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Winter events in Perthshire

Events in and near to the National Park October 2005


Perthshire Travel Guide | Winter events in Perthshire
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Crieff & Strathearn Drovers' Tryst Saturday 8th October - Saturday 15th October

A family festival of: walking ~ history ~ live folk music ~ barbeque ~ abseiling ~ cycling ~ ghosts & ghouls ~ farmers' market ~ spit roast ~ quiz night ~ ceilidh and dancing ~ ceramic painting ~ paperweight making, make your own china Highland cow ~ horse walks ~ carriage rides ~ wildlife ~ highland warrior re-enactments ~ learn mapping and much, much more. After this, imagine the tales you be able to tell!

Pick up a leaflet or contact the Crieff Tourist Office, for more information or to book (tel. 01764 652578)

For hundreds of years Crieff and the Crieff Cattle Tryst was for many people the centre of Scotland.

At the end of the 17th century Crieff became the greatest cattle market in Scotland - a natural gathering point from the Highlands, affordable and accessible from the South. In the year 1723 the staggering number of 30,000 cattle were sold during what was known as the Autumn Tryst.

The Crieff & Strathearn Drovers' Tryst, which is now more than just a walking festival, celebrates this. This family friendly festival offers a full agenda of organised walks, each of different duration and three different ability levels. Many of these walks retrace the steps of the original drovers covering the ancient paths they trod with their cattle in an effort to bring them to market.

You could take an easy walk, which are typically 2 to 3 1/2 hours in duration and are generally on good paths involving only short up and downhill sections.

An example of an easy walk is: Rumours of Romans, led by Andrew Donaldson of the Comrie Croft Hostel on Monday 10 October. This walk predates the Tryst history and asks several questions on our local history. Did the Romans settle in Upper Strathearn? What is the history of the land under our feet? This walk, suitable for the whole family, will explore a beautiful but little known area of upper Strathearn in search of the stories behind the landscape we see today. Taking around 2 hours and covering 2.5 miles with up to 30 places this walk offers an informative and entertaining way to walk. You may even be able to spot some Romans wandering around!

Or you could take a medium grade walk, which is longer, mostly 3 to 5 hours, and involve longer or steeper ascents with the occasional bit of rough ground thrown in.

For example, George Carson, a local walker who has great knowledge of the Strathearn area, on Saturday 8th October, is leading one. The walk starts with the opening procession, following the pipe band from James Square in the centre of Crieff to the Crieff Visitor Centre, where it will proceed across the countryside to Strowan, where walkers will visit the site of original Tryst before the Cross was removed to Crieff, followed by a quick visit to the old Strowan Church with a short but interesting history of it. The walk progresses on to the Baird Monument, returning to Crieff via Laggan Hill and Lady Mary's Walk.

Or challenge yourself to a hard walk, which would be either long-distance or involve steep ascents of the local mountains with some rough terrain, but only if you are a fit and well-equipped walker.

One example of a hard walk is: Wild ways and Wild Goats, led by Fran Loots of Breathing Space Outdoors on Tuesday 11th October. Starting from the Comrie Car Park, the walk takes in Mr Bheinn and Ben Halton. These hills have a truly wild feel about them. It is possible to spot wild goats and other wildlife en route as well as enjoy the superb views from the tops across to Ben Vorlich, its outliers and other peaks. The walk will take approximately 6 hours and will cover 16 kms. This walk is open to accompanied children of over 14 years old and is limited to 8 places.

Running alongside the walking programme are many other outdoor activities. Enjoy a horse walk, discovering some local history at the same time, or participate in the orienteering event on the Monday afternoon, test yourself at abseiling and rock climbing or mountain biking.

The events programme is equally diverse, with, on the opening Saturday, the opportunity to follow the Pipe Band Procession from James Square to the Crieff Visitor Centre and enjoy the official opening of Drover's Tryst, which will be opened by Irvine Butterfield. The first walks of the Tryst will head off or for those not wishing to walk that day; they can enjoy the North Men Re-enactment taking place at the Visitor Centre.

The Saturday evening offers you a music night which combines modern and traditional songs with the Scottish band Gaberlunzie. Tickets 10 from the Crieff TIC on 01764 652578.

Throughout the week, there is live music at many different venues. Also on the Sunday night there is a quiz night to test your walking knowledge. 5 per team. Book your team with Mark Philp on 01764 655061.

On the Monday night, there is a Ghosts & Ghouls walking tour of Crieff, 8pm at James Square. Tickets 2.50 including a complementary drink. Book through Martin Dew at the Crieff Hotel on 01764 652632.

The Crieff Hydro Hotel are holding a Drovers' Day on Wednesday 12th October, with a Tryst Hunt in the morning, a spit Roast at lunchtime, ceramic painting in the afternoon and a ceilidh in the evening.

In addition, there will be informative talks on the area's history and on 'an idiots guide to mapping'.

Children and adults of a creative disposition will be able to participate in the Ceramic Cow 'highland cow piggy bank' competition, or view paperweight making at P McD Glass Studio.

Comrie Croft are hosting a Barn Dance on the Thursday. With transport from Crieff and Comrie included, and 'bring your own bottle', enjoy a night of dancing to the Comrie Ceilidh Band. Tickets from Comrie Croft on 01764 670140 or from the Crieff TIC.

There is a unique opportunity to enjoy a barbeque at Loch Turret on the Friday evening, hosted by the Famous Grouse Experience, timed for the end of that day's selection of walks. Tickets Adult 12 children 6.

Closing the Drovers' Tryst on Saturday 15th October, the modern day Tryst, i.e. a Farmers' Market at James Square in the centre of Crieff offers live music and street entertainment with a drovers' and Scottish warrior re-enactment, stagecoach rides and an opportunity to buy quality Scottish food products.

In the evening the Drovers' Ceilidh takes place at the Crieff Visitors Centre. This is a family friendly dance with a live ceilidh band, and a gives a true Scottish finish to the festival. Tickets 8 adults and 4 children available from the Crieff TIC.

There are other events for both adults and children detailed on the website or in the printed programme.

All the walks are free of charge, and are being led by volunteers. However, registering, either on-line or at the Crieff Tourist Information Centre and pre-booking of the walks will be essential, as many of the walks will have a limit on the numbers accommodated.

Many of the events are ticketed, and would need to be booked in advance.

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