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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

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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









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House of Bruar


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









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









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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.



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Queen’s View, Loch Tummel

The Queen’s View.  Wow!  What a place.

Only a few miles from Pitlochry down the stunning Loch Tummel road is an incredible viewpoint known as the Queen’s View. Apparently named after Queen Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce over 700 years ago.

A short path leads from the carpark to the viewpoint. The path has recently undergone extensive renovation and is now considered wheelchair accessible.

The view itself is extensive, taking in the whole of Loch Tummel, Schiehallion (3553ft) and at a distance of about 50 miles the mountains of Glencoe.

We had a cracking day for our visit and the snow caps on Schiehallion and in Glencoe really made the view. Well worth a visit on a clear day.

The Queen’s View, Loch Tummel

The new all-abilities path to the viewpoint

Schiehallion with a snow cap









The mountians of Glencoe in the distance

The Queens View









Further info on the Queens View can be found at Pitlochry.org

There is also some great walking to be done in the surrounding Aillean Forest. A good starting point for info is the superb Walkhighlands website and http://www.perthshirebigtreecountry.co.uk/

For a longer drive, carry on past 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 go for this longer loop make sure you check out Treats Cafe in Kinloch Rannoch….tasty.

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The Bothy is finished! – April 2012

Our new guest bedroom for 2012 is The Bothy. A Victorian outbuilding behind the main house has been converted into an en-suite bedroom.

The room is bright and airy with two windows and a vaulted ceiling. King-sized Sealy bed, two leather armchairs and a 22 inch Toshiba LCD TV with integrated DVD player.

The Bothy is only a few yards from the front door of the main house for easy access to the guest lounge and breakfast room. There is also a private courtyard with teak table and chairs.

A few photos below:

You can see what The Bothy looked like during the refurb on our previous blog posts. I hope you agree we have improved it!

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