Gamers hit the streets of Perth over the weekend to live out their childhood dream of catching Pokemon in the wild. A crowd of game lovers gathered on the North Inch as the Fair City held its first ever Pokemon Go walk on Saturday, billed a Pokewalk. The gaming app saw residents more glued to their phones than ever, searching for the cyber creatures in locations across Perth. The app, which uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, has become a world-wide phenomenon. The event was organised by Perth gaming retailer Game and led by store manager Sarah Norris. Sarah, 37, said: “I’ve been playing it myself and you meet all sorts of people when you’re out. So I thought why not bring everyone together and do it as a large group instead of wandering around on your own. “Considering it’s such a simple idea the game has really caught people’s imagination. There is a wide range of ages that play it and parents get drawn into it as well through their children. “When you see someone else playing it you get a nice camaraderie with them. It creates a really nice atmosphere so we decided to try and make the most of it.” The Pokewalk, which was free to take part in, began at the North Inch and weaved its way throughout Perth city centre, taking in the Tay, South Street, York Place, Mill Street, Kinnoull Street, the High Street and finishing at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. * For more on this story see Monday's Courier, also available as a digital edition.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) is looking for authors to blend their writing skills with their mountain experience for its long—running literary competition. Entries are now open for the MCofS annual Mountain Writing Competition, which seeks out the best writing — prose or poetry, fact or fiction — to emerge from the climbing and walking scene. Entries should have some connection with mountains and mountaineering, rock or ice climbing, walking or ski—mountaineering. Climbers and walkers can turn their experiences into words and share what makes mountains, or the act of walking or climbing so special to them. Winners will receive a cash prize and the chance to see their entries in print in the Scottish Mountaineer, the quarterly MCofS magazine which goes out to its more than 12,000 members. The first placed winners in prose and poetry categories will also receive a free weekend pass, worth about £100, to the 2016 Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival. Winning entries are also published on the MCofS website. Run since 1987, the competition is open to members and non—members alike and regularly attracts entries from all over the UK. Prose entries should be a maximum of 2,000 words long. Poetry entries can be of any length. Deadline for this year’s competition is August 31. Entries should be sent to the MWC Coordinator, Mike Merchant, preferably by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by hard copy to MCofS, MWC2014, The Old Granary, West Mill Street, Perth PH1 5QP.
Perth and Kinross residents have claimed the council is failing to deal with the annual spread of a toxic plant which causes blisters and burns on human skin. Homeowners say poisonous Giant Hogweed plants are among a wave of invasive species growing at an alarming rate throughout the region. The plant can cause significant blistering which can take months to heal. Just a brush is enough to start a potential reaction and eye contact with the sap can also cause blindness. Elspeth Buchanan of Inchyra, said: “Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam are rampant on the banks and areas adjacent to the River Tay, beside the Friarton Bridge and next to the Perth/Dundee railway line between Perth and Inchyra where I live. “I have also noticed other areas of the same species on other parts of the Tay from Loch Tay to the estuary. “However, I am sad to report yet again that still nothing seems to be being done to eradicate these species. Now is the time to deal with this not when the enormous flowers have set seed.” Giant hogweed can grow to between two and five metres in height. Though the plant dies back in winter, it grows again in the spring and excels at propagating itself, with each flower capable of producing 20,000 seeds. Further Giant Hogweed, more than six feet in height, has been spotted between Perth’s Tesco petrol station and Crieff Road, close to the crash barrier. One concerned resident said: “As it is almost the school holidays some child might not be able to resist smashing it up and will not know of the dangers of the sap.” The Royal Horticultural Society advises that when controlling the plant, gloves should be used, arms and legs covered and a face mask worn. Perth councillor Willie Wilson said ongoing work was being carried out by both the council and private businesses to eradicate the region of invasive species. He said: “Muir Homes have carried out two treatments to Hogweed at Low Road. From a recent visit by myself and a colleague from our local greenspace group this seems to have been effective. “Perth and Kinross Council have also carried out treatments at an adjacent site near Orchard Place in Craigie. Craigie Hill Golf Club has also done sterling work on land adjacent to the golf course on some difficult terrain. “Anyone tackling a Hogweed infestation should take great care for their own health and safety.” A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “As part of the council responsibilities for greenspace maintenance, we carry out the treatment of weeds in areas of council responsibility, this includes Giant Hogweed.” You can report Giant Hogweed on council land by phoning 01738 476476 or email email@example.com. Poisonous Giant Hogweed plants are among a wave of invasive species said to be growing at an alarming rate throughout the region.
New uses are being sought for historic Perthshire buildings that harnessed the power of the River Tay to sell cotton and textiles around the world. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust is looking to breathe life into the East Range at Stanley Mills. The four riverside buildings are the last part of the historically important mill complex to be regenerated since the mills closed in 1989. The Trust is working with Historic Environment Scotland, the current owners, to identify viable new uses, as well as potential funding sources to bring the buildings back into productive use. Both organisations are aiming to develop a scheme that will complement the existing visitor attraction and residential development, and benefit the local economy. A wide range of uses are thought to be possible including business and craft workshops, artists’ studios, a café, accommodation and uses benefitting from the situation of the East Range on the banks of the River Tay. A thriving local charity has already expressed interest in using some of the space to complement its existing services in Perth. There is potentially over 2000 square metres of floor space over the four buildings, ranging from large full height industrial spaces to smaller domestic scale spaces, and possibilities for shared space. Head of industrial heritage at Historic Environment Scotland, Miles Oglethorpe, said: “The East Range at Stanley Mills is an attractive, nationally important category B listed range of buildings capable of accommodating a wide range of businesses and activities in a wonderful historic setting.” For 200 years the mill harnessed the power of the River Tay to process cotton and produce textiles that were sold around the world. It was altered many times during that period in order to keep up with the industry’s changing demands and new technologies, before finally closing in 1989. It now offers visitors an insight into Scotland’s important industrial milling heritage through interactive experiences, where they can learn all about the processes of the mill and the lives of the people who worked there. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust historic buildings development officer Sara Carruthers said: “We are keen to hear from anyone or any organisation that has views on or ideas for how the East Range buildings could be re-developed. “We are also interested in speaking to anyone seeking space for a community, charitable or business use locally in Stanley. Don’t be discouraged by the scale of the buildings - it’s likely that any viable solution will include a range of uses and users.”
Families can get on—board for some storytelling fun when the PlayTalkRead bus tours Perth and Kinross next week. All parents and carers with children under five are invited to get involved in free storytelling and rhythm sessions. The bus has a range of play and activity sessions, with simple free activities and resources which parents can take home. Bertie the double decker PlayTalkRead bus will visit the following areas on a drop—in basis from 10am—4pm next week: Rie-Achan Car Park in Pitlochry on Monday; King Edward Street in Perth on Tuesday; MacRosty Park in Crieff on Wednesday; Lidl Car Park on Riggs Road in Perth on Thursday; Loch Leven Campus in Kinross on Friday.
A woman was pulled from the River Tay in Perth during an early morning rescue by emergency services. Police Scotland received reports of a woman in the river near Tay Street shortly after 3am on Sunday. Officers and personnel from the Scottish Fire and Rescue service both attended the incident and the 34-year-old was safely recovered from the water at about 3.25am. She was conveyed to Perth Royal Infirmary for checks but appeared to have suffered no ill effects following the incident.
The hunt is on to discover the next David Attenborough with the launch Cairngorms Nature Young Presenter 2017 competition Following on from the success of last year, Cairngorms Nature and the RSPB have once again launched a UK-wide search to find a child who is passionate about nature and can inspire others. The winner will get the chance to spend a day being filmed with BBC nature presenter Iolo Williams in the Cairngorms National Park as part of a five-day Speyside Wildlife holiday for them and their family. https://youtu.be/6E9DkmQD0pM Iolo Williams said: “It’s really important to get young people involved in nature because they are going to be the movers and shakers of conservation organisations for the next generation. “If you’re a young person who loves nature and wants to inspire others to love it too then get outside and show us your patch.” Last year’s winner was James Miller who won the nation’s vote with his film about badgers. The competition is open to all 10-16 year-olds. All they need to do to enter is to film themselves presenting something in nature. The film should be no longer than 90 seconds and they must tell the camera why they would like to present Cairngorms Nature to a young audience. https://youtu.be/BKNggVUDFks Fancy camera work or exotic locations are not necessary as some of last year’s finalists were just shot on a mobile phone in the back garden. The entries must be uploaded by a parent or guardian. The finalists will be showcased online with the winner being decided by a public vote. See more at www.rspb.org.uk/cairngormsnature.
A Bridge of Earn woman told police “It’s an abomination” as she was arrested for driving at more than twice the legal limit without a licence. Emily Forbes, 20, Smillie Place, was spotted by officers driving a blue Honda Civic at a crawl on Auld Bond Roads, Perth. Sheriff Richard McFarlane heard that the officers became suspicious due to the vehicle’s slow speed and the fact that the car was straddling both carriageways. When they pulled Forbes over to carry out a breath test her speech was slurred, and she blurted out “It’s an abomination” as they arrested her. Solicitor Billy Sommerville stated that a friend had encouraged his client to have a shot of the vehicle. He stated: “Thankfully she was driving extremely slowly. It was a moment of madness.” Perth Sheriff Court was told that Forbes had never held a licence nor even applied for one before. Forbes admitted that on July 23 she drove a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion in her breath was 49 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the limit of 22 microgrammes. She also pleaded guilty to driving with no insurance and without a licence. Forbes was fined £430 and disqualified for 14 months. Sheriff McFarlane admonished her on the charge of driving without a licence.
A woman driver was taken to Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital after her car ended up on its side in Bridge of Cally on Wednesday morning. The woman suffered a minor head injury when she crashed her red Fiat Punto at around 7.20am. No other vehicle was involved in the accident which occurred on the A93. Both Police Scotland and the fire service were called out to the incident as a precaution and made the scene safe.
A Perth man threatened a newsagent with a knife as he stole more than £1,000 during a masked robbery. William Davidson, Logie Crescent, masked his face with a scarf during the raid at RS McColl on Perth’s Rannoch Road. The hooded raider threatened 44-year-old staff member David Ferguson with a knife before fleeing with cash from the till. Davidson, 58, walked into the store armed with the knife at around 6.45pm on October 26 last year. The shop is one of a row of shops at the top end of Rannoch Road, the main artery through the sprawling Letham housing scheme. At Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Davidson admitted assaulting Mr Ferguson while his face was masked and demanding money. Davidson pressed a knife against Mr Ferguson’s body and threatened to stab the shop employee, before robbing him of around £1,170. Mr Ferguson was reported to have been left shocked but unhurt as a result of the incident. One shopworker who was working nearby at the time said: “As always, the area was busy at the time. “There are a number of shops here plus a bookies and a pub. There is also a takeaway right next to the McColl’s shop but it is shut on Mondays. “Perhaps the robber was aware of this because the takeaway is usually mobbed. I saw a fair number of police about and knew something serious had happened.” Another shocked trader said: “Thankfully, it’s not the sort of thing you hear happening every day.” Police made door-to-door inquiries and trawled through CCTV from both the shop and local businesses in an effort to trace the masked raider. Perth City North councillor Calum Gillies, whose ward covers the Rannoch Road area, said: “The area where the robbery occurred is well populated. “A lot of families live there and there are always youngsters running about. It’s shocking an incident such as this has happened.” Sheriff Fiona Tait deferred sentence until August 30 for the preparation of criminal justice social work reports. When approached by The Courier Mr Ferguson declined to comment on his ordeal.