I hope you all had a lovely time over Christmas, whatever you were doing. Well we are coming to the end of our 14th season at Gilmore House Bed and Breakfast in Blairgowrie and look forward to going into our 15th season here and whatever 2011 may bring to us.
The year started pretty much started as it has ended with snow and severely cold temperatures although this week has seen a thaw going on with rain and melting snow at lower levels. We are fortunate here to be only a 35 minute drive to Glenshee Ski Centre and we did well at the start of the year with many guests taking the opportunity to ski in Scotland and they were not disappointed with the fabulous snow conditions we started and finished the year with. I have had a very good year in the B&B welcoming back many regular guests and meeting many new people from all over the world and all walks of life. We have had lot's of lovely comments this year on Trip Advisor and also many guests have e-mailed or sent cards to say they had enjoyed their stay, which is always lovely and keeps you in a positive frame of mind! It is also nice to be able to interact with guests who have 'liked' us on Facebook.
This year saw us taking part in the Pilot scheme for a Perthshire Breakfast and I have to say it has been a huge success not just with guests commenting on local produce but it has made me more aware of what is available on my doorstep and it has been great fun sourcing local bits and pieces. It was also this year that the local Love to Eat project was launched and I am thrilled to say they have the funding to continue again for next year and beyond and of course it was fantastic that I won the Love to Eat Best Breakfast for East Perthshire this year, a huge thank you to everyone that filled in the comment cards. We also won the Blair in Bloom Best garden award for tourist accommodation, received an eggcup award from the AA and made it through to the finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards. It has been an amazing year for the B&B getting some recognition, so that will probably be it for another 10 years or so!!!
This was the year that I finally got around to getting some chickens and they are great little layers and very sweet natured as well. I have great plans for more home grown produce, but much of the ground preparation has been on hold due to the weather, but I shall keep you updated with progress.
One thing I noticed this year more than ever was people taking breaks outwith the so called 'peak season' and May was exceptionally busy this year and I was also fortunate to get many 'long' stays instead of the one or two nights. Unfortunately because of where we are situated people do only tend to stay for one night as they are doing a 'grand tour' of Scotland, which is a shame as we are perfectly placed as a 'touring base'. Our local tourist association 'Bepta' continue to promote the East Perthshire area superbly, so take a look.
Wishing you all a Happy Hogmany and a super 2011.
Jill and family x
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Nipped along the road this morning to Easter Rattray Farm for our Christmas Tree. I have being getting our tree there for a few years now and they always 'do' very well with very little needle drop. This year they have a couple of reindeer borrowed from The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, they are lovely and soft and friendly!!
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Just thought I'd share a few wild animal photo's with you. We have deer, grouse and mountain hare all very easy to spot at this time of year. The mountain side was teaming with red deer this morning, quite an amazing sight. Today it finally warmed up a wee bit so we will get a thaw at lower levels. Unfortunately it is still leaking into my lounge, but I delegated duties and sent hubby up the ladder this time to try and clear some snow and ice from the roof above the ground floor lounge.
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Even though I enjoy the snow, after a week of it sometimes the aftermath isn't so pleasant. When I was in the downstairs guest lounge this afternoon I noticed drips of water coming down the window and the wall was soaking wet. The gutters are a solid mass of ice and I noticed a crack in one of the gutters as well. I made an attempt to clear them but an impossible task really, fingers crossed there is not too much damage done.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Monday, 29 November 2010
We have had a real taste of early winter here in Blairgowrie. Yesterday it snowed on and off nearly all day and today we had a few heavy wintry showers in the afternoon. There has been road chaos across Perthshire and Scotland with many of the main roads closed and many people stuck. It has been good news for the children though as schools were closed today and they are to remain closed again tomorrow.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
For the past few years our local Tourist Association organises events in the town and area to coincide with St Andrew's Day Celebrations. Today there was a pipe band and brass band display as well as a Christmas Craft market. Not the best of weather to be outside today as it was very cold. Last night we had a biggish snowfall, apparently it is the first time in 17 years snow has fallen so early in Britain down at lower levels. Glenshee ski resort opened yesterday as well, which is great news for the winter season.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
After being at the reservoir I continued along to Kirkton of Glenisla, a very small charming village. I had a walk along a small part of the Cateran Trail which involved crossing a small bridge over the River Ardle. The dog did not take kindly to crossing the bridge and froze in terror halfway across, finally managed to coax him across and all was well. I have lots of guests who walk the Cateran Trail so it was nice to think they had all walked along this path to their next overnight stop. There is a hotel in Kirkton of Glenisla and a couple of B&B's. If you continue to drive along this road you can loop back onto the A93, there are lot's of little roads going here there and everywhere. I returned the same way and stopped at Reekie Linn which I mentioned in May 2009 and the water was gushing down. I have put yesterdays photos of Reekie Linn on my flickr album and a wee video of it on my facebook page.
Yesterday I went on one of my little jaunts out, to discover places 'On my doorstep' that I have never been before and can recommend to visitors. Having a look at my local map I decided to head up Glenisla way. Along the road at Alyth there is a roundabout where you take the B954 and just follow the signpost's for Glenisla. When this road meets up with the B951 you will see a road straight ahead of you which takes you up to the Backwater Reservoir, and what a fantastic place it is! There is plenty of parking before the bridge over the dam or you can continue over the bridge and around the dam to another parking area. The reservoir was opened by the Queen in 1969 and extends to 3 kilometres. The dam itself is 42.6 metres high and 570m long. It is an amazing piece of engineering and actually a superb place to go for a walk and enjoy the scenery.
Saturday, 20 November 2010
I have quite a number of bird feeders in the back garden of Gilmore House and it is lovely to see the variety of feathered visitors that come to stock up. Today there were a huge amount of Goldfinches, they particularly enjoy the niger and sunflower seeds. In my upstairs guest lounge you will get a good view of all the feeders and there is a pair of binoculars and bird identification book should you wish to use.
Monday, 15 November 2010
A couple of years ago part of the A93 just outside of Blairgowrie was realigned cutting off a stretch of road that took you over an old Bailey Bridge en route North. So today I decided to have a wee wander along the old road. It was a very strange feeling walking along what used to be a very busy A road, almost eerie, and walking across the Bailey Bridge was a bit worrying, don't know why as huge lorries used to thunder over it daily. Through the trees you can catch glimpses of Craighall Castle which towers over one of the deepest gorges in Scotland. The castle was recently sold after being in the Rattray family since around 1533 and is currently covered in scaffolding. If you google Craighall Castle in google images you will see what a fantastic building it is. The whole ancient woodland in this area is of scientific interest. I shall walk further along another day and see if I can get better pictures of the gorge. The whole area would make a great waymarked walk from the town itself, but that's not up to me!
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Today I took the children up to Glenshee to do a bit of sledging, they have had quite a bit of snowfall in the past week. The ski centre is not yet open for the season so none of the lifts or cafes are open, but if you are prepared to walk to the top of the mountains with your ski's or snowboard there was some decent cover on the runs to get down again.