Day Out From Perth – Aberfeldy

Day Out From Perth – Aberfeldy

A day out to the popular Highland town of Aberfeldy is a regular treat for me and my family. However, because there’s so much to do in the town and surrounding area, there are still lots of fun-filled and interesting things that we haven’t done yet. So we’re excited to see what’s in store.

And because 2017 is Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we’ll make sure that we delve into the past, too.

We hop in the car on a fresh summer morning and head up the A9 for the 32 miles to Aberfeldy, which sits by a curve in the upper reaches of the fast-flowing River Tay.

9.45am – Birks of Aberfeldy

We couldn’t do a day in Aberfeldy without visiting the famous Birks of Aberfeldy, popularised in a song by our national poet, Robert Burns. As it’s a fresh summer morning we make it our first stop.

We start from the upper car park and cross a wooden bridge, where we’re immediately struck by the fragrance of wild garlic. We love picking this delicious pungent herb to put into soup or pesto, but today we just inhale deeply (although our wee daughter isn’t very impressed) and stroll up the path that winds past the rushing Moness Burn.

It’s easy to see why Burns was drawn to this place. The roaring waterfalls, combined with the leafy beeches and birks, wild flowers and abundant wildlife, is a heady combination. There’s a statue of Burns in a beautiful glade of dappled sunlight, sitting on a stone seat contemplating his next lines.

After about half an hour we reckon it’s time for a coffee. Then, to our delight, we spot a little red squirrel on the path, bushy tail curled up his back, just minding his own business. He scampers off into the undergrowth as we turn and head for the town centre.

10.30am – Habitat Café

One of the cafés we haven’t yet been to is the Habitat Café. We’ve been missing out! From the friendly greeting as we walk in the door, to the delicious treats on offer, this is definitely a welcoming place. And dogs are included in that welcome, which is, in our opinion, A Very Good Thing.

We order coffees, scones and an orange-and-almond cake, which are brought promptly and enjoyed enthusiastically. And – a nice touch – chilled water and four glasses are on each of the rustic wood tables.

In 2013, Habitat Café won a “Best Espresso” award and in 2014, a “Best Overall Experience” foodie award. They’re also known for their ethical and fair-trade sourcing, so there’s a lot to like about this place.

Our daughter is desperate to go to “the nice bookshop” so we head for the famed Watermill: a bookshop, gallery, café and design-led homeware store, on three floors of a converted oatmeal mill. 

The Watermill was opened in 2005 by Michael Palin, and was awarded UK Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2009. There are regular events, too – a few days before our visit, Edinburgh author Alexander McCall Smith had visited to do a book talk and signing. There’s a lovely mix in the shop of books, gifts, music and, of course, the kids’ section, a dedicated room off the main shop where you can sit with your little ones and browse the selection. We pick three titles – including our new family favourite, “Wee Granny’s Magic Bag” – and head up to the gallery.

Today the exhibition is the Royal College of Art Centenary Print Portfolio and New Acquisitions. And opening on Saturday 8th July is new work by renowned Danish-Scottish ceramic artist and Watermill regular Lotte Glob.

Homer, the homewares shop, is next door. There are rugs, blankets, cushions, lamps, dinnerware, candles, gardening accessories, gifts, and lots more, many with a Scottish or Scandi flavour. And just around the corner on the High Street is the Homer Showroom selling new and vintage furniture, lighting and more rugs. I can never go to this shop without buying something, and today is no different. I come out armed with some beautiful candles and we stroll up the road for lunch.

12.15 – Three Lemons restaurant

This new restaurant, Three Lemons, has opened in what used to be Haggarts, a traditional outfitter for country gents. It’s great to see that some of the old glass- and wood partitions have been kept as a reminder of its heritage. The restaurant is decorated in white and dark grey and adorned with vintage bottles, black-and-white-photos and cool light fittings.

We order a very tasty trio of meals: veggie burger, beef burger and fish goujons, all of which arrive promptly on wooden boards, topped with fresh salad and accompanied by ceramic pots of fries.

After lunch we’ve just got time to squeeze in a bit more culture. 

1.30pm – Aberfeldy Gallery

 

We’ve always loved this gallery and were sad to see it was closed last time we were in Aberfeldy a month or so ago. But we’re happy to see that it’s now open under new ownership. The new collection of pieces has been curated thoughtfully, combining paintings, fine wooden furniture, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery.

Owners Adam and Anna Seward live locally in Aberfeldy and are both passionate about the arts. They have a longstanding connection with Aberfeldy Gallery as Anna’s grandparents ran it originally.

We have a chat with Anna’s parents who are managing the gallery today and, as my husband’s very-late-birthday gift, we buy a beautiful landscape painting by a Newburgh-based artist.

After all our indoor treats, it’s time to get back to nature again and we head to the Red Deer Centre a few miles from the town.

2.00pm – Red Deer Centre

The Red Deer Centre is run by outdoor-fun specialists Highland Safaris, who also offer Land Rover Safaris and Loch Tay Cruising Safaris.

When we arrive we’re greeted by our kilted guide, Colin, who takes our group to an airy wooden cabin where he fills us in on the lives, loves and quirks of the Scottish red deer. There are surprising facts in his talk – but I won’t give anything away – and we get to handle discarded antlers and strips of old antler flesh (mmm!). Then comes the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Colin calls the deer and they come loping up to the fence, sniffing out the cups of feed we’re all clutching. We stick out our hands and they munch the pellets, moving along the line rapidly to see who has any more. They’re surprisingly gentle, even the young stag whose velvety antlers are already impressive.

After the feed, we come back to the cabin and Colin introduces Ossian, a beautiful barn owl who’s been born and bred in captivity. On his command she swoops from his gauntlet and flies noiselessly past us to a perch at the other end of the hall. We’re all captivated! We hear some great owl stories and facts too.

It’s been a fascinating experience and, at just over one hour, it’s easy to fit in to a day out. On our way out we have a quick stop at the playpark then head to our last stop of the day.

3.30pm – Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies is an impressive 16th-century castle nestling between the hills near Weem, just outside Aberfeldy. Somewhere between a classic “castle with battlements” and a mansion house, it was the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies for over 500 years and was involved in much of the turbulent history of the Highlands.  During the second Jacobite rising the Castle first hosted both Bonnie Prince Charlie, who rested on his way to Culloden in 1746 and then, just four days later, the Duke of Cumberland, son of the British Monarch and commander of the Government forces.

As we enter the castle, the manager, who’s on reception today, greets us and starts to regale us with tales of the castle and the name Menzies (most likely of Norman origin).

This castle was restored from a ruin in the 20th century by the Menzies Clan Society. It’s not a “fancy” castle but we like that – you can see in the stone walls all the changes that have happened through the years, and it has a rugged charm. Not to mention numerous staircases, nooks and crannies and wooden steps, and a host of fascinating objects and stories – all great fun for inquisitive minds.

We finish off our lovely day in Aberfeldy with tea, marble cake and some friendly service in the castle tearoom.

After that it’s back home to Perth with great memories of our new discoveries in this charming Highland town, and plenty of ideas for next time.

Other things to do in the area

Places to stay in Perth

If you’d like to do a great Day Out from Perth to Aberfeldy, here’s a list of fantastic accommodation in the heart of Perth where you can stay, before and/or afterwards:

Stay in touch

Make sure you follow Perth City Centre on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, events, days out and activities in Perth and the surrounding area.

Crannog and Community: Activity at Home & Away

Crannog and Community: Activity at Home & Away

The Iron Age team at the Scottish Crannog Centre is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a series of wow-factor events perfect for all the family.

Visitors to the unique, iconic thatched roundhouse in Loch Tay will find expert guides in period clothing, exhibits and hands-on ancient skills that bring the past to life. Dress up, try woodworking, textiles and more, and have a go at making fire without matches!

April kick-started our 20th anniversary programme with lively Easter and Beltane celebrations. As Spring rolls on, May is a busy month for our Iron Age team both at home and away.

As 2017 is also Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, our Crannog Crew has been invited to present at several public outreach events. The first two are this month, one at an Archaeology Festival at Langside, Glasgow and another at Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire. The Glasgow event is on May 13th when we will be joining archaeological teams from the Glasgow area to offer our Iron Age expertise. The second is on May 20th, coinciding with the national Festival of Museums weekend, where we will be helping to launch an exceptional new crannog themed playground complex as part of the Seven Lochs Wetland development project. The innovative timber climbing frames, ramps, nets and jumps are inspired by the design of our very own crannog in Loch Tay. A great way to promote collaboration between regions! There is also at least one crannog in the Seven Lochs area……so watch this space!

Back at home, our own celebrations continue with our Iron Age Ingenuity event on May 28th, promising another fascinating Bank Holiday weekend treat. Showcasing crafts including metalworking, textiles and cooking, the day is sure to inspire admiration for our prehistoric ancestors.

Special themed events run throughout the season but the one not to miss is the biggest: The Celts Are Coming!   This interactive weekend of August 5th-6th features a spectacular living history fair and Iron Age artisan village. Sword-making, iron forging, hide-tanning, cooking and other crafts, plus try paddling a dugout canoe, archery, spear-throwing and more. Simply the best family day out, ever!

Meantime, there are a number of new developments at the Centre, including the ability to Gift Aid donations (in lieu of admission fees) direct to the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (SC018418), which owns and operates the Scottish Crannog Centre. This tax benefit will contribute to the Trust’s long term sustainability and ultimately further the work of the Trust and enhance the museum exhibition onsite.

Other new developments will be posted on twitter @ScottishCrannog and on the website at www.crannog.co.uk in the News and Visitors’ sections. These will include the ability to purchase tickets online and download new fact files. Visitors can already share reviews and photographs via the website and we hope to promote this activity more widely in the upcoming months.

2017 is going to be a busy year for us all! Parking is limited in Kenmore and opposite the Crannog Centre so why not consider leaving the car at home when you next visit, or get dropped off? It is a lovely stroll to or from Kenmore or further afield. We also have bike racks, offer storage of panniers and helmets and we have a covered picnic area. And with a range of restaurants and activities nearby not to mention stunning views, a ‘go-slow’ in the area is a good idea.

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

2017 is Scotland’s year of Heritage and Archaeology, a celebration of Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions, icons, as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. To find out more visit – https://www.perthcity.co.uk/2017-year-of-history-heritage-and-archaeology/

The Snow Roads Scenic Route

The Snow Roads Scenic Route

The Snow Roads Scenic Route is one of the most beautiful routes in the UK, starting at Blairgowrie in the lowlands of Perthshire and winding its way into the Cairngorms National Park, leading into the Cairngorm Mountains over the highest public road in Britain.

Uath Lochans – © VisitScotland/Damian Shields

Image – Uath Lochans – © VisitScotland/Damian Shields

The roads have always been there, of course, but a new and innovative project aims to turn the route into a leading tourist destination, capitalising on the huge success of similar routes such as the North Coast 500.

The project, delivered by the Cairngorms Business Partnership in partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority, will develop tools to allow businesses to highlight the route and attract international visitors and travel trade. The project will research and collate the legends, stories and history of the area, and will develop inspiring Virtual and Augmented Reality content to showcase the route and the surrounding areas.

Jennifer Green, who has recently been appointed as Project Manager for the initiative, says: “The Snow Roads scenic route project is an exciting blend of art and technology. I’m looking forward to meeting and engaging with partners and communities along the route to help bring the project to life.”

Mark Tate, Chief Executive of Cairngorms Business Partnership, adds, “I am really lucky as I get to drive this stunning route through the Cairngorms National Park frequently for both work and pleasure. This is a beautiful route: the classic car driver, families on a Highland adventure or somebody who wants to take their time and cycle the route will be able to immerse themselves in the stunning landscapes and local culture.”

Where does the route take you?

The Snow Roads Scenic Route will take you north from Blairgowrie into the Cairngorm Mountains, through the Devil’s Elbow, into the mountains around the Glenshee Ski Centre and up into Royal Deeside taking in Braemar, Balmoral & Ballater before heading over the stunning mountain roads to Corgarff, up to the Lecht Ski Centre and on to Tomintoul and Grantown-on-Spey.

It’s a great alternative to the A9 if you want to head north. The roads are winding and should be driven with care and respect for fellow travellers, but that means you can go at a more relaxed pace, enjoy the drive and stop every so often to take in the fresh air and stunning scenery.

What can I see and do on the Snow Roads Scenic Route?

There are some fantastic stop-offs on the route. Heading north from Blairgowrie you’ll make the long climb up to Glenshee Ski Centre. Whether you’re travelling by car or bike, it’s worth it for the stunning view at the top. Further on you’ll come to the Queen’s summer residence, Balmoral Castle, and neighbouring villages Ballater and Braemar. Head over towards The Lecht Ski Centre via the infamous A939 Cock Bridge to Tomintoul road and you won’t be stuck for things to do with distilleries, golf courses, mountain biking, and more. Find out more about things to do at the Visit Cairngorms website.

Enjoy the viewing installations – Pete Crane, Head of Visitor Services with Cairngorms National Park Authority, says, “With funding from the Scottish Government Scenic Routes initiative and support from local landowners and communities we have already commissioned three installations, by competition-winning architects, along the route near the Devil’s Elbow in Glenshee, Corgarff and Tomintoul.”

© James Donlan

© James Donlan

Image – Corgarff installation – © CNPA

Of course, there are so many more places than that to pull over (safely) and enjoy the views – we’ll leave that up to you!

Image – © James Donlan

Image – Looking over Braemar – © VisitScotland/Jakub Iwanicki

Stop at the Photo Posts – Keen photographers will love bagging the designated Photo Posts to take pictures along the way. You can then share your photos from the posts with the Cairngorms Scenic Photo Posts project, a pioneering citizen science initiative to gather information about our landscapes as they change from day to day and year to year.

View a map of the Photo Posts

Image – Photo Post  – © CNPA

Get back to nature – The Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend, from 12th to 14th May 2017, is a celebration of the fantastic natural heritage of the Cairngorms National Park. With over 50 activities taking place across the Park there will be something for everyone, from families to the more seasoned nature lover. In Blair Atholl, TV naturalist Nick Baker is a special guest and you can join him on a ‘Minibeast Safari’ or hear him talk about his life as a wildlife presenter.

Not just for winter

Of course it doesn’t have to be snowy or cold to enjoy this spectacular route. In spring and summer, you can enjoy walking through the heather-rich moors, dipping your feet into rocky burns and rivers, or spotting wildlife such as the red deer, red squirrel, osprey, golden eagle – maybe even the elusive wildcat.

Image – Gairnshiel Bridge – © VisitScotland/Damian Shields

Image – The Watchers – © VisitScotland/Damian Shields

Explore from Perth

As Perth is the gateway to the Highlands of Scotland, where better to base yourself to start your exploration?

You can have a great short break in our lovely city before you discover (or rediscover) this fantastic route. There’s so much to enjoy, including shops, restaurants, outdoor spaces and accommodation. Here’s a selection of what the city has to offer.

Shops in Perth

Stock up on goodies to take with you on the Snow Roads Scenic Route:

Alba Plus, McCash’s Country Store, Blues & Browns or Boo Vake – for tweed and handmade clothing and accessories to complement the beautiful Cairngorm colours.

Craigdon Mountain Sports, Mountain Leisure or Tiso – for outdoor clothing, shoes and equipment. You can even have a tasty lunch and a quick ascent of the climbing wall at Tiso, to put you in the mood!

Banks of Perth – If you’re going skiing further north on the route, make this your first stop for ski-hire or -purchase, warm clothing and equipment.

JRS Photo Hardware Ltd – If you want to record some stunning images, you can visit this independent photography shop to stock up on memory cards and batteries, or even to invest in a new camera or equipment.

Provender Brown, The Cheese Byre or Casella & Polegato – These foodie shops stock the most delicious, fresh and often locally sourced delights to make a tasty picnic for your journey.

Perth restaurants

 Here’s a fine selection of restaurants where you can enjoy a meal, coffee or cocktails during your visit to Perth:

Outdoor and indoor spaces

To get you in the mood for the great outdoors, why not visit some of Perth’s fantastic parks, hills, green spaces and indoor venues?

Dewars Centre – for icy adventurous fun with the family

Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park – for stunning views and a gradient to get the heart pumping

Moncrieffe Hill – follow the sculpture trail and enjoy views over Perth, the Ochil Hills and Fife

North Inch Park – for biking, walking, running, rollerblading taking the kids to the playpark

Perth Leisure Pool – enjoy three pools and two water-slides, plus leisure facilities

South Inch Park – stroll along the pathways, take the kids to the playpark, meet the swans and enjoy ice creams at the pavilion

Tennis courts – enjoy a game as a visiting player at our many tennis clubs including Bridge of Earn, Darnhall, Kinnoull, Perth or Scone

Accommodation in Perth

 We’ve put together a list of comfortable and welcoming accommodation in the heart of Perth city where you can stay, before and/or after you explore the Snow Roads Scenic Route:

 

Stay in touch

Follow Perth City Centre on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, events, days out and activities in Perth and Perthshire.

Dig It! 2017

Dig It! 2017

Dig It! 2017 is year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology with a packed programme of events from organisations across the country. It’s all about discovering Scotland’s past, present and future stories. Whether you’re getting muddy at a dig or strolling through a festival, now is the perfect time to let archaeology move you, surprise you and inspire you.

Dig It! 2017 is co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Here are some of the events taking place in Perthshire Visit the Dig It 2017 website.

CATERAN’S COMMON WEALTH – WALKS & TALKS

Saturday 25 March – Friday 08 September

All around Perthshire’s Cateran Trail, you will be able to experience arts, culture & heritage activities & events which will inspire you to think about & celebrate our Common Wealth.

2017 is the Scottish theme Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and we are grateful to Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust for their help in planning and delivering this part of the programme for us and for leading our guided walks.

Details – Cateran’s Common Wealth

Photo: Clare Cooper

PERTH AND KINROSS ARCHAEOLOGY YEAR

Saturday 01 April – Tuesday 31 October

2017 is the Scottish theme Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and at Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust they are joining in this celebration of Scotland’s heritage with an extra special programme of vibrant, engaging and informative events, not just over one month but seven!

The programme will span from the beginning of April to the end of October with an official launch event on the Saturday 22 April. The launch looks to be an exciting sunset ceremony beginning with a torch-lit procession through the atmospherically lit woodland of Moncreiffe hill up to the hillfort of Moredun top where the sound of a prehistoric horn will echo once more across the ramparts and a prehistoric world will be reconstructed through immersive hilltop virtual reality.

Details – Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

THE SCOTTISH CRANNOG CENTRE – EASTER EGG-STRAVAGANZA

Sunday 16 April @ 10:30am – Sunday 16 April @ 4:30pm

Help kick-start the Scottish Crannog Centre’s 20th anniversary year by joining them to celebrate Easter with pancakes cooked over an open fire; make your own bread rolls to be baked in their clay ovens and churn your own butter to spread on them. Hands-on fun and learning all in one go!

Visit them on Easter Sunday and take a step back in time with their expert guides who will demonstrate ancient cooking methods to produce delicious pancakes and more. Tastings will take place throughout the day.

This superb event is the first of many throughout 2017 at the award-winning Scottish Crannog Centre, neatly coinciding with VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Accessibility – Visitors

Details – The Scottish Crannog Centre

Photo credit: Dita Margarita / Foter / CC BY

ROUND THE TOWER – ABERNETHY

Thursday 25 May

Join the archaeologist to learn about one of Scotland’s most unusual historic sites.

Tickets available soon.

Details – Historic Environment Scotland

ILLUMINATING THE IRON AGE AT MONCREIFFE HILL, PERTHSHIRE

Saturday 22 April – Free Entry

Celebrating the launch of Perth and Kinross Archaeology Year with a torch-lit procession through the illuminated woodland of Moncreiffe Hill. Experience the sound of a prehistoric horn echoing across the ramparts of Moredun Top hillfort and immerse yourself in a reconstructed prehistoric Perthshire through virtual reality stations positioned around the hill.

Details and Booking – Woodland Trust

Image: Smart History

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS FESTIVAL 2017

Friday 01 September – Saturday 30 September

The Mary Queen of Scots Festival 2017 will celebrate the rich cultural and history and heritage of the Kinross area, most notably it’s famed connection to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The event will commemorate Mary’s life as Kinross poignantly marks the 450 year relationship with the Castle on Loch Leven Island where she was held captive and where spent some of her most troubled years, and the end of her reign in 1567.

The festival will take place over a weekend in September (exact dates tbc) and the programme will include living history encampments, music, food and drink and a programme of children’s entertainment to explore; all activities will guarantee a great day out.

Details – Mary Queen of Scots Festival

Image via Mary Queen of Scots Festival

Archaeology is for everyone.

It’s about you, me and all the people who’ve gone before us. It’s about identities and a sense of belonging. It’s about getting muddy – or staying laboratory clean – and having fun. It’s about discovering and telling Scotland’s stories. So make sure you get out and about during Dig It! 2017

Motorbiking in Perthshire

Motorbiking in Perthshire

Motorbiking in Perthshire

Annelie Carmichael, a regular writer for Perth City, decided to find out why Perthshire’s great for motorbikers……..

I had an inkling about why they might like this amazing county. But since I’ve only ridden pillion on a total of two mopeds in my whole life, I’m not what you’d call an expert.

Time, I thought, to bring in the bikers. So I put out the call, and the bikers answered. You told me what you like about getting on your bike, what it means to you, and what you love about biking in beautiful Perthshire.

And what a great bunch you turned out to be. Forget the well-worn stereotype – motorbiking today seems to be more about freedom, taking in the scenery, having a bit of escapism after a hard week at work, hanging out with your mates – and even raising money for charity.

So read on to find out what bikers really want – and how to find it all in Perthshire.

1) Interesting Roads

Bikers love interesting roads. Who wants to sit in traffic all day on a major road when you could be testing your skills and enjoying the twists, turns and challenges of Perthshire’s rural roads?

Alan Yeoman, a Glasgow biker, says he enjoys Perthshire because it has “more challenging (but not over-challenging) roads. You want country roads, not a straight dual carriageway.”

Bill Suttie, a local biker, likes that Perthshire is “central, with all major roads easily accessible. There are lots of good twisty side roads too. Bikers like twisty roads.”

 

 

Steve Coulson, a biker from Crieff, adds, “Perthshire offers up some nice roads – they’re undulating, with lots of curves, and are by and large in good condition. You can pick any road in Perthshire, and you will find something good about it. You’d struggle to find a road in Perthshire without some great features.”

 

 

Scott Wilson from Longforgan, who’s been biking since he was 16, has this helpful recommendation, based on some of his favourite roads:

“For a 2- to 3-hour ride, I’d do Longforgan to Crieff, then Killearn, Killin (just outside Perthshire), back into Perthshire and down Loch Tay, along to Kenmore, Aberfeldy, down through Dunkeld, Birnam, Perth and back home.

“For a 1- to 2-hour ride you could take the A93 from Perth to Blairgowrie, then west to Dunkeld then the Sma’ Glen, before heading south to Gilmerton or Crieff and back to Perth.”

Darren Slater, a biker from Bridge of Earn, adds, “There are lots of good back roads around Bridge of Earn. The Path of Condie is a beautiful run, as is the Auchterarder-Crieff-Blairgowrie-Perth road.”

 

Recommended roads

Our bikers loved talking about their favourite routes and roads – here’s a selection (see our handy map for routes):

A823 from Glendevon through Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Muthill and Crieff

A85 from Perth through Crieff to Loch Earn, through Comrie and St Fillans (carries on outside Perthshire to Crianlarich and Tyndrum)

A822 from Crieff, through Amulree and the Sma’ Glen, to Birnam and Dunkeld

A826 from Milton to Aberfeldy

A827, from Ballinluig, through Grandtully, Aberfeldy and Kenmore, all the way along Loch Tay

A93, from Perth through Blairgowrie and Bridge of Cally all the way to Glenshee (or you can use A94 through Coupar Angus to Blairgowrie)

A924 & A926, from Pitlochry / Moulin through Bridge of Cally to Rattray and then New Alyth

2) Great scenery

Perthshire is world-famous for its great scenery, and there are few better ways to appreciate it than on two wheels.

Imagine spending a day biking through heather-filled moors, past vast lochs and rushing rivers, over stunning mountains and into glens filled with dappled sunlight. That may sound rather poetic for a bunch of leather-clad lads and lasses, but scenery is one of the things that bikers love best about Perthshire.

Scott Wilson says, “The countryside in Perthshire is the best. There’s a mix of forest, lochs, mountains, and lots of open roads with no interruptions.” Scott particularly recommends the Perthshire glens (such as the Sma’ Glen) for their stunning scenery.

Piotr Gudan, a biker who runs an outdoor adventure centre, says that if you want to see great scenery, “the Scenic Snow Route – A93, from Blairgowrie to Braemar and further north – would be a great start.”

Recommended scenic spots

There are so many to choose from, but here’s a fine selection of scenic spots, to drive past or to stop at and enjoy the spectacular views.

The Lochs

  1. Loch Tummel
  2. Loch Earn
  3. Loch Tay
  4. Loch Rannoch
  5. Loch Garry
  6. Loch Ericht
  7. Loch Errochty
  8. Loch Freuchie
  9. Loch Lyon
  10. Dunalastair Reservoir

The Glens

  1. Glen Lyon
  2. The Sma’ Glen
  3. Glen Shee
  4. Glen Artney
  5. Glen Garry and the Pass of Drumochter

3) Good food and a warm welcome

If you’re out all day or all weekend on your bike, you’re going to want to stop for coffee, tea, some excellent cake or a good old bag of chips.

Timandra Harkness, a biker from London, says that after good roads, “friendly locals are most important. Ease of parking and bike-friendly accommodation also count for a lot.”

 

 

 

 

Steve Coulson adds, “I don’t ride around thinking of biker-friendly cafés, because I’ve felt welcome everywhere in Perthshire.”

It helps, too, if the place you stop at has outdoor seating and a decent-sized area where you can leave your bike and keep an eye on it.

Recommended places to stop

Where do our bikers like to stop for a break in Perthshire? They had lots to say on this subject – suggestions include:

3) Hanging out with other bikers

You bikers are a friendly lot. Although you sometimes like getting away for a journey on your own, you also like meeting up to ride in a group, or to have a blether about bikes, biking and anything else under the sun.

You also raise a lot of money for charity with your mates. Here are some good ways to meet up, join in and raise cash in Perthshire.

SCAA Biker Bash

This annual event sees up to 300 bikers meeting up and riding through picturesque Perthshire locations such as Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, Bridge of Cally, Pitlochry, Queen’s View and Kenmore. Bikers pay to enter, and proceeds to go Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), based at Perth Airport. The organisers say: “As bikers we all know the dangers we face each time we take our bikes out, especially on some of the remote roads throughout Scotland. So together we can help make sure the service is there if we should need it.” This year’s event will take place on Sunday 21st May.

Find out more about the SCAA Biker Bash

Perth Bike Night

 

Perth Bike Night, say the organisers, is a “gathering of bikers, trikers and like-minded folk. Regardless of what you ride – 1, 2, 3 or 4 wheels – everyone will be made welcome!” Perth Bike Night is held at Noah’s, Perth, on the last Saturday of every month from April to September. Camping is available on site and there are local biker-friendly B&Bs.

There are various stalls on site selling hot and cold food and drinks, Army Surplus and everything in between.

Perth Bike Night is non-profit-making and proceeds from entry (£2 per person) and any raffle will be donated to the chosen charity of the evening.

Darren Slater adds, “Perth Bike Night has raised a lot of money for charity – we’ve even auctioned off a Harley Davidson bike to support people with disabilities.”

Find out more about Perth Bike Night

Maggie’s Run

The Blairgowrie and District Motorcycling Club (BADMCC) has supported the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee since 2006, by organising the Maggie’s Run. This event takes in some of Perthshire’s most beautiful scenery before heading into neighbouring Aberdeenshire. The annual event has raised over £22,000 for the Maggie’s Centre charity in the last 11 years.

This year’s run for 2017 will be on Sunday 14th May, starting at around 10.00am from the Red House Hotel, Coupar Angus up to Stonehaven and along Deeside.

Find out more about Maggie’s Run

 Thunder In The Glens

Every August, locals in Perthshire and the Highlands are treated to the spectacular sight and ear-splitting sound of 3000-plus Harley Davidsons roaring along our roads.

Thunder In The Glens is a weekend event that attracts participants and their Harleys from all over the globe, including Ireland, Europe, the USA and Australia. Although the riders congregate in Aviemore for the weekend, to get here they enjoy a fantastic journey through the hills and glens of Perthshire. Riders can take any route through the county, either direct or more meandering.

Organiser George McGuire, from the Dunedin Chapter of Harley owners and riders, told me what he loves about Perthshire: “When you come north in Perthshire, to the hill after Kinross, you seem to look right through the valley and it’s like a wide open gate, saying ‘Come in, enjoy yourself.’”

George also mentions that the Dunedin Chapter meets from time to time in the Lovat Hotel, Perth, so if you fancy joining them, just get in touch through their website.

If you’re taking part in this year’s event, and you’d like to stay in Perth on your way, check out our handy list, below, of “Places to stay in Perth”.

 

 

 

The last word

Finally, I asked my biker interviewees what they love about biking in a county like Perthshire. Here’s a selection of their comments:

Timandra: “It’s a completely absorbing activity so it’s very relaxing. It gives a closer contact to the place I’m visiting than any other form of transport – I can not only see but feel the contours of the roads, smell the forests or the food in the towns.”

Steve: “I love the freedom that it gives. You’re out of the metal box and you’re more connected to what’s going around you. I think there’s a big connection between motorcycling and mindfulness. To ride safely you really need to be in the moment. Also there’s a friendliness and fraternity. We look after each other. We appreciate each other’s stances, each other’s different bikes, we all appreciate the connection.”

Darren: “I love the freedom. You get out on the road, get the cobwebs out of your hair. No matter how many people you’re out with, it’s you and the road.”

Freedom, mindfulness, friendliness and relaxation – that sounds like a fantastic way to spend your time. Bikers, you’re very welcome in Perthshire.

 

Remember to stay safe!

Every activity, especially motorsports come with inherent risks, and motorbiking is no exception. Take a look at this brilliant infographic courtesy of Watermans to help you keep safe on the road.

Places to stay in Perth

If you’d like to explore beautiful Perthshire on your bike, here’s a list of comfortable and welcoming accommodation in the heart of Perth city where you can stay, before and/or afterwards:

Stay in touch

Follow Perth City Centre on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, events, days out and activities in Perth and the surrounding area.

Perth and Kinross Archaeology Year 2017

Perth and Kinross Archaeology Year 2017

The programme will be officially launched by singer/songwriter and PKHT patron Dougie McLean at a special twilight ceremony on the 22nd April. The launch is not to be missed and will be an exciting event beginning with a torch-lit procession through the atmospherically lit woodland of Moncreiffe Hill. Up on the hillfort of Moredun top,the sound of a prehistoric horn will echo once more across the ramparts and a prehistoric world will be reconstructed through immersive hilltop virtual reality. The wider events programme offers new guided walks to some of the county’s lesser-explored archaeological sites as well as reviving old favourites such as tours of the Roman Gask Ridge sites and trips to many of the hillforts that crown Perthshire’s hilltops. There will be lots of opportunities to get your hands dirty and experience the past at the trowel’s edge with ve excavations to sign-up and take part in. Navigation courses using archaeological sites, workshops and demonstrations in archaeological survey techniques, a Medieval Fair in Perth city centre will be taking place, and then there are the Scottish Crannog Centre’s 20th anniversary celebration events to look forward to. Doors Open Days is not to be forgotten and will return in September, this time across three consecutive weekends instead of one. The events on offer are delivered by a suite of partner organisations and individuals, and in particular it is encouraging to see strong community involvement from local societies participating and sharing their passion for the past with others.

PKAY17 offers residents and visitors a variety of ways to interact with the historic environment of Perth and Kinross. You don’t need to have any knowledge of history or archaeology to be able to enjoy the events on offer; an inquisitive mind and a thirst for discovery is all we recommend. A digital version of this programme, online calendar and booking system can be found on the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust website www.pkht.org.uk/news-events/archaeology-year. You can also ‘Like us’ on Facebook or ‘Follow us’ on Twitter (@PKHeritageTrust, #PKAY17) for the latest updates and event news.

There are lots of ways to explore Perthshire’s past in 2017 so get stuck in and discover!

 

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