Jul 032017

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

(L to R) Sarah Harker and Moira Gash of DeeTour and VisitScotland regional director Jo Robinson.

A pair of Aberdeenshire entrepreneurs have launched a new tourist guidebook aimed at attracting more visitors to Royal Deeside.
Moira Gash and Sarah Harker, who run tour and activities business DeeTour alongside their own separate businesses, have created the Royal Deeside PassporTour, a pocketsize guide showcasing things to see and do in the Aberdeenshire valley.

The pair previously worked for tourism body Visit Royal Deeside.

Aimed at national and international visitors and locals alike, the 128-page book highlights the diversity of the area’s tourism offering. The guide was created after local tourism businesses called for this type of publication.

With stunning scenery, a wealth of locally produced food and drink, and an array of tourist attractions, golf courses and outdoor activities to enjoy, Royal Deeside has something for visitors of all ages. The book is designed to provide a comprehensive insight for those planning a trip to the area, while also acting as a guide and money saving tool as they explore the region.

Along with highlighting key tourist attractions and profiling the amenities and activities on offer in each of the main towns, the guide features interviews with local artists, tour guides, musicians, sportspeople and tourism professionals, helping to bring the region to life. A golf trail and a tea and cake trail each present further incentives to explore Royal Deeside, with participating businesses offering discounts to customers.

The history, heritage and culture of Royal Deeside and Scotland is also outlined, and a handy summary of Doric words will help visitors to grasp some of the basics of the distinctive north-east dialect.

Priced at £9.95, the Royal Deeside PassporTour provides purchasers with over £200 worth of savings through the 23 vouchers and two trails that it features.

The guidebook is also suitable for local families looking for inspiration for things to do during the summer holidays. Vouchers include 15% off at Go Ape at Crathes Castle, 50% off at Battlegrounds Paintball, two for one entry to Braemar Castle and 20% off day rover tickets at the Deeside Railway.

Co-director of DeeTour, Moira Gash, said:

“The Royal Deeside PassporTour aims to allow travellers to make informed choices as they plan their trip to Aberdeenshire and also act as a reference tool while they are visiting. Thanks to its royal connection, Deeside draws visitors from around the world and we’ve had interest in the guide from far and wide.

“Not only is it suitable for those visiting the area for the first time, but the huge savings offered by the featured businesses makes it a fantastic tool for locals. For families planning day trips during the summer holidays, the savings on offer at Go Ape at Crathes Castle and Battlegrounds’ paintballing, near Banchory, more than cover the cost of the book.”

The initiative has received the backing of VisitScotland, and was showcased at this year’s Royal Highland Show as part of the Aberdeenshire Village display, where it was given an enthusiastic reception from show visitors.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director, said:

“I think the Royal Deeside PassporTour is a great idea to inform visitors coming to beautiful Royal Deeside of the vast array of attractions, entertainment, locations and handy hints and tips, as well as locals looking for ideas for the summer holidays.

“Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and VisitScotland works with local industry to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the regional visitor economy. We need to think big about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a tourism destination to ensure we fulfil our potential – every visitor must get a quality experience, every single time.

“The Royal Deeside PassporTour reveals some of Aberdeenshire’s best-loved places as well as its hidden gems, and is a fantastic celebration of everything that this charming corner of the world has to offer visitors.”

Copies of the Royal Deeside PassporTour can be purchased from a number of businesses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire or online at www.deetour.co.uk.

DeeTour is an Aberdeenshire-based tour and activities business that was established by business partners Moira Gash and Sarah Harker. The business provides bespoke tour and activity packages to help visitors explore Aberdeenshire. In 2017, DeeTour launched the Royal Deeside PassporTour, a new guidebook highlighting the wealth of things to see, do and sample in the region. The pocketsize book, which costs £9.95, includes over 20 vouchers that provide more than £200 of discounts at local business. 

Further information about DeeTour and the Royal Deeside PassporTour can be found at www.deetour.co.uk.

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Mar 172017

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Ex Scottish and UK Enduro/Trails Champion Gavin Johnston is gearing up to expand his innovative digital tourism solution UrPal into Glasgow and Edinburgh this April.

UrPal is a unique mobile application to Scotland having already been successful in Inverness with 7,000 users and recently launched in Aberdeen.

The app fills a gap in the market for both tourists and locals alike, giving them comprehensive up to the minute information at their fingertips on everything happening in an area including entertainment, eating out and in, tours, attractions, fitness, accommodation, activities, shops, health, transport and current news.

As well as being valued by users who access the app for free, UrPal is also a valuable source of promotion to local businesses and organisations, statistics say that 70% of online users now use mobile devices to access the web so it’s crucial that businesses are visible on such platforms. Visitors to Scotland are reported to have increased to 15 million annually and UrPal is ideally positioned to serve the growing digital tourism marketplace.

Gavin along with his partner Caren the founders of UrPal met almost 4 years ago in Romania, Gavin had been competing in the Redbull Romaniacs World Extreme Enduro Championship and Caren at the time was travelling for her work in architecture. The couple have now given up these roles to focus solely on UrPal and their other business Aberdeen and Inverness Taxis.

Gavin said

“working on UrPal couldn’t be more different to riding bikes and running a taxi company; I identified the need in the market from hearing  taxi passengers deliberate how to source information they required; Caren and I then put our heads together and planned and launched UrPal in Inverness and Aberdeen in 2016.”

He continued:

“with 7,000 users in Inverness UrPal is proving successful and as well as expanding by location we begin physical tours in April this year, 4 in Aberdeen and 8 in Inverness are already planned to destinations such as Peterhead Prison, Brewdog, Dunnottar and Crathes Castles, Glengarioch Distillery and Castle Fraser; we are really pleased that UrPal is fast becoming the go to place for people looking for things to do, and that it’s having a positive impact on the local economy.”

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May 052016

Tots2travelWith thanks to Janice Hopper.

May 2016 sees the professional launch of a Scottish Family Travel online resource called Tots2Travel.

Based in Aberdeen it encourages Scottish families to explore what’s on their doorstep and beyond.

Tots2Travel started when local writer and new mother Janice Hopper struggled to find travel recommendations written from a family perspective, be it family friendly destinations within Scotland or international locations within easy reach of Scottish airports.

Janice said:

“I was initially terrified travelling with a newborn baby and was looking was advice and child friendly places to visit. I saw a gap in the market for Family Travel writing within Scotland and it was a great incentive to do something about it. What started as a hobby then developed and I now work to show parents the family orientated destinations available across the country.

“There’s so much to do! It’s a privilege to showcase Scotland to a wider audience and highlight what’s on offer at home and abroad for Scottish families.”

The Tots2Travel team is Janice Hopper, Mr Husband, Mr Toddler (aged 2) and Mr Baby (aged 1). Janice spent over a decade writing and directing documentaries for the BBC before having two children and becoming a freelance writer.

Tots2Travel can be found and followed at www.tots2travel.wordpress.com, and its supporting social media is www.facebook.com/tots2travel.wordpress, www.instagram.com/tots2travel, www.twitter.com/tots2travel and www.pinterest.com/tots2travel.

Apr 292016

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

Glen Tanar Tower O’ EssGlen Tanar Estate on Royal Deeside will welcome over 570 Scouts from all over Scotland during the May Day bank holiday weekend as they pitch their tents for The Highland Adventure Camp.
The four-day event is the largest camp held in Scotland for Scouts, and the estate will be used as the backdrop for activities ranging from rafting to circus skills.

The camp will be set up  next to Glen Tanar Visitor Centre from Friday, April 29 through to Monday, May 2 and will involve hundreds of tents being pitched over the weekend to create a mini-village inhabited by Scouts aged 11 to 14, along with adult volunteers.

During the adventure camp, which rotates in location each year from the Highlands to Lowlands and the Islands of Scotland, the youngsters will be encouraged to take part in many different activities, including backwoods cooking, crafts, zorbing, archery, grass sledging and even movie making.

They will also have the opportunity to participate in geocaching – a fast-growing activity which Glen Tanar Estate has helped to pioneer on Royal Deeside – where participants try to find ‘treasure’ in the landscape.

There will also be the opportunity for Scouts to learn about the management of the estate and the wildlife to be found in the countryside near Aboyne, and help the Glen Tanar Charitable Trust Rangers on a special project.

Estate owner Claire Bruce says everyone at Glen Tanar is looking forward to welcoming the youngsters.

She adds,

“We feel incredibly lucky to be able to call Glen Tanar our home, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with such a large group of young people.

“We actively encourage people to get out onto the trails and hills of Glen Tanar and enjoy what it has to offer, and the fact that the Scouts are going to be enjoying such an incredible range of activities while they are here is fantastic. It just goes to underline how many different activities can be undertaken in the glen.

“The camp will take up quite a large area near the Visitor Centre but other than that, there will be no restrictions on visitors and we hope that everyone from walkers and cyclists to horse riders will be in the great outdoors enjoying the glen and its scenery over the May Day bank holiday weekend.”

The camp is organised by Bishopton Scouts and has been running annually since 1989: it is the biggest event of its kind in Scotland.

Colin Dair, the camp chief, adds,

“Not only do the camps give Scouts the chance to meet and camp with other Scouts from all over the country, it is an opportunity to experience a wide range of exciting activities.

“As well as the many volunteers in Scouting who make this event possible, we are very grateful to the Estate for allowing us to camp in the grounds.”

Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne is set in the heart of Royal Deeside within the Cairngorms National Park and offers a wealth of activities and attractions from fishing and walking to adventuring on estate safaris. Glen Tanar Estate’s grand ballroom is available to hire for functions, including corporate events, weddings and conferences and the estate has a number of self-catering holiday cottages.

For more information visit www.glentanar.co.uk

Nov 262015

Glen Tanar Tower O’ Ess With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

A country estate on Royal Deeside is offering stressed out shoppers the perfect antidote to crowded shopping malls – a festive pop-up shop packed full of locally produced Christmas gifts. The store at Glen Tanar Estate, near Aboyne, is also selling Christmas trees and holly wreaths sourced from its very own nursery.

The cosy shop has been created in the Coats Room – a brand new multi-function meeting space within the main estate complex.

The shop opens on November 28 and will stay open until December 22.

It is the second year that Glen Tanar Estate has opened its festive pop-up shop. Estate owner Claire Bruce explains,

“For many years we sold our Christmas trees and holly wreaths down at the nursery, and we would get people making the trip to see us from quite a wide radius.

“When we opened the Coats Rooms late last year, we realised that we could actually use it to add to the festive retail experience and decided to launch the Christmas pop-up shop. It was a huge success and people have been asking for months if we would be opening again this year.

“The feedback we received was really positive, especially about the quality of the products on offer as they were all locally produced and not available anywhere else in the local area.

“We are continually striving to find new and interesting additions to what we offer here at Glen Tanar and we feel that the pop-up shop has been one of the most exciting yet. All we need is for the snow from the weekend to stay and we will be a real winter wonderland.”

This year there are even more local and Scottish gifts to choose from at the pop-up store. Shoppers can expect to find homemade jams, chutney and preserves from Glen Tanar’s own Liz’s Larder label, as well as small accessories and homeware in the estate tweed, including coasters, ties and purses.

There is a large selection of greetings cards, handmade jewellery, biscuits, fudge and Glen Tanar Estate’s own calendar, featuring images of the stunning landscape and wildlife that the glen is famous for.

The Glen Tanar Estate pop-up shop is open seven days a week 9am – 4pm.

Located on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Tanar Estate is close to Aboyne and is under an hour’s drive from Aberdeen. In addition to walking and cycling trails, it offers outdoor pursuits, Land Rover  safaris, bird photography packages, pony trekking and fishing. For further information, visit www.glentanar.co.uk

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Oct 112012

With the tattie holidays just round the corner, the Beacon Centre in Bucksburn is offering the following exciting range of activities to keep your ‘little darlings’ entertained.  With thanks to Jenny Oelman.

GIRLS GYMNASTICS CAMP for children aged 5 to 16

Week 1 – Monday 15th October to Friday 19th October – 13:30 – 15:30
Week 2 – Monday 22nd October to Friday 26th October – 1330-15:30

Cost: £35.00 per week

TRAMPOLINE CAMP for children aged 5 to 16 

Runs on Monday 15th and 22nd and Friday 19th and 26th October, 17:00 – 18:00 and 18:00 – 19:00 (2 hours per week)

Cost: £15.00 for 4, one hour sessions.

KINDEREGYM for children aged 18 months to 5 years.

Runs on Wednesday 17th and 24th and Friday 19th and 26th October at the following times:

09:30 – 10:15,
10:15 – 11:00,
11:00 – 11:45

Cost: £6.20 for 2 sessions.

MIXED FOOTBALL COACHING                     

Runs on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd October at the following times:

09;00 – 10;00 for 5 to 7 year olds
10;00 – 11;00 for 8 to 13 year olds

Cost:  £7.50 for 2, one hour sessions.

All activities held at Bucksburn Community Campus,Kepplehills Road,Aberdeen, AB21 9DG

For further details contact the Beacon Centre Reception by telephone at 01224 710840, or by email at beaconcentre@sportaberdeen.co.uk

Image credit: Nick See. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2705/4092017918_7731aa9c39.jpg

Aug 312012

Long established bead and craft store Bead Crazy is re-launching as Bead POP where new owner Alex Penter is offering a weekend of fun activities to celebrate the opening.

A new craft experience is opening in Aberdeen this weekend as the bead and jewellery making supplies shop formerly known as Bead Crazy is re-launched as the all new Bead POP with a weekend of fun events that will include special offers, new products and complimentary drinks.

The fun starts at the St Andrew’s Street shop on Friday with a special late-night opening, from 7pm until 10pm, when customers can view and purchase from a range of new products and ask any craft-related questions they have, while enjoying a complimentary cocktail.

On Saturday there will be a classic tea party, complete with tasty treats and goody bags for the lucky first 10 people through the door.  So get along early!

The fun continues on Sunday with the first of Bead Pop’s new regular Sunday openings, from 12 noon – 4pm, when there will be a last chance to get a 10% off flyer, valid for two weeks, with a £10 purchase.

New owner Alex Penter, who studied design at the Robert Gordon University and was the previous shop supervisor of Bead Crazy before she recently bought the business, said:

“Even if you’ve never tried any sort of jewellery making before, I’d encourage you to come along and try something out.  We run activities for people of all abilities and you might surprise yourself by how creative you can be!

“This opening weekend is a great opportunity for people to come down, have some fun and check out the new look shop.  And, for our long established customers, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of new and unusual beads we’re now stocking.”

About Bead Pop

Bead Pop, Aberdeen’s premier bead shop, sells all materials for jewellery making and general crafts and also offers group workshops, children’s parties, one-to-one tuition, hen nights, team building activities and a repair service.

In addition, Bead Pop runs classes on designing and making all kinds of unique handmade jewellery, with staff being available to attend events at schools and charity fundraisers.

The shop is based at 19 – 21 St Andrews Street, Aberdeen and is open from 10pm until 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 noon until 4pm on Sundays.

For workshop bookings or any further information on what the shop can offer call 01224 630011.



Mar 092012

Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) is the premier sporting facility in the North East.  ASV is running a project from 26th April as part of the London 2012 Inspire Programe.   The Inspire programme provides an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the London 2012 Games – a broad participation programme. New opportunities are being created to inspire young people and encourage the whole of the UK to join in. With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

ASV’s World Sports Tour, a series of sports taster sessions for children, recently celebrated success, receiving the award of the London 2012 Inspire Mark by former Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World champion triple jumper Jonathan Edwards. Bookings are now being taken for the programme of sports activities.

ASV’s World Sports Tour offers children the chance to take part in 12 taster sessions of 12 different Paralympic and Olympic sports in the 12 weeks leading up to the arrival of the Cameroon Olympic Team in Aberdeen for their Pre-Games Training Camp (PGTC).

During the programme, the children will also discover fun facts about the events at the London Games and about athletes from different countries. At the end of each session, parents will be issued with contact details for local clubs where the children can continue to take part in the sports they enjoyed the most. The programme concludes with the Hydrasun Mini-Olympics on the 12th July, where the children will have the opportunity to meet some of the Cameroon athletes.

The programme aims to raise awareness of the Olympic Games, get the city excited about the arrival of the Cameroon team, increase the number of children participating in sport, and raise subscription numbers in established sports clubs across the city.

Additionally, the project forms the first phase of Aberdeen Sports Village & RGU: SPORT’s PGTC Community Programme through the use of local coaches and volunteers to deliver the activities. The Community Programme is set to raise the profile of the London Olympics and the Cameroon Team’s visit, and inspire the people of the North East.

Jan Griffiths, Sports Development Manager at Aberdeen Sports Village said:

 “We are delighted to have been awarded the Inspire Mark for ASV’s World Sports Tour. We’re confident that the programme of activities will be inspirational to local children and, through the signposting element of the project, will provide existing children’s sports clubs across the city with a wealth of new talented and ambitious athletes.”

ASV’s World Sports Tour is open to children from P4 to S2 of all abilities, and takes place at Aberdeen Sports Village on Thursdays from 4pm to 5pm, starting on 26th April. Each session only costs £2 and spaces are limited, so advanced booking is essential. Spaces can be booked by calling 01224 438 900 or visiting Aberdeen Sports Village.

More details about ASV’s World Sports Tour can be found on www.aberdeensportsvillage.com.

Contact Details:

Kenny Gunnyeon,
Business Development Manager
Email: Kenny@aberdeensportsvillage.com
Tel: 01224 438 918

Feb 032012

With thanks to  Jenny and Kate at Willows

Willows Animal Sanctuary  invite you to come along to an open day on 18 February from 12 noon to 4.00 pm.

Willows Patron Sandi Thom will arrive around 1pm, and autographed photos will be for sale with all profits going to Willows. Lush Aberdeen have generously donated a collection of treats to be raffled off.
There will be baked goods, ferrets and many more of the great variety of creatures that live at Willows will be on show – farm, domestic and wild animals are all given a shelter, and no healthy animal is ever put down.

In addition, legendary singer Paul Rodgers, founding member and songwriter from Free and Bad Company and member of The Firm; and his wife Cynthia sponsored 13 of Willows Animals for Christmas.

Paul said:-

“We heard the unusual story about the piglet Babe and her great escape and dug a little deeper to find that all of the animals were in need of sponsoring.”

Paul has also donated 100 copies of his latest DVD “Live in Montreux Paul Rodgers and Friends” featuring appearances from Queen’s Brian May, Journey’s Neal Schon, Jason Bonham and others.

Signed copies of Paul’s DVD are available at £25 from Willows online shop.  Details of Willows at http://www.willowsanimals.com/ and DVD details/order form at http://shopatwillows.com/shop/catalog/search?shop_param , so even if you can’t make it to Willows on the 18th, you can still get a signed DVD.

Willows Animal Sanctuary is the largest sanctuary in Aberdeenshire and will try to help any animal in distress. We operate a strict no kill policy and only euthanise an animal on veterinary advice.

We look after over 300 animals including around 60 horses, ponies and donkeys, approximately 60 cats and dogs and many reptiles as well as over 100 farm animals and birds.

We are totally dependent on donations, legacies and grants from benevolent organizations to keep the sanctuary running.

We are entirely funded by public support and receive no government funding. Unlike larger charities we have no reserves of money and are desperately short of funds. We specialise in helping elderly or more vulnerable animals that have already been refused help by well known large national charities, but we can only continue to help needy animals with your support!

The Animal Assisted Therapy Unit at Willows

Willows helps many vulnerable people with its animal assisted therapy programme. The concept of allowing rescued animals to help vulnerable people on the road back to health is very innovative and has been independently evaluated and shown to be highly beneficial.The therapeutic placements and corporate team building days include equine management, animal husbandry, therapeutic music sessions, drama, bushcraft and mediaeval re-enactment  Please contact us if you would like more details.

Willows Animal Sanctuary is situated on the road between New Pitsligo and Strichen (B9093)


Aug 242011

Compiled by Fred Wilkinson.

Willows Animal Sanctuary is holding an open day this weekend and hope as many people will come along and help raise money for their 300 rescued horses and other animals.
A registered charity, Willows offers dedicated care to abandoned and ill-treated domestic and farm animals, and operates a strict no kill policy.

The Animal Sanctuary has been rescuing animals from distressing situations since 1989 and whilst the number of animals needing help has risen enormously over time, the number and size of donations has dropped off dramatically.

It is hoped that the public will turn up in good numbers to enjoy a fantastic range of fun activities while at the same time provide a much needed cash boost for Willows as they strive to provide a comfortable future for the animals in their care.

Scheduled activities include:

*Live Music.
*Face Painting.
*Body Shop stall.
*Beastie Hoose.
*Gift Shop.
*Leeann’s Jewellery stall.
*New Living History.
*Coffee Shop.
*Lots of Tombolas and Raffles.
*Bottle Stalls.
*Treasure hunt.
*Home Bakes and preserves.

New for 2011!
Fascinating and informative living history displays and talks. Learn about the past in a fun way through practical demonstrations. These talks will show which of our rescued animals would have been around in historical times.

Date: Saturday 27th August.
Time: 11.00am – 5.00pm

Willows Animal Sanctuary is situated on the road between New Pitsligo and Strichen (B9093).
Reg. Charity No.SCO29625
Tel. 01771 653112
email kate@willowsanimals.com


In 1999 Willows became a recognised Scottish Charity and began to specialise in accepting animals that had been rejected by other charities as being unsuitable for re-homing.

Willows now provides a “last chance sanctuary” and most of the animals here would not be around today if Willows did not exist. We at Willows act as a lifeline for needy animals and offer them safety, rehabilitation and re-home those that are suitable. Willows offers dedicated care to abandoned and ill-treated domestic and farm animals.

Willows helps many vulnerable people with its animal assisted therapy programme. The concept of allowing rescued animals to help vulnerable people on the road back to health is very innovative and has been independently evaluated and shown to be highly beneficial.

For more Information on Willows and how to make a donation See: http://www.willowsanimals.com/