Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Christmas, Hogmanay & New Year Breaks, Holiday accommodation and entertainment Perthshire

Jetty at sunrise on Loch Earn, Lochearnhead

Fancy a festive break in Scotland this Christmas or New year? Consider the neighbouring villages of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans in Scotland. Whether you are single, a couple, friends or family, there are plenty of places to stay with entertainment on the doorstep.  All four villages are at the gateway to the Highlands where Stirling and the Trossachs meet Perthshire.  This area of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is naturally beautiful because of the ancient forests, towering mountains, lochs, deer, Highland cattle and other wildlife. This is an excellent all year round location both for outdoor activities and for total relaxation. There are plenty of forest walks and Munro's to climb. Part of national cycle route 7 connects the villages. St Fillans golf course is open to play all year round.  Glencoe is less than an hour away for walking and skiing enthusiasts. There are plenty of pubs, restaurants and hotels to choose from within a 15 mile radius offering quality food and drink, glowing fires and occasionally live music. The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative members are private owners of Perthshire Bed and Breakfasts, self catering cottages, log cabins, guest houses, Inn's, restaurants with rooms, hotels and caravan sites.  Check out a range of  festive packages including Christmas Day and New Year breaks offered by LETI members.
Visit the Balquhidder Hall Christmas Market in Balquhidder on 5th December.  Sing around the tree with the locals in St Fillans with mulled wine and a sweet mince pie in hand on 20th December.  If you are planning to spend New Year in Lochearnhead pick up tickets for the Lochearnhead Hogmanay party in the village hall 9pm-2am, available from local shops. Tickets include a live band and stovies at midnight for just £7.50. Raffle prizes include a Scottish Food hamper, a round of golf for two at St Fillans Golf Club and a meal for two at the Four Seasons Hotel in St Fillans.  For more information on Christmas and New Year breaks, accommodation and events in Perthshire,  visit with links to members websites and promotions.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Whisky and Food Gang Thegither

Dining by the Loch: Head Chef Christopher Ma serves Jane Gibson, the owner of Achray House one of the courses from the Malt Whisky Taster Menu.

"Whisky and food gang thegither." Well, Burns didn't actually say that: his weightier pronouncement was “Whisky and freedom gang thegither”, but with his love of food and a wee dram he probably shared the sentiment.

Achray House is taking the idea seriously with its recently launched “Malt Whisky Taster Menu” which offers five courses each with a sauce made from a different malt whisky.

“The wide range of tastes from delicate Speysides to heavily peated Islays lend themselves ideally to partnering different foods” says Alan Gibson, owner of Achray House, a small country house hotel on Loch Earn in rural Perthshire. “Our taster menu gives us the opportunity to showcase the best of Scottish produce and let our guests discover the breadth of flavours of diverse single malts”

The Malt Whisky Taster Menu costs £39.95 for five courses and is available by prior booking from September. It also forms part of the two day Whisky Lovers Break at Achray House. You can get more information on their web site:

LETI: Alan and Jane Gibson are proprietors of the recently refurbished Achray House Hotel and self catering lodges overlooking Loch Earn in the village of St Fillans. The Gibsons offer comfortable rooms and excellent food and wine.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Loch Earn's Official Wakeboarding Event

Loch Earn’s official wakeboarding event, is preparing for its biggest year yet. Organisers of WakeScot, now in its 3rd year and the longest running wakeboarding event in Scotland, are delighted with initial enquiries.

Barry McGrandles, Outdoor Activities Director for Active Scotland, explained, ‘It’s always hard to start up an event and keep it going so I think people can see what we are trying to do and that we have a genuine interest in developing the sport. It’s made even clearer by the fact that we are seen by governing body Waterski Scotland as an event that can be used as a platform for all levels of rider who wish to compete in competition in Scotland.’

The event on Loch Earn is supported by both governing bodies in Britain and by local and national companies who share the brothers drive to develop grass roots sports in the area.  Barry’s brother Matt, who organises the event says, ‘It takes time to get the message across that our event is all about the riders and gaining support is not easy especially in this current climate. We dedicate a lot of time and finance to making this event happen but it takes more than just our business to make it work. Just speak to anyone that organises events and they will appreciate what kind of dynamics it takes to actually get something like this off the ground.’

Matt has been organising events for many years. One of his first was the International Festival of Youth Rugby in 97 where he managed 6000 players, staff and games throughout Scotland . WakeScot is not at this level yet but the brothers have a long term view. They aim to turn WakeScot into a  leading wakeboarding festival in Scotland.

WakeScot kicks off on Saturday 14th August 2010 with a coaching clinic at 9am. If you are looking for a weekend break or day away with friends and family then check out this event as it promises to be as spectacular as last years. Further details can be found at

LETI: In addition to wakeboarding and water sports, Active Scotland  offers a number of activities including quad biking, archery and mountain bike hire. The office and shop are located at the front of the Clachan Cottage Hotel in Lochearnhead on the A85 overlooking Loch Earn.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Balquhidder: The Thin Place - Launch of a Magical and Spiritual Trail

Locals and visitors are invited to attend the launch of this great new trail detailing some of the magical and spiritual highlights of Balquhidder - a place that is known to be ‘thin’ - where the division between heaven and earth is minimal. The launch will take place on Sunday 6 June 2010 at 2pm in Balquhidder Village Hall and refreshments will be provided. Come along to find out more and experience the trail with a guided tour by Charlie Hunter, our local Blue Badge Guide.

The trail is the brainchild of 4 local businesses who took the initiative to produce something which will hopefully increase the number of day and longer term visitors to the area and attract both new and renewed interest in the Glen.

Charlie Hunter, Blue Badge Guide; Christine Cooper of Cooper Cottages; Gill Allan of Mercat Designs; and Alison Inglis of Indian Champissage Scotland were successful in submitting a bid to the ScottsLand initiative for funds to design and produce the trail.

Since then they have been busy designing and getting the trail ready for printing. Unfortunately, due to ill health, Gill was unable to become involved in developing the design. However, the team are extremely grateful to Harriet Methven for agreeing to produce all the fantastic drawings and to Alasdair Nimmo of Dhanakosa for his stunning photography and help with images.

The ScottsLand programme is designed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’ by incorporating a diverse range of cultural and literary events, promoted by the National Park. It will take place from June to October 2010 throughout the Trossachs to celebrate the poem, the heritage and the landscapes. You can find out more information by visiting the website

Copies of the trail will be made available at the launch and there are plans to deliver further supplies to local businesses and outlets at the beginning of June. If you would like to reserve a supply then please contact Christine Cooper on (01877) 384331 or After the launch, you will also be able to download a copy from the Scottsland website and the LETI website:

We look forward to seeing you at the launch on Sunday 6 June 2010 so that we can tell you all about our exciting project.

LETI: In addition to running courses on the ancient art of  Indian Head Massage, busy mum Alison Inglis offers self catering accommodation in the guest wing of a refurbished cottage set in the magical village of Balquhidder. The holiday cottage in Balquhidder dates from around 1900.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

St Angus’s, formerly the Grouse Church, Lochearnhead

St Angus’s  is a pretty Episcopal church in the village of Lochearnhead.  Over 100 years old it was originally built  for shooting parties, known then as the Grouse Church.  St Angus's is one of the Strathearn churches.  Visitors who stay at Earnknowe cottages in Lochearnhead  often go to services when they come to holiday in this lovely part of Perthshire.  They are always assured of a warm welcome. Sadly the roof needed replacing. Being a small congregation, we thought we would be unable to raise the money, but we literally had a ‘God send’! The roof is now fully funded and repair work has started. To visit the church contact the secretary at  or Tel: 01567 830238.

LETI:  Pam and Lawrie Hopkins offer self catering holiday cottages and bed and breakfast in Lochearnhead at Earnknowe Cottages in Perthshire with elevated views over Loch Earn.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Saddle Bags Cycle Challenge

Ollie Cameron pictured on the left,  is taking time out from running the family holiday cottages in Lochearnhead to join three other mums on an ambitious charity cycle.   The Team affectionately known as The Saddle Bags includes Ollie Cameron,  Karen Methven, Fiona Wilbert and Laura Thomson from the Perthshire villages of Balquhidder, Srathyre and Lochearnhead.  Starting in Aberdeen and ending in Fort William the team will cover 197 miles in just 4 days. The route will take the team along medieval drove roads and 18th century military roads, disbanded railway tracks, forest footpaths, canal towpaths and across the Monadhliath mountains via the 775m Corrieyairack Pass!

They aim to raise money for two charities close to home, The Lillias Trust and The Callander Youth project. For further details of these charities, the cycle route and how to make a donation visit 

LETI: Ollie and Angus Cameron offer holiday weeks in their log cabins in Lochearnhead known as Lochside Cottages.  They also offer holiday accommodation in a choice of traditional stone cottages that have been restored and modernised.  Angus is also the president of the Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead Highland Games;  a tradtional games with invitiation and open events that takes place in the Lochearnhead games field every July.  Ollie organises the Lochearnhead village Fete in August every year. Both events offer a great day out for all ages.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A Great Day Out At Any Event


Mark your calendars for the 2010 events around Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, and Strathyre. Whether you enjoy indoor or outdoor events, spectating or participating there is something for everyone.

On the banks of Loch Earn in Lochearnhead you can witness model aeroplane stunts (17-18th April), the great Loch Earn Boat race (25th April) and the Loch Earn swim race (11th -12th September). Yes - People travel for miles to swim the 6.5 mile length of Loch Earn from the village of Lochearnhead to the village of St Fillans. Seeing is believing!. WakeScot takes place on Loch Earn on the 7-8th August.  Enter this water skiing and wakeboarding contest organised by Active Scotland who are based at the Clachan Cottage Hotel in Lochearnhead or spectate with a hot drink (or something stronger ).  Marvel at the range of talent in each age group from rookie to advanced,  each performance taking place with Loch Earn, Glen Ample and Edinample Castle as the stage setting.

Are you a fan of live music and entertainment? Check the programmes at the Clachan Cottage Hotel in Lochearnhead every Saturday night (from 3rd April throughout the summer) or follow the eclectic Balquhidder Summer music programme at Balquhidder Church (visit Rob Roy McGregor and his family’s gravestone in the grounds while you are there). Tullybannocher, a cafĂ© near St Fillans,  also hosts a programme of jazz suppers throughout the year.

Take part in or spectate at the Stuc a Chroin Hill race (1st May) organised by the Kingshouse Hotel in Balquhidder. A well organised event but not for the faint hearted as athletes run 22km climbing to 1500m. Impressive stuff!

Come dancing! The village Hall in Balquhidder is hosting a Ball (6th June). Whether you attend the Lochearnhead village ballroom dance classes or are on holiday,  you are welcome to buy a ticket and join in the glamorous fun.

Who will take the Black Face sheep shearing trophy this year? If you have never been to a sheep shearing contest then start at the top and witness the Loch Earn shears in the Lochearnhead games field (3-4th July). International contestants travel far just to take part. The same venue hosts The BLS Highland Games (July 24th) and the fun filled village fete (August). The Highland Games are traditional, attracting chieftains of the local ancient clans,  with invitation heavyweight and open prize events for children and adults.

The St Fillans village weekend is a 3 day affair (13-15th August) with a mixed programme including a cricket match, dance, live bands, a hog roast party, BBQ, and village games. For more regular village chat check out the Tuesday coffee mornings in the St Fillans village shop and tea room. The St Fillans golf club is due to announce its ladies, gents and mixed open challenge fixtures for the year too.

All four villages run regular classes like yoga, keep fit, youth club, oil painting and upholstery. For more event details and contacts check out the four villages website for events in Perthshire. Find out where to stay in Perthshire and where to eat in Perthshire as the website covers accommodation, restaurants, cafes and snack bars too.

LETI: The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative website offers information on holiday accommodation  in Perthshire and the Trosshachs in central Scotland - an area of outstanding beauty.  The site includes information on, accommodation, events, food and drink, shops, things to do, nature and more. You can be sure that you will be made to feel very welcome when visiting this area of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park..

Monday, 15 February 2010

Achray House Hotel St Fillans - Conservatory Restaurant Dining Offer

Enjoy a fantastic fixed price lunch in our conservatory restaurant overlooking Loch Earn in Perthshire, priced at £9.99 for two courses, or £12.99 for three courses. Options include our home made venison burgers served with a whisky tomato relish, or a winter salad dressed with our house vinaigrette, made with rapeseed oil grown and produced locally. Available Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Easter at the Achray House Hotel, St Fillans, Perthshire.

LETI: Alan and Jane Gibson are the owners of the Achray House Hotel and lodges on the banks of Loch Earn in the picturesque village of St Fillans, Perthshire. Whether you are looking for an activity break or relaxation have a look at their Perthshire accommodation website offering 8 hotel bedrooms and 2 lodges.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Celebrate the Mighty Chip in Strathyre on National Chip Week 2010

The very thought of chips and sauce or vinegar can make your mouth water for hours! No need to endure this teasing thought if your are passing through or staying around Strathyre next week though. To celebrate National Chip Week 2010, chef Stephen Nixon will be adding "Takeaway Suppers" to the menu at the Inn and Bistro in Strathyre. Order our chefs own sausage, haggis and fish suppers to sit in or takeaway between Monday 15th and Sunday 21st February, from 4.30pm until 9pm.

Sit in and enjoy our Saturday Night Chip Extravaganza on the 20th February with all your favourites (pickled onions, mushy peas, curry sauce) plus musical entertainment from Jock 'The Box' from 8.30 til 11.30pm. Stay over and make a night or two of it. Our Valentines Weekend Special Offer means 2 nights Bed and Breakfast for 2 people at just £99. Or stay 3 nights for the price of 2 on our Half Term Special Offer between 15th and 21st February. We are positioned in the centre of Scotland and only 1 hours drive away from superb skiing at Glencoe.

LETI: Chef Stephen Nixon and his wife Jill are the proud owners of the Inn and Bistro in Strathyre on the A84 at the gateway to the Highlands where Perthshire, The Trossachs and Stirlingshire meet. The couple has earned a reputation for scrumptious pub and bistro food, real ale, coal fires, traditional music and great chat. They also offer comfortable accommodation for holidaymakers and passers by.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Visit Scotland from Loch Earn or Loch Lubnaig in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Book holiday accommodation in the villages around Loch Earn and Loch Lubnaig if you are considering a picturesque base with stunning views, outdoor activities, an excellent choice of food and drink and easy access to other tourist towns and attractions in Scotland.

Loch Earn and Loch Lubnaig are positioned where Perthshire and Stirlingshire meet at the gateway to the Highlands within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The surrounding villages of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans stem from the A84 and A85 trunk roads enabling easy access to Scottish towns and cities in all directions including; Callander, Stirling, Falkirk, Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Inverary, Oban, Fort William, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Crieff, Perth, Edinburgh and more.

Towering mountains, Munro’s, forests and glens enhance the backdrop of the villages, lochs and golf courses in the area. On the 15th March every year the lochs attract fishermen, fisherwomen and their children. The Perthshire trout fishing season runs through to October 6th. Local retail outlets sell bait, floats and permits and you can rent a rod and tackle from the Lochearnhead Post Office. Gradually fishing boats, water skiers and wake boarders punctuate the lochs joined by intermittent yachts, kayaks, swimmers, model aeroplane groups and the resident sea-plane.

Locals and visitors are not the only ones to enjoy the water though. Throughout the year deer will come down from the hills to drink. Visiting ospreys return to fish alongside mallards, geese, heron, swans, otters and other wildlife.

Hotels, bistro’s and restaurants (many chef owned) within a 15 mile radius of the region offer something for everyone. Choose from snacks and home made cakes to inns that run guest beer festivals to award winning restaurants that use local ingredients to create first class cooking.

Whether you enjoy the outdoors, food and drink, history and folklore, wildlife, flora and fauna, fresh air, peace and tranquillity or you are looking for the perfect base to travel to other tourist towns and attractions; the villages surrounding Loch Earn and Loch Lubnaig in the centre of Scotland take some beating.

LETI: For further information on Loch Earn and Loch Lubnaig as well as Perthshire accommodation, food and drink, outdoor activities, retail and other services in this region of Scotland, click on Rob Roy.