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Pitlochry Enchanted Forest 2013 – Absorb

Another great Enchanted Forest show is set to keep the visitors flocking to Pitlochry for the month of October. The year’s theme, ‘Absorb’ sees a multitude of glowing orbs positioned throughout the Faskally Woods and around, on and in Loch Dunmore with light and sound ‘shows’ at a number of strategic points around the loch.

We had a preview of the show last night and it is superb. Over 30,000 expected to visit. Tickets are available from http://www.enchantedforest.org.uk/.  Buses leave from the centre of Pitlochry. 5 minute journey. I have posted a few photos below to give you a feel for the show. This is a great time of year to visit Pitlochry and a visit to The Enchanted Forest is to be recommended.

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Absorb sign at Enchanted Forest 2013

Enchanted Forest 2013 – Absorb sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Enchanted Forest 2013 – ‘Absorb’ – sound and light show near Pitlochry

Story tellers at The Enchanted Forest 2013

Enchanted Forest 2013

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Ospreys at Loch of the Lowes – Dunkeld near Pitlochry

Visitors’ centre at Loch of the Lowes

Just a couple of miles from Dunkeld is the Loch of the Lowes nature reserve. There is a lot of wildlife to see here but visit at the right time of year and you have a good chance of seeing ospreys on their nest. The resident female osprey is a bird called Lady and she has been nesting at Loch of the Lowes for 24 years! We visited in June 2013 when her single chick was about 4 weeks old. Unfortunately, we just missed the delivery of a salmon for lunch but we did get to see both adults and the chick. The photo below is taken from a long distance but you can get a feel for the vast size of the nest and the ospreys themselves. It is amazing to see them in real life.

The RSPB have also set up a superb visitors’ centre and bird viewing hide at Loch of the Lowes. The visitors’ centre has a shop, various dispays, live feed osprey cam and lots of excellent entertainment for children. There is also a large viewing window looking out onto well stocked bird and squirrel feeders. On our visit we saw yellowhammers, siskins, chaffinches, robins, woodpeckers and of course, red squirrels. Loch of the Lowes nature reserve is well worth a visit and is only a couple of miles from Dunkeld and about 20 minutes down the road from Pitlochry.

While in Dunkeld check out Dunkeld Cathedral and The Hermitage.

‘Lady’ the Osprey on her nest at Loch of the Lowes

Image of Lady from the Osprey cam at Loch of the Lowes

Viewing window at the Loch of the Lowes visitors’ centre

Loads of activities for children at Loch of the Lowes

Adult male greater spotted woodpecker at Loch of the Lowes

Juvenile greater spotted woodpecker at Loch of the Lowes

Loch of the Lowes nature reserve and Osprey hide near Dunkeld and Pitlochry

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Treats Cafe – restaurant, gift and craft shop in Kinloch Rannoch

Treats cafe in Kinloch Rannoch

One of the best drives in Highland Perthshire has to be the loop from Pitlochry down Loch Tummel and the Queen’s View, to Kinloch Rannoch, around Loch Rannoch, past the remote Rannoch Station and Schiehallion, up and over to Aberfeldy and eventually back to Pitlochry. It is a stunning drive with super loch and mountain views, loads of wildlife and numerous well mapped walks. This loop is roughly the same route as the tremendously popular Etape Caledonia road cycle race held annually in Highland Perthshire.

If you do take our advice and check out this stunning part of Highland Perthshire we would definitely recommend a stop at Treats Cafe in Kinloch Rannoch. This is a great spot for lunch (try the stovies) and a favourite hot chocolate stop for us. Treats cafe and restaurant are complimented nicely by their smart gift shop with loads of local crafts, cards and a small art gallery. All in all a very pleasant spot indeed. Did I say to try the stovies……?

Treats cafe, restaurant and gift shop in Kinloch Rannoch

Treats Cafe in Kinloch Rannoch
Treats Restaurant in Kinloch Rannoch

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Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy – April 2013

After being shut as a cinema for nearly 30 years, the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy is to open its doors again in a couple of weeks time. We went to have a look at the refurbished exterior today and the whole place looks amazing. There are 100 seats and a state of the art 3D projection system. There is also a 64 seat cafe and restaurant. The Birks cinema website has some great photos of the £1.8m refurbishment – the inside looks pretty smart too. This is sure to be a great asset to Highland Perthshire and we can’t wait to try it out.

The stunningly refurbished exterior of the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy, near Pitlochry.

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Cinema in Pitlochry, cinema in Aberfeldy, cinema in Perthshire

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Escape Route – Pitlochry’s first class cycling and outdoors shop

Escape Route has been a leading retailer of cycling and outdoor equipment and clothing on Pitlochry’s main street for over 15 years. An extensive stock of mountain bikes, road bikes, outdoor clothing, equipment and accessories means loads of choice and a great chance of finding what you need.

Escape Route’s staff are very knowledgeable on stock and can provide excellent advice on cycling and walking routes around Highland Perthshire. The mechanics are first rate and will get you back on the road in no time at all.

If you are coming to Pitlochry without a bike, Escape Route can hire you one from their fleet. Good bikes at great value and always the latest models. Mountain bike hire Pitlochry.

Highland Perthshire is rammed full of great on-road and off-road cycling opportunities. Make sure you make the most of it when you visit Torrdarach House and make a trip to Escape Route.

Check out their Pitlochry cycling website for more information – Escape Route website

Also, check out our cycling in Pitlochry blog posts on Skinny Tyres and Etape Caledonia.

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Skinny Tyres – cycle tours and guiding

Highland Perthshire is rammed full of great on-road and off-road cycling opportunities. What better way to make the most of these opportunities than have a professional guide showing you the best routes.

Skinny Tyres is an award winning Highland Perthshire based cycle guiding company. Set up in 2009 by experienced cycle coach and trail leader Scot Tares, Skinny Tyres offers products specifically aimed at helping cyclists gain the most out of their cycling experiences in the Scottish Highlands.

Skinny Tyres offers bespoke guided road rides and tours, mountain bike rides, and on/off road skills and training sessions. They cater for individuals, groups and families and there are packages available for all skill levels. Bike and equipment hire can also be arranged.

What a great way to spend a few hours (or more) while staying at Torrdarach House. As Scot says – ‘Get out and ride!’

Check out their Pitlochry cycling website for more information – Skinny Tyres website 

Also,check out our cycling in Pitlochry blog posts on Escape Route and Etape Caledonia.

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Cycling in Highland Perthshire, Cycling in Pitlochry

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Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies is a 16th century castle which was the seat of the chiefs of Clan Menzies for over 400 years. It was involved in much of the turbulent history of the Scottish Highlands and played a key role in the second Jacobite rising by hosting both Bonnie Prince Charlie and, only four days later, the Government commander, the Duke of Cumberland.

Rescued from ruin in 1957 by the Menzies Clan Society the castle has been under constant restoration ever since and is now an excellent tourist attraction. If you want to take a wander around a real castle then this is well worth a visit. There is now a small cafe and shop too.

Castle Menzies website

Castle Menzies is near Weem and Aberfeldy. Check out The House of Menzies nearby for some upmarket shopping.

Castle Menzies

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Dunkeld and the Cathedral

The bridge over the Tay to Dunkeld

Dunkeld is a pretty little town on the banks of the River Tay about 10 miles south of Pitlochry.

Dunkeld has played a major role in shaping modern Scotland and was, for many centuries, the centre of Christianity in Scotland until the cathedral was largely destroyed during the 16th century reformation. The town subsequently became a major market town boosted by the building of the bridge over the Tay in 1809 linking Birnam with Dunkeld. The cathedral undergoes constant restoration to this day.

There are some great little shops, cafes, delis and bakeries in Dunkeld so it’s perfect for a lunch or coffee stop. However, the main attraction has to be the riverside cathedral and its grounds. Well worth a visit.

Also worth seeking out: The Hermitage, Loch of the Lowes, The Birnam Oak and The Beatrix Potter Exhibition at the Birnam Art Centre.

The bridge over the Tay to Dunkeld

Dunkeld Cathedral

Dunkeld Cathedral

The interior of the restored section Dunkeld Cathedral

Stunning riverside grounds of Dunkeld Cathedral

Stunning riverside grounds of Dunkeld Cathedral

Stunning riverside grounds of Dunkeld Cathedral

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The Hermitage by Dunkeld

Ossian’s Hall overlooking the Black Linn Pool in The Hermitage

The Hermitage is apparently one of Scotland’s oldest tourist attractions. It was originally part of the grounds of Dunkeld House and for several hundred years the Dukes of Atholl have been planting trees to enhance the landscape. Most of the trees you see today are less than 200 years old but due to the good soil and sheltered conditions they have grown very tall indeed.

There are a number of short walks between 2km and 8km available at The Hermitage. The shortest walk takes you from the car park (just off the A9 by Dunkeld) through a grove of huge Douglas-firs by the River Braan to the bridge over the Black Linn Pool at Ossian’s Hall. This 18th century hall was once the centre of a wild garden and the balcony gives a great view of the waterfall.

You will find The Big Tree Cafe in the car park at the Hermitage. Excellent home made food – good coffee, soup, cakes and the amazing Stewart Tower Dairy Ice Cream. The Big Tree Cafe is a good enough reason for a visit to The Hermitage on its own!

A lovely short walk to a waterfall through a stunning grove of huge trees. Definitely recommended.

Why not check out Dunkeld and it’s cathedral and Loch of the Lowes nearby.

The waterfall at Ossian’s Hall in The Hermitage

The fabulous Big Tree Cafe in The Hermitage

The waterfall at Ossian’s Hall in The Hermitage

The bridge over the Black Linn Pool at Ossian’s Hall in The Hermitage

Groves of huge trees in The Hermitage

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Carn Liath, Beinn a’Ghlo – above Blair Atholl

Carn Liath from the walk in

Carn Liath is one of our favourite mountains in Highland Perthshire. It’s a 975m Munro and is one of the three peaks that make up the Beinn a’Ghlo range. Although not the highest in the range, Carn Liath is the most prominent and can be clearly seen from the A9 (see Blair Castle shot below).

The walk in starts from a car park near Loch Moraig and can be a bit boggy, crossing a stream several times. The hill itself is a pretty steep climb up on a well worn path, but on a clear day the view from the top is well worth the effort.

The other two peaks can be picked off on the same trip but this vastly extends the walk.

An excellent detailed walk description at Walkhighlands.

Carn Liath on the right above Blair Castle

Carn Liath – view from the summit down to Blair Atholl

View from the summit of the other Beinn a’Ghlo peaks

Carn Liath – heading down the ridge

The walk out

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