Do you love tasty food and drink, enthralling history and culture, and inspirational scenery? If so, come to Breadalbane and let its charms beguile you.
Feel everyday cares melt away as you enjoy a delectable meal then sip a relaxing dram while meditating on a mountain view. Be entranced by stories of prehistoric lake dwellers and enraptured by delightful artworks and films. Before you know it, the spirit of this ancient and ruggedly beautiful region will seduce you to stay a little longer.
Below are our suggestions as to how to indulge yourself and your loved ones in our captivating region and a link to a competition for a lucky couple to win a relaxing and romantic weekend in beguiling Breadalbane. As 2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, we are focussing on a few of the many places where you can enjoy delicious, freshly prepared local produce.
The winners of the weekend will stay in one of the luxury ensuite guest bedrooms at Errichel House, on a family-run hill farm on the slopes above Aberfeldy, Perthshire. In the Thyme at Errichel Restaurant, they can savour the best of Scottish and British produce while enjoying beautiful views. On a stroll around the peaceful grounds, they may see wild hare, deer and pheasant as well as the resident ponies, sheep, goats, cattle and free range hens.
The prize includes a tour of the Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay with an Iron Age cooking experience and, just along the road in the pretty village of Acharn, a heavenly chocolate workshop at Charlotte Flower Chocolates. The weekend will be enhanced by lunch for two in a stunning location at Highland Safaris award winning café and a tour of Dewar’s World of Whisky at Aberfeldy Distillery.
To aid exploration and save driving, the winners will receive tickets for the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer, the bus that circuits our area, stopping off at the towns and villages and tourist attractions (including the two distilleries!).
For culture vultures, Aberfeldy has lots to offer. It is home to the Birks Cinema, whose programme is mix of films and live broadcasts from leading opera, ballet and theatre companies. And there are several art galleries, including one within The Watermill bookshop. If you are looking for a gift – maybe a piece of Celtic jewellery – or something for the house, visit Windows or one of the other tempting shops in town.
If you fancy exploring further, it is easy to make a circuit of Breadalbane in a day. A trip south from Aberfeldy through the picturesque Sma’ Glen leads to Crieff, the largest town in the area. Here you’ll find Crieff Hydro, Scotland’s leading family leisure resort, which has an amazing choice of activities in its Action Glen outdoor centre. Crieff itself is a bustling market town, with attractive shops, art galleries, cafés and restaurants.
Continuing west you reach Comrie, a characterful village spanning the River Earn. The Royal Hotel overlooking the central square has a reputation for fine food. Comrie is also the site of one of the best preserved WWII prisoner of war camps in Britain. Now owned by the community, its heritage centre is open all year and you can visit for self guided tours or events.
Not far beyond lies enchanting Loch Earn, seven miles of tree-fringed freshwater with the attractive village of St Fillans at its foot. The Four Seasons Hotel has a picturesque location on the loch shore and a popular restaurant serving contemporary Scottish cuisine. At the other end of the loch is Lochearnhead, where you enter Rob Roy country, with the grave of the famous outlaw in nearby Balquhidder.
Turning north, the road and adjacent railway line – now a Sustrans walking and cycle route – rises through Glen Ogle. Queen Victoria dubbed this dramatic glen the “Khyber Pass of the North”. A forested descent leads to scenic Glen Dochart and Killin, where the River Dochart cascades over rocky rapids into Loch Tay. The traditional Clan McNab burial ground is situated on an island in the river and nearby are a prehistoric stone circle and ruined medieval castle. Killin has several enticing eating places, including the Capercaillie Restaurant and Bar, overlooking the river.
Long and sinuous Loch Tay extends 15 miles between mountains to the model village of Kenmore with its photogenic whitewashed and black timbered hotel and houses. A wonderful view stretches back up the loch, past the reconstructed crannog (a lake dwelling on stilts) to Ben Lawers, the highest mountain in Scotland outside the Nevis and Cairngorm ranges. Nearby at Croft Moraig is an impressive stone circle, further evidence of human settlement stretching back to Neolithic times.
From Kenmore the River Tay flows through a wide valley to the historic Wade Bridge at Aberfeldy, built in 1733 after the first Jacobite revolution to enable government troops to march rapidly north when needed to control the unruly Highlanders. Here, at the very heart of Scotland, you can unwind and enjoy good food, stylish shops and fascinating history amid spectacular scenery.
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Enter the Beguiling Breadalbane competition to win a luxury weekend for a couple.