Thursday, 25 November 2010




With St Andrew’s Day just a few days away, why not plan to celebrate Scotland’s national day with a visit to one of our country’s great historic sites?

Historic Scotland is offering the perfect incentive – free entry to 48 outstanding heritage attractions throughout the country for four days : Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th , Monday 29th and St Andrew’s Day itself, Tuesday 30th November.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Minister for Culture and External Affairs said: “Enjoying a visit to one of Scotland’s finest historic properties is a wonderful way to mark our country’s national day and celebrate our rich heritage and culture as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

“The offer of free admission, on the run-up to St Andrew’s Day and the 30th itself, will encourage and enable as many people as possible to do just that. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a memorable day out whilst appreciating and taking pride in our nation’s rich built heritage.”

The St Andrew’s free entry offer covers a selection of leading historic attractions across the length and breadth of Scotland.

This comprises sites in Orkney and the Western Isles – Skara Brae and the Arnol Blackhouse; in the North and Grampian – including Corgarff Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Fort George and Urquhart Castle; in Perthshire, Kinross and Angus - including Arbroath Abbey, Edzell Castle, and Huntingtower Castle; in the Central and West region – including Castle Campbell, Doune Castle, Iona Abbey, and Stirling Castle; in Edinburgh and the Lothians – including Edinburgh Castle, Craigmillar Castle and Dirleton Castle; in the Glasgow and Clyde region – including Bothwell Castle, Dumbarton Castle, and Glasgow Cathedral; in Fife - including Dunfermline Palace and St Andrews Cathedral, in the Borders - including Melrose Abbey and Smailholm Tower, and in Dumfries and Galloway - including Caerlaverock Castle, New Abbey Corn Mill, and Sweetheart Abbey.

Edinburgh Castle will also be getting in the St. Andrews spirit by turning blue for the duration of the free opening.

To find out your nearest participating attraction and details of opening times, you can text GO FREE to 84118. A complete listing of all properties included in the St Andrew’s free entry offer is also provided below.


• St Andrew’s Day heralds the start of Scotland’s Winter Festival. Scotland’s Winter Festivals, which also includes Hogmanay and Burns Night, is a programme of more than 60 exciting and distinctive events designed to celebrate Scotland’s contemporary and traditional culture and promote Scotland as a year round festival destination. Find out more at

• For the past four years, Historic Scotland has opened its doors for free at a wide range of its properties as part of a special Scotland-wide St Andrew’s Day promotion in celebration of our national day. This has proved extremely popular with visitors from this country and overseas and this year, the free entry offer has been extended to four days.

• Historic Scotland sites open free are:
Arbroath Abbey
•Arnol Blackhouse (not open on 28th November, Sunday)
•Blackness Castle
•Bothwell Castle
•Caerlaverock Castle
•Cardoness Castle
•Castle Campbell
•Corgarff Castle
•Craigmillar Castle
•Craignethan Castle
•Dallas Dhu Distillery
•Dirleton Castle
•Doune Castle
•Dryburgh Abbey
•Duff House
•Dumbarton Castle
•Dunblane Cathedral
•Dunfermline Palace
•Dundrennan Abbey
•Dunstaffnage Castle
•Edinburgh Castle
•Edzell Castle
•Elgin Cathedral
•Fort George
•Glasgow Cathedral (normally a donation only based site without admission charges)
•Huntingtower Castle
•Huntly Castle
•Iona Abbey
•Jedburgh Abbey
•Linlithgow Palace
•Maeshowe Visitor Centre
•Melrose Abbey
•New Abbey Corn Mill
•Rothesay Castle
•Skara Brae
•Smailholm Tower
•Spynie Palace
•St Andrews Castle
•St Andrews Cathedral
•St Vigeans
•Stanley Mills
•Stirling Castle
•Sweetheart Abbey
•Tantallon Castle
•Tolquhon Castle
•Trinity House
•Urquhart Castle

Opening times for Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle are from 9.30am to 5pm. For all other properties listed above, opening times are from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Loch Katrine deer threatened.

Survival of Highland stag is threatened
by culling and starvation
Hamish Macdonell - The Times
Last updated November 1 2010 12:35AM

Scotland’s iconic red stags are facing the twin threats of culling and starvation — and two of the country’s biggest countryside quangos are to blame, according to campaigners. The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association warned yesterday that the number of stags had fallen to crisis levels in some areas of Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire and another severe winter could kill off the survivors. Peter Fraser, vice-chairman of the association, blamed Scottish Natural Heritage for the problem because, he said, the quango was treating stags like “vermin” and culling them to excess in an attempt to protect local plants.
Forestry Commission Scotland was also criticised yesterday for its treatment of deer. The commission was accused of condemning deer to starve after fencing off large areas of woodland surrounding Loch Katrine in The Trossachs. Residents near the loch claimed contractors working on the Great Trossachs Forest Project had fenced off large tracts of ground, excluding deer from their natural habitat.
The fate of Scotland’s stags is no less controversial than that of the 9ft Emperor of Exmoor killed in England last week. According to the Gamekeepers’ Association, the number of Scottish stags has fallen so dramatically that some estates have had to give refunds to shooters, depriving local economies of thousands of pounds.
The industry is worth £100 million a year in Scotland and nature tourism is estimated to bring in more than £1 billion annually. Mr Fraser said where it was once possible to see as many as seven herds of red deer, he was now lucky if he saw one. “We have been very short of stags,” he said, adding that this was caused by Scottish National Heritage trying to protect rare plants such as the arctic willow and Caledonian pine from over-grazing.
Scottish National Heritage said in a statement: “We view deer as an asset, not only to local communities, but also to Scotland as a whole.”
The situation around Loch Katrine is more specific, but no less serious, according to local campaigners. Residents fear that the Forestry Commission fences, placed to protect newly planted trees from being eaten by the animals, will mean that deer around Loch Katrine will “die trying to reach food and protection”.
Community representatives said there was “a fight going on” against the building of the fences. Jan Young, who lives near the loch side, said yesterday: [ “Forestry Commission Scotland might just as well issue a death sentence on these deer as they are likely to die trying to reach food and protection from the bad weather.” Forestry Commission Scotland would not comment on the issue.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Marketing our Self Catering Holiday Cottages in Loch Lomond and Trossachs

Trying to find the best way of promoting our self catering holiday cottages is always an area of concern because although what you have in place may be effective now, there is no guarantee this will still work in the future. The methods of business promotion are constantly changing, for example when we first started the internet was almost non existant as a means of advertising our lochside holiday cottages, we had to advertise in the brochure of the holiday cottage agencies.

Now we have our own websites with online bookings etc that work very effectively along side the agencies and their websites and brochures. We are now slowly entering the new era of using Flicker, Twitter, Facebook.

The problem is now deciding if we should continue to stay with the agencies and pay their high commission fees or risk using only our own sites. The benefits are we would save about £10000 some of which could be used to fund our own marketing initiatives. We also already have one cottage Waterside Cottage which is independant from the agencies and is generally fully booked each year. The anxiety is that the level of booking would drop and and cost more than the commission.
Oh the joys of business planning.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Whisky Tasting at Lomond and Trossachs Cottages

Enjoy a Whisky tasting session at the cottage

For an evening of fun, entertainment and a bit of learning you just can't beat a whisky tasting!

Hosted by a local whisky ambassador from Ealain Gallery Whisky Club , enjoy these informal whisky tasting events in the comfort of our luxury cottages.

Enjoy an evening with knowledgeable and friendly whisky tutors...who will guide you through
5/6 malts of your choice, be that a whisky region, distillery or a tour around the country, the
choice is endless. Focusing on providing the juicy details you really want to know, letting you
in on a few distillery secrets and stories.

A tasting lasts around two hours. It could be pre or post dinner, or even as part of the meal with
the whisky selected completing the food.

3/4 nights in Nov / Dec @ £295 - sleeps 6, including Whisky Tasting session

Lochside Apartment Loch Katrine, Lomond and Trossachs Cottages
3 Bedroom Self catering just 10 yards from Loch Katrine in the Loch lomond and Trossachs Park.

Lochside Apartment, 3 bedroom sleeps 6