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.
John 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,
John Swinney commented:
"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
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,
"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
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
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
For more information on the cinema and its film schedule visit
DEWAR'S WORLD OF WHISKY OPENS
NEW VISITOR EXPERIENCE AT ABERFELDY DISTILLERY
We 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
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 Manager, 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
Please 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.
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.
Blair Atholl's Railways
The 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
Anyone with memorabilia which they would be willing to loan for
this period should contact John Cameron (01796 481232) or Stewart
MacGlashan (01796 483339).
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.
VisitScotland chairman, Mike Cantlay, has stated today that
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
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
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.
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. 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
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
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.
Each 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
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
"What to do if you spot a Sea Eagle" is well worth a
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
Finally an interview of You Tube with Meriem
Kayoucheche of the RSPB advising how to spot White tailed
eagels or Fish eagles. (4mins 28
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
A varied group of travellers
recreate the journey of highland cattle drovers, via the ancient
droving route through the Minigaig Pass, between Newtonmore and Blair
Atholl. They will be in Blair Atholl this Wednesday 4th
July between 11am and 3pm and at Kirkmichael on Saturday 7th July.
The droving journey is being organised by the Royal Scottish
Geographical Society in partnership with the SpeyGrian Educational
Trust, with support from Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust.
A diverse group of artists, writers, crofters, ecologists,
historians, geographers and educators will be re-enacting the
highland cattle drove, travelling up Glen Feshie to a height of
over 900 metres over the Minigaig Pass to Blair Atholl, and finally
following the Cateran Trail to Kirkmichael - the site of a famous
drovers tryst, or market.
This group of drovers are the first to travel over the Minigaig
Pass for over 100 years. Cattle droving was once a vital part
of Highland life, as highland soils are better suited to rearing
cattle than crop growing.
A short You Tube documentary (3mins
51secs) all about the first drovers for 100 years to walk from
Speyside to Blair Atholl, organised by the Royal Scottish
Geographical Society and SpeyGrian Educational Trust.
In the days before refrigeration the
best way to keep meat fresh was to keep it alive! Drovers would
drive these cattle long distances on foot, to sell in towns and
cities with larger populations e.g. Lowland Scotland, England and
Europe. Unlike other Highlanders at that time, the drovers were
allowed to wear the plaid and carry weapons to protect themselves
from 'Caterans' or cattle thieves.
During the modern day journey, you can 'Meet the
Drovers' in Blair Atholl and Kirkmichael. On Wednesday
the 4th of July the modern day drovers will call in at the Atholl
Country Life Museum in Blair Atholl between 11am and 3pm, and the
journey will come to its end in the Bannerfield in Kirkmichael on
Saturday 7th July between 11am and 3pm.
At each of the events you will have the chance to meet the
drovers & their ponies; discovering how they planned the route,
their equipment and food and comparing this to drovers in the
past. A small but fascinating droving exhibition from the
Dingwall Mart will be on display and Veritas Vincent, a historical
re-inactment group, will be dressed as 18th century drovers to show
weapons and clothing of the time.
Storyteller Claire Hewitt from Highland Perthshire will share
local folk and fairy stories, human journeys of endurance facing
supernatural forces, cow and horse tales - stories the Drovers
would have heard and told to pass the evening round the fire.
At the Blair Atholl and Kirkmichael events, basket-maker Jane
Wilkinson will also be demonstrating how panniers were made for the
ponies and there will be opportunities for the public to try
working with willow. Additional activities and demonstrations e.g.
milking of cattle. Cattle will be taken on the first two days of
the drove to Glenfeshie.
Everyone who takes part in the drove road journey will be
invited to record their experiences in poems, writing, music, art,
craft, and photography. This will be drawn together to form the
Creative Journeys Exhibition which itself will go on a journey.
Exhibition venues will include the communities of Newtonmore, Blair
Atholl and Kirkmichael, and at the Royal Scottish Geographical
Society's Visitor Centre at the Fair Maid's House in Perth.
Cycle 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).
The Street Party Committee were delighted (not to say enormously
relieved!) that the 2012 Pitlochry
New Year's Day Street Ceilidh was such a resounding
success. We are grateful to those who have written to say how much
they enjoyed the event and appreciated the benefit to the
The Committee's thanks all those who were central to the show
itself - Eddie Rose, Jack Delaney's band, The Vale of Atholl Pipe
Band and Silly McBee (Martin Bingham the Clown!). In the production
of the event, we are indebted to Martin and Janet Hobson who every
year set up and monitor the sound system, and to Stephen Carruthers
of AW Bell who always supervises setting up all the electrics.
Enormous thanks are also due to the volunteers of Pitlochry in
Bloom who served the mulled wine and popcorn and to Rory MacDonald
of MacDonald Bros Butchers of Pitlochry
and his team who again provided soup and pies. Our grateful
thanks also go to Stevensons of Avonbridge and their helpful driver
Gordon Cruickshank who every year make available a huge
curtain-sided trailer which is ideal for our stage.
Every year local businesses generously chip
in with prizes for the Raffle that effectively funds the event, and
this year we thank Bells Blair Atholl Distillery, Pitlochry Co-op,
Green Park Hotel, Scotland's Hotel, Pitlochry Hydro Hotel,
Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Old Mill Inn (who also allowed us
to take a power lead from the Inn for the toilet unit) and
Drinkmonger, Atholl Road. Also each year we receive
tremendous assistance (and forbearance!) from the management and
staff at Fishers Hotel for which we are eternally grateful.
Particular thanks go to the volunteers who turned up to
help set up, steward, count cash, clear up afterwards etc. It's a
long day for those involved and this help was very much
There are only six on the wee committee that arranges this
event, and some of us have been doing it for years (one from the
start in 2000!). We could do with more help and if anyone
(particularly, perhaps, from the hospitality sector that benefits
most from the event) is interested in helping to organise the
Street Party, please contact Graham Holmes on 473153
(firstname.lastname@example.org). We also need volunteers on the
day to steward, sell tickets, count cash etc., and the same contact
would welcome a call.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012 - SCOTCH PIE CLUB
Butchers, Bakers and Piemakers gathered at Carnegie College on
Thursday 5th January to find out who were the prize winners when
the lid was lifted on the best pastry products in the country.
Rising to the top in two
categories were MacDonald
Brothers, Butchers in Pitlochry. Not only did
they receive the Diamond Award for the Best Hot Savoury Product for
their tasty Venison, Port and Pickled Walnut Pie, but for the
second year running they were judged to bake the Best Sausage Roll
86 businesses from as far afield as Bolton and Invergordon
entered products for evaluation at the judging held at Carnegie
College in November. A panel of 20 industry experts and
interested foodies tackle the massive task of munching their way
through over 400 savoury products.
World Scottish Sausage Roll Champions and Venison Pie
Right to Left - David McReady
(Chef) holding the Sausage Roll Diamond Award, Stewart
Rutherford (makes the pastry and pie shells) holding the
Venison, Port & Pickled Walnut Pie Diamond Award and
Rory MacDonald (4th generation of the family in
the business) holding the two Gold Awards.
MacDonald Butchers of Pitlochry took part and
walked away with two of the top Diamond Awards.
WORLD CHAMPION John G Renicks,
01848-330243 Iain Renicks
GOLD MEDALS MacDonald Bros, Pitlochry.
DIAMOND AWARD MacDonald Bros Ltd,
HOT SAVOURY PRODUCTS
DIAMOND WINNER MacDonald Bros,
Port & Pickled Walnut Pie.
GOLD AWARDS MacDonald Bros,
Stout & Leek Pie.
For further details contact:- Alan Stuart of the Scotch Pie Club : 01333
Name : MacDonald Brothers
Contact : Mr Rory MacDonald
Address : 8 Bonnethill Road
Town : PITLOCHRY
County : PERTH AND KINROSS
Postcode : PH16 5BS
Tel : 01796 472047
Web : www.macdonald-bros.co.uk
New year in Highland Perthshire is always a special time,
with all the old traditions being followed by many local highland
people, which includes making sure they are back in their own
homes 'for the bells' that chime the end of the old year
and in the new year.
There are a number of New Year Ceilidhs (Scottish
Highland Dances) through out the area, in local village halls,
hotels and clubs. Killiecrankie village hall is one example where
the local community gather bringing their own drink and nibbles to
dance away the old year. It starts around 8pm each new year's eve
(Hogmanay) with the families from 5 years old along to
grannies and grand pas too, dancing the 'Gay Gordons', 'Strip the
Willow', 'Military two Step' to name a few. Roughly 15
minutes before 'the bells', the hall empties as the locals
rush off home to see in the New Year in their own homes, which is
important for the success of the next year to come. Fireworks are
often let off after midnight in the first minutes of the New
New Year's Day in Highland Perthshire sees the now
Street Ceilidh or Party, where literally
thousands of people gather from 1pm to 4pm on New Year's Day to
dance to tunes played by Jack Delaney's Ceilidh Dance Band and
compared by Eddie Rose. The event is free, including hot soup,
sausage rolls, and mulled wine with donations funding the next
year's event. 2012 New Year in Pitlochry on
YOU TUBE also New
Year Ceilidh photos on Flickr.
The Auld New Year, is also celebrated, 'Auld' or 'Old' as
it is to the old Gregorian calendar. The Atholl Country Life Museum
in Blair Atholl organises the event during the second week of
January each year in Blair Atholl village hall.