Two successive "Best in the World"
awards is huge achievement for the the Highland
Chocolatier, a small Scottish business
based in the tiny village of Grandtully.
Gold in the International Chocolate Awards at
Olympia - For a second year running,
Perthshire-based Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett received a
prestigious gold accolade in the International Chocolate Awards at
Olympia, London this weekend, for one of his exquisite Velvet
World Wide Competition - The
International Chocolate Awards are judged from over 40 countries
with literally thousands of entries. They recognise the finest
quality chocolate from around the world and reflect international
tastes, offering a level playing field for chocolatiers worldwide.
For example, the firm winning silver in the white truffle category
came from the United States, and five bronzes were awarded to firms
from the US, Mexico and Switzerland.
Iain Burnett is based in the tiny village of Grandtully in
Highland Perthshire, and the Highland Chocolatier has just
celebrated its tenth anniversary. In recent years Iain's special
expertise in making both "naked" and enrobed (coated) chocolates
has made his premises one of the area's leading tourist
THE SCOTTISH CHOCOLATE CENTRE at Grandtully, opened in
2010, was the first and only venue of its kind in Scotland
dedicated to the promotion of gourmet chocolate. Iain
Burnett himself is now Scotland's most awarded chocolatiers and one
of the top three in the UK.
Iain said of his latest success: "I'm really pleased that my
new caramelized white Velvet Truffle has been selected. Liquorice
is a flavour that sometimes gets a bad press but I've developed a
chocolate that uses a gentle hint of liquorice with white chocolate
that has been caramelised to complement it. The balance of
chocolate and spices is combined to create a complex chocolate that
is above all, delicious!"
The truffles cost £19.95
for a gift box and are available in his Grandtully and St Andrews
stores, as well as mail order across the UK and
internationally via www.highlandchocolatier.com.
The recipe and technique for producing Iain's pure, ganache
truffle is a closely guarded secret because it is so unique. His
original Dark Velvet Truffle won gold at the International
Chocolate Awards in 2015, marking it as The World's Best
Dark Chocolate Truffle. Both his Caramel with a Twist of
Liquorice Truffle and his Milk Velvet Truffle - Classic also won
Gold at the British section of the International Chocolate Awards
in June 2016.
The whole Velvet Truffle range has won Scotland Food and Drink
Excellence overall Product of the Year.
Iain Burnett - The Highland Chocolatier sources chocolate
from the small island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe and uses
local ingredients including cream from a single herd of Perthshire
cattle, and Scottish honey and Scottish butter.
Purcell's Irish Dragoon's flag is loaned by the
Soldiers of Killiecrankie event to the National Trust of Scotland
Killiecrankie Visitor Centre in Killiecrankie. You may well ask,
what were the Irish doing at the 1689 Battle of
Purcell's Irish Dragoon's led by Tomás Ó Brógáin and Ian
Eagleson from Ireland returned to Killiecrankie last year to take
part in the Soldiers of Killiecrankie weekend. To mark the occasion
a replica of Purcell's Irish Dragoon's flag was presented to the
organisers of the Soldiers of Killiecarnkie event by Tomás Ó
Brógáin. It is this flag that you can see when you visit the
Killiecrankie Visitor Centre.
The story all began back in 1689 when
Col. Nicholas Purcell who represented the County of Tipperary in
the Parliament in Dublin, accompanied King James II from Brest in
France as he travelled to Ireland, in May 1689. King James II of
England and VI of Scotland was travelling to Ireland to reclaim his
crown back from King William and his daughter Queen
King William and King James's daughter Queen Mary's reign
began in February 1689 after their successful invasion of England
in November 1688, led to the so-called Glorious Revolution. After
the Siege of Derry, Colonel Nicholas was sent by the King James to
support the Highland Jacobite forces commanded by "Bonnie
400 men of Colonel Purcell's regiment landed in
small boats at Lochaber in the morning of 17 May 1689, before
marching to join up with Bonnie Dundee's Highlanders on the 16 July
at Blair Castle, Perthshire. The highland clans were gathering to
oppose the Williamite forces who were commanded by another Scot,
Lieutenant-General Hugh Mackay.
You will have the chance to see and meet Purcell's
Irish Dragoon's led by Tomás Ó Brógáin and Ian Eagleson as
they are returning to this year's Soldiers of Killiecrankie weekend
on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July, 11am to 5pm.
The Soldiers of Killiecrankie weekend also has
cavalry and infantry displays, battlefield tours, a living history
camp which gives a glimpse behind the scenes of the daily
life of the 17th century government soldier. There are also many
'period sensitive' events for the whole family including
traditional storytelling, waulking cloth, your chance to dress up
in traditional highland clothing for men, women and children,
stalls, food, traditional crafts and other activities from targe
and sword making for the youngsters, archery, golf, basket weaving,
Battlefield horse stunts, Punishment through the Ages, and the
popular Saturday night family Battlefield Ceilidh.
Entry to Soldiers of Killiecrankie is £6
adult, £5 Concessions, £3 children under 16 years, family of four
£16 and free car parking. For further information
www.SoldiersOfKilliecrankie.co.uk or contact: - James Rattray
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01796 473335.
Atholl Museum Gearing Up for Summer 2016!
With the arrival of the
curlews and lapwings on the hill and this year's swallows starting
to rear their young, Atholl Country Life Museum is getting ready
for the 2016 summer season. From 1 June the former school in Blair
Atholl moves from weekend only to daily opening from 1.30 pm to
5.00 pm. Then in July and August Highland Perthshire's favourite
museum opens from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily on week days and 1.30
to 5.00 at weekends.
Museum founder John Cameron is hoping for a good summer and that
local people and visitors will continue to be able to enjoy the
displays in the building proper, and in the reconstructed Trinafour
post office behind.
"There have been one or two modifications to the
displays this year. We've also added cruck timber frames, typical
of rural Scottish architecture in the early nineteenth century, to
our ever-expanding range of artefacts. The museum gives a
good flavour of bygone Scottish rural life above the highland line
and there are fascinating displays and photographs of people,
tangible items and themes of importance to the Atholl area like
agriculture, the railway, the landscape and specific events.
A visit won't occupy a whole day - maybe an hour or two
depending on how much you want to see and absorb - and we get very
good feedback from everyone who has spent time here.
Locals can enjoy the museum as part of a relaxing and happy day
out in the Atholl area. Come and try it. There are lots of things
to appeal to the kids too!"
Admission is £4 per adult and £3 for senior citizens.
Children under 17 accompanied by adults are admitted free.
You can keep up to date with what's going on by logging on to www.athollcountrylifemuseum.org.uk
and you can like the museum's facebook page too!
This year's FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek
International Horse Trials and Country Fair runs from 25th - 28th
As usual there is a raft of ticket options for spectators
wishing to watch some of the best horse and rider combinations in
the world perform in front of the breathtaking Blair Castle, and
take on its demanding terrain.
ticket - Undoubtedly the most relaxing option is to
opt for an all inclusive Membership ticket. These
include admission to the event, forward car parking and access to
the ringside Members' Marquee with its bar and restaurant
facilities, CCTV and members toilets. Dogs on short leads are
welcome in the Marquee.
Weekend packages, offering entry to the show ground
and Country Fair - but not including car parking. Weekend adult
admission costs just £30 per person. Adult general admission starts
at £12 per person.
The Horse Trials camp site is a short five
minute walk from the public entrance to the event and offers all
the facilites that you would expect. Caravans, motorhomes, tents
and horseboxes are all welcome.
Luxury Yurts or Tipis - As a real
treat you could, however, book one of the luxury Yurts or Tipis on
offer. These come decorated with colourful Indian cotton hangings
and scatter cusions, all ready for you to make your home for the
duration. Relax on sheepskin rugs under sparkling solar fairy
lights, and sleep on comfortable, top of the range, airbeds. These
are unsurprisingly very popular so should be booked early!
There is much to see and do at this year's FEI Blair Castle
Equi-Trek Horse Trials, and with all that Perthshire has to offer,
why not make a holiday of it and enjoy Scotland at its most
The Old Mill Inn in
Pitlochry is triumphant at the Scottish Hotel of the Year
The red carpet was rolled out at Edinburgh's Sheraton
Grand hotel last night for the annual Scottish Hotel of the Year
Awards or as they are affectionately known in the industry, the
"Tourism Oscars". The nation's tourism movers and shakers
turned out in their masses to eagerly await the awarding panel's
decision on who they deem worthy of their prestigious
The Old Mill Inn team were simply delighted to receive the
honour of being named the best Scottish Inn for 2016 alongside a
rising star award for their Receptionist Gosia Wasik.
Owners Fiona and Angus John MacLellan are thrilled
that the hard work of their team has been recognised.
"We could not be more delighted" said Angus John "to achieve
the award for Inn of the Year not once but twice is a great
endorsement of what we're doing here at The Old Mill Inn. Our
aim is to be the best that we can possibly be and last night's
award is proof positive that people love what we are doing."
This success story began just a few short years
ago in 2012 when Fiona and Angus John took over The Old Mill
Inn. They have transformed the business from mediocre to
award-winning in a short space of time.
Not only have they been successful in the Hotel
Awards, they have also won Visitscotland's Gold star
status for exceptional customer service, a Scottish Thistle Award
for Tayside & Fife's Friendliest Pub and a mention in Peter
Irvine's Scotland the Best Guidebook.
When asked why their business has been singled
out, Fiona replies "Our focus for the business is to
provide customers with what they want in our family's trademark
style which is to offer friendly, consistently excellent service.
We also showcase the best local produce throughout the
restaurant & bar and aim to bring everything together
seamlessly so that each and every customer has a wonderful
experience whether just nipping in for a pint or staying for a week
The Inn hosts live music every weekend
and has become the 'place to go' heart of the community
for locals to meet up, wine & dine whilst enjoying some of the
best musical talent that Scotland has to offer every Friday and
The award, currently making its way to its new home in
Pitlochry, will take pride of place on the Inn's award display,
which is looking pleasingly full. With the Inn's current
form, they'll have to make space for many more awards in years to
To book online or check for available rooms and visit www.theoldmillpitlochry.co.uk
or call Tel: 01796 474020. The Old Mill Inn,
Mill Lane, Pitlochry PH16
5BH Tel: 01796 474 020
The Enchanted Forest, Perthshire's multi-award winning
sound and light show, has staved off competition from 38 of
Scotland's top tourism providers to take home the Tourism &
Hospitality Award at the recent Scottish Rural Awards.
The show, which will celebrate its 15th
anniversary this year attracted just over 62,000 visitors
to the Highland Perthshire area in 2015 over a 32 night
run, demonstrating a 33% increase on the previous year, breaking
all previous box office records. The event's impact on the local
tourism economy is now expected to be in the region of £2.75million
per annum with over 50% of all visitors to the event choosing to
stay overnight in the area on their visit and 90% citing the event
as their main reason for visiting the area in the Autumn.
Ian Sim, acting chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust
that runs The Enchanted Forest, commented: "This is
a tremendous achievement for Highland Perthshire in a hotly
contested category at one of Scotland's most prestigious awards. We
continue to be deeply encouraged by the continued support of our
visitors, many of them loyal visitors who return to the Forest year
after year, and winning the Tourism & Hospitality Award is
testimony to the hard work put in by the community to make The
Enchanted Forest such a successful and popular
Visitors to the event in 2015 included
Radio 1 DJ 'Rob da Bank' who tweeted out his attendance to
his 81,000 followers as well as Tomas Jansen, Head of Sales for
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts who, following his visit,
commented: "It was great!!! Well done and well executed,
we really enjoyed it."
The show was also featured on BBC1 Countryfile last Autumn with
presenter Ellie Harrison revealing the wonders of The Enchanted
Forest to the nation.
Over 5000 people who were not lucky enough to get tickets for
last year's show have already signed up to an advance notice list
to purchase tickets for 2016. More information on how to sign up is
available on www.enchantedforest.org.uk
The Award Winning 2015 show FLUX was designed by a
creative team led by Derek Allan including Scottish lighting
designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, and specially
composed and recorded music, and sound effects by RJ McConnell and
Jon Beales. Together they created a dazzling and engaging show
which celebrates the stunning woodland setting of the event.
I was privileged to be
invited to Pitlochry Theatre to be told about the 2016 Summer
Season Shows with a difference:-
ALSO a fantastic offer:-
The other important facts that you might like to
know about the Alan Ayckbourn plays:-
The other three plays are:-
Groups - IF you are a group of 8+
let the theatre know when you book, the booking office will advise
on groups discounts, and other benefits including 20% off your
groups transport costs.Travel - you can travel to
Pitlochry by train from anywhere in the UK in one day! Pitlochry
train station is right in the centre of the town on the main Perth
to Inverness rail line.
Hotels, B&Bs, Guest Houses, Self-catering
providers - contact Giles giles.conisbee@PitlochryFestivalTheatre.com
at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and he will provide images and
support to help you mail this out to your customer database, to
fill your rooms and help bring more guests to Pitlochry
"A Win Win situation as I see it! Locals do not need a bed to
sleep in, BUT bed providers need events to draw visitors to the
area and fill their beds - what better than our fantastic local
theatre and all its plays."
The Old Mill Inn in Pitlochry has returned
victorious from the prestigious Scottish Thistle Awards with the
new title of Tayside & Fife's Friendliest Pub. Despite
stiff competition, this endorsement echoes their earlier award from
The Scottish Hotel Awards under the same category, so clearly they
are doing something right!
Friendliest Pub in Scotland Award
- Consistency is key to The Old Mill Inn and it is with
that hallmark in the foreground that the team eagerly anticipate
the national finals of the awards which take place in March
2016. These awards will see The Old Mill go up
against the winners from the 5 national regions with the hope of
scooping the Friendliest Pub in Scotland award.
With 2 regional winners still to be announced later this
month, The Old Mill Inn already has some tough competition for the
title of Friendliest Pub from finalists The Allanwater Brewhouse in
Bridge of Allan and The George Bar in Hamilton.
Owners Angus John and Fiona MacLellan are incredibly proud
of the recognition they have received from awarding bodies and
customers and they believe that it is mostly down to the hard work
and incredible dedication from their staff.
Speaking this morning, owner Angus John MacLellan said
"Both Fiona and I are absolutely thrilled to receive this
award. We're so incredibly proud of our whole team and
grateful for our wonderful customers who make the Old Mill Inn such
a friendly place to go. To be named the Friendliest Pub is an
honour and a privilege."
Fiona adds "We have a fantastic team
at The Old Mill Inn - our super heroes. Each member of staff
plays a vital role in our business and as owners we work hard to
hand pick the right people for each position. We have a mix
of local and international staff from around the globe including
Australia & New Zealand, South Africa, and Romania.
Recruitment in the hospitality industry can be tough and this is
why we strive to provide the best working environment for our team
members - fun and hard work go hand in hand. We reward
excellence and all of our staff are working together to achieve the
same goals - success and customer delight."
From behind the scenes, such as housekeeping and kitchen
roles, through to front of house and management, their team is tip
top and from the outside it's just like one big happy family.
This clearly resonates with customers and guests, creating a
relaxed and informal environment which draws customers back time
and time again!
Online reviews and comments on social media endorse their
claim to be the friendliest bar with many wonderful and excellent
write-ups of fantastic nights out at The Old Mill Inn.
Dougie MacLean's Autumnal Celebration of Music -
Perthshire Amber - 30 October - 8
Dunkeld welcomes the world to Dougie MacLean's
Autumnal Celebration of Music - It's the
final countdown to Scotland's "most original acoustic music
festival" Perthshire Amber, which returns with a stellar line-up,
on 30 October.
Headliners include 'home grown' talent Dallahan,
Emily Smith, Rura, Ross Ainslie, Blazin' Fiddles, Karine
Polwart, Benny Gallagher and The Wrigley Sisters all playing
alongside Dougie MacLean, festival founder and the singer
songwriter who gave us Scotland's anthem 'Caledonia'.
The festival's 'home base' is the picturesque
village of Dunkeld in stunning autumnal Perthshire and
runs for ten days until the 8 November.
The well-loved festival features 25 venues throughout
the region including historic castles, the stunning
Dunkeld Cathedral, cosy village halls, the ancient Iron Age Crannog
on Loch Tay and the prestigious Perth Concert Hall.
The Byre at Inchyra, which is a wonderfully atmospheric
venue dating from 1877 and formerly home to the cattle
from the Inchyra Estate, is a new festival venue for 2015.
It fell into ruin only to be beautifully restored over the
past couple of years and festival organisers are delighted to add
The Byre at Inchyra to the host of quirky and fascinating venues
used during the festival.
The festival has always had a strong
representation of 'rest of UK' and international talent, this year
is no different Bella Hardy, Elliott Morris and Jess
Morgan hailing from different parts of England The Mae Trio from
Australia; Jessie Will from New Zealand, Stanley Samuelsen from the
Faroe Islands will all travel to Scotland for the festival as well
as the welcome return of Buddy MacDonald from Nova Scotia,
In addition to the fantastic feature concerts, the fringe
programme 'Amber Discoveries' will continue to support and promote
new music and up-and-coming talent through the Open Mic afternoons
and early evening Cabaret Amber, which are both free admission.
The ever-popular Decorated Wheelbarrow Procession
will return to the streets of Dunkeld to mark the first
Sunday of the festival processing to the historic Stanley Hill for
an afternoon of music at the Amber Autumn Picnic, celebrating
Scotland's Year of Food and Drink.
As usual throughout the 10 days there will be guided walks,
talks and demonstrations. Festival sponsors Tennant's
Caledonia will make a welcome return offering samples of Caledonia
Best to attendees of the evening concerts.
- box office on 00 44 (0)1350 724 281 - On
Twitter www.twitter.com/perthshireamber - and
A number of local tourism businesses are working
collaboratively to promote the event, with local
accommodation providers offering deals that include tickets to the
event, and other visitor attractions offering discount entry for
Enchanted Forest ticket holders.
Blair Castle on Atholl Estates is one of the
businesses that is promoting discounted entry during the show.
Andrew Bruce-Wootton, General Manager at Atholl Estates
"The Enchanted Forest is a firm favourite amongst families
and people flock from across the country to visit the area and see
the spectacular light and sound show. The fact that the castle
exhibitions are refreshed each year also means that we see a flurry
of new visitors through our doors when the event is on. It also
provides a very welcome boost to businesses across the surrounding
area and we're delighted to extend a warm Highland Perthshire
welcome to The Enchanted Forest's customers."
Graham Brown, Chairman of The Enchanted Forest
Community Trust commented:
"We are delighted that The Enchanted Forest's success
directly benefits the local business community of Highland
Perthshire, many of whom are incredibly busy as a result of
thousands of additional visitors to the area, but it also enables
us to support local charities, clubs and organisations in the area,
all of which deliver important services to the people of Highland
"Due to the continued success of the event, we are asking
visitors to plan ahead and book their tickets in advance.
All of our popular Saturday night shows are now sold
out, so I would recommend that people plan ahead and book
their tickets to avoid disappointment."
The event runs from Thursday 1st October - Sunday
1st November. For further information about the
Enchanted Forest and to book tickets, visit the Enchanted Forest
website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk
To find out more about visiting Blair Castle go to www.blair-castle.co.uk