Monday, 5 December 2011

Snowfall at sunset, Briar Cottages, Loch Earn

Sunset 5/12/11 garden on Loch Earn
Winter pictures at sunset from Briar Cottages, Lochearnhead. The snow came down and we had a glorious, scenic sunny day tody,  5th December. Our guests have not taken up the offer to sledge yet. Who will be the first down the hill?

Jetty is under water

Oh Deer! Fraser is doing sculptures!           
Taken near the stream in the garden

Sledge marks  from Briar Steading                                
Goddess shivering at the sllipway

Powerful Stream  in the garden                                                                                                                                                                                                 
The summer house is also open in  winter                                                                                                                                                       

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Briar Birthday, Summer House, Sloe Gin and Scotland Hour news from Lochearnhead

Set for Dinner in Briar Steading
Christmas Tree, Briar Cottages loch garden
Happy Birthday: Briar Steading is already one as we approach the Christmas Holidays. The luxury cottage's first guests have re booked to celebrate New Year. Both cottages are booked for Hogmanay. Just as well I got everyone tickets for the Lochearnhead village party in the hall as they sold out in 4 hours. There is an excellent prize raffle with gifts donated by local businesses like St Fillans Golf Club, The Lochearnhead Hotel, Lix Toll petrol Station, Glenample Estates Venison and more. I should know as I am the volunteer fund raiser for the event.

Pet Friendly Christmas: We still have  pet friendly cottage availability for Christmas week if anyone wants a festive break in Little  Briar. Cosy up in our cottage for 2-4. We put a tree and lights into the cottage with some festive wine and smackery.      

Summer House in Winter:The garden on the banks of  Loch Earn gives a lot of pleasure. We improved the summer house this year with a dining table and chairs new games and pictures on the wall. Guests love the area to; watch wildlife and Loch Earn, listen to iPods using the docking station, read and generally relax.
Fishing Loch Earn by Paul Patchett
One fishing guest sticks his rod into a pole on the jetty then reads his paper in the summer house.  Not everyone's idea of fishing but it suits him. He dozes off and occasionally stirs to share lunch with the friendly mallards (and their ducklings in spring).
Ducklings eat oats at Briar Cottages

Some of you have met neighbouring villagers in our summer house. When Fraser puts the cocktail flag up it means "visitors welcome" for a glass or two or three or more!

Sloe Gin: Anyone staying here is welcome to pick our berries in different seasons.  There are 3 blackcurrant bushes behind Little Briar, a cherry tree, gooseberry bush, brambles lining the boundary fences and sloe berry trees in the rear paddock. Aside from fruit crumbles I have laid down fruit gin, vodka and Bacardi.  All you do is add one third spirit, one third sugar and one third berries (prick or squeeze the berries first) in a bottle. Shake the bottle once a day for about a week until the sugar dissolves then let the alcohol turn into berry coloured nectar before your eyes. They make delicious liqueurs if left  3-6 months or more. A great Christmas present idea too. We already tried the blackcurrant gin made early August. Decant the alcohol first and then use any edible berries like blackcurrants to accompany a pudding. 

Social Media Have you seen my facebook business page?  I also have a presence on Twitter @Briar Cottages if you want to follow what’s on around Briar Cottages and Lochearnhead. If you like our website please click the +1 button on our homepage as every vote helps us to be found amidst a sea of a million other self catering holiday cottage accommodation sites in the world. Thank you for all the delightful feedback and photos on TripAdvisor which is really useful for us and helpful for new guests.  It is never too late to provide feedback. If you use a mobile phone to search for accommodation, our website is adapted for mobile use with an app from lovetoescape and we can easily be found on Google Maps under Holiday Cottages Scotland.   

Loch Earn by Briar Cottages guests Alex and  Brenda Geddes

#Scotlandhour:  If you want to follow Scottish tourism in general, get on to Twitter during #Scotlandhour between 9-10pm on the last Wednesday of every month.  How appropriate that it lands on St Andrews Day, 30th November this month.  Join Scotland’s travel writers, accommodation providers, outdoor sports businesses, photographers, social media gurus, tourism associations, tour operators,  food and drink specialists, Visit Scotland and more. Whether you live and work in Scotland, enjoy travelling, are planning to visit in the near future or just have a burning question relating to Scotland you can ask questions live on Twitter or follow the tweets and images about all things Scottish.  I will be on line to promote Lochearnhead and its neighbouring villages around Loch Earn. 

It has been raining more than a bit of late, making this the perfect time  to come and see The Falls of Dochart, Edinample Falls and the incredible burn (stream) that Fraser has landscaped which runs the length of our  garden.

Look out for late availability offers if you want to experience Briar Cottages for a short break in December and please note that we are offering £50 vouchers for petrol to spend in our local garage Lix Toll when you book a week in Briar Steading for 2012 before the end of 2011 (Does not apply to existing bookings and can not be taken in conjunction with other offers).   

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Holiday cottage Scotland- Last chance to fish on Loch Earn!

Guest Stefanie fishing on Loch Earn 
Alert! The end of the fishing season is looming on Loch Earn.  You can still book the last week 1-8th October or book a 3-4 night short fishing break in Lochearnhead.

Trout fishing is not permitted after October 6th.  I suppose fish need a break too and they can get on with the business of creating more fish.  Could they possibly sense the end of the fishing season?  Every year we witness trout flipping into the air making water rings on the 6th October.  Is it coincidence?  I imagine that they are celebration flips as they shout "yipeeee we made  it".  Is it only young agile fish that do these gymnastic turns?  I wonder what kind of tsunami ring would be created if Loch Earns record breaking catch of a 26lb 10oz trout could flip. That would be one for YouTube.

It has been a great year for our guest fishing folk. Nobody beat last years family record of over 50 trout caught in a week, however, there were some good quality brownies and rainbows landed.  We have had seasoned professionals here with impressive technical gear and three novices (including children) managed to catch a fish on their first go with a simple rod and a few maggots, - much to their and our delight.

Guest Steffanie from Frankfurt in Germany sent us the above photo of her fishing on Loch Earn . She may not have caught many but its surely the quality of the catch that counts.  Hugh and Anette from Edinburgh(pictured below) launched their fishing boat from our slipway.  You do not need to buy a permit to fish anywhere along our 250ft garden or from the jetty.  If you go by boat then it is £25 for a weeks permit or £9 per person per day. You can bring your own gear or hire tackle from the Lochearnhead Post Office. You can buy maggots and floats there and in the local store too. 

Hugh and Anette bring their fishing boat to launch at Briar Cottages 

Briar Cottages in Scotland are available in all seasons. Once the fishing stops the pheasants appear, the hills and bracken turn to rust and Briar Steadings wood burning stove and Little Briar's outdoor chiminee become poplar for Autumn and Winter short breaks. As for the deer...they have already started to come into the garden for grass in the rear garden slope.  They will come closer and closer to the cottages in search of plant food to keep them going in colder weather.  A remarkable sight if you are lucky enough to spot them. Some people consider them a pest,  however they are just doing a bit of pruning.  They left one leaf on our Laurel bush last year and it came back in full glory in the spring.  Telephone now to book up the last of the fishing dates for 2011.  Kim and Fraser: 00 44 (0)1567 830 443 or mobile 07876 122 505.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lochearnhead Photographer's Virtual Cottage Images To Represent Scotland

Looking to luxury cottage Briar Steading via the garden on Loch Earn
Photographer Alistair Barclay of Alba Virtual Tours in Lochearnhead has been selected to represent virtual tour images of self catering holiday accommodation in Scotland by The Virtual Cottage Company on its new website.  Alistair has chosen his 360 degree virtual tour of luxury Briar Steading cottage overlooking Loch Earn to showcase his work. Promoting a directory of self catering properties in the UK that uses 360 degree virtual tour technology; The Virtual Cottage Company's new website aims to help holiday makers match properties with their wish list.  Richard and Julie Scutt who are behind the innovative website believe that virtual tours offer everyone an opportunuity to view a property as if they were present. Guests no longer have to be surprised by the layout and setting of their holiday accommodation on arrival.

Briar Steading owner Kim Proven says "I have taken many photographs of the holiday cottages and the grounds around Loch Earn  They are available to view on various websites including Flickr, Picasa, Google Maps and Facebook. Guests are very complimentary about my amateur snaps however I would love to stitch them all together to show the bigger picture.  Alba Virtual Tours 360 degree images are the answer for me. A virtual tour may not allow you to smell the fresh air and hear the birds or the sea plane landing in front of the garden but it does concentrate your mind on the important detail in your list of essential and desirable features and benefits when booking self catering accommodation.  It's a great idea to search a directory of virtual tour accommodation in one spot. I am delighted with Alistair Barclays work and I also wish  The Virtual Cottage Company all the best with its new website."

Alistair Barclay of Alba Virtual Tours offers a range of standard and specialist photography services within the tourism industry.  Services include virtual tours, panoramic and ariel photography and floor plans for  hotels, self catering holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation businesses in Scotland.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Golf crazy or Crazy Golf? There is something for everyone around Loch Earn

Do you play golf on holiday or are you a fun putter? Self catering at Briar Cottages may be just the ticket. There is something for everyone here whether you are in training for the Ryder Cup 2014 or looking for ways to entertain family and friends on holiday.  If you are easily pleased then putting on our loch side lawn might satisfy your needs.  We put 4 flags into the grass and supply putters and balls. You will see them on our new 360 degree virtual tour of Briar Steading our luxury Perthshire cottage.  Hit the ball nearest to the flag. What could be easier. Of course the lie of the land depends on the angle that Fraser has cut and rolled the grass. A lot depends on  visiting ducks too as they tend to nod off on the green once fed.  I make it sound more like an obstacle course or worse an assault course..."look out daffy!"  Oh and watch out for that other course hazard...its called Loch Earn. 
 There is a set of boule and  toy croquet  in the summer house if you fancy a change.  If you are rained off, shelter in the summer house and have a game of Jenga or extra large connect 4.  If that is not mad enough for you then try the crazy golf course at Achingarrich wildlife park near Comrie, 14 miles East on the A85.  Not only an innovative park full of interesting animals and birds but a childrens playground and picnic spot too with a restaurant on site.  Neighbouring village Killin has a fun putting green near the bowling green in the main park in the centre.  For the discerning golfer, Killin Golf club is a beautiful 9 hole golf course at the other end of the village. The clubhouse is run by a charming couple that will pander to your every needs with a smile.   St Fillans golf club is at the east end of Loch Earn. A very pretty course and said to be local Masters champion  Sandy Lyle's favourite inland course...according to a quote that he gave to Golf World magazine recently.  According to the St Fillans GC website it is also said to be popular with Sir Ian Botham.  Like Killin, St Fillans is a very welcoming course thanks to those that run it and the regulars who welcome visitors and holiday makers with open arms. The clubhouse food is excellent value too.   If you are keen to play a few courses in this area look up the Perthshire Green Card offering discounts  for 5 rounds and 3 rounds at selected 18 hole courses in the area.  The Perthshire Highland Ticket is great value too and can be used at 12 of the 9 hole courses in the area, including  St Fillans, Comrie, Crieff, Killin and Kenmore.   Play 5 days of golf at £65 or 3 days at £40! Check individual club terms as some may not agree to the ticket being used at weekends.  Well if thats not enough then Gleneagles is only 29 miles away,  Loch Lomond 45 minutes and only 60 miles to the Old Course at St Andrews or courses in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Merely a day trip away in any direction.  Loch Earn is so central that it makes an excellent base for touring places and attractions in Scotland in an easy day trip. If you are on holiday with a golfer but its not your thing you might consider water sports, quad biking, zorbing, horse riding, forest walks, cycling or Munro climbing.  You night prefer to hire a Ferarri or Aston Martin locally or a jeep safari in the hidden glen at Balquhidder.  It is also perfectly okay just to relax and read or take in the stunning views around our 3 acre grounds. Ask for a shot of our hot tub if you want the ultimate in relaxation...zzzzzzzzzzzz! 


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Virtual Tour of Briar Steading Luxury Self Catering Scotland

Loch Earn, Lochearnhead, Scotland from luxury cottage Briar Steading's open plan lounge
We have added a 360 degree virtual tour of our luxury holiday cottage Briar Steading (  Have a peak inside.  "Walk" around and get a feel for the cottage and grounds.  Start in the garden on Loch Earn. Look through the open plan living area, both bedrooms and en-suites, then end up looking down from  the top of the garden behind the cottage.  The 8 panoramic photographs were taken by Lochearnhead photographer Alistair Barclay from Alba Virtual Tours using a special 360 degree camera.  Let me know what you think!  Please contact Kim or Fraser with any queries or to book a luxury break in Lochearnhead. Tel: 01567 830443 or 07876 122505.

Click here to see the tour


Monday, 16 May 2011

Luxury Self Catering Experience - 3 nights at Briar Steading for just £25 per head!

Stunning views south over Loch Earn from Briar Steading open lounge  

Late availability.  Briar Steading is available this Saturday 21st May for 3 nights only.  This is the perfect opportunity to try the new build luxury cottage for just £300 instead of the list price of £560.  That's only £25 per person per night if 2 couples or a family of 4 share. Both  bedrooms offer en suite bathrooms separated by a 26ft open living area.  Check in 4pm on the 21st May and check out 11am on the 24th. Sorry no pets.    Only 60 miles from Edinburgh and Glasgow.   30 miles on M9 to Junction 10 and then the A84 All the way to Lochearnhead. 

Integrated kitchen and dining area
Wall for sitting aound the fire pit looking to patio furniture
Self catering cottage guests can  fish from the garden, launch a small  boat and pick up a mooring.  There are  2 hotels and 2 water sports centres within 200m.  See Briar Cottages on Trip Advisor for latest reveiws. Phone Kim: 01567 830 443 now to book or with any other queries.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Royal Wedding Breakfast for Earl and Countess of Strathearn, hosted in Lochearnhead

Playing proud parents of the Earl and Countess of Strathearn
 Did you hear about the Royal Wedding Breakfast at Briar Cottages Self Catering in Lochearnhead? 

Well it seemed only fitting to celebrate the wedding on the banks of Loch Earn given that William and Kate are the Earl of Strathearn and the Countess of Strathearn.  Guests mingled  in the garden on Loch Earn and everyone stood to attention when The Queen and Prince arrived.  No...not the real ones it was local handy man Andy dressed in Balmoral hunting fishing shooting gear as "Her Madge" and my other half Fraser as Prince Fillup Your Champagne Glass.  Have a look at the video by clicking here.

Baby mallards feed at

Springwatch has been more like summer watch here with the highest temperatures on record for April. The ospreys are fishing daily; the daffodils are almost gone except for the double headed ones that look like roses. A pair of swallows is flying in and out of our garage to feed young ones and one of the regular mallards has had ducklings. The ducks often bring their babies to us to feed and they grab at any little insects in the grass.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Self catering Scotland - Free fishing season begins in Lochearnhead March 15th, Briar Cottages

Fishing is inclusive when you book a holiday cottage at Briar Cottages in Lochearnhead. You don't need a permit to fish from our loch garden when you  stay here.  The season for trout fishing in Scotland starts again on March 15th 2011.  The loch will come alive with people, vehicles, wild life, birds and sea planes. First the keen fishing folk will wild camp or stay in a caravan on the south side or book up cottages, lodges and B&B's on the North side.  Some will bring their own gear and others will hire tackle from the Lochearnhead Post Office, the Store in St Fillans or from Drummond Estates boat hire and fishery a couple of miles along the road.  You can hire gear and a fishing boat there. 

Guests can fish from our jetty, slipway and along the 250ft length of our loch garden without a permit.  The local shops keep maggots and floats.  If you want to fish out on the loch in a boat you will need to buy a permit from the village shop or post office.  Guests can bring their own small boat, launch it and use the moorings whether staying in Little Briar Cottage or our new luxury cottage Briar Steading. There is plenty of room here for a small boat trailer and a couple of cars to be parked.  Gradually the loch will have a variety of would-be fish catchers including men, women and children as well as otters,  herons and returning pairs of Osprey. 

According to Drummond Estates you don't need fancy flies to catch trout around here. 
Maggots and a float with a rod positioned around the edge of the loch seems to work well.  Fishermen are often accused of exaggerating but it is well documented that 5-20lb trout have been caught in Loch Earn and I have seen  brown and rainbow trout, salmon, arctic char and an eel being hooked and landed in my garden.   
If you are keen on fishing get booked up now and look out for accommodation with fishing facilities.  If you have never tried fishing and would like to have  a go just ask to borrow Fraser's rod and try it. The season ends October 6th 2011 so there is plenty of time to book up.  Happy fishing.    

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Last minute luxury self catering

Late Availability offer in Briar Steading, Lochearnhead for a 7 night  or short break holiday.  Exceptional space in the open plan lounge. Book this  luxury 2 bedroom cottage with 2 ensuite bathrooms a woodbunring stove and views to die for. Available this weekend.  Ideal for a family of 4 or 2 couples sharing. Relax, read, watch Sky Tv,  play board games, go for a walk, use the hot tub in the gardens, sit in the summer house in the loch garden and read a book or the newspapers. Sound like your idea of a getaway break?  Available this weekend from Friday 4th February.  Book 7 nights at £400 Friday to Friday or Saturday to Saturday,  or pick any consecutive 3-4 nights at £280 or 2 nights at £180.   This special last minute offer is for dates between 4th February and 12th February 2011.  

Use the fully fitted kitchen to dine at your leisure or visit the hotels and restaurants in the area. The Clachan Cottage Hotel is 150m from the garden gates.

Tel: 01567 830 443 OR mob 07876 122 505 and speak to Kim or Fraser,

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Self catering Scotland: Introductory £100 off a week in a new build luxury holiday cottage

Looking out to Loch Earn from the lounge 
 £100  off our stunning  new build luxury cottage overlooking Loch Earn when you book holiday week 29th-5th January 2011 or 5th-12th February 2011.   See our cottage prices 2011.  Briar Steading is in the village of Lochearnhead in central Scotland where Perthshire and Stirlingshire meet at the foot of the Highlands.   This late availability offer can not be taken in conjunction with any other offers advertised on the website.

Briar Steading is very spacious with 110sq.m of floor space and an open plan lounge measuring 26ft from the patio windows to the kitchen.  The cottage offers 2 bedrooms both with en suite bathrooms/showers,  a wood burning stove, Ipod docking station, Sky TV in the lounge and  TV's in both bedrooms.  The bedrooms are separated  by the lounge for evening privacy which is ideal for a family of 4 or for 2 couples sharing.  Each bedroom has a door  on to the patio facing south over Loch Earn.  The fully fitted kitchen includes a dishwasher, washer dryer and 70/30 fridge freezer. The cottage is in three acre private grounds including a garden on Loch Earn with a jetty, slipway, summerhouse and picnic tables.  Guests may request to use the indoor hot tub on the grounds. We ( Kim and Fraser Proven) live in a b listed thatched cottage in the gardens and  will be here to welcome you in person and show you around.   Call us now to book 01567 830 443 or 07876 122 505 or email with any other queries.  Briar Steading is a pet free cottage however our website also leads to pet friendly cottage Little Briar.

NB: See our Valentines Day special offer on the website.  
Sledge run and deer hooves in the snow from the rear garden

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

My Funny Valentine Days

Crazy path to the jetty in the loch garden
Patio doors in lounge and both bedrooms
 With Valentines Day looming I got to thinking about one of my favourite songs. My Funny Valentine has been performed by many a star; Frank Sinatra, Elvis Costello, Judy Garland, Miles Davis and Chet Baker spring to mind.  I have performed it myself on many an occasion in my song performing days with easy listening band Diminished Fifth.  Valentines Day is the nations official celebration of romance however I have to share that my funny valentine husband Fraser is romantic most of the year. Its the way he makes me laugh and those little things when you least expect it that do it for me.  For example,  any time that we are away from each other overnight I find lovely wee messages in my suitcase if I am away and under my pillow if he is away.  I am not giving away all of our secrets but it is fair to say that we are romantic 364 days of the year. Yes, we have a day off on Valentines Day.    Both cottages in Perthshire are available for anyone who wants to treat a loved one around February 14th. Cuddle up in front of the woodburning stove  in our luxury new build cottage Briar Steading,  with a bottle of Champagne and chocolates that we will provide for your arrival.  There is an Ipod docking station so you can bring your own idea of mood music with you. Or choose Little Briar cottage and accept a complimentary bottle of Prosecco.  Both cottages face south over Loch Earn and there is nothing like the view on a moonlit or starry night. Remember we will be on our romantic day off so my funny valentine and yours truly will be more than happy to prepare the hot tub for your romantic break.  01567 830 443 to book or enquire.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Happy New Year from Briar Cottages Scotland - for stargazers, wildlife watchers, romantics and those who like a wee dram at Hogmanay followed by a BBQ on the 1st January!

Happy New year from Kim and Fraser in bonnie Lochearnhead, Scotland.  A big thank you to everyone who stayed in Little Briar cottage in 2010 and to our first guests in our luxury holiday cottage,  Briar Steading over the festive period. The Hogmanay village party was a sell out. A good laugh and a few wee drams were had by all. We  are delighted that our guests have secured a booking for this years event.  Both couples can testify that we really do have a barbecue on 1st January outside in the loch garden.  We had fireworks this year too.  Anyone who enjoyed BBC Two Stargazing live will appreciate the location we are in.  There are no street lights polluting the natural light in our section of the road.  It means that you see everything on a clear night and can enjoy the moon rising and setting. You need the cottage torch on dark nights as it is pitch black without the moon, though temporary search lights do come on around the  cottages.  Fireworks are a spectacular contrast to the night skies over Loch Earn.  A friend bought multiple fireworks from Lidl this year. You only light them once and they pop off about 30 fireworks. I have to say that they were first class, excellent value and we would use them again.  For those of you who are aware that we have a 17th century thatched cottage on the grounds;  I promise we were careful!  Briar Steading is booked however Little Briar cottage  is there for the booking if you like a weeks holiday for 2-4 with a party atmosphere around New Year.   Any dogs would have to stay indoors for the fireworks bit of course.  

Winter has been glorious here.   Lochearnhead is stunning when the snow falls.   Fraser and  I could not resist trying out the sledge from the top of the garden.  I would encourage any age group to have a go. We have had regular visits from  a herd of deer and a stag this winter.  They come down in search of food and water when it gets colder.  I am a great fan of BBC Springwatch and Autumnwatch however they sometimes go off on a mission hoping for a glimpse of something.  Our  first guests sat looking out of the full length windows of Briar Steading and the deer came down most nights almost performing in front of them.  I wish I had a better camera, photogaphy skills and a webcam here.  Summer watch and winter watch are just as entertaining at Briar Cottages.  We can get close to the malard ducklings in spring.  They literally eat out of your hand as does the robin in winter. The robin gets very close to Fraser, usually because he is digging  up insects and worms as he weeds. It did fly  into our bedroom in the spring which is maybe a bit too familiar. A brave attempt but it failed to mark its territoy in our boudoir as we politely showed it the door... or was it the window.  An otter has been digging a shelter under our jetty stairs and ospreys catch fish in front of us on the loch all summer. Eagles, owls, red kites, cranes, red squirrels and other creatures can be spotted all year round.  This is a great venue for wildlife and bird watching throughout the picturesque seasons.  Now that Briar Steading is up and running we can concentrate on landscaping around it.  We have plans to put in some trees shrubs and flowers however we better double check that they are not in a deers top 10 favourite things to eat or it will be an annual event. 
If you are interested in booking  either or both cottages please check our website and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions,  Tel Kim or Fraser: 44 (0)1567 830 443, Mob: 07876 122 505,