Win BIG with Mi Rewards: 100’s of free gift cards to give away!

Win BIG with Mi Rewards: 100’s of free gift cards to give away!

Coming in:








The ‘Mi Rewards’ programme, the first of its kind in the UK, is due to launch in Perth on Friday 21st  September.

Mi Rewards automatically rewards customers for spending money in city businesses using their existing debit and credit cards. The scheme enables customers to earn points for shopping, dining and going out in Perth. It is free and easy for consumers to use, and no physical loyalty card is needed; people simply register their existing debit and credit cards by logging into the Mi Rewards website.

What’s Happening this Friday?

On the day – to celebrate the launch of Mi Rewards Perth – we are going to be giving away hundreds of loaded Perth Gift Cards! For your chance to pick up a Perth Gift Card (which could have up to £100 on it) and to find out more about Mi Rewards – join us in Horsecross Plaza (outside the Concert Hall) anytime between 8am and 6pm on Friday!

When Can I Join?

Mi Rewards will launch this Friday (21st of September). From early morning, customers will be able to register for the programme. Please note that you will not be able to register before Friday. If you would like us to keep give you a little reminder once Mi Rewards is live, simply leave your email and you will be the first to know!

Books, bookshops, authors and festivals: A literary tour around Perthshire

Books, bookshops, authors and festivals: A literary tour around Perthshire

Perthshire is a creative place. We have a huge number of festivals and an enviable line-up of concerts, exhibitions, galleries, museums, not to mention highly creative people! Books and writers play an important part in our creative scene, so we’d like to take you on a tour of Literary Perthshire, and bring you all the events, festivals, bookshops and bookish places in one place. We hope you enjoy it!

1) Author Events

CPK Libraries, which runs Perthshire’s public libraries, regularly hosts an exciting variety of author events. Here’s what’s coming up this season:

Ann Cleeves with Wildfire

Wed 19th September,
AK Bell Library

Author of the hugely popular Shetland books, now a major TV series, reads from her latest in the series.

Find out more

Bill Jones with Black Camp 21

Fri 5th October,
Cultybraggan Camp.

Award-winning author Bill Jones will talk about his latest book, the World War II thriller ‘Black Camp 21’, based on true events, at the atmospheric setting of Cultybraggan Camp.

Find out more

David McPhail with Top Secret Grandad & Me

Tue 20th November,
Loch Leven Community Library

A fun, interactive event with children’s author David MacPhail. He will talk about mind maps and how you can use them to plot stories, then discuss his latest book, about Jay Patel and his ghost grandad! Age 8-plus.

Find out more

Quintin Jardine with A Brush With Death

Tue 20th November,
Loch Leven Community Library

As part of the Kinross-shire Winter Festival and Bookweek Scotland, best-selling Scottish crime author Quintin Jardine will discuss his final book, in which the now “retired” Bob Skinner investigates the mystery behind a millionaire’s unexplained poisoning.

Find out more

Murder Mysteries and Bun Breaks with Robin Stevens

Fri 30th November,
Loch Leven Community Library

Robin Stevens, author of the ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ series and winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the younger fiction category, talks about detective duo Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong and their latest mystery, “Death in the Spotlight”. Find out why Robin is so fascinated with murder mysteries, what makes a great detective and solve a unique mystery… Ages 9+.

Find out more

Crime Writers Gillian Galbraith and Shirley McKay in conversation

Wed 21st November,
Loch Leven Community Library

Shirley McKay, author of the Hew Cullen Mysteries which are set in St Andrews, will be in conversation with Gillian Galbraith, author of the Alice Rice Mysteries.

Find out more

In conversation with Jim Crumley and Robin A. Crawford

Tue 23rd October,
Waterstones, Perth

Jim’s latest book, “The Nature of Autumn”, charts the colourful progression from September to November, telling the story of how unfolding autumn affects the wildlife and landscapes of his beloved Scottish countryside.

Find out more

Events at Innerpeffray Library

Various dates,
Innerpeffray Library

Enjoy a delightful selection of events in a unique setting, including Alex Nye – “The Art of the Ghost Story”, and “The Course of History: Ten Meals that Changed the World” by Struan Stevenson MEP.

Find out more

Literary Analysis course

Thurs 11th October,
Birnam Arts

This is a course for any literary aficionado interested in delving into the fascinating world of analysis. Examine the form and content of poems, classic novels and plays in a relaxed, easy-going class. Gain a greater appreciation of the methodology authors use to convey their goals – the setting, plot, characters and imagery. Bring pen, paper and a love of literature!

Book this course online

2) Bookshops and Exchanges in Perth

Big Dog Books, Perth

Opened in 2016, Big Dog Books is an independent comic book, games, and pop culture shop. Big Dog Books aims to create a social space for kids, young adults – and those old enough to know better – to get away from screens and computers and into a genuine social network.

The Birnam Reader

This compact but well-stocked bookshop is just around the corner from Birnam Arts. The friendly independent bookshop offers a wide range of second-hand books and CDs, all whilst serving delicious coffee and homemade cakes!

Fun Junction, Crieff and Perth

As well as one of the best toy and game selections in the whole county, Fun Junction, an independent, family-run business with branches in Perth and Crieff, also stocks a lovely selection of kids’ books.

Book Exchanges at Blend and The Library

There are free International Book Exchanges at popular coffee shop Blend and at AK Bell Library. Bring a book along, swap it for another that you fancy, and have a coffee while you’re there!

Waterstones, Perth

It’s the national bookshop that feels like an indie – Waterstones has been a feature of Perth’s city centre for over 20 years and continues to attract a loyal reading public. As well as the great selection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books and toys, Waterstones also plays host to a Scottish Fiction Reading Group on the first Tuesday of every month.

Mustard Seed Book Shop, Perth

The Mustard Seed Book & Gift Shop offers a wide range of Christian books, Bibles and many gifts and souvenirs from around Perthshire.

Oxfam Books & Music, Perth

This is a treasure trove of great-quality, low-priced second-hand books. The stock is wide-ranging, from modern fiction to collectable antiquarian but their main specialism is Scottish material, including books on Scotland and by Scottish authors, from Ian Rankin to Robert Burns.

Pitlochry Station Bookshop

Tucked away in a railway arch at Pitlochry Station is this lovely bookshop full of second-hand treats, including novels, non-fiction, coffee-table tomes, a kids’ corner and much more.
Most books are about £1 and there is a wide selection. On top of all that, the bookshop raises thousands of pounds for six diverse charities.
Find out more about this bookshop in our Day Out to Pitlochry article!

The Watermill & Homer, Aberfeldy

The Watermill & Homer is a hugely popular bookshop, gallery, café and design-led homeware store, on three floors of a converted oatmeal mill. Opened in 2005 by Michael Palin, it was awarded UK Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2009. There are regular events – Edinburgh author Alexander McCall Smith is a regular visitor – and a lovely mix of books, gifts, music and a kids’ section.

3) Book Festivals

Bookmark Festival

5th – 7th October 2018

Bookmark returns to Blairgowrie, Rattray and The Glens for its sixth year, with more authors and events to delight the audiences. The founding principle of this festival is to foster and encourage a love of literature in all its forms by sharing a passion for reading and writing in a friendly, inclusive environment. This year, authors featured include Denise Mina, Allan Johnson, Isla Dewar and a special event celebrating 100 years of Muriel Spark.

Kinross-shire’s Winter Festival

Oct/Nov/Dec 2018

Kinross-shire’s Winter Festival is a celebration of exciting community events from the end of October to December. There are always great author events – this year’s selection includes Ann Cleeves, writer of Shetland and ITV’s Vera and “Murder mysteries and bun breaks” with Robin Stevens (see Author Events, above).

Winter Words Festival

14th – 17th February 2019

Winter Words is the perfect way to enjoy the last days of winter (and celebrate the first signs of spring) amidst the spectacular landscape of Highland Perthshire. Taking place each February at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the festival brings in well-known and distinguished artists from around the world for over two weeks of stories, songs, and workshops.

Those bookish good folks at Birnam Arts and The Birnam Reader have put their heads together and come up with a festival of sheer brilliance! Join us in Birnam, along with a stellar lineup of writers, speakers and musicians, to celebrate a wealth of words, certain to warm your heart and brighten up your November.
Follow Perth City Centre and The Birnam Book Festival on Facebook to be the first to hear about the line-up!

3) Bookish Places to Visit

AK Bell Library, Perth

This fantastic library is a lively creative hub for Perth and Perthshire, offering all the lending services you’d expect but also a rich archive, a packed calendar of events (see Book and Poetry Events, above) and a café and gift shop. It’s one of the venues you can visit as part of Perth Doors Open Day, taking in a Behind the Scenes and Treasures tour and visiting some areas not normally open to the public, including a rare chance to see behind the scenes in the Council Archive. There are two guided tours; booking is essential.

Beatrix Potter Exhibition

Beatrix Potter had a long and fruitful relationship with Birnam and Dunkeld. While in Scotland, Beatrix wrote a “picture letter” which provided the basis for her first book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This charming Beatrix Potter exhibition invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the world of a Victorian classroom, put on your own puppet show featuring Peter Rabbit and friends or experience a wash day in the style of Miss Tiggywinkle!

Innerpeffray Library

Innerpeffray Library is Scotland’s oldest free, public lending library: a museum where you can literally touch the past. At a site steeped in history from Roman times to living memory, the Library offers visitors a hands-on, unforgettable experience of Scottish heritage.

In its tranquil rural setting by the River Earn, you can travel back in time and explore the books, the people and the story of Innerpeffray. See Author Events for what’s on in this beautiful place.

John Buchan’s house, Perth

Did you know that Perth is the birthplace of John Buchan, legendary author of The 39 Steps and many other thrilling adventure novels? A plaque at 18/20 York Place (currently the home of Mindspace), commemorates his service as Governor General of Canada, but on Sunday 30th September you can visit as part of Perthshire’s Doors Open Days.

Quarto Press, Coupar Angus

The Quarto Press is a “private press”, run for fun, not profit. Housed in a converted 19th-century cottage and wagon-shed, there is a working traditional letterpress facility that uses hand-set metal and wood type in the way that printing was done from the 1450s to 1900. Also contains a collection of small presses and specialist items used by printers. You can visit on most days (phone ahead) or as part of Doors Open Day 2018.

Royal Scottish Geographical Society Visitor Centre

Visit the Fair Maid’s House, home to the Royal Geographical Society’s Visitor Centre, where you can “navigate” to the stylish explorers’ library, or the Cuthbert Map Room if you’re an atlas fan. There’s also a very exciting opportunity to bring a fantastic new book to life, by pledging to order a copy of The Great Horizon, a collection of 50 fascinating adventure stories from the last 150 years, retrieved from the RSGS archive.

Soutar House

Born in 1898 in Perth, William Soutar is known as one of the greatest poets Scotland has produced. On Perthshire’s Doors Open Days, Soutar House in Perth’s Craigie area is open for viewing – this year it’s on the 29th September.

There are also two William Soutar Perth Walks that start at the Fergusson Gallery and take you through Perth City Centre or through and around Craigie where Soutar lived. Walking guides are available from the A K Bell Library, the Tourist Information Centre and the Fergusson Gallery. Find out more about this fascinating poet and his work on the William Soutar website.

Don’t be a stranger

We hope you’ve enjoyed our literary tour of Perthshire! For all the latest news, events and information about Perth and Perthshire, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our email newsletter.

Taste of Perthshire Food Festival – 63 @ Parklands Competition

Taste of Perthshire Food Festival – 63 @ Parklands Competition

Fancy winning a seven-course tasting menu and a bottle of wine for two at 63@Parklands? 

Parklands Boutique Hotel with Dining has always been renowned for its fantastic food and this summer they’ve stepped it up once again with the appointment of a new Head Chef, Stuart Black, and the launch of a new tasting menu concept at their two rosette restaurant, 63@Parklands.

To celebrate the launch of the Taste of Perthshire Food Festival, we have teamed up with 63@Parklands to bring you this brilliant prize worth over £100! All you have to do is simply click the button below and enter your email address!

Get another bite of Perth and Kinross as Cake Fest returns

Get another bite of Perth and Kinross as Cake Fest returns

After a deliciously spectacular inaugural event in 2017, Cake Fest Perth and Kinross is back for a second ‘slice of the action’ in 2018 as part of the annual Winter Festival celebrations.

Bakers of all abilities, from beginner to expert, are again being invited to take up their wooden spoons and contribute to this year’s event, by reproducing their favourite building or place in Perth and Kinross in cake form. Each sculpture will then be placed on an edible map of the area, created throughout the day by Cake Fest head baker Simon Preston.

The grand unveiling of Cake Fest 2018 will take place on Sunday 18 November 2018 as part of the Perthshire Feast event in Mill Street and Horsecross Plaza. Once complete, and after an opportunity for the public to view the eyecatching cake map, it will then be sliced up and shared with festivalgoers.

New for this year, Cake Fest will feature a redesigned, larger map and will celebrate a range of local events and anniversaries, such as the 150th anniversary of Perthshire Rugby Club. Looking back even further into local history, the Cake Fest map will also be
inspired by an ancient tradition which was banned in 1577, when Perth bakers last paraded to celebrate St. Obert, the patron saint of their trade.

Bakers taking part can choose a landmark they love to be temporarily immortalised in cake or select from a list which includes:

McDairmid Park
Loch Leven Castle
The Scottish Crannog Centre
Huntingtower Castle
Perth City Hall
Fergusson Gallery
The Tower on Kinnoull Hill
Perth Racecourse
Perth College
Perth Museum and Art Gallery
Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
Elcho Castle
Ossian’s Hall
Taymouth Castle
Drummond Castle
Smeatons Bridge
North Inch Park
Blair Castle and Hercules Garden
South Inch Park
Glenturret (Famous Grouse) Distillery
Dunkeld Cathedral
Scone Palace
Innerpeffary Library
Perth Concert Hall
The Gleneagles Hotel
Pitlochry Theatre
Queen’s Bridge
Perth Playhouse
General Wades Bridge and the Black Watch Monument
Birnam Oak
Atholl Palace Hotel
Enchanted Forest
Perth Leisure Pool
Balado Golf Ball
A K Bell Library
Perth Cenotaph
Perth Grammar School
Beatrix Potter Garden
St Matthew’s Chruch
St John’s Kirk
Black Watch Castle & Museum

If you don’t have a Gmail account, please just email your Name, Phone numebr and the building you would like to bake to

A Day at the Black Watch Museum

A Day at the Black Watch Museum

The Black Watch Museum in Balhousie Castle in Perth is a must for anyone interested in military history. The museum has been situated in the castle since the early 1960’s, and it is packed with historical artifacts from this proud old regiment.

The museum is currently running an exhibition entitled “There But Not There”. This is a fascinating presentation on some of the men lost to us during the First World War, in which nearly 9,000 Black Watch soldiers perished, and thousands more would have suffered both terrible physical and psychological wounds. The “There But Not There” exhibition has positioned around the museum life-size perspex images of a handful of these casualties with information about who they were and tales on their life and how they met their
death. There is an exhibition of artifacts that belonged soldiers fighting in the war that have been donated by their families. A very moving booklet accompanies the presentation, but perhaps the most poignant display is the outline of a life-size soldier, this can be seen as you enter the museum grounds from the car park. I have to admit I am biased as my great grandad fought in the Battle of the Somme while serving in the Black Watch. The There but Not There display can be seen at the museum until the 11th of November – Armistice Day.

There is much more to see at the Black Watch Museum. As you enter the first section takes the visitor back to the origins of the regiment which was formed when the government were struggling to control the Highlands. It was a time of civil war as the Jacobites sought to restore the exiled Stuart King’s to their lost throne. To help police the highlands and keep an eye on the Jacobite clans the government raised six companies in 1725. In 1739 another four companies were recruited, and they became the 43rd Regiment of Foot. It was first mustered at Aberfeldy in 1740, and by the river, in Aberfeldy, a distinct monument stands to commemorate this event.

The museum tells of the part played by the Black Watch at the Battle of Fontenoy in May 1745, despite the battle being a defeat for the British. The Black Watch fought so gallantly that a French officer described them as “Highland Furies”.  The regiment was sent to fight in the American War of Independence by this time it had been renumbered to the 42nd and titled the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot, and in America, they fought with distinction.  The museum has an excellent section on the wars against Napoleons French with many weapons and uniforms on display.

As you can imagine World War One plays a significant part in the exhibition.  With many notable attractions on display.  A kilt belonging to Captain William Debnam McLaren Stewart from the Comrie area in Perthshire who was killed at the Battle of the Somme on the 25th of September 1916 is on display.  On this kilt traces of mud from the battlefield can still be seen. Captain Stewart features in the “There But Not There” commemoration.

The exhibition then goes onto the Second World War, I was fascinated by a “Tommy Helmet”.   It had been discarded by a Scottish soldier serving in the 51st Highland Division in France in 1940.  The 51st were ordered to surrender after acting as a rear guard thus allowing thousands of British and French soldiers to escape the advancing Germans and depart from the beaches of Dunkirk back to Britain to fight again.  This helmet was found in the sea at St Valery-en-Caux in 1990. For me it made an impressive display piece, I could not help wondering just who ditched this helmet and what happened to this man?

There are opportunities for the kids to dress up in uniforms and a chance to colour in with tables pens and paper provided.  So the Black Watch Museum is a thoughtful and humbling day out for all the family, I would recommend you try to take in the “There But Not There” exhibition before it ends on the 11th of November 2018.

Article by Gary Knight

Matildas Musings: Tandeming the dens dells and delis of Dunkeld

Matildas Musings: Tandeming the dens dells and delis of Dunkeld

Now as you know this “old lady” likes to try something new every now and again – so when the “old git” came up with the idea of tandeming a new route around the ancient Cathedral “city” of Dunkeld in Highland Perthshire, it seemed like an exciting plan!

And when the “old git” mentioned that we passed a couple of coffee shops and finished at a new deli which we also did tapas early evening, the “old gal” was immediately on board too!

The addition of the deli word gave the “old git” the joy of coming up with some of his favoured alliteration in the title of the ride – adding to the dens and dells of Dunkeld! Simple pleasures!

Perthshire Events Round Up: What’s Happening in August and September?

Perthshire Events Round Up: What’s Happening in August and September?

Perthshire is positively packed with events in August and September. But have you found yourself scratching your head and wondering which event is happening when, and where?

Well, worry not – we have a round-up of fantastic events that are happening across the county in August and September. Bookmark this page, share it on social media, send it to your friends and family, and you’ll never be short of something to do over the next two months.

Wednesday 1st August to Sunday 30th September – By Hammer and Hand, Perth Museum & Art Gallery

Discover the fascinating story of the crafts and merchants that made Perth. Who were they, what did they make and sell, and why were they organised into Incorporated Trades and the Merchant Guild? This exhibition draws together significant objects, artwork and archives to bring to life Perth’s important economic history.

Look out (or rather, up!), too, for the fascinating banners above the streets near the museum, depicting the old trades of Perth.

Find out more about By Hammer and Hand

Wednesday 1st August to Sunday 30th September – Maggie’s Penguin Parade

For three months in summer 2018 the streets of Perth, Dundee and the surrounding region are home to a trail of individually designed and beautifully decorated giant penguin sculptures. This project, brought to you by Maggie’s Centre Dundee, in partnership with Wild in Art, showcases the wealth of artistic talent in the area and will raise significant funds to support Maggie’s vital work caring for local people affected by cancer.

Can you find them all? Remember to let us know @perthcitycentre when you post your photos on social media!

Find out more about Maggie’s Penguin Parade

Friday 3rd August to Tuesday 9th October – Boating on the Tay

Discover the River Tay with a range of fantastic boat trips! Take a trip from Broughty Ferry to Perth or discover Elcho Castle on a trip from Perth City Centre.

Due to the tidal nature of the river, the trips will run at different times of day, meaning you get the choice to explore this beautiful river first thing in the morning, during the day or into the early evening.

To find a time and date that suits you, simply head to our Boating On The Tay page and book your tickets!

Find out more about Boating On The Tay / Book your tickets today

Saturday 11th August – 11th November 2018 – Black Watch Museum, There But Not There

The Black Watch Castle and Museum’s World War One centenary programme will conclude with the There But Not There silhouette installation. This project will be linked to the There But Not There national initiative to educate all generations about the ultimate sacrifice made during the First World War.

Our display will feature a 6-foot outdoor “Tommy” sculpture with 13 silhouettes placed throughout the venue creating a remembrance trail for visitors. Each silhouette is a way of commemorating the many Black Watch soldiers who displayed courage and bravery, making the ultimate sacrifice. The experience includes an exhibition which shares artifacts that have been kept for years by soldiers’ families as a way of remembering the fathers, sons, brothers, cousins and uncles who did not return from the conflict.

Find out more about There But Not There at The Black Watch Castle and Museum

Saturday 8th September – Pitlochry Highland Games

Pitlochry Highland Games has been hosting competitors and enthralling spectators since 1852. The Games competitions include tug o’ war, Perthshire Heavyweight League, Junior Heavyweight Events, Highland dancing, junior piping, Scottish Athletics Clubs Junior Relay and the Scottish Junior Jumps Championship.

There will also be a street parade of pipe bands, sponsored by Edradour Distillery, followed by individual pipe band championship and ending with a mass parade of the pipe bands.

Find out more about Pitlochry Highland Games

Sunday 9th September – Farming Yesteryear Vintage Rally

The Scottish Vintage Tractor and Engine Club Farming Yesteryear and Vintage Rally 2018 will be held at Scone Palace, where vintage tractors, stationary engines, steam engines and agricultural machinery will be on display with vintage cars, lorries and other vehicles. There will be working demonstrations of vintage agricultural machinery including ploughing, combining and threshing, plus trade stands and auto jumble.

Find out more about the Farming Yesteryear Vintage Rally

Monday 10th September – Autumn Race Day at Perth Racecourse

Although summer is over there’s still great racing at Perth in their penultimate fixture of the year – the Autumn Race Day.

With seven races in the first autumn fixture, some of the best horses of the UK and Irish winter jumps scene will take to the track to get their season underway.

Find out more about Autumn Race Day at Perth Races

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September – Taste of Perthshire Food Festival

This new and exciting food and drink festival will take over Perth city centre for three jam-packed days in September. Bursting with fantastic flavours, local and international producers and demonstrations from award-winning chefs, including Jean-Christophe Novelli, the Taste of Perthshire Food Festival has something for every palette.

Follow our food trail round the many fantastic and award-winning food businesses in Perth City Centre and discover what make us Scotland’s Food Town 2018.

You’ll also find a huge mix of traders, from the popular Continental Street Market traders, the latest Street Food dishes or local food and drink producers. There really will be something to tempt even the most unusual of tastes!

Find out more about Taste of Perthshire Food Festival

Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th September – Spartan 2018 Scotland Trifecta Weekend & Ultra

Spartan Race is a leader in the sport of obstacle racing, offering exciting racing for all fitness levels. This Spartan Race will start in the very centre of Perth for the first time ever. To begin the race, entrants will take in the beautiful and diverse architecture of the Fair City before crossing the River Tay and heading out onto the steep Kinnoull and Deuchny Hills to experience breath-taking views whilst the energy drains from the legs.

Throw in obstacles and you’ll have an event that will test mental strength, endurance, grit and perseverance. With a Sprint (5km+), Super (13km+), Beast (20km+) and an epic Ultra (42km+) there really is something for all levels of athlete.

Find out more about Spartan 2018 Scotland Trifecta Weekend & Ultra

Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th September – Glorious Finale at Perth Racecourse

It’s the oldest fixture at Perth Racecourse and the final one of the year; get ready for the two-day Glorious Finale! Come along dressed in your finest tweeds for a racing fixture that first took place in 1908. Over the two days, take a look back at the Racecourse’s highlights of the year while watching 14 races across both afternoons.

Find out more about the Glorious Finale at Perth Racecourse

Friday 29th to Sunday 30th September – WOW Perth 2018 – Women of the World Festival

Following a fantastic launch in October 2017, WOW – Women of the World Festival will return to Scotland for the second time.

Celebrating and recognising the achievements of women and girls as well as taking a frank look at factors stopping them from achieving their potential, WOW is a jam-packed festival weekend including talks and debates from nationally renowned speakers, music, dance, theatre, performance, poetry and comedy as well as wide-ranging workshops and activities ranging from song to yoga, and speed mentoring to skateboarding.

WOW – Women of the World Perth 2018 is part of Southbank Centre’s expansion of its global WOW network of festivals to create nine new WOWs in five cities across the UK to mark the centenary of female suffrage in 2018. Perth is the only Scottish city to host one of these WOWs.

Find out more about WOW 2018 – Women of the World Festival

Fancy getting free tickets as a guest blogger?

We can offer you free tickets to many of these events if you’re willing to write a short blog and take some photos at the event. Contact or send a message to Perth City Centre on Facebook to find out more!

Follow us on social media / get our news email

For full events listings, plus all the latest news, events and information about what’s going on in Perth and Perthshire, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our email newsletter.

Artistic Opportunities in Perth

Artistic Opportunities in Perth

Perth and Kinross Council is offering an exciting new commissioning opportunity to create a major new artwork for the city centre supporting their City Lighting Strategy. The commission will see the creation of a large mural with integrated lighting features sited on a prominent building in a main city centre thoroughfare. Bold and imaginative submissions from professional artists are sought by 21 September 2018 and the full brief can be accessed here.

Public Art Commissions – Key Commissioning Principles

Culture Perth and Kinross, in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council and through a steering group including artist, business and education representation have developed a set of key principles which underpin commissioning activity and artists seeing to respond to open calls or develop their own proposals for creating new work are asked to demonstrate how their work addresses each principle.

Who are these for:
These principles help to guide anyone involved in both the commissioning and the making of work that animates the public spaces within Perth and the surrounding area. These can also be used to support any wider creative commissioning activity such as for public programmes, visual art works or residencies within organisations.

What are they for:
They reflect the values and qualities that have emerged from discussions about Perth’s identity and how the city and wider region hopes to understand itself and be understood by others.
These principles have been developed by the team responsible for developing the Plan to animate Perth’s Public Spaces, and tested with a steering group consisting of a wide range of Perth & Kinross’ stakeholders.

How you should use them:
These principles broadly define the tone and attitudes that should run through all work commissioned and created for Perth & Kinross’ public spaces. They underpin the Vision and Plan, providing an easy-to-use set of references that you can refer back to as you develop your approach.

Create Living Memories

Temporary interventions, fleeting moments in time and time-limited performances are as welcome in Perth & Kinross as large scale sculptures and permanent murals.

In the past, much of the public art that has been commissioned for Perth & Kinross has been monolithic and eternal in nature. Over time, a number of them have inevitably lost relevance and meaning.

Ideas that embrace a shorter period of time are just as valuable as those that stand proud for years. They have the ability to live on in memory for just as long if not longer than an anonymous bronze statue.

Work in any Art Form

We want to see performances, audio installations, neons and much much more in the public spaces of Perth and Kinross. While the term public art can bring to mind sculptures and perhaps murals, there are many different ways of conveying ideas within the public domain.

Any form of creativity and any form of cultural expression is valid and valuable.

Engage People

The work that animates the public spaces of Perth and Kinross must engage local communities.

This is where people live and work: it’s critical that any projects that appear are made with insight from the communities who inhabit any spaces used.

The work created can and should engage with the multiple communities that exist within Perth & Kinross. Talk to younger adults, talk to people who are older. Listen to people whose families have lived here for generations, listen to newcomers. Work with the blue-collar worker, as well as the unemployed. Engage in both rural and urban settings.

Generate Opportunities

Creating work for public spaces provides very real opportunities for people. These might range from job opportunities to the space to think differently about issues. Projects developed for Perth & Kinross should attempt to change the landscape in some way, no matter how small. They should provide people with the chance to try something, to extend their skillset, to expand their opinions.

Be Surprising

Show people just how extraordinary a place Perth and the surrounding area is. If they’re visitors, make them want to come back. If they live here, reveal new facets of the city or region to them. Make the work accessible. Think about different times of day and night: when and how do people want to engage with Perth and Kinross? Perth could have a reputation as one of Europe’s most vibrant small cities. Work developed for Perth & Kinross’ public spaces should challenge any perceptions that people may have of the area as old-fashioned or set in its ways.

Think Sustainably

Anything commissioned for Perth and Kinross must be sustainable. We want to make sure we contribute wherever possible to the health and resilience of our communities and places. Core to this is deep thinking about the materials we use and what happens to them next. What is our legacy, and how can we ensure it’s positive rather than wasteful? Thematically, we want to see projects that engage with conversations about what sustainable living means for Perth and Kinross. While this needn’t be the focus of your idea, we’d like everyone we work with to demonstrate what sustainability means to them, and what they’re doing to contribute.

Gretchen Peters at the Southern Fried Festival

Gretchen Peters at the Southern Fried Festival

The closing act of Perth’s 2018 Southern Fried Festival was the outstanding Gretchen Peters, accompanied by her husband, Barry Walsh, on piano and accordion, and singing backing vocals. In the second half of her memorable performance she was joined by the Southern Fried String Quartet of two violins, one viola and one cello. Six people on the stage making enough beautiful noise to seem like a whole philharmonic was playing for us.

The first half of the set had songs chosen entirely by the audience through a Facebook ballot, and their choices were loved by fans old and new. Gretchen herself was impressed by the range of songs chosen, and commented that even thought she had written them, some needed dusting off, thanks to the expertise of her loyal fan base.

What followed was a flawless performance leading us through 20-plus years of songwriting from one of the leading singer-songwriters in the world today. Her songs take you on an emotional rollercoaster, although with the most glorious soundtrack, leaving you feeling like you just explored the deepest recesses of your own life and memories. In a good way of course. The songs are at the same time uplifting, thought-provoking, political, brave, bold, fierce, sensual and soothing to the musical soul. Listening to her lyrics is like being read a dozen of the most interesting works of fiction from the last 500 years, set to music, sung by the most melodic and stunning voice, but with added
chapters on human emotions. Each song is like a life story crammed into a few minutes, and her lyrics have to be up there with the great lyricists and musical poets of the 20 th century.

So what did she perform? Starting her set with the haunting song about religion, Dark Angel, originally a duet with Rodney Crowell on her 2011/12 album “Hello Cruel World”. Rodney, a minister, incidentally officiated at the wedding of Peters and Walsh, and the song was written following a time of great personal turmoil in Gretchen’s life.

Following swiftly on from Dark Angel was The Matador, taken from the same album, a glorious exploration of duende, which certainly did heighten feelings of emotion. Next came a song written by the multi-talented Tom Russell, Guadalupe. Gretchen recorded Tom’s song in 2008. Tom, as well as being a noted songwriter in the Americana genre (he also does rock, folk and cowboy), is an accomplished artist and writer, having written a crime novel and other books. His own life has been eclectic, moving around the world, and playing, amongst other places, in strip joints, working as a New York cab driver and guesting on the Letterman show. Like Gretchen, his own life provides more than enough material for a lifetime of songs. Gretchen was accompanied by Barry switching to an ornate and exquisite accordion, to perform in this segment.

Gretchen then delighted with her tale of visiting the ghostly air base near Peterborough where her father was stationed as a pilot in WW2, and how her father’s plane crashing into the North Sea inspired The Aviator’s Song. She followed that with a newer song, Dancing with the Beast from her latest 2018 album of the same name.Later in the set she wowed the crowd with Disappearing Act, Arguing with Ghosts and Love that Makes a Cup of Tea, also from Dancing with the Beast.

Moving to the piano herself, Gretchen gave a flawless rendition of the song she says changed her life, Independence Day, taken from the 1992/3 album The Secret of Life, and going by her songs and emotionally intelligent lyrics, I think she might just know it. Her last two songs of the first set were Arguing with Ghosts, and an extraordinary song about the ordinary trials and tribulations of everyday life, 5 Minutes.

Joined on stage after the break by the Southern Fried String Quartet, who Gretchen wanted to keep forever, she delighted with Love that Makes a Cup of Tea and The Secret of Life (taken from the album of the same name and recorded by Faith Hill in 1999).

The remainder of the set included some amazing instrumental pieces with Gretchen on guitar (including a switch to a Gibson), Barry on piano and the strings, filling the auditorium with music for six very talented musicians. Belting out Revival (recorded by the late great Jimmy la Fave), Blackbirds (co-written with Ben Glover) and taking on the controversial topics of incest and murder with some fearless songwriting.The set closed with When you Love Someone, written with her long-time friend and musical partner Bryan Adams, and featured in the film Hope Floats.

At the end of a fabulous night the audience enthralled by her (and her fellow musicians), it just wasn’t time to leave yet. After a standing ovation Gretchen, Barry and the String Quartet returned to reward us with one final song, taken from her 1996 album The Secret of Life, the gorgeous When You are Old.

And with that they were gone…goodnight and adieu to Southern Fried Festival 2018, roll on 2019!

Stories and Legends of Kinclaven Castle

Stories and Legends of Kinclaven Castle

Grahame Church Blair Castle

Kinclaven Castle sits where the Rivers Isla and Tay converge about 12 miles north of Perth between the Fair City and Blairgowrie.  Now a ruin, forgotten, tired and silent its stories lost in the midst of time.   But if the crumbling stonework could speak then what a story it would tell for the castle’s tales and legends give us an indication of its lost importance.

Malcolm Canmore is thought to have built the castle in the 11th century and his queen, Margaret later Saint Margaret received the homage of the Celtic magnates at Kinclaven Castle. The citadel was a favourite of Alexander III  and while he was staying there in 1264 a carriage of wine was taken to supply the royal guest and his escort.

In 1297 Scotland was at war with the might of England, things did not start well with the Scots army being defeated at the Battle of Dunbar and the capture and forced exile of John I King of Scots in 1296.  William Wallace and Andrew de Moray were fighting back and would shatter an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11th September 1297.

Before Wallace’s success at Stirling, he was hiding in Methven woods a vast wooded area to the west of Perth.  Wallace had heard that 90 mounted troops were to be sent from Perth to reinforce Kinclaven Castle, which was being held by the English. Wallace decided to ambush the English cavalry detachment.  Wallace and his men lay in wait as the horsemen travelled north from Perth as they passed the Scots pounced, in a running battle around 60 of the riders were slain.  The other 30 managed to get to the castle with the Scottish attackers hot in pursuit.   Wallace’s men gained entry into Kinclaven Castle, and in the fighting, all the English were massacred including the women.  Whether this act of slaughter happened is open to question, it might be English propaganda, or perhaps it was done as a response to Edward I of England ordering the inhabitants of Scotland’s busiest port Berwick upon Tweed killed after he captured the town in 1296. In the fighting, Wallace slew the castle commander Sir James Butler and then destroyed the castle.  The English rebuilt the Kinclaven, and it changed hands several times during the war, Edward II of England visited the castle and stayed for a few nights while on campaigning in the area.

A legend from before Wallace ’s attack states that the man who killed the rebel leader Simon de Montford at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 was a member of the castle garrison.  This Knight was playing around with some of the young maidens in the castle retinue.  He then went down to the river to wash mud from his hands, one of the young women crept up behind him and playfully pushed him into the river, he took this in good humour and laughingly splashed his prankster with water.   Perhaps he was struck by cramp in the cold river or was caught in an undercurrent he soon got into difficulties.  His young son standing on the riverbank dived into the river to save his struggling father.  Tragically both father and son were swept to their deaths.

A legend from before Wallace ’s attack states that the man who killed the rebel leader Simon de Montford at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 was a member of the castle garrison.  This Knight was playing around with some of the young maidens in the castle retinue.  He then went down to the river to wash mud from his hands, one of the young women crept up behind him and playfully pushed him into the river, he took this in good humour and laughingly splashed his prankster with water.   Perhaps he was struck by cramp in the cold river or was caught in an undercurrent he soon got into difficulties.  His young son standing on the riverbank dived into the river to save his struggling father.  Tragically both father and son were swept to their deaths.

The Scotsman newspaper on the 2nd of August 1933 tells of a local song sung by the woman gathering the cattle that remembers this sad drowning.

I’ll be drooned in Isla water,

I’ll be found in Isla stream,

Bonnie Babbie me forsaken,

Oh hoo will I win hame?


The weary dree came in ma mou,

I’ll drink it a’ or I gang hame,

Bonnie Babbie me forsaken,

Oh hoo will I win hame?

Another legend that took place downstream at Cargill and it involves a local lass, called Jeanie Low.

David Drummond was a butler and page nearby at Stobhall Castle, he and Jeanie who lived across the river were courting, and talk of marriage was in the air.  Then to Jeanie’s dismay, David ended the relationship, for he had met another fair young maiden.   He would row his boat across the river in the evening to meet his new paramour, and return at dawn.  Jeanie understandably was heartbroken, and unable to move on with her life.  Seeing her former lover with someone new must have ripped at Jeanie’s heart and slowly corrupted her thoughts.  She knew what time David left to cross the Tay and when he returned.  She waited until David was visiting his new sweetheart, Jeanie made her way to where the boat was moored, and she jumped into the small vessel.  She had brought a brace and bit (an old hand drill for our younger readers), and she drilled seven holes into the bottom of the boat.  Jeanie then hid in some nearby bushes.

John Graham Memorial

Before long David returned to the boat, he jumped into it and without a care in the world used one of the oars to push himself out into the river.   It was dark, and he was out in the middle of the river before he realised that the boat was taking in water.  Frantically he tried to bail out the continues flow of water assailing the bottom of the vessel.  But Jeanie had drilled all the holes as far apart as possible making David’s task futile.  Jeanie watched the desperate struggle on the river and saw her former fiancé sink to his doom into the fast flowing and merciless River Tay.

Jeanie was never to recover from this act of murderous desperation, as it never brought any release to her heartache, quite the opposite, as the dark shadow of madness replaced David as her lifelong companion.

A note of caution, if you visit Kinclaven Castle.  There is nowhere to park on the narrow road, I had to park about half a mile up the road and walk the perilous verge down to the castle site

If you like this story and others that I publish here, you might want to read my stories on my blog at historyandhorrorofscotland or take one of our ghost tours running every Wednesday night at Cultybraggan Camp in Comrie. Info on our Facebook page at Haunted POW Camp Tour Cultybraggan.