Home » Blog

The Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe


Edinburgh CastleEstablished in 1947, it is the largest Arts Festival in the world.  The Festival takes place in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, every August for three weeks.  It is a culmination of creativity and hard work of many people from writers, producers, directors and performers whose talents and shows can be viewed on this world stage.

Artistic shows range from, theatre, comedy, dance, music, street performance, cabaret, the spoken word or circus. Comedy is the largest section and performances range from some very well known artists to new comers.  My favourite section is dance and comedy and I have had the privilege of seeing an amazing contemporary ballet produced and performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov and an African Ballet.Edinburgh 2

Thousands of performers world wide take to the different stages throughout the city, making it a cosmopolitan hub and the atmosphere is electric.  Anyone with a creative idea, energy and belief can be part of this international cultural event.

Princes Street and gardens are alive with street performers and circus acts and stalls of arts and crafts line the pavements.

The Festival programme is packed with entertainment and has something for everyone.  You are guaranteed to find performances that appeal to your taste.  Two major events well worth seeing and I speak from experience, is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo  and the Fireworks Concert which brings the Edinburgh International Festival to a spectacular end.  The fireworks concert with more than 100,000 fireworks exploding in the sky, is accompanied by music played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, a most atmospheric event!Fireworks

Both shows take place at Edinburgh Castle.




So folks, as we approach the Fringe’s 70th Anniversary in 2017 why not come and join in the fun and celebrations of which there are bound to be many in this commemorative year.  I write this brief blog now, as true to form, even in a normal year, shows and events are booked up well in advance……. so start planning and use Pitlandie Wood Lodge as your base, we are only 50 minutes away!

Farm Food Shops and Cafes in Perthshire and Fife

foodFarm Food Shops have grown in popularity over the years.  Anyone with a passion for great food and drink should explore the wide range of Farm food shops Scotland has to offer.  They reflect the quality produce grown locally by the farmers and make the whole shopping experience enormous fun.

Here are my reasons for visiting our local Farm food Shops:

  • To support local businesses.
  • To eat fresh quality, local produce.
  • A fun shopping experience, not just buying fresh food but unique quality gifts, some hand-made and cards as well.
  • To try something new.
  • And last but not least, to minimise your carbon foot print.

Here in our local area we have three excellent farm food Shops/Cafe that I would personally recommend.  Not only are they places to purchase quality farm produce but they all have a cafe where you can eat the delicious food they make.

Gloagburn Farm Shop

Open daily 9am to 5.30pm


Gloagburn Logo SmallSituated in the beautiful Perthshire countryside with a working farm, Gloagburn is a great day out and is our local Farm Food Shop just six miles away.


Duck Pond 2Starting from humble beginnings in 2003 and now a hundred-cover coffee shop.

There is a licensed coffee shop,  with a bright airy conservatory, which is always busy, so I would recommend that you book a table.  You are guaranteed, delicious coffee and a varied menu with lots of homemade delights, my favourite being their gooey carrot cake accompanied with a cappuccino.

For those with special dietary requirements, there is a daily Gluten-free option in Savoury and Sweets.

A lot of the produce sold in the farm food shop, is reared on their own farm but they also sell other products sourced locally and of the highest quality.Gloagburn

A team of skilled cooks produce delicious home baked savoury pies, quiches, puddings, cakes, salads, chutneys and marmalades to name but a few of the goods on sale in the shop.  I love their broccoli and nut salad and Wensleydale and red onion quiche all made in their own kitchen.  I quite often stock up on beef reared on their farm, sweet tarts and of course their famous free-range eggs. 

Finally, the Gift Shop – “providing something a little different” from English scented candles, bespoke pottery, luxury scarves, beautiful French glassware and a wide range of greetings cards.  You will need a few hours browsing and are thoroughly spoilt for choice!



Pillars of Hercules

The farm shop is open every day  throughout the year including bank holidays 9.00am-6.00pm.


Pillars 2Pillars of Hercules is the smallest in size of the Farm Food shops/Cafe but sells an abundance of delicious, organic home grown vegetables.  It is a quirky wooden shop/cafe, rustic in style and recently received a BOOM award for the Best Organic Farm Outlet in th UK.

Pillars of Hercules was established in 1983 and is one of the oldest 100% organic farms in Scotland growing salads, veg apples and potted herbs, also keeping laying hens.

A variety of flowers are grown in their cottage garden and are either cut for sale or sold as potting plants, I have found some really unusual tulips grown here amongst some other gorgeous plants.

The organic farm is situated next to the lovely wooded Falkland estate, ideal for dog walking and only a miles wonder through the woods from Falkland palace itself.  It is such an attractive woodland walk and great for letting the dogs out once you have purchased your goods.  

P of HerculesThe Farm shop is open daily and sells a great selection of fruit, vegetables and eggs as well as home baked bread, meat, dairy products and wholefoods.  The salad leaves and tomatoes are full of flavour and the vegetables and herbs are all organic, I always come out with an armful of goodies.

A popular vegetarian café provides delicious homemade meals with vegan and gluten free options available daily.



Loch Leven’s Larder

Opening Hours 9.30am to 5.30pm – 7 days a week.

LLL 4Loch Levens Larder, another favourite of mine, is an award winning family-run farm, restaurant, deli and retail shop.

Set against a stunning backdrop with the Ochil and Lomond Hills and with a nature trail that is a haven for wildlife, really does make the Larder a unique visitor’s experience.  The walk around the Loch is beautiful and well worth adding to your trip to the Larder, making it a full day out. I suggest you visit it first and then relax and enjoy the retail therapy that the Larder has to offer.

There is a well-stocked gift shop which offers a range of contemporary gifts including items that cannot be purchased elsewhere in the UK.  I never fail to find that unique gift for birthdays or Christmas presents, quite often you are spoilt for choice, so hours are spent on deciding.

Working with Johnston’s of Elgin, the wool and cashmere producers, Loch Leven Larder are proud to promote their own tartan cloth, inspired by the colours of the landscape.

The Larder source much of their produce from their own vegetable farm and local producers in Perthshire and Fife, both counties are rich in quality Scottish produce.  All these delicious goods are sold in their farm shop and used to produce seasonal meals and treats to be sold in their restaurant and deli.

Chocolate LoafA relaxed, spacious café with a picturesque window looking out across the fields to Loch Leven itself gives you a feeling of dining al fresco.  Diners can enjoy the stunning scenery whilst sampling the quality home made food produced in the Larder’s kitchen.

The menu choices change daily, reflecting what is fresh and seasonal on the day and you can have anything from breakfast, lunch through to tea.

These Farm Food outlets help the public reconnect with the farm producers.  We as consumers have the comfort of knowing exactly where your food is coming from and that whatever you buy is quality, full of flavour and some of the best Scotland has to offer.

Coffee Shops


Coffee has become one of the most popular drinks worldwide.  More often than not, a trek to the local coffee shop is a standard daily activity.  Connoisseurs know that a good coffee can be as complex as a fine wine with different flavours specific to the roasting and origin of the bean.

In Perthshire we are spoilt for excellent coffee shops.

Listed, are some of my favourites locally:  Melt Gallery in Pitlochry, Spill the Beans in Dunkeld, Blend in Perth and Stuart Towers in Murthly.


Melt GalleryMELT GALLERY/COFFEE SHOP in Pitlochry http://meltgallery.com/melt-gallery

A true gem, in more senses of the word.  At Melt you can savour delicious Italian coffee, excellent eats in great comfort surrounded by local art work and exquisiteMelt Gallery 2 jewellery.  A truly restful and beautiful experience.

Annie Stenhouse, the owner is a master jeweller and makes and exhibits her creations in showcases throughout the gallery/coffee shop.

Observe and relax in luxurious red leather sofas with gentle music playing in the background.

There is table service from friendly attentive staff.

Choose from a selection of delicious homemade cakes to accompany your Coffee.

Melt Gallery is accessible and dog friendly.


                                                   BLEND COFFEE SHOP in Perth, http://blendcoffee.co.uk/

Blend CafeBlend is situated in the old part of Perth with ample parking.  As the name depicts, it is a place where a blend of people congregate, from writers to professionals and students to the elderly.   It is a hive of activity and chatter.  A very friendly and busy coffee house with a rustic feel.  On two levels, there are wooden table and chairs and comfortable leather sofas to sink into.

They are proud to say that all their coffee is roasted in Scotland – so along with excellent service their goal is to, make your day!!Blend Cafe

Cakes galore, are sold there and most of them are homemade.  You must try the moist gluten free carrot cake and chocolate brownie.

The staff are extremely friendly and very helpful.



This is a cute wee coffee shop situated up a cobbled street leading to Dunkeld Cathedral.  Highly popular with the locals and visitors there is seating both inside and outside.   This coffee shop is very popular.

A bijou café, quirky with a homely feel.

A wonderful selection of homemade cakes are sold here, to die for, is their gooey salted caramel chocolate cake and citrusy lemon cake.

Their menu ranges from homemade soups, sandwiches, light lunches, scones to delicious cakes, coffee, teas and other beverages.

The staff are very attentive and friendly.

Dogs are most welcome.


STEWART TOWERS in Murthly http://www.stewart-tower.co.uk/

Stewart TowersOriginally a horse engine house and round in shape, it has been restored into a country style coffee shop and ice cream parlour.  This unusual building is situated on a country road and has panoramic views of beautiful Perthshire countryside.

There is ample seating in the round house with a wooden beamed ceiling and patio doors open out to an exterior seating area.

You can eat al fresco with the children, before or after visiting the pygmy goats and geese in their paddocks.

Stewart TowersTheir menu offer’s breakfast, lunch and tea, all very delicious but a must have is Stewart Tower’s homemade ice cream.  They produce as many as 200 different flavours of ice cream using milk from their own dairy herd.

The flavours range from the traditional Raspberry ripple, Mint choc chip to some more unusual flavours like Bakewell tart, Orange marmalade cheesecake and Sorrento Lemon.  There is a range of fruit ices on offer too.

Off the restaurant area is a small well stocked farm shop, where they sell fresh meat from the local butcher, fruit, vegetables, cheeses and oil and preserves.

A family friendly eating place!


If you want to buy your own stock of locally roasted coffee, why not visit The Bean Shop on George Street in Perth.  John and Lorna would be pleased to assist you and provide you with a taste of that day’s special offer.  http://www.thebeanshop.co.uk/

Our Favourite Local Pubs


I thought I should do a wee blog on our local pubs and keep you up to date.  Only a few months ago the Chapelhill Inn reopened under new management much to the delight of the locals.  Here are 4 of our most popular local pubs, starting with the closest one to Pitlandie:


Pitcairngreen InnPitcairngreen Inn 1.5 miles away.  As the name suggests, this 200 year old pub (once an old coaching Inn) is situated on the edge of a mature oak lined green in the picturesque village of Pitcairngreen.  www.pitcairngreeninn.co.uk

  1. This is a  family pub and dogs are welcome too.
  2. Serves good country food using fresh local produce and sells an extensive range of malts and Scottish ales.
  3. Inside there is a cosy lounge with a welcoming log fire and outside is a beer garden which looks out onto the green.


Chapelhill InnChapelhill Inn is 5 miles away.  A 200 year old white washed country Inn situated up in the Glenalmond hills.  This wee pub has a warm and friendly rural feel to it.  There is seating and parking outside.  www.chapelhillinn.co.uk/

  1. A family pub with cosy bar and dining area.  A roaring fire in the bar area, on those chilly wintry nights , is most welcoming.
  2. Serves real Ale and country home cooked pub food.
  3. Offers access for all.


Uisage Bar is in the picturesque village of Murthly only 6 miles away.  A family run bar and restaurant with a lively atmosphere.  www.uisge-murthly.co.uk/

  1. Offers a varied menu and takes pride in using produce sourced from local farms. There is a choice of a bar menu or a la carte from 6pm.
  2. Modern and contemporary décor with a large outdoor dining terrace and children’s playing area.
  3. Live music nights on specified evenings.


This pub is situated in Dunkeld one of Scotland’s most beautiful towns.   Set on the banks of the River Tay and only 10 miles away.  The Taybank was once owned by the famous musician Dougie Mclean who introduced jamming sessions for musicians to play in the bar.  The current owner has continued this tradition and on certain nights touring musicians perform.   ww.thetaybankdunkeld.com/

  1. Set in the beautiful village of Dunkeld with a riverside beer garden overlooking the River Tay.
  2. The Taybank has become famous for it’s music and great atmosphere and now has a growing reputation for great food sourced locally and sustainably.
  3. Musicians are always welcome to grab a fiddle or guitar from the wall and start their own sessions. They host a wide range of styles of music from traditional rock to jazz, soul, blues and anything else.
  4. A cosy atmosphere with a rustic feel, with wooden floor, tables and chairs.

The Best Walks in Perthshire


Walking in Perthshire is highly recommended as the best way to enjoy its stunning countryside and to observe nature at close quarters.

Here are a few of my favourite local treks, some more challenging than others.  By the way remember to take your camera!

Starting with the most challenging:

Steps at Birnam Hill

Birnam Hill

Birnam Hill is very much for the more active person.   Good walking boots and stamina are required.

This hill walk is also a popular mountain biking area.

The ascent rises steeply through a very pretty woodland and out onto more open hill nearer the rocky summit and cairn known as King’s Seat.

A cairn is a Scottish word for a pile of stones built as a memorial. Breath taking panoramic views of Perthshire can be enjoyed from there.

White peaked mountains can be seen to the north and to the south, the River Tay meandering towards the North Sea.



Waterfall at Osian's HallThe Hermitage

The Hermitage in Dunkeld is a less challenging walk through mature woodland with the River Braan running next to it.

The main features on this walk are the dramatic Falls of Braan and Ossian’s Hall – a viewing point where you can see salmon leaping at certain times in the year.

A rocky path continues on through the Douglas fir wood with one of the tallest specimens in the country.

There is a special route for wheelchair users and marked trails for those who want to walk and cycle.


Little Glen Shee

Little Glen Shee is 6.6 miles from the Lodge.

This is a gentle hill walk in open moorland with a stream running through the glen.

There is an abundance of colourful heathers, bracken and wild flowers.

Red deer can be spotted on the hill.

Hovering in the skies above are sky larks, birds of prey including ospreys and on occasion eagles!

In the undergrowth I have found a dead Adder ( the UK’s most poisonous snake) and I have photographed a young otter in the stream.  A wonderful experience!

Little GlensheeLittle Glenshee