The fairest portion of the northern kingdom.

That's how Sir Walter Scott described Perthshire. Taking in the region's breathtaking variety, from its serene glens and endless expanses of lush forest, to its bleakly beautiful moors, rushing rivers and tumbling waterfalls, it's impossible to argue with him. We've put together a few brief notes about some things to see and do which we hope will add enjoyment to your holiday at The Hoolet: - 

A popular destination for tourists for over 150 years, Crieff is a traditional Scots market town set amidst Perthshire’s stunning scenery. The attractive and bustling town centre supports a wide range of family-run businesses offering the best of food and drink, clothing, gifts, crafts and arts. Over the past years Crieff has built a reputation for fine food with an amazing choice of cafés, coffee shops, restaurants for fine or casual dining. As you would expect from Perthshire’s second biggest town, the streets of Crieff buzz day and night with tempting shops, hotels, cafés, pubs, restaurants and some of the region’s most interesting small galleries, arts spaces and spas. From its riverside and walks to its beautiful parks and gardens, visitors are really spoilt for choice.  And its easy access to the mountains and glens makes it a hugely popular destination with outdoor enthusiasts and, of course, golfers. There is lots to see and to do! Nearly everywhere in Crieff is within 20 minutes walk of The Hoolet – the nearest pub is under three minutes if you're thirsty!

 

Crieff

Crieff is famous as a place where Highland drovers brought their cattle for sale (comemmorated each autumn by the Drover's Tryst festival  https://www.droverstryst.com/) and then as a spa town once Queen Victoria popularised holidays in Scotland. 

The Crieff Hydro (hotel) was famous for decades as a temperance hotel where no alcohol was served and people came to “take the waters”. Not so now! However the Hydro still offers ‘free’ holidays to Church ministers. The Hydro offers a huge range of activities from dining to swimming and pampering. The trained therapists in the spa offer facials and massages, with aromatherapy, as well as the sauna, steam room and spa bath beside the adult-only Victorian pool. Or you could glide through the woods on a Segway, or zip over the treetops on an Aloft! adventure. Saddle up a horse, or get your eye in at archery, air rifles, and clays. Go for a round of golf – or show off your baseline heroics on the tennis courts. Cycling - pleasant pedalling or full-on MTB tracks. You’ll find them all within the 900 acre estate for all ages & abilities…trailers, tandems and tot seats for all ages so the little ones can tag along for the ride – and electric bike hire. If you’re looking for adventure, check out Action Glen and Hydro Riding  on 01764 655 555

Crieff Golf Club is rated as one of Scotland’s top inland courses. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, at the heart of golfing Perthshire, it provides a feeling of escape as well as spectacular views. Built on gently sloping parkland, once the grounds of Ferntower House, the courses provide a fair, but challenging experience for all levels of player. Excellent playing conditions and friendly reception to visitors led to the club being voted as one of the top UK golf courses by readers of Golf World magazine. Visitors are always welcome  with packages catering for individuals of all ages, families and players new to golf. 

Strathearn Community Campus in Crieff  provides many sporting opportunities for both school children attending the campus and the wider community of the Strathearn area. There is a diverse range of facilities on offer which provides something for everyone from swimming to a fitness gym, squash and badminton courts, fitness classes and dance studio. Telephone 01764 657700.

Crieff Visitor Centre is the home of the world-renowned Caithness Glass where you can enjoy watching the skilled craftsmen at work from the viewing gallery, before meandering around the  Gift Shop, Garden Centre, Antique and Gallery Area. You can also arrange to make your own glass paperweight – under supervision! Homemade food is on offer in the spacious family-friendly Restaurant and there is a garden centre on site, too.

Remake Scotland is a creative recycle, re-use and education charity benefitting children & young adults and run by a committee of volunteer Trustees. Remake is based in Crieff and runs a number of projects including a Volunteer Programme, Scrapstore, Work Experience Placement Programme for Young Adults, Creative Education and Local Partnerships Community Support Projects.The Remake Scrapstore provides community groups and individuals with alternative art and craft supplies and is home to low-cost, varied and abundant scrap materials including clean surplus resources collected from individuals, business and industry. Remake also receives donations of secondhand furniture and tools. Remake Scotland is certified by Revolve, the national re-use quality standard offered by Zero Waste Scotland. Revolve is Scotland’s national re-use quality certification aiming to increase re-use by improving professionalism, customer experience and visibility of re-use organisations. Community groups, schools and individuals must join Remake to access our varied arts & crafts materials, furniture, tools & services, and one-day passes are available to visitors. Green Tourism Award holder.

The Crieff Food Company has a Food Hall with a wide range of local and homemade produce as well as an extensive choice of Delicatessen products and a café inspired by local suppliers serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. They are passionate about food and believe that eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Their chefs select the best food to reflect the season. Through this process they deliver a menu in the  café to excite and a range of ready meals in our Food Hall to give customers amazing food to take home.

Traditional Soap Makers Planet Soap – amazing essential oil soaps, nettle soap, and luxurious bath bombs made with natural ingredients. The soaps are made using the traditional cold process method. This creates a lovely skin-nourishing and moisturizing bar, which lathers up beautifully and holds together well.

Carnelian Crafts, the home of Barkley Glass. Shop for Simon Drew, Edward Monkton, Carrie Elspeth, Kate Hamilton Hunter, Kazuri, Terramundi Pots and the widest range of cards in Crieff This unique Gift shop offers an aladin’s cave of treasures, colourful and quirky for those seeking something a little different for someone special.

Child after Child has been buying and selling new and gently used children’s items in the local community since June 2011. The shop is on Crieff High Street, but everything in the shop is available for viewing and reservation on the facebook page. The shop is currently working with J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity called ‘Lumos’ and since the shop opened has raised over £5,000 for ‘Tommy’s’ ‘Unicef’ ‘Bebold’ ‘Therapets’ and ‘McMillan Cancer’.

Blue Spirit Crieff - established in 2003, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in jewellery making, repairs and customer service. The family has always been self employed as they love to be able to offer people something different, and a service that can outshine most. They can make some items to order as well as carry out same day alterations / adjustments to many things.

The Strathearn Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in Crieff, established in 1994 and run by Susan Bennett. The gallery is well known for exhibiting original work from leading Scottish artists as well as supporting new and up-and-coming artists through regularly changing exhibitions. The gallery also sells a wide selection of applied art including ceramics, glass, sculpture and jewellery at a wide range of prices.

Tangled Up In Blue is a contemporary craft studio owned by resident jeweller Jenna McDonald. Tangled Up In Blue showcases some of the best local designers and makers working in Scotland in a wide variety of mediums from jewellery and illustrations to textiles, ceramics, cards and many more beautiful gift ideas. Jenna also runs jewellery making classes where you can learn how to make jewellery in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment using anodised aluminium. Follow her  Facebook page for regular updates and more information about their classes.

The Spence Gallery was set up in 2016 by Lee Clifford and Kay Aschaber to combine their appreciation of exciting new art and their already established professional framing service. Their joint input has produced a gallery that finds the best of art and makes it even better. A vibrant fresh gallery in the heart of Crieff with a selection of open, limited edition and original artwork. The traditional …..to make you reminisce. The beautiful….. to make you reflect. The quirky …. to make you smile!

Lagom Felt Studio offers an eclectic array of fibre art, ranging from paintings and wall hangings to sculptural pieces and more.Complementing this is their range of bespoke felt gifts to suit every taste and budget, including jewellery, homeware, gifts and accessories, all handmade in Crieff by Tracy Markey. Commissions are welcome if you would like Tracy to create that special something.

The Natural Clinic in Crieff offers a broad range of  experienced therapists who are professionally trained and registered with their associated governing bodies to ensure quality care. They work to reduce pain, stress and tension to promote overall health within the safe environment of their friendly clinic. 

J. L. Gill was established 120 years ago. Like many other towns and villages in Britain, Crieff had over 30 traditional grocery shops at one time, but Gill's is the last remaining one in the town. While keeping the essence of a traditional grocery store, it has evolved into one of the top malt whisky shops in Scotland today, specialising in malt whisky, Scottish bottled beers and liqueurs. But as times change, they have too by selling Cognacs and Armagnacs (some dating as far back as 1886), Rums, small batch Bourbons and Gin. In the grocery side they stock a full range of speciality foods from around Scotland and a wide range of Scottish cheese and are establishing an international reputation of being a “Must visit” whisky shop. 

Fish in Crieff manages to feel like a shop on the shoreline despite being some distance from the sea. These ‘pescatorial surgeons’ offer a wide range of fresh fish and shellfish bought direct from Scrabster and transported overnight. A favourite of chef Nick Nairn, the shop also supplies game and poultry, deli produce, and home-made items such as quiches and terrines.

Campbell’s award-winning craft Bakery is based in 59 King Street in Crieff and 38 Drummond Street in Comrie. Campbell’s was established in 1830 and has been its Crieff location since 1929. It is one of Scotland’s oldest bakeries and is still run by the original family. Seventh generation baker Iain Campbell and his wife Ailsa work hard to make sure the high quality products and service remains the same. They offer freshly made filled rolls, hot soup and sweet treats to keep your energy levels up as well as a wide range of breads, biscuits and cakes. Campbell’s launched its Bake School last year and classes are getting rave reviews! So far topics include: Scottish Baking, Bread Making, Sourdough, Pastry, Summer Berry Favourites, Scotch Pies, Cakes for Afternoon Tea and Christmas Classics. 

Tower Bakery is essentially a Craft Bakery and many products are still made by traditional non-mechanised methods. One of their most popular products is Farl Bread - soda style bread made with delicious brown flour and without any yeast. They sell a variety of our delicious bakery products and use fresh ingredients daily to provide customers with a traditional and modern selection of take-away meals and sandwich choices.

Gordon and Durward Sweet Shop and Scottish Sweet Manufacturer was established in 1925 and is proud to offer you an extensive range of their own tasty confections, ranging from sweet Butter Tablet to fruity Raspberry Macaroon. They stock produce from other remaining Scottish manufacturers who are upholding the great Scottish Tradition of fine confectionery manufacture.

McNee’s delicatessen is  open every day of the week and stocks a vast range of fine products – ingredients and their own oven-ready meals – and are also happy to procure special orders for customers. Great for foodie gifts to take home!

The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery is a unique whisky experience blending the popularity of one of the UK’s most successful whiskies, The Famous Grouse, with Scotland’s oldest single malt whisky, The Glenturret, which is still hand crafted as it was over two centuries ago using the only remaining hand operated mash tun in Scotland. Recently named Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, Scotland’s oldest working distillery offers a unique and authentic experience to visitors.  Visitors experience the traditional handmade distilling processes that have been used to craft the whiskies at Glenturret Distillery for generations. Choose from a range of tour experiences. Sample a selection of fine whiskies in the Tasting Experience, enjoy entry to the  bonded warehouses in the Warehouse Experience and blend your own whisky during an in-depth Blending Experience.The Glenturret Café serves breakfast, light lunches, tea, coffee, and cakes. If you are looking for a more formal dining experience why not visit Restaurant 1775 where they also serve afternoon teas.

Houseproud offers a wide range of things for the home plus DIY & gardening supplies.

The Co-operative supermarket is well-stocked and opens long hours – 0600-2300h every day. It is less than 5 minutes walk from The Hoolet opposite the southern end of Carrington Terrace.

At The Nutcracker Christmas Shop you’ll find beautiful Christmas gift ideas. As well as German wooden nutcrackers from Steinbach and Ulbricht and traditional carved smoking men, you’ll find exquisite wooden nativity figures in little wooden nativity stables. They have a huge range of santas, Christmas stockings, table decorations, hanging decorations for your Christmas tree and   Christmas-themed room fragrances.

Bennybeg Plant Centre just to the south of Crieff on the road to Muthill has a wide range of plants and expertise: There is also a pottery on site where you can have a go yourself at throwing a pot or painting a ready-made piece – and the cafe will keep you fuelled up as the hours pass in a flash! 

Drummond Castle Gardens nearby are considered amongst the finest in Europe. First laid out in the 1630’s the gardens doubled for the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles in series two of Outlander. 

There are lots of really good places to eat out in Crieff – many more than you'd expect in a town this size. We haven't got round them all yet …... but some of our favourites are – Yann's, The Lounge, Craobh, The Gurkas, Delivino, The Loft, The Meadow Inn, The Italian Restaurant, The Crieff Food Co, Thai E San and the Central Fish Bar take-away – and they're all within a few minutes walk of The Hoolet. We've also never regretted making the trip to the Barley Bree in Muthill for a special occasion!

Walking The famous Lady Mary's walk starts a couple of hundred yards down the hill from The Hoolet in MaCrosty Park and follows the Turret Burn to the banks of the River Earn. You can extend it to include Laggan Hill: there are seats and viewpoints along the way. If you're feeling more energetic, you can nip up The Knock – lovely woodland paths, great views (some would cheat by taking the car half way up the hill......). Or there's a walk round The Hosh – also from the front door, likewise the Curroch Path, the Trowan Path, the River Earn Path to Muthill (taking in the Bennybeg Nature Trail en route) and the Torlum Path! 

See www.walkhighlands.co.uk/perthshire/crieff.shtml for more details of these and many other walks in the local area. Also http://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/15446/Core-Paths-Plan-Strathearn-area and https://www.pkct.org/download-leaflets

Cycling – Cycling within the Strathearn valley itself is relatively easy going, with a wide selection of quiet, scenic roads to explore. You can join National Cycle Route 7 at Lochearnead and potter along to Glasgow or Inverness – or on to John o'Groats if you've got the time and energy! There are off-road cycle tracks at Crieff Hydro and Comrie Croft and both places hire a range of bikes: Comrie Croft also has an excellent bike repair (and retail) shop – oh, and a great cafe, and a solar-powered electric car recharging point.

Some of Scotland’s finest golf courses including the world-class resort of Gleneagles, host to the 2014 Ryder Cup, the 2018 European Team Championships and the 2019 Solheim Cup. Breathtaking scenery surrounds our heathland courses and 9-hole gems in the Heart of Scotland. Play a relaxing round or experience a championship test in the natural beauty of the Perthshire Highlands with tranquil glens, lush forests and an incredible array of Scottish wildlife. The picturesque towns and villages throughout the region offer a great choice of accommodation and quality food and drink. Following its successful launch in 2016, the West Perthshire Golf Pass continues to offer unbeatable value for 54-holes at a choice of 5 courses. Details of the pass and information on all you need to arrange your next golf break are available on VisitScotland website.

Try touring kayaking in Tayside, canoeing, paddle boarding, go on a hike, bike ride or improve your archery, or bouldering with Outdoor Explore. All these are suitable to individual explorers, families, and small groups. Novice-friendly activities using top quality kit. They provide comfortable, stable  tandem kayaks and single kayaks. All their trips are guided by an experienced instructors. These ventures are suitable for everyone age 12+. They also run British Canoeing and PSKK courses and archery sessions suitable for 7+ year olds.  www.outdoorexplore.co.uk

Scottish Classic Tours can chauffeur you around Scotland in the comfort of an award winning classic car or iconic VW campervan. Tour Highlights can include pick up from location, Braco, Drummond Castle Gardens (Summer only), Crieff and Glenturret Distillery, Comrie, The Deil’s Cauldron, Glen Lednock, St Fillans and Loch Earn. 07595 187123 or scottishclassictours@gmail.com.


Perthshire

Perthshire is the historic and geographic heart of Scotland, offering a compelling mix of heritage and cultural attractions, outdoor activities, resorts, attractive towns and villages - all set in stunning landscapes. Here are a few more things which might be of interest to you -

Perthshire Waterfalls. The Highland Boundary Fault Line runs southwest to northeast, which separates the Highlands from the Lowland. The rock to the north is hard, igneous and metamorphic, whilst to the south is soft sandstone. Rivers flow and fall over these rocks , eroding the softer rock, forming a line of waterfalls. Other falls were created by glaciation during various ice ages. The scouring of the glaciers formed valleys which were filled by rivers draining off water over the steep sides these valley producing waterfalls.

The Falls of Turret sit 3 miles northwest of Crieff in the valley of Glen Turret. The Barvick Burn rises in hills to the east of Loch Turret and flows south eastwards to join the Turret Water 2 miles  northwest of Crieff. Near its confluence with the Turret it cascades over the Falls of Barvick. The Falls of Keltie are about 3 miles from Crieff. The Falls of Monzie are on the Shaggy Burn near Crieff. Just outside Comrie, the first shock waves were recorded in 1788 in Earthquake House where  minor earth tremors can still be felt from time to time as this great fault continues to move. This fault was highly active 400M years ago when Perthshire, like much of Britain, was a hot dry desert. The famous Diel's Cauldron and Wee Cauldron at Comrie were formed by the river Lednock cascading down from higher reaches above Glen Lednock. Both these waterfalls are accessible with viewing platforms. As you leave Comrie heading east towards Crieff, there are two falls above Lawers House where the Balmenoch Burn crosses the Highland Fault. Be aware of the Country Side Code as you will be crossing private property. Before leaving the area there is another small waterfall worth a visit. Allt Na Drochaide (burn by a wooden bridge) is on the south side of Glen Artney, about 8 km from Comrie. Take the Cultybraggan road up to Glen Artney. There is parking beside the road for two or three cars. This is one Perthshires' little gems.

The beautiful village of Comrie in Perthshire, Scotland, lies on the banks of the River Earn nestled on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. Comrie is in the heart of the scenic West Strathearn area of Perthshire, situated at the meeting of Glens Lednock and Artney with the Scottish Highlands rising to the north.

Comrie Croft If you fancy getting out amidst Perthshire’s fantastic scenery, pop into Comrie Croft where plenty of walking, cycling and mountain biking adventures await you. Pull on your hiking boots and tackle the waymarked walking routes or hire bikes from Comrie Croft Bikes and get out on the winding trails. Stop off at the tempting Tea Garden to refuel once you get back to base. They also have a great bike repair workshop and a solar-powered electric car recharging point.

Cultybraggan Camp 21, near Comrie, has been assessed by Historic Scotland as a Unique Heritage Asset of International Value. It is the last remaining WWII Prisoner of War (PoW) Camp in Scotland. Named PoW Camp No 21, also as the “Black Camp of the North”, it was built in 1941 to house up to 4,000 prisoners. It had a notoriously hard reputation, housing dozens of SS officers, members of the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe & Marine Corps among others. After the war, from 1948, it was used by the MOD as a training centre and was touched by every major post-war conflagration including Vietnam and the troubles in Northern Ireland. During this period until its closure in 2004, it was used by many thousands of military personnel from TA, RAF Auxiliary to cadets. It was subsequently bought by Comrie Development Trust, on behalf of the village, in 2007 using community right to buy legislation. It now has mixed uses including allotments, a community orchard, a catering company, cheese-maker, sour-dough baker, artisan workshops and, recently, a Men's Shed.

Ben Chonzie is a great introduction to 'Munro Bagging'. It is accessed via Glen Lednock, Comrie .

There is a good wide path almost the whole way to the top, at an easy gradient initially, but closer to the top it gets quite steep, and will be tough if you are not used to hills.  Once at the summit there are stunning 360 views, especially of the highlands spanning out towards the North & West. Herds of deer, red kites, peregrine falcons, grouse, sky larks and mountain hare can be seen if you're lucky. The walk is 12km, with 700m of ascent and is likely to take between 4 and 5hrs. Emily's Wild Adventures can take you on an expert guided tour to the summit (and back!) View tour details info@emilyswildadventures.co.uk  07525787784 

Riverside Garden Centre, Comrie - A small and friendly garden centre specialising in hardy and unusual varieties. The gift shop sells local crafts and Traidcraft goods and the Gallery is a showcase for Scottish art while the cafe next door serve fine teas and home-made cakes. All three are small and friendly and in a beautiful setting next to the river. 

Comrie’s Famous Flambeaux Event.  Each Hogmanay as midnight is announced by the bells of Big Ben the flambeaux are lit. These torches, consisting of long thick birch poles with tarred rags tightly bound to the tops, are paraded around the village preceeded by the pipe band and followed by a fancy dress parade. Once the procession returns to Melville Square prizes are presented to the best Fancy Dress competitors and then the torches are cast over the Dalginross Bridge into the waters of the River Earn. This is supposed to signify the casting out of evil spirits. Many of the villagers follow this on with the custom of ‘First Footing’ which usually involves a different type of spirit entirely!

Auchingarrich Wildlife Park is a must for animal lovers – especially the younger ones. A fascinating range of animals & birds to say hello to, and a great cafe plus a range of other activities including an indoor play area, fly fishing and walking. 

Loch Earn - St. Fillans is a pretty, picturesque, conservation village situated within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It nestles at the east end of Loch Earn on the A85. In and around St. Fillans you can enjoy walking, golf, fishing, canoeing, boating, good local food, gardens, history, bird watching, Munro-bagging or just sitting in the sun feeding the resident ducks.

BLiSS trail is a national Scottish Thistle Award winning, eye catching art and architectural installation trail linking the villages of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans on the A84, A85 and Sustrans NCR7 cycle path. The BLiSS trail offers an eclectic mix of fun roadside art and architectural installations to find and follow all year round. Stop and smile at metal, mirror, wicker, wood and other sculptures by Scottish artists including;, Kev Paxton, Jeremy Cunningham, Iain Chalmers, June McEwan, Ian McColl and Lynne Schroder. Look out for the two #ScenicRoutes architectural installations as well as quirky extras like; a totem pole, Airliephant Red phone box book exchange, clan tartan fish and more. http://www.stfillanscc.org.uk/event/the-bliss-arts-trail-237/

Loch Earn Watersports – the centre is set on the South Side of Loch Earn and they have everything you need for an action packed day out with friends or family. Wake Boarding, Waterskiing, Kneeboarding, High speed inflatable rides (or slow speed if you'd rather relax) SUP Hire and Boat rides. They can help you learn to waterski, wakeboard or kneeboard.  http://www.lochearnwatersportscentre.com/

At Ardoch, Braco, are the impressive remains of a Roman fort and several marching camps which included a signal tower. Part of the Roman Gask Ridge, it is said to be one of the most complete Roman camps in Britain, and is one of the best-preserved series of Roman military earthworks in the whole Empire. It is protected as a scheduled monument. Ardoch was one of a chain of camps separated by one-day marches in a generally north-south direction. There is a lovely riverside walk across the road from the fort at Braco – which can be reached by taking the Crieff to Stirling bus service (runs every hour during the day).

Looking further back, Perthshire is rich in traces of prehistoric human activity with numerous cup and ring marked stones, standing stones and stone circles. 

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTfCgoYq9Pc for an introduction to this fascinating subject by local expert David Cowan.

The Meikleour Beech Hedge, the longest hedge in Britain was planted in 1745 and stands at a whopping 100ft (30m) high and 530m long, and is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest hedge in the world. It is thought to have been planted by men who were then called to fight in the Jacobite Rebellion.

The Fortingall Yew is at the geographical heart of Scotland and stands within Fortingall churchyard. It is thought to be between 3,000 and 9,000 years old and has connections to early Christianity in Scotland. It is also believed to be one of the oldest living things in Europe. In 1769 the circumference of the yew’s multiple trunks was measured at 52 ft, but this has vastly reduced over time and what remains are the relics and offshoots of the original tree. Visitors to the old yew tree can also visit Fortingall Church and stroll down the main street of this picturesque village. Look out for the single, time worn cairn in the field opposite the village, known as Cairn of the Dead. During the 16th century Scotland was not spared the Great Plague (Galar Mhor) and the parish suffered heavy losses. So many people died that they could not be accommodated in the churchyard and, legend has it that an old woman, still sufficiently healthy, carried the victims on a horse-drawn sledge to a mass grave in the field and raised a cairn to mark the resting place.

Dunning is a peaceful Perthshire village near the foot of the Ochil Hills. In the middle is an impressive Norman tower (1200-1219) attached to St. Serf's church. The church of St. Serf, Dunning was first recorded in 1219. A Charter of Confirmation dated 1219 includes St. Serf at Dunning, so the church was finished by 1219. The current tower was built in the 12th century, and a single storey medieval church built on to it. There was likely to be an older church on the site because of the remains of an older doorway on the north wall. The medieval church had a high pitched, open beamed roof (see outline on tower, and plan on session house door). In the early 1700's the minister complained that the church was too small and estimates were produced to enlarge the church by building an aisle at the back of it. In the 1780s a new village was being planned as Dunning had been burnt to the ground by the Jacobites in 1716. Masons worked in the village and the opportunity was taken to enlarge the church. Repairs were carried out in the mid 1800's. The church contains the Pictish Dupplin Cross which can be seen inside; an indication of the presence of early Christian settlement in the area. This unusual stone has a typical Pictish/Celtic cross on the upper part and half a cross at the bottom. Examination of the entwined rope sculpture on the edge shows that the stone has been split at some time during its history. The stone dates from 900 A.D. The church bell which strikes the half hour has an inscription in Dutch 'John of Rotterdam made me in 1526'. The larger bell calls sinners to the Gospel, it to Christ and He to Heaven.
Fortieviot the ancient Pictish capital is quite near. Here the Pictish armies fought at the Battle of Duncrub (965AD). A mile to the west of the village, stands a monument to Maggie Wall, burnt as a witch in 1657 - the last person ever burned in Scotland as a witch. It is unusual to have a memorial, particularly one with a cross,  to a witch and it may have been erected as a mark of shame by those responsible for her death. 

Aberfeldy, Loch Tay & Glen Lyon - a land of superlatives: Perthshire's highest mountain; Scotland's longest river; and Europe's oldest living thing. 

First made famous by Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, today Aberfeldy is Scotland's first Fairtrade town and retailers and attractions throughout the area do their best to promote Fairtrade, organic and environmentally friendly products. Just six miles west of the town, Loch Tay is the largest loch in Perthshire, framed by majestic mountains and hillside farms and cottages. As well as being the popular playground of sailors and watersports enthusiasts, the loch is home to 18 ancient dwellings called crannogs. Nearby to the north, Glen Lyon is often described as the longest, loneliest, and loveliest glen in Scotland, and has a wonderfully mystical atmosphere. 

The Birks of Aberfeldy is a dramatic scenic walk on good steep paths, moderately challenging in parts. Where better than The Watermill for a bit of R&R afterwards –  it won the 2008-09 award for best independent bookshop in the whole of the UK. It boasts the widest range of titles in the rural highlands, from art & design to thrillers, fiction, local history, food & drink, travel, biographies and has a whole room of books for children. The cafe serves a light lunch menu - soups, sandwiches and salads as well as fine teas and coffee, and a stunning selection of home-made cakes. The art gallery has changing exhibitions alongside a collection of fine art prints. The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy is an amazing Art Deco rural cinema showing the latest films. Spacious 100-seat auditorium - comfy seats - state of the art projection & sound. Owned by the community, the Birks is a must-visit venue to see a film, relax over coffee & cake, and a great venue for special events. https://www.birkscinema.co.uk/

Ben Lawers Nature Reserve is a range of mountains, connecting ridges, cliffs and lochans, Built of ancient rocks, folded and faulted in picturesque contortions, and home to the most celebrated collection of mountain plants in Britain. These surviving outliers of the arctic and alpine floras, relict and isolated, require sensitive protection and management. Be alert and you may be rewarded with exciting sightings of the following:           Black grouse: In decline, but gaining from our enhancement of its woodland and moorland habitats. Mammals: Tell-tale signs such as droppings, footprints and burrows may be all that is seen of wary beasts such as fox, wildcat or otter.
Mountain ringlet: their best known special butterfly, a local, upland species, is abundant here on sunny days in July.
Raven: Hard to miss as it proclaims its presence with a loud throaty croak, and displays its aerobatic skills.
Frog: Thrives on these hills, and often jumps just under your feet!             The mountain plants discovered in the 18th century are the reason why most field botanists aspire to visit these hills at least once. They are the reason why the Trust bought these hills – to conserve the rare plant communities and species of national and international importance. Ben Lawers is home to several of our rarest plants, such as alpine gentian, alpine woodsia, alpine mouse–ear, alpine saxifrage, alpine fleabane & alpine gentian, to name but a few...Experience the varied plants and wildlife on the Reserve by walking around the Nature Trail, an area slowly returning to a dynamic, sparse, patchy woodland habitat for an increased variety of life. This 1km loop passes close to the Edramucky Burn, before climbing gently out of the gorge to reveal stunning views of Loch Tay and the mountains beyond. Please don’t pick the wild plants. Leave them for everyone to enjoy!

Loch Tay Safaris – run a modern cabin RIB `Iolaire` which is safe, comfortable, fast, dry and guaranteed to raise a smile. Seating up to 12 people, the boat is also available for private charter. The live commentary will take you on a journey through the local history, nature and folklore of Loch Tay. The  passionate and knowledgeable crew will be on hand to answer any questions you have. There is no doubt that this experience will leave you enchanted by the Loch's mystical charm! At 17 miles long, 1/2 mile wide and more than 450 feet deep, Loch Tay is Perthshire’s largest Loch. This unique tour of this beautiful loch is exhilarating and suitable for ages 5 – 85. 

Loch of the Lowes Nature Reserve near Dunkeld is well-known for its pair of breeding ospreys. They are present from late April to late August and can be watched at their tree top nest from a nearby observation hide. Live action from the nest can also be seen on a monitor in the visitor centre. The shallow, fertile loch is good for wildfowl. Great-crested grebe, little grebe and goosander all breed here. In winter large numbers of greylag geese roost on the loch. Otters are often seen. Roe and fellow deer are regularly seen from the hide, while both red squirrels and grey squirrels are present in the surrounding woodland. Visitor centre and observation hide.

The Hermitage is well worth a visit -  on the A9 close to Dunkeld and Birnam which are also worth spending time in  – the latter's Arts Centre is host to the Neil Gow Fiddle Festival each spring – as well as many other events year round. It has a nice wee cafe, a visitor's shop and tourist information as well.

There are lovely walks at Rumbling Bridge on the A822 between Dunkeld and Amulree and also in the beautiful Sma' Glen – also on the A822, between Amulree and Gilmerton.


Perth

Perth Scotland's ancient capital for five centuries, the 'Fair City' of Perth is now the country's newest city. Bustling, compact and beautifully situated on the banks of the River Tay, Perth is three-quarters of an hour from Crieff by bus - a sparkling cosmopolitan gem that keeps on giving visit after visit. Nestled between two sprawling public parks, the elegant Georgian townhouses, cobbled streets and medieval spires of Perth hark back to its long and prosperous past. With a palace, museums, art galleries, stunning gardens, state-of-the-art entertainment venues which draw world-class performers, and Perth's famous racecourse, you'll be pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to places to visit. Perth's shopping rivals that of many of its larger fellow cities. With bustling weekend markets and stylish shopping centres, the city and its surrounding area offers several unique shopping experiences. Check out hip independent boutiques and pick up some bargains from all your favourite high street names. 

Whether you're after a quick bite to eat or a three-course meal with all the trimmings, Perth's dining scene doesn't disappoint. Genteel tearooms, cosy cafés and superb restaurants serving everything from gourmet French cuisine to traditional Scottish fare - all are on the menu in Perth. Praveen Kumar, award-winning restauranteur and chef offers Indian Cooking School  sessions in Perth. Bringing hands-on cookery training, top quality produce and inspirational teaching, your cooking lesson includes six hours of hands-on lessons with dining, a glass of wine or beer and plenty to take home. And that's before trying activities such as golf, watersports, ten pin bowling, go-carting and horse riding, all within the city's boundaries. You'll also find that within 5 miles there's a distillery, brewery, castles and plenty of cycling routes to keep you busy. A walk up to the viewpoint and folly on Kinnoul Hill amply repays your efforts!

Stirlingshire

A wee city with a big history, Stirling punches well above its weight for historic attractions and spectacular scenery, not to mention shopping, places to eat and exciting events, and is an hour away from Crieff by bus. Take in the magnificent views from Stirling Castle's hill-top esplanade towards the Wallace Monument on the edge of the rolling Ochil Hills before looking north east for the mountain peaks of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Savour delicious food and drink on your holiday in Stirling in friendly pubs, cosy cafés and buzzing restaurants. At the local farmers' markets you can speak to local producers and pick up some tasty treats, or browse independent boutiques in the historic surroundings of the Old Town and the Victorian Stirling Arcade

Ardgetty Red Kites is on a farm just north of Stirling in the Braes of Doune where the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage have reintroduced the red kite. It is with their help that they provide a facility for enjoying the birds in comfort but without the risk of disturbing what is still a fragile population. It is Central Scotland's only red kite feeding station where visitors can watch these exciting birds and their spectacular flying. Please see http://argatyredkites.co.uk for more information and to book your visit.

Windy Hollow Farm, Trinty Gask,  between Auchterarder and Kinross, grow their own specialist organic tea and will happily arrange a tour of the tea plantation for you – followed by a tasting session. They also do wild flower walks and renewable energy tutorials!hello@windyholloworganics.co.uk


Green Tourism

The VisitScotland iCentres in Perth, Blairgowrie, Pitlochry and Dunkeld all have Green Tourism Awards. Other places to visit in Perthshire with Green Tourism Awards are - 

RSPB Loch Leven Nature Reserve, Loch Leven, KY13 9LX. Tel 01577 862355

Loch Leven Castle, Loch Leven, Kinross, KY13 8UF. Tel 01241 878756

Corrie Fee National Nature Reserve, Glen Cova, DD8 4RD. This Reserve was sculpted thousands of years ago by the power of ice, leaving behind corries, cliffs, moraines and a meandering river. This breathtaking landscape is a haven for scarce arctic-alpine plants, birds and animals. Corrie Fee’s path is popular all year round with hill walkers and the crags are well known for winter climbing. Watch out for beautiful alpine flowers, rare mountain willows clinging to the crags, golden eagles and peregrines. Tel 01738 444177.

Highland Safaris, Dull, Aberfeldy, PH15 2JQ. Red deer centre, Land Rover safaris, off-road 4x4 driving tuition, bike trails, walking, panning for gold, fishing, wildlife photography tuition -  and a cafe! Tel 01887 820071.

Branklyn Garden, 116 Dundee Road, Perth, PH2 7BB. This attractive garden, a haven of peace within walking distance of Perth, was developed by John and Dorothy Renton with the help of seed collections from plant hunters such as Forrest, Ludlow and Sherriff. Gardeners and botanists come from all over the world to Branklyn to see the outstanding collection of plants particularly rhododendrons, alpines, herbaceous and peat-garden plants. Branklyn holds the National Collection of the striking and unusual vivid blue Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis. Other National Collections here are Cassiope and Rhododendron taliense. Tel 01738 625535.

Dunblane Cathedral, The Cross, Dunblane, FK15 0AQ. One of Scotland’s finest medieval churches. The lower part of the tower is Romanesque but most of the building was built in the 1200s and extensively restored in the 1800s.

Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, near Pitlochry, PH18 5TL. Tel 01796 481207

Elcho Castle, Elcho, Rhynd, near Perth, PH2 8QQ. Tel 01738 639998

Scone Palace, Perth, PH2 6BD. Tel 01738 552300.

Huntingtower Castle, Perth, PH1 3JL. Tel 627231.

Stanley Mills, Stanley, Perth, PH1 4QE. Picturesquely sited on the banks of the Tay, Stanley Mills was founded to process cotton at the height of the Industrial Revolution, finally closing in 1989. There are superb interactive displays and games that help you to experience working life here. Listen to the Gaelic poetry and stories of the displaced Highlanders who worked here after losing their homes in the Clearances. Tel 01738 828268

Scottish Crannog Centre, Kenmore, Loch Tay, PH15 2HY. Discover what life was like 2,500 years ago at the Scottish Crannog Centre, a unique reconstruction of an ancient loch dwelling in the heart of beautiful Perthshire. Fun, exciting, inspirational and informative, this award-winning centre has something for everyone, from the youngest explorer to the serious knowledge seeker! The distinctive roundhouse sitting over stunning Loch Tay is one of the most recognisable sights in Perthshire and draws on remarkable discoveries made by divers from the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology during their underwater excavations of Oakbank Crannog at nearby Fearnan. Tel 01887 830538.

Killiecrankie Visitor Centre, Killiecrankie, near Pitlochry, PH16 5LG. Dramatic gorge, site of one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history. Tel 01350 728641.

Queen's View Centre, Strath Tummel, near Pitlochry, PH16 5NR. Tel 03000 676380.

Meigle Stones Museum, Dundee Road, Meigle, PH12 8SB. The museum at Meigle displays 26 Pictish carved stones dating from the late 8th to the late 10th centuries. Making up one of the most important collections of early medieval sculpture in Western Europe, they are all that survives of a centre of Pictish wealth and patronage. Tel 01828 640612

Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberfeldy, PH15 2EB. Tel 01887 822010.

Deanston Distillery, Deanston, near Doune, FK16 6AG. Tel 01786 843010.

Provender Brown Delicatessen, 23 George Street, Perth, PH1 5JY. Tel 01738 587300

Barley Bree Restaurant, 6 Willoughby Street, Muthill, PH5 2AB. Tel 01764 681451.

McLaren Leisure Centre, Mollands Road, Callander, FK17 8JP. 01877 330000.

Perth Concert Hall, Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5HZ. Tel 01738 621031. www.horsecross.co.uk

Other resources

Perthshire Creates is a network to shine a spotlight on contemporary creative activities happening across the Perth & Kinross area. This online platform showcases the work, events and activities of the many vibrant clusters of artists, designers, creative businesses and cultural organisations in the area. Whilst also providing a link for the creative community, informing, supporting and developing opportunities for creatives at all stages of their career. http://perthshirecreates.co.uk/

Perthshire Events and Festivals – see http://perthshirecreates.co.uk/events-festivals/ for information on a fabulous range of concerts, festivals and other events. 

Strathearn Artspace is Crieff's own multifunctional home for performances, exhibitions, workshops, films and tea dances. https://www.strathearnartspace.co.uk/ 

Crieff Folk Club also meet in the Artspace once a month – check out the Artspace website for more details – and to see what else is on – it's only a couple of minutes walk from The Hoolet! 

Crieff Accordion & Fiddle Club meet on the first Thursday of the month (but not in January) in the British Legion and welcomes visitors – both as players and listeners.

Strathearn Music Society – hosts top-notch musicians giving monthly performances in Crieff - see http://www.strathearnmusicsociety.btck.co.uk/

https://www.horsecross.co.uk/ is the website for Perth Theatre and Concert Hall – excellent range of concerts to suit all tastes


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