Looking Ahead to the Enchanted Forest
Waterfall Photography Feature
Family Fun Walking this Autumn
Win Two Tickets to GinFall Festival!
LOOK AFTER YOUR SMILE
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T H E FAT CO O ! Chasing Waterfalls—Photography Feature
Top Tips on Self-Catering Holidays for Mums
An Interview with Morgwn PrestonJones
This Month in History—October
Looking Ahead to the Enchanted Forest
Abigail’s Autumn Essentials
The Perfect Day Out for Gin Lovers
Simply Loving The Lovat
Win Two Tickets to GinFall Festival!
Family Fun Walking this Autumn
Making Rural Business Digital
TV Blacksmith Plants Psychedelic Weeds on A84 BLiSS Trail
Snuggle Up for Autumn
Try Summer Harvest this Autumn
The Perthshire Whisky Club— Springbank 15 Year Old
Honey I Adopted a Bee
Sustainable Scotland at Work
“This issue is packed with autumnal goodies to get you in the mood for this beautiful season. There’s so much to see and do in Perthshire at this time of year and we really want you to get the most out of it. Think walking through falling leaves, blackberry picking, snuggly blankets, peat fires and hot chocolates.” Abigail Shepherd , Editor of Perthshire Magazine
Chasing Waterfalls Despite being warned repeatedly not to, Nathan has spent the last month chasing waterfalls. The autumn is a great time of year to visit one of Perthshireâ€™s many waterfalls, there is normally a lot of water going through them and you might even be able to catch sight of a salmon jumping. All the
locations featured in this article are within fairly easy walking distance of a place to park the car and have well-defined footpaths. Hopefully, these photos will inspire you to get out into the beautiful autumnal landscape and enjoy the scenery, and maybe even take some photos.
P hot ograph y By Nathan S hepherd
The H erm i tage, D unkeld
The Blac k S po ut, Pi tlo c hry
Buchanty S po ut, Buc hanty
Acharn Falls, Ac harn
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An Interview with
Morgwn Preston-Jones Head Chef at the New Seafood House Restaurant
he Seafood House Restaurant is closed and quiet when we arrive for an interview with its new chef, but it won’t be for long, as most of the tables have already been booked. Since it first opened a few months ago it’s experienced a few changes, such as in the name, brand, chef and menu. The essentials have remained the same—namely the overall vision, great quality food and gorgeous decor—but we really want to find out from Morgwn just what we can expect now he’s in the kitchen.
was brought up in a family of chefs. I came up through kitchens in New York, San Francisco and, more recently, London. So what brought you to Dunkeld? My wife is from Dunkeld. Now that we have a two year old we wanted to be nearer to family and enjoy a slower pace of life, so we came up here from Sussex.
What attracted you to the Seafood House Restaurant? The size. Previously I was running multiple kitchens Hi Morgwn. Can you tell us a bit about your backand I wanted to take time to refocus on food and cookground firstly? I’m not a native Scot, as you can tell from my accent! ing it myself. Here I get to have hand in everything, I I’m from California. I’ve been cooking all my life; I taste every dish before it goes out, it’s more intimate. Advertorial
Tell us about the new menu? I developed it myself, with some input from the owner, Zsolt. But it’s essentially my vision, using the bounty from Perthshire and Scotland. It includes seafood, but I’ve also looked at the game inWhat are you most excited for going forward? dustry because that’s what’s around us. I’ve tried to develop the menu around having two vegan, two fish Fermentation—I currently have miso on the menu, but I want to experiment with making it myself. It and two meat dishes for each course. takes six months to a year, so it’s quite a long term project. I’ve also not long made a sourdough starter and What are the challenges of being the chef here? The busy and slow periods. When I first came it was I’m fermenting chillis. I want to do more charcuterie. busy, now it’s starting to slow down as the tourist sea- These are the sort of things I get excited about and I’ve son ends. So I need to refocus my energy to keep a set the menu up to be seasonal so I can change it as I consistent offering. I’m also thinking about how not to want. I don’t want the restaurant menu to get stale, I waste food out of season! I’m curing meat that hasn’t want to keep diners excited. been sold and fermenting the vegetables into kimchi so they last a bit longer. It’s important to me to limit After trying some of Morgwn’s delicious dishes we have no doubt he’ll succeed in keeping us all excited waste—I see us as stewards of the area. to eat his food. The future looks very promising for him and for the Seafood House Restaurant, which is What’s your favourite dish on the menu? part of the new Z’s AmaZing Kitchens brand and also There’s an avocado and beetroot dish I learned how to includes The Riverside Restaurant at the Atholl Arms make in a Californian restaurant that I’ve taken with Hotel, also in Dunkeld. This restaurant has just underme wherever I’ve gone. I really like it because it’s about gone a complete refurbishment to bring it up to the treating two ingredients properly. I’m also proud of same aesthetic standard as Seafood House and it looks the trout dish. I’ve tried to do as much as I can by absolutely stunning! hand for all the dishes. Is using local produce important to you and why? Very important. I think it comes from my background—at the restaurants in California people would grow stuff for you. Here we have a great support in George Campbell & Sons in Perth; I’m also starting to work with Highland Wagyu and I’m looking into other food producers and even foragers, because vegetables are equally important.
Another exciting new addition to the Z’s AmaZing Kitchens brand is the Armadale Bar and Bistro in Skye. With that in line for a complete refurbishment over the winter, ready for opening in March, we can’t wait to watch the progress of this new venture from a local businessman. But for now we are going to enjoy all that the new Seafood House Restaurant has to offer and we hope you’ll join us. Book your table here.
Looking Ahead to the
If you were to ask me for my highlights from last year, the Enchanted Forest would be up there with the best of them. And, as editor and chief reviewer for The Perthshire Magazine, I did a lot of very fun things! But the Enchanted Forest’s Of The Wild show really did tick all the boxes for me, it was exciting, informative, entertaining, beautiful and mysterious. If possible though, I’m even more excited about this year’s theme—Cosmos. The theme of Cosmos has been inspired by the magnificent and vast beauty of the universe, and it combines state-of-the-art technology with stunning visuals and an inspirational soundscape. The amazing setting certainly lends itself to the theme—hello to gazing up at the stars through a canopy of leaves! A particularly thrilling new installation will be the Geodome—a 7m inflatable projection dome offering a completely immersive experience. Accommodating about 60 people per showing and lasting for five minutes, it’s designed to give those within it the impression they are flying through the Cosmos. Bringing this innovative new feature to the show is Immersive Experiences, a multi-award-winning provider of learning experiences across the UK’s largest fleet of mobile planetariums, drones, VR and sensory rooms.
The Enchanted Forest Community Trust uses premier creative talents, many of whom are based in Scotland, to produce a world-class show. Zoë Squair has returned as creative producer, alongside Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes as lighting designers, and RJ McConnell, Jon Beales and Rachel Cullen providing sound design and composition for this year’s magical event. Ian Sim, Chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said: “The exciting thing about The Enchanted Forest is that the theme changes every year and we are constantly raising the bar in terms of what is possible. Although this brings its own challenges, we are delighted the team relish this kind of creative challenge and work collaboratively to deliver what is going to be a truly unique and, literally, an ‘out of this world’ experience. “Thirty years after man stepped on the moon for the very first time, we promise this year will be a delight, particularly for those with a fascination with space and astronomy. We are really pleased to be collaborating with Immersive Experiences for this year’s show. For those returning to The Enchanted Forest show we can guarantee new and exciting experiences!” I, for one, can’t wait! And it seems neither can the town of Pitlochry and it’s surroundings, with lots of special discounts, offers and opening hours available for visitors in October and November. On the next page we’ve collected a few of our favourites:
Food and Drink:
The Atholl Arms Hotel If you’re a lover of all things seafood, then the special Seafood Lover Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Package is your perfect choice for a Perthshire getaway. From just £139 per room! This unique package includes an overnight stay at Atholl Arms Hotel and £30 per person voucher at Seafood House Restaurant. Book online or call 01350 727219.
Blair Athol Distillery The Mash Tun Bar will stay open until about 8pm during the Enchanted Forest – serving whisky as well as cocktails and non alcoholic options. Food is available at the Enchanted Forest from Lov Events, including pizza, burgers, chips and sweet treats.
Dunkeld House Hotel Cosy up and unwind this autumn at this Scottish country house set within 280 acres of Perthshire countryside. Autumn offers available are: – Autumn Escape, 1 night bed and breakfast, from £47.00 per person. – Autumn Wine and Dine, 1 night dinner, bed, and breakfast, from £72.00 per person. – Fall into Winter 2 Night Break, from £124.50 per person. – Autumn Midweek 1 Night Spa Break, from £119.00 per person.
Image provided by Blair Athol Distillery
Blair Athol Distillery Tours will be running during the day, with different Pitlochry Golf options to choose from, details can be found on the The full golf course will be available during the autumn website. They will also be hosting an ‘Escape Room’ and winter months. Only £20, and children play for free on the 18th October – there will be limited spaces so if accompanied by a full fee paying adult. early booking is highly recommended. Subject to inGolf range, club hire and lessons available throughout. terest they may offer subsequent nights also. Find out more: www.blairatholdistillery.com Segway Ecosse For visitors to The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, they are delighted to offer a 60 minute Forest Tour Other businesses that may have events or offers on for the special price of £25 per person. Your tour during the Enchanted Forest include Hettie’s Tea may be booked 2 days either side of the date of your Room, Fisher’s Hotel, Love Your Sweets and Victoria’s cafe. Please contact the individual businesses for more Enchanted Forest visit. information and to check. For full details and to book, please click here: http://tiny.cc/EnchantedSegway Please note: Requires proof of purchase of an En- This year’s Enchanted Forest will run from 3 October chanted Forest ticket for every rider on arrival at office - 3 November 2019. (either tickets or proof of purchase). For more information visit:
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Abigail and Nathan Shepherd show why this is the perfect place for you to take a weekend break
â€œAfter a quick espresso, the stunning view of Loch Ness from our window entices us to go for a walkâ€?
ere at The Perthshire Magazine we regularly review accommodation for readers who are planning to visit Perthshire at some point in the future. But we have a lot of local readers too, and we thought it would be really nice for them to have a recommendation on somewhere lovely that they can go for a weekend away—somewhere the scenery won’t be disappointing in comparison to our beautiful county. So when The Lovat Hotel at Fort Augustus invited us to do a review for them in return for complimentary dinner, bed and breakfast, we just had to accept. Fort Augustus, on Loch Ness, is an easy drive from Perthshire, through both dramatic hills and lochs and charming woodlands and streams. It takes us just over two hours from Pitlochry—we leave at 2:15 and arrive at 4:20 (roughly). We are welcomed really warmly and a nice touch is that we are briefly shown round the ground floor and personally conducted to our room. One reason for this becomes obvious when it’s demonstrated to us how to work the tv—it rises from the foot of the bed! The room is modern, airy and comfortable, with everything you could need from a hotel room, including fresh fruit and even a Nespresso machine. The Lovat is the only four star, three rosette hotel in the beautiful town of Fort Augustus
The Lovat describes itself as an eco-conscious hotel and in the spacious bathroom is a list of some of the things they do to deserve this title, such as using degradable cleaning and bathing products, recycled paper, pencils, pens and coasters, energy saving lighting, biomass heating, more locally sourced ingredients to reduce food miles and the composting or recycling of waste. I’m impressed with the way they’ve managed to deliver all these environmentally friendly improvements without adversely affecting the guest experience. They show it can be done! After a quick espresso, the stunning view of Loch Ness from our window entices us to go for a walk. The sun is shining but there’s an autumnal chill in the air and, since the hotel has just lit the fires in its two lounges, there’s the evocative scent of woodsmoke. I take a few deep breaths and suddenly feel completely relaxed.
I’ve never been to Fort Augustus before this and it comes as an extremely pleasant surprise. Part of the Great Glen Way, it has a lock system from Loch Oich to Loch Ness, which makes a delightful promenade to wander up one side of and back down the other. Quaint pubs, cafes, gift shops, restaurants and loch cruise boats abound on both sides, and the viewpoint over Loch Ness is simply breathtaking.
away in Fort Augustus, maybe even the only choice. The modern yet slightly unassuming decor in the hotel conservatory restaurant serves as a setting for real excellence, and the accommodation itself isn’t far behind, offering a quality four star service.
The meal starts with slices of delicious chunky bread, which is surely homemade since it tastes so fresh. A different and contemporary touch is added by the As the sun begins to go down we head back to the serving of a tangy green pesto along with it. We hotel, feeling very ready for dinner. The food is, in aren’t absolutely certain, but we’re pretty sure that it’s fact, the thing that really makes The Lovat stand out, made with wild garlic. All you really need to know, holding three AA rosettes since 2014. If you love good though, is that it’s extremely tasty and a great prefood then The Lovat is the ideal choice for a weekend view of things to come. “Quaint pubs, cafes, gift shops, restaurants and loch cruise boats abound on both sides, and the viewpoint over Loch Ness is simply breathtaking”
The menu offers a wonderful variety of dishes with tantalising descriptions, and the waiting staff are on hand to explain them to you if necessary. As dedicated foodies though, we know our velouté from our bresaola and our dukkah from our salsify and have no trouble deciding on what we’d like. Nathan goes for the mackerel with heritage beetroot and horseradish to start, and I have the fried duck egg with gnocchi and chanterelles. The latter doesn’t call for much explaining if you’ve ever had a breakfast of fried mushrooms, eggs and potato scones. It’s the same idea, only this is a ramped up, fancier version, with the addition of garlic and herb notes. Nathan’s mackerel dish also involves a classic combination of flavours and manages to take them up a notch. Indeed, we find as we go through the meal that, although technically you know what is on the plate, The Lovat is adept at delivering hidden little surprises in its dishes that are a constant joy. And you don’t always know how they’ve done it. Like the little roll with the mackerel starter—it was amazing, but we still aren’t entirely sure how it was made. One thing is certain—you won’t leave this restaurant feeling like you could have made the food at home. It’s a little wait now for our main courses, but when they come they are so, so worth it. I’ve ordered the Atlantic cod (so succulent and simply falling apart) with brown shrimps and smoked eel, the latter being my biggest incentive in ordering it as I love smoked eel! This was the
best I’ve ever had and really made the dish. The surprise on the plate was what I’m calling a cod bonbon. It made the dish extra special. Nathan has also chosen fish for his main course—a stone bass with crab and mussels. After my own excellent seafood I’m not surprised to hear that he is equally delighted with his fish dish, and I can personally vouch for the crab at least being extraordinarily good. The portion sizes at The Lovat are judged to perfection, at least for us. We are now full, but with just enough room for a pudding! Dessert has quite a tough act to follow, but I’m not worried since I’m excited by the mere sound of my oatmeal parfait with whisky, honey and raspberries. By comparison I wonder if Nathan’s lemon cheesecake order is a bit dull, but that’s before it arrives! Somehow it’s shaped to look exactly like a lemon and injects a zesty sense of fun into proceed-
ings. I can’t really tell you what it tasted like because Nathan didn’t offer to share—which probably tells you all you need to know. My parfait is equally beautifully presented and I don’t offer to share it either. The oatmeal, whisky and honey flavours are perfectly balanced and quite delicate, with the accompanying raspberry adding a fruity kick. Our desserts look so good that the couple at the nearest table ask what they are and instantly order the same thing! It’s a good choice. I always like to finish such a meal with coffee, whereas Nathan can never wait to get to bed (yes, he is a few years older than me). So I decide to have my coffee in our room and the hotel staff are really accommodating about it and give the impression that nothing is too much trouble. We are very glad to see our cosy room again, and find the bed is just as comfy as it looks.
Despite having the feeling after dinner that we could never eat again, we wake up the next morning full of happy anticipation for breakfast. Our experience at The Lovat so far tells us that we won’t be getting overcooked eggs and soggy toast. Of first consideration though is coffee, so I’m delighted when a pot is brought over straight away. Hot dishes are ordered from the menu and the toast is brought fresh, but there’s also a continental-style buffet laid out in the next room. While a wait for the cooked element I explore the cold meats, pastries and fruits on offer here, which is all of the high “The lounges are quality I would expect from this hotel. My top tip for this course is even cosier, with log to make sure you pick up a pot of the homemade mango yoghurt. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s honestly one of the nicest things I’ve fires burning, and ever had for breakfast! That’s until our cooked dishes arrive...
look like an ideal
After the success of the seafood last night, we’ve both gone for fish place to snuggle again—Nathan has smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and I have smoked haddock and poached egg. These dishes have been given just with a newspaper as much care and attention as our dinner and are a really special, reand a cup of coffee” laxing way to start the morning. The weather isn’t as nice as the day before, but there’s something oddly enjoyable about sitting in the cosy conservatory of the restaurant and watching the sheets of rain come down. The lounges are even cosier, with log fires burning, and look like an ideal place to snuggle with a newspaper and a cup of coffee. I wish we could stay and do just that, but sadly our visit to The Lovat has come to an end. But I will definitely remember it as serving some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, in a stunningly beautiful setting and with a refreshingly ethical conscience. Book your stay at The Lovat here:
STORIES OF SCHIEHALLION An exhibition of fine art photography inspired by Schiehallion's nature, history & folklore
By Cat Burton
4th August - 18th October Wild Space Visitor Centre John Muir Trust Pitlochry, PH16 5AN For full details and to book tickets, visit www.CatBurton.co.uk
Hire our Editor! If you’re impressed with the quality of The Perthshire Magazine then why not consider hiring Abigail to look over your website or help with newsletter and other content writing? £20 per hour, free evaluations.
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Family Fun Walking this
Autumn Abigail Shepherd shares her ideas on how to get the whole family motivated to go for a walk.
’m going to make a confession. I sometimes find going for a walk a bit, well... boring. Even though I love being outside, I’m not good at any kind of aimlessness. I used to think I was alone in this, but when browsing through social media the other day I came across a post that made me realise that it’s not just me who has this problem. And I think, really, that this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, many of us spend our days rushing around with a million things to do, and even our downtime can still involve the frequent checking of emails, scrolling of Twitter and flicking of channels—often all at the same time. And the younger generation feel the effects of a device-ridden world too. When was the last time any of us just sat and did nothing? I know that if I have a spare five minutes I see it as an opportunity to answer a few messages or leave a Facebook comment. So suddenly to be taken out of an environment where our minds are constantly being filled, while good for us, can at first feel somewhat slow. What do we think about when our phone isn’t pinging at us? Is anything even worth doing if we don’t
document it on Instagram? Wouldn’t we just rather be bingeing on that boxset? If either you or your kids have this problem then I want to share with you something that really helps me. Because autumn in Perthshire is too beautiful to spend staring at a screen. Earlier I mentioned that I’m not good at aimlessness. If I’m going for a walk then setting off for a meander around until a general consensus is reached that ‘that’s enough now’ leaves me with a mind racing over all the other stuff I could be doing. So I’ve found the key to stopping this from happening is to have a reason for going out. It doesn’t need to be a big, important reason, just a goal that I’m aiming for that’s different from getting to the end and going home. This really helps me to be in the moment, to put all the other stuff aside and just focus on what I’m doing. I suppose this works in the same way that newly popular activities such as colouring do — they help us free our minds without the associated boredom. On the next pages I’ve listed a few fun goals that you can use to help get yourself and/or your family out for a walk:
“Nothing spurs a walk on quite like the promise of coffee and cake or a pub lunch as a reward” they always have a good reason to go for a walk. If you’re reading this article then I’m guessing that, like Nothing spurs a walk on quite like the promise of me, you don’t have a furry walking friend, but perhaps coffee and cake, or a pub lunch, as a reward. My suggestion is to start at the desired spot first, then go for you know someone who does and wouldn’t mind a a circular walk, so you finish at your chosen refresh- break from their daily tramp? Roving with Rover is ment location. This is because, if you get there at only usually an entertaining and fun activity—while the the halfway mark, the last thing you’ll feel like doing novelty lasts at least. is continuing on afterwards. The Hermitage is a good choice for this kind of walk—there’s a fab food van in the car park, or you can head to the nearby town of Autumn is a great time of year to head for the woods Dunkeld for an abundance of eating choices. Another or hedgerows with a couple of carrier bags and hunt option is Loch Leven, finishing at The Boathouse for for free food. Blackberries, sloes, rowan-berries, elderSunday lunch or The Birks of Aberfeldy, which also berries, currants, fungi, nuts, apples and plums can all has a good choice of cafes in the town. be found in the area. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re picking and don’t take things from cultivated areas where they might belong to someone. If foraging is something you would like to get into then I’m envious of dog owners in more ways than one, my personal favourite reference book on the subject is but the most relevant reason for this article is because Food for Free by Richard Mabey.
Head for a pub or cafe
Do some foraging
Borrow a dog
“You may have a nearby market garden or farm shop, or even someone just selling herbs or jam in their front garden. Keep an eye out and you might be surprised by what’s available within walking distance”
could be scored individually with more points for the I know this sounds a bit random at first, but here hardest to find. I love this idea so much that I’ve even me out. I’m not suggesting you become a substitute done you an example list at the end of the page. You family pet, fetching a stick (although I won’t stand can use it as ideas for your own version, or screenshot in your way if you fancy it). Instead, I mean that it for the family to try as it is. Remember, if you’re not next time you forget something from the shop, you sure whether removing a particular item might damcould fetch it on a family walk. Or if, as is the case age the environment (or yourself) then it’s best to simfor many of us in Perthshire, you don’t live within ply photograph it. walking distance from the shop, there may be something else you could have the goal of getting while on I hope you enjoy these suggestions to help you a walk. For example, we have local, free range eggs and your family to feel motivated for going out for for sale about half an hour’s walk away from us, so I walks this autumn. Do give it a try if this is somemake it a point not to buy any from the supermar- thing you struggle with—you know you’ll enjoy it ket now—instead we fetch them ourselves. You may when you do! have a nearby market garden or farm shop, or even someone just selling herbs or jam in their front garden. Keep an eye out and you might be surprised by what’s available within walking distance.
Autumn Walk Treasure Hunt
For ten points: A red leaf This is my favourite suggestion when it comes to fam- A wild apple ily fun outside. Each family member can be given a A hazelnut list of things to find on the walk, such as pinecones, berries etc. They can either be things that can be taken For five points: away without doing any damage, or things to be pho- A yellow leaf tographed, such as tree varieties. The simplest way to A conker play is that whoever gets the most item wins, or items An acorn
Have a treasure hunt
For two points: A pinecone A birch twig A round pebble
Autumn in Perthshire
GrowBiz provides support and advice to anyone starting or growing a small or micro enterprise.
hrough our new project – Making Rural Business Digital – which is supported by the Perth & Kinross LEADER programme (see www.pkleader.org for more information) we want to make Perth and Kinross the most entrepreneurial rural economy in Scotland, through the development of Smart Villages, enterprise ‘hotspots’ and digital upskilling. Smart Villages are ‘digital communities’ that help rural enterprises to promote their services. They can provide information points for local community groups
and organisations and can also be ‘communities of interest’ – we’ll be developing new platforms for artisan makers and care and wellbeing enterprises in rural areas. Please get in touch with us to find out more. We have also just launched a new programme, GrowOnline, to help businesses to enhance and develop their online presence and make the most of the digital opportunities available to them. GrowOnline is open to anyone, and everyone who signs up to the programme will be able to access a wide range of online resources including ideas, information and tutorials.
We continue to hold free events throughout Perthshire, including our always popular Women’s Enterprise Network meetings, our XChange events and learning sessions on a variety of topics. There are also a number of online sessions which are open to everyone, regardless of where they are based. In October we will be looking at Making Tax Digital and managing your time on social media. For further details or to book a place at any of these events, check out our website at www. growbiz.co.uk. And we can offer one-to-one meetings for any rural business looking to start, grow or diversify. All of our services are free and confidential. Follow us on social media for news and updates - Facebook (@GrowBizPerthshire) and Twitter (@Grow_Biz) – and you can also sign up to our newsletters at:
www.growbiz.co.uk Supporting enterprise in Perthshire Supporting business and w: www.growbiz.co.uk e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: 01828 627790 enterprise in rural Scotland
Making Rural Business Digital GrowBiz provides a community-based enterprise support service across rural Perth and Kinross - helping rural businesses find the right digital solutions. For anyone considering become self-employed, or starting, running or growing a small business or social enterprise. All of our services are free and confidential. GrowBiz is part financed by Perth & Kinross Council, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise & Supported by Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. For more on LEADER go to www.pkleader.org
Snuggle Up for Autumn As the weather turns chilly, now is the time to start preparing your home for a comfier, cosier and cuddlier colder season. Abigail Shepherd explains how.
he Perthshire Magazine doesn’t advocate ‘fast fashion’ for ourselves or our houses. However, it’s undeniable that with the changing seasons we are going to need something different from our homes—especially here in Scotland, where the changes in temperature over the seasons leaves us scrabbling to keep the house as cool as possible in summer and as warm as we can in winter. Just now, we are thinking about making them warmer. Of course, we can just turn the heating on, but it’s also worth actively changing the feel of our homes to cosy, restful places we want to snuggle up in. This can even make the difference between lamenting the loss of summer and actually looking forward to autumn and winter. So this month we are bringing you some simple and affordable ways to give your home a new atmosphere ready for the colder season, plus some tips on how to do it in a non-wasteful way.
Soft furnishings I do go on about soft furnishings quite a bit— they are such an easy and inexpensive way to refresh your home. In our March/April issue I suggested packing away blankets, throws and heavy duvets ready for the spring. If you followed that advice, now is the time to get them out again. However, it may be that you don’t have any already, or that the ones you do have are looking a bit tired, or even discordant with the rest of your house. Maybe they simply built up over time and never really went together, or you never really loved them. If so, don’t worry. Simply put them aside (I’ll tell you what to do with them later) and give some consideration to choosing your new soft furnishings (we are talking cushions, throws, rugs, table linen, curtains etc.), particularly bearing in mind the following: Colours. Take a look at your room decor and think about the end result you want to aim for. Do you want to make it lighter? More cheerful? Invigorating or restful? Once you’ve decided on the overall atmosphere, you should have some idea of the type of shades that would accomplish what you’re looking for. For example, use bright colours for a cheery, invigorating room, pastels for a restful room, and neutrals for a lighter look. Now you need to think about what colours are already in the room and choose a colour from the palette you’ve decided on that will match or enhance your existing scheme. For instance, let’s suppose your current room decor is a fashionable grey. If you’re looking to keep the room very restful then you might
“Whatever you go for, make sure it’’s soft and cuddly”
choose new soft furnishings in the soft blush pink that’s very popular at the moment. This would give the room a light and gentle feel. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more dramatic and bright, you could accent your same grey room with ochre soft furnishings. The bright pops of yellow will give it an altogether different feel, making a bold yet warming statement. Red would produce a different feeling again. Even if your room is already decorated in a bright colour, you can still change it quite dramatically by what colour you accent it with—a dark blue room looks very different with highlights of white than it does when layered with red. A word of caution is appropriate here though: don’t overdo it! If every cushion and throw is in a bold accent colour then harmony will be lost. Making some of your soft furnishings the same colour as the overall room will bring everything together nicely. Textures. The whole point of adding more soft furnishings to a room for colder weather is to create textures. Cosy, snuggly textures. Itchy blankets do not cut it. Think fluffy, fleecy or furry. Whatever you go for, make sure it’s soft and cuddly.
“Making some of your soft furnishings the same colour as the overall room will bring everything together nicely”
“Cosy, snuggly textures. Itchy blankets do not cut it. Think fluffy, fleecy or furry”
Lighting At this time of year, the days are short, with nights drawing in and mornings out. Indeed, in the depths of winter those of us who work 9-5 may only see our homes in the dark during the week. Which places a great emphasis on lighting. A room lit up by a stark electric bulb overhead, or completely dark but for the blue glow of the tv screen, is not cosy and may even be bad for you. Firelight and candlelight are far gentler types of light—with the additional benefit that candles and candle holders can be chosen to complement your new colour scheme. Sadly though, they’re not practical for everyone. However, lamps dotted around the room can have much the same effect, as can white fairy lights strung across a bookcase or draped over a mirror. The advantage of the latter is that they can be battery powered, meaning you can light up a dark corner even if there’s no plug socket. Lamps can either be tucked away or chosen especially to make a statement.
diffusers with scents such as apple, cinnamon, vanilla or orange around your home. Another nice touch is to fill your vases with displays of autumn leaves or sprays of evergreens. It’s even better if these harmonise with your new colour schemes. Very small additions, such as a bowl of pine cones, stack of books, or artistically draped blanket can all make your home feel like the haven it should be. Affordable and non-wasteful
There’s no need to throw out all your existing decorations and buy everything new. Not only can that prove expensive, such a throw-away philosophy has serious environmental consequences. Instead, try to reuse some items in other rooms of your home and consider dyeing, painting or repurposing others—an old blanket or tablecloth can be made into a couple of cushions very simply—and, if all else fails, unwanted items may be just what someone else is looking for. Charity or thrift shops are a much better choice than Large lanterns with candles inside are set to be a new the bin, and you may even find just the right thing for lighting trend for this winter. Placed on the floor your own home while you’re there. Another good sug(somewhere out of the way) singly or in groups, they gestion is to organise a ‘swap party’ with friends who make a striking lighting feature. LED candles could are also looking to refresh their homes. The resulting be used if pets or young children make it inadvisable pile of cushion covers, throws, curtains, vases and picto use real ones. tures might be nearly everything you all need. Finishing touches
If you use any of these suggestions to remodel your home for autumn then we’d love to see them! Tag #theperthThe finishing touches make a surprising difference to shiremagazine on social media or email you photos to any room. Even the way it smells can alter your feel- email@example.com If we get enough we ings about it. Winter is a good time to dot some reed may even feature your home designs in our next issue!
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Springbank 15 year old Nathan Shepherd discusses what he’s learnt in a year of reviewing whisky, using Springbank 15 year old to prove his points.
he Perthshire Whisky Club is now a year old. That means I’ve been a professional (just throwing that in there in case anyone falls for it) whisky reviewer for twelve months. Over that time, my views on what makes for a good whisky have changed. Not massively, but definitely there has been a shift. I’ve drunk more types of whisky in this last year than in any before it, and that hard-won experience has taught me to look out for a number of things when buying a whisky. These tips will hopefully help you to choose whiskies that will give you pleasure and, importantly, save you from spending good money on a whisky that’s inferior. So, here’s my top three tips for things to look for in a whisky—then I will prove them to be true through the medium of the Springbank 15 Year Old. 1. The Vital Importance of ABV A while ago, I have to admit, I wouldn’t have paid the least bit of attention to the ABV (alcohol by volume) of a whisky, now it’s the first thing I look for on the label. Whisky has to be, by law, at least 40% ABV when it’s in the bottle—this means it will need to have water added to it when it’s removed from the cask and bottled (cask
strength whisky is normally between 50-60% ABV). Many mass-produced whiskies are bottled at 40% ABV, there is, however, a problem with this. The flavours and aromas of whisky are carried to our nose and palate by the alcohol in the drink and not the water. So a whisky with less alcohol in it will mean it’s harder for you to detect those wonderful flavours and smells in the dram. Plus, you’re just getting less of the whisky in you glass and more of the water that was added after maturation. It’s a loselose situation. The flip side of all this is that alcohol burns the palate, so if you drink a cask strength whisky with an ABV of 60% it will just about blow your head off or, at the very least, melt your lip. There needs to be a middle ground. Most would agree that 46% ABV is the perfect balance. There will be plenty of flavour and body, but you will still be able to taste your breakfast the next morning. So, the ABV is an early warning sign of whether the producer is cutting corners when it comes to the flavour experience of the consumer. If it’s bottled at 40% ABV then they are adding more water than is needed and there is only one reason why they would do that—to cut costs. Now, this is fine if you’re on a budget, let’s say in the £30-35 price range. These whiskies will be fine and nothing else, but then at that price it would be wrong to expect much more. But if you are spending more than that—let’s say over £45—then avoid anything that’s bottled at less than 46% ABV because it will generally be a disappointment. There are some whiskies on the market today that are in the £200 range, but still only bottled at 40% ABV. The consumer is only paying for a label that says limited edition and some fancy packaging. Don’t fall for it. You’ve been warned.
â€œAfter trying many different types of whisky over the past year this is the now the kind of whisky that I like to drink, and the type of distilleries that I like to supportâ€?
2. Keeping it Natural Aeneas MacDonald says in his 1930 book “Whisky” that there seems to be a conspiracy of silence among whisky producers. They don’t seem to want to tell the consumer what’s in their whisky. Aeneas was right then and, in fact, he still is. Not all distilleries are completely transparent with us about some of the processes that have gone into our drams. Two of these are chill-filtration and the adding of colourant (E150) to whisky. There are those that say that the chill-filtration process doesn’t really affect the quality of a whisky, which is something I really disagree with. Chill-filtration removes esters, proteins and fatty acids. Removing them does make the whisky feel thinner on the palate and, in my option, removes some of the flavours and richness. It all seems a very high price to pay, just so that when someone drops an ice cube in their whisky—the mere thought gives me the shudders—it doesn’t go cloudy. The adding of colourant is apparently so there’s some consistency of colour in between batches of whisky. That explanation does sound plausible when you first hear it, but the more you think about it the less it makes sense. Most whiskies are now sold in some sort of cardboard tube or box. It’s not likely that anyone would take all the stock of a particular whisky out of its packaging in the shop just to see if they’re all the same colour, is it? The adding of colour to whisky serves just one purpose—to make it look older than it really is. Now that’s a bit misleading! A year ago I was not really bothered that much about chill-filtration or the adding of colour to whisky. But the more I try different whiskies, the more apparent it has become that, if a distillery is being transparent in these seemingly small details, they will also not be cutting corners in other aspects of production. 3. Are you of age? Non-age-statement whisky is something of a fad at the moment. It is born out of a necessity for most distilleries though. The
sudden explosion of popularity in Scottish whisky has meant that demand has outstripped supply. One way to sort out this problem is to reduce the ageing time of whisky. This is where non-age-statement whisky comes in. It is generally a very young whisky, with just a splash of the older stuff added to it. The question this raises is: why don’t distilleries tell us what they’re putting into these non-age-statement whiskies? The simplest answer is that they are embarrassed by how young they are! Particularly now they are charging as much for them as for the more traditional age-statement whiskies in their range. The lack of commitment to a lengthy maturation always leads to a reduction in quality. In the past year I’ve moved away from the non-age-statement whiskies and chosen to spend my money with distilleries that are committing to quality, rather than making a quicker buck by cutting the maturation time.
So, does all this ranting about seemingly tiny details actually make any difference to the whisky we drink? Yes, it does, and the Springbank 15 Year Old is the perfect whisky to prove it. Springbank is a one-of-a-kind distillery. It is the only distillery in Scotland that malts all of its own barley and does all of the distillation, maturation and bottling on site. It is independently owned and has been in the same family since 1828. They are committed to extremely high quality in their bottling. The whole range, apart from one expression, has an age statement. All are bottled at 46% ABV or higher, and there is no chill-filtration or colouring in sight. Popping the cork and pouring a dram confirms that these points do add up to something tangible. The nose is complex and smells of quality. Initially, I get an aromas of warm and dark oranges, with some slight spiciness to the orange. There’s also some smoke and dried fruits—I can detect raisins and plum skins. There is a mineral note too, along with some herbs and oaky-ness. Also present is a slight waxy note that’s also a little like the smell of oldfashioned plastic, perhaps like what you would get in the interior of a classic car. The fist sip starts with some subtle warmth that has a slight mineral quality to it. Then comes the oak, this is smooth and soft. There’s some dryness, but this is in balance with the rest of the experience. As we head toward the finish, the complexity really starts to kick in. I can detect the flowing flavours: plums, chocolate, coffee, almonds, leather, cinnamon, hazelnuts, coconut, warm grass, peat, tobacco, woodiness, cherries,
frangipane, marzipan, butter, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, a touch of smoke, maltiness, and both barley sweetness and barley sourness. The mouth feel is soft and oily and has no perceivable burn from the alcohol. The finish is incredibly long lasting and leaves the palate with a very pleasant oiliness. This is a whisky that is as complex as it is harmonious. It just exudes quality and refinement. Whether a distillery puts an age statement on a bottle or not, or if they put a dash of E150, or chill-filter it, does seem like a small detail. And perhaps, if it’s just one of those things that’s done or missing, it will not have a monumental impact on the experience. However, when a distillery goes out of its way to make sure that all these small details are just as they should be, it gives the consumer the assurance that they value quality whisky rather than making a quick profit. The Springbank 15 Year Old proves this to be true—these small details on the label all add up to something absolutely stunning. It is simply delicious and I can’t find a single thing about it that I dislike. This is whisky as it should be. It’s a quality product that does not need to have fancy packaging or endless limited editions to have a place in the market. After trying many different types of whisky over the past year this is the now the kind of whisky that I like to drink, and the type of distillery that I like to support. Amazingly, this whisky is not even that expensive—I paid £59 for it in Drinkmonger in Pitlochry. But even if it was £100, I still think it would offer good value for money.
“It is the only distillery in Scotland that malts all of its own barley and does all of the distillation, maturation and bottling on site”
Top Tips on Self-Catering Holidays
holiday… it’s dreamy, exciting and full of promise. It’s a chance to detox and relax, spend time with family and friends, to escape ‘the norm’. It’s something we all work for and we all crave. That is, until you include the word ‘self-catering’. Suddenly it can take on an entirely different persona and the old saying—‘different place, same you-know-what’—can feel incredibly apt! Especially if you’re a mum. According to industry trade body The Association of Scottish Self Catering, the sector continues to grow year on year and, especially where families are concerned, it’s not hard to see why. They are hugely cost effective per head, per night, compared to staying in a hotel and offer much more space and flexibility which, let’s face it, is essential with kids of all ages. But whilst holidaying in a ‘home from home’ set up can be hugely advantageous on many fronts, if it really is ‘just like home’ there’s a risk that it may end up not being a holiday at all. Waking up to the same routines and household chores is, quite simply, not a dreamy, relaxing break. However, with a little bit of planning and preparation, self-catering can work out perfectly for everyone involved. Here’s some top tips for making it a time that every mum will be able to enjoy—just as much as everyone else! “Undoubtedly the food is where it can really fall apart for mums. But there are lots of ways to unshackle yourself from the kitchen”
Article and Images by Shona Benson
“It may sound a little obvious, but making sure wherever you choose has all you need to make your time away as perfect as possible is a key first step” Do your research It may sound a little obvious, but making sure wherever you choose has all you need to make your time away as perfect as possible is a key first step. Thanks to Google it’s all very easy and everyone will have their own personal wish list, but there are a couple of things that every mum should include without hesitation. The first is a washing machine and dryer. Although you certainly don’t want to spend hours with these appliances while you’re away, not having the option to do a load or two as and when needed, is a total pain. You know that someone is bound to spill something or fall over and end up soaked! And the second is a dishwasher. Quite frankly, I would refuse to go anywhere that didn’t have one. Standing by the kitchen sink is not for a holiday! And if there’s a large group I’d even look for somewhere that has two.
al service. And that money saved on accommodation can be put aside for more holiday treats! Book a few outings Whether you’re going 30 mins down the road or far further afield, try to put a few activities or trips in the diary before you get there. Of course, how many will depend on how long you’re away, and certainly don’t fill up every day manically, as you’ll just end up feeling frazzled! But a little bit of forward planning stops the days just ‘disappearing’ and it all being over before you know it.
Ask for input from everyone to be sure there’s total family buy-in, especially if you’ve potentially hormonal teenagers! It helps to underline an important point that holidays are about doing things together—and the planning stage is a key part! It all adds to the anticipation and excitement of the holiday too, long before The other upside of a good google-about is to make you’ve even got there. sure you get the best deal you can. Many holiday homes now have their own websites as well as appear- Don’t assume outings need to come with a massive ing on the large online travel agent sites, so booking price tag either. A family walk and picnic can be just directly with the owner is very easy. Don’t be fooled by as fun and memorable, if not more so, than expensive the adverts you see on the likes of Airbnb or Booking. tickets to a somewhere like a theme park. And don’t com, or be put off by scaremongering in the media of feel everyone has to do them all, or all together. Golf properties not existing. A simple bit of desktop detec- or mountain biking may be top of the list for some, tive work can save you hundreds by cutting out the whereas a spa treat or a solitary run may make the middlemen, as well as helping you get a really person- holiday for others.
“I’m not sure why—I think it’s a deeply rooted, ‘man make fire’ caveman thing—but men always seem happy to try not to burn sausages”
Packing for you Don’t over pack! It’s something I’m constantly guilty of and it’s such a bore. Not only does it mean more to sort when you arrive, it’s more to repack again at the end. There are hundreds of style articles dedicated to packing flexibly and light so that you are ready for any eventuality and I’ve read them all, but I still fall in to the same trap of thinking “oh, I better take that, just in case…” However, after years of trial and lots of errors, I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as you have a few basic everyday essentials (jeans and a few tops will do), one ‘smart casual’ outfit and plenty of underwear to last your whole trip, you’ll be fine! There’s always the washing machine if needed or, even better, treat yourself to a little holiday outfit from a local market or boutique. You need a souvenir after all…
“A family walk and picnic can be just as fun and memorable, if not more so, than expensive tickets to a somewhere like a theme park”
“Find a local butcher or deli and have fun treating yourself to local delights!” Packing for the kids I can’t quite remember what age I made my kids do their own packing, but I’d like to think of it as an important life skill! I give them a list, a little bit like the ones they get for school trips, and it seems to work a treat. Everything gets laid out on their beds, I then double check it all, occasionally edit a few bits, and pop it into a large suitcase designated for them. It makes it much easier to unpack quickly the other end this way too. When they were younger, I used to get them to choose a few toys, but I soon stopped this. They rarely played with them and there was always something else to entertain them there, and I’d inevitably spend several hours at the end of the holiday trying to find them all! Now it’s simply a book (in the vain hope they will read a bit while we are away—although, with 3 boys, this doesn’t always happen!) and a game which we can play all together. The current favourite in our household is Exploding Kittens (which I surprised myself in quite enjoying!) but Boggle, Sorry and Monopoly have all made it into the case in the past. Food management One of the biggest issues with self-catering is undoubtedly the food and this is where it can really fall apart for mums. But there are lots of ways to unshackle yourself from the kitchen: 1. Do an online shop Whilst I am all for supporting local businesses, getting this done in advance is a no brainer. You’ll have enough to get into the car with bags, children and possibly even pets; there’s no need to be trying to find space for groceries too. Saying that, only get the stable cupboard stuffs, bulky bits and freezer things. For the rest, find a local butcher or deli and have fun treating yourself to local delights!
chores, such as taking the bins out and emptying the dishwasher and making sure as a mum you don’t end up doing it all, but it’s especially helpful when it comes to meals. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, whether it’s per person or per family if there’s a large group, but do divvy the responsibility for each up somehow. Then, when it’s not your turn, you can truly relax! When we first split the responsibility of meals on a large family holiday, rather than all chip in as we’d done in the past, it really surprised me at how much more time I had to enjoy being away. It wasn’t just the not doing, it was the not thinking about it all which was the real joy.
3. Outsource How much of this you do will obviously depend on your budget, but if you want a real holiday then outsourcing some of the cooking isn’t just a treat, it’s an essential. Alleviate any guilt by reminding yourself that it’s never going to be more than going out to a restaurant and, given no one needs 2. Make a rota to drive, you can kick back and relax with This is great for sharing out all jobs and several glasses of your favourite tipple.
4. Have a BBQ I’m not sure why—I think it’s a deeply rooted, ‘man make fire’ caveman thing—but men always seem happy to try not to burn sausages, so it’s a great way to share the load. Lightly charred or not, accompanied by a big salad and baked potatoes it’s simple, delicious and easy, and everyone’s happy! 5. Use disposable plates Perhaps not for every meal, and choose recycled ones to make you feel better, but if you’re catering for many mouths, and definitely on a picnic, being able to chuck everything into the (correct) bin is a dream. 6. Go out Make eating out something that becomes a holiday tradition. Fish and chips are always a winner—plus there’s no washing up—or find a nice local pub. Breakfast or brunch are good options too and considerably cheaper than going out for lunch or supper, essentially because there’s rarely alcohol involved (although, admittedly, not always!). And, if you eat enough, you
may get away with only one meal at home later! Embrace extras You’ll find that many self-catering places now offer housekeeping to help keep on top of the general muddle and mess that inevitably happens. It’s unlikely to cost too much more, especially if you’re in a large group, but it can make a huge difference to how ‘on holiday’ you feel! Just imagine someone popping in discreetly for a few hours to make beds, clean bathrooms and tidy the living spaces… It’s a little bit of the luxury of a hotel, but without a hotel price tag! About the author Shona Benson is an expat wife and a mother of 3 boys, currently living in Singapore. As well as having been on many family holidays all over the world—some more relaxing then others—she is a director for the holding company of the luxury Indian hotel group, RAAS, and runs Balgedie House and Lodge, two luxury self-catering homes overlooking Loch Leven near Kinross.
This Month in History
A focus on a moment in Perthshireâ€™s past; and the places involved
lmost 400 years ago, on 16 October 1621, the Kirk Session Records for Perth chronicled the response of the town’s ruling body to the aftermath of a great storm that saw the then existing Perth Bridge destroyed by flood:
“The great and miraculous deliverance that the Lord gave to this burgh of Perth of a fearful inundation of waters ... the brig of tay was hailly dung doon except only one bow thereof standing”. The 11-arch stone bridge that was lost, and which would not be replaced for some 150 years, had taken 12 years to build (160417) – primarily due to adverse weather conditions – and but a score of hours to destroy (some six arches foundered and were lost during the deluge). Despite John Mylne, Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland (James VI), overseeing its design and construction, the completed bridge was not fit for purpose and was in use for less than five years. The bridge, the third known to cross the River Tay at Perth, shared the fate of its two predecessors (in 1209/10 and 1589) by being overwhelmed by the power of the River Tay. Mylne did not witness the destruction of his bridge, he died not long before that fateful event. He is buried in Greyfriars Burial Ground, not far from where his bridge once, though briefly, stood, his grave marked by a monument and a plaque (of 1774). His son and grandson, both named John Mylne, followed him as Scotland’s Master Mason, and his own father and great-grandfather had served in that role. The addition of a plaque was the gift of a descendent of John Mylne, Robert Mylne himself a bridge builder (most notably Blackfriars Bridge in London (1761-9) and Surveyor of the Fabric of St Paul’s Cathedral. The storm that caused the great flood of 1621 began on the morning of Friday, 12 October and raged until late the following night. During the storm, floodwaters rose to such a level that the town’s meal and flour stores were deluged with water and their contents ruined. In addition, many Perth residents found themselves homeless and St John’s Kirk became a place for people to weather the flood (materially and spiritually) that lasted until midday on the Sunday. The Kirk Session Records also offer testimony to the life-saving efforts of a certain Henry Moss and the award of a monetary acknowledgement for said exertions: “Money to Henry Moss, boatman for pains and trouble in saving persons from perishing by the late inundation of waters out with Castle Gavel Port by means of his boat”.
Bridge of Earn
Standing at the river bank today and looking at the northern side of the current Perth Bridge, the foundations of Mylne’s Bridge can sometimes be seen, their effects on the passing river – a localised turbulence – are, however, generally visible. There are many other bridges in Perth & Kinross that have fascinating histories, including Smeaton’s Bridge (the long overdue replacement to Mylne’s bridge), the box-girder Friarton Bridge, Kenmore Bridge designed by John Baxter, Dunkeld Bridge, a beautiful construction (1805-9) designed by the renowned civil engineer Thomas Telford, and the collection of bridges built in the early eighteenth century under the guidance of General Wade and Major Caulfeild in the wake of the Jacobite Rising of 1715-16, of which Wades’ Bridge at Aberfeldy is a striking example. Some Perthshire bridges have achieved fame through art. The old bridge over the River Earn, for example, is immortalised in Sir Isumbras at the Ford (1857), a painting by the pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais, and in a lithograph by pioneering calotype photographer David Octavius Hill. There are many other bridges in the Big County and several that have noteworthy though lesser-known provenance, including a couple close to the hamlet of Pitcairngreen, which lies adjacent too and integrated with the larger settlement at Almondbank, about 4 four miles west of Perth, on the left bank of the River Almond.
The first is the 80-foot span Dalcrue Bridge that leads to Dalcrue Farm (Lynedoch Farm), today a salvage yard. Now part of the public highway, about a mile and a quarter from Pitcairngreen, the bridge was designed by architect William Henry Playfair who was also responsible for the farmhouse. It is the bridge’s attribution that makes it interesting, for visually it is rather plain, its function preceding its form in importance. The interior features of the farmhouse are however noteworthy: it features a picturesque Italianate design and “Some Perthshire bridges have large eaves. Dalcrue Farm is associated with the Lynedoch achieved fame through art. The Estate of Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch, who became known as the ‘Lion of Barossa’ after his victory as old bridge over the River Earn commanding officer at the Battle of Barossa (1811) during for example is immortalised in the Napoleonic Wars. Graham purchased the farm and Sir Isumbras at the Ford” estate in 1787. The second bridge of note close to Pitcairngreen is a dry arch bridge that led to Thomas Graham’s now ruined home. In 2016, Dalcrue Farm was the setting for a National Theatre of Scotland, 1418 NOW, and Perth Theatre co-production, ‘The 306: Dawn’. The play by Olive Emanuel tells the stories of three soldiers – Joseph Byers (aged 17), Henry Farr (aged 25), and Joseph Willie Stones (aged 24) – shot during the Great War for what was labelled ‘cowardice’, ‘desertion’, and ‘mutiny’. The play explores the truth behind and iniquity of the judicial murders of the three soldiers. Dalcrue Bridge
Pitcairngreen dates from 1786 and was laid out on the Lynedoch Estate to a design by James Stobie, factor to the 4th Duke of Atholl, who two years earlier had designed the village of Stanley. Unusually for Scotland, Pitcairngreen’s layout includes a central green around which the village was constructed – a feature more common in England. The rationale for the village, as with Stanley, was to provide a workforce for the local textile industry and proximity to a source of water power. ‘Pitcairngreen’, a partly Gaelic derived name, is altogether self-defining: ‘pitht-a-chairn’ meaning ‘hollow of the cairn’ in combination with ‘green’. At one time Pitcairngreen had two churches, a United Presbyterian church that could sit 450 worshippers, and a Free church for 300, and two public schools (one of which is today the village hall). Some of the trees around the green were planted by local children “on the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth June 2nd 1953”. A cairn on the eastern side of the green is a memorial to this arboreal event.
and Falkirk football legend Ally Hill (1934-2018). In 1955, Hill was part of the Clyde team which won the Scottish Cup. Over 100,000 witnessed Hill’s team beat Celtic 1-0 in a reply at Hampden. The match was the first ever cup final to be broadcast on television. Despite playing for a number of teams, Hill remained a dedicated St Johnstone supporter throughout his life. Central to the life of this picturesque hamlet is the village hall, the green that hosts occasional events including ‘Scene on the Green’, an annual music festival, and the Pitcairngreen Inn (pub and restaurant) – 2018 ‘Pub of the Year’ at the Menu Food & Drink Awards. Built as a coaching inn towards the end of the eighteenth century, the grade-B listed pub offers a seasonal locally-sourced menu as well as great ales, malts, and award-winning real ciders among the usual country pub offerings. There is a bus stop outside the pub (routes 14 and 15) and is thus easily accessible by public transport from Perth – the last bus leaves at 11pm on weekdays. http://www.pitcairngreeninn.co.uk. For those who prefer to cycle, Pitcairngreen sits on a part One former resident of Pitcairngreen is Jeanfield of Route 77 (Almondbank/Perth in one direction and Swifts, Clyde, Dundee, Bristol City, Stirling Albion, Bankfoot/Pitlochry the other).
Dr Paul S. Philippou is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History, University of Dundee. His next book, Scott’s Fair City, is available now. Paul is Joint Director of ‘Words of War’, the Perth Military History Book Festival (2122 September 2019). Information about the military history of Perthshire can be found in Battleground Perthshire: Two Thousand Years of Battles, Encounters and Skirmishes—available to purchase online or from bookshops. For further information see http://tippermuirbooks.co.uk. Paul is also the driving force behind http://madeinperth.org, Perthshire’s local history website. Photos for this article were taken by Roben Antoniewicz.
Afore the Highlands
or a few months in 1715â€“16, when it was occupied by Jacobite forces, Perth was at a focal point of British and European history. Despite its importance, it is a part of the cityâ€™s past that has been largely forgotten. Perth, which then had a population of around 5,000, became the headquarters for an army of perhaps 10,000 men. Where were they all accommodated? How were they fed? What did the townspeople think of the occupation? Did they all support the Jacobite cause? Questions like this are not often addressed by existing histories of the 1715 rising, which tend to concentrate on military events or national politics.
Abigailâ€™s Autumn Essentials
ummer will inexorably turn into autumn no matter how much we scream and try to hang on, so I always find it best just to make the most of it. And, let’s be honest, it’s not that hard here in Perthshire, with the new season’s glorious colours to enjoy. Even the increased rainfall results in spectacular rivers and waterfalls. But, despite these benefits, we sometimes just don’t feel ready to exchange our flip-flops for wellies. However, like it or not, it’s now October. So for this article I’ve selected a few of my favourite essentials of autumn to help you enjoy this season to the full, with less regrets for the vanished heat of summer.
A good hot chocolate is an autumn essential
Oversized scarves My family and friends are all jealous of my oversized scarf. Almost like wearing a blanket, most autumnal days it keeps me toasty warm without needing a coat. And it looks good too! So lets embrace our winter woolies. Fairy lights There’s not much need for indoor lighting in Perthshire over the summer—after all, it doesn’t get dark until 11:00. But autumn is a different story. With the nights starting to draw in and mornings gradually getting gloomier, some pleasant lighting inside is vital. String your fairy lights over a bookcase or mantelpiece, or bunch them into a Kilner jar for some cosy lamps. This looks so pretty that I actually miss being able to do it in the summer. Peat fires There’s nothing quite like sitting in front of a real fire on a chilly or damp day, and a peat fire is especially relaxing. The gentle glow and mild smoke is the perfect accompaniment to a lazy weekend afternoon of lounging, possibly while enjoying a great local lifestyle magazine (hint, hint).
“String your fairy lights over a bookcase or mantelpiece, or bunch them into a Kilner jar for some cosy lamps”
Homemade jam Autumn is the season of blackberries, apples and plums, to name but a few. In the past, this bounty would have been made full use of at this time of year, with households preserving the fruit for the barren winter months by making it into jam. These days fruit is available from our supermarkets all year round, but that doesn’t mean a row of jam jars gleaming with jewel-like colours in our kitchen doesn’t bring a great deal of pleasure, and it can be considered more sustainable too. Jam is really not that hard to make, it just takes a bit of time. But it’s definitely worth it. Fleecy pyjamas Embrace the fact you are no longer sleeping with the
window wide open and an electric fan whirring away in an attempt to stay reasonably cool. Autumn is the start of being able to snuggle up and some fleecy pjs are a great help with that. They might also mean that you can turn your heating down a bit! A good book There’s no need to spend all of the longer evenings passively watching telly. Try reading a good, comforting book. My personal favourites for colder weather are: Little Women, Wuthering Heights, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Bleak House. Or if novels aren’t your thing then you could try leaning a new skill, such as knitting or drawing.
“The best way to enjoy the autumn colours is to wrap up warmly and go for a walk in the woods”
Woodland walks Just because the weather is less warm is no reason to stay indoors all day. The best way to enjoy the autumn colours is to wrap up warmly and go for a walk in the woods. Put your wellies on and discover your inner child—splash in the puddles, kick up the leaves and squelch through the mud. And keep a look out for some natural autumnal treasures, such as those in my next point... Conkers, pinecones and leaves Bring the outdoors in, with baskets of pinecones, vases of autumn leaves and jars of conkers and acorns. Some touches of nature in the home makes for a restful and connected atmosphere that promotes well-being. Hearty soups The healthy salads of summer no longer seem so appetising, but there’s no need to return to the refined carbohydrates. Vegetable soups make delicious, healthy, inexpensive and warming meals that can be made in advance and frozen for when they’re needed. My favourite autumnal soup is celeriac and apple, closely followed by celery and cashew nut. Other fun things about autumn include: fluffy throws, long hot baths, bobble hats, the GinFall Festival, scented candles, starry nights, bonfires, the Enchanted Forest, woolly jumpers and hot buttered toast. In fact, I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad autumn is here at last!
â€œOther fun things about autumn include: fluffy throws, long hot baths, bobble hats, the GinFall Festival, scented candles, starry nights, bonfires, the Enchanted Forest, woolly jumpers and hot buttered toastâ€?
Gin Lovers! The Perfect Day Out for
Scotland’s most popular gin festival, GinFall, comes to The Station Hotel in Perth on Sat 9th November.
ith the perfect mix of gins, live music, food and cocktails, GinFall firmly established itself as the leading gin festival in Scotland in 2018, and 2019 is set to be even bigger and better, with more gin to sample, food to taste, specially created cocktails to savour and new rooms added.
As well as the opportunity to try a huge variety of gins from all over the world, (including exclusive gins you won’t see anywhere else) there will be live music, great food and a premium gin cocktail bar, plus an exclusive range of gin liqueurs from around the globe—new for 2019. And there’s more! This year GinFall has added a brand-new room: The Tiki Rum Room. With the explosion of rum set for 2020, we have created a room to let you sample some of the best rum from around the world—white rum, spiced rum, gold rum, aged rum, dark rum and flavoured rum. Plus, The Tiki Rum Room will feature a pop-up Tiki Cocktail Bar serving up the best Tiki Cocktails this side of Hawaii.
Your Day: On arrival, you’ll receive a delicious welcome gin cocktail. As well as the opportunity to try a huge variety of gins from all over the world, there will be live music, food stalls, the big gin raffle, gin liqueurs, gin-inspired cakes and bakes, The Tiki Rum Room and a premium gin cocktail bar. There will also be gin cocktail masterclasses where some of Scotland’s finest mixologists will demonstrate how to make a wide selection of classic and contemporary gin cocktails, and the opportunity to meet gin distillers in person, try free samples and chat about their gin. Session 1: 12:00 – 16:00 Session 2: 17:30 – 21:30 BUY TICKETS: www.socialandcocktail.co.uk/ginfall Standard Tickets: £15 Cocktail Masterclass: £10 (Special Limited Offer) Standard Ticket PLUS Cocktail Masterclass: £20 NO BOOKING FEES. Please note: This event is for adults who are 18 years and older.
This year GinFall has added a brand-new room: The Tiki Rum Room.
Win Two Tickets to the 2019 GinFall Festival!
Sat 9th November 2019 The Station Hotel, Perth Simply email us at perthshiremagazine@gmail. com with the answer to this question: Whatâ€™s the name of GinFallâ€™s new rum bar for 2019? A) The Tiki Gin Bar B) The Tiki Rum Room C) The Tiki Cocktail Lounge Competition ends on the 18th of October 2019 at midnight. The winner will be selected by random prize draw and notified shortly thereafter. You must be 18 or over to enter. No cash alternative is available.
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TV Blacksmith Plants
on A84 BLiSS Trail
Look out for Weige Weeds on the A84—a 12ft bunch of colourful metal flowers crafted by TV personality Kev Paxton of ArtFe Blacksmiths, created in collaboration with Glasgow graffiti artist EJEK, for Loch Earn Tourism Information’s (LETi) award-winning BLiSS art trail, linking Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans in central Scotland.
he latest art installation to cheer up locals and visitors on the Scottish Thistle Award winning BLISS trail stands proudly on the A84, outside The Golden Larches restaurant, Balquhidder Station. The idea for Weige Weeds was inspired by a set of Glasgow streetlights with flower petal surrounds, which appealed to Kev Paxton’s sense of fun. His sculpture ignores society’s negative attitude towards weeds by characterising their colour, beauty and place in nature. Kev Paxton invited Glasgow street artist EJEK (Danny McDer-
mott) to add eye-catching graffiti styling to the Weige Weed heads. EJEK has a global following for his art techniques, including thermal imaging. In common with Kev Paxton, an opportunity to pursue and share creative talent changed the course of his life. EJEK is known as the artist who created the Stan Lee Mural in Glasgow and he is one of the Main Street artists of the Glasgow Mural Trail. The professional street artist, who had free reign to give Weige Weeds a makeover, included a cowhide pattern in reference to ArtFe’s popular metal “coos”. BLiSS trail started as an innovative tourism project in 2016 when LETi first collaborated with Kev Paxton. They share a love of Scotland’s natural surroundings, humour and a common aim to capture people’s attention and make them smile as they go about their day. LETi is proud to have four permanent Kev Paxton installations on the BLiSS trail available to view against seasonal landscapes all year round. Since 2016, LETi has won three trophies that applaud the BLiSS trail, including the coveted Scottish Thistle Award for Innovation in Tourism. The business group worked with GeoTourist smartphone app technology to enable a storytelling route finder for their art and architectural installation trail. Kev Paxton has gone on to attract a global customer fan base, picking up trade stand awards—including 5 stars at Chelsea Flower Show 2019— and has made numerous appearances on television programmes, including BBC Money for Nothing, BBC Flipping Profit, CBeebies Junk Rescue and Scrap Kings on Quest TV.
LETI Chair Kim Proven said, “Kev Paxton and ArtFe Blacksmiths have invested considerable time, skill and belief in the LETi tourism project commissions since BLiSS trail launched. We love working with the team, as there is always fun and laughter. We’ve watched Kev and ArtFe’s reputation grow considerably, so it was fitting to hear people say, “ It is that bloke off the telly” as the ArtFe team erected Weige Weeds in the Golden Larches restaurant car park”. There are 25 installations to discover on BLiSS trail, now including Kev Paxton sculptures: “Weige Weeds” at Balquhidder Station, Highland cow “Drover’s Bho” in Strathyre, West Highland terrier “Ewen Westies of Craggan” and “Blawn Wi The Wind” thistles sculpture in Lochearnhead.
“Treat yourself to home baking and a cuppa, pay homage to a bright and beautiful installation and be prepared to smile”
The trail can be split into manageable routes by bicycle, car and on foot, using the downloadable GeoTourist smartphone route-finder app that triggers stories in front of each installation (https://geotourist.com/tours/2040). The BLiSS trail map (http://www.robroycountry.com/blisstrail) also highlights cafe and restaurant stops along the way.
Photos provided by Loch Earn Tourism Information
The next time you are on the A84, pull into The Golden Larches restaurant, treat yourself to home baking and a cuppa, pay homage to a bright and beautiful installation collaboration by a popular Scottish outdoor sculptor and a street artist, and be prepared to smile.
Marketing identity for the village of Laggan.
The most persuasive marketing happens when you tell your story compellingly. www.akel.co.uk
Try Summer Harvest this Autumn
vaguely remember the time I like to call The Great Olive Oil Revolution. Everyone switched from their previous vegetable oils of choice to this far healthier version. The general consensus was that it would imbue us all with Mediterranean-like health and happiness. In the last decade, however, there’s been a new oil in the wok—cold-pressed rapeseed oil. (Excepting a brief and, as many experts now say, misguided interruption in favour of coconut oil.)
130 years—the last fifty of them on Ferneyfold Farm, located between Perth and Crieff. On this farm they grow all of their own crops and press all of their own oil, so you can be sure that you’re getting a real part of Perthshire in every bottle. All this love, attention and quality really come out in the flavour of the oil. Summer Harvest has a light, nutty flavour with an almost cucumber-like freshness, and tastes wonderful drizzled on salad, roasted with vegetables, or mixed with a little balsamic vinegar and served with an open textured bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta, to dip in. There’s all sorts of exciting infusions and dressings available too, such as apple and walnut, lemon and honey or bramble and juniper—no more boring salads!
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil is super low in saturated fat—in fact, it apparently has the lowest amount of any cooking oil, and less than half that of olive oil. That’s not its only advantage over many other cooking oils though, there’s also its high flash point, meaning it can be heated to a really high frying temperature without losing its flavour and natural antioxidants. Another huge benefit is that it’s grown in the UK, conI’m definitely a rapeseed oil convert. Thanks siderably reducing food miles. One Perthshire com- to Summer Harvest for providing us with a delicious pany doing just this is Summer Harvest Oils. free sample bottle to review. If you would like to try it The Summer Harvest Oil family has been for yourself then you can visit their website at: www. farming in the Strathearn Valley Perthshire for over summerharvestoils.co.uk
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Honey I Adopted a
Webster Honey announces hive sponsorship for businesses, & adoption packages for bee lovers everywhere!
ustainable honey business, webster honey, which operates a Nursery & Primary School education programme, along with selling its honey in farm shops and delis all over Scotland, has announced a new business sponsorship programme, along with a chance for members of the public to adopt a bee, or bee colony. Businesses wishing to sponsor a hive can discuss a number of tailored packages, with the chance to have up to twelve representatives from the business coming along to complete a team building course with webster honey’s experienced beekeeper at the company’s new Beekeeping Centre in Scotlandwell. Hives can be housed at the place of business, or the business can opt to sponsor hives situated elsewhere in Scotland—on nature reserves or in schools, for example.
Levels of adoption for bee-loving members of the public are also available, from just £4 for a Drone Bee adoption, to £325 for a Queen Bee package. Along with knowing that they are doing their best to help promote and protect honey bees, which are hugely valuable to the ecosystem and help pollinate crops, those adopting will receive pictures and can follow the bees progress on social media. Webster honey is also forging ahead with its proven school learning programme, with schools and nurseries all over Edinburgh, Fife & the Lothians signed up to take part. Supplied with beehives to tend and look after, webster honey’s beekeeper comes into the schools and nurseries over a ten week timescale to check on the hives and complete the learning programme. A one day course is also available, with an observational hive being brought into the schools to start off the process. Often this one day course can lead to the school signing up for the full ten week lesson plan.
We are delighted to launch both a new business sponsorship scheme, and affordable adoption levels for the public,” said Managing Director Daniel Webster. “We think it’s a great idea to engage with businesses of all sizes. They can get their company logo on the hives and will be kept up to date with their hive’s journey as honey is created for harvesting in late summer. For others who love bees and want to help them survive, an adoption package can make a great gift.” To contact webster honey about the new sponsorship scheme, adoption, or about the school & nursery programmes please check out the new website at www.websterhoney.com
“You can follow the bees progress on social media”
Scotland at Work
Using the superpowers in Mother Natureâ€™s larder to rewind the construction industryâ€™s giant, steel-capped footprint. By Fiona Murray.
he status quo in the construction industry is overdue for an environmental shakedown. The construction industry gobbles up 50% of the world’s raw resources and belches out half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in return. Add to this the industry’s reliance upon dumping waste in landfill and we have ourselves an entirely unsustainable approach to building which is at odds with our awakening to climate change. But what can we do as individuals to effect real change in such a gargantuan industry? Help!
mare. In this month’s Sustainable Scotland at Work feature we are jumping into the deep end to deconstruct the reasoning and the science behind his incredible innovation, which was dreamt up right here in Scotland.
Scott Simpson of IndiNature has developed the world’s first bio-based insulation, which will hit the market next year. IndiNature’s unique insulation product is called IndiBreathe and is an affordable, sustainable replacement to mass-market insulation, which will be One man has kept his cool in the face of this night- made in the Scottish Borders.
IndiBreathe has been 3 years in the making and its innovative design tackles the construction industry's 3 core environmental issues: 1. The materials used in construction are swallowing up our planet's finite resources at a completely unsustainable rate. 2. The processes involved in making construction materials, the transportation of materials and the operation of machinery on building sites all culminate in dizzying levels of CO2 emissions. 3. There is no end-of-life consideration as part of the material design for mass-market construction materials. The industry relies on materials that will never breakdown and uses landfills as the end destination.
tion brands bind the natural fibres with Petroplastics, which ultimately results in a material containing plastic, IndiNature uses a plant-based alternative which will break down at the end of the product's life.
To combat the CO2 component, IndiBreathe has been developed to act as a vehicle to reverse our CO2 levels. The hemp used in the insulation extracts and captures more CO2 from the air during its growing cycle than the end product requires in its production. Once the hemp is processed into the insulation, the carbon dioxide originally captured by the hemp is locked away permanently. The resulting equation leaves us with less CO2 in the environment than were this product not to exist. This is potentially IndiBreathe's most imIndiNature's insulation is set to change the construc- pressive superpower, as instead of carbon reduction tion industry's prehistoric approach of take, make, we are talking about carbon reversal! waste. Firstly, IndiBreathe insulation is made from entirely renewable materials. The bulk of the insulation's The third and final dimension to IndiBreathe is its tofibre is hemp, which is grown and processed in the tal elimination of waste. The product can be returned Scottish Borders. IndiNature has developed a unique to the company's factory at the end of its useful life to plant-based liquid that acts as a glue to bind the hemp be used again in another building or reprocessed into and other natural fibres together to create the solid new insulation. As its 100% plant-based, it can even mass of the insulation. Where other â€˜natural' insula- be composted in an industrial composting facility.
â€œThe resulting equation leaves us with less CO2 in the environment than were this product not to existâ€?
The transformative power of this product comes from the natural elements used in its make up. Hemp is an incredible plant, with a long list of powerful properties which lend themselves well to the role of insulating— not least its ability to buffer moisture and therefore avoid damp and mould. Its carbon-capturing abilities are just the icing on the cake!
developments made in biotechnology, yet the term hangs in the air and conjures up vague connotations of futuristic and geeky scenes. No one really knows what it means. We thought it was about time Sustainable Scotland at Work unpicked the term ‘biotechnology’ to establish a deeper understanding and a newfound respect for all that the term encompasses.
The plant-based binding agent developed by IndiNature is the brand’s real differentiator between IndiBreathe and all other natural insulators in the market, as this enables the product to be truly renewable and solve the end-of-life conundrum. But the middle man responsible for taking Scott Simpson’s 5-star idea and cross-pollinating that with mother nature’s larder of wonders is the unsung hero of our story—biotechnology.
Let’s start with a basic definition: Biotechnology in its simplest iteration is the use of biology involving living systems and organisms to develop or make products. In the case of IndiNature, biotechnology has been used to take the properties of plants and manipulate these to first of all process the hemp for the insulation’s fibre, and also to develop the plant-based binding agent which locks all of the ingredients into one solid structure. There is no end to the abilities and Biotechnology is the mind-boggling human interven- outputs of biotechnology. From silk fabric made from tion that has enabled IndiNature to harness the power orange peel, to bulletproof armour made from spider of plants and manufacture a product. More and more webs, the developments that are currently going on of our environmental turnarounds are thanks to the behind laboratory doors are truly wondrous.
“There is no end to the abilities and outputs of biotechnology. From silk fabric made from orange peel, to bulletproof armour made from spider webs”
IndiNature is only months away from opening their factory in the Scottish Borders to produce IndiBreathe at scale. The factory will create 30 jobs for the area and Scott already has plans to replicate the factory overseas, to enter new markets. It’s worth mentioning to any philanthropists or angel investors reading this that IndiNature has secured some funding but are still looking for further investment. When interviewing Scott for this feature he was hugely positive about the support he has received for IndiNature from the Scottish Government, and credits Scotland as one of the best environments to start a busi-
ness. The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) in particular has been a continuing source of support for Scott and his team. The ECCI helped them to secure a place on ‘Climate Kick’, which is a European programme that pushes and propels green business initiatives through an intensive development process. Scott has also been chosen to take part in the Unlocking Ambition Challenge, which is a Scottish initiative to support 20 entrepreneurs who show great potential to develop innovative businesses that will benefit the Scottish Economy. The future is looking very bright for IndiNature!
About Fiona Murray Fiona is the owner of Content Marketing firm, Straight Talk - A strategic content marketing firm with none of the usual advertising waffle. Her regular feature, Sustainable Scotland At Work, is intended to be an uplifting and educational piece that gets us all talking about environmental issues. Investigating and showcasing what’s taking place in Scottish enterprise to improve our environment is a topic close to Fiona’s heart. Images in this article by IndiNature.
Perth Pitlochry Aberfeldy
Bridge Of Gaur
Strathbraan West Toffs
Dunkeld Kinloch Rannoch
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 theirs.
It’s now October. Not even the most optimistic of us could a argue a case for still being summer. It’s now officially autumn. I’m perfectly happy with that, in fact it’s one of my favourite times of year as it means I can indulge in two of my favourite pastimes. Taking photos and stuffing my face with food. First, let’s talk photos. It may seem an obvious point, but to take great autumnal photos you need to live in an area with lots of trees. But not just any old trees, they need to be deciduous to be precise. So much of Scotland is ether treeless or covered with those dreadful evergreen things that the Forestry Commission thought were a good idea in the 1950s. In Perthshire, not only do we have a plethora of trees, but they are the right ones too. The type that go all sorts of stunning colours. As they turn, I urge you to go and take some photos of them, on your phone will do just fine. A jaunt like that is good for the soul. Don’t leave it too long — that stunning kaleidoscope of colour can disappear with just a gusty day. Now let’s talk about stuffing our faces. Autumn is the time of culinary plenty. We have all sorts of yummy things in season, things that restaurants would give their right leg for. Most often you can just go outside and pick all this great stuff for free. It’s all too easy to let life push out the time you need for putting on you coat and wellies and taking yourself off for a free food finding adventure. I know in previous years I’ve had all sorts of fantastic plans for making lots of cool stuff, only to find it’s winter before I’ve made the time. That’s quite sad. This year is going to be different. I’m going to make lots of stuff — mushrooms on toast, blackberry jam, endless chutneys, preserves, sloe gin and rose hip vodka. And that is my snack suggestion this month. Go outside and forage yourself something yummy. Doesn’t matter what, just something that’s free, natural and grows in Perthshire (and edible of course!). Have fun finding it, have fun picking it, and most importantly, have fun eating it with friends.