Jul 292016
 

Last Bus CanteenBy Fin Hall.

I am neither a vegetarian nor a vegan; but the North East of Scotland is certainly not the best place to be if any of those ideologies are your choice. Especially the latter.
Many years ago, however, I was a vegetarian and it was even worse. I had macaroni cheese coming out of my lugs.

However, if you are willing to travel a little out of the city, up to the village of New Pitsligo a.k.a. ‘Cyaak’, you will find an absolute treasure of a restaurant.

The Last Bus Worker’s Canteen, is situated off the beaten track, or more precisely up a beaten track, just north of said village. It is run by an ex oil worker, Mike and his partner, Jessica.

They always welcome people with a hearty smile, and even it the place is busy, they move things about to find a space for you.

Down the hill from the cafe, is situated their residence and a large building in which is situated two, old double decker buses which are in a constant state of renovation. It has been known, that in times of extreme busyness, one of the aforementioned buses will be driven up the hill and parked outside, and used as an additional sitting area.

Once inside you may be seated at old bus seats before Jessica, who is always dashing about between tables taking orders with that ever present smile on her face. Don’t be excepting a vast choice on the menu, as their is only ever 1 soup choice and one main course, but there is always a fine selection of puddings; crumbles, cheesecakes, muffins, smoothies etc. All home made and very delicious.

Some of you maybe hesitating reading this, thinking, “Vegan? Not for me.”

Perish that thought. You don’t have to be vegan to eat here, and nor will you be made unwelcome just because you eat meat. All are welcome. If you don’t fancy the main course, have a pudding. Go on, have a pudding.

I give this five stars, not in the usual, Chester Hotel, type five star, but the service, taste of food and ambiance, makes it thus.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jul 212016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Copyright: Newsline Scotland

Steve Harris, Chief Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

VisitAberdeenshire has become an official sponsor of the Northern Ireland Open which will take place from 28 – 31 July at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena. The organisation, which is responsible for the marketing of the area to both leisure and business visitors, will have promotional material around the tournament course as well as an information stand.

Golf remains a key driver for tourism to the north east of Scotland and with a course for every week of the year Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can deliver a quality golf product for both leisure visitors and corporate groups.

Steve Harris (pictured), chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire says,

“Flight time from Belfast to Aberdeen with FlyBe is just over an hour, making us an appealing destination for golfers of all abilities from Northern Ireland. We have high profile courses like Trump International, Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen and Newmachar, but we also have Britain’s highest 18 hole course at Braemar, Fraserburgh where play is documented as early as 1613 and Paul Lawrie’s Golf Centre on the banks of the River Dee.

We have eminent courses which serious golfers long to play, challenging links courses, scenic inland courses and friendly nine hole courses. We’re taking the opportunity to show golf fans who attend the Northern Ireland Open just what a wealth of golfing treasures our area has to offer them and just how accessible we are from Belfast.”

Research commissioned by the Scottish Golf Tourism and VisitScotland shows that Scotland is third on a global list of hot spots for golf tourism (#1 Spain, #2 Portugal, #5 Ireland, #9 England). It is estimated that golfers spend is 120% more than that of other visitors. Golf tourism is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy and is estimated to be worth close to £220million annually.

Steve Harris continues,

“A report published in 2013 showed that there is potential to boost visitor spend from golf in the north east of Scotland from £20 million to over £50 million by 2020. Our sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Open is part of the region wide drive to reach this goal.

“Golf’s popularity seems to be growing exponentially – we’re having a true summer of golf with the recent Scottish Open in the Highlands and The Open in Troon and the Scottish Ladies Open at Dundonald. This interest is also set to grow with the inclusion of golf in the Rio Olympics after a break of 112 years.”

Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said:

The Tayto Northern Ireland Open in Partnership with Ulster Bank is one of the most popular tournaments on the European Challenge Tour schedule, with Galgorm Castle Golf Club providing a fantastic setting, excellent local support and a superb venue to make this a really big week for the Challenge Tour players.

“We are pleased VisitAberdeenshire are also supporting the event so soon after our own successful visit to Scotland for the SSE Hydro Scottish Challenge, a week which showed once again how strong the link between Scotland and golf truly is.”

More about golfing in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can be found at www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/golf.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jul 142016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Ballater BridgeAn updated guide will help steer walkers on course to the best of Ballater’s walks. A revised Ballater Paths leaflet maps out a selection of great walks in the area of differing lengths and challenges.

The popular resource has been refreshed after a number of popular pathways were damaged by the floods of late last year.

While some routes have been repaired and restored and are fully accessible, there are a couple that have been removed from the leaflet.

Richard Watts, of Ballater Business Association, says that bringing out a new version of the paths leaflet will help both local people and visitors alike make the most of the area – with the added benefit of showing that Ballater is very much on the mend after the flooding.

“Ballater has great walks right on its doorstep and there’s no doubt that access to the outdoors and to walks and other outdoor activities are among our area’s greatest strengths,” Mr Watts says.

“Through the publication of this new leaflet it shows people how easy it is to access our great walking routes and helps demonstrate that the Ballater area is on the mend and getting over the impact of the flooding caused by Storm Frank.”

The full colour leaflet outlines five routes of varying length, all starting and finishing in Ballater and boasting fine views, an abundance of wildlife and taking in local history too.

They include the 3.2km Craigendarroch Circular with the option of climbing to the summit to enjoy panoramic views towards the Cairngorm mountains including Lochnagar, or the 8km Deeside Way which follows the old Deeside railway line from Ballater towards Cambus o’May.

Each colour-coded route is shown on the map and there are corresponding coloured waymarkers along each route to guide walkers. The leaflet includes a route description to show its length, terrain and level of difficulty.

The revised edition has been produced by the Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust (COAT), the environmental charity working to promote sustainable public access in the region.

Adam Streeter-Smith Cairngorm National Park Authority Outdoor Access Officer says:

“Ballater has always been blessed with fantastic walks and makes a great base for venturing further afield to explore the Cairngorms National Park.

“The revised Ballater Path Leaflet highlights some of the best local walks taking in great views fascinating local history and wildlife to boot. You can pick up your copy at the Visitor Information Centre in Station Square.”

The free leaflet is available from Ballater Visitor Information Centre located at Albert Memorial Hall, Station Square.

The leaflet is also available at http://cairngorms.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/160630BallaterPaths.pdf

For more details about discovering the region, visit the Active Cairngorms Facebook page or twitter @CNPActive

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jul 142016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Wallace VisitAberdeenshireAberdeen and Aberdeenshire are leading Scotland with more tourism professionals achieving WorldHost accreditation that any other area in the country.
Over 1,300 people working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to visitor attraction managers – have now completed the training, which promotes world-class customer service.

In addition, 73 businesses of all sizes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have attained WorldHost Recognised Business status, including Aberdeen Taxis, Braemar Highland Safaris, the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel and The Spotty Bag Shop.

This means over 50% of staff have undertaken WorldHost training, and owners have signed a commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

While traditionally this kind of training has been aimed squarely at accommodation providers, WorldHost – a renowned customer service training scheme popularised by the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games – brings together all those working in the tourism industry. From transport providers to restauranteurs, the course aims to focus operators’ attention on the entire customer journey and experience.

With the support of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, all libraries and visitor attractions are now working on gaining accreditation, alongside VisitScotland Information Centres, the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.

Elaine Booth, business engagement manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“While business travel levels have been lower in the last 12 months, the leisure market has remained constant. Historically leisure travellers saw Aberdeen as a weekend destination, with high midweek room rates pricing them out of the market. The last year, however, has seen this shift somewhat, and now is the perfect time for tourism operators to ensure that all their staff are providing excellent service to all visitors.

“WorldHost allows tourism businesses the chance to really focus in on the customer journey, and ensure that they are thinking of their guests at every stage of the process. Trainees will learn valuable skills including how to build a rapport with guests, how to empathise with and listen to customers’ concerns, and how to go the extra mile.

“It is so important that everyone working in the tourism industry – from taxi drivers to hotel managers – is well-versed in providing exceptional customer service, and is thinking about every step of a customer’s visit to the region.”

Those business that have gained WorldHost Recognised Business accreditation are already reaping the benefits, with an increase in solid customer satisfaction feedback. Two such businesses are the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, who achieved the status in March this year, and the Station Hotel in Portsoy which has been accredited for a number of months.

Anna MacKenzie, senior sales manager at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), says that although she feels the venue has always offered good quality service, taking part in WorldHost training has ensured that everyone is working together.

She explains,

“There is now a high level of understanding across all departments of where the customer comes in the whole process – we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone has a role to play in service delivery, from the person greeting them on arrival at the front desk to the event planning team, and this joined up thinking allows us to present an even better service to our customers.

“We as an organisation often have to sell Aberdeen and the north east as a destination before we can sell the AECC as a venue. It’s in the best interests of everyone working in the tourism and hospitality industries across the region to provide the best customer service possible – we are all ambassadors for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and contribute to a visitor’s enjoyment of their time here.”

Susan Cameron, owner of the Station Hotel in Portsoy, agrees that widespread WorldHost accreditation is the route to a boost in the tourism industry in the north east of Scotland.

She says,

“Through programmes like WorldHost, customer care in the north east of Scotland – and across the country – has really improved. The more businesses across the region that complete the training, the better. If everyone is operating at the same level and to the same high standards, there is more likelihood for visitors to return in the future or extend their stay.

“Whether a guest is visiting from Canada or down the road in Elgin, it’s important for everyone to remember the customer journey and ensure that they have the best experience possible.

“Prior to the WorldHost training, some of our staff had been through external training courses and some had been trained in-house. By putting everyone through the same training, it allowed us to ensure that we were delivering a consistent level of service across the business. It also allows a rare opportunity for the whole team to get together and really think about the service they deliver, and refresh their core customer care skills.”

Those completing their WorldHost training in the north east of Scotland are also entitled to an added bonus: access to Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, a dedicated training course that educates tourism operators in the intricacies of the north east tourism industry.

Complementing the joined-up thinking promoted by WorldHost, the online course will allow tourism organisations a greater understanding of their place in the local industry and how they can work to improve the service they provide.

For more information about WorldHost, and Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.scotland.worldhost.co.uk/regions/aberdeen-city-shire and www.visitabdn.com/discover-aberdeen-and-aberdeenshire/

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jun 302016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Glen Lui SMALL

Glen Lui Hotel in Ballater

Ballater’s back on the map – that’s the bold statement from accommodation providers in the Deeside village as the area continues to bounce back from flooding and rolls out the welcome mat to summer visitors.

Ballater’s hospitality trade is in positive mood as they welcome the return of seasonal visitors choosing the village as their holiday base.

In the past couple of months, the Glen Lui Hotel has welcomed parties of fishermen, golfers and an American shooting party – and staff look forward to seeing yet more visitors to Ballater, attracted by its great range of outdoor activities, while being within easy reach of Aberdeen and the city’s attractions.

Susan Bell of the family-run hotel which has 17 rooms says:

“The village is coming to life again and I think there is a feeling of anticipation as everything is getting busier.

“Shops are looking better and there’s only a few yet to reopen. We’re looking forward to Ballater Victoria Week, Ballater Games and Etape Royale and then our big winter festival which will feature an ice rink and reindeer and these will all result in a lot of activity in the area.

“There are people milling around at the monthly farmers markets too. Ballater has suffered its setbacks with the floods and the fire at the Victoria  Station but now everyone wants to push Ballater as much as possible.

“I think everyone is pulling together and looking forward to all that’s ahead.”

Deeside, with its natural beauty and its close connections to the Royal family who arrive at Balmoral Castle for their annual break in August, has long been a favoured destination with visitors.

Alan McCorquodale of the Alexandra Hotel says that Ballater makes a great base for exploring the wider area.

“There are rays of hope all around the village as businesses are refurbished and reopening and community events that will help draw visitors to the area are being planned.

“Great progress has been made and there’s a real push on now to show that Ballater is moving forwards in the right direction.

“In a relatively short time, Ballater has come a long way in overcoming the challenges and hurdles that Storm Frank brought in its wake.

“Six months on and it’s a completely different picture from the images of the flood-ravaged village that filled the newspapers and were broadcast on television news.”

Richard Watts, chairman of Ballater Business Association said that the village is fortunate to boast a great range of bed and breakfast establishments, caravan park open for tourers and campers, guest houses and hotels and that all are well prepared for the school holidays and visitor market.

“We’d encourage visitors from near and far to come and enjoy a break in Ballater and experience for themselves excellent hospitality at our great range or accommodation providers. It’s easy to find them at www.visitballater.com

“Our village has a huge amount of vibrancy and vitality, and we’d encourage visitors, be they day trippers or holiday makers looking for a longer stay, to come and see all that Ballater and the surrounding area has to offer.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jun 172016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association launches new tourism awards at Dunnottar Castle

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association tourism awards launch, at Dunnottar, July 2014.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) are heading into the finishing straight, and those who want to enter the prestigious scheme are being urged to get a sprint on to beat the fast-approaching deadline.
Entries close later this month on June 30, and ACSTA organisers are sounding a final call to businesses and individuals across the region to ensure they are part of the annual showcase of top tourism talent.

The awards – now in their fourth year – celebrate the very best of the area’s tourism offering, from restaurants and pubs to hotels and guest houses.

There are also accolades for top events and visitor attractions, and a brand new category for best sports event.

Individuals who make a real difference to the experience of tourists – whether they are visiting for business or leisure – will also be recognised with sections for hospitality heroes, rising stars and local ambassadors.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says the competition is heating up, but organisers want to see even more entries to ensure those who are making a significant impression on the tourism sector get credit where it is deserved.

He adds,

“The awards are not just for large operators and hotels that are part of a national or multi-national chains – this is about recognising those who go the extra mile to provide excellent service regardless of their size.

“We sometimes hear that operators have not entered because they are small in comparison to other entrants. That’s irrelevant, as what we are interested in hearing about is what they do improve the tourism offering, not how many covers they seat or what their turnover is.

“Over the past three years we have had a wide variety of winners, from charities and community groups to national chains. There is a huge benefit to taking part as even being shortlisted shows customers that a very high quality experience is being offered.

“The awards are completely free to enter, so there is absolutely nothing to lose. With the addition of the new category this year for sporting events, there is now even wider scope for operators to showcase what they provide. I would urge anyone who has not already entered not to delay and make sure their nomination is with us before the June 30 deadline.”

Entrants in each category will be shortlisted, and those who are finalists will go before an interview panel or have an undercover visit from the judging panel. ACSTA is a regional heat for the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – and winners will go on to represent the north east in that event in 2017.

The full list of awards categories is:

  1. Most Hospitable Hotel
  2. Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
  3. Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation)
  4. Best Informal Eating Experience
  5. Best Restaurant Experience
  6. Friendliest Pub/Bar
  7. Best Cultural Event or Festival
  8. Best Sporting Event
  9. Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
  10. Working Together for Tourism
  11. Best Visitor Attraction
  12. Tourism and Hospitality Hero
  13. Innovation in Tourism Award
  14. Regional Rising Star (age -30)
  15. Regional Ambassador (age 31+)

Entry into the awards is free and can be made at www.acsta.co.uk. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016.

May 192016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards 2015. Pic (L to R)

Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards 2015.

Tourism operators who make visits to the north east of Scotland memorable and magical are being urged to step into the spotlight with the launch of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

The awards, which are now in their fourth year and celebrate the very best of the region’s tourism offering, are now open for entry.

There are 15 different categories, recognising hotels, bars, restaurants, visitor attractions, events and individuals.

And those who are lucky enough to pick up one of the accolades will also have the honour of representing the area at the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – which next take place in 2017.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards have gone from strength to strength since their inception, with the number of entries growing year on year. Awards chairman Peter Sangster says organisers are expecting another record number of submissions.

He adds,

“The fact that we are now a regional final for the Scottish Thistle Awards has added a further string to our bow and has consolidated the work we did in the initial years to get the awards off the ground.

“This means that our winners go on to represent the area in the national finals against other regional finalists from all over Scotland. I know those who travelled to the Scottish Thistle Awards earlier this year were immensely proud to represent the north east.

“I think the awards are becoming more popular because tourism businesses and individuals can really see the benefit of entering. Being shortlisted alone can help to raise their profile, and can be used as a marketing tool to show visitors that they offer a high quality experience.”

Entries will remain open until June 30, 2016 when all of the submissions will be whittled down to a shortlist in each category. Finalists will be interviewed by a judging panel, and there will also be secret judges’ visits to establishments.

Peter says,

“The end of June may seem like a long way away, but it is only a matter of weeks. We would urge people to enter now – not leave it to the last minute – and not to be shy in telling us why they deserve to win.”

The full list of awards categories is:

1.            Most Hospitable Hotel
2.            Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
3.            Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation)
4.            Best Informal Eating Experience
5.            Best Restaurant Experience
6.            Friendliest Pub/Bar
7.            Best Cultural Event or Festival
8.            Best Sporting Event
9.            Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
10.          Working Together for Tourism
11.          Best Visitor Attraction
12.          Tourism and Hospitality Hero
13.          Innovation in Tourism Award
14.          Regional Rising Star (age -30)
15.          Regional Ambassador (age 31+)

Entry into the awards is free and can be made at www.acsta.co.uk. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
May 192016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Walk About Ballater3 A five star walking programme is one in a long line of events showcasing how Royal Deeside continues to keep moving forward after Storm Frank affected the area in December last year.

Walk About Ballater 2016 takes place from May 23-27 and will offer the chance to explore scenic Ballater and its surrounding landscapes by foot.

A fleet of local volunteers will lead each event, giving visitors access to an abundance of in-depth knowledge about the Ballater area and its history.

Taking place over five days, each of the five events venture deep into the heart of Royal Deeside entirely on foot. With a countryside full of majestic mountains, lush greenery and picturesque lochs, it’s not difficult to see why Queen Victoria fell in love with the area over 150 years ago.

The series of events will allow visitors to explore some of the Royal Family’s favourite locations when they holiday in Scotland. Crathie – where the Royals attend church when in the area -Lochnager – said to be Prince Charles’ favourite mountain – and the famous River Dee will all be seen on the walks outside of Ballater.

Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will also be spoilt for choice during the programme, as the area is widely known for being rich in flora and fauna. Walkers may even catch sight of a pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly, a rare species in Scotland although Deeside remains one of its strongholds.

John Burrows of Walk About Ballater 2016 says that the series of walking events will allow people of all ages and capabilities to experience the area and all of its natural beauty by foot.

He says,

“The village of Ballater is set in such beautiful surroundings and the only way you can truly get a feel for the area is by walking through it. Five walks have been organised, with the first starting on Monday 23rd of May.

“Each day will bring a different location, distance and ascent. The days range from a gentle four hour walk providing fantastic views over the Dee valley, to an 18km trek with a 430m ascend up to the impressive Craig Vallich.

“We’re very proud to be able to offer such a wealth of scenery and walking routes. Those taking part certainly won’t be disappointed, as the whole landscape of Royal Deeside is just spectacular.”

Richard Watts of Ballater Business Association says,

“Walk About Ballater is the perfect way to kick start our summer tourist season, the walks are a reminder of exactly why visitors return to Ballater year after year. The event organisers have been working extremely hard planning the perfect walking routes which will showcase the very best of what this area has to offer.

“It’s wonderful to see locals get involved by volunteering their time to lead walks and provide background information about Ballater to visitors. The community spirit which has been shown throughout this year is proving that the only way is forward for Ballater.”

The programme runs from May 23-27, with the first scheduled walk set to take participants on an 18km (11 mile) circular route starting from Ballater through the Glenmuick estates. This route is expected to take five-and-a-half hours and will pass the old curling ponds, as well as the Royal Bridge.

With the opening of the newly refurbished Ballater Caravan Park on Friday May 13, there’s never been a better time to enjoy a walking break in Royal Deeside. More information is available from www.visitballater.com.

Walkers are welcome and can sign up on the day. For full details of the programme and times, please contact John Burrows at johnburrows1@btinternet.com

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
May 192016
 

Enthusiasts will be heading to Aberdeenshire this August for the inaugural Royal Deeside Speed Festival, to be thrilled by the largest gathering of rare supercars, exciting performance cars, motorbikes, and historic racing cars in the north east of Scotland.

Deeside Speedfest (3)

Kincardine Castle. Venue of the inaugural Royal Deeside Speed Festival

The Royal Deeside Speed Festival will take place at Kincardine Castle, 20 miles to the west of Aberdeen.
The event will be based around a demonstration speed hillclimb, and complemented by a range of high quality trade stands and motoring attractions. The Royal Deeside Speed Festival will follow the ethos of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.

The venue, an iconic Scottish castle in the heart of Royal Deeside, is home to Andrew and Nicky Bradford.

Situated in the pretty conservation village of Kincardine O’Neil and overlooking the banks of the River Dee, it is only 10mins from Banchory on the A93. The picturesque castle grounds will also play host to car clubs along with a local food, drink and craft festival.

As well as the motorsports action we will have family attractions, a climbing tower and kids’ funfair.  We will be supporting the charities Mission Motorsport, Help for Heroes and Children 1st.

However, the main focus of the day will be the fabulous and fast ‘West Drive’ – which will be converted into Deeside’s first speed hillclimb course, designed by Scottish hillclimb champion Roy Napier, and featuring a series of demonstration class runs throughout the day. And in another new twist, the West Drive will also play host to a Soap Box Derby – an event open to teams who wish to build their own Soap Box and race down the hill for glory!

Key attractions this year include Aberdeenshire’s charismatic race driver Chris Chilcott who will be bringing his 1962 Brabham BT2. It raced in 1962 at Goodwood and Monaco, driven by Jack Brabham and Frank Gardner, and took the class Silverstone lap record at 103mph. Also Charlie Williams, multiple TT-winning motorbike racing legend. With 21 TT podium finishes to his name, Charlie is bringing bikes.

Onsite, there will also be an adventurous off-road 4×4 course including the fearsom ‘Willie’s Drop’, courtesy of Land Rover Experience Scotland, offering passenger rides throughout the day, and The Clan BMX stunt team will entertain with their crazy extreme cycling show.

We have a large club stand field, along with a separate concours d’elegance area, both will surely delight the public and the owners alike.  A broad cross-section of fantastic cars, ranging from the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F50, and Lamborghini Diablo through to the Shelby Cobra 286, 1969 wide-dash body Opal GT and Jaguar E-type Series 1 Roadster will be on show.  In total there will be over 50 static exhibits to marvel over.

Additionally, the Ferrari Owners’ Club, Ford Modern & Classic Scotland, Aberdeen MG Owners’ Club, Aston Martin OC, and the Scottish Subaru OC are just some of the clubs that have confirmed their attendance – with over 170 club cars now confirmed to be on display.

This could quite possibly be the most unique and exciting collection of vehicles ever brought together in Aberdeenshire, highlighting the diversity of classic, contemporary and interesting cars, street-legal or competition, which we have here in the north east of Scotland.

Amongst the many dealerships and trade-stands that we are excited to have attending the event, we are delighted to welcome back Park’s Motor Group of Hamilton who will be showcasing a collection of luxury and sports cars from McLaren, Maserati and Bentley.

Murray Motor Group will be displaying the Lotus range. We also welcome Pentland Land Rover Elgin who are excited to show off some fantastic Land Rovers, and Shirlaws of Aberdeen will provide two-wheel excitement from Kawasaki and Triumph.

Finally, in addition to the car related exhibitors, we are delighted to be able to use the event as a showcase for local producers of food, drink and crafts.  Deeside Brewery will be hosting a mini beer festival on the castle terrace alongside the castle’s own pop-up café, and the picturesque wall garden is the setting for a market of local produce.

Castle owner, Andrew Bradford writes:

“I first did ‘a ton’ on the drive when I was 15 in a friend’s MGC. A couple of years later I was the passenger in a V8 AC Cobra and clocked 115mph on the drive. For over 40 years that has been the unofficial speed record for our drive and I look forward to it being well-and-truly broken in August.

“We’re excited to be part of this major event which, quite possibly, will be the biggest crowd in Kincardine O’Neil since King Edward I of England arrived here on 2 August 1296 with 30,000 men-at-arms and 5,000 mail-clad knights”.

Royal Deeside Speed Festival,
Sun 21 August 2016:
09:45am- 5:15pm

Venue:
Kincardine Castle,
Kincardine O’Neil,
Aboyne,
Aberdeenshire AB34 5AE

Tickets:
Adult £15, Child £12.50, Family £50 (up to 3 children).
Advance sales via website or cash only tickets on the gate.
Free parking.

For further information please visit our website rdsf.co.uk or follow us on Facebook.

May 132016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Brown Sugar Cafe - courtyardA business owner who was forced to close her Ballater café after it was affected by flooding has taken the opportunity to improve access for disabled customers during its refit.

Karen Gerrie, owner of the Brown Sugar Café, is working alongside builders to install features that will make it easier for all to access the popular Bridge Street café.

It’s a case of turning a negative into a positive, and ensuring that when the flood- hit premises makes its comeback in June, it’s even better than before, with a new disabled toilet and level flooring throughout.

Despite the café undergoing a major refit, it will retain many of its familiar features which will be revealed when the premises make their comeback in mid-June.

Brown Sugar Café first opened in 2009 and was taken over by Karen in July 2011, since then it’s become a well-known hangout for residents and tourists, best known for its homemade sandwiches, soups and homebakes as well as its cosy atmosphere.

Karen stresses that her café and the wider village of Ballater have not been beaten by the floods and that there is lots of positive action to show the area is still open for business.

Brown Sugar Café will have two stalls at the Aboyne Rotary Duck Festival on Sunday May 22 when they will be selling gifts and traybakes – including their much-loved millionaire’s shortbread – to remind the public about what they do best.

After overcoming the initial shock of having to temporarily close her business, Karen focused her energy on getting the café back up and running and she admits to being overwhelmed by the  offers of help that came in from both locals and visitors.

Karen says,

“The support we received from far and wide meant a great deal to us, as it was a very dispiriting time. The staff and I all decided that we weren’t going to give in easily, as you can sit around and cry or you can pick yourself up and get on with it. We chose to get stuck in with the work, and that really kept us going.

“Since then, we’ve come a very long way and I’m just so thankful to everyone who has got in touch to let us know that we’re in their thoughts. It’s been so exciting watching all the refurbishments going on throughout Ballater and knowing that we’re another business on its way to reopening.

“There has been a real silver lining to the floods in the sense that the community has really come together. The Business Association has been great at providing information to all the businesses’ involved and there has been lots of positive communication between everyone. There’s a real community feel to it all, it’s such a great feeling to see everyone get back on track.”

Brown Sugar Café is one of a number of Ballater businesses which will be back in business for the summer. This is extremely positive news to the area, as the aftermath flooding of Storm Frank meant that many homes and businesses had to be evacuated back in December.

Richard Watts of Ballater Business Association says,

“To see another business on track to reopen in the next month is such a boost for the whole of Ballater. Everyone has worked extremely hard to ensure that the village remains open for residents, as well as the many tourists which visit throughout the year.

“We’re really pleased that Brown Sugar Café will be back up and running again very soon, and it’s fantastic that improvements are being made that will make the café more wheelchair friendly.”

 

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.