Perth Festival – Shop Window Competition

Perth Festival – Shop Window Competition

Perth Festival – Shop Window Competition

Festival Shop Window Competition

Perth Festival of the Arts is launching its annual Shop Window Competition in conjunction with the Perthshire Advertiser this week.

Retailers and shop owners are invited to take part by creating window displays that celebrate the city’s arts-packed 10-day festival which runs from 16-25 May.

Shops will compete to create the most eye-catching and colourful window displays that capture the Festival of the Arts spirit.  By taking inspiration from the Festival brochure, such as the vibrant artwork by illustrator Jill Calder and the Festival’s diverse programme, shop owners can turn their window into a stunning piece of art. Shops can pick a Festival theme that suits the nature of their business and with the Festival’s rich range of events, the possibilities are endless.  The decorated window displays will complement the colourful Festival banners around the city centre and contribute to the Festival spirit during May.

The competition is split into two categories with prizes for Best Shop Window and Best Charity Shop Window. The prize will be two tickets to a 2019 festival event of the winner’s choice (subject to availability). This year’s programme includes big names such as Jools Holland, Hue and Cry and English Touring Opera. Window displays should be ready on or before Tuesday 14 May, when the judging will take place. Entrants are free to start their displays as soon as they wish and keep them running for the length of the festival.

Festival Administrator Helen MacKinnon explained: “The annual Shop Window Competition is an exciting and long-standing part of the Festival. The efforts and creativity displayed by shops are always outstanding and contribute hugely to the festival vibe within the city centre. We hope that new and long-standing participants will join in the fun”.

Shops can enter the competition by emailing Perth Festival of the Arts on calling 07739 836994. The closing date for entry is Tuesday 7 May. For full details of the Festival programme visit

Boating on the Tay 2019

Boating on the Tay 2019

Boating on the Tay

From May until September 2019, discover the nature and sights of the River Tay with our fantastic boat trips. Take a trip from Broughty Ferry to Perth for a great day out or set sail towards Newburgh for a 50-minute trip on the river.

What’s on this Easter?

What’s on this Easter?

Easter Weekend Activites

Easter means different things to different people but to most of us it is an opportunity to spend time with family and with Spring blooming all around us it is time to get out the house and create some memories. And this year, Perthshire is bursting with family fun throughout the Easter weekend. Here’s a quick peek at some of eggcellent things happening around Perthshire this weekend.

Egg-tastic Fun at St Johns Shopping Centre

Join in for some egg-tastic fun at St Johns Shopping Centre this Saturday! Enjoy a selection of fun Easter activities including an Easter egg hunt and make your own mini egg Easter basket! The Easter bunny is also hopping in between these fun events!

Easter Crafts Eggstravanganza  

Join in at the Black Watch Castle & Museum for an egg-citing weekend of Easter themed family crafts. Get messy as you use paint, fabric, tissue paper, pens and glue to decorate boiled eggs and create egg-cellent Easter cards to take home.

Great Easter Egg Hunt

Join in for some Easter fun at the Great Easter Egg Hunt at Drummond Castle Gardens this weekend! Find the hidden Easter Eggs hidden around the gardens and see if you can find Henrietta’s golden egg and find and name the Chicks. There’s a prize for all Children!

Scone Palace Easter Sunday Pirate Funday

Visit Scone Palace this Easter Sunday for an action-packed Pirate Fun Day! There will be events throughout the day for swashbuckling families to enjoy! From pirate games and treasure hunts to meeting the Pirates and learning some top shipboard skills this is an event not to be missed!

Branklyn Gardens Easter Egg Hunt

The garden at Branklyn is unique, with its maze of paths weaving between trees and shrubs amongst beautiful spring flowers. Treat your loved ones to the magic of the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt this Easter Weekend! Follow bunny’s clues and complete your adventure to win a delicious chocolatey prize.

Killiecrankie Easter Egg Hunt

Bring the family together this Easter Sunday at Killiecrankie and treat your loved ones to the magic of the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt! Get ready for a day of fun! Follow bunny’s clues and complete your adventure to win a delicious chocolatey prize.

Launch of The Tay Cities Pass

Launch of The Tay Cities Pass

Launch of The Tay Cities Pass

Two top visitor attractions in Tay Country have teamed up to create, ‘The Tay Cities Pass’. With a 20% discount on admission this great value ticket gives visitors access to Discovery Point, Dundee and The Black Watch Castle and Museum, Perth.

Not only can you step aboard RRS Discovery the ship built and designed in Dundee for Captain Scott’s maiden expedition to Antarctica, you can also explore the incredible story of Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiment, The Black Watch.

Anne Kinnes, Chief Executive of The Black Watch Castle and Museum states, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Dundee Heritage Trust. The Tay Cities Pass not only gives visitors value for money it creates a special opportunity to access two top Tayside attractions that share stories from Scotland’s rich heritage.”

Kim Adamson, Marketing Manager at Dundee Heritage Trust continues, “We are delighted to be working with The Black Watch Museum and Castle on this joint ticket with Discovery Point.  It offers a unique chance to cross-promote our two cities and two 5-star attractions.  It also gives our visitors an enhanced experience and very good value for money.”

Caroline Warburton, Regional Leadership Director, VisitScotland adds, “This exciting partnership between Dundee Heritage Trust and The Black Watch Castle & Museum is a fantastic example of collaborative working and an innovative approach to attracting more visitors. With Perth and Dundee being less than an hour away from each other, it makes absolute sense for attractions in the region’s two cities to work together.”

“If we wish to capitalise on the global interest in the region and also grow local tourism, then we need to consider different ways to encourage visitors to stay longer and explore all parts of the Tay region. I’m delighted that two of the region’s most popular attractions are already doing this. Tourism is a vital part of the Scottish economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities.”

The Tay Cities Pass can be purchased from both venues or at VisitScotland iCentres in Dundee and Perth and also through the attractions respective websites.

About Dundee Heritage Trust
Formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee’s Heritage, Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent registered charity dedicated to the guardianship, preservation and portrayal of Dundee’s Heritage in ways that educate, inspire and enlighten current and future generations.

As well as the internationally significant Royal Research Ship Discovery, Dundee Heritage Trust has responsibility for Discovery Point Antarctic Museum plus Verdant Works, one of the nation’s most important textile museums.  Both sites are accredited museums with collections of national significance, 5 star rated attractions with VisitScotland and have won numerous awards.

About The Black Watch Castle and Museum
The Black Watch Castle and Museum is a 5 star award winning visitor attraction located in the beautiful city of Perth, Scotland.

The Black Watch Museum is housed within the historic Balhousie Castle, the origins of which are said to date back to the 12th century. A visit to the ancestral Home of The Black Watch brings the history of Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiment vibrantly to life, through artefacts, personal stories and interactive displays.

Visitors can relax and unwind in the welcome ambience of the Castle Café. The seasonal menu offers an appealing selection of meals, snacks, soups, desserts and afternoon tea created with quality ingredients of local provenance.

The popular Castle Gift Shop stocks a range of quality gifts, regimental memorabilia and branded products with an emphasis on providing an enjoyable shopping experience within a Scottish Castle.

The Black Watch Castle and Museum is a unique and compelling heritage location which can also host weddings, offer private dining, exclusive use of the Castle, group and bespoke tours.

For further information contact Leanor Blackhall, Marketing and Commercial Executive | 01738 638152 Ex 212

Scottish Antique & Arts Centre: Specialist Valuation Day For Charity

Scottish Antique & Arts Centre: Specialist Valuation Day For Charity

Scottish Antique & Arts Centre



Our Jewellery Experts will be John Kelly and Robert Torrens

John Kelly who has been in the jewellery business for 40 years, owned his own jeweller’s shop for 30 years while being a Member of the National Association of Goldsmiths and the British Horological Institute.   He is also a fully qualified watchmaker and professes to have a good knowledge of watches and jewellery especially diamonds.

We are pleased that Robert Torrens from Strathearn Jewellers will be joining John Kelly on this popular Valuation Day.  Robert opened his first jewellery outlet in Crieff in 1983 and studied gemmology at North Glasgow College.   He has specialised in antique and estate jewellery for over 25 years.

There will be a charge of £3 per item for a verbal valuation with a limit to four items.   The fee paid will be donated to Maggie’s Centre, Dundee.

The Valuations start at 10.30 am through to 3 pm You register on arrival and you will be given a number which will be processed.    

We do hope you will come to the centre where you can visit our Café Circa for coffee, lunch or tea and cakes. Alternatively, you can visit our wide selection in the home and fashion departments which includes a wide selection of designer goods to suit all tastes.

For further details about this event you can contact SAAC’s Abernyte Centre on 01828 686 401. For restaurant reservations please telephone 01828 686 044. 

Solheim Cup Community Fund

Solheim Cup Community Fund

Solheim Cup Community Fund

In case you hadn’t heard, the 2019 Solheim Cup will take place at the PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel from 10th to 15th September 2019, at the biennial contest between the top women professional golfers from Europe and USA.

The Solheim Cup is a significant event in women’s golf and one of the most prestigious women’s sporting events in the world. More than 40 broadcasters and 100,000 spectators are expected to converge on Gleneagles over the course of the event. Sky TV will provide the live UK coverage and globally the TV reach will cover 600 million people.

Perth & Kinross Council has launched a new fund to help communities to celebrate this exciting event. Your community group can apply for up to £1,250 towards your project that helps celebrate the Solheim Cup! So whether you fancy starting your own golf competition, a Solheim-themed street party or something completely different, get involved today!

Find the application from here. Closing date for applications is the 27 May 2019.


Enjoy Perth and feel rewarded!

Enjoy Perth and feel rewarded!

Enjoy Perth and feel rewarded!

How would you like to be rewarded for shopping, eating out, getting a haircut, seeing a film, going for a swim or getting on a bus? Even better, you don’t have to carry a loyalty card or search for a promotional email on your phone!

Mi Rewards, the city-wide loyalty programme that launched last September, does just that. You simply sign up, link one or more payment cards and, every time you visit a participating business, you’ll be rewarded with points. Each time you build up enough points, we’ll send you a £10 Perth Gift Card for even more spending opportunities!

Perth is the first city in the whole of the UK to offer a city-wide programme like this, and so many of our businesses are getting on board. And so are you – over 1,500 of you are now earning rewards every time you shop, grab a coffee, jump on a bus or enjoy a leisure activity.

Where can you earn points?

The number of participating businesses is so huge, we can’t list them all here, so we asked these Perthshire residents to tell us their favourite places to earn points.

Steve Norris, Perth

“I earn Mi Rewards at McCash’s Country Store, Kisa’s and Blend Coffee Lounge.”

Dawn Cotton Fuge, Owner of Precious Sparkle, Perth

“As the owner of a small business I love to support other indie businesses; for example, I earn Mi Rewards buying my bread every other day at Casella & Polegato bakery.”

Gordon Clark, Perth

“I earn Mi Rewards by going out for dinner to my favourite Perth restaurants, including Everest Inn.”

Liz Tunnacliffe, Bridge of Earn

“I shop at McCash’s Country Store in Perth and I spend a lot, as I have over 100 rescued animals including horses, pigs, sheep, a goat, dogs, cats, ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. Mi Rewards is a brilliant idea and it should encourage people to shop more locally, so that we do not lose our shops to the internet market.”

Gordon Davidson, Perth

“I mainly earn Mi Rewards at Deans Restaurant where we go fairly regularly for dinner or for special occasions such as anniversaries or birthdays. In addition to this, I earn Mi Rewards at TB Mitchell where I tend to go to purchase birthday or Christmas gifts, and at Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall where we attend the theatre and concerts.”

Alastair Muirhead, Owner of McCash’s Country Store, Perth

“I love earning Mi Rewards at local boutique Precious Sparkle, and at Willows Coffee Shop.”

Leigh Brown, Manager of Perth City Centre, Perth & Kinross Council

“I love Perth’s unique and boutique independents which allow you to purchase items that are different from the usual high street products. Having an independent department store alongside small independents is a great strength. I love earning points in TB Mitchell – not just because it’s run by my family but also because I can get something different for presents, from homeware to bling; healthy food, supplements and beauty products at Highland Health Store (along with great dairy free products for Mr B); and treating the family to the fantastic set lunches at North Port. Fun Junction is a great choice for presents for my nieces and nephews.”

That’s just a tiny taster of the 60-plus businesses where you can earn Mi Rewards, and more are joining every day. In February 2019 Stagecoach Buses signed up, so now you can earn Mi Rewards every time you pay with a linked card on their buses or buy tickets online.

This means that you can earn loads of Mi Rewards throughout your whole day, from the minute you hop on the bus, through coffee and lunch, a bit of shopping, getting your hair done and going out for a meal and a show. One Mi Rewards shopper used her linked payment card to pay for her wedding at one of our registered hotels, earning thousands of points instantly. It’s the loyalty programme that never stops giving! Keep checking our list of Mi Rewards businesses to find out the latest additions.

Perks and prizes

As if that weren’t enough, we also think you deserve some perks and prizes for helping Perth’s businesses to flourish. Every Friday we give you a fantastic perk that’s exclusive to Mi Rewards users, or the chance to win a fantastic prize.

Want some examples of past perks and prizes?

How can you start earning?

It’s really simple to sign up. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the Mi Rewards sign-up page
  2. Enter your contact details into our secure system
  3. Link one or more payment cards (the details are encrypted and will never be seen by us)
  4. Start spending at one of our participating businesses!

That’s all it takes to be part of this amazing and ground-breaking new programme that rewards you for having fun and staying healthy. So why not do what Gordon, Liz, Alastair and thousands of others have done, and sign up to Mi Rewards for your points, perks and prizes? You could be earning your first Perth Gift Card in no time!

Perth Visitor Centre Re-opening

Perth Visitor Centre Re-opening

Perth Visitor Centre To Re-Open

In early April, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) will re-open the Fair Maid’s House Visitor Centre for the season.

The geographic inspiration begins on Friday 5th April between 13:00 and 15:00 when there will be a special exhibition on show, Firsts and Nearly Firsts.

On display will be some of the Society’s most prized assets – items such as a telegram from Robert Peary, the first man to reach the North Pole; a special map from the First World War signed by Commander-in-Chief, Earl Haig; and a priceless signed cover of The Times special supplement for September 1953, showing photos of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first summiteers of Mount Everest.

But that’s not all, from Saturday 6th April there will be the opportunity to view a special anniversary exhibition created by the RSGS telling the best stories from the last decade of the Society’s history.

Such anecdotes include the discovery of a skeleton in the Fair Maid’s House, the inadvertent use of a priceless whiskey in a family Christmas cake, and insights from some of the most intriguing and accomplished voyagers, visionaries, missionaries and mavericks to have ever walked Planet Earth.

Whilst at the Fair Maid’s House, visitors will also have the chance to unwind in the Society’s historic Explorers’ Library and view ephemera from the likes of David Livingstone, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott, Neil Armstrong and Karen Darke; in the multi-media Earth Room, there will be hands-on opportunities to learn about geo-politics and the Earth’s tectonic forces; and in the map room, there will be time to get lost in a captivating collection of cartographic treats! 

Commenting on the upcoming season, Mike Robinson said:

“The RSGS is a repository of some the best stories from the past 135 years. I hope that those who visit our headquarters in Perth – whether young or old – will be amazed by the greats and game-changers who have been associated with our small charity, and inspired to discover, learn and care more about the world around them.

“Everyone is welcome, so please come along!”

Only in Whispers

Only in Whispers

Only in Whispers: Perth’s Supernatural Exhibition

This month I thought that I would go and check out the “Only in Whispers” exhibition at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery.  This display focuses on the Myths and Legends of Perthshire which I am sure you know by now I am very interested in.

This display in the museum is very different from your typical museum experience, where you look at an exhibit enclosed in a glass cabinet.  For as you enter the display, you transported back in time into a life-size mock-up of an impression of the interior of Ballechin House. This building once stood between Logierait and Grandtully.  Ballechin House was the scene of a famous haunting in the late 1800s. There is plenty to do in this mock house, from answering phones and listening to whispered conversations on the line or looking through keyholes into other rooms, trying doors to see what lies at the other side and opening a cabinet and reading letters about the hauntings. There is also a collection of weird and macabre objects and information and models relating to the best-known myths and legends of Perthshire.  The pupils of Fairview School helped by animator Jim Stirk put together a short film to go with the exhibition which is well worth a look.


This is a fantastic display and one that the kids would love, with lots to see and explore.  At £5.00 adults and £3.00 with a group of four costing £15, it is reasonably priced for this day and age, there is plenty of other exciting things to see in the museum for free. On the 11th and 12th of April, there are torchlight tours in the museum to coincide with the exhibition where yours truly will be doing some storytelling in the museum vaults.  This is a unique chance to see some of the artefacts in the basement that are not usually on display. All the information on tickets for the exhibition and torchlight tours can be found here.

The Haunting of Ballechin House


The display is focused on the haunting of Ballechin House and here is the story of the strange events that captivated late Victorian Britain.  The origins of the activity reported to originate from Ballechin House was centred on a man called Robert Steuart who had made his fortune while working for the East India Company. Robert moved to the house in 1850, he was a bit strange and seemed to shun the company of his peers preferring his many dogs, some fourteen in all.  He was involved in a scandalous affair with one of his maids, who was later to die in one of the rooms in the house after a short illness. Robert was very interested in the afterlife and particularly on reincarnation, he always stated that when he died, he would return in the spirit of a dog. Robert did die in 1876 and the house passed to his nephew John Steuart, hearing about his uncles’ desire to return from the grave in the form of a dog John had the animals shot.


Strange things started to happen in the house with reports of bangs, raps and sightings of a spectral dog were reported.  In 1897 an investigation into the ghostly goings-on was carried out by John Crichton Stuart the Marquess of Bute he was helped by Ada Goodrich Freer from the Society for Psychical Research.  Freer kept a diary during her investigation, she recorded sounds off “knockings, crashes, bangs, groans and thuds. She stated that were heard at all hours of the day and night. Freer declared that others in the house heard voices and footsteps.  One lady was said to have been woken during the night by the feeling that her bed was shaking, and a maid had her clothing pulled by unseen hands.


Mrs Freer stated that she saw the ghostly figure of an old woman, this ghost was also seen by a maid, but in the second instance, the old woman had no legs.  Phantom dogs were also observed in and around the house and a ghostly nun called Ishbel was also spotted along with a woman dressed in grey. The Scotsman Newspaper on the 5th of July 1899 reporting on the incidents a few years later stated that during the hauntings the house was blessed by a Bishop and Priest in an attempt to stop this paranormal activity.  


When the findings of the alleged hauntings were published, the results were widely ridiculed. The Scotsman Newspaper mentioned above was extremely sceptical as to the authenticity of the ghostly goings-on. Ada Goodrich Freer and her research into Ballechin House was discredited and her peers in the Society for Psychical Research turned on her.

The house was demolished after being uninhabited for many years and after being severely damaged in a fire.


So was there ever any ghostly activity at Ballechin House, well it seems that the house did have a reputation of being haunted before the investigation in 1897.  Perhaps Freer did greatly exaggerate the amount of activity in the house. But it seems the house did have a history of ghostly activity long before the alleged hauntings was documented, it remains an intriguing story.

Written by Gary Knight

Can’t Get Enough of Gary’s Stories?


If you enjoyed this article, why not take a look at Garys book ‘No Fair City’?

Battles, regicides, executions, conspiracies, murders, floods, fires, crimes, punishments, and mayhem No Fair City by Gary Knight has them all. Delve into the darker side of historical Perth, where witches, smugglers, grave robbers, murderers, and thieves conduct their ghastly business. Learn how the guilty (and innocent) were tried, punished, and executed. Read how, in a world before health and safety, plague, fire, the merciless River Tay, and the Perth s lade, railways and roads, took their daily toll of townsfolk and visitors.

You can find it here.

Or if you want to read similar stories from across Scotland, take a look in his new Scottish History Fanzine ‘For the Lion’ available at



Perth Festival of Yarn 2019

Perth Festival of Yarn 2019

The Yarn Returns: Perth Festival of Yarn is back.

7 and 8 September 2019, Dewars Centre, Perth

Perth Festival of Yarn is Scotland’s Contemporary Fibre Festival; bringing boutique independent businesses, sheep-farmers and those that practice the fibre arts together to celebrate the best in textile artistry through a large marketplace, with classes and lectures to inspire.  Perth was shortlisted by the public in the Best Knitting Show/Event category in the 2018 British Knitting and Crochet Awards and welcomed festival-goers from 19 different countries in the same year.

Festival Director, Eva Christie, and her team are excited to deliver a Vendors’ Gallery of 80 independent UK, EU and (for the first time US) businesses including Di Gilpin, The Border Mill, Truly Hooked, Lady Dye Yarns and El Robledal de la Santa Mohair.  Classes over the weekend will be delivered by internationally respected tutors/designers including Françoise Danoy, André de Castro and Steve Malcolm (Mr Hugzzz); while the keynote lecture will be delivered by Jeanette Sloan.

Now in it’s fourth year, Perth Festival of Yarn is known within the international textile crafting communities for it’s friendliness and accessibility.  Festival-goers will have the opportunity to meet their favourite UK podcasters and bloggers in The Knitter Podcast Lounge. The Lounge area leads onto a spacious cafe and bar area which is the perfect place to chat, craft and flash newly acquired materials.

Fringe events at Perth Festival of Yarn this year include a Perthshire Gin Flight Friday and a Saturday Night Gala Dinner with Fashion Show (sponsored by Di Gilpin).

The Perth Festival of Yarn 2019 social media thunderclap begins at 10am GMT on 30 March and all vendors, tutors, lecturers, and social events will be announced at this time on their website.  Advance ticket sales from 7pm BST on 27 April.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode