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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Enchanted Forest Named Best Cultural Event

The Enchanted Forest Named Best Cultural Event at Scottish Event Awards

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland's premier sound and light event, has been named Best Cultural Event at this year's Scottish Event Awards in Glasgow.

Beating off stiff competition from the Wickerman Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, the event took the title at a sparkling Gatsby style black tie event held in the Crowne Plaza on Thursday evening.

enchanted-forest-trees.jpgIt is the second time the event has claimed this title at The Scottish Event Awards, and it's their second Cultural win this year, having picked up the Regional Thistle Award for Best Cultural Event in June.

Record breaking visitor numbers and its positive impact on the local community in 2012 sealed the deal for the judges, who recognised the ongoing success of the event as a major driver of tourism at a national level, as well as the event's international reach which saw TV crews attend the event from Russia, France and press coverage across the globe including Die Welt, National Geographic Traveller and other international publications.

Derek Allan, producer of The Enchanted Forest commented:

"The Enchanted Forest continues to go from strength to strength and we are truly thrilled to receive this award for a second time. Every year we stretch the creative impact of the event and it's rewarding to know that our efforts are recognised."

The 2013 show, absorb, opens to the public on Friday 4th October and has been designed by Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes and with music by RJ McConnell, which includes a specially commissioned orchestral piece in collaboration with composer Jon Beales.

Tickets for The Enchanted Forest 2013 are selling quickly. For more information visit www.enchantedforest.org.uk

The NEW Web site for the Highland Perthshire area

We would like to introduce you to the NEW area web site for Explore Highland Perthshire, it is called "Explore Pitlochry "

Pitlochry web site home pageWhy Explore Pitlochry?

  • We have been in a dilemma as to what to do, as we already have a high profile Highland Perthshire web site up and running www.HighlandPerthshire.com , so to put up another web site with a similar name, just does not make sense.
  • Where exactly is 'Highland Perthshire'? Increasingly the term 'Highland Perthshire' is becoming more and more ambiguous. Crieff claims to be in Highland Perthshire, so does Comrie and Blairgowrie - in all honesty they are! If you look at P&K planning web site, you will see their map for Highland Perthshire even includes places further afield, such as Auchterarder. So it is all a bit fuzzy! So let's look at the web traffic.
  • Web Traffic as Per Google:-

    Aberfeldy 5,400 searches per month.
    Blair Atholl 2,900 searches per month.
    Dunkeld 3,600 searches per month.
    Highland Perthshire 210 searches per month.
    Pitlochry 14,800 searches per month.
    Rannoch 880 searches per month.

    The term 'Pitlochry' has more searches than all these areas combined.

  • Explore network of sites - Our other Explore web sites across Scotland focus on the principle town in the area, Inverness, St Andrews, Stirling, Oban etc, because they are the most searched for destination. So it makes sense to do the same for Pitlochry.
  • "Nr Pitlochry" - It is interesting to see how many businesses have in their address as 'Nr Pitlochry' or 'By Pitlochry', again indicating businesses feel being associated with the largest town in the area is a benefit.

NEW WEB Site -

  • The web site has been designed so it is friendly to all devices it is browsed by, whether it is a computer, lap top, iPad, Tablet, mobile phone etc.
  • We will be adding it to the map of Explore web sites later today www.ExploreScotland.net

We would appreciate any comments you have, anything you think we have not got right or need changed

Highland Main Line 150 Years Celebrations

Pitlochry in Bloom are pleased to announce their programme for the Celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the Highland Main Line.

pitlochry-station-porter.jpgThe Highland Mainline was opened from Dunkeld to Pitlochry on the 1st June 1863, from Forres to Aviemore on 3rd August 1863 and the final section from Aviemore to Pitlochry on 9th September 1863. Finally a direct connection to Edinburgh and the South made travel possible for all.

On Monday 9th September at 11am the official ceremony will take place on Platform 1 at Pitlochry Station in front of invited guests. The unveiling of the restored MacFarlane 7 Drinking Fountain from the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, highland-line-150yr-celebration-poster.jpgone of only two remaining at Stations in Scotland and a plaque will be performed. Invited guests will be able to view the Breadalbane Academy and Pitlochry High School Art posters along the railings,which gaily emulate Victorian travel posters, the Floral Train on Platform 1 and a collection of old photographs of Pitlochry Station & staff and the new Mural in the North-bound Waiting Room on Platform 2.

After speeches, the official party will make their way to the New Fishers Hotel for lunch.

The whole Station, both Waiting Rooms and the Victorian Footbridge have been cleaned and re-painted for the 150th.

Tpitlochry-station-platform.jpgo celebrate this Sesquicentennial, FirstScotrail and Network Rail have refurbished the Station buildings and the Victorian footbridge at Pitlochry. The local community, with help from Pitlochry in Bloom, Pitlochry Partnership, Moulin and Pitlochry History Circle and local schools have set up a group to celebrate the arrival of the train and tourism to Pitlochry. A colourful exhibition of childrens artwork, a floral train and unique historical photographs will be on display for September this year.

Central to the celebrations has been the restoration of the Victorian Drinking Fountain, a MacFarlane 7 from the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, with financial assistance from the FirstScotrail, P&KC Heritage Trust and the Railway Heritage Trust. Pitlochry in Bloom next to the Pitlochry Station Victorian FountainThis is one of only two remaining at Stations in Scotland.

To continue the celebrations and allow the local community to join in, Pitlochry in Bloom is holding a Celebration Ceilidh in the Atholl Palace Hotel on the evening of the 9th September 2013. The Atholl Suite will be suitably decked out for the occasion, with all things railway and tickets, which must be pre-purchased by Saturday 7th will be on sale from the Atholl Palace. Supper and a celebration cake, dancing to the Pride of Earn Ceilidh Band and if you want to dress up in your Victorian finery, please do!

Pitlochry in Bloom will be hosting a private Victorian Tea Party for the Pitlochry Primary School children to celebrate too in the New Fishers Hotel on the afternoon of the 11th, sports, stories and sticky buns!

Pitlolchry in Bloom Train at Pitlochry StationThe final event for the town is a free talk with slides in in The Bow Lounge, at the Atholl Palace Hotel at 7.30pm on the evening of the 11th September 2013 by renowned railway author Neil Sinclair. Neil Sinclair is the author of the new edition of The Highland Main Line which has just been published by Stenlake to mark the 150th anniversary.

£25,800 to celebrate the Highland Mainline Railway arriving in Pitlochry.

150 Years On Track - The arrival of the train to Pitlochry.

Pitlochry in Bloom wins Heritage Lottery Fund support.

Pitlochry-station-c1912.jpgPitlochry in Bloom has received £25,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, 150 Years On Track, to celebrate the Highland Mainline Railway arriving in Pitlochry. Led by volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on the opening of Joseph Mitchell's railway line over the Cairngorms and the arrival of trains to Pitlochry in 1863 and the impact on the town as it became a Tourist destination and a place to live and work.

The project will enable visitors and locals to explore the changes the train and railway brought to the town, it will involve young and old alike and leave a photographic and written legacy for all to enjoy.

Commenting on the award, Sally Spaven, Chair of Pitlochry in Bloom said: " We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will give the community pride in their Railway Heritage and the opportunity to celebrate 150 Years On Track.

pitlochry-railway-station.jpgColin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said "This project is driven by the local residents of Pitlochry. It demonstrates how our heritage can be a living part of a community bringing people together to learn from and enjoy their shared identity. We are delighted to be giving this worthwhile venture our full support."

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.   To date it has invested over £500 million in Scotland's heritage. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

Enchanted Forest Pitlochry Tickets on sale

Enchanted Forest Tickets Go On Sale

Over 30,000 tickets have gone on sale this weekend for the multi-award winning sound and light show The Enchanted Forest.

The Enchanted Forest attracted almost 31,000 visitors in 2012, organisers have announced an extension to the event's usual 23 night run to include an additional night to cater for tourists holidaying in the area during the English mid-term holidays.

The Enchanted Forest celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and was recently named Best Cultural Event at the VisitScotland Thistle Awards ceremony held earlier this month, adding to a raft of awards won over the last few years.

enchanted-forest-pitlochry2.jpgThe 2013 show, 'absorb', has been designed by Scottish lighting designer Kate Bonney and sound designer RJ McConnell, and will include a new orchestral piece which has been specially commissioned, by composer John Beales.

Derek Allan, creative director of The Enchanted Forest commented, "We are looking forward to this year's event which will be held in the glorious Autumnal setting of Faskally Wood. It's always a challenge for the creative team to reinvent the canvas of the event but we have been working on some very exciting concepts for this year's show which we are certain will deliver the wow factor that our customers expect from us as well as showing new aspects of Faskally Wood that returning visitors may never have seen before."

The Enchanted Forest will take place from Friday 4th - Sunday 27th October 2013 at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.

Tickets are now on sale to the general public. For further information please visit www.EnchantedForest.org.uk

Birks Cinema Aberfeldy Opens its doors

John Swinney Scotland's Finance Secretary opens the Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy.

The Birks Cinema, a new state of the art cinema in Aberfeldy, sold its first tickets today, fittingly purchased by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government and MSP for Perthshire North.

birks-cinema-aberfeldy-tick.jpgJohn Swinney has been a staunch supporter of the local community's seven-year fundraising campaign to bring the project to fruition and was on hand to congratulate the team of volunteers behind the re-launch of The Birks Cinema as they opened their doors to the nation's press for the first time.

Journalists were treated to a short video introduction to the cinema's 2D and 3D capabilities, before being given an exclusive opportunity to explore the magnificently refurbished listed building, which has been lovingly restored as part of a £1.3m construction programme, and to meet some of the 8 team members The Birks Cinema now employs.

During the walk around, the local MSP took time to nip to the box office, picking up tickets for blockbuster Ironman 3, due to be screened later in April and naturally steering clear of April's other major film release, and the first film to be shown at The Birks Cinema Golden Ticket Event this coming Friday, Oblivion.

John Swinney commented:

john-swinney-birks-cinema.jpg"This day has been long awaited and really drives home what community team work can achieve. I'm honoured to be first in line to buy tickets for my local cinema and very proud to see The Birks Cinema restored, resplendent and fully operational once again.

Moreover, I am excited about the role the cinema will now play in the local community as an employer, as a creative inspiration, and as an asset to Aberfeldy and the Highland Perthshire area for both residents and visitors alike."

Charlotte Flower, Chair of The Birks Cinema, said:

"John Swinney has been a prominent supporter of our project and we are delighted he has been our first customer. We've truly appreciated his backing and we look forward to seeing him return to The Birks Cinema as a regular customer as we know he's a big fan of the movies."

This is an extremely important week for The Birks Cinema.
To get everyone geared up and ready for opening to the public, from tomorrow we will be opening our doors to a series of test viewings with some of the area's best (and smallest) movie critics drawn from local community groups and  schools. Then, on Friday we will stage a glittering Golden Ticket event with winners attending from across Highland Perthshire, before finally settling into our new routine from next Saturday."

The Birks Cinema opens to the public on Saturday 20th April.

Tickets will go on sale at 19:39, marking the year the cinema was originally opened, on Monday 15th April and can be purchased in person at the box office from 11am on Saturday 20th April.

For more information on the cinema and its film schedule visit www.birkscinema.co.uk



Dewars World of Whisky Aberfeldy


dewars-whisky-aberfeldy.jpgWe have just learnt that Dewar's World of Whisky at the Aberfeldy Distillery, Perthshire, has unveiled an exciting new blending experience at the spiritual home of DEWAR'S® True Scotch.  This exclusive new offering provides visitors the opportunity to create their own Experimental Batch of Blended Scotch Whisky within the atmospheric heritage center at Aberfeldy.

Blending is considered an art form, combining whiskies from different distilleries to create a perfectly balanced taste with a complex flavour profile, greater than the sum of its parts. Charlotte Brown, Centre Mandewars-whisky-blend.jpgager, said, "Our founder, John Dewar, was a pioneer in the art of blending, making Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery the natural place to try your hand at blending. Our Blending Room plays homage to Dewar's rich heritage with the design inspired by the original 1920's blending room in Perth. "

Following a guided tour of Aberfeldy's traditional working distillery, those undertaking the premium Blender's Tour will be invited to join a masterclass in the new blending room. With a tutored sensory session exploring the many flavour profiles and regional whisky characteristics of Scotch, the tour will culminate in the creation of a bespoke blend, created by the visitor to take home.

Dewar's World of Whisky at the Aberfeldy Distillery Opening times:-

  • Summer (1st April - 31st October). Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm. Sunday 12pm to 4pm.
  • Winter (1st November - 31st March). Monday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm.

dewars-whisky-blending.jpgPlease allow one and a half hours for your visit with additional time for your blending session.

Please note: Aberfeldy is a working distillery and visitors are advised that sensible shoes (no open toes or high heels) must be worn on the distillery tour.

Entry fee

Adults: Standard tour £7.00, Concession £6.00. Cask tasting tours £15.00. Connoisseur tours £25.00. Blender's Tour £75.00. Bespoke and private tours from £99.00 per person.




Commemorate the 150th anniversary of railway between Aviemore and Pitlochry

Blair Atholl's Railways Remembered!

highland-steam-train.jpgThe Atholl Country Life Museum is looking for relevant artefacts, photographs, documents or stories to be included in the exhibition for the period when the museum is open from Easter through to September 2013.

The Atholl Country Life Museum in Blair Atholl will stage an exhibition this year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Aviemore and Pitlochry.

In the days of steam locomotives, Blair Atholl was an important staging post for trains which were topped up with coal and water in preparation for the long haul through the formidable Drumochter Pass.

Anyone with memorabilia which they would be willing to loan for this period should contact John Cameron (01796 481232) or Stewart MacGlashan (01796 483339).  pitlochry-steam-train.jpg

In addition, the Museum will host an illustrated talk "Blair Atholl's Railways" by Howard Geddes at 7.30 PM on 20 March in the Atholl Arms Hotel, Blair Atholl.

Enchanted Forest the autumn show

Tourism Chief Says Forest Event is Tree-Mendous Way to See Scotland

VisitScotland chairman, Mike Cantlay, has stated today that The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland's premier sound and light show, is a must see event for visitors to Scotland this Autumn, embodying the essence of the country's national tourism message: Surprise Yourself. Visit Scotland.

Visiting the event on its opening night with his family, Mike Cantlay saw the multi-coloured event unfold in all its glory. He commented: "The Enchanted Forest is a spectacular and incredibly popular event, which attracts tens of thousands of people to visit Perthshire each year, and I am confident it will be a box office ticket smash again this year.

My family and I had a wonderful time at the Enchanted Forest and it proves you don't have to travel very far to experience Scotland's vibrant culture, which is so evident in every corner of this country."

The Enchanted Forest now attracts visitors from all over the UK
and, indeed, the world and the positive impact on the local area is estimated to be well in excess of £1.5 million economic benefit every year.

With box office numbers soaring, the impact on the local economy is expected to increase and closer working relationships with key businesses this year are set to enhance the offering for visitors to the area this Autumn.

Enchanted Forest Autumn Light show in PitlochryA 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. Mike Dukes, Head of Visitor Services at Atholl Estates explained why: "The Enchanted Forest is a firm favourite amongst families and creates a real buzz across the region as people flock from across the country to come and see the spectacular light displays. The fact that the 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."

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland added: "The success of The Enchanted Forest has a knock-on positive effect on the local economy and I would encourage businesses, accommodation providers and the tourism sector to seize the opportunity this provides to showcase to visitors all that this fabulous area has to offer.

In this, The Year of Creative Scotland, we have the chance to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland's cultural and creative strengths, so let's embrace this and show what a warm welcome Scotland can offer each and every visitor!"

Organisers are encouraging members of the public to buy their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment with recent box office reports suggesting the event is on target to power past all previous box office records.

Following a successful opening weekend demand for tickets has surged indicating that the 2012 event is set to sell out.

Derek Allan, creative director of The Enchanted Forest 2012, commented: "Last year many people travelled significant distances to attend the event, all we're asking is that they plan ahead and book their tickets in advance. Tickets sell so quickly and many shows are already sold out with hardly any tickets left for the most popular Saturday nights - a little bit of advance planning can avoid disappointment on the night."

The 2012 show "FLOW" has been designed by a creative team led by Derek Allan which includes Scottish designers Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and RJ McConnell (sound), as well as Dundee based visual artists Dalziel + Scullion, whose work is supported thanks to the generosity of a grant from Creative Scotland in celebration of Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

The event runs from Friday 5th October - Saturday 27th October. For further information about the Enchanted Forest and to book tickets, visit the Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

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