Monthly Archives: October 2017

Blair Castle and Caravan Awards

 

ANOTHER TWO AWARDS FOR ATHOLL ESTATES RAPIDLY FILLING TROPHY CABINET!
Best Visitor Attraction & Best Campsite at Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards
Blair Castle and the Blair Castle Caravan Park are both ending the current season on a high having picked up two more top industry awards at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards held in Glasgow on the 29th October.
Blair Castle, currently featuring in the ITV drama "Victoria", has been named the 2017 Best Visitor Attraction and The Caravan Park also scooped the 2017 Best Campsite award.
The Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards (SOLA) were created in 2016 to showcase and reward outstanding contributions to Scotland's outdoor and leisure industry. Having launched only last year, SOLA now attracts over 25,000 votes from the public, in support of their favourite destinations and attractions, creating a shortlist of 115 finalists across seventeen different awards.
Blair Castle and its popular Caravan Park, which offers luxury caravan holiday homes, Scandinavian woodland lodges and timber family camping pods, were both asked to take stock of their business and provide a submission in support of their win. An independent judging panel of top leisure industry experts then performed assessments of the customer facing elements of the business, before selecting the winners.
Julia Sim, Head of Sales and Marketing at Blair Castle, commented: "The castle has enjoyed an amazing year welcoming record numbers of visitors from all around the world. We continue to offer a journey through the fascinating history of the castle and its residents over the years. Queen Victoria's visits were also captured in the current series of ITV's Victoria, which was an amazing way to show of the castle's history and the incredible grounds of the estate."
"The Caravan Park continues to be a relaxing family orientated park where people come and enjoy the spectacular scenery and have access to first class accommodation and facilities. All our staff throughout the estate are extremely proud of these two awards as it is a joint effort from everyone."
Julia continued: "SOLA exists to promote and reward the leisure businesses across the nation displaying unrivalled quality, and contributing to Scotland's reputation as one of the world's best tourist destinations. We are delighted to support them in this."
She finished: "As part of the continuing development of tourism here at Atholl Estates we are introducing six new wooden lodges over the Winter of 2017/2018 ready for first bookings in May 2018. We also we continue to upgrade toilet and shower blocks in the Caravan Park."
"As there is such  interest in the life of Queen Victoria at the moment, especially in the early years of her reign, we will also be launching a Victoria Exhibition at the start of the 2018 season. More details will be revealed on that very soon."
For further details on Blair Castle and the Blair Castle Caravan Park please check out www.blair-castle.co.uk and www.blair-castle/caravan-estate

ANOTHER TWO AWARDS FOR ATHOLL ESTATES RAPIDLY FILLING TROPHY CABINET!

blair-castle.jpgBest Visitor Attraction & Best Campsite at Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards

Blair Castle and the Blair Castle Caravan Park are both ending the current season on a high having picked up two more top industry awards at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards held in Glasgow on the 29th October.

Blair Castle, currently featuring in the ITV drama "Victoria", has been named the 2017 Best Visitor Attraction and The Caravan Park also scooped the 2017 Best Campsite award.

The Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards (SOLA) were created in 2016 to showcase and reward outstanding contributions to Scotland's outdoor and leisure industry. Having launched only last year, SOLA now attracts over 25,000 votes from the public, in support of their favourite destinations and attractions, creating a shortlist of 115 finalists across seventeen different awards.

blair-castle-caravan-park.jpgBlair Castle and its popular Caravan Park, which offers luxury caravan holiday homes, Scandinavian woodland lodges and timber family camping pods, were both asked to take stock of their business and provide a submission in support of their win. An independent judging panel of top leisure industry experts then performed assessments of the customer facing elements of the business, before selecting the winners.

Julia Sim, Head of Sales and Marketing at Blair Castle, commented: "The castle has enjoyed an amazing year welcoming record numbers of visitors from all around the world. We continue to offer a journey through the fascinating history of the castle and its residents over the years. Queen Victoria's visits were also captured in the current series of ITV's Victoria, which was an amazing way to show of the castle's history and the incredible grounds of the estate."

"The Caravan Park continues to be a relaxing family orientated park where people come and enjoy the spectacular scenery and have access to first class accommodation and facilities. All our staff throughout the estate are extremely proud of these two awards as it is a joint effort from everyone."

Julia continued: "SOLA exists to promote and reward the leisure businesses across the nation displaying unrivalled quality, and contributing to Scotland's reputation as one of the world's best tourist destinations. We are delighted to support them in this."

blair-caravan-park2.jpgShe finished: "As part of the continuing development of tourism here at Atholl Estates we are introducing six new wooden lodges over the Winter of 2017/2018 ready for first bookings in May 2018. We also we continue to upgrade toilet and shower blocks in the Caravan Park."

"As there is such  interest in the life of Queen Victoria at the moment, especially in the early years of her reign, we will also be launching a Victoria Exhibition at the start of the 2018 season. More details will be revealed on that very soon."

For further details on Blair Castle and the Blair Castle Caravan Park please check out www.blair-castle.co.uk and www.blair-castle/caravan-estat

 

Highland Safaris 25 year Stag Celebrations

 

HIGHLAND SAFARIS CELEBRATES 25 YEARS IN BUSINESS WITH CREATIVE TIE UP WITH LOCAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE, THE WORKSHOP ABERFELDY
- Social enterprise initiative creates impressive three metre high stag installation now on show at Highland Safaris -
To celebrate twenty five years of successful operation from its base in the village of Dull, Highland Safaris has unveiled a three metre high steel installation of a Red Deer Stag, based on its distinctive logo.
Having commissioned social enterprise initiative, The Workshop Aberfeldy, to produce the special stag, Highland Safaris invited Bailey Pearce, one of a number of local youngsters currently being trained and mentored by The Workshop, to perform the unveiling in front of a group of specially invited guests.
Bailey, who is from Aberfeldy, was joined by representatives from bodies such as Visit Scotland, along with local accommodation partners and suppliers, as well as John Swinney MSP for Perthshire North. Highland Safaris took the opportunity to reflect on the past quarter century which has seen it grow its business from one Land Rover talking small groups up into the hills, to its present level as one of Scotland's premier five star rated visitor attractions, enabling visitors from home and abroad to successfully engage with Scotland's wildlife, history and heritage.
Highland Safaris successfully covers both consumer and corporate markets, with a diverse and authentic range of products, including Land Rover, walking and cycle Safaris, Basecamp events for team building, the Red Deer Centre, Gold Panning and its popular Bike Trax mountain bike skills loop.
Recently Highland Safaris diversified from land onto the water with the launch, in April of this year, of Loch Tay Safaris, a 90 minute guided Loch Safari around the mystical waters of Loch Tay, Perthshire's largest loch.
Said Donald Riddell, who with wife Julie founded Highland Safaris in 1992: "The stag looks fantastic, we are absolutely delighted with it, and our thanks go to Bailey for performing the honours, along with all his colleagues from The Workshop Aberfeldy. They handled our commission with enormous commitment and attention to detail. Thanks also to JGB Steelcraft of Hillington, Glasgow who carried out the cutting and fabrication of the steel, and to everyone who came along to the unveiling."
"The Workshop is an amazing local initiative, and a registered charity, which is really changing lives and enabling many more young people to stay in the area and find gainful employment," said Julie Riddell.
Donald finished by saying; "A proud stag features on our logo which has served us well for the past twenty five years. Symbolically, it represents resilience and strength which can be said to sum up the Scottish spirit our visitors so admire."
Commenting on the Red Deer Stag commission, Paul Parmenter, Manager of The Workshop Aberfeldy, said: "People of all ages come to us to learn wood working, metal working and laser cutting, in addition to business management, although we particularly focus on helping young people who face barriers to employment."
"Since we opened in 2014, we have been brilliantly supported by the local community, working with businesses such as Highland Safaris to create a huge range of products that have taught valuable skills to our trainees. We were delighted to be commissioned to design the new Highland Safaris stag that will now take pride of place attracting people to their business and will be seen by thousands of visitors to the area over the next few years. It has proved a really interesting challenge, and we are very proud of what has been created," added Paul.
Paul finished by saying: "Bailey Pearce is a fitting youngster to be involved in this day of celebration for Highland Safaris as he was involved in making the prototype models for the final design of the stag, using laser cutting. He is now very skilled in this technique, and, having struggled with mainstream education, has now gone from strength to strength."
Jim Clarkson, Visit Scotland Regional Partnerships Director added his congratulations to Highland Safaris, stating: "Our scenery and landscape is one of the top reasons that people visit Scotland.  Over the past 25 years, Highland Safaris has played a significant role in bringing visitors closer to Perthshire's natural environment. It is incredibly fitting then, that they are marking this milestone anniversary with an impressive stag installation - a lasting legacy of this achievement and a nod to one of the country's most celebrated species."
"Highland Safaris, one of the region's 5-star attractions and a member of our VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme, is a vital part of the region's nature-based tourism offering and has undoubtedly helped attract more visitors to this stunning part of Highland Perthshire," he added.
Further details at www.highlandsafaris.net
www.theworkshopaberfeldy.org.

HIGHLAND SAFARIS CELEBRATES 25 YEARS IN BUSINESS WITH CREATIVE TIE UP WITH LOCAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE, THE WORKSHOP ABERFELDY

Highland-Safaris-Stag LaunchTo celebrate twenty five years of successful operation from its base in the village of Dull, Highland Safaris has unveiled a three metre high steel installation of a Red Deer Stag, based on its distinctive logo.

Having commissioned social enterprise initiative, The Workshop Aberfeldy, to produce the special stag, Highland Safaris invited Bailey Pearce, one of a number of local youngsters currently being trained and mentored by The Workshop, to perform the unveiling in front of a group of specially invited guests.

Bailey, who is from Aberfeldy, was joined by representatives from bodies such as Visit Scotland, along with local accommodation partners and suppliers, as well as John Swinney MSP for Perthshire North. Highland Safaris took the opportunity to reflect on the past quarter century which has seen it grow its business from one Land Rover talking small groups up into the hills, to its present level as one of Scotland's premier five star rated visitor attractions, enabling visitors from home and abroad to successfully engage with Scotland's wildlife, history and heritage.

Highland Safaris successfully covers both consumer and corporate markets, with a diverse and authentic range of products, including Land Rover, walking and cycle Safaris, Basecamp events for team building, the Red Deer Centre, Gold Panning and its popular Bike Trax mountain bike skills loop.

Recently Highland Safaris diversified from land onto the water with the launch, in April of this year, of Loch Tay Safaris, a 90 minute guided Loch Safari around the mystical waters of Loch Tay, Perthshire's largest loch.

Said Donald Riddell, who with wife Julie founded Highland Safaris in 1992: "The stag looks fantastic, we are absolutely delighted with it, and our thanks go to Bailey for performing the honours, along with all his colleagues from The Workshop Aberfeldy. They handled our commission with enormous commitment and attention to detail. Thanks also to JGB Steelcraft of Hillington, Glasgow who carried out the cutting and fabrication of the steel, and to everyone who came along to the unveiling."

"The Workshop is an amazing local initiative, and a registered charity, which is really changing lives and enabling many more young people to stay in the area and find gainful employment," said Julie Riddell.

Donald and Julie owners of Highland-SafarisDonald finished by saying; "A proud stag features on our logo which has served us well for the past twenty five years. Symbolically, it represents resilience and strength which can be said to sum up the Scottish spirit our visitors so admire."

Commenting on the Red Deer Stag commission, Paul Parmenter, Manager of The Workshop Aberfeldy, said: "People of all ages come to us to learn wood working, metal working and laser cutting, in addition to business management, although we particularly focus on helping young people who face barriers to employment."

"Since we opened in 2014, we have been brilliantly supported by the local community, working with businesses such as Highland Safaris to create a huge range of products that have taught valuable skills to our trainees. We were delighted to be commissioned to design the new Highland Safaris stag that will now take pride of place attracting people to their business and will be seen by thousands of visitors to the area over the next few years. It has proved a really interesting challenge, and we are very proud of what has been created," added Paul.

Paul finished by saying: "Bailey Pearce is a fitting youngster to be involved in this day of celebration for Highland Safaris as he was involved in making the prototype models for the final design of the stag, using laser cutting. He is now very skilled in this technique, and, having struggled with mainstream education, has now gone from strength to strength."

Jim Clarkson, Visit Scotland Regional Partnerships Director added his congratulations to Highland Safaris, stating: "Our scenery and landscape is one of the top reasons that people visit Scotland.  Over the past 25 years, Highland Safaris has played a significant role in bringing visitors closer to Perthshire's natural environment. It is incredibly fitting then, that they are marking this milestone anniversary with an impressive stag installation - a lasting legacy of this achievement and a nod to one of the country's most celebrated species."

"Highland Safaris, one of the region's 5-star attractions and a member of our VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme, is a vital part of the region's nature-based tourism offering and has undoubtedly helped attract more visitors to this stunning part of Highland Perthshire," he added.

Further more information on Highland Safaris www.highlandsafaris.net and more information on the social enterprise initiative, The Workshop Aberfeldy www.theworkshopaberfeldy.org.

 

Loch Tay Safaris boat Kenmore Scotland

Loch Tay Safaris Scotlands Best Visitor Experience

LOCH TAY SAFARIS ADDS FRESH IMPETUS TO SCOTLAND'S BEST VISITOR EXPERIENCE IN SILVER ANNIVERSARY YEAR
Currently celebrating its 25th successful year of operation, multi award winning activity provider, Highland Safaris, is set to reap the benefits of the intensive two year plan which saw it move from the land to the water.
In April of this year, the Visitscotland 5 star award winning Highland Safaris, launched Loch Tay Safaris, a new experience offering an exciting ninety minute guided tour around the mystical waters of Loch Tay, Perthshire's largest loch, in a custom built cabin rib craft.
With the inaugural season of Loch Tay Safaris set to finish this November, before the winter layup, current predictions made by Aberfeldy based Highland Safaris are that adding this exciting new dimension to its existing portfolio, will increase turnover by £90,000 in year one, rising to £150,000 in year three.
Overall turnover predictions for the business are currently sitting at £1 million, with turnover doubling over the last five years due to Highland Safaris expanding into new products and markets. This has added increased visitors to the existing Landrover Safaris, Red Deer Centre, Gold Panning, Mountain Bike activities and the award winning café and gift shop. The business was voted Best Visitor Experience in Scotland by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions a few years ago.
Having had the idea to expand Highland Safaris offering onto the water for several years, Donald and Julie Riddell, the husband and wife team behind the company, had to secure funding, and research the best type of boat to use, a process which took them at least eighteen months.
"Loch Tay Safaris was given the official go ahead in July 2016, but even prior to that we had been carrying out research looking at other operators in the marketplace, and what particular boats they used," said Donald Riddell. "Through Tony Hill at Seafari in Oban we found a Welsh company called Quinquari who operated rib tours but also built bespoke models. We then decided that the way ahead for us was to have a customised boat built just for us, which we did at a cost of over £150,000."
"The total cost of the project was in the region of £250,000, which included pontoons, a vehicle, the capital cost of altering the marina at Kenmore, along with the necessary marketing, PR, and a new dedicated website necessary to launch the product to market properly."
"We were lucky enough to secure Leader Funding through Perth and Kinross Council for the project which contributed 30%, which was a huge help, and enabled us to finally make the project a reality. It was even more special for us that this occurred in our Silver Anniversary year," said Julie. "The key to our success over the past quarter century has been offering authentic products which enable visitors from home and abroad to successfully engage with our fantastic natural environment here in Highland Perthshire."
Loch Tay Safaris employs a full time skipper, along with other full and part time crew members. The Safaris operate seven days a week between April and November, with extra daily sailings in peak season.
Further details www.lochtaysafaris.net and www.highlandsafaris.net.

LOCH TAY SAFARIS ADDS FRESH IMPETUS TO SCOTLAND'S BEST VISITOR EXPERIENCE IN SILVER ANNIVERSARY YEAR

Currently celebrating its 25th successful year of operation, multi award winning visitor attraction, Highland Safaris, is set to reap the benefits of the intensive two year plan which saw it move from the land to the water.

Donald-LochTaqySafaris.jpg

In April of this year, Highland Safaris launched Loch Tay Safaris, a new product offering a ninety minute guided tour around the mystical waters of Loch Tay, Perthshire's largest loch, in a custom built cabin rib craft.

With the inaugural season of Loch Tay Safaris set to finish this November, with the product then taking a break over the Winter months to resume in April of next year, current predictions made by Aberfeldy based Highland Safaris are that adding this exciting new dimension to its existing portfolio, will increase turnover by £90,000 in year one, rising to £150,000 in year three.

Overall turnover predictions for the business are currently sitting at £1 million, with turnover doubling over the last five years due to Highland Safaris expanding into new products and markets, including developing its range of popular Hilltop Venues. The business was recently voted Best Visitor Experience in Scotland by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.

Loch Tay Safaris boat trip

Having had the idea to expand Highland Safaris offering onto the water for several years, Donald and Julie Riddell, the husband and wife team behind the company, had to secure funding, and research the best type of boat to use, a process which took them at least eighteen months.

"Loch Tay Safaris was given the official go ahead in July 2016, but even prior to that we had been carrying out research looking at other operators in the marketplace, and what particular boats they used," said Donald Riddell. "Through Tony Hill at Seafari in Oban we found a Welsh company called Quinquari who operated rib tours but also built bespoke models. We then decided that the way ahead for us was to have a customised boat built just for us, which we did at a cost of nearly £150.000."

"The total cost of the project was in the region of £250,000, which included pontoons, a vehicle, the capital cost of altering the marina at Kenmore, along with the necessary marketing, PR, and a new dedicated website necessary to launch the product to market properly."

"We were lucky enough to secure Leader Funding for the project of at least 30%, which was a huge help, and enabled us to finally make the project a reality. It was even more special for us that this occurred in our Silver Anniversary year," said Julie. "The key to our success over the past quarter century has been offering authentic and sustainable products which enable visitors from home and abroad to successfully engage with our fantastic natural environment here in Highland Perthshire."

Loch Tay Safaris now employs a full time skipper, along with other full and part time crew members. The Safaris operate seven days a week between April and November, with extra daily sailings in peak season.

Further details www.lochtaysafaris.net and www.highlandsafaris.net.

Dewars Aberfeldy Distillery multi-media historic archives app

 

NEW APP BRINGS WHISKY HISTORY TO LIFE AT DEWAR'S ABERFELDY DISTILLERY
DEWAR'S® authentic Highland home offers enhanced visitor experience
Aberfeldy, Scotland, 14 April 2017 - Scotland's iconic Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire has revolutionised its already award-winning tour experience with a bespoke multi-media app, bringing its historic archives to life for visitors.
The creation of the experience, the first of its type for a Scotch whisky distillery, was inspired by similar innovations in some of the world's leading museums and art galleries. Delivered via iPads® for visitors to the distillery's heritage exhibition, the app allows them to build their own experience rather than the more linear audio tour previously offered. Users are also able to view items that, due to their fragility, are not currently on display to the public.
The app uses the latest technology to recognise visual 'trigger points', accessing additional information, imagery, sound and video when held over them. Provided in 11 languages, the app also enhances the experience for the distillery's many overseas visitors.
Jonathan Wilson, Visitor Operations Manager, comments: "It's exciting to see our historical archives presented in such a contemporary way. Whilst an iPad can never replace the personal interaction provided by our distillery tours, the new experience is a wonderful added bonus that allows whisky lovers, visitors and locals alike to delve deeper into the Dewar's story."
Developed by Glasgow creative branding and digital agency Contagious, the app uses a simple interface with icons on screen to access specific room-based content throughout heritage exhibition. Access to the heritage exhibition and use of an iPad is included in all the distillery's tour options, which also offer a guided tour through whisky production and the atmospheric warehouse, before a whisky tasting.
Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery offers a variety of fun and informative Distillery tours to choose from including the Aberfeldy Tour (£9.50 per adult), Cask Tasting Tour (£17), Connoisseur Tour (£27), Blender's Tour (£75) and Private Dewar's Tour (£99).
For more information, please visit www.dewarsaberfeldydistillery.com or call +44(0)1887822

New App Brings Whisky History to Life at Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery

New-App-for-Dewars-Aberfeld-Whisky-DistilleryScotland's iconic Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire has revolutionised its already award-winning tour experience with a bespoke multi-media app, bringing its historic archives to life for visitors.

The creation of the experience, the first of its type for a Scotch whisky distillery, was inspired by similar innovations in some of the world's leading museums and art galleries.

Delivered via iPads® for visitors to the distillery's heritage exhibition, the app allows them to build their own experience rather than the more linear audio tour previously offered. Users are also able to view items that, due to their fragility, are not currently on display to the public.

The app uses the latest technology to recognise visual 'trigger points', accessing additional information, imagery, sound and video when held over them. Provided in 11 languages, the app also enhances the experience for the distillery's many overseas visitors.

New-multi-media-App-for-Dew.jpgJonathan Wilson, Visitor Operations Manager, comments: "It's exciting to see our historical archives presented in such a contemporary way. Whilst an iPad can never replace the personal interaction provided by our distillery tours, the new experience is a wonderful added bonus that allows whisky lovers, visitors and locals alike to delve deeper into the Dewar's story."

Developed by Glasgow creative branding and digital agency Contagious, the app uses a simple interface with icons on screen to access specific room-based content throughout heritage exhibition.

Access to the heritage exhibition and use of an iPad is included in all the distillery's tour options, which also offer a guided tour through whisky production and the atmospheric warehouse, before a whisky tasting.

Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery offers a variety of fun and informative Distillery tours to choose from including the Aberfeldy Tour (£9.50 per adult), Cask Tasting Tour (£17), Connoisseur Tour (£27), Blender's Tour (£75) and Private Dewar's Tour (£99).

For more information, please visit www.dewarsaberfeldydistillery.com or call +44(0)1887822010.

 

Perthshire Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett wins Gold (1)

 

Highland Perthshire Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett wins Gold
Two successive "Best in the World" awards is huge achievement for small Scottish business
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 Truffles.
In competition with chocolatiers from all over the globe, his new Caramel with A Twist of Liquorice Velvet Truffle topped the board - the only UK chocolatier to win such a distinction in the truffle and praline category this year.
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 attractions.
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.
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 - 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.

Highland Perthshire Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett wins Gold

Iain-Burnett-Chocolatier with Gold AwardTwo 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 Truffles.

World Wide CompetitionThe 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 attractions.

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!"

Caramel-Velvet-Truffle.jpgThe 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.

 

Why were the Irish At the Battle of Killiecrankie

 

The Irish at the Battle of Killiecrankie 2016 Event.
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 Killiecrankie?
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 Mary.
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 Dundee".
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 james@explorescotland.net or 01796 473335.

The Irish at the Battle of Killiecrankie 2016 Event.

purcells-flag-presentation.jpgPurcell'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 Killiecrankie?

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 Mary.

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 Dundee".

purcells-irish-dragoons.jpg400 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 james@explorescotland.net or 01796 473335.

 

Atholl Country Life Museum 2016

 

Atholl Museum Gearing Up for Summer!
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!

Atholl Museum Gearing Up for Summer 2016!

guess-clues-atholl.jpgWith 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!

 

Blair Castle International Horse Trials 2016 Tickets go on Sale

 

FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials Box Office now open
This year's FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials and Country Fair runs from 25th - 28th August. 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.
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. A four day, weekend or daily membership can be purchased, with prices starting at £24 per person - and dogs on short leads are welcome in the Marquee.
Alternatively there are Season and 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.
So once you have chosen your type of ticket, where to stay. There are numerous stunning hotels, pubs and B&B's in the area, but if you want to be right at the heart of the action and not miss any of the evening entertainment, camping could be the answer. 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.
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 glorious.

FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials Box Office now open

blair-horse-trials-view.jpgThis year's FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials and Country Fair runs from 25th - 28th August.

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.

Membership 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.blair-horse-trials-village.jpg

  • Season Membership £95.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Weekend Membership Sat and Sun £65.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Thursday, Friday Membership £24.00 per day (Only available in advance)

Season and 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.

  • Season Admission £50.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Weekend Admission Sat and Sun £30.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Thursday, Friday Admission £12.00 per day OR £14.00 per day at the gate on the day
  • Saturday Admission £20.00 OR £22.00 at the gate on the day
  • Sunday Admission £15.00 OR £17.00 at the gate on the day

Car Parking blair-horse-trials-dogs.jpg

  • Season Car Pass £12.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Weekend Car Pass £6.00 (Only available in advance)
  • Daily Car Park (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) £3.00 per day in advance OR £5.00 per day purchased at the car park
So once you have chosen your type of ticket, where to stay. There are numerous stunning hotels, pubs and B&B's in the area, but if you want to be right at the heart of the action and not miss any of the evening entertainment, camping could be the answer.

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.blair-horse-trials-country.jpg

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 glorious.

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Mill Inn Pitlochry wins Scottish Inn of the Year 2016

 

The Old Mill Inn in Pitlochry is triumphant at the Scottish Hotel of the Year Awards.
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 awards.
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 long holiday."
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 Saturday night.
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 come.
To book online or check for available rooms and visit www.theoldmillpitlochry.co.uk or call Tel: 01796 474020.
Contact for Press Enquiries:
Kirstie Lafford
Source Marketing
t: 01738 583 858   e: kirstie@sourcemarketing.co.uk
The Old Mill Inn
Mill Lane
Pitlochry
PH16 5BH
Tel: 01796 474 020

old-mill-inn-award

The Old Mill Inn in Pitlochry is triumphant at the Scottish Hotel of the Year Awards.

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 awards.

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."old-mill-beer-garden.jpg

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 long holiday."

old-mill-inn-pitlochry-perthshire.jpgThe 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 Saturday night.

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 come.

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 Wins Top Scottish Tourism Award

The Enchanted Forest Wins Top Tourism Award

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.

enchanted-forest-lightsThe 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 event."

enchanted-forest-spotlightsVisitors 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.

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