Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Kingshouse Travel work in tandom with cycle company to achieve wedding couples dreams

Just goes to show what you can do in the area if you put your mind to it! Kingshouse Travel, with the help of ‘Wheels Cycle Hire’ in Callander, recently provided minibus and bicycle transport for guests attending a rather unusual wedding in the Glen Lyon area.

The bride and groom, along with their guests were transported to Lawers Dam by minibus, where the happy couple tied the knot surrounded by beautiful (if misty) scenery. After the ceremony, everyone (including bride and groom on their bicycle made for two!) hopped onto their bikes and made their way down Glen Lyon and on to Fortingall for the reception. The weather was a little dull, with grey skies and some light rain, but everyone persevered and made it safely to Fortingall with smiles and happy faces all round.

After a few drinks and some time to relax in the pub at Fortingall, everyone got back into the minibuses and made the journey back to Killin to prepare for a good nights celebration. The entire occasion made for an interesting, fun and enjoyable experience, which just goes to show what you can do in the area if you put your mind to it.

LETI: Kingshouse travel is owned by member Graeme Courtney who also provides a service to visiting guests in the Kingshouse Hotel, pub and restaurant and the Kingshouse Self Catering cottages. Situated just off the A84 between Balquhidder and Lochearnhead the travel, accommodation and hospitality company offes a taxi and coach service using cars and a range of 6 to 16 seater coaches. The company can be booked for guided tours, airport transfer, parties, weddings and other outings. Distance is no object for Graeme's team of drivers.

Celebrating Tourism, Fine Dining and Christmas Spirit in Strathyre

Creagan House in Strathyre hosted this year's Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LETI) members Christmas party. Perthshire accommodation and hospitality members gathered to enjoy the festive spirit, share tales of tourism in 2009 and to sample chef Gordon Gunn's Christmas menu. We received a very warm welcome from Cherry Gunn before warming up with a drink and tasty nibbles including the finest black olives and maple sugar pecans. The baronial dinning hall has a magnificent vaulted ceiling and stone fireplace. Tables were beautifully set and laid out in a rectangle in the centre of the hall to accommodate our party. Being in the tourist trade, members are well aware of Gordon’s reputation as an award winning chef who has been designing delicious meals using the finest of local produce for over 22 years. He more than lived up to his reputation as we ooo'd and mmm'd over each course that included -Roasted tail of North Sea monkfish, crab and prawn croquette, shellfish and tomato sauce- as well as -Medallion of local Aberdeen Angus beef fillet on daube with foie gras sauce - and puddings to die for. We selected a range of wines to suit individual choices and the "mmmm" noises started up again.

No wonder the house is recommended in "The Good Food Guide" and "Scotland the Best" amongst others, with two rosettes from the AA. This is a unique and romantic setting that offers dinner bed and breakfast for those who wish to enjoy the dining room experience again and again. Gordon and Cherry's magnificent house is also perfect for hosting private dining functions.

Perthshire accommodation providers in LETI will now be able to advise visiting guests on the Creagan House restaurant experience..... and what a wonderful experience it was!

LETI: Members who offer B&B's, hotels, Inns, Guests Houses, Cottages, Lodges, Log Cabins, Camping and Campsites, food and drink, outdoor sports, events, shops and other services would like to thank everyone who visited Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans in 2009 in this stunning area of Scotland where Perthshire, Stirlingshire, the Trossachs and the Highlands meet. Please come and visit us in 2010 and do not hesitate to contact members at with any queries. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Four Seasons Wine Tasting (Winter)

On Friday, 13th November, we held the first of our two Winter Wine Tasting Evenings. I am pleased to say that we were fully booked. Our wine tasting evenings all follow a similar format – gourmet six course dinner with wine chosen to complement each course. This is not always easy as a little extra spice or flavouring in a sauce being served can alter the balance of the wine/food match.
The wines for this event were supplied by our ‘Old World Wine’ supplier, Tanners of Shrewsbury and I’m happy to say that almost everyone agreed that the wine matched the food well. We had some fantastic wines to taste, the two most popular being Le Blanc de Grand Cres, Languedoc – served with the lightly curried Cauliflower Soup and Chateau Puy La Rose, Pauillac served with the Loin of Perthshire Lamb.

It is a great way to try wines that you may not think to match with dishes and our suppliers always try to encourage people ‘out of their comfort zone’ . The dissertation given is not too technical, more light hearted and informative and you certainly do not need to be a connoisseur of wine to enjoy these evenings.

We are holding our second Wine Tasting Evening on the 4th December, this time with ‘New World Wines’ supplied by Great Grog in Edinburgh. Why not come along and join us.

LETI: Mary looks after the Fours Seasons Hotel when owner Andrew is away on his travels. This Perthshire hotel boasts the most wonderful views over Loch Earn from its bedrooms, lounges and restaurants - where you can experience culinary creativity and the best of Scotland's food and drink.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tales from a Perthshire Bed and Breakfast

We have a bell on our kitchen door for guests to ring if they have a problem during the night and need assistance. Usually it's nothing more than someone locking themselves out of the room.

On this night, it had been very cold and windy and the electricity had been knocked out, yet again! The bell rang and I shoved Paul out of bed. He stumbled down the stairs half asleep, slightly dishevilled in his "jammies" and opened the kitchen door.

There stood half a dozen guests wanting to know where their breakfast was as they were anxious to set off and walk the Rob Roy Way! It was 8.15am. Our alarm had failed to work, and we'd slept in!

Oh how our guests gave us stick!

LETI: Mal Dingle and Paul Holt run Rosebank House in the village of Strathyre. Whether you are passing through or on a short break, they offer comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation in their Victorian guest house. You will be made most welcome in this pet friendly accommodation situated in the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park on the gateway to the Highlands.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New Scotland In The Fall

Once again the glorious colour display of autumn can be seen in the Perthshire hills, as the the cold nights take their toll on the deciduous trees and the leaves change from green to lime green, yellow brown and red. The varied palate of colour which is displayed changes by the day and the brief period of change before the leaves drop provides some stunning views, particularly near dawn and dusk. A great place to see these changes and relax and walk by loch, river, and wood is around Loch Earn where varied accommodation including hotel, Inn, Guest house and B&B can be found (by clicking) Perthshire accommodation, the community website of the people around Loch Earn. An example of self catering accommodation "Perthshire holiday cottages Scotland" can be found at Killin Highland Lodges.

"New England in the fall" may be a trip too far for some but some excellent scenery to rival that famous area can be seen in the hills of Perthshire in the middle of Scotland. The biochemistry that causes these changes is complex, but a dimished ability of the veins in leaves to carry nutrient to the leaf is a primary cause and often the veins remain green as the tissue between changes colour. But rather than simply drop the leaves the processes allow some nutrients to be saved for the next year's leaf production. Another intriguing discovery is that the pigments in the leaves can stunt the growth of nearby saplings proving a better growing environment for the adult tree. Whatever the science involved, we can simply admire and photograph the constantly changing visual scene and enjoy walking through many of the Perthshire woodlands.

LETI: Member Jim Bradley is the owner of two self catering holiday sites offering weekly holidays in log cabins and lodges in St Fillans and Killin.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Art of Quilting - Dianne from Lochearn Guest House Wins Again

Dianne Watson from Lochearn Quilting has picked up another 3 prizes at this years Great Northern Quilt Show. For the fourth year running, Dianne was awarded a 1st for Longarm Quilting. In addition, she won a 1st for Bed Quilt and a 1st for Wholecloth. She also quilted a number of designs entered by other people, who won awards in different catagories.

Dianne and Matthew run Lochearn House, a 4 star guest house. In addition to bed and breakfast they offer special 3 day breaks including dinner, bed and breakfast. Many quilters and patchworkers take advantage of this by booking in their pieces to have them quilted while they enjoy their holiday and Matthew's delicious food. Lochearn House is in Scotland's Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park amongst spectacular scenery.

LETI: Dianne and Matt are an enthusiastic and talented couple who run their Perthshire guest house in the village of Lochearnhead, where the A84 meets the A85. Dianne's Quilting, and chef Matt's cooking and singing talents are a great talking point ensuring a dinner bed and breakfast experience with a difference.

Friday, 11 September 2009

A Garden Gem at The Inn and Bistro, Strathyre.

Usually we find folk enjoying the superb views in the non too familiar sunshine but on the 9th July, there was a different find on our beer terrace.

Maxine Victoria Hunt from Skirling, Biggar decided to take full advantage of the space and summer sun in preparation for her performance at Katie Munro’s wedding that afternoon in Balquhidder Kirk.

The beautiful sound of the harp made a very pleasant and unusual interlude thoroughly enjoyed by the appreciative audience who were taking in summer snacks and refreshments .

Many thanks to Victoria for her impromptu renditions.

LETI: Jill and (Chef) Steven Nixon offer their guests comfortable accommodation and a friendly environment. They serve delcious food in their bistro, pub and garden terrace. Enjoy the ever changing selection of real ales by local Scottish brewers. There is nothing like the warmth of their roaring log fire especially on an evening of live music.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Get Active Around Loch Earn - Water Sports centre offers Free incentives

Active Scotland is our specialist water sports and activities centre in Lochearnhead. We have just released our end of season offers which can be pre-booked by calling the activities reception on 01567 830321.

  1. Get 50% FREE water skiing or wakeboarding on Monday’s and Friday’s through September 2009. Pay for 4 sets(1 hour) and get an extra 2 sets (half an hour) Free!
  2. If you book 4 bikes over the weekend we'll give you 40% off standard rates.
  3. Book the activity centre for FREE in the evening if you are having a get together for over 20 people.
  4. FREE quad bike trek for one if you book 5 others.
  5. FREE tea or coffee before and a FREE mug of soup after if you book 6 quad bikes.
  6. FREE speed boat blast if you spend over £50 in the Loch Earn CafĂ©.

Why not try something today with Active Scotland, Lochearnhead. You can visit us at for further details on us, our activities, offers and opening hours.

LETI: Matt and Barry McGrandles attract visitors of all ages and abilities to Loch Earn. They offer an exciting selection of on and off water activities and offer light meals, snacks and beverages from their cafe. Professionals, novices, corporate groups and school children of all ages will find something to suit their taste. Less energetic guests staying in the areas holiday accommodation admit that they go to the centre simply to watch others waterskiing from the comfort of the cafe while enjoying a bacon roll and a coffee. An equally pleasant pastime.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Loch Earn An Inland Loch..Can It Really Be Tidal???

Scotland’s varied terrain is greatly enhanced by rivers lochs and glens and the Highlands continue to show the effects of glaciation, which has shaped the landscape and provided such a variety of scenery.

The lochs of Scotland provided much needed communication links before the advent of the railway and motor car and both the tidal and non tidal Lochs served this purpose well.

Perhaps best know among Scotland’s Lochs are Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, the latter with its famous monster and the “bonnie banks” of both attracting many visitors.

Tidal lochs such as Loch Etive near Oban demonstrate the power of the sea which is best seen at the Connell Bridge where low tide presents a water fall “The Falls of Laura” as the water of the Loch rush out to sea at low tide. Less well known and somewhat surprising is the tidal nature of Loch Earn, an inland Loch in the heart of Scotland, which is one of only two Scottish Lochs to demonstrate this seiching or tidal effect. (The other Scottish Loch known to have this effect is Loch Treig to the east of Fort William). Probably the best known example of seiching in Europe is Lake Geneva.

The forces that cause this tidal effect are the wind acting on the surface of the east west orientated Loch and thermal stratification. In addition to being a central accommodation base for exploring the rest of Scotland, anyone who visits Loch Earn can enjoy the added attraction of witnessing “seiching” first hand.

Holiday accommodation in Perthshire can be found on the LETI community web site including the four villages around Loch Earn. One example of Perthshire holiday cottages in Scotland is Riverside Cabins set on the banks of the River Earn. Another holiday house that offers clear views of Loch Earn is Earnknowe.

Take a trip to Loch Earn and see if you can observe this tidal effect for yourself.

LETI: Jim Bradley runs two self catering holiday businesses; Riverside Log Cabins in St Fillans (6 cabins sleep up to 6 in 3 bedrooms) and Killin Highland Lodges on a wooded hillside in Killin (11 lodges sleep between 1-8 in 1-4 bedrooms). Jim also makes time to chair the LETI website group.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

A Night at the Races

A trip to Perth Races to attend an evening of racing on Tuesday 28th July 2009 was organised by our Treasurer Pam Hopkins and nine Loch Earn Tourism Initiative members set out full of optimism and excitement.

Traffic jams meant the first race was missed but we all proceeded to win, break even and lose in varying degrees. Pam of Earnknowe Holiday Cottages bet carefully while her husband Lawrie was more reckless and would have put his shirt on if allowed. Jan and Richard Spencer of Glenogle Snax bet steadily with some success but more of Jan later. Our Chairman, Alistair Barclay of Alba Virtual Tours kept his hands in his pockets. He must have been cold or simply tight!! Jim and Liz Bradley of Riverside Cabins and Killin Highland Lodges worked as a team. Liz was the banker and Jim the runner and they both got more and more confused as the evening wore on. The dark horse was Andrew Low, of the Four Seasons Hotel who bet just once, on a horse called “Wotchalike”, and it romped in and as a result champagne suddenly appeared!! The rain set in before the last race and the party retired to the Nelson Suite to count up the winnings and to sink our sorrows but the highlight of the evening was yet to occur.

In driving rain an Abba tribute band struck at the end of racing and our abiding memory of a great day out was of Pam and Jan swaying to “Mama Mia” with Lawrie and Richard holding umbrellas above them and Andrew wishing he had a camera for the evidence.

Sadly the next days’ racing was lost due to a waterlogged track despite it being a beautiful day.

LETI: Clearly LETI members take their duty of experiencing events in the region very seriously indeed. No wonder our accommodation, hospitality, sports and event providers are great ambassadors for the area that they love to work and play in!

Briar Cottage -A House with a Past

Tune in to BBC Radio Scotland's "A House With A Past" on Monday 10th August at 10.30 and you will hear me (Kim Proven) asking questions about our thatched property, "Briar Cottage" in Lochearnhead, Perthshire. Fraser and I have gathered some facts about owners from previous centuries from the Clan McGregor and McLaren society websites. We are hoping that the BBC programme's house detective, Bruce Durie, will help us to find out more - for example - who were the tenants when the Duke of Breadalbane bought the cottage from the McGregors? How do we find out more about the McGregor baby who was born here in 1727, registered to Balquhidder Parish.

Guests who book Little Briar, our self catering holiday cottage, are always invited to see inside the original byre (now our lounge) to view the cruck framed timber ceiling. It literally looks like two trees holding the roof up! On September 19th and 20th we are opening the cruck room up to the public as part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park "Doors Open Day" and hope that the BBC will provide us with more information to share.

The McLarens lived in Briar Cottage for 200 years and were related to the McLarens who lived in what is now Earnknowe holiday cottages at Leckine. There you will find the McLarens of Ardveich burial ground. This old private graveyard is also open to visitors on Doors Open Day.

LETI: Members Fraser and Kim Proven are planning to build one more holiday cottage overlooking Loch Earn on their grounds next year. Kim assists the group with website and events publicity and has earned the nickname Max Clifford. She is still trying to work out whether this is a compliment or not.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fishing Tackle Hire Catches On!

New for 2009, fishing tackle hire is available from Lochearnhead Post Office. It is already proving very popular with visitors, who don’t have their own equipment but want to spend a few hours trying their hand on the loch. This year we are hiring spinning tackle only, but hope to expand next year and also have bait and fly fishing tackle available. Equipment is available to suit all ages.

LETI: Loch Earn Tourism Initiative members Richard and Cathie Nicholson also sell fishing permits and floats from the Lochearnhead Post Office and shop, for trout fishing on Loch Earn. Fishing boats can be hired from Drummond Estates in Ardveich bay on the banks of Loch Earn. The fishing season on Loch Earn begins March 15 and ends October 6th every year.

Friday, 31 July 2009

New Lochearnhead Souvenirs

Visitors to the area can now take home a range of Lochearnhead souvenirs, available exclusively from the Lochearnhead Post Office.

Using designs inspired by the local scenery and photographs by Alistair Barclay of Alba Virtual Tours; a range of bookmarks, mugs, fridge magnets and coasters are now available. A new selection of Lochearnhead postcards has also been produced for 2009, available singly or in specially priced assorted packs. It is not easy to find modern or ancient post cards from Lochearnhead so collectors take note. Who knows, this latest batch by a local photographer may appear on Antiques Roadshow in years to come!

LETI: Members Richard and Cathy Nicholson add a personal touch to the Lochearnhead Post Office and shop going out of their way to assist locals and make visitors feel very welcome. They also host the St Fillans service on a Tuesday in its village shop. In addition to regular Post office services, the Nicholsons provide a cash machine, fishing permits, books by local authors, area maps, Greetings Cards, Ice-cream and more.

Cooper Cottages Prides Itself in Finding Suitable Accommodation to Meet Individual Requirements.

We work closely with accommodation providers in the Breadalbane area of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where the owners are looking forward to offering you a warm welcome. All of our properties are inspected regularly to ensure that you have the highest standards of accommodation. Just contact us with your requirements and we will do the searching for you.

For the Holiday Maker ... Cooper Cottages brings together a selection of properties providing excellent self-catering accommodation in beautiful locations. Our properties sleep 2 to 8 people comfortably. Each property is personally inspected to ensure that cleanliness and good service are ensured by each property owner. Visitor information with suggestions of places to visit will be available in your accommodation.
For the Cottage Owner ... The collection of holiday cottages featured are brought together by one owner with 10 years experience of running a self-catering business in Scotland. All personally visited prior to acceptance. No allocation is required which means that owners can continue to take their own booking at any time. If you require more information, please contact us, Tel: 01877 384331.

LETI: Christine Cooper is a member of The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative and the owner of Cooper Cottages - a holiday cottage management and letting service.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Holiday Cottage in Scotland with Wild Otters and Famous Grouse Experience

Just back from our holiday cottage in Balquhidder, where we had a wonderful sojourn even managing to see a pair of wild otters enjoying a frolic in the burn. We entertained a friend from South Africa, packing in a visit to the Famous Grouse Experience, night walks to watch the deer coming down off the hills, swimming in Loch Voil (surprisingly warm) and haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner, complete with a wee dram! Although we are green with envy for people renting our self catering cottage Tigh na Croit over the coming weeks, our southern friends have been surprised to see our healthy, sun-kissed complexions.
LETI: Gail is a member of the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative. Her 400 year old stone built self catering holiday cottage, Tigh Na Croit, is available throughout the year offering 1 twin and 2 double bedrooms in the stunningly beautiful setting of Balquhidder Glen; a tranquil spot within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park of Scotland.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Scotland's Premier Annual Wakeboarding Event, with Air Tricks, Coaching, BBQ, DJ and Live Band "Chunks"- 1st and 2nd August

Loch Earn Tourism Initiative member Matt McGrandles is the business development director of Active Scotland based at the Water Sports and Activities centre in Lochearnhead, where a number of spectacular events are held throughout the year. Matt is proud to be hosting WakeScot 09 - Scotland’s premier wake boarding event which will be held every year on the first weekend in August. Wakeboarding regulars and wannabees will compete and entertain in the event that will attract rider entries in the U16’s, Rookie, Open Men and Open Women categories. Guest Brett Hodgkins will be on site offering coaching clinics. Brett coached the 1995 and 1996 junior European and world waterski teams and was team captain of the 2002 wakeboard worlds. The event has attracted top sponsors; Rock Star energy drink, Morrisons Landrover Stirling, Belhaven Breweries, Wake and Ski boats UK and Spiked Magazine. In addition to competitors showing off their air tricks against the picturesque backdrop of Loch Earn, there will be a VIP area for invited guests, a DJ marquee with a drinks promotion and an all day BBQ . Finishing off in style, popular live band Chunks will front the after party event. It is little wonder that this well organised event is endorsed by Waterski Scotland and British Water Ski. Well worth a day out if you want to experience a magnificent event in an idyllic setting. Check out the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative website for details of holiday accommodation in the area.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Holiday Accommodation in Rob Roy Country, Scotland

Searching for holiday accommodation in Scotland? The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative website is updated by holiday accommodation providers who live and work in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans. LETI offers a wide selection of self catering accommodation, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, hotels, Inns, caravan sites, lodges, and cottages, in this stunning region of Perthshire. Each village is set in beautiful countryside, steeped in ancient history, with towering mountains, lochs and forests. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy numerous golf courses, Munro's, cycle paths, walks, lochs for fishing and a watersports and activities centre. Enjoy an abundance of wildlife, birds, flora and fauna, a superb selection of places to eat and drink from cafes to award winning restaurants and some spectacular events and activities.