For those looking for relaxing
pastimes — whether indoors or out —
Perthshire has plenty of activities to
offer. When it comes to outdoor
attractions of the leafy variety, though,
Perthshire, with its acres of forest
and woodland, has some particular
treats in the form of unusual and
The tallest hedge in the world can be
found at Meikleour, for instance, a lovely
village in Highland Perthshire. Then
there’s the Fortingall yew, which is
reputed to be up to 5,000 years old and is
found in the village of the same name.
Meanwhile, Britain’s tallest tree,
a Douglas fir, grows at the Hermitage,
near Dunkeld, a site protected by the
National Trust for Scotland.
As if that were not enough, Perthshire
also hosts the widest conifer in Britain —
a giant redwood at Cluny House Gardens
— while Diana’s Grove, near Blair Castle,
holds a wealth of mighty trees.
Here you can marvel at some of the
country’s finest and tallest trees: a grand
fir, the UK’s second tallest tree; a
Japanese larch, the tallest in the
UK at 144ft); and Britain’s tallest red fir,
standing at 128ft.
Beyond natural attractions, there are
organised pursuits — and if golf’s your
game, you will be spoilt for choice, as
Perthshire has more than 40 courses.
These include some of the world’s most
prestigious ones, such as Gleneagles in
Aucherarder, and Rosemount in
For those without deep pockets,
however, there are community-owned
courses such as the North Inch in Perth,
where the cost of a round starts at £10 in
winter, and club hire is free.
The county even offers the world’s
fastest-growing watersport: stand-up
paddleboarding. It’s fun to do, easy to
pick up, and can be enjoyed on several
lochs and rivers, including Loch Tay and
This land of forests has outstanding arboreal specimens
— as well as cultural attractions, writes Katie Wood
DISCOVER P E RTHS H IRE
4 / GREAT OUTDOORS
26.3.2017 / 5
When the sales hit, you may well have to
queue to get in.
Even if you’re not a big shopper, you
can still enjoy a few hours here. Foodies
will love the food hall — it is Scotland’s
answer to Fortnum & Mason. Art lovers
will appreciate the gallery, while those
seeking fashion and footwear can find
top international brands in stock. It’s also
a great place to find unusual presents to
take home with you.
Round off the retail therapy with a
meal in the restaurant and take
advantage of a Victorian-style glass-
covered courtyard conservatory.
There is more to Perthshire than just
the area around Perth and Highland
Perthshire. To the west, in the Trossachs,
lies the pretty town of Callander by the
River Teith. It’s the gateway to
Balquhidder, at the head of Loch Voil,
and Rob Roy MacGregor country — his
grave can be found in the village’s
In the 1730s, Callander was created by
the duke of Perth. In the Victorian era it
became a spa town whose popularity
grew because of the proximity of the
Trossachs and the works of Sir Walter
Scott, notably his narrative poem Lady of
the Lake, which is set in the region.
Those of a certain age may know the
area, thanks to the long-running 1960s
and 1970s television show Dr Finlay’s
Casebook. Callander featured as the
and performing six excellent shows, all of
which are played in daily rotation, which
means you can see a different show every
day, and two on Wednesdays and
Saturdays, as well as on selected dates in
September. Many people plan a week’s
summer holiday around the theatre’s
productions. This year the shows include
Cole Porter’s High Society and Alan
Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular.
Come autumn, a different series of
productions kick off. Previous autumn
shows have included The Steamie,
Our Man in Havana, The Ladykillers and,
at Christmas, musicals such as White
Christmas, Scrooge and Miracle
on 34th Street.
The Scottish country
clothing shop House of
Bruar is a popular
stop-off for visitors to
— expect to queue
for a place in its
massive car park.
Natural beauty is intrinsic to Perthshire,
and visitors to Blair Castle, above, can see a
stunning set of trees at nearby Diana’s Grove
Loch Earn and the River Tay, through
Paddle Surf Scotland.
From May the company, which
specialises in lessons and board hire, is
also offering a yoga version of the sport,
giving participants the chance to exercise
and relax while exploring beautiful
locations on the water.
For a less active pursuit, there is the
area’s newest visitor attraction, the
upgraded Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre,
at Loch Faskally, which opened last
month. Here you can learn about the
energy company SSE’s historic role in
bringing hydroelectricity to the
Highlands through audio-visual displays,
films and interactive dynamos. It’s a
great family outing — and it’s free. There
are collections of vintage electrical items
on view, as well as a gift shop and cafe.
The centre showcases the
extraordinary engineering feats of the
1950s that brought power to the glens.
It’s educational and interesting. In
addition, it tells the story of how salmon
navigate their way through SSE’s dams
and fish ladders.
The centre is also impressive from a
design perspective. Built on stilts on the
banks of the River Tummel, it’s designed
to make the most of the stunning views
of the dam and loch.
Pitlochry is best known for its theatre,
which attracts more than 100,000
visitors a year. This summer, Pitlochry
Festival Theatre is once again producing