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Blair Castle – Atholl Gathering, Highland Games – May 2012

The Pipes and Drums leading the ‘March On’

The Atholl Gathering takes place on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May every year and is a unique Highland tradition that has persisted at Blair Castle for generations. The two day Atholl Gathering weekend consists of The Atholl Highlanders’ Parade on Saturday followed by the Highland Games on Sunday.

It was very hot indeed at Blair Castle this year and the whole day was a great success. The Atholl Highlanders officially opened the Highland Games with a “March On”, led by the skirl of their pipes and booming drums.

Following the March On, heavyweight strong men (and one lady) from around Scotland battled it out in the Highland Games, which included all the traditional events such as tossing the caber, putting the shot and throwing the hammer.

Loads of other stuff going on too, such as highland dancing events,  tug o’ war, solo piping and food and drinks stands.

The ‘March On’

Blair Castle in the blazing sun

The Games

The tug o’ war

A lot of people out to enjoy the sun and the Games

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Pitlochry Theatre – The 39 Steps – May 2012

The 39 Steps - very funny

We had another excellent trip to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre last night for the second show of the 2012 season. The 39 Steps is extremely funny and very impressive with the cast of 4 playing well over 100 characters. How do they do it! Well done again to Pitlochry Theatre and the cast.

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre website describes The 39 Steps as follows:

“Seeking entertainment at a West End variety show, the handsome adventurer Richard Hannay instead encounters the mysterious Annabella Schmidt – who’s not just beautiful, but also rather handy with a gun. At Hannay’s flat, Annabella reveals that she is trying to prevent a state secret being smuggled out of Britain by a mysterious spy organization . . . and that two of their men are on her trail . . .

Hannay awakes the next day to find Annabella dead – and himself framed for her murder! His only chance to clear his name? To expose the organization that killed her. But Annabella has left him just three clues to pursue: the gang’s leader is missing the tip of his little finger; they’re connected to a place named Alt-na-Shellach in the Scottish Highlands; and they’re called . . . The 39 Steps . . .

Inspired by John Buchan’s gripping spy novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1935 film, Patrick Barlow’s hilarious, spectacular adaptation brings the greatest adventure story of the 20th century triumphantly to the stage, complete with such legendary scenes as the chase on the Flying Scotsman, the escape on the Forth Bridge, the biplane crash, the election meeting, the night in the McGarrigle Hotel – and the death-defying finale at the London Palladium!

With a cast of four playing 139 roles between them, the Scottish premiére of this Olivier Award-winning comedy caper promises to be one of the most astonishing theatrical spectacles ever seen at PFT!”

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Blair Castle – Atholl Gathering, Highlanders’ Parade – May 2012

The pipes, drums and army on the parade ground

The Atholl Gathering takes place on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May every year. This unusual event is a unique Highland tradition that has persisted at Blair Castle for generations. The two day Atholl Gathering weekend consists of The Atholl Highlanders’ Parade on Saturday followed by the Highland Games on Sunday.

Looking back at Blair Castle from the gardens

The Highlanders’ Parade is the annual inspection by the Duke of Atholl of his army, Europe’s last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders. The army parades on the forecourt of historic Blair Castle, accompanied by the sound of their tremendous pipes and drums.

Usually beginning 2.30pm and continuing for about an hour the Blair Castle Highlanders’ Parade is great fun and as a bonus there us a very noisy gun.

In 2012 Prince Michael of Kent was present and the Highlanders were awarded Queen’s Jubilee medals.

What a great sound

Blair Castle in the sun

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Pitlochry Theatre – opening night – May 2012

We had a super trip to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre last night for the opening show of the season. Little Shop of Horrors is a blast and we think it will be a great success. A very enjoyable evening. Well done Pitlochry Theatre and good luck for the rest of the season.

Pitlochry Theatre's first show of 2012

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre website describes this 1950′s inspired sci-fi spoof as follows:

“Business is so bad at his Skid Row Florists that Mr. Mushnik is considering throwing in the trowel – sorry, towel. But just when it seems that the zinnias are destined for the garbage, Mushnik`s gawky, accident-prone assistant, Seymour, discovers a strange and exotic new plant . . . Seymour names his discovery “Audrey Two”, after the shop`s ditsy sales girl Audrey, whom he secretly worships. And when Audrey Two starts to attract much needed custom – and the attention of the press – Seymour`s dreams of escaping the poverty of Skid Row and winning the hand of the real Audrey seem to be within reach. But Audrey Two is no ordinary shrub. It grows at a phenomenal rate, thanks to a – well, let`s say, unusual diet. Oh, and it has plans for world domination. Only Seymour knows Audrey Two`s terrible secrets . . . and he`s prepared to risk everything if it means he has a shot at fame, fortune and true love . . . Satirizing the sci-fi movies and ‘creature features’ of the 1950s, and with a score that recreates the sounds of that era, PFT`s latest musical – featuring an all-singing, all-dancing, instrument-playing cast of actor-musicians, fabulous sets and costumes, and a terrifying Audrey Two! – is sure to get the Flights of Fancy season off to a flying start!”

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Etape Caledonia Pitlochry – May 2012

Up at 4.30am today to prep a vat of porridge for our many Etape Caledonia 2012 competitors. I managed to get down to the start line to see them off at 6.30am. 5000 riders cover 80 miles around Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire. The winner should be back in Pitlochry around 10am! I’ll let you do the maths, but that seems quite quick. Rather them than me….

The start of the big race - 6.30 am

Watch a short video of the Etape Caledonia 2012 start on ourTorrdarach Facebook Page

As well as the main event there is loads of great cycling related stuff going on in Pitlochry and all over Highland Perthshire. For information on the very successful Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival which runs alongside the Etape please click here.

The 2013 Etape Caledonia entries will well out fast when the race is officially announced in a few days. If you are interested in slogging your guts on a bike around Pitlochry next year, get your application in fast. Here is the website you need – Etape Caledonia

Torrdarach House, Pitlochry Etape accommodation  http://www.torrdarach.co.uk/
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Pitlochry Spring colours – May 2012

The blossoms and tulips are looking good down at the Pitlochry war memorial gardens.

Blossom on the trees at the war memorial

Pitlochry war memorial gardens in Spring colours

Tulips in full bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torrdarach House, Pitlochry Hotel  http://www.torrdarach.co.uk/
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House of Bruar

Entrance

This self-styled ‘home of country clothing’ is often referred to as the ‘Harrods of the North’. If you want an over-the-top retail experience during your stay in Pitlochry, The House of Bruar should definitely be on your list of things to do. Huge country clothing halls, an art gallery, a homewares shop, large restaurant and an excellent deli and butchery.

Check out their website http://www.houseofbruar.com/ and have a look at some of our own photos below.

The House of Bruar is just 10 miles north of Pitlochry and a visit, combined with a tour of Blair Castle and a walk up the Falls of Bruar, makes for an excellent day out.

Mens’ clothing hall

Mens’ clothing hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Courtyard

Outside fruit and veg stall

 

 

 

Carvery style restaurant

Large sweets shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fudgetastic!

The deli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deli again…I love it

The entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Falls of Bruar

Lower bridge

Hidden behind the outrageous shopping experience that is The House of Bruar, is the start of a 2.5km circular walk up the Falls of Bruar.

Big waterfalls, super clear pools, ancient bridges and steep sides (hold on the the kids!) make this short walk very enjoyable.

If you fancy a more refreshing trip to the Falls of Bruar why not try canyoning organised by Pitlochry Outdoor Activities – chilly stuff!

For some excellent detailed notes on the walk check out this Walkhighlands page.

Combine this walk with a tour of Blair Castle and a posh retail experience at the House of Bruar for an excellent day out.

Have a look at some of our own photos of the walk below.

 

 

Information board at the start of the walk 

The walk in.

 

 

 

The lower bridge

 

Canyoners below the lower bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canyoners below the lower bridge

 

Steep sides – hold on to the kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upper bridge and falls

 

Resting half way down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walk back down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torrdarach House, Pitlochry Hotel  http://www.torrdarach.co.uk/
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Blair Castle – May 2012

We were driving down the A9 yesterday towards Pitlochry and stopped in a layby to take a couple of photos of the stunning Blair Castle.

A visit to Blair Castle and the wider Atholl Estates is definitely to be recommended.   The Castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and enjoys one of Scotland’s finest settings in the heart of Highland Perthshire. You can tour over 30 rooms and the extensive grounds. It’s quite a place.

Blair Castle is only 10 minutes North of Pitlochry and a visit, combined with a visit to The House of Bruar and a walk up the Falls of Bruar, makes for an excellent day out.

Have a look at their website for further information. http://www.blair-castle.co.uk/

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Aberfeldy Gallery – Spring Exhibition – May 2012

One of our favourite art galleries, The Aberfeldy Gallery, is getting ready for the Spring exhibition. George Grant, Rowena Laing and Lin Pattullo will be displaying work between May 5th and June 20th. There should be some interesting paintings to see.

The Aberfeldy Gallery is about 25 minutes from Pitlochry, heading towards Loch Tay.

www.aberfeldygallery.co.uk

 

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