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Even More Perthshire


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The remarkable tree heritage of Perthshire.

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Even More Perthshire

  1. 1. 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 record-breaking trees. 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 Blairgowrie. 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 Meetings with remarkable trees DISCOVER P E RTHS H IRE 4 / GREAT OUTDOORS ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE 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 churchyard. 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 fictional Tannochbrae. 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 Highland Perthshire — 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