Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Summer Holiday Spotlight on Briar Cottages Lochearnhead

Fraser poses in guests classic Morgan at Briar Cottages, Lochearnhead
Fraser poses in guests Morgan outside Briar Cottages
What a summer at Briar Cottages on Loch Earn!

No.. Fraser has not bought a Classic Morgan he just fancies himself in one and a guest allowed him a few seconds of make believe.

School kids are back but summer is not over in Lochearnhead.  The Loch Earn 6.5 mile and 1 mile open water swimming championships take place on 24th and 25th August at The Lochearnhead Water Sports Centre. The Horticultural Show in the Lochearnhead Village Hall is on the 31st August and the Village Hall's 25th anniversary party is on the 7th September.

This summer the weather was hot and we had many weeks without rain. The stream running the length of Briar Cottages dried out. So, no doggy splash pool (other than Loch Earn of course).  Not a drop in the mini waterfall behind Briar Steading for a while either.  In fact Loch Earn has been so warm this year that Fraser and I have been swimming from the garden - sorry no pictures (at least I hope not).

The master boat for water skiiers has hardly stopped at The Lochearnhead Water Sports Centre.  Captain Martijn has had a steady stream from beginners to professionals, water skiing and wakeboarding, while Laura in the cafĂ© has been making extra Panini's and cake  to keep locals and visitors happy.  Personal favourites are the chocolate chip shortbread and the toffee sponge.    Inside secret. Go to the water sports centre and ask Martijn or Laura  for  "one of Fraser Proven's special coffees".  Make sure that you are over 18, not driving and that you like whisky!

The BLS Highland Games in Lochearnhead were absolutely fantastic this year. The games take place on a Saturday in July every year  (Date for your diary 26th July 2014). This year we enjoyed a record turn out, blue skies, Visit Scotland filmed a kilted heavy weight competitor for TV and a stunt pilot spun and looped the loop over head for the finale. See my video snippet of this years parade by McNabs, McLarens and MacGregors .

Another date for your diary next year is the Sunday the day after the Highland Games.  If you are a McLaren,  you will be rallied by your chief to "Creag an Tuirc" - meaning The Boars Rock- behind Balqhuidder Church.  In the afternoon, however, you will spot chief Donald McLaren playing football in Lochearnhead for the married versus single men's local charity challenge.  I made my debut performance for the married ladies this year (no pics... phew!).  The married ladies scored all 4 goals.  Not bad,  however the result was 3 - 1 to the married ladies.  The first own goal was a tactic to let the singles think we were soft!

Fraser Proven as The Jester
Fraser Proven as The Jester

Kim Proven as M'lady
Kim Proven as M'Lady

.   During Games week, Fraser and I attended a fancy dress in the village much to the hilarity of our guests who made us parade before them.  The theme was Medieval night.  I managed to turn a duvet cover and pillow case into a graceful M'lady outfit using a staple gun for hems.  Fraser was perfectly cast as the jester no less.

Last weeks fancy dress was a "School Dinners" theme at a neighbours garden on the loch. We were served up mince, dough balls and cabbage followed by jam sponge, toffee tart with chocolate bits on top and pink and chocolate custard. Much tastier than I remember.   I won best dressed as the school janitor in my dungarees and cap and Fraser picked up the prize for the naughtiest boy. If you remember Terry Scott in the Curly Wurly advert you can imagine Fraser in shorts, blazer, school tie, cap and also wearing a mischievous grin.

ThIs picture is of two of the ducklings that hatched in Briar Steading's garden this year. The photo is by 14 year old guest Corey Booker who kindly sent the image to me to share. I love this shot.

One footed duck "Peggy" (guests named her and her partner Peg and Greig) nested on the grass roof of our thatched cottage again but sadly no show from any ducklings rolling down the roof.

Next year promises to be eventful in Scotland.  We have a number of events lined up in Lochearnhead for 2014 and guests are already booking accommodation here in order to attend The Ryder Cup 2014 golf championships at Gleneagles, The Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow,  Bannockburn and Homecoming Scotland 2014  and The Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead Highland Games.  So, regular guests, please consider any special dates and term times that you would like to secure now and let us know. 

Thank you again to everyone who has sent photographs to me and to those of you who share them on TripAdvisor,   Facebook and Twitter.  

The summer is not over and we are looking forward to meeting many new visitors to the area.  We already have a booking for NewYear week in pet friendly Little Briar so have a think about Autumn, Winter, Christmas and New Year self catering breaks if you can stomach the thought. 

Have a great Autumn and keep in touch here as well as Briar Cottages Facebook page and via my Twitter address @Briarcottages.

NB: If you are into Twitter, look out for #Scotlandhour where Scotland's accommodation, hospitality attractions and events businesses share tourism information covering many subjects and sharing all that Scotland has to offer visitors.  Check it out on the last Wednesday of every month from 9pm-10pm