Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Scotlands descendants, come home to stunning panoramic views in Lochearnhead, Perthshire

Come home to Little Briar cottage in response to the governments "HOMECOMING SCOTLAND 2009" initiative. This charming holiday cottage is elevated on the 2 acre grounds of Briar Cottage, a 17th century thatched cottage with stunning views on the banks of Loch Earn facing south towards Glen Ample and Edinample Castle(once a Campbell stronghold).

This is an exceptionally beautiful part of west Perthshire and the Trossachs in the heart of Scotland. Famous for family names and septs of MacGregor, Ferguson, Stewart, McLaren, Neish, Campbell, McNab and MacIntyre amongst others. These lands have centuries of stories and folklore to boast.

Briar Cottage was first owned by a MacGregor, followed by the Duke of Breadalbane (descended from Campbells) and latterly McLarens. Clan chiefs of local families e.g. the Stewarts of Ardvorlich and the McLarens of Balquhidder still reside locally. They make an annual appearance at the Lochearnhead Highland games where families still do battle - albeit a well fought but innocent tug-of-war.

Little Briar holiday cottage is so central, that you can easily reach any of the homecoming party's and major attractions. Briar cottage comes with riparian rights which means that guests can fish for rainbow and brown trout from the loch garden with its jetty, slipway and garden furniture. There are 2 hotels within a 200 metre stroll, a watersports centre and cafe at 500 metres and a local shop and post office less than 1 mile from the garden gates. The area is ideal for walking, cycling, golf, water sports, history, folklore, wildlife, birds, flora, fauna, forest trails and relaxation.

Today the grounds are proudly owned by Fraser and Kim(nee Donald) Proven who will welcome you, invite you for a drink in the cruck room, show you around the 250ft loch garden and introduce you to their hot tub which you can arrange to use.

See www.stayatbriar.co.uk for tariff and availability, www.tripadvisor.com for guest comments, www.homecomingscotland.com for information on home coming events, www.incallander.co.uk for more detailed information on local history and folklore and www.robroycountry.com for alternative accommodation in Balquhidder, Strathyre, St Fillans and Lochearnhead.

NB Little Briar has a 4 star classification with Scottish-Country Cottages.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Rowing to Briar Cottages, Loch Earn, Perthshire

We wanted to test our new digital camera properly by taking photo's of Little Briar and Briar Cottages from Loch Earn. Our neighbour Richard to the rescue! He owns Scooby Watersports in Lochearnhead. Only 150 metres from our gates his shop is attached to the Clachan Hotel overlooking the loch. Very handy. He sells a wide range of wakeboards, ski's, wetsuits, drysuits, pontoon Boats, float Tubes and more. He also hires bikes out, which has been well appreciated by cycling enthusiasts holidaying in our cottage. Last week our guest family of 4 hired them to cycle along the path of the Old Callander to Oban railway line that was disbanded in 1965. It is part of national cycle route 7. They cycled Lochearnhead to Killin on their first visit in April and took on the more leisurely Lochearnhead to Balquhidder leg this time. Anyway, Richard let us test drive a rowing boat and we are pleased with our photos taken on a glorious November day in front of our 250ft loch garden and slipway. Cheers Richard!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Free Wakeboarding spectacle in Lochearnhead

Lets hope its sunny for WakeScot 08 this weekend in Lochearnhead. Sunny days in Perthshire are glorious just now with falling leaves of red and gold and stags bellowing from the forests; a distinct sound that resonates around the hills surrounding Loch Earn. Little Briar cottage has had a busy year and is currently offering 3-4 night short break bookings for 4 people at £204.40 until 15th December (www.stayatbriar.co.uk). We will be telling this weekend’s guests about WakeScot 2008; a wakeboarding event run by Active Scotland, based at the Lochearnhead watersports centre. The weekend starts with a wakeboarding lesson at 10am on the 25th October. The U16's, rookies and open men and women’s competition is 2-4pm. Master Craft and Landrover will be showcasing some of their kit on Sunday 26th too and it’s all free to watch. No doubt Nicky and her crew at the Loch Side cafĂ© within the centre will be even busier than usual. See www.activescotland.com for details.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Lochearnhead open water swim

Have you heard of the Loch Earn swim? We bumped into one of the participants yesterday who had travelled from Malta to take part. What a spectacle. A 6.5mile swim along the length of the loch from Lochearnhead village to St Fillans. It was a bit blowy on 13th September however each contestant had a boat re-hydrating and motivating them alongside. Our guests had an outstanding view from Little Briar Cottage. Today it was the 1 mile Crannog swim race. Contestants from junior to veteran start at the water sports activity centre in the village then swim out to the Crannog(now an island off the South side of the loch near Edinample Castle). They turn right to a yellow marker buoy then swim back to the start point. The water was flat calm with sunny spells and a high humidity. Perfect conditions. It was a good turn out with spectators cheering from the sides enjoying home baking,snacks and beverages at the water sports cafe. One of the spectators daughters had just arrived fresh from swimming to the west coast of Scotland from Carrick Fergus in Ireland arriving at Port Patrick 15 hours later! If you want to get into training for next years event in September then check out the website of "Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association", who foster and support open water swimming and have done for 122 years. They keep a calendar for local open swim events including Loch Earn. The deadline for entry is about a month before the race so there is plenty of time to plan and prepare. See: www.yeaaba.btik.com. Little Briar cottage guests are welcome to spectate or train from our garden on the loch using the slipway and jetty. You are guaranteed outstanding views, see www.stayatbriar.co.uk.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Perthshire Tartan Sheep and Hairy Wildlife

We tell our guests at Little Briar holiday cottage in Lochearnhead about the tartan sheep. No really! Auchingarrich wildlife centre is a few miles away just outside Comrie. The 100 acre parkland is home to an exciting range of animals and birds from the cute and cuddly to the big and hairy. Prairie dogs, highland cows, meerkat, coati mundi, wallaby, ostrich, black swan and ;ok there’s maybe some artistic licence and a "wooldresser" assisting with the sheep hues. A coffee shop overlooking the grounds serves snacks or you can bring your own goodies and use the picnic and barbecue facilities. There is plenty to keep the kids interested too with the hatchery and advertised feeding times. Some creatures are fenced off and others are running around your ankles. Great fun and a fabulous location with incredible views of the Strathern landscape. You can link to their website from ours www.stayatbriar.co.uk.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Water Horse Inhabits Loch Earn- Beware of Handsome Men

Path from summer house to jetty, Briar Cottages garden, Loch Earn
According to folklore and legend, a water horse or "Each Uisge" inhabits Loch Earn; the most central loch in Scotland. I am glad I found out. We invite Briar holiday cottages guests to picnic and fish from our 250ft garden on the north shore in Lochearnhead. 

We regularly see ospreys,  water skiers and the local sea plane taking off and landing but nothing supernatural to report so far. Anyway, eat your heart out Nessie. This Scottish water spirit, that was chased from Loch Tay by Fingal the Giant, is reported to be far more dangerous than a mere kelpie from Loch Ness. What should visitors look out for? Beware a fine horse, pony or handsome man. 

Ride on a strange horses back at your peril. If Each Uisge sees or smells the loch with a mounted rider, its skin becomes adhesive, the riders hands will stick to its neck and they will be whisked off to the deepest part of the loch to be drowned. I don't want to put you off local handsome men that woo today’s maidens; just be aware of any bloke walking about with water weeds in his hair!