday reader discount

book now on 0845 330 2838

quoting SOS2703 or visit *Minimum 3 day breaks. Includes weekends. Offer closes 30/04/11.

March 27, 2011




MARCH 27 2011


Giving you the inside edge Perthshire now plays host to some of the most exciting and innovative home-design companies outside of London. And they have chosen the area to base their business in order to benefit from its central location within Scotland. We showcase some of the best the area has to offer, with unusual products, high-end brand names and excellent service.

Pat Renson Interiors PAt prides herself on keeping abreast of trends without being trend driven. As a designer she is passionate, committed and very hands on. Competitively priced, and aware of the constraints of the current economic climate, her retail stores in Auchterarder and Arbroath stock a range of unusual accessories, furnishings, and lighting. Stockists of Romo, Baker Lifestyle, James Brindley, Mulberry, Zinc Fabrics, Osbourne and Little, Designers Guild, Ralph Lauren, and Moon’s plaids, her shops are full of quirky homewares. Here you will find everything from Clockhouse’s antler chandeliers straight from the design shows of Paris, to locally woven Isle

Spirit of Wood

Mill fabrics. Pat has a wealth of experience in both the commercial and residential fields. Her signature style is relaxed, classic and timeless – with a mix of old and new being what she does best. there is an initial consultation fee for home visits, which is refundable

from purchases. the online store at allows you to shop for the best and most up-to-date accessories and furnishings without leaving your home. n Pat Renson Interiors is at 183 High Street, Auchterarder, and Unit 6, Old Fishmarket Quay, Arbroath, Telephone 01764-660 700.

One of Perthshire’s finest furniture suppliers, Spirit of Wood sells a host of unique and unusual home accessories and gift ware for all occasions. the showrooms display everything from candlesticks to furniture in a welcoming and homely environment – with a log burner, exposed beams and a sweeping glass roof adding to the ambience of the store and the overall shopping experience. the company has many loyal customers throughout the UK, who visit this destination store time and time again to soak up the atmosphere, relax, shop and enjoy a coffee in the snug coffee room. there are plenty

of leather sofas, the height of urban chic,and reclining chairs nestled between reclaimed wooden products from Indonesia and the Far east. Choose from table lamps, floor lamps, metal wall art, leather storage trunks and quirky wooden root planters to complete your look. Whether your home is contemporary or rustic, Spirit of Wood will have something which fits the bill and adds that special touch. As with most wood products, the accessories you will find here are completely unique as each will have its own natural lines, colour and finish, so you can be sure you will be buying something very special. n Spirit of Wood is at Mains of Murthly, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Telephone 01887-829 899.

Perthshire’s Finest Furniture Store

Step Inside Now - Virtual Tour: A spectacular array of the most fantastic home accessories and gift ware GRAND STYLES FINE DESIGNS

Mains of Murthly Aberfeldy Perthshire PH15 2EA 01887 829899 Open 10am to 5pm. Closed Mondays in March.



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Callum Walker Interiors

The Bathroom Company If you are looking for a bathroom which is just a little bit different then head to the showroom of The Bathroom Company in Perth, which is the exclusive supplier of Keuco, Imperial Bathrooms, Villeroy & Boch, Dornbracht and Stonearth. Its 4,500-sqft showroom is the largest in Perthshire, and the shopping experience is full of inspirational ideas, with 50 displays offering choices to suit all tastes. Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and professional, and they are committed to finding the best products to suit the customers’ requirements. The room displays are lifestyle-led and provide a realistic representation of how products will look when they are installed. At The

Bathroom Company, the focus is on good customer service. The installation service that the company offers is secondto-none and is clearly what today’s customer wants – it has been shortlisted twice, as the only Scottish finalist in a UK bathroom showroom competition and in the Master Retailer competition. Its popularity is also apparent in the number of repeat customers, not only in the domestic market, but also in the commercial sector. There is a dedicated design area with refreshments, DVDs and toys to keep the children happy while parents are busy.

Strathearn Stone and Timber

n The Bathroom Company’s showroom is at 32 Leonard Street, Perth, Telephone 01738-440 333.

Exclusive Brands • Contemporary Design • Skilled Craftmanship

A Scottish based award winning studio with exclusive partnerships to Mark Wilkinson, Edwin Loxley, Valcucine & Bauformat

UK, loxely – which handcrafts all furniture in Nottingham to exacting standards – Valcucine with its Italian design and an environmental edge, and Bauformat with German quality and an eye

STRAThEARN Stone and Timber continues to go from strength to strength with some of the most innovative and exquisite products in the market at its showroom at forteviot – and they must really be seen to be appreciated. The new showroom houses some of the best timber and natural stone products you will find anywhere in the UK, laid out in a relaxed environment with expert advice on hand to help choose the right product for your project. The range is updated constantly, with new products being introduced regularly. As with all natural products, the selection of antique oak flooring in varying

for detail. Callum Walker can undertake individual interiors projectsfor every area of the home. Quality is of the highest standard with no compromise to design or practicality. A visit to their showroom – set out in inspirational roomsets and with a welcoming environment – will have you wanting to refit your whole home. Even with a design team on hand to help, you will still find it hard to choose from the range of stunning products on offer. n Callum Walker is at Ruthvenfield Road, Inveralmond, Perth, Telephone 01738-638 822.

colours as well as limestone, travertine, marble, slate, and quartz, is beautiful but practical and durable and never dates no matter where it is laid, whether the look be contemporary or traditional. The company also offer a range of beams, exterior flagstones and solid exterior and interior doors handcrafted to meet customer requirements. for some inspirational ideas on how to transform your home, a visit to the showroom is an absolute must. The company also offers an installation service or can supply only. n Strathearn Stone and Timber is at Forteviot, Perthshire, Telephone 01764-684 836.

Nothing but the best

Ruthvenfield Road Inveralmond Perth PH1 3EE

Opening Hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5.00pm Saturday 10am - 4.30pm

01738 638822

March 27, 2011

CAllUM Walker Interiors merges innovative design and the best contemporary furniture. To ensure that standards are met and finishes are to the highest standard, the company has its own handpicked and highly experienced installation fitters. It therefore manages each project from consultation to completion. The company also stocks an exciting range from top kitchen designers and their showroom is regularly updated to house the latest in furniture, finishings and appliances. Choose from Mark Wilkinson, who is at the forefront of classic design in the

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March 27, 2011

Perth Escape - 27 March 2011  

The Scotsman recently published a travel and things-to-do guide to Perthshire - Fiona Russell ( was asked to...