The Tay Decent 2013 & Paddle 2013

The weekend of the 26-27th October will see hundreds of keen and eager canoeists take to the river Tay for the The Tay Decent 2013. Entrants have the choice of 2 courses to paddle down. The Long Course is from Dunkeld to Perth (24 miles to the egress point at Perth) and the Short Course – Stanley Mills to Perth (7 miles).

The Tay is the largest volume river in the U.K., and in late autumn can be very cold. Participants should be of 3 Star level, and be able to cope with large waves, boils, and turbulent water. It is highly recommended to paddle the river before the event if you have not already done so.

Tay Descent

As well as the Tay Decent competitors are invited to the Bell’s Sports Centre for Paddle 2013, 26-27th October. The show combines a mix of exhibitors, talks and workshops.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see the latest boats and kit from manufacturers, buy shiny new toys from retailers and book that holiday or course from a course provider. Talks and workshops will cover all aspects of Paddlesports with something for everyone from complete novices right through to old hands.

The Saturday night Scottish Ceilidh provides a great chance to meet up with fellow paddlers and dance the night away.

Paddle 2013 tickets cost as little as £3 and Ceilidh tickets £8 when purchased in advance from

Saturday 26th 10am to 6pm Sunday 27th 10am to 4pm

Cycletta – 15th Sept at Scone Palace

Congratulations to two of our wonderful guests who took part in the first ever CyclettaCyletta Scone event held in Scotland in the beautiful grounds of Perth’s Scone Palace. Cycletta is the UK’s leading series of women only bike rides set in stunning, family friendly host venues, supported by Olympic Gold medallist Victoria Pendleton. There are six events around the country featuring spectacular routes between 20km, 40km and 80km. These distances offer a ride for all abilities and, even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, they are challenging but achievable. Never mind the route the weather wasn’t being kind but never-the-less 700 ladies thoroughly enjoyed the day!!!

Scotland’s First Ever Chilli Festival Comes To Scone Palace.

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2013, 10.00am – 5.00pm

The weekend will be a celebration of all things ‘chilli’ including food, drink and much more….

Organised by Chilli Fest (UK), ‘The Great Scottish Braves Harvest Chilli Festival’ promises two days of chilli mayhem with exhibitors including:chilli-producer-banner

Aunty Jee’s Curry Kitchen – Real Indian fresh curries & snacks, from mild to explosively hot! Vodka Red Wolf – Vodka chilli cocktails like chilli mojitos, hurtlocker and more Wiga Waga – Hot sauces Crazy Freds – Hot dips & sauces Chillilicious – Variety of chilli products including chutney and sauces Madhatters – Cider Shorrock Cheese – Chilli cheese bombs Cola Rebell – ‘The World’s Strongest Cola with Ginger & Chilli’ Green Olives – Chilli olives Chilli Willi – Chilli oils, jams and spices The Wicked Chocolate Company – Chilli Chocolate Allans Chilli – Chilli Jelly and Sauce Bims Kitchen – African Hot Sauce Scone Scorpians – Chilli Seeds Scone Palace – Chilli Scones and Jams Mr Vikkis – Pickles and Sauces Chilli Fundamentals – Sauces and Dips Jim Fairlie’s Perthshire Kitchen – BBQ

for a full information programme look on the Chilli Festival website

The highlight of the weekend will be a fiery chilli-eating contests, when brave – or foolhardy – competitors will line up to eat increasing hot chillies including Bullet, Rocket, Scotch Bonnet and odd Naga, this will take place daily at 2.30pm. For the more faint-hearted, there’ll be salsa dancing classes, chefs demonstrations, the Chilli Fest Liquid Bar – dedicated to serving the best chilli cocktails, and a delicious spicy BBQ.

Go Walkies at Blair Castle

Date: 22 August 2013

Event: Blair Castle Address: Blair Castle , Blair Atholl, Perthshire, PH18 5TH

Join us for our Go Walkies event.

If you love horses and dogs you will enjoy this fantastic walk at the Blair Castle horse trials!

From Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 August 2013 ca18aabba8

Blair Castle Barclays International Horse Trials and Country Fair is Scotland’s leading equestrian event, running over four days in August each year and attracting in excess of 40,000 visitors. Olympics medallists compete alongside amateurs in the four International event classes, whilst British Showjumping and showing classes provide a platform for riders in other disciplines to compete on Blair’s hallowed turf.

The Bruadar Country Fair runs alongside the equestrian activities on the Saturday and Sunday, featuring displays of both traditional and more modern countryside pursuits. A large shopping village harbours all sorts of attractions and bargains in over 200 stands.

The walk will be from 9 am to 11am round the course at the Horse Trials. What a wonderful way to spend a sunny Thursday in August!

Please nite there is a charge for going into the horse trials – it is cheaper to buy in advance on line tickets.

Click here to purchase tickets for the Horse show

As a huge thank you for their support, all doggy participants will receive a free Eukanuba goody bag along with their certificate and Go Walkies dog tag.

Plus one lucky walker will win a six months’ supply of Eukanuba dog food!

See you there!

A Stunned Fledgling

At Almond Villa we have several nests in our garden this year, sparrows, blue tits and great tits, thanks mainly in part to some lovely overgrown hedges. Well the sparrows fledged yesterday and the blue and great tits decided to flee the nest today. It was so much fun watching them find their wings and bomb all over the garden though at some points it did resemble Heathrow with many near misses. DSCF5560Until that is, one great tit went thud into our patio doors. It lay stunned for a good 5 mins and I thought it was dead so I went out to pick it up. As soon as I righted it the wee thing began to cough and splutter. I held it for a while and then tried to put it down cos I could see it’s mum flying around chirp chirping, however it refused must have been still stunned. I tried to put it into the (dry) bird bath, nope, so I tried to put it back into it’s bird box, nope. It stayed on my finger for a good 15 mins until it properly gained it’s composure and then I put it up a tree. Unfortunately 🙁 it fell out of the tree. But was eventually found by Mum 🙂 and after a wee rest made it’s way back up the tree 😀 . Awe bless it looked so helpless.

Southton Smallholding Open DaySouthton Plant Sale

At Almond Villa, we are delighted to be supporting Southton Smallholding by attending their annual Open Day. There will be a plethora of wonderful Quality Vegetable Plants for sale at Southton Smallholding on Saturday 18th May 2013, 12:00-16:00, beautiful plants grown peat free in our own compost without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. If last year was anything to go by come early to avoid being disappointed.

As well as having the opportunity to purchase plants you can also enjoy meeting and greeting our friendly animals; our Alpacas are the curious and graceful Clyde & Garcia, our cheeky pair of Kune Kune pigs Bubble & Squeak, our goats who are a mischievous double-act of Bandit & Biskit and last but by no means least the lovely ladies Rosemary & Peppermint our neighbourly sheep.

Tea and home-bakes will also be available, we look forward to meeting you there too.

All proceeds of the sale will go to Southton Smallholding, a charity run for the benefit of adults with learning disabilities and those recovering from mental health.

The sale will take place at Southton Smallholding, Blackruthven Estate, Tibbermore, Perth PH1 1PY, for directions for to the smallholding on google maps, please use the directions to The Bield Christian Co Ltd, Blackruthven House, Perth PH1 1PY

With 400 years of racing at Perth Racecourse Perth Racecourse

This year, Perth Racecourse is proud to be celebrating it’s 400th year of racing.   400 years of exciting racing at one of Britain’s best loved small racecourses.   An exciting and jam packed fixture list has been revealed and the season is almost under way. Set in the stunning grounds of Scone Palace, Perth Racecourse, will kick start the celebrations in April with the annual Perth Festival – a vibrant three day extravaganza for all the family and the perfect way to launch into the Spring racing season.

Packed with horse racing, parade ring entertainment and live music, as well as the opportunity to sample some of Perth and Scotland’s finest home grown cuisine at a range of fresh food outlets, there is something for everyone whether they like horse racing or not.

Hot on the tails of the April Festival and for those who crave a taste for something new is Bierfest, an event for everyone which will bring a slice of Bavarian Culture to the people of Perth.

The event on the 15th May offers participants a rare opportunity to enjoy a delicious helping to a three course feast of German cuisine complete with quality beer, some exhilarating evening racing topped off with a post racing live music.

Bierfest isn’t the only new event to arrive on Perth Racecourse’s soil offering a combination of feasting and racing. For the first time on the 9th September it will host ‘Scotland Food and Drink’ Food Festival giving race goers a taste of Perthshire and an opportunity to sample local produce in a farmers-style market.

There is surely a day in the racing calender which is suitable for all.

Fixture Date Times Information April Festival 24th – 26th April Doors open: 12:00pm  First race: 3:00pm A 3 day ticket for the price of 2 to the most exhilarating opening Perth Festival, Celebrating 400 years of Racing in Perth The Heart of Scotland Beer Festival 15th May Doors open: 4:30pm First race: 6:00pm Come along and sample some of the beers and enjoy the summers evening with a spot of horse racing to match Breakthrough Breast Cancer Ladies Day 16th May Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:20pm Set to be another show stopping day in conjunction with Break through Breast Cancer Aviva City of Perth Gold Cup Day 9th June Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:00pm Most prestigious racing day combined with hats, heels, suits and jackets Armed Forces Raceday 3rd July Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:30pm In connection with ABF Soldiers Charity Independence Day 4th July Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:30pm Join us to celebrate the American Independence Day with a brass band, hot dogs and candy floss Family Fun Day 14th July Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:00pm Ice cream & fun fairs rides Return of Rock at the Races 30th July Doors open: 4:30pm  First race: 6:30pm The return of American Anthems… on the back of last year’s fantastic turn out American Anthems are back! Bigger and better than ever so don’t miss it! Summer Day Meeting 31st July Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:30pm Relax, enjoy and come racing with the little ones and get involved with the small animal farm & picnic hampers on offer! Remember under 18’s go free STV Appeal Carnival Party 17th August Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 3:10pm Raising money for the STV Appeal, remember all money raised in Scotland stays in Scotland so join us lets abolish poverty in Scotland Scotland Food & Drink Day 9th September Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:20pm A day of sampling local produce from local people celebrating the start of the Scotland Food & Dink Fortnight, plus the added bonus of a great days racing Glorious Finale 25th – 25th September Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:10pm The Glorious finale one of the oldest fixtures on the Perth calendar Glorious Finale: The Big Bang 26th September Doors open: 12:00pm First race: 2:10pm The Glorious finale one of the oldest fixtures on the Perth calendar


Almond Villa Recommends Scone Palace for a Great Day Out

Once the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in the history of Scotland. A breathtakingly beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone – also known as the Stone of Destiny. Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in the crown of Scotland.Scone Day Out

Today, Scone Palace, just outside Perth  is the home of the Earls of Mansfield, and a 5 star visitor attraction to visitors from around the world. There is so much to see and enjoy at Scone Palace, the history, the art and antiques, the superb landscape and architecture, fun for the children, shopping and exploring that one visit is never enough.

Scone Palace is also a first class unique venue and is extremely popular for corporate hospitality, concerts, conferences, family celebrations and of course, weddings. This website gives you a taste of the Scone Palace experience but there is no substitute for the real thing. Come and see for yourself!

Fri, Mar 29th Easter Weekend Fri, Mar 29th Galloway Antiques Fair Sat, Mar 30th Easter Weekend Sat, Mar 30th Galloway Antiques Fair Sun, Mar 31st Easter Weekend Sun, Mar 31st Galloway Antiques Fair Mon, Apr 1st Palace Opening for 2013 Season Sat, May 18th The Pink Ribbonwalk Sun, May 26th Jacobite Clans Alive! Fri, Jun 7th Pot Fest – International Ceramics Festival Sat, Jun 8th Pot Fest – International Ceramics Festival

Balhousie Castle Development and Exhibitions

As Friends of the Black Watch, we at Almond Villa Guest House, were delighted when we heard the Balhousie Castle and Museum was having a make over. A development is currently underway to build an extension to the existing castle. The new building with improved entrance will allow for the efficient manning of the ticket desk and shop. There will be an Increase display space; a large area for special exhibitions; educational interpretation and reunions; improved storage for archives and artefacts; improved shop and reception area; accessible visitor facilities, including a tea room and toilets for visitors; improved parking and a designated learning space.Castleimage.web.2011

Better facilities all round will provide a much improved visitor experience together with an opportunity to generate income to help sustain the business of the Museum. The improvements will meet modern standards of accessibility for people with disabilities.

The new development will be ready in time for the Black Watch Regimental Reunion in June 22nd and we wait with anticipation for our annual trip to the garden party.

We also feel honoured to have had an incite into the work going on at the castle. Stephen Umpleby of Artefacts Conservation Services has been staying at the Almond Villa Guest House and has given us tales of the type of display items he has been cataloguing and preparing for the final exhibition. To display objects for exhibition often requires special made-to-measure mounts to be fabricated which not only help to display the objects but also help to protect the objects from damage while on display. Most objects present unique mounting and display problems due largely to their diversity, materials and construction. More information on Stephen’s work can be found at


The Last Of The Avocados

Finally!!! The Almond Villa Guest House has reached a major milestone, the last avocado suite has been removed from the en-suite and replaced with a beautiful clean cascada suite with chrome finishings.

We have replaced the lime green and avocado tiles with warmer and more tasteful colours in the wet walls.  The wet walls are much more practical and easier to keep clean than the tiles, not to mention they are also make the en-suite much warmer than it was before 🙂