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.
More than 30,000 visitors are expected to descend on Scone Parklands this weekend for a jam packed Scottish Game Fair. Scotland’s biggest and best outdoor country sports event will be held at Scone Palace from Friday through until Saturday. This year’s programme promises to be bigger than ever before, with a huge variety of things to see and do for all the family as well as country sports enthusiasts. The Royal Marines Unarmed Combat Display team are topping the Main Ring bill, with other new attractions such as Strathearn Horse Logging offering an insight into this environmentally sensitive means of timber extraction. The baking trio that is Three Sisters Bake will once again headline the cookery theatre with Christopher Trotter also making a welcome return with his Forgotten Foods culinary displays. More than 450 traders, including 50 new brands, will be on site this year alongside the ever popular falcons, gun dogs, duck and sheep show, terrier racing and Hill Ponies (Sunday only). A plethora of pipe bands and hunting hounds, as well as the multitude of ‘have a go’ sports and competitions from clay and drone shooting, fishing, scurry and gun dog tests, will also be on show across the three days. An exciting development for 2016 is the new forestry section, sponsored by Scottish Woodlands. Fisherman’s Row also returns stronger than ever with an especially vibrant area for fly fishermen and Gunmakers Row has been extended for 2016. The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is an independent wildlife conservation charity and the GWCT Scottish Game Fair raises essential funds to support research and conservation, whilst educating people about Scotland’s rich natural heritage. The income generated and overall regional economic impact of the Fair in 2015 was estimated at £4-4.5 million. This year, the GWCT’s flagship central exhibit will be themed Grass to Grouse. The exhibit will have displays promoting how sympathetic management of a hill edge livestock farm can be efficient and carefully integrated with sporting enterprises without loss of biodiversity.
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.”
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 email@example.com or by hard copy to MCofS, MWC2014, The Old Granary, West Mill Street, Perth PH1 5QP.
Four of Scotland’s celebrated crime writers will be in conversation with publisher and writer Peter Burnett on Thursday in the AK Bell Library. Douglas Skelton, Neil Broadfoot, Mark Leggatt and G J Brown have published 20 crime novels between them, with more in the pipeline. They will share their experience of writing and creating plots, with general death, destruction and a bit of hilarity thrown in for good measure. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7.30pm, are £5 and available in person at the AK Bell library, 01738 444949, or via Eventbrite.
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.
The Enchanted Forest, Perthshire’s multi-award-winning sound and light show, has released 65,000 tickets for its 15th anniversary show. The state-of-the-art show, entitled shimmer, will run throughout October and organisers are urging customers to book early to avoid disappointment. Last year’s award winning show attracted a record 62,000 visitors smashing all previous box office records and selling out quickly. The 2016 show runs from Thursday September 29 to Friday October 30 at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry. The event will see the return of the multi-award-winning creative team of Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes as lighting designers, and RJ McConnell and Jon Beales providing sound design and composition and show producer, Derek Allan. Acting chairman of The Enchanted Forest Ian Sim said: “Every year The Enchanted Forest lights up the countryside of Perthshire and boosts the Autumnal tourist season. “The show we have planned for this year is remarkable and will prove to be a must-see. The team have some very exciting developments in planning and we’re certain it will create that wow factor for visitors.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH8gN5diYGM In 2015 The Enchanted Forest extended its season due to popular demand and the event now brings in an estimated £2 million to the local economy. Proceeds from a dedicated charity night on Thursday September 29 will also benefit Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance; Kidney Kids Scotland; and British Heart Foundation Scotland. Tickets for the event are currently on sale at www.enchantedforest.org.uk.
One of Scotland’s most iconic golf courses, The King’s Course at Gleneagles, has been officially relaunched, following an extensive development programme to restore it to its original glory. Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan and golfer Stephen Gallacher – who played his first tournament on The King’s Course at the Bell’s Scottish Open in 1993 – teed off on the first hole of the course to lead the celebrations. The James Braid-designed course is due to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2019 and is widely regarded as a masterpiece in course design. Famed for hosting the very first match between British and American professionals in 1921 – in an event that was the precursor to The Ryder Cup – the historic course has also attracted a host of celebrities over the years, including Bing Crosby, Sir Sean Connery and Sir Jackie Stewart. Gleneagles’ golf courses and estate manager Scott Fenwick, who managed The King’s Course project, joined the green keeping team at Gleneagles 35 years ago. He said: “We’ve taken the course back to how it would have been in Braid’s day. I started here in 1980 but by the end of that decade we had begun to change the whole character of The King’s Course to meet golfers’ expectations at that time. “We started contouring and reshaping until the fairways became really narrow. The original bunkers within the fairways ended up sitting in the rough which meant the approaches became so tight that golfers had to fly the ball onto the greens. There was a surge in demand for this type of play at the time.” The recent King’s Course restoration project, which has seen the fairways increase from 10 hectares to 14 hectares, has reversed most of these changes from the late 1980s. One of the main project objectives was to follow Braid’s philosophy of using the natural lie of the landscape to inspire and inform the course design. Works to reinstate elements of the original design have included re-aligning fairways and widening greens, bringing several bunkers back into play and reinstating heather stands. The roughs have been thinned out while the fairways – which were previously striped with a manicured cross cut – are now being cut in the traditional block style to emulate the cut that would have been achieved with horse-drawn gang mowers. Gordon Strachan, who plays off a single figure handicap and is a regular golfer at Gleneagles, said: “The return to the old layout means some shots are easier, but many shots are a lot harder. It’s a more traditional way of playing – if you catch the wrong side of a slope it takes the ball away, so it adds new challenges and excitement to the game.” Stephen Gallacher – who was the only Scot to represent Europe in The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – added: “As one of Scotland’s most historically important courses, it’s fantastic to get a much more authentic experience of how golf would have been played in Braid’s day.”
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 man who threatened to put faeces in his mouth and spit it at nurses while locked in a police cell has been jailed for 11 months. James Brown, 30, stated he wanted to have a dirty protest and threatened to defecate on the floor, smear it on the walls and throw pieces at anyone who entered his cell. Brown, who was high on heroin and legal highs at the time, then urinated on his cell door before placing his fingers up his rectum and rubbing them over the cell glass. He then proceeded to spit on the cell door and make racist remarks to officers. Brown had been picked up by the police after they found him in an intoxicated state on Pomarium Street in Perth. He was arrested after he refused to leave the area and began shouting and swearing at officers. He later unleashed a torrent of racist abuse at a police constable, including such threats as ‘go home and rape your black daughters’ and ‘I hope your black mother dies of cancer’. Solicitor Keith Sym said his client had no recollection of any events. He stated: “He doesn’t even recall when he was released from police custody. Some of the comments made would suggest a mind that was under severe intoxication.” Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: “Anyone with any degree of sanity would appreciate as you do today when you are of sound mind that your behaviour was just atrocious.” Brown, Paterson Place, Montrose, admitted that on March 11 at Perth Royal Infirmary, Taymount Terrace, Perth, and Police Scotland divisional headquarters, West Bell Street, Dundee, that he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner, shouted, swore, did spit within a police vehicle, urinated against a door of a police cell and smeared excrement on the door. He also admitted to shouting, swearing and uttering racist remarks to a police officer regarding both him and his family, biting his hand and spitting at him.