Tag Archives: Travel

Mhor 84 Motel, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire, Scotland

DSC06331 If you want to sample the best that Scotland has to offer, you’ll find it just off a busy main road – the A84. Hence the name behind this cool establishment that is fast becoming a must-visit Scottish central belt hot spot. Think Route 66 but with glorious glens, mountains, mists and magical forests. And the location is perfect, it also services Cycle Route 7 and Rob Roy Way.

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Stay overnight at the hotel or in one of the nearby cottages. Or simply take a drive out and visit. Driving from Glasgow will take you just over an hour and the nearest town is Callander.

What I loved about Mhor 84 is the relaxed vibe. All are welcome – take your dog, take the kids, even if you’ve been out cycling or hiking the hills, and looking a bit tatty – the doors are open. And there’s plenty walks and trails around this area, which is called Rob Roy Country (the grave of the famous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor is only around two miles away located beside Balquhidder Kirk). See my other blog post Balquhidder, Rob Roy Country

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Meanwhile at Mhor 84, there’s lots to enjoy – from the all day breakfast, to hearty soup, full blown lunches and dinners to hot chocolate, coffee and yummy cakes, then swill it all down with some fine wine, spirits, drams and beers. There’s no restrictions or stuffiness – choose whatever you fancy. You’ll easily sit, while away the day, and enjoy the beautiful views outside. There’s also a games room to keep kids and adults amused, which includes a pool table, TV, wi-fi, toys and board games.

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The Rob Roy Bar

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The relaxed dining room

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Mhor 84 excels in its food. With a full menu offering lots of options and delivering some fine Scottish produce. It’s worth visiting for the food alone.

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A healthy breakfast option

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Hearty Scotch Broth with tomato and ginger topping

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A healthy salad packed with flavours

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Is that a doughnut or a meringue? No joke – these meringues are seriously good!

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Kings of the Empire … biscuit …

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Be sure to check out the fish suppers at Mhor Fish in nearby Callander

Also part of the Mhor brand is Mhor Fish – located in nearby Callander – around a 15-20 minute drive from Mhor 84. This is a top notch fish and chip shop restaurant with tasteful, contemporary decor. Serving up great quality fish encased in batter that is so light and crispy, it melts in your mouth. Delicious. And while you’re here – also check out Mhor Bread – a bakery/coffee shop, full of cakes, shortbread, varieties of bread and award-winning pies.

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It’s also worth hanging around Mhor 84 on a Thursday night for “Thank Folk It’s Thursday”. The hotel becomes host to an array of musicians who pile through the doors with an assemble of instruments. Watching this scene unfold is like being part of a Marx Brothers movie. It becomes a jamming session for folk musicians – and extremely talented ones at that, featuring Ewan MacPherson of Shooglenifty. What adds to the charm is that there appears to be no set list/script or order. It’s wonderfully organic, free flowing, in the moment, and harmonious. And just when you think things can’t get any more surreal – in walks an elderly gentleman with a fascinatingly wizened face, dressed head to toe in swathes of plaid, drums on his back – and looking like he’s wandered off the set of Braveheart. When he’s not joining in on the music, he’s reciting old poetry and verse, retelling magical tales of Scottish folklore to an captivated audience. While all this is taking place, a lady sleeps in a chair, but still taps her feet to the music. A shaggy sheepdog settles for a snooze beside her, it’s not her dog, but he sees a good spot. Meanwhile all the staff, who incidentally are all charming and very friendly, never bat an eyelid. I don’t know if every Thursday night is like this, but the whole Mhor 84 package is bewitching. I can’t wait to go back.

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No bones about it – dogs are welcome at Mhor 84

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The Mhor the merrier … lots of quality from the Mhor brand to enjoy

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For more information see Mhor 84 Motel Website

For more information on the surrounding area see Rob Roy Country Website

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Filed under Food Reviews, Hidden Gems, Hotel Reviews, Photography, Scotland, Travel

Balquhidder, Rob Roy Country, Central Scotland

Balquhidder located Perthshire/Stirlinghire, Scotland is deep in the heart of Rob Roy country. He was a local outlaw, who was often called the Scottish Robin Hood. Baptised on 7th March 1671, he died in his house at Inverlochlarig Beg, Balquhidder on 28th December 1734. You can see his grave beside the ruins of Balquhidder Church.

It’s also said that St Angus visited Balquhidder Glen in the 8th or 9th century and identified it as a “thin place” where the boundary between Earth and Heaven was close.

Around this area you’ll find lots of walks and options to suit the adventurous to the easy ramblers but whatever path you take, you’ll feast your eyes on stunning scenery, lush green glades, towering trees, magical waterfalls and often snow topped mountains. Breathe in the fresh air, relax the mind in the quiet solitude and you can often experience all seasons in one day, as the sunshine gives way to showers and snow.

While you’re here you can also visit and stay at the excellent  Mhor 84 Motel – and see my other blog post. Review of Mhor 84 Motel It’s a Scottish gem with a cool laid back vibe and a perfect pit stop.

For more information see Rob Roy Country Website

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February 23, 2016 · 1:34 pm

The Enchanted Forest, Faskally Wood, Pitlochry, Scotland – October 2015

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Scotland’s award-winning event returned to Faskally Wood in Perthshire this October and again proved why it’s such a success by putting on another stunning show.

The Enchanted Forest choose this year’s theme to be one of “Flux” focussing on the ebbs and flows of change and movement, waves and energy. I’m a regular visitor to this event and this year was their best so far. It smashed all previous records by attracting over 62,000 visitors to the Perthshire area, increased tourism and boosted local charities. PKAVS (Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Services), Scottish Autism and CHAS all benefitted from this year’s show through ticket sales for the opening night. They each received a cheque for £2500.

Bringing together the creative talents of Kate Bonney, Simon Hayes (lighting designers), RJ McConnell and Jon Beales (sound designers), this year’s show was a stunning fusion of lights, music and some amazing aerial acrobatics.

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The Kelpies, Helix Park, Near Falkirk, Scotland – May 2014

 

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In Scottish folklore a kelpie is a water spirit who can appear in the shape of a horse. The mythical creatures are said to live in Scottish lochs and rivers.

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These Kelpies can be found at the Helix Park, between Falkirk and Grangemouth in Scotland. The 30m high horses heads which are made of steel, are one of the the UK’s tallest pieces of public art.

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These giant structures are the result of an eight year project by Glaswegian sculptor Andy Scott. Each horse’s head consists of 300 tonnes of steel and each head took 75 days to complete.

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Sculptor Scott says the inspiration for his kelpies comes from the heavy horses that once powered Scotland’s canals.

The £5million project which officially opened in April 2014, is fast becoming one of Scotland’s most photographed sites.

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To read more about the project BBC News Website and also official Kelpies website

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Inshriach Nursery & The Potting Shed, Near Aviemore, Inverness-shire April 2014

2014-04-12 16.46.55 I love a hidden gem and the Inshriach Nursery and The Potting Shed is one such jewel. The Potting Shed made it onto Dan Lepard’s list of Britain’s Best Cake Shops, published in The Observer, and it turns out that Dan is a master baker, so he obviously knows a good sponge when he sees one. As a lover of a fine tearoom and not being adverse to a mouth-watering confection of cakes, it was something I had to check out.

Finding cake heaven proved a bit tricky, as there isn’t an address as such and is listed as “Aviemore” but in reality it is some 10 minutes or so outside the town. The drive is scenic but after a while you are tempted to think you are on a wild cake chase, but persevere, it’s a place you will return to again and again, which was quite apparent by the number of visitors. 2014-04-12 16.46.32 And if there is an award for “best-view-from-a-tearoom” surely this must be a contender? Where else can you sit with a huge slab of cake and watch over a Scottish Highland forest? This giant open air aviary with its array of constantly darting and swooping chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, and siskins who fed on giant swinging bird feeders was an ornithologist’s dream. But it’s not just for bird-watchers, the effect was mesmerising and relaxing. A quick cuppa can easily turn into two hours. 2014-04-12 15.54.54 Red squirrels are rare in certain parts of Scotland, but you can see them in some areas around the Highlands and some appeared and gnawed eagerly on the nut feeders. 2014-04-12 15.52.47 Undoubtedly, this is an amazing view for a sweet treat, but what of the actual cakes? Yes, they lived up to the hype. Thick and generous, light and fluffy, sweet and tasty. There’s also a large and unusual selection, with everything from lemon custard and raspberry, plum and apple to strawberry and redcurrant to chocolate cake with blueberry. On the menu also is an extensive list of wheat free cakes.

Inshriach Nursery and The Potting Shed – Menu

Apart from The Potting Shed tearoom, the Inshriach Nursery is a delight to potter around. Wander about the beautiful gardens, admire the quaint features, sit on a bench and watch the chickens as they strut and coo.

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The Potting Shed Website

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Travel: Boat of Garten and Strathspey Railway, Near Aviemore, Scotland

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Boat of Garten, also called The Osprey Village, is around 4 miles north of Aviemore in Scotland’s highlands. It’s at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and surrounded by beautiful walks and views. Ospreys chose to come here when they returned to Scotland, and you can see them at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre. There’s a festival in honour of the birds on May 25, a day of wildlife themed events, which also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Cairngorms National Park.

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Jump aboard the Strathspey Railway and step back in time. Experience the romance of travelling by steam train on this 20 mile round trip through Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill, which you might recognize as Glenbogle, from the TV series Monarch of The Glen.

Glenbogle station

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Boat of Garten Train Station – Ticket Office

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Thirsty dogs get watered at
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There’s options to travel first class and to have lunch or afternoon tea while having a relaxing trundle through the captivating Cairngorms.

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It’s also the 150th anniversary of the original Highland mainline and some special events are planned. There’s on board whisky tasting on April 28.

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Boat of Garten train station was surrounded by snowy mountains in March 2013.

There were slight flurries of snow as the whistle blew and the steam train powered up and left Boat of Garten station en route to Broomhill.

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Next to the station at Boat of Garten is The Boat Hotel, where you are assured a warm Highland welcome. I stayed in one of the garden rooms, and enjoyed gorgeous views overlooking the railway to the hills beyond. It’s a perfect spot to stay while exploring the highlands, or to simply take advantage of the many walks and trails on the doorstep. You’ll get plenty action at the Cairngorm Ski Resort while the hotel is adjacent the Boat of Garten Golf Club. Meanwhile kids will love the Landmark Forest Adventure Park at nearby Carrbridge.

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The hotel’s bistro boasts 2 AA rosettes for its food and service. Tuesday nights are dedicated to fish and chips, and the fresh Buckie haddock with light fluffy chips comes wrapped in “The Daily Catch”. It was absolutely delicious and one of the biggest and freshest fish I’ve ever tasted.

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Although the hotel might have some exquisite and stately looking décor, it’s laid-back, welcoming and not at all stuffy. As well as romantic couples seeking a quiet Highland hideaway, you’ll also find families and people with dogs. Everyone is welcomed and catered for. The staff are particularly helpful and discreetly attentive. There’s real fires, comfy lounges and intimate bars where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine or a few wee drams. And if you have a penchant for a dram, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival runs from May 2 – 6. Expect to find 350 events with tours and tastings organized throughout the area which is home to over 50 distilleries.

For more information:

The Boat Hotel website

Strathspey Steam Railway website

The Spirit Of Speyside Whisky Festival website

Boat of Garten / Osprey Village website

RSBP / Loch Garten Reserve website

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