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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Highland Safaris New Wildlife Attraction Opens

Perthshire Scotland's newest wildlife attraction opened.

John-Swinney-with-Red-Deer.jpgHighland Safaris open new Wildlife Attraction opens in Perthshire Scotland's newest wildlife attraction, the new Red Deer Centre at Highland Safaris was officially opened today by John Swinney MSP. 

Mr Swinney MSP described the venture as "a wonderful boost to Perthshire's nature-tourism offering attracting new visitors to the region".

In line with the Tourism Scotland 2020 Strategy, Highland Safaris is quite literally turning 'assets into experiences' by using Scotland's favourite wild species, the iconic Red Deer, to add yet another reason to visit this popular  5 Star Visitor Centre.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: "We know from the success of the Year of Natural Scotland that our natural environment is one of the top reasons that people visit Scotland. It is fantastic to see that in the year that Scotland welcomes the world, Highland Safaris is making the most of celebrating Scotland's stunning wildlife with this new attraction". Feeding red deer at Highland Safaris

Directors Donald and Julie Riddell said "We are delighted with the response to the Red Deer Centre as this was a significant investment for us involving years of planning . The Red Deer & Barn Owl Encounter offers visitors the opportunity to touch, photograph and even feed these magnificent Animals and fulfils a need for a value for money, memorable, all-weather activity".

These new experiences, along with the Gold and Gem Panning Centre (unique in Perthshire), the award-winning Café and shop, Mountain Bike Trail Centre and indeed the original Land Rover Safaris have enabled Highland Safaris to offer year-round employment in what is often viewed as a seasonal destination.

For more information contact Highland Safaris on info@highlandsafaris.net or tel. 01887 820071

Highland Chocolatier

Scotland's Most Awarded Chocolatier

Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier at Grandtully, Highland Perthshire last night won the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Award for Food Service Product of the Year 2014 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, in front of a record audience of 700 guests.

Highland Chocolatier AwardManaging Director Janice Kennedy, Commercial Director Julie Collier and Production Director Iain Burnett collected the prestigious award.

Iain was deeply proud to win the award for a second time especially in such talented company, alongside well established producers. The judges commented "cannot wait to try them……… delivers with passion and enthusiasm!" and feedback from the tasting session "really good quality chocolate made with care and attention…….an excellent product……. clever and unconventional flavours………Strawberry & Star Anise - beautifully matched, a touch of genius." 

 Managing Director, Janice Kennedy was thrilled for the whole team and commented "caps an excellent year for our rapidly expanding business. We plan to retail the dusted Velvet Truffles and create the same wow for the retail customer as chefs have already appreciated."

The company's trophy cabinet now boasts:-

  •  Food service Product of the Year 2014
  • Product of the Year 2013, Best Food & Drink Destination, Confectionery & Snacking, not to mention 5 Gold Stars in Great Taste and International awards from The Academy of Chocolate.

For more information, please contact: Julie Collier clients@highlandchocolatier.com, telephone 01887 840775 or visit www.highlandchocolatier.com

Enchanted Forest Oscar

The Enchanted Forest Has Sights Set on Tourism Oscar

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland's premier sound and light event, is set of go head to head with some of the country's best known cultural events this Friday evening, for the title of Best Cultural Event at this year's Scottish Thistle Awards in Stirling.

enchanted-forest-tunnel.jpgAlready laying claim to the title of Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards held in Glasgow in September the event, which is run by the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, is hoping for a repeat performance this Friday as they face off Glasgow Film Festival, Bloody Scotland Festival and Tiree Music Festival who have all been shortlisted as national finalists in the category.

Record breaking visitor numbers of just over 40,000 visitors attended the event in 2013 and its positive economic impact is cemented as the major driver of tourism to the area in Autumn.

Derek Allan, producer of The Enchanted Forest commented:

"We are truly delighted to be representing Perthshire at the national Scottish Thistle Awards. The Enchanted Forest continues to grow and develop as an event and this year demonstrated a 30% increase in visitor numbers, over 90% of whom cite the event as their main reason for visiting the area.

"It's a major contributor to the local tourism economy, which is a commendable position for any event that is run by a very small number of volunteers. To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is, in itself, recognition of their hard work and dedication to making The Enchanted Forest a success."

For more information visit www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Enchanted Forest Pitlochry Surpasses Expectations

Enchanted Forest Surpasses All Box Office Expectations

orb-in-the-forest.jpgOrganisers of The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland's premier sound and light show, confirmed today that ticket sales for their twelfth show have already surpassed last year's record breaking box office figures and that they are now on target to extend a warm Highland welcome to more than 35,000 visitors this year.

The event attracted a record breaking 30,500 visitors last year and this year the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company that organises the event have already extended capacity for the shows twice, adding on an extra night and opening up a new twilight show earlier in the evening, to accommodate the unprecedented demand.

Organisers are now encouraging members of the public, specifically those planning to attend in the final week of the show, to buy their tickets now or they risk being disappointed.

trees-in-forest.jpgDerek Allan, producer of The Enchanted Forest, commented: "The demand for tickets at box office this year has been unprecedented. Sales are up almost 40% but we are fast running out of available tickets so, to avoid disappointment, we'd advise those last-minute purchasers not to delay and to book their tickets now.

Last year we had a lot of people travel significant distances to attend the event who had not purchased their tickets in advance, and with many shows close to capacity and now selling very quickly indeed, we're keen to ensure that everyone has a positive trip to Pitlochry and that they get to see the show."

The event attracts visitors from all over the UK and, indeed, the world and the positive economic benefit to the local area this year is estimated to exceed £2million for the first time in the show's history.

The 2013 show "absorb" has been designed by a creative team led by Derek Allan including Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, music by RJ McConnell, and a specially commissioned orchestral piece in collaboration with composer Jon Beales.

The event runs from Friday 4th October - Sunday 27th October. For further information about the Enchanted Forest visit the Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Enchanted Forest 2013 launched

Enchanted Forest Soars to Success with 12th Show

enchanted-forest-absorb.jpgThe Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland's premier sound and light show, launched last night in an array of dazzling colours to a select audience of press and VIPs at Forestry Commission Scotland's Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.

The twelfth event in the series is on course to smash all previous box office records, with organisers reporting that advance ticket sales are up over 50% on the previous year.

The 2013 show "absorb" has been designed by a creative team led by Derek Allan including Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, music by RJ McConnell, and a specially commissioned orchestral piece in collaboration with composer Jon Beales. Together they have created a dazzling and engaging show which celebrates the stunning woodland setting of the event and appropriately marks the Year of Natural Scotland.enchanted-forest-tunnel.jpg

Derek Allan, producer of The Enchanted Forest 2013, commented:

"We have worked especially hard this year to ensure we deliver a show that is both creative and visually stunning. Every year the remarkable natural woodland of Faskally Wood provides our canvas and inspiration and we really hope our audience members enjoy their visit.

"Thanks to funding from Event Scotland we have been able to extend the reach of the show this year into new markets and I am certain that new visitors to the event from the North East of England, as well as from closer to home, will find the experience both breath-taking and unique."

Pete Wishart, Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire, formally opened the show on Wednesday night, commenting:

"This is undoubtedly one of Scotland's finest cultural events which just continues to go from strength to strength. Last year it attracted over 30,000 visitors to Highland Perthshire, an essential boost for the local economy, but it also showcases the natural beauty of Scotland right across the globe. The Enchanted Forest is a must see event for any visitor to Scotland in the Autumn."

enchanted-forest-trees.jpgBudding photographers visiting The Enchanted Forest this year will also have the chance to submit their own digital artwork to an esteemed panel of judges for the event's first ever photographic competition. The winner will receive vouchers for photography kit as well as see their winning image displayed as a special guest exhibit in Perth Museum and Art Gallery' Big Roots Exhibition, which features images of big trees from the local area.

Derek Allan commented:

"Every year our visitors send in literally hundreds of photos on social media and we thought it would be fantastic if we could reward them for their photographic efforts. We are very lucky to have secured Anna Henly, an award winner at the BBC Wildlife enchanted-forest-loch.jpgPhotographer of the Year Competition, to act as our guest judge and we very much look forward to seeing everyone's interpretations of The Enchanted Forest this year."

The event runs from Friday 4th October - Sunday 27th October. Tickets are in very high demand this year with many shows already sold out.

For further information about the Enchanted Forest, the photographic competition and to book tickets, visit the Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

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