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November 2020

8 Best Places to See the Autumn Colours in Perthshire

A Fishy Story

Birnam: Bliss for Bibliophiles

What to Read this Winter

Fall in Love with Rainy Days

Contents 8 Best Places to See the Autumn Colours in Perthshire


The Value of Advice


Fresh, Local and Fabulous at Brasserie Ecosse


Struan Homes Introduce Their Stunning New Development, ‘The Old Bowling Green’ in Crieff


A Fishy Story


Creative Perthshire: Roberta Pederzoli


Birnam: Bliss for Bibliophiles


Getting Through the Winter with GrowBiz


Fall in Love with Rainy Days


The Perthshire Whisky Club: Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt


Digital is Best!


Retro Recipes from the Brasserie Ecosse


Experience Nature’s Playground with Perthshire Adventure


Perambulations Around Perth


What to Read this Winter


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ell, October was quite a topsy-turvy month and it seems uncertain how November will go. At the time of writing, Scotland is due to introduce its new five level system for controlling Covid-19, but at the same time there is some suggestion of a possible national lockdown. So it’s difficult to know where we stand and to make plans, which has made this a challenge of a magazine to produce. However, I’m really pleased with how our little regular team of two have managed to pull together another gorgeous issue, with so much variety and thought put in that there’ll be plenty for everyone, no matter what. Of course, it goes without saying that we all need to follow the restictions that are put in place, but we have also tried our best to find a good balance when it comes to supporting our local businesses, who are

going through such a tough time. So revel in stunning autumnal photography and plan your own walk or drive, or stay snuggled at home with a great book. Go and spot the salmon leaping, or just read about them; have a wander around Birnam or shop for jewellery online. Have mocktails at a local restaurant (if open) or drink whisky at home; go kayaking with Perthshire Adventure or find an indoor rainy day activity idea, go out for coffee and cake or stay in and make a restaurant quality dessert. It’s up to you! Or, in the event of a complete lockdown similar to what we experienced earlier in the year, please consider shopping locally online, buying gift vouchers or making advance bookings in order to support local, and enjoy the beautiful autumnal photography in this issue. Whatever you end up doing this month, and however things turn out, though, please do stay safe.


Best Places to See the Autumn Colours in Perthshire

Nathan and Abi recommend their favourite autumn destinations and share some stunning photos! Autumn is arguably the season in which Perthshire looks its best. The ‘big tree country’ really comes into its own when every one of those trees is a slightly different but glorious shade of red, orange, brown, gold or evergreen, and the ground is carpeted with bright leaves in corresponding colours.

for the outdoors, others are struggling to enjoy anything. For me, autumn this year has an additional comfort, in reminding me that the seasons still change and life still goes on. The beauty of nature can inspire me with the knowledge that there are bigger things out there than just myself.

In this article we’ve come up with a few of our favourite places to see the autumn colours in Perthshire and made sure that there’s a variety of different ways you can see them, whether for a short walk, longer walk, a drive, or But, like everything this year, it’s not simply through the page if this magexactly a normal autumn and it’s like- azine—whatever you feel comfortable ly to feel a bit different for everyone. with. And of course it really goes withMaybe some of us can’t get out and en- out saying, but please abide by whatjoy it as much as we would normally, ever the current restrictions are at the others have extra time or inclination time. But have fun too!

The Hermitage No list of autumn walks in Perthshire is complete without mentioning the Hermitage. It’s a beautiful, manageable walk for all the family that can be as long or as short as you like and there’s lots of interesting things to see. And of course, the trees are spectacular. However, please be aware that because of this it can be very busy at this time of year, so won’t always be the best option for everyone. If you drive into the car park and it’s full, you might be better off continuing a few miles up the road to our next suggestion... The Black Spout This is a steep but short walk from the town of Pitlochry up to a lovely viewpoint over a waterfall with an abundance of beautiful trees. The advantage of this walk is you can get yourself coffee and cake or lunch in Pitlochry afterwards, which has an abundance of takeaways and cafes with outdoor seating. Or indoor seating if you’re comfortable with that. Loch Dunmore and Faskally Woods If you like the idea of visiting Pitlochry, but steep uphill walks aren’t your thing, try the circuit around Loch Dunmore in the Faskally Woods. Normally this is where the Enchanted Forest would be being held at this time of year, but unfortunately it’s not taking place this season for obvious reasons. But the pretty walk just a mile or so outside the town can still be enjoyed and the well maintained paths and flat surface makes it a great option for anyone with reduced mobility. Garry Bridge The scene of many extremely popular autumnal Scotland shots, the Garry Bridge near Killiecrankie makes a wonderful viewpoint to look out over this narrow gorge surrounded by trees in all shades. There’s a car park just next to it, so if you fancy a one minute stroll rather than a walk, this could well be the spot for you. And if you want, you can continue along the picturesque road past Queen’s View to Tummel Bridge and from there choose to go on to Rannoch or loop back towards Aberfeldy.

Glen Lyon Ideal if you want a longer drive down a tree-lined glen, Glen Lyon is perfect if you’d rather not really get out of the car. It’s a very long glen, but about halfway along the trees thin out and then give way to moorland, so you don’t need to go all the way down unless you want to. Of course, you might struggle to find somewhere to turn around, even if you can tear yourself away from all that stunning scenery. Kenmore If you want to gaze at scenery but don’t want to walk or drive much, then Kenmore is the destination for you. Take a flask of coffee, park up next to the loch and drink in that view (and the coffee), surely one of the best in the country. If you’re feeling especially energetic, you could go for a wander along the beach. Acharn Falls If you’re out near Aberfeldy and Kenmore, the Acharn Falls along south Loch Tayside is a great destination for reasonable walkers. It’s fairly steep and up a rocky track, so wear robust shoes, but the view is definitely worth the climb! It’s not an especially long walk either, taking around 15 minutes to get to the falls. The Birks of Aberfeldy It’s fitting that, having started with the Hermitage, we finish with another rightly famous Perthshire walk. This walk is slightly longer than the others if you do the full circuit—taking about 2 hours if you’re not rushing—and is steep and narrow in some places, but the scenery is spectacular the waterfall is really special once you get there, as is the view over the Tay Valley. It’s a great walk for a day out, and Aberfeldy itself has some lovely options for lunches or snacks. And, if you don’t fancy doing the full circuit, beautiful autumn colours can be seen by walking just a little way in at the entrance to the Birks. So there you have it, our top 8 places for seeing the autumn colours in Perthshire. Yes, it is a strange year and things may not be going as planned. But hopefully we have an idea to suit most people and eventualities here and, even if you can’t go and see the colours in person this autumn, at least you can get some idea of what they’re like through Nathan’s gorgeous photos.


The value of advice You work hard to support your family and enjoy life – so why not seek expert advice to ensure your wealth is being managed effectively?


ife is busy – often complicated. Families become fragmented; demands on our time increase. You’d think that advances in technology, communications and media would make life easier, but that’s not always the case – it can just increase the noise and confusion as ‘information overload’ leaves us unsure about which way to turn. We rely on experts to help us or point us in the right direction: if our car breaks down, we see a mechanic; if we get toothache, we visit the dentist; if our body hurts, we consult a doctor. The same should also be true of our finances. Why wouldn’t we seek the advice of experts to ensure that it’s being managed at the most effective time and in the most effective way?

Changes in legislation and tax regimes, coupled with increased choices in financial products, all need expert knowledge Our advice proposition centres around you – a relationship-based, long-term approach focusing on understanding your motivations, needs and aspirations. Only then can we recommend products and investments that work in synergy

Graham Smith

with each other and match your attitude to risk. But of course, ‘the value of advice’ can be subjective and mean different things to different people. For some, ‘value’ can be found in the relinquishing of the burden and worry; for others, it’s knowing that their investments are being professionally managed and working towards achieving their goals. However you define ‘value’, you can rest assured that we’re here to support and guide you on every step of your financial journey. At St. James’s Place, we focus on achieving and maintaining a thorough understanding of your financial needs and aspirations. We believe passionately that the best wealth management service is provided through personalised, face-toface advice. We offer investments, with opportunities to grow your wealth and protect it against inflation, and a broad range of funds to choose from to help you build an appropriate portfolio. Regardless of your life stage, it’s also important to receive the right advice on your pension requirements. We can help you make the most of retirement opportunities, whether you’re an individual or a business.

We also specialise in providing effective solutions to meet your insurance and protection needs. Whether you require life cover or advice on Inheritance Tax, St. James’s Place will offer you the right products and services to suit you and your family. Whether you are remortgaging, downsizing, or a first-time buyer, St. James’s Place can offer advice on a wide range of mortgages. We also have access to a range of banking solutions.

We will take the time to discuss your finances and find ways of making your money work harder for you Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and the value may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.


Financial Adviser

SCOTT JAMES & ASSOCIATES Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management Tel: 01250 870802 | 07375 492593 Email: graham.smith@sjpp.co.uk www.scottjameswealthmanagement.co.uk The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group's website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The 'St. James's Place Partnership' and the titles 'Partner' and 'Partner Practice' are marketing terms used to describe St. James's Place representatives. SJP12236 V1 (07/20)

Making the right decisions can be stressful at the best of times, but we are here to help. Whatever’s on your mind, just ask.

SCOTT JAMES & ASSOCIATES Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management

Graham Smith BEng DipPFS Financial Adviser Tel: 01250 870802 | 07375 492593 Email: graham.smith@sjpp.co.uk www.scottjameswealthmanagement.co.uk The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group's website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The 'St. James's Place Partnership' and the titles 'Partner' and 'Partner Practice' are marketing terms used to describe St. James's Place representatives.

SJP12026 V1 (04/20)

Fresh, Local and Fabulous at

Brasserie Ecosse

Nathan and Abigail review the delicious Brasserie Ecosse in Dundee


n these days of constantly changing covid regulations, it’s hard for restaurants to stay open. At the time of writing, indoor restaurants in Scotland—excluding the central belt—were required to close at 6pm and not serve any alcohol, in addition to the now standard rules on masks, social distancing, etc. However, their resilience, commitment to safety and adaptability continually amazes us and this was especially evident when we reviewed Brasserie Ecosse in Dundee. In many ways, Brasserie Ecosse is particularly well set up for dealing with the covid restrictions. A large building, which was apparently once an indoor market, it has two entrances— one in and one out—and lots of space for well spread out tables. The cool industrial vibe feels more hygienic in these strange times, with everything easily cleanable. And, in a move I applaud, the skilled bar staff now offer a selection of mocktails in place of the alcoholic drinks they aren’t currently allowed to serve. A menu of these is on

the table when you sit down. I order the pink margarita and am so pleasantly surprised! It looks and tastes super special and I don’t actually miss my usual gin and tonic at all. The charming waitress who takes our drink order also explains that the menu is slightly reduced due to the current situation and kindly takes us through it. Luckily, all of our choices are still available! She also explains a few of the measures they are taking, such as all the menus being freshly printed for each customer. For our starters, Nathan has ordered the smoked salmon tartare and I’ve ordered a ham hock terrine. They are both so beautiful when they turn up that it almost seems a shame to tuck in. But not to try them would be an even bigger shame. My ham hock is salty and succulent and so compressed that when you cut into it the amount of ham it contains seems to defy the laws of physics. It comes with tangy pineapple gel, mustard mayonnaise and what I think is air-fried crackling. It’s perfect with the generous bread basket side we’ve ordered. Nathan’s salmon tartare is slightly unexpectedly topped with a quail egg. That’s the fun of this menu—it’s just vague enough so you don’t know exactly what you’re getting and have to put you’re trust in the chef, who is definitely worthy of it.

“They are both so beautiful when they turn up that it almost seems a shame to tuck in”

My main course is sea trout with a crab stovie and Nathan has ordered lamb with pea and lettuce ragout. The emphasis on fresh Scottish ingredients here is truly evident. By this point I’m actually feeling sorry for the passersby, that they aren’t also eating at Brasserie Ecosse—especially those that get to see our beautiful plates. The restaurant has put a lot of thought into making this a really special experience and they’ve even recommended some non-alcoholic wines that will go with our main courses. To accompany his lamb, Nathan is given a non-alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon and I’m given a Riesling. I’m so impressed with the thought and care this venue has put in to making the dining experience as normal as they can. And everything is perfect. My crab stovie tastes more of crab than a crab, the sea trout is flaky with the crispiest of crispy skin, the vanilla veloute is a revelation and the sharp non-alcoholic white wine continually refreshes my palate. After this experience I actually hope some of these options will stick around after the restrictions ease, so that drivers and non-drinkers can continue to enjoy them. Nathan’s lamb is both a rump cut and a pulled shoulder, both perfectly cooked and full of flavour. He also says I have to mention the onion rings, which he’s ordered as a side, and gives as his opinion that they’re the best ever. I would say more about his dish, but the food has gone before I have chance to try it, which, however, tells its own story. Dessert for me is the selection of homemade ice creams and sorbets—I was particularly excited to try the cornflake ice cream and the champagne sorbet. There’s also a chocolate ice cream, which normally isn’t my favourite but wins me over with the amount of rich chocolate, and a raspberry sorbet, which matches the chocolate perfectly. The champagne sorbet turns out to be really fragrant and delicate, but my favourite is undoubtedly the smooth, thick and oh so creamy cornflake ice cream.

Nathan has the salted caramel creme brûlée with chocolate chip shortbread, which doesn’t really need selling, does it? We all know that’s going to be an indulgent delight. But it’s still a surprise, with Nathan taking one mouthful and then telling me: “you’ve got to try this!” So I do and it’s sublime. It’s the best creme brûlée that either of us have ever tried, and we’ve eaten a few! In addition to those two puddings, we are kindly offered a taste from the new season menu, coming soon. It’s a baked parsnip and chocolate mousse with some more of that decadent cornflake ice cream on the side. Normally I don’t like parsnip, but in this dessert it’s wonderful. At the end of our meal, we are offered a non-alcoholic espresso martini. It’s a really special way to end and rounds everything off perfectly. It’s delicious too and we both say we wouldn’t know it had no alcohol in it. We are also asked if we’d like to try their vegan chocolate dessert, but are forced to refuse because we couldn’t eat another thing. But it this shows so much pride in what they make here, such eagerness to share their creations, such enthusiasm for what they do. This is also very evident in the brief tour we are given after our meal, with even the cider usually sold being carefully selected from a local producer. The decor too is the product of much thought and attention. And it’s very evident. It’s so hard for restaurants at the moment, but places like Brasserie Ecosse are trying so hard and doing so well in keeping everyone safe but also ensuring they have an amazing experience. In this new normal there is something to be said for getting on with life (within the regulations) to the extent that we personally feel comfortable and safe. And our lunch here was one of the most enjoyable things we’ve done since March. Yes, they’ve had to make adjustments. But this is the best I’ve seen it done, and it’s also the most relaxed I’ve felt at any venue since the spring. Part, if not all, of the credit for that must of course go to the management and staff. As Nathan remarks, there’s a kind of excitement for hospitality, a commitment to making sure you’re looked after and having a great time, no matter in what circumstances. Above the bar, and on the website, it says ‘Arrive as a guest and leave as a friend’ and the atmosphere and service lives up to that entirely. So, in conclusion, if you’re in Dundee, or when you’re able to travel there again, perhaps to see the Mary Quant exhibition at the Q&A or for a little bit of shopping, please visit Brasserie Ecosse. In fact, make a booking and work those other things into your visit instead of the other way round. You’ll really be missing out if you don’t!



Struan Homes introduce their stunning new development, ‘The Old Bowling Green’ in Crieff A luxurious new development at the heart of the bustling market town of Crieff in Perthshire offers the very best in contemporary luxury and eco-conscious living.


in a local community setting to flourish and enhance well-being at whatever their stage in life.” Heritage and Natural Beauty

The Old Bowling Green development is just a short walk from the main high street in Crieff and access to a wide range of shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. The area has first-rate state and private schools to choose from including the town’s most famous resident, Ewan McGregor’s alma mater, Morrisons Academy. Just 18 miles west of Perth city, it enjoys excellent transport links by road and rail and is a 60-minute Struan Homes Development Director, Stewart Mel- drive from Edinburgh airport. rose, said: “We chose the site for The Old Bowling Green development in Crieff for a number of rea- There are a number of leisure pursuits to choose from; sons; its superb location at the centre of this thriv- for the outdoor enthusiast, golfer or those looking to ing historic community, close to a rich and diverse explore this popular tourist town’s heritage as a wellset of amenities, schools, and commutable transport ness retreat as well as its abundance of public parks options plus the wider benefits of living with such and green spaces. Crieff as the capital of Strathearn is beautiful scenery on your doorstep. We wanted to also home to one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, the build high quality homes that would suit a number Glenturret, as well as Scotland’s oldest lending library, of clients; from first-time buyers to new families, Innerpeffray, a treasure trove of valuable literature downsizers and retirees, all looking for a new home from the medieval and early modern period. et in beautiful grounds with views to the stunning surrounding landscape, The Old Bowling Green development offers a secure and niche community of flexible homes within Crieff ’s town centre conservation area, with a choice of 10 stylish mews apartments and 4 spacious detached villas.

Strong, Safe and Sustainable Design For Living Designed by award-winning architects :thatstudio, the development epitomises this practice’s ethos of design benefiting our everyday life and civic environment. Sleek and minimalist in form, the properties display a simple consistent aesthetic with mono pitched roofs, slate cladding and bay windows, while the shared street surface encourages pedestrian priority to respect its local setting.

spaces, large bedrooms, and capacious storage with options to create home office facilities. The premium kitchen is supplemented with a separate utility room, while double bedrooms benefit from en-suite facilities introducing a clever Jack and Jill family bathroom. These light, airy rooms open out onto rural splendour with glass walls and patio doors in the villas leading to private gardens, while the mews apartments enjoy thoughtfully landscaped attractive garden grounds, maintained to the highest standard by a factoring company.

Each villa and apartment within the development are constructed to the highest standards and speci- Locality and Community fication using cutting edge materials and innovative technology to create a luxurious, energy efficient, Stewart Melrose added, “Recent research by online property portals has indicated that house buyers are low carbon and sustainable home. looking to escape crowded cities and larger towns. The Incorporating a modern adaptation of the tradition- challenges of this unprecedented year have sparked al, robust European clay wall building block ensures a renewed interest in the importance of localisation excellent thermal properties and superior insulation, and the benefits of civic support close to home, while to produce a breathable and healthy living environ- many people are reassessing their work-life priorities. ment that is both acoustically and energy efficient as Crieff has much to offer in terms of positive lifestyle well as fire resistant. In addition, under-floor heating, benefits, a lively town centre and access to abundant ultra-efficient double glazing, A-rated gas condensing green spaces and clean rural air. For those clients boilers and solar panels compliment these low carbon, looking to relocate, our spacious apartments and villas are designed to be flexible and adaptable to changlow maintenance and low running cost properties. ing home working patterns with optional office space, superfast broadband, excellent parking facilities and Bespoke Live-in Luxury fit for future E.V. charging stations.� The flawless interiors and bespoke finishes highlight the uncompromising standards of this experienced The Old Bowling Green can be found at McGlashan developer, complete with Ponnighaus kitchens, Sie- Gardens, Crieff PH7 3FF. mens appliances, Vado brassware and Scudo bath- For further information, please contact Estate Agents, rooms. Both mews apartments and detached villas are Irving Geddes, to arrange viewing on 01764 653 771 at flexible in layout, featuring generous open plan living www.irvinggeddes.co.uk.

THE OLD BOWLING GREEN Contempory luxury in Perthshire A unique collection of sleek and stylish mews apartments and detached villas at the heart of the historic and bustling market town of Crieff

Selling Agent

www.irvinggeddess.co.uk property@irvinggeddes.co.uk 25 West High Street Crieff, PH7 4AU

Please call Irving Geddes for more information on:

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A Fishy Story In this article Nathan Shepherd shares some photos of salmon running the waterfalls of Perthshire and gives some insights into these magnificent creatures.


ne of the joys of Perthshire in autumn is undoubtedly those magical riverside moments when a salmon leaps out of the water next to you, often then falling back down to where it came from with a resounding plop of failure. But sometimes it makes the leap and we feel pleased for it. Even more so when we appreciate just how much the salmon has been through to get there. In fact, at The Perthshire Magazine it’s a core belief of ours that a little bit of extra knowledge of the natural world surrounding us really increases our enjoyment of it. So

enough flapping about—let’s discuss the life cycle of an Atlantic salmon. Newly hatched Atlantic salmon are without scales at first—they start to form when the fish reaches about 3cm in length. Scales grow at about the same speed as the fish itself and a salmon will have the same number of scales for most of its life. The salmon progresses through the alevin stage, when it stays in the breeding ground, to fry, when it leaves the breeding ground and begin to actively hunt, to parr—when it prepares to migrate to the Atlantic.

“They move very fast so you have to be patient to get a photo with a salmon actually within frame!�

The salmon will spend usually up to four years in the river it hatched in, or until it’s about 15cm long. A this point its appearance alters and behaviour changes— it begins to swim with the current instead of against it. With these changes, the parr become smoult and migrate to the sea. Once large enough they return to their native river to spawn. Some salmon return to the river they were hatched in after just one year at sea, these are called grilse. Others spend 2-3 or more years at sea and return as larger fish. The grilse normally weighs somewhere between 3-6 lbs and enters the river system in the summer, the multi-sea-year

fish run the river in the spring and autumn and, in the Tay river system, often weigh more than 20 lbs, and double that is not unheard of. Normally, they only do this once or twice during their life cycle because of the strain it puts on them—most salmon only spawn once. All salmon return to the very river that they were born in, often migrating thousands of miles to return to the same tiny burn they left several years ago. Their ability to navigate with such accuracy is one of the wonders of the natural world.

These photos were taken at the Buchanty Spout, a waterfall on the River Almond. Salmon cease eating in fresh water, so it’s unclear why they will take an angler’s salmon fishing fly, although there are some possible explanations, some being that it takes the fly out of aggression or simply out of the instinct it has to feed. They also change colour the longer they are in the river system. Silver when first coming from the sea, they gradually change into a reddish brown. This is likely the reaction of the freshwater on their scales, but is also helpful for camouflage. The males in particular can often turn bright colours and they also develop a hook on their jaw as they get closer to breeding time. If you would like to see salmon jumping a fall then

there are some great places to spot them here in Perthshire. These photos were taken at the Buchanty Spout, a waterfall on the River Almond. The Hermitage in Dunkeld is another excellent location to see some salmon attempting to run the falls. Both are great places to try to capture a photo of these fantastic creatures, although they move very fast so you have to be patient to get a photo with a salmon actually within frame! We hope this article has taught you just a little something you didn’t know about salmon, which might help to deepen your enjoyment the next time you see one leaping.

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Creative Perthshire: Roberta Pederzoli


oberta Pederzoli from Quinta Essenza designs textured and tactile jewellery, recreating a sensation of fairy-tale elegance and enchantment by delicately brushing colours over her work: black, white and gold. Her jewellery is inspired by natural and organic shapes observed during her walks in the Scottish woodlands. Being born and raised in Italy, Roberta creates pieces where Scottish landscape inspiration and Italian style merge together. In March 2013, Roberta won a Commended Award in Fashion Jewellery (QVC Special Award) by The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council also known as the Oscar of the Jewellery Industry. Her Fire and Earth collection was displayed in the Identity Competition at Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Photo by S Castillo

Photo by S Bentley

Thanks for joining us, Roberta. First thing’s first, can you describe what it is that you create for our readers? I design and make contemporary jewellery. My work is predominantly made with precious metals using traditional techniques such as wax carving and casting. I enjoy creating contrasts by playing with texture and finishing and I find it fascinating to combine smooth and rough and polished and unpolished areas. I love how the metal oxidises and the colours fade and change, showing the mutation of time mirroring nature itself. How beautiful. How did you first get into jewellery making? My fascination with metals started a long time ago. As a child I was secretly pleased every time a temperature thermometer fell, breaking and releasing its mercury inside. Despite knowing it was dangerous, I loved playing with it, separating the mercury into little spheres and hypnotically watching them merge together. However, for many years afterwards I did not pursue any path which involved working with metals, stones, fire or soldering. It was only when I was playing with my daughter in a park in Italy, making necklaces and little crowns by joining daisies together as I used to do as a child, that I suddenly realised I wanted to learn how to make jewellery. Although it was challenging to re-train in a field where I did not have any experience or knowledge, a part of myself felt immediately comfortable and at ease. Winning a Commended Award in Fashion Jewellery by  The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council, gave me the confidence of pursuing a career in Jewellery design and manufacture, hence, Quinta Essenza was born. What a fabulous story. (But please, readers, don’t play with mercury!) Tell us a little about your creative process?  In every project there are, generally speaking, five stages: collecting information, reflecting, designing, making and adding the finishing touches. During the first stage, I gather inspiration from different sources. I feed my creativity collecting interesting shapes from nature, developing new ideas and exploring jewellery techniques. Then I need to  reflect, the second stage,  and  give time to thinking about the process. It is very useful to do something relaxing, such as going on a walk surrounded by nature. During the third stage, I start creating different designs, anticipating problems and identifying solutions. Then I start manufacturing the piece. Making jewellery, like many other jobs, requires very good problem-solving skills. During the final stage, I decide what type of texture, colour and finishing effect I am going to add. Photo by Nikki Reay

Great insight, thank you. What is the best bit about what you do? I really love the moment, after collecting all the information in the initial stage, when everything magically falls into place and results in the final design. I also enjoy the finishing stage: observing how a rough, unfinished piece, marked with tool prints and fire stains becomes a finished work. It is a very satisfying moment.   I’m sure it is. How about your biggest challenge?  I was commissioned to design and make a type of work I am less familiar with: medals. Working on a medal is different from designing your own range of jewellery. Medals are a highly symbolic means of communication, so it is paramount to carry out extended research on the symbols’ meaning. Furthermore, I had to expand my knowledge on the technical part of this project: how to attach the ribbon to the medals and how to select the right type of ribbon and box. The research was massive and, although it has been challenging, I really loved it, especially studying symbols. 

“I feed my creativity

collecting interesting shapes from nature, developing new

ideas and exploring

jewellery techniques”

Photos by Hemma Mason

Photo by S Castillo

Sounds like a fascinating project. Do you have any spired by the Perthshire surroundings and how? advice for someone who would like to learn to make jewellery making? The Scottish landscape in general and Perthshire in particular are incredible and wonderful sources of I believe it is important to develop a brand from the creativity. My jewellery is inspired by natural and orbeginning. It is not only about selling products, but ganic shapes, in particular by lichens, wood and interproviding a recognisable, pleasant and distinctive esting forms I observe during my walks. Every piece I buying experience. That requires time, but it is para- make is carefully crafted with consideration of texture mount to start from the beginning in thinking about and colour to create a unique and timeless work. what makes your business unique. It is also necessary to invest time and resources to gain a wide range of There’s so much of nature in your pieces, I love them. knowledge in different fields to have more awareness Where can our readers view or buy your work? and control over your business as well as to reduce costs. There is a lot of  support  and free workshops You can buy my jewellery on my website and, when available from organisations such as GrowBiz. How- the Covid-19 restrictions are over, during open days at ever, it is impossible to do everything to a high stand- my studio at WASPS – Creative Exchange, the former ard so it is important to search for professional help. St John’s School in Stormont Street, Perth. For other One tip is to search for people who are in tune with future exhibitions, please refer to my events page. you and understand your brand.     www.quintaessenza.co.uk That’s really good, practical advice. I think I know the answer to this next question, but are you in-

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Bliss for Bibliophiles Birnam is literally a literature-lovers dream. If you love books, and/or happen to like stunning scenery and charming villages, then you should definitely visit this autumn if you can. Abigail describes what’s in store…


ur autumn visit to Birnam started with a turn around the Beatrix Potter Garden. It turned out to be a perfect time of year for it—many flowers were still blooming and they mingled beautifully with the changing colours of the season. It’s not a big garden, but it’s very charming, with the best part of course being spotting the various Beatrix Potter characters while wandering around—look out for Jeremy Fisher, Peter Rabbit (of course), Mrs Tiggywinkle and Mr Tod the fox. While there, I heard some visitors speculating on Beatrix Potter’s connection to Birnam, eventually concluding that she must have been born there. Of course, that’s not actually the case, but she did holiday nearby as a child, staying mostly in neighbouring Dalguise but also at Eastwood House and Heathpark. It’s in Perthshire that the London-born Beatrix likely developed her love for nature and wildlife, able to roam around the countryside with her brother, Bertram, and making friends with locals—a sharp contrast to her formal life in London.

All this information and much more is detailed on boards around the Garden’s pavillion, making the visit mildly educational as well as enjoyable. Really big fans of Beatrix Potter might then want to enter the Birnam Arts Centre to view the exhibition, but everyone will want to go there for coffee and cake. This community-owned venue has been quite badly affected by the pandemic, which put an end to its conferences and live performances etc, but recently ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to keep the doors open. But it’s still likely to struggle over the coming months, especially if the current situation continues, so it’s great to support them by buying a drink and a snack. And it’s hardly a hardship—the venue is attractive and spacious, with inside and outside seating choices, and the cakes are delicious. If, after your coffee and cake, you fancy another literary treat, we highly recommend taking the short walk along the River Tay to see the Birnam Oak. This is said to be the last survivor of the Birnam Wood made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Did Shakespeare ever visit Birnam? No one knows, but it’s fun to speculate that you might be treading the same path as the great playwright himself. Book-lovers should finish their trip to Birnam with a visit to the Birnam Reader, an independent book shop just up the hill from the Birnam Arts Centre (open from 2:00 to 6:00 according to their Facebook page at the time of writing). Such a literary day should end with a bookish souvenir, and it’s another fantastic and easy way to support a small local business. Which is what we are all about at The Perthshire Magazine.




Getting Through the Winter with

GrowBiz F

or many small businesses there’s a tough winter ahead, full of uncertainty and anxiety. In view of this, GrowBiz is highlighting the types of support it can provide to help rural business owners get through. 1-1 Advice and Support: The GrowBiz team are all self-employed, so they understand what local business owners are going through. You can arrange to talk through your challenges confidentially with an experienced and friendly advisor, who can help you rethink your business strategies, access support, apply for funding and more. Learning and Networking Sessions: It can be very isolating running a business in rural Scotland, particularly during the current pandemic. GrowBiz holds regular online networking events where you can meet other like-minded business owners and hear inspiring stories. GrowBiz online learning sessions focus on helping you to up-skill in areas that are especially helpful just now, such as digital confidence. Mentoring: This award-winning programme offers an opportunity to be partnered with a trained GrowBiz mentor. Through the programme, mentees can raise their business horizons, explore new possibilities, create focused strategies and build renewed confidence. GrowBiz is the only business mentoring programme to be accredited by the Scottish Mentoring Network. REDS: REDS is an exciting initiative led by GrowBiz to promote and support business, social enterprises and the self-employed in Scotland’s rural economy. Sign up for the REDS directory and the recently launched REDS Card, a gift card designed to boost spending in Scotland’s towns and villages, with the card’s value redeemable in participating rural businesses. Find out more: www.reds.scot See all the types of support that GrowBiz provides at www.growbiz. co.uk or contact connect@growbiz.co.uk

“REDS is an exciting initiative led by GrowBiz to promote and support business, social enterprises and the self-employed in Scotland’s rural economy”

Fall in Love with

Rainy Days It’s easy to love autumn on crisp, bright days when Perthshire is at its best, but it must be admitted that we get plenty of dark and damp ones at this time of year too. In this article, Abigail shares her tips for enjoying rainy autumn days.


m writing this having just come in from the garden on a crisp, sunny day. Wrapped in a blanket, I’ve had hot chocolate and spiced carrot cake with a friend and it was, as she commented, the epitome of autumnal hygge. This is generally the sort of scene that comes to mind when many of us think of autumn. We think of pale sunshine, crunchy leaves in varying degrees of orange or gold and real fires to keep the chill out. But it must be admitted that this is not the only type of autumn day. The day before this one was wet. And not just a bit wet—it poured all day. This is not the type of weather that’s pleasant to enjoy with the help of a blanket. Instead of crunchy leaves we get slimy ones, usually with the odd slug and snail added to make it rather risky to kick them about. And these types of days are often quite warm too, meaning that the comforting real fire is unnecessary. So how can we enjoy this type of autumn day?

“Coffee with coffee and walnut cake or hot buttered toast and tea are perfect rainy day treats” 1. Warm lighting It might be too warm for a fire on many wet autumnal days, but we can still evoke a similar atmosphere by lighting some candles and turning on table lamps. Wet days are usually also dark, so instead of trying to dispel that with harsh overhead lighting, this softer approach makes your home feel cosy and inviting on an otherwise driech afternoon. 2. A cosy corner Carve out some time in the day to make yourself what can only really be described as a den or a nest. This is especially helpful if, like many of us at the moment, you’re working from home. If that’s the case, there’s no need to work at a sterile desk or uncomfortably hunched at the kitchen table. Get yourself a blanket, pile up those cushions, make yourself a whole pot of tea so you can keep topping your cup up, and put on some background music. 3. A good rainy day activity Of course, sometimes these very wet days happen at weekends and we simply don’t know what to do with ourselves and/or the kids. This often results in spending the whole day in front of a variety of screens, which isn’t actually that restful and certainly doesn’t make pleasant memories. Some ideas for better rainy day activities include baking something together, getting everyone to buy and read a book of their choice, a craft project, board games or, if you must have screens, a family movie marathon. 4. Comfort food Just as hot chocolate and spiced carrot cake is a perfect snack for a sunny autumn day, there are perfect versions for wet ones too. A mug of soup with crusty bread, coffee with coffee and walnut cake or hot buttered toast and tea. Or even, if it’s a bit later in the day, whisky and chocolate.

“Carve out some time in the day to make yourself what can only really be described as a den or a nest�

5. Embrace the rain Just because it’s not pleasant to go out doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the rain. Sometimes all it takes is a change of attitude on our part. When we think about it, the sound of falling rain is actually very soothing. We can savour the feeling of being cosy and dry while it cascades down outside. We could watch the raindrops running down the windows and even mentally race them against each other if we want to recapture some childhood memories. Or, for the really brave, just go out and splash in the puddles. It’s only water! 6. Take a long bath This is mostly for rainy days when we’ve had to go out. Sometimes we can’t just stay curled up at home in a huge jumper when the weather’s bad. We might have had to go to work, run errands, collect the kids or walk the dog. Maybe we’ve even deliberately been out for a splash, as (tentatively) suggested in the previous paragraph. If that’s the case, we are probably feeling a bit damp, chilled and uncomfortable. But the beauty of this is that it’s so nice when you get comfy again! Take a long hot bath or shower, put some fleecy pjs on and go pour yourself a beverage of your choice. So, there’s my 6 tips for enjoying a damp autumn as well as a crisp one. So far, autumn 2020 has been a mixture of both, and I definitely encourage getting out and about if we can and enjoying those crunchy leaves and beautiful colours as much as possible. But do remember that a wet autumn day doesn’t have to be a wash out.

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Arran 10 Year Old Single Malt In this article Nathan reviews a bottle of whisky that his wife picked and explains why it’s the perfect autumnal whisky, despite it not actually being all that special.


really like the autumn. It’s possibly my favourite time of year. I like it for the season itself: I like the autumn colours, cooler weather, darker evenings and the start of the conker season. I also like it because it’s a time of change, and the gradual decline of summer into winter makes me excited every year. With the changing of the seasons comes some other exciting changes too. Out goes the salads of summer and in come the hearty stews of autumn. Beer becomes darker, tee-shirts become woollen pullovers. And, so it would seem, whisky changes too. In the summer I like a lighter whisky, something from Speyside that has been matured in an ex-bourbon cask. Something light, floral and, well, summery. Those sorts of whiskies don’t seem that appropriate in the winter though—I like a hefty malt with a huge wallop of flavour in the winter months. If autumn is a period of change weather-wise, then it certainly is whisky- wise too. Something that’s not too light or too heavy is called for. Enter the Arran 10 year old single malt.

Now, I’d be lying if I said that I’d chosen this whisky to drink this month. The wife picked it. Abi had read some article or other about the Arran distillery and said that she wanted to try it. So I did the decent thing and bought a bottle. This act is not as selfless as it might initially appear—I want a new lens for my Leica camera (Leica gear is eye-wateringly expensive) and to get this purchase approved by the head of finances I’m going to need all the bargaining chips that I can get my grubby little hands on. The fact that I’ve bought her this bottle will inevitably form part of the negotiations. I will still probably lose, but this token act might stop it being a rout. One can only hope. This bottle fits into the season of autumn nicely. It’s not too light and yet not quite a heavy winter single malt either. The way it’s been presented has to be applauded too—it’s bottled at 46% ABV, has an age statement and hasn’t had its guts ripped out by chill-filtration. Although I suspect it has been filtered to a certain extent, as there’s no perceivable haze. The nose starts with some light spiced pineapple notes and some warm vanilla. Next comes some raisins and some buttery fudge flavours. There are also dry mineral notes along with stewed fruits and fairly sweet maltiness from the grain. The nose is extremely pleasant, smooth but not staggeringly complex.

“A nice walk to see the riot of autumnal colours followed by a dram of this whisky sat on the sofa in front of a roaring log fire is just bliss. Autumn doesn’t get much better”

The first sip starts with some sour grain notes— these are quite tart and tangy and work well with the far sweeter notes that follow. After these comes some general sweetness from the grain and some fruit notes. Most prominent are pineapple, coconut, raisins, green apples and some nuts, all wrapped up in some lovely warm, soft vanilla flavours. Behind the vanilla is some sourness and some citrus notes—these are not that well defined and have become somewhat generic. The finish is fairly long and leaves you with a slight sour dry note. The whisky is very smooth for its 46% ABV and the cask influence is high for a 10 year old whisky. Mouth feel is okay, but nothing spectacular; I did try it with some added water but didn’t really consider it an improvement as it made the whole experience tarter. So, would I recommend this whisky? Well, yes and no. I’d describe this whisky as competent, but there’s nothing here that will blow you away. All the flavours are pleasant—personally I like the pineapple notes the best—but there is nothing here that you won’t have tasted before. As a whisky its teetering on the edge of generic. But what this bottle is brilliant for is matching the season of autumn. It is a perfect autumnal dram. A nice walk to see the riot of autumnal colours followed by a dram of this whisky sat on the sofa in front of a roaring log fire is just bliss. Autumn doesn’t get much better. For that moment, and let’s all hope we have a few of them this month, it’s the perfect bottle. And my wife, Abi, really likes it too, which makes it a brilliant investment. Well, it might be if I’m allowed that new Leica lens. The Arran 10 year old single malt is widely available and cost just under £40. Please drink responsibly.

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B est! Digital is


hen we first started The Perthshire Magazine 2 and 1/2 years ago, the idea of a digital publication was fairly new. And it was a bit… well, looked down on when compared to print. People who had previously been asking excitedly about our magazine would perceptibly lose interest when we said it was digital. Some assumed that meant we were actually just a website or blog, rather than our beautiful eBook style. But we knew digital was the future and, as more and more readers grew to expect free content, print publications began to struggle. And we still passionately believe that digital is best. Here’s why: We’re consistent and relevant We’ve been publishing on the first of the month every month throughout the pandemic and haven’t had to change our operations or distribution in any way. If anything, our long-standing average of 30,000 hits per issue has increased (by ‘hit’ we mean the number of times our magazine has been viewed online). And we’ve also been able to make sure our content remains relevant in these rapidly changing times, since we are able to make edits to the magazine right up until a few days before publishing. We’re free! To read, that is. There’s so much information available on the internet that most people no longer pay for content. We don’t buy a paper in the mornings, we read a news app on our phone. We don’t buy an instruction manual, we watch a YouTube video. And we don’t buy a printed magazine, we read a blog, or a beautiful digital publication! We’re available anywhere in the world Lot’s of people who can’t make it to Scotland this year have already started planning their holidays for next year and The Perthshire Magazine is a great resource for them. We have a considerable following from the US on Facebook and the magazine itself is regularly read in over 10 different countries and reaches even more. This makes us a great option for tourist attractions, hotels and other hospitality sector businesses. You may not see an instant flood of bookings, but you will get your venue into people’s consciousness ready for when they plan their next trip.

“The best enquiries I have generated have been via my advert in The Perthshire Magazine.� Mark Tarrant Beautiful Scarves

Food photography for Brasserie Ecosse and Clare Graham of Advantage PR

We’re pioneers of design Our layouts are well thought out, clean and modern, making each article eye catching. Our informal writing style is contemporary, fun and engaging. And being digital means we can fill our pages with absolutely stunning full colour images that everyone comments on. And we can be flexible about the number of pages too—so when you invite us for a review or send us a product, you know you’re going to get lots of space and high quality photos, which we’ll even make available for use on your own website and/or social media! And we don’t charge for reviews—all we ask is that you cover the cost of the product or experience.

these options to be very effective. I would recommend the publication to any Perthshire business that wants to put itself in the spotlight.” We’re a cost-effective advertising choice We’ll level with you—it’s much cheaper to produce a digital publication than it is a print one. But we aren’t greedy—we pass those savings on to you in the form of incredibly reasonable advertising rates. That doesn’t mean we aren’t good though, as one client says:

“I am staggered at what Nathan and Abi have achieved in starting this magazine from scratch. It is Here’s what Clare Graham of Advantage PR says a wonderful piece of work with beautiful design, stunabout our reviews: ning photography and very engaging content. They are “I highly rate The Perthshire Magazine as a vehicle for a pleasure to advertise with, very accommodating and my consumer clients. Abi provides great coverage, with helpful. The bonus is that you will get the benefit of imaginative layouts and presentation. If it involves a re- the advert plus all the social media stuff on Instagram view, she does a thorough job with Nathan taking fan- which gives the advert extra exposure. tastic photographs to make your client shine. “The best enquiries I have generated have been via my “All in all, the publication is always a very engaging read advert in The Perthshire Magazine.” for the audience. Some of my clients have also placed adverts into the magazine on my recommendation, or Mark Tarrant paid for listed news items, and we have found both of Beautiful Scarves

We have a wide variety of options

We use digital features to the full

We make use of amazing digital features such as clickable links, shopping links and embedded videos. That means potential clients can click straight through to your website before they forget about you, we can feature a little shopping cart button next to your products, and that YouTube advert you spent ages on but no one is watching can play automaticalWhatever package suits you, here’s what it’s like to col- ly to our readers from our pages. laborate with us: We also put a lot of emphasis on social media, espe“The team from The Perthshire Magazine produce a cially Instagram, where we have over 3,000 followers. wonderful publication that is an insightful celebration We’ll share your advert directly to our Instagram Stoof the many people, enterprises and places of Perthshire. ries several times each month and you can also tag us They are easy to work with, really care about what they into Facebook posts you’d like us to share (where we write and are clearly committed to a top quality output. have over 2,000 followers) or ask us to retweet things We hope this grows from strength to strength and look on Twitter (almost 1,500 followers). forward to continuing to collaborate and work with Our unique way of integrating social media with such a positive and highly professional set of people.” our magazine makes us a highly influential choice. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for Simon Montador, Director your business! Highland Boundary Ltd. Businesses can work with us in lots of different ways and we have something for all budgets. You can send us a guest article or press release, an advert in a range of sizes, book a sponsored blog post, sponsored article, advertorial, review, competition or any combination of these. Click here for our price list.

perthshiremagazine@gmail.com Event photography at the Glorious Garden Party, Gleneagles, arranged through Taste Communications PR

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Retro Recipes from the Brassiere Ecosse

In honour of the Mary Quant Exhibition at the V&A— running until January 2021—Nikos Matsikas, General Manager of Brasserie Ecosse in Dundee, has created a retro 60’s cocktail, the Gimlet, whilst his Executive Chef, Scott Cameron, has delved into his old cookery books to recreate a 60s blancmange with an updated twist.

Brasserie Ecosse Gimlet Ingredients: 60ml Tanqueray 10 Gin 25ml Fresh lime juice  10ml Midori   Dash agave syrup

For the Strawberry Consommé: 250g Strawberries 80g Caster Sugar

For the Black Pepper Tuille: 80g Plain Flour 80g Icing Sugar 80g Unsalted Butter Method: 80g Egg Whites Mix ingredients in an elegant rocks glass with Pinch of Cracked Black Pepper crushed ice. Garnish with lime wedge. (At the restaurant they also add cucumber sorbet, which dis- For the Strawberry Jelly: solves slowly inside drink.) 100g Strawberry Consommé 1 sheet gelatine Vanilla Blancmange, Strawberries, Black Pepper & Basil For the Strawberry Gel: 200g Strawberry Consommé Ingredients: 2g Agar Agar For the Blancmange: 375g Milk 125g Double Cream 60g Caster Sugar 4g Iota Carrageenan 1 Vanilla Pod

For the Basil Sorbet 50g Basil 500g Water 375g Caster Sugar 35g Glucose

Brasserie Ecosse Gimlet; Vanilla Blacmange

Method: 1. To make the basil sorbet, place the water, sugar & glucose in a pot & bring to a simmer until the glucose & sugar has dissolved. Put in the fridge until chilled. Put chilled liquid in a liquidiser with the leaves of the basil & blend until smooth. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve & churn in an ice cream machine until ready & transfer to the freezer. If you don’t have an ice cream machine put the sorbet liquid in a container in the freezer & mix every half hour until frozen.

hours. The strawberries will lose all their colour as it cooks & the sugar will dissolve into the liquid that is extracted from the strawberries. When it has cooked pour the clear liquid through a fine sieve & reserve.

3. To make the strawberry jelly, take 100g of the consommé & put it into a small pot. Dissolve the gelatine sheet in a small amount of cold water until it has gone soft. Squeeze any excess water from the gelatine & add it to the consommé. Bring the consommé & gelatine to a gentle heat until the gelatine has com2. To make the strawberry consommé, slice the straw- pletely dissolved & pour into square container lined berries thinly & put into a mixing bowl with sugar. with cling film. Place in the fridge to set. Once it has Cover the bowl tightly with cling film & place over a set take the jelly out the container & cut the jelly pot of simmering water. Leave this to cook for 1 to 2 into squares or use a cutter for your desired shape.

Brasserie Ecosse is tapping into the best of 60’s style with these great recipes! 4. To make the strawberry gel, add the agar agar to the consommÊ & bring to boil. Pour this mixture into a container & place in the fridge to set & harden. Once it has set it will be very firm. Place into a liquidiser & blend until smooth or into small measuring jug & blend with a hand blender until smooth. Put the gel into a piping bag or squeezy bottle.

icon moulds or even glasses.) Pour the mixture into the moulds & chill in the fridge to set.

6. To make the black pepper tuilles, mix all the ingredients in a mixer or with a hand mixer until it is a smooth paste. Spread the mixture evenly on some parchment paper & bake at 180c for 5 minutes until golden brown. When cool break the bis5. To make the blancmange, take 10g of the sugar & cuit into shards. mix it with the carrageenan, put to side until ready. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways & scrape out To serve: the seeds, place both the pods & the seeds into a pot & Slice a strawberry finely & arranged nicely on the add the milk, cream & 50g of the sugar. Gently warm plate. Place the blancmange on top of the sliced strawthe milk while whisking continuously, when it starts berries. Pipe some of the gel onto plate & arrange to warm add the sugar & carrageenan mix & keep stir- some the jelly cubes around the blancmange. Stick the ring. The mixture will thicken as it heats then thin out shard of biscuit into blancmange & pour some of the again as it gets hotter. Bring boil while whisking then consommĂŠ into a serving jug & serve on the side for pour through a sieve into a jug. Carrageenan sets very your guest to pour themselves. quickly & will start to set even when it is hot, so have your moulds ready. (You can use dariole moulds, sil- www.brasserieecosse.co.uk


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Experience Nature’s Playground with

Perth sh i r e Adv en t ur e


erthshire Adventure, a collective of world-class outdoor activity providers, recently launched their new website, offering innovative, exciting and handpicked experiences in spectacular landscapes.

Bringing together well-known local activity providers Paddle Surf Scotland, Wee Adventures, The Canyoning Company, Outdoor Explore, Beyond Adventure and Progression Bikes, the Perthshire Adventure site offers a onestop shop to anyone looking for an exhilarating outdoor activity, whether they are wanting a family-friendly trip or an adrenaline-packed adventure. The mission of the collective is to promote Perthshire as an outstanding adventure tourism destination. The founding members live and work in the area and describe themselves as Perthshire’s biggest fans. Their extensive local knowledge really adds to the site, as they are able to recommend places to visit, stay, eat, as well as provide an outdoor experience to suit everyone. A particularly innovative aspect of the brand is its Handpicked Adventures, where each outdoor experience provider offers a unique day out combining several activities, often teaming up with another local business to enhance the trip. Guests can enjoy everything from canoes and crannogs, to kayaks, castles and coffee, to waterfalls and a watermill, bikes and a picnic, or paddle-boards and whisky. The new Perthshire Adventure website is the perfect place to direct guests and visitors to Perthshire who are looking for a really special experience that they’ll never forget. And it’s a great resource for residents to find something different too. Browse all the exciting activities on offer at www. perthshire-adventure.scot The initiative is part of the Smart Village Scotland project, powered by enterprise support organisation GrowBiz. Smart Villages are digitally connected communities, all working together to build a vibrant, creative and sustainable rural economy in Scotland. They can be based around a geographical area or, like Perthshire Adventure, a shared interest. Find out more about Smart Village Scotland at www.smartvillage.scot

Perth Perambulations Around


t The Perthshire Magazine we often head to the areas rural beauty spots for our days out and photography features. This month is a prime example, with images from the Hermitage, Acharn Falls, Glen Lyon and more. Still others are from rural towns, such as the Black Spout and the Birks of Aberfeldy. And it’s obvious why—these areas are, in our humble opinion, not just some of the most beautiful in Perthshire, or Scotland or even the UK, but possibly the entire world. Especially at this time of year. The Perthshire countryside is really at it’s best in the autumn. Having said all that, Perthshire also has its more urban areas; larger towns such as Crieff, Blairgowrie and Kinross and, of course, even a city—Perth. It’s a small city, but still technically a city. And these locations shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in the light of possible further travel restictions. Crieff and Blairgowrie are nestled in gorgeous valleys, Kinross sits on the shores of Loch Leven with its historic castle ruins and Perth—well Perth is truly still the ‘Fair City’.

This is good news for town and city dwellers. There’s no need to wait until a sunny weekend before enjoying beautiful Perthshire surroundings—a short stroll out the door during a lunch break can also provide fresh air, relaxation and scenery. Doing this regularly has been shown to be great for mental as well as physical health. It’s something I’ve tried myself too. After a morning hunched over a computer with a mile long to-do list there’s nothing quite like a bracing walk to stretch the muscles and clear the head. If this sounds like something that would improve your working week and you live or work in Perth, then we recommend the route we took along the river from the North Inch Park—with it’s fabulous views of Smeaton’s Bridge and grassy areas for sports—along the riverside path, past some of Perth’s most historic buildings, across the South Street bridge and into the charming Norie-Miller Park. Back over the bridge, look out for the quirky creatures along the walk from there, which then takes you past the intriguing Fergusson Gallery, then turn off and explore the South Inch Park and perhaps feed the ducks at the pond. The walk takes about an hour for a reasonably fit walker and has lots to see. This route is also a great way for local day visitors to explore Perth, perhaps during a visit for a little (safe) shopping with some of its independent retailers. That and a visit to one of its many cafes is a great way to support what is in fact a very lovely small city.

Winter What to Read this


ovember is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book. Cold or rainy days (or both) make the idea of settling into a cosy nook with a hot chocolate and a good page turner my idea of bliss. And I know I’m not the only one. But sometimes, although we fancy reading something, we just don’t know what. So this month we have three very different locally published books for you to to choose from, depending on what sort of thing you like to read, whether fiction, non fiction or based on a true story (which I see as a bit of both). Read on to see what takes your fancy. Or maybe they all will!

sexual slavery. The book tells the story of Suman, a nine-year-old girl who is stolen from her village in India, trafficked and taken to work in the sex industry in Amsterdam. In one of the city nightclubs, she encounters Ellie Douglas, an anti-counterfeit officer with a Scotch whisky company investigating an outbreak of alcohol poisoning. Following the murder of her colleague, Ellie attempts to rescue Suman and so begins a race against time to get her to safety.

“Set between the contrasting worlds of Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Mumbai, Diverted Traffic brings together two equally captivating heroines: the astute and ambitious Ellie, an anti-counterfeit officer working in the whisky industry; and Suman, the feisty eightFiction: Diverted Traffic by Avril year-old victim of sex-traffickers. When their worlds Duncan collide, prepare yourself for a roller-coaster journey Diverted Traffic, the newly published novel from Avril that reveals the best and worst of humanity.”— Emma Duncan, shines a much-needed light on the contin- Davie, Lecturer in Creative Writing (University of the uing international scandal of human trafficking and Highlands & Islands).

Diverted Traffic is Avril’s first novel, although she has been writing poems and short stories for most of her life. Both her working life and her personal life reflect her interests and values of human rights, with memberships of Soroptimist International and Amnesty International. Avril has been visiting Pune, Maharashtra in India regularly since 2003 to work with street children and vulnerable young people, and to help free and rehabilitate victims themselves out of sexual slavery. As part of Girlguiding UK and Trefoil Guild UK, Avril is a County Vice President of Girlguiding and a trustee of the Annie Unwin Trust.

nity archaeology project that investigated the little understood hillforts on Moncreiffe Hill, and at Castle Law between 2014-2018, telling the story of the archaeological work undertaken and the critical role members of the local community played the project. The booklet is packed with interesting details, examining the structures uncovered and the artefacts found during excavation, including the beautiful Moredun Bronze Pin—a miniature masterpiece of early Celtic art. It also discusses aspects of the construction, use and abandonment of each of the hillforts over 2,000 years ago, before bringing the different strands of eviDiverted Traffic is published by Tippermuir Books and dence together alongside information on the Iron Age is for sale here: https://tippermuirbooks.co.uk/?pro- environment and landscape to paint a picture of the duct=diverted-traffic sites in their wider, natural context. Non-Fiction: Hillforts of the Tay: Community Archaeology at Moncreiffe Hill and Castle Law, Abernethy, Perth and Kinross

The immersive Virtual Reality modelling by Smart History, University of St Andrews and the beautiful interpretative reconstructive illustrations of each site produced by Chris Mitchell are a captivating visual culmination of this work.

Published in an eye catching, extensively illustrated and accessible format, Hillforts of the Tay is the latest Hillforts of the Tay is available from the Perth and Kinrelease from Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. The ross Heritage Trust and is for sale here: www.pkht.org. booklet presents the findings from a major commu- uk/publications

Based on a True Story: Cuddies Strip by Rob McInroy

Although Cuddies Strip is a fictionalised re-telling, the details of the crime and trial are accurate to true events. The author, Rob McInroy, comes from Crieff, Perthshire. He has won a number of short-story competitions over the past four years and has appeared in a variety of magazines and publications. Cuddies Strip is his first novel.

Cuddies Strip is based on a true crime—Two innocent young sweethearts—Danny, eighteen, and Marjory, seventeen—walk home one autumn evening in the 1930s from the Cuddies Strip, a lovers’ lane on the outskirts of Perth. After a shotgun sounds and Danny collapses to the ground, Mar- Cuddies Strip is published by Ringwood Publishing and jory runs for help. She hears footsteps behind her is for sale here: https://www.ringwoodpublishing.com/ and as she tries to cross a stile she is dragged back product/cuddies-strip-pre-order-now into the fields. While we’re on the book theme, if you read our artiThe local rural police force treat Marjory with sus- cle in September on the Bookmark Festival Book of picion and make hard work of an investigation with the Year Award 2020 then we are delighted to let you no leads. It takes the combined efforts of the only know that Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce was setwo policemen to believe and support Marjory— lected out of the shortlist as the winner of the silver Inspector Victor Conoboy and new young Police bookmark designed by local silversmith Sarah Cave. Constable Bob Kelty—to conduct a dogged and determined investigation using persistence and mod- We hope that one or more of these books makes ern policing methods to pursue the offender and the perfect November read for yourself or a loved one or both. catch him before he strikes again.


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Abigail Shepherd Nathan Shepherd Nathan Shepherd Louise Roberson Becky Akel www.theperthshiremagazine.com perthshiremagazine@gmail.com 07539 621747 @perthshiremagazine @perthshiremagazine @perthshiremag https://nathanshepherd.picfair.com https://www.theperthshiremagazine.com/the-perthshire-whisky-club

All information believed to be correct at the time of publishing. The Perthshire Magazine includes some paid articles and articles for which free incentives were offered. All articles reflect the views of the writer only and are not necessarily the views of The Perthshire Magazine, nor are advertisements endorsed by them. Advertisers are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their adverts. Photos and reviews by the Perthshire Magazine are copyright to them.

Is it autumn or is it winter? Well, it’s quite hard to say actually. It still looks like autumn, but it feels like winter when you go outside early in the morning. Not that I do that very much anymore. That’s probably one of the few positive things to have come out of lockdown; I’m just not rushing about as much as I was, and certainly not getting up as early. For that reason, I’m saying it’s still autumn. Winter can wait. It’s been a lovely month for pottering about Perthshire getting photos of the riot of colours—this year has been a particularly good year for photography. Of course, one windy day and all those leaves will be gone, so I’m pleased that this year I’ve made the most of the autumn. One of the things I like about autumn is the change in the food that seems appropriate. Gone are the lighter meals of summer and in comes some hearty fare. Think stews, dumplings, roast dinners and porridge. Not all on the same plate at the same time though. That would just be weird. So, the snack suggestion. This month I’m going for onion rings and beer. What’s prompted this is my trip to the Brasserie Ecosse in Dundee. I spotted the fact that they had onion rings on the menu while ordering and thought I’d try them. A moment of spontaneity. I’m glad I did, as they were simply the best onions rings I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve had a few! So good, in fact, I would go to Dundee simply to get another bowl of them. The only problem was that I couldn’t have an ale with them—one, because I was driving and, two, you can’t drink in restaurants anymore. 2020 has brought us to a hitherto unknown low. To cheer myself up I’m off to have a game of conkers.

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The Perthshire Magazine November Issue  

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