What’s on Locally in July

Hand-picked local events by the Lochend team, based on things we love 😍

28/6-2/7/17, through the day

Edinburgh Film Festival

World renown festival’s in Scotland’s capital kicks off with the Film Festival. Close to Victoria’s heart this is an extravaganza, from documentaries to world premiere’s, most notably, for me, this year Stanley Tucci bring his newest directorial adventure ‘Final Portrait’ starring Geoffrey Rush.

Various Venues all over Edinburgh

From £6 upwards



Doune and Dunblane Show,

Our local agricultural show, akin to the Royal Highland show just not quite as big. Celebrating it’s 70th year.

Just off junction 11 on the M9. Keir roundabout.

£10/£5, under 16’s free



Perth Summer Races, 12-6pm

Come along and enjoy a fine afternoon of jump racing in the height of the Scottish summer.  Sponsored by Mackies Ice Cream and with Champagne bar on site if a flutter and dressing up and gee-gee’s takes your fancy, earth racecourse is a great day out.

Perth Racecourse, Scone Palace Park, Perth.



Callander’s Summerfest, through the day

A mix of many things…from concerts to arts and crafts workshops to guided walks & sports activities and lots more.

Various venues all over Callander

Free to ticketed events.



Kinlochard Family Highland Gathering, 11.45am-5pm

Kinlochard Gathering features Lomond Fly Ball as the main Arena Event. This year there is an under18s piping competition. Pipe band, highland dancers, heavy event demos and audience participation, watery fun on the loch, side shows, stalls and kids events.. Brilliant food and drink in the form of Mhor burgers, home baking with teas and coffee and a licensed bar.

Kilochard Village Hall and field.




Iron Age Gourmet Day, 10.30am-4.30pm

This fabulous facility has inventive workshops and all include talks, tours and campfire dwelling. Today you can sample tasty, nutritious and healthy foods prepared and cooked as our ancestors did.

The Crannog Centre, Loch Tay, Kemore.

£10/£9/£7 family (2+2) £32, prices on events days are ‘a little higher’!!



Pride and Prejudice, Open Air Theatre.

An outdoor performance of an adaptation of her famous novel. At perhaps one of the loveliest dwelling houses in Scotland because Rennie Mackintosh, and his talented team including wife Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, created the entire environment including furniture.

Hill House, Helensburgh

£15/£10 family £45

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

This is VisitScotland’s of ‘History, Heritage and Archaeology’ and for those of you that fancy visiting some special places, I’ll be posting some cracking days out near Lochend.

Stirling Castle.

Our great friends the Makay-Daltons were visiting from London and Pip and Lottie decided a day out at Stirling Castle was in order because the last time they had visited, was when they were ‘wee’. Lottie’s Mum and Dad had got married there, Uncle Topher used to get ‘chanter’ lessons from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who lived in the castle barracks until the mid-60’s, and the ‘Carpenter Oak and Woodland’ boys, who rebuilt the fabulous medieval roof of the Great Hall, stayed at the chalets during those 6 months. Grandpa Nairn took a toddling Bunty up to the apex of the skeleton roof in a back pack! This meant I had stories to tell when we got there, so off we went!

It was a perfect sunny day but I didn’t expect to enjoy it just as much as I did and partly that’s down to the teenaged girls leading me on further and further in to the many different and fascinating parts of the castle and it’s long history but also because Historic Scotland have spent a lot of money here and it shows in the vibrancy of the place.

The oldest surviving part is from 1381 but it was originally the site of a chapel in 1100, they built on top of buildings that existed because there wasn’t enough room. Perhaps the King that made the biggest visual impact was James the V. Think it’s fair to say he was all about the swag!

We went to the great hall first…a large party were being shown round by one of the many guides. Following through to the Kings Chambers and the amazing Stirling Heads, they now heave their own fascinating exhibition further round the castle which is really fascinating and interactive.

In the bed chambers a character actor stood with various different implements. We asked him about the sticks….3 versions of the first golf clubs (James V loved the golf although allegedly not very good at it) he then played the 15 string lute for us and then we talked with him about the ornate bed and it’s incredible fabrics….again all about showing off as the deep Tyrian Purple dye that the Romans had discovered by boiling snails! Uber expensive so right up James V street! He even sent a stand-in on his wedding day to Marie de Guise, Mary queen of Scots mother….whit a man! However moving onto the Queens chambers and the (reproduction) tapestries that he commission for his wife are really stunning and we all enjoyed looking for the odd creatures semi-hidden by the weavers. And they were among the first to employ Trompe L’Oeil paint technique in Britain.

Walking the castle wall walk you see where a poor, deluded alchemist in James V employ vowed to fly to France. Off the castle walls he went straight into a pile of cow dung! From here you can also observe the Kings Knot below, now believed to have had connections with King Arthurs round table and then there are the many cannons which still feel ready for action!

In the Castle Exhibition it tells of many stories including that of the a discovered burial site from the 1300’s and have recreated the face of a soldier and tell of his gruesome death.

The most surprising part, for our particular party, was the military exhibitions in what was the barracks for they Argyll and Sutherland Highland regiment. We discovered the beautiful, rebellious, feminist Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s 6 child, but also Duchess of Argyll…hers is a fascinating story.

It took me by surprise that the many children that were there (it’s school trip time) and both the foreign and British groups are all really engaged, the staff are really well trained and work hard, and it has the most extraordinary range of things to do and to suit all tastes really. It is a buzzing place to visit and I highly recommend it for a day out.


What’s on Locally in June

Hand-picked local events by the Lochend team, based on things we love 😍

2-24/6/17 @ 11am – 7pm, various days

Return to the Ridings
The “Return to the Ridings” is a celebration of the riding of the boundaries that has taken place for centuries with 11 towns in the Scottish Borders using horses for the traditional ride out. The Rough Guide says ‘One of Britains best kept secrets, an equestrian festival that combines the thrills of Pampalona..with the concentrated drinking of Munich’s Oktoberfest’!!! It’s a 2 hour plus drive to the Borders from here but then so is Fort William.

In 11 different towns, from Hawick to Peebles.




Potfest – celebrating ceramics

Potfest ceramic shows – putting public and potters together. Meet the potters, talk pots, and buy direct from the maker.

Scone Palace, Perth.

£5.50 includes access to the gardens


16-19/6/17 @ 7/8am-5pm-ish

BSB-MCE British Superbike Championship

Brings some of the best bike racers in the World back to Knockhill for three days of 180mph wheel-to-wheel action on 16/17/18 June 2017. Knockhill’s twists and turns always produce stunning elbow to elbow action for these 180mph Superbikes. Topher and Cooper will probably be in attendance.

Knockhill Racing circuit in Fife.

From £5-£39


17.6.17 @ 10am-4pm

Classic Car Show in Milingavie

Music food and drink and about 80 vehicles so this is an intimate show rather than sprawling.

Milingavie near Glasgow



22-25/6/17 @ 9am to 7pm

Royal Highland Show

The Royal Highland Show is one of Scotlands most iconic events, showcasing the very best of farming, food and rural life. A great day out for all ages, get up close to the country’s top quality livestock, taste exceptional food and drink and experience rural life at its most vibrant in this is 177th year! Our insider info is if you go after 4pm you can get a reduced ticket on the door!

Ingilston next to Edinburgh Airport.

£19-27 under 15’s go free


28/6/17 @ 8pm


A force of nature and an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, Bristol-based Yola Carter was raised on gospel and is a greatly in-demand singer and writer on the dance scene. She sang in the past with 2 of my favourite collectives, Massive attack and with Chase and Status but less dancey and more Americana on this tour.

Tollbooth, Stirling.



Bluebells down the Bike park

Having had what Ralph, Bunty’s boyfriend, thinks is a drout (and in Scotland that’s no far off it!) we had a down pour last weekend and then everything sprouted, not least these gorgeous seasonal wee flowers. Whilst also pulling weeds up on our monthly maintenance of the nature trail, the sun was being dappled by the beech trees with their luminous leaves and I was forced into getting the camera. Sadly I never quiet to justice to the amazing carpet effect that bluebells bring.

What’s on locally in May

Hand-picked local events by the Lochend team, based on things we love 😍

The Highland Games start in Scotland in May and carry on into September, follow the link for all the listings. Because of our central location it is possible to day trip to a least one a month!!


4-15th May @ various times

‘Off the Page’

‘Off the Page’ A literary festival is now in its 12th year and there is a strong programme which gives everyone the opportunity to hear great authors of non-fiction, fiction and poetry in lots of local community libraries and also in the centre of Stirling. Free and ticketed events throughout. One I’ll definitely be attending is a reading, with music, of James Kelman’s new book ‘The Dirt Roadsters’, at the Tolbooth, Stirling, 7.30pm, £10/8


2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th May @ Tuesday’s 6.30-8.30pm

‘Say it ain’t sew’

Cross-stitch craft with cool projects and added cocktails. Remember that knitting under the influence of mojitos can lead to serious abuse of wool.

FREE – with materials provided!

Brew-Dog, Stirling

7 Baker Street, Stirling, FK8 1BJ


28th and 29th May @10am to 6pm

‘The Atholl Gathering’

This unrivalled spectacle gives locals and visitors alike a chance to participate in a unique Highland tradition that has persisted for generations. The 2 day event consists of the Highlanders parade on the Saturday followed by the Games on Sunday.

Free/£3/£5/£7. Parking free.


Throughout May From Mon-Fri @ 11am-3.30pm

Gargunnock House Walled Gardens.

Spectacular Azaleas and Rhododendrons in May in beautiful Victorian walled garden.




9th May @ 12noon-1pm

‘Dr Murray Cook, latest discoveries in Stirling archaeology’.

In this VisitScotland’s year of archaeology here is a local romp with Murray Cook who is constantly investigating archaeological sites in and around Stirling. This talk will feature his investigations and discoveries over the last year.


Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum


Spring has properly sprung! , The lambs in the surrounding fields are all racing and jumping for joy, the Oyster catchers are trying to distract everybody away from their nest with the ‘oooo I’ve got a broken wing’ trick, The Ospreys are back fishing in the Lake and the fishermen are back fishing in the lake, both very successfully and the rowing boat is out of maintenance and back on the water. And if we have a downpour overnight, Chris is always on hand to bail the boats out before your journey.

Living here really means access to help is only a shout away, which we believe is #scotspirit.

Let us know if you think we have #scotspirit!

What’s on Locally In April

Hand-picked events by the Lochend team for the month of April, based on things we love 😍

1-2/4/17 @ 10am-6pm on both days

‘Loch Lomond Springfest’.

A festival grown from a celebration of local food and drink but now with festival arms and legs! Music, events lots to see and do.


Free with some events bookable and for a fee.


1-2/4/17 @ 12pm to 4pm on both days

‘The Great Big History Weekend’

Virtual tours, archeological digs, colourful characters and interactive activities the history bug will surely take hold.

Stirling Castle

Included in the admission ticket – £15/12/9 under 5’s free.


18/4/17 @ 6-9pm

Romans VS Picts 5K run + Great Roman Bake Off – ‘Scotland in Six’ 2017.

The Antonine Wall is one of Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and this event is part the nation-wide Scotland in Six celebrations on World Heritage Day. Take part by dressing up and jlojging the run or the ‘bake off’ in Callendar House.

Callendar House, Callendar Rd, Falkirk FK1 1YR

£5 donation is suggested.


21-22/4/17 @ 7.30pm

‘Out of This World’.

A genre-defying, action packed light, movement and thriller event by Mark Murphy. A World Premier. You saw it here first!!!

McRoberts Arts Centre.



24/4/17 @ 7.30pm

‘An evening with Simon King OBE’,

Naturalist, author and broadcaster has had an interesting career and life and, I imagine, has some amazing wildlife stories to share.

Albert Halls, Stirling.



29/4/17 @ 7.30pm

‘Patsy Cline and Friends’,

Bringing to life not only Patsy Cline, but Hank Williams and Jim Reeves. Don your western gear and have a thigh slapping evening listening to some beautiful songs.
Albert Halls, Stirling.


The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

This is VisitScotlands year of ‘History, Heritage and Archaeology’ and for anybody interested in these topics I’ll be posting the odd  fantastically historical day out from Lochend.

First Up:

Rough Castle Fort on Antonies Wall.

I was driving my Mum and Dad to a 90th birthday celebration at a venue near Kilsyth so they could enjoy a dram! That in itself is a history story!! From Lochend its a journey of about 45 minutes. I then had a few hours to spare so went ‘car wandering’…you know…turning up single track roads that you have often passed and never been up….’nosey’ some may say, I prefer to wrap it up in ‘curiosity’!

I had seen a brown tourist sign and a road sign to Bonnybridge and knew that there were ample remains of Antoine’s Wall, a lesser know wall the Romans built 18 years after Hadrian’s Wall, that runs across the central belt, but really didn’t know this area at all. So I followed said brown tourist signs which took me through a housing scheme, past a small industrial estate then onto a farm type track and suddenly found myself driving alongside the ditches and ramparts.

It’s such a curious feeling ‘tripping’ over something so incredibly intact from 138AD! Flanked by the 19th century Caledonian railway and the Forth and Clyde canal and carving through the  space, huge pylons the Iron Giant would have munch for breakfast, it was an assault on my, fairly spartan (no pun intended) engineering senses. It all added, however to the sense of wonder but what unfolded, at the end of the farm track (where there is space for half a dozen cars or so to park) was so impressive. I followed the ramparts, ditches and pylons for several hundred meters, didn’t have the correct gear on…a frock and wedges! crossed the burn and then climbed up to Rough Castle Fort…it’s huge. There are plenty of signs to help you plot who lived where and when and this kind of archaeology, where the work has been done and filled over, means you’re free to mount your imaginary steed and don the helmet of whichever warrior, hairy heathen Celt or refined Roman centurion, and just play and wonder for hours!

Its also part of the John Muir Way (section 4 Kilsyth to Falkirk, 13 miles, 5 hours walk, 2.5 miles cycle) so to make the day out of it if walking and history combined appeals!

After that I’d have had a wee dram, were it not for my chauffeurs badge!