Christmas and New Year were a hoot, catching up with family and friends, dancing and chatting with guests at the Lochearnhead Village Hogmanay Hop.
Snowfall on 18th December was a bonus enabling our Christmas card starring Stan the Stag posing as Rudolph on the BLiSS trail, for the 4th year in a row. Our perfect model is guaranteed to pose all year round. He boasts a stunning back drop of Loch Earn, Stuc A Chroin, Glen Ample and Edinample Castle.
Don't forget your camera when you book to stay here or if you are visiting the BLiSS trail of art installations. Bookings are flying in and New Year 2019 is already booked out in both cottages. Christmas 2019 or New Year 2020 anyone? :) Get in touch if you wish to secure any dates.
In January 2nd we were treated to a number of Scottish melodies including Mull Of Kintyre and Scotland The Brave. Music teacher and guest Kim Hewitt brought her saxophone with her and her partner Pete recorded the moment that she stood under our award winning sculpture "Blawn Wi The Wind" by Kev Paxton of ArtFe blacksmiths - to serenade Loch Earn and anyone who was lucky enough to be passing. No doubt it would be heard for miles and across the water at GlenAmple. Anyone hear it from Stuc A Chroin Munro? I wonder if Gerard Butler heard it? He was definitely walking south Loch Earn during the festive period as per a selfie film that he shared on Social Media. He said, "Ach it's good to be home" He is no stranger to the area. He does not say where he is on the film but it was obvious to us.
Lochearnhead Village Hall puts on a great party at New Year. What value at £10 per head! Live music from "Raband" provides a number of tunes from different genres. Stovies are served before the big raffle. I am very lucky! i won a voucher for 2 adults and 2 children on the SS SIr Walter Scott steamship on Loch Katerine. Fraser won a pair of velvet gloves...ladies...just my size...oh..lucky me again. Briar Steading guests won a fabulous prize too so our table was happy. Little Briar guests were happy to cosy up with their dog and watch Hogmanay TV in the cottage
The Village Hall puts on other events during the year; race night, quiz night, music nights and more. You can also do keep fit and yoga for a very modest fee. Visitors are welcome to join in. Details are printed in the Village News community paper £1 from local shops and hotels.
Our Kev Paxton sculpture is a great spot for taking a selfie or photograph with the surrounding light and landscape. I am delighted to read that Kev has been invited back to Chelsea Flower show for 2019. I also notice that he has been on the telly again including CBeebies "Junk Rescue".
Strathyre Music Festival is taking a break this year though band Balvaig plays on the first Sunday of every month at the White Stag Inn Strathyre. MHOR84 also has a regular slot for folk musicians at MHOR84 on Thursday nights from 7pm in winter and 9pm in summer.
Throughout the year our villages organise charity fun nights and the annual horticultural show. Look out for keep fit classes too. Guests are welcome to join in. Its a great way to meet the villagers and "tap" them for information. Try Keep Fit or Yoga. Our village shops in Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans are also a good spot for a chin wag and a take away coffee. Ask questions there or buy the Villagers Newspaper to find out what's on and where.
Two major events in Strathearn and Perthshire this year are the Scottish 6 Day Orienteering Event 28th July to 3rd August and The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles 9-15th September. These events will attract thousands of visitors and participants so consider Briar Cottages and this area if we can help with accommodation. We can also suggest alternative accommodation in Lochearnhead and neighbouring villages
Anyone who loves walking and mountain climbing will adore the fact that we are so close to Ben Vorlich and Stuc A Chroin as well as other hills and mountains. Ben Shean, Ben Ledi, Ben Lawers. Sustrans Cycle Route 7 is a great place to walk, cycle or stroll. Dog owners love it because it is off road. The section from Lochearnhead is also part of the Rob Roy Way.
The start point from Lochearnhead Village is marked by the sculpture of a West Highland Terrier by Kev Paxton. Our tourism group commissioned the sculpture using an ArtRoots grant awarded by Sustrans Scotland. The dog tag says Ewen. The sculpture was named after a local tourism hero. You can hear Ewen's son Angus Cameron telling the full story on the audio tour. If you download the BLiSS trail Geotourist App to a smartphone, you can hear stories about all 25 installations on the Scottish Thistle Award winning trail.
The trail makes use of main roads A84 and A85 for car touring and National Cycle Route 7, for cyclists and walkers of all ages. Recent guests at Little Briar Cottage loved walking between Lochearnhead and Balquhidder and described the experience as "like walking through Narnia" That is because they followed the idyllic path with their dogs to witness brooks and bridges, wild flowers, lichen, needle carpet forests, birds, art installations, deer and stags, designer mile markers and more.
Walk from Lochearnhead on NCR7 turning left to The Golden Larches in about 2 mikes or follow the path right and walk on to MHOR84 in 3 miles. You can also keep going on the path to Strathyre or Callander
If you turn right on the path from Lochearnhead you will go up a short steep incline until you are level with the path across the Glenogle Viaduct. The path joins the A85 where you can cross over and continue the 4.5 miles to Killin and The Falls of Dochart.
So, whether you are into landscapes, wildlife, star gazing or "starz spotting" Don't leave your camera, video or drone at home when you visit this beautiful area around Loch Earn!