Will Perth Beer Festival be a record breaker?

The 6th annual Perth Beer Festival, which takes place on May 7th, could end up in the Guinness Book of World Records if organisers get their way.

As well as beer, games and live music, there will be an attempt at breaking the world record for the fastest pass of a rugby ball. The record is currently held by scrum half Joe Simpson of London Wasps, who set the record in 2011 by passing a ball at 48 miles per hour.

Members of Perthshire Rugby, which are organising the Festival, are already practising to try and steal the record from the Wasps. Festival visitors will be encouraged to have a go on the day, at a stall promoting Mindspace, a counselling and support service based in Perth.

Dave Anderson, who will be coordinating the attempt and measuring ball passes with a radar speed gun, said:

“I would love to see one of the Perth Beer Festival visitors beat the London Wasps, and I’m sure we can. And what better event than this to have a go?”

Allan Brown, chief executive of Perthshire Rugby, commented:

“The Perth Beer Festival is all about community building and fun and every year it just gets bigger and better. This year could even be a record-breaking one, who knows?”

Find out more about Perth Beer Festival is at www.perthbeerfestival.co.uk

Perth Beer Festival takes place at Perth’s North Inch on Saturday 7th May.  The event will feature beer pumps, food, wine and refreshments, a kids’ zone, a Rugby Sevens tournament, a Golden Oldies rugby tournament, and live music from soul and funk cover band Big Vern & The Shootahs.

Perth Beer Festival looks forward to a Trying Weekend

The final touches are being applied to the 6th annual Perth Beer Festival, a gathering of games, food and drink, which is set to return to the Fair City on Saturday 7th May.

The beer pumps will be in action from noon on May 7th, pouring out a range of over 25 craft beers from around the country including a strong selection from Perth’s own Inveralmond Brewery.

There will also be a selection of fine wines and a bar, as well as food and refreshments, and a kids’ zone in which pint-sized visitors can run off steam and learn a few rugby moves.

One of the UK’s hottest live bands is also making its debut at the Perth Beer Festival evening event this year. Big Vern n the Shootahs, known for their classic soul and funk numbers and a big band sound, have been rocking audiences all over the UK since 1989. The Glasgow-based 9-piece is renowned throughout the live music circuit as the ultimate feel-good party band.

As a key fundraising event in Perthshire Rugby’s calendar, Perth Beer Festival is also a golden opportunity to learn a few rugby moves. The festival is centred around a Rugby Sevens tournament, a Golden Oldies rugby tournament and – exclusively for this year – an attempt at breaking the world record for the fastest rugby pass currently held by London Wasps player, Joe Simpson, standing at an incredible 48 mph.

Perth Beer Festival organiser Perthshire Rugby prides itself on promoting rugby in the community, particularly in Perthshire schools, as a supporter of Try Rugby. Run by the Perthshire Community Rugby Trust, Try Rugby offers every boy and girl the chance to play rugby. Perth Beer Festival will be raising funds for Try Rugby, which is also supported by Perth & Kinross Council, The Gannochy Trust and the Scottish Rugby Union.

Allan Brown, chief executive of Perthshire Rugby, commented:

“Between the Rugby Sevens, the Golden Oldies tournament and the world record attempt, there will be plenty of rugby to enjoy at this year’s Perth Beer Festival. And since community and team spirit is at the heart of rugby itself, we think this is the perfect event for showing people the benefits of this fun sport. We’re encouraging people to come along, get involved, take in a game, pick up a ball and have some fun!”

Event Details: Saturday 7th May, The North Inch, Perth
11am: Rugby 7s Tournament Kick Off
12 noon: free entry to the beer tent
7pm: Evening event begins, tickets can be purchased online for £20 per person.
For more information and to book tickets visit www.perthbeerfestival.co.uk

Scotched on the rock: no hard evidence but theories abound on Glenturret mystery in China

The story surrounding a giant piece of rock in China engraved with the name of a Scotch whisky has gone around the world and back again. Two months on, several leading academics have weighed in with possible explanations.

But, despite the theories, the ‘Scotch on the rock’ mystery remains unsolved.

The story broke after construction workers in China uncovered a rock with the word Glenturret, the name of Scotland’s oldest working distillery. The discovery came during an excavation for a resort at Moganshan, a hilly holiday destination of China two hours from Shanghai. The developers of the resort know some of the property used to belong to Dr. Duncan Main, a Scottish missionary doctor who dedicated 45 years of his life to working in China in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What they were puzzled about was the connection to Glenturret.

Author, historian and China expert Robert Bickers came forward to solve at least part of the story.  The University of Bristol professor uncovered a cutting from a China newspaper story in 1929 which confirms that Dr. Main named his house Glenturret.

Further investigation by Glenturret Distillery has uncovered that Dr. Main worked for a time at a shipyard in Glasgow. Dr Mark McLeister, a lecturer in Chinese Studies at The University of Edinburgh, suggested that there may be a link between his shipyard work and a steamship called Glenturret. The Distillery has learned that the ship was part of the Glen Line fleet owned by McGregor, Gow & Company in Glasgow and served the China tea trade.

Dr McLeister, who worked through archival material and books about Dr Main, added: “There is also a Glenturret Street in Glasgow. Maybe that was somewhere he stayed while working in the city?  The name obviously had significance for him in some way. There is the possibility that he made connections with family members from Glenturret Distillery whilst living in China.”

Another academic fascinated by the story was Dr Christoffer Grundmann, a Professor of Religion and the Healing Arts at Valparaiso University in Indiana, USA. The area around Moganshan grew as a resort and a holiday getaway for foreign missionaries working in Shanghai and Hangchow, where the heat was sweltering in the summer months. Dr Main had planned to open a sanatorium but never did, according to Dr Grundmann. But he did open rest homes for ministers and workers on this particular site. “From the photograph of the rock, it would suggest that this was a marker at an entrance of a property or estate inhabited by Scotsmen during the hot summers. Therefore it may carry significance not just for Dr Main but for one or more of the other Scotsmen living there,” he said.

As the buzz surrounding the story has grown, online commenters have had fun trying to explain away the puzzle.

“I’m going for, the stone formed part of one of the castle turrets. Each turret had a name. This one was Glenturret, there was also a Lochturret, Heatherturret and a Shortbreadturret etc. Depending on the amount of turrets the place had,” said a commenter by the name of ‘DemonEggy’ on Reddit.com.

“Some Chinese businessman chiseled it in so that he could distil whisky and use the same name to try and pass it off as the original??” suggested idonthavearewardcard

Alternative theories have ranged from the stone being an exercise in calligraphy to ancient traders getting a bit tipsy and deciding to chisel the name of their favourite whisky.

Stuart Cassells, General Manager at Glenturret Distillery, commented:

“It’s safe to say that the ‘Scotch on the Rock’ mystery remains a mystery. But, thanks to the efforts of these three talented academics, at least we have some solid theories on how the name Glenturret came to be engraved on a stone almost 5000 miles away.

He added: “The missing link here is a relative of Dr Duncan Main or a resident of one of the rest homes. We’d love for a family member of Dr Main or one of those residents to come forward and shed light on this. In the meantime, cheers to our three experts for spending their valuable time on this fascinating story about a Scotsman in China.”

Scone Palace wins Prestigious Customer Feedback Award

Scone Palace has won an Award of Excellence based on customer feedback. The award was given by Irish coach tour operator, CIE Tours International, which recognises the quality of the UK’s hotels and visitor attractions by awarding an Excellence Award to those who have received a greater that 90% customer satisfaction rating.

Scone Palace has earned an Excellence Award, which this year was based on the feedback of 12,000 visitors CIE brought to the UK last year.

CIE launched its UK awards four years ago, replicating its long running awards in Ireland. Since then, the numbers of venues and attractions achieving a higher than 90% satisfaction rating in the UK has grown from 32 to 59.

This award ceremony was held at Edinburgh Castle on Tuesday 19th April.

Elizabeth Crabill, Managing Director of CIE Tours International commented: “We anticipate that demand for our UK tours will grow considerably this year, demonstrating the significance and growing appeal of Britain’s heritage to visitors.”

“Our Awards are well recognised and hugely respected in Ireland,” continued Elizabeth Crabill, “and it is gratifying to see that the same has happened so quickly in the UK. The increase in the number of awards reflects how providers have embraced our quality focus and that overall quality levels are increasing, which is great for our customers and the overall industry. Our visitors from North America are accustomed to very high levels of service in hospitality and to achieve an above 90% rating from them is very meaningful.”

CIE Tours brought 12,000 visitors to the UK in 2015, accounting for 100,000 bed nights. The company is working with 200 tourism partners across the Country.
Margo Baird, Marketing Manager from Scone Palace, commented:

“As a five star visitor attraction, we are delighted to have been recognised for customer satisfaction. We are proud to be able to offer an exceptional and memorable experience to visitors as one of Scotland’s most popular and historic visitor attractions. This is particularly special as we enter our 50th year as a visitor attraction.”

First opening to the public in 1966, Scone Palace is celebrating this 50th anniversary year by offering all visitors throughout 2016 the opportunity to upgrade their Palace and Grounds Entrance Ticket to a Palace and Grounds Season Ticket at no extra charge, meaning visitors can enjoy unlimited entry throughout the season, from March 25th-October 31st, 2016.

To find out more about Scone Palace visit www.scone-palace.co.uk

Run 4 It Named the UK’s Best Independent Retailer & Best for Customer Service

Run 4 It, the Aberdeen based specialist running retailer, has been named the UK’s Best Independent Running Retailer and Best for Customer Service for the second year in a row at the annual Running Awards held in the O2 in London.

The Running Awards is the only awards programme where runners and consumers nominate and vote for their favourite products, brands, publications, sports retailers and events. Entry and success is solely down to public vote.

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Run 4 It was established in 2004 by running enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Duncan Riddoch and Ian White and now boasts 8 stores across Scotland plus an active online store.

Duncan Riddoch, director of Run 4 It, commented on the win:

“Ian and I are both ecstatic that our customers think so highly of us and that we’ve won these hotly contested categories for two years running. We have our fantastic customers and suppliers to thank for their nominations and for taking their time to vote for us, as well as the team members across our business who work hard every day to ensure we are the best at what we do. They are always pushing the boundaries to deliver excellence and these awards are, without a doubt, theirs to celebrate.

“Retail has been a challenging environment in recent years but Run 4 It has always kept the customer at the heart of the service we deliver and, while many retailers have chosen to compete on other factors, we believe that offering a great product and an exemplary standard of service and advice to help our customers get the most from their running is key. The vision for our business is that ‘through exceptional product and customer service people will run with us for life.’ These awards are confirmation that we are achieving our vision and that our hard work is recognised and valued by those who matter most: our loyal customers.”

Specialising in serving the needs of a growing and active running community in both Scotland and across the UK, Run 4 It has bucked the retail trends of recent years, continuing to innovate and placing exceptional customer service at their core. In the last six months Run 4 It has opened two new stores incorporating a new retail ad shop format. Giffnock in the Southside of Glasgow and Maybury in Edinburgh are suburban locations with parking, ensuring the spread of support for the running community in these 2 key cities extends beyond the city centres. There are also further expansion plans in the pipeline.

Around 700 guests attended the awards at the O2 in London, celebrating alongside some of the biggest brands in running including Nike, Adidas & Parkrun, with partner brands including Garmin, Brooks, Shock Absorber and Ronhill picking up awards. There was also an award for the Run4It supported Loch Ness Marathon in the Best Marathon Category.

Local solicitors help Coupar Angus Junior U19s kick off in style

Coupar Angus Junior F.C. Under 19s have been kicking off their matches in style this season with some brand new kit supplied by Tayside solicitors and estate agents Miller Hendry. The Under 19 squad has been enjoying new club tracksuits which have been sponsored by the local legal firm.

Miller Hendry, with offices and long-standing roots in the Tayside, Angus and Perthshire area, wanted to support a local football team which is dependent on parents, members of the local community and sponsors to sustain and develop the team.

The recently revived U19s, whose members come from as far away as Arbroath, Perth and Luncarty, are currently at the top of the Dundee & District Youth Football Association league after a competitive season. With three games, a month to go and six teams in contention for the league, the season has turned into a nailbiter. Coupar Angus hopes to be in the mix until the end.

Russell Todd, Manager of Coupar Angus Junior F.C. U19s, said:

“This has been a very eventful season and the calibre of teams is excellent. I’m proud of Coupar Angus U19s and it’s great to see local companies like Miller Hendry give them a boost with sponsorship like this. As with any youth organisation and football club, we can only maintain and develop our club with the support of local business through sponsorship.”

Ernie Boath, Partner and Head of Private Client Department at Miller Hendry, added:

“Supporting and encouraging young people in the area is very important to us and we are delighted to be able to highlight the commitment and passion of the players and volunteers at Coupar Angus Junior FC by supplying the U19s with their club tracksuits.  It is fantastic to be able to give the young team a ‘footie up’ and I hope the new kit will continue to bring them luck at their fixtures throughout this year and next.”

To find out more about Miller Hendry, visit http://www.millerhendry.co.uk

Top bands announced for 2016 Crieff Highland Gathering

Organisers have announced a thrilling line-up of some of the UK’s favourite traditional music acts to play the Glenturret Music Tent at this year’s Crieff Highland Gathering, taking place on Sunday 21st August 2016.

One of the UK’s best folk bands, Breabach, twice nominated ‘Best Band’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, are set to hit the stage for an electric performance of unique and contemporary folk music. Also on the line-up is Scottish-Gaelic band Skipinnish. The five-piece, who come from the Highlands and Islands, have been entertaining crowds for over 15 years and are sure to have the crowds on their feet with an exciting mix of traditional Highland music with a contemporary twist.

Joining them is one of America’s most sought-after Celtic singers, Charlie Zahm, to bring a little Philadelphia charm to the Crieff Highland Gathering. As one of the few singers in the world to be invited to sing live with Scotland’s Black Watch twice, he completes the line-up of fantastic live entertainment at Crieff’s biggest annual event. Charlie commented:

“I’m very excited to be able to sing the great songs of Scotland for the Scots at the Crieff Highland Gathering. It’ll be a great day and I’m so happy that I have been invited all the way from America to perform!”

The Glenturret Music Tent is a collaboration with Crieff’s Glenturret Distillery, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, and was a new addition to last year’s games. It brings together a collection of some of the best traditional bands in the country to entertain crowds and was a huge success at last year’s Gathering.

Ian Stewart, Chairman of Crieff Highland Gathering commented:

“We’ve managed to secure a fantastic line-up for this year’s Glenturret Music Tent, who will all bring a great atmosphere to the Games. To have not one, but three amazing live acts playing at this year’s Crieff Highland Gathering is a real treat and we know that everyone will love Breabach, Skippinish and Charlie Zahm.

Ian continued:

“There’s only one place to see all these acts in one place and that is at this year’s Crieff Highland Gathering – it’s definitely not to missed!”

Organisers recently announced that PGA Chairman David Murchie is to be this year’s Chieftain and will bring with him The Ryder Cup, most likely its last visit to Perthshire before the 2016 tournament in the US, for visitors to catch a glimpse of!

For more information and to buy tickets for this year’s Crieff Highland Gathering visit the website http://www.crieffhighlandgathering.com/

Scone Palace works with local businesses to bring a fresh look to their coffee shop

Visitors to Scone Palace can savour a scone in style as the top visitor attraction has completed a refurbishment of their popular coffee shop.  Once the Servants’ Hall, the coffee shop has refreshed its look after the Palace brought in specialist painters and decorators to create a brighter environment for visitors to enjoy whilst showcasing the new visual panels depicting the provenance story of ingredients used in the Palace kitchens and coffee shop. 2015 saw Scone awarded VisitScotland’s esteemed Taste Our Best award, a quality assurance scheme which celebrates the very best in locally sourced Scottish produce.

The crowning place of Scottish Kings worked closely with an expert group of quality Scottish suppliers to complete the renovations, including Britain’s oldest independent paint manufacturer, Craig & Rose, general building and civil engineering company, Marshall Construction and Service Graphics who are the UK’s largest visual solutions service provider.

The fresh new look has been done to tie-in with a year of celebrations, as Scone Palace marks 50 years since it first opened their doors to the public to become a visitor attraction in the Spring of 1966. Since then, Scone Palace has welcomed millions of visitors from all over the world in the last half a century.

Scone Palace also commissioned local PR and marketing company, Volpa, to design the vibrant new wall panels which tell the story of the fresh food available in the coffee shop, from being sown and grown in the Palace’s Kitchen Garden, to being prepared and served to visitors.

Sarah Butler, Chief Executive at Scone Palace, commented:

“The renovations to the Palace coffee shop have been an effective collaboration between all of the different suppliers, both locally and national, and it has been fantastic to see all the elements come together. We are delighted with the end result. Each company has helped to create a fresh and vibrant new look to our coffee shop without losing the heritage and charm.”

Craig & Rose has been creating paints for stately homes all over the UK for 187 years and has likely been providing their services to Scone Palace since the 18th century. Famous for providing the paint for the Forth Rail Bridge for over 100 years, Dunfermline–based Craig & Rose are no strangers to creating paints that reflect period in history. Stephen Percy-Robb, Managing Director of Craig & Rose, explained:

“The paint we produce for Scone Palace is very different from the paint product we all know and use in many of our own homes today. We produced approximately 50 litres of paint for the renovation work in the coffee shop. The colour is called Pale Mortlake which is a cream shade that was used in the Renaissance period. Our business has being running for nearly two centuries, but many stately homes including Scone Palace are much, much older than ourselves and we are very proud to be able to help retain the heritage of these homes using traditional methods.”

Glasgow-based Service Graphics provided the new wall panels in the coffee shop.  Hamish Hood, Senior Sales Consultant at Service Graphics, commented:

“Similar to Scone Palace, we have been offering our services and expertise for 50 years. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Scone Palace on their coffee shop project. Having worked with Scone Palace on various projects since 2002, it is always a pleasure to provide visual solutions, such as these vibrant new wall panels, for such an iconic visitor attraction. Service Graphics crosses many different sectors including signage and interior graphics for stately homes like Scone Palace. We hope Scone Palace are as pleased with the end result as we are.”

While Craig & Rose supplied the hand-made paint, Marshall Construction carried out the decorative work in the coffee shop and have also been working on some refurbishments in the residential areas of the Palace. Gareth Bland, Business Development Manager at Marshall Construction, said:

“Marshall Construction has worked with Scone Palace for a number of years having gained significant expertise working in historic buildings throughout Scotland. We have worked on several projects around the Palace in recent years including refurbishment work to the second floor creating the five-star Balvaird Apartment. We are currently working on more refurbishments across residential areas of the Palace as well as the redecoration of the coffee shop. We take immense pride in being given the opportunity to work in such an old and iconic stately home and look forward to building on our long term collaborative relationship with Scone Palace.”

First opening to the public in 1966, Scone Palace is celebrating this 50th anniversary year by offering all visitors throughout 2016 the opportunity to upgrade their Palace and Grounds Entrance Ticket to a Palace and Grounds Season Ticket at no extra charge, meaning visitors can enjoy unlimited entry throughout the season, from March 25th – October 31st, 2016.

To find out more about Scone Palace visit www.scone-palace.co.uk

Balhousie Care Group introduces young people to the care sector through Prince’s Trust programme

Balhousie Care Group, a leading provider of residential care in Scotland, has joined forces with The Prince’s Trust Scotland to offer young people the opportunity to train for a career in the care sector. Running for five weeks, Balhousie has, with the support of the youth charity, introduced seven people to the industry through a combination of classroom-based learning and on-the-job practical training.

Yesterday, the participating students, aged between 18 and 24, completed their training and were presented with a certificate at the Queens Hotel, Perth, to mark their achievements over the course of the five weeks. Students have been working at several Balhousie Care Homes across Tayside and Perthshire including Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder, Luncarty and North Inch in Perthshire, Dalnaglar in Crieff and Clement Park and Moyness in Dundee.

Participating in initiatives with The Prince’s Trust Scotland since 2012, Balhousie Care Group has welcomed dozens of students into their care homes over the past five years with an aim to help those willing to get some formal training as well as some valuable work experience on their CV.

With a focus on training the students in how to be a carer, Balhousie has introduced the students to a person-centred approach, as part of their personalisation initiative to find out what’s important to people, from the care home residents to the care home staff.

Jozi Stables, Support Team Manager at Balhousie Care Group, has led The Prince’s Trust project, spending time offering classroom based training to the students every week as well as supporting them throughout the five weeks. Jozi has loved every minute of the project. She explained:

“This project has highlighted to me how rewarding it can be to help develop people and introduce them to the opportunities that can be enjoyed working in the care sector. The course gives the students formal training along with an in-depth understanding of what a care assistant role entails, from the theory of Moving and Handling residents and learning about National Care Standards, to practical training in the work environment.”

After learning about the care sector and experiencing some beneficial on-the-job training, some of the students are now considering a career in working in care. Jozi continued:

“There are many perceptions about what a care role looks like and there is a lack of awareness about how rewarding and varied it can be. By introducing young people to the industry in partnership with organisations such as The Prince’s Trust, we have been able to open care up to people who perhaps wouldn’t have considered it before and, having spent time with our latest students, the enthusiasm is plain to see.”

Hannah McLean has been working at Balhousie Ruthven Towers throughout The Prince’s Trust project after her aunt encouraged her to consider working in the care sector. Hannah said:

“My Job Centre Advisor gave me a leaflet about the five week training course with The Prince’s Trust. I was a bit unsure at first and I had never really considered working in the care industry. After speaking with my auntie, I decided to go for it. She works in the caring profession and encouraged me to take the opportunity and find out more about it this way. I’m glad I did. I realise a lot of the job is spending time interacting with the residents and getting to know them as well as physically caring for them. I’ve really enjoyed the classroom based learning too as it has been good to meet the other students and share our experiences every week.”

Finlay Laverty, Senior Head of Public Sector of The Prince’s Trust Scotland, said:

“The Get into Care programme has been a great opportunity for young people to gain the vital skills and experience they need for a fantastic career in the care sector.

“The Prince’s Trust Scotland is committed to supporting disadvantaged and unemployed young people into work, Education and business. Working in partnership with Balhousie Care Group on a course like this helps us reach even more young people across Scotland who need this crucial support to reach their full potential.”

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

For further information about The Prince’s Trust, visit www.princes-trust.org.uk

Quick Golf signs up its first sponsor as it gets ready to tee off

Quick Golf, an initiative to encourage more golfers to the game, has signed up its first sponsor as it gets ready to tee off next month.

The Perthshire-based Quick Golf, aimed at attracting beginners and seasoned players to play a quick nine holes, has signed Grassicks Garage in Perth as a sponsor.

Quick Golf is gearing up for its 4th of May launch at Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club, which kicked off its new golf season last weekend. Quick Golf will take place weekly on Wednesdays from May until September from 4pm to 7pm. Play is open to men and women with or without a handicap and will be on tees selected by Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club.

As more and more players face pressures on their time, Quick Golf offers a solution for regular players, those new to the game and junior players: a quick nine holes at the value price of just £5 for non-members and £2 for members.

Laurie Foster, one of the people behind Quick Golf, commented:

“We’re delighted to have signed on Grassicks Garage as our first sponsor just in time for our May the 4th launch. With the new golf season now underway, we know others will share our enthusiasm for Quick Golf and our message that 18 holes is great, but nine is fine too. This is a perfect way to get people outside and enjoying a fun, relaxing pastime.”

Kathryn Davie, spokesperson for Grassicks, commented:

“We are thrilled to be backing Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club, and we congratulate them on identifying the need for their new venture Quick Golf. Meeting golfers’ needs for the option of a quicker round at a value price seems a winning combination and we look forward to the first tee off in Dunkeld in May.”

For more information about Quick Golf and Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club, visit www.quickgolfscotland.com or www.dunkeldandbirnamgolfclub.co.uk