Archive for tag: Highland Perthshire

Sea Eagle Sightings in Perthshire

For the last 6 years sea eagle chicks, (collected from nest where there are two or more chicks in Norway), have been flown to Fife and released after seven weeks in captivity. This years chcks were release in the last few weeks.

buzzard-perthshire.jpgEach sea eagle chick in this project has a colour tag, the colour refects the year it was released. Each has a radio (VHF) transmitter with a battery life of five years. This allows the RSPB staff to track the eagles in Scotland this summer.

Interestingly if you look at their report (see link below) , there have been significant sightings in Perthshire. I was told verbally, here in Highland Perthshire that Loch Tay and Pitlochry have been hot spots.

Have you seen any of these young sea eagles in your travels in Perthshire?

Sea Eagle information, what to do if you see ione in Perthshire.

Young Sea Eagle being harrassed by a crow

This photo on the right is of a young sea eagle being harrased by a crow - Thanks to Karen Hartnell for sending us the image.  

To read the excellent East of Scotland Sea Eagle Summer 2012 newsletter, with maps and information on sightings and other interesting facts.

The leaflet "What to do if you spot a Sea Eagle" is well worth a read.

Also worth looking at is "How to tell the difference between a Buzzard, Golden Eagle and White-tailes Eagle or Sea Eagle" This information sheet provides pictures of the different birds, their open wing spans, so you know what to look out for when they are flying.

Finally an interview of You Tube with Meriem Kayoucheche of the RSPB advising how to spot White tailed eagels or Fish eagles. (4mins 28 secs). 

Final thought.

Sea Eagles are big for Tourism on the Isle of Mull, will the same happen in Highland Perthshire? I understand it takes five or six years before a yound eagle matures enough to breed. It would be great to have a nest here in Highland Perthshire.

If any spots a Sea Eagle in Highland Perthshire please let us know, better still get a photo and totally wishful thinking a sea eagle nest, we cxan all observe a long way off as on the Isle of Mull.

Young Sea Eagle in flight young-sea-eagle-flight0.JPG

Cycle Fun Days Kick Start Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival

 DSCF5164.jpgCycle coaching, bike hire, mini bike tracks, skills loops, barbecues and other accessible cycling activities will be on offer at two family focused free Cycle Fun Days that will kick start this year's Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival this weekend (Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 June 2012).

Both events are aimed at encouraging locals and visitors of all ages and abilities to have a go at cycling whilst, at the same time, promoting the huge range of opportunities there are for on and off road cycling in Highland Perthshire.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: 'Opening the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival with cycle fun days is a fantastic idea, which will give families the chance get on their bikes and get involved in a number of ways. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and the 2012 festival will most certainly appeal to both novices and experienced riders alike with a strong programme of events, workshops and coaching sessions attracting visitors from the local community and further afield.'
On Saturday 5 May Progression Bikes will run the Dunkeld Cycle Fun Day, being staged opposite the Atholl Arms, Dunkeld from 11:00 to 16:00.  A range of cycle coaching and bike maintenance workshops will be mixed with have a go sessions on a new cycle course and pump track and a cycle obstacle course.  There will also be some great discounts on bike kit in the Progression Bikes shop on the day. There will also be a barbecue to refuel all of the hungry cyclists.
Emma Burtles from Highland Perthshire Cycling, organisers of the Highland Perthshire Cycling said:  'There has never been a better time to discover or perhaps re-discover cycling, whether for leisure or to get to the places you need to get to.   With so many benefits for the economy, health and environment we should all be doing it, a lot more.'
'The Cycle Fun Days that have been organised this weekend to get the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival underway are the perfect opportunity for all of the family to get on a bike in a warm and friendly environment and, most importantly, discover how much fun you can have on a bike.'
DSCF5217.jpgThe Highland Safaris two-wheeled Cycle Fun Day is being staged in Dull, newly twinned with Boring in the USA, on Sunday 6 May from 10:00 until 17:00.  The highlights of this multi activity cycle day include an opportunity to try out a new range of Scott mountain bikes, a guided single track ride starting at 2500 feet, a time trials competition on a one kilometre skills loop, a selection of funny bikes to have a laugh on and bike maintenance from Dr Bike, just in case.  Cyclists can refuel with a barbecue whilst watching some awesome mountain bike footage on a giant screen.
Adam Flint, from Progression Bikes, said:  'Our cycle fun day and The Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival, as a whole, are fantastic examples of local businesses and communities in the area supporting the promotion of cycling in the area. With more and more cyclists coming to Highland Perthshire for events such as Etape Caledonia it's great to see everyone getting on board!'
This year's Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival has a diverse programme of (mainly) free road and mountain bike events, aimed at cyclists of all ages and abilities, that will be staged across the region from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th of May.  The busy roster of DSCF5180.jpgraces, guided rides (with local enthusiasts both on and off road), skills sessions, workshops, women's events, a schools programme, family fun days and cultural events all culminate in the legendary Etape Caledonia Sportive weekend. For accommodation availability. and l;ook under accommodation.
For more information on Highland Perthshire Cycling and The Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival - visit:
You can find out more information on Facebook: and Twitter: @HPCycling
For more information on Progression Bikes and Highland Safaris go to:

Local support needed for the Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest Looks to Local Business for Support

 The Enchanted Forest, the multi-award winning Perthshire Big Tree Country event, which this year attracted over 26,000 visitors to the Highland Perthshire area, is calling on the local business community to get behind it with a bold and unprecedented move to raise £40,000 of private funding from the businesses that the event directly benefits.

 In recent years The Enchanted Forest, which is set to return to nearby Faskally Wood for its 10th anniversary show in 2012, has successfully transitioned from being run by public sector agencies, to being run by a not for profit Community Interest Company.

 However with public funding hard to come by, and ever increasing costs of running the event, the Community Interest Company Directors are asking the hundreds of local businesses who directly benefit from the event to help provide the financial backing needed to ensure The Enchanted Forest's ongoing economic input to the area.

 Eddie Thomson, chair of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company commented

"This has been a tremendous year for the event, winning four major awards and attracting over 26,000 visitors to the area and we're really very keen for that success to continue into 2012. Over half of The Enchanted Forest customers stay overnight in the area and with increased numbers attending, the overall economic impact of the event is now estimated to be in the region of £1.5million benefit to the local economy."enchanted-forest-support2.jpg

 "In our most recent feedback survey we asked our customers to tell us which businesses they spent money with while in the area and well over 250 businesses were mentioned by name, ranging from restaurants to take aways, from hotels to retail shops. If each of those businesses were to pledge just £160 then we would have the necessary capital we need to continue to run the event. It's not much to ask when you consider the sheer extent of the economic impact of the event is almost 10,000 times that much per business - that's an exceptional return on investment."

 Businesses are being invited to attend an open meeting at Fishers Hotel, Pitlochry at 7pm on Tuesday 20th December, 2011 where there will be an open and public discussion around the future of The Enchanted Forest and how they can play an active role in ensuring its success continues.

 To register attendance at this meeting, contact Eddie Thomson, Chairman of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company by email on 

 The Enchanted Forest was founded in 2003 and this year has acquired a string of accolades including the Event Management Grand Prix at the Scottish Event Awards, Best Cultural Event, Event of the Year at the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards and the Community Award at the Perthshire Big Tree Country Awards.

Cycle Friendly Community Award

Highland Perthshire the Cycle Friendly Community.

Highland Perthshire received one of the top five awards at the annual Cycling Scotland Conference Awards in Glasgow as the 'Cycle Friendly Community' as a result of the work done by the Highland Perthshire Cycling group.

Cycling Scotland's Chairman Bill Wright said, "There is so much excellent cycling work now happening across Scotland, that we had 5 categories this year, attracting the highest number of entries to date. We are delighted to award the 'Cycle Friendly Community Award' to Highland Perthshire Cycling for all the work they have done in the last 12 months from their highly successful cycling festival through to local initiatives including the local schools and youth groups."Cyclefriendaward221111-300.jpg

Emma Burtles the Highland Perthshire Cycling Coordinator, who is based in Aberfeldy said, "I am absolutely delighted to receive this award on behalf of Highland Perthshire Cycling. We are a very new group only having been formed 2 years ago, we have come a very long way in a short time." She continued, "I would like to thank everyone who has put in lots of voluntary hours in making the many events that Highland Perthshire Cycling organise, happen."

The Cycling Scotland citation states; " The winning entry in the Cycle Friendly Communities Award had really embraced the concept, making it a stated aim of the project to create a cycle friendly community in their target area. Using a hugely successful cycling festival as the focal point, the scheme expanded with a range of projects including initiatives to take local schools through the Cycle Friendly School award. Operating youth clubs linking to Scottish Cycling's Go Ride programme, helping local businesses be more cycle friendly to attract more customers, developed disabled and special needs cycling events with adapted bikes, producing route cards and securing funding for forthcoming cycle signage."

 For more information on the Highland Perthshire Cycling or to pass on details, please contact Emma Burtles

Photo  - Bill Wright Chairman of Cycling Scotland, presenting Emma Burtles the Highland Perthshire Cycling Coordinator, with the Cycle Friendly Community Award at a ceremony in Glasgow.

Highland Perthshire web survey

A Year on a survey of Highland Perthshire's web site's members.

 web-survey-discussion.jpgHighland Perthshire web site is given the thumbs up by its members. The web site was developed as a result of cooperation of twenty six tourism businesses from across Highland Perthshire. These businesses formulated the web site specification and a Business Cooperation Agreement, a year on over 80% of it site members rated it as either 'Good' or 'Excellent'.

 When asked how well compared to other tourist web sites 78.5% of the members, rated the web site as either 'Good' or 'Excellent'. With regards to 'Value for money' 82.6% rating the site 'Good' or 'Excellent', with 52.2% rating it 'Excellent'.

 Members comments include;

"It's simple to navigate, attractive layout; easy to absorb information; up to date."

"Very well thought out, every aspect covered that the visitor may wish to know coming to the area."

A truly professional site, well geared and attractive to look at."

 A year on has over 300 pages of information; it has a Trip Planner, allowing visitors to plan their trip as well as a language translator, Google Maps and a comprehensive Events Diary.

 What makes the web site so different is that businesses agree to promote each other, by taking feeds from in a style to suit their own web sites.

 web-survey-escape-route.jpgJames Rattray based in Killiecrankie, who co-ordinated the initiative and manages on a day to day basis said, "It is a great achievement that a after we set out to a create a very different web site for Highland Perthshire, with all the risks this involved, it has all come together and worked. The fact that members actively promote each other on their web sites, makes the whole concept very different. As you can imagine a business cooperation web such as this is fraught with dangers." He continued "A year on, we find very high levels of satisfaction amongst the members and importantly the cooperation agreements have stood the test of one years operation."

 Kevin Grant of Escape Route, the Bike Shop in Pitlochry said, "As one of the founding members, it is very satisfying to see that fellow members of rate the site so highly a year on. A lot of time, effort and care went in to creating It is very satisfying to see how it has stood the tests of going live and functioning on a day to day basis."  He continued, "It is great that we are seeing a steady stream of new businesses joining the web site, the more businesses involved the better it is for the whole of Highland Perthshire."

 Part of the project costs have been supported by Perth & Kinross Council via the `Developing Rural Tourism Project`, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The project supports new initiatives and encourages businesses to work together to improve the quality of the visitor experience and increase visitor numbers.

Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events in Highland Perthshire.

One of the strengths of Highland Perthshire is that it has an excellent range of Festivals and Events all year round. The year starts with New Year Street Ceilidh in Pitlochry on new year's day each year - this event attracts over 3,000 people.

The Winter Words Festival in February is Britain's Book Festival of the year, run by Pitlochry Festival Theatre which also runs various shows through out the winter and spring weekends - these have proven to be popular, attractive people to the area for short breaks during times of the year they would not have otherwise have come to the area. The theatre made its name with its very popular 6 plays that run throughout the summer season.

The first big event, the largest of its kind in Britain is Etape Caledonia the close road cycle event, in the second or third Sunday each May. In 2011 there were some 4,300 cyclist who took part, many coming to Highland Perthshire for the first time and others who have made it a must in the yearly diaries. The participants bring their supporters, friends, families all helping to swell the event and add to the festival atmosphere. On the back of this event Highland Perthshire Cycling Group are driving cycling in the area so cycling is an all year round activity for visitors.

At the end of May on the Saturday is the Atholl Highlanders Parade, (The Duke of Atholl's Private Army - the only private army in Europe). This is followed by the seasons first Highland Games, the Atholl Gathering held in front of Blair Castle. Highland Perthshire have Highland Games running throughout the summer in each large town, Blair Atholl, Dunkeld and Birnam, Aberfeldy, Kenmore, Kinloch Rannoch, and the final games of the year in Pitlochry in September.

The Blair Castle Horse Trails and Country Fair at the end of August attracts some 40,000 plus people over 4 days each year. Europe's top equestrian teams attend; many are European and Olympic medallists. The Country fair is a large tented village hosting all kinds of businesses catering for those with horses, to out door clothing and the very popular food hall.

In the Autumn there are two major events which help to extend the season right in to early November - The Enchanted Forest a lighting festival that attracts some 20,000 people over 17 days, has been rolled out to 24 days in 2011.

Perthshire Amber built around the Scottish folk singer Dougie MacLean, running for 10 days at the very end of October in to November, attracts people from all over the world, many staying for a number of nights and some actually stay for the whole 10 days of the festival.

Finally the Winter Festival at Kenmore was start in 2010 for the first time, this is intended to help bring people to the Kenmore - Aberfeldy area in November - December in its first year, is successfully attracted families as well as couples, proving there is a market for such a festival.

Cycling in Highland Perthshire

Cycling in Highland Perthshire, Pitlochry, Rannoch, Aberfeldy

This year Highland Perthshire Cycling as well as running the Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival will also be at the Scottish Bike Show on 16th and 17th April, in Glasgow promoting Highland Perthshire as a cycling destination in its own right.

The 2011 Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival is shaping up to be bigger than ever, events take place all over Highland Perthshire including Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Aberfeldy, Kinloch Rannoch. Most are Free of Charge aimed at kids, families, women and men.
3 New cycling Initiatives this year:-
1. Highland Safaris "Biketrax"
- Have a new 1 km track, designed with families in mind. Construction progressing well. 11am Friday 13th May - Official Opening by John Swinney MSP.
2. Skinny Tyres - Scot Tares is giving up his main job to focus on road cycling in Highland Perthshire. Road cycling in Highland Perthshire is some of the best cycling in Europe.
3. Progression Bikes in Dunkeld open during April, specialising in mountain bike coaching, bike hire, day trips, drop at the top of Craigvinean Forest being timed down, plus much more. Saturday 21st May is their Official launch day in Dunkeld.

Scottish Borders Cycling - would you believe they paid us a visit, to see if they could learn from Highland Perthshire, great to see that others think we are making an impact in cycling?

DOVE arrives in Highland Perthshire

Dove arrives in Highland Perthshire - Yesterday I attended a presentation on DOVE a new customer feed back system presented by Marina Huggett one of the six founders of the system from Inverness, developed without public funding. The event was at the Birnam Institute at Dunkeld, organised by Peter Guthrie the Highland Perthshire Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Development Officer.

Dove stands for 'Delivering Outstanding Visitor Experience' - Marina told us how 6 businesses in the Inverness area, got together and decided it was not good enough having an excellent tourism business if the visitors also experience less than perfect quality during their visit to the area.

Marina explained Dove is a system that allows you to collate your visitor feed back, it allows you to compare how well your business is doing compared to others in the same sector. It also allows you to compare your whole region's visitor experience versus other areas.

A couple of quotes that particularly stood out for me from Marina :-

"Everyone has the opportunity to improve their business" and feed back is a critical way of doing this.

and "If one person tells you something it is their opinion. If ten people tell you something you have to listen"

The Highland Perthshire DMO have signed Highland Perthshire up to be part of DOVE, this covers businesses in all the areas of Dunkeld,Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Rannoch, Kenmore,

It costs £60 per year for the Bronze entry level to Dove. The Highland Perthshire DMO are subsidising the first 25 businesses so their cost will be £25 - we have already signed up Squirrel Cottage to the system.

Yesterday I attended a presentation on DOVE a new customer feed back system presented by Marina Huggett one of the six founders of the system from Inverness. The event was at the Birnam Institute at Dunkeld, organised by Peter Guthrie the Highland Perthshire Destination Managment Organisations (DMO) Development Officer.

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