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May 2018

Perth and Kinross Coat of Arms

Shooting out of the bottom of the  Cairngorms National Park on the rollercoaster ride that is the  A93, it's not too far from the skiers at Glenshee and back into the semi-familiar territory of Perth & Kinross.

After a first foray into Moray and the royally themed scene of Aberdeen[1], things are rather more, erm, functional and Blairgowrie has more of a whiff of the workaday.

[1] Aberdeen-shire.

That's slightly unfair since the small, public area with the war memorial provides a seated distraction and it's not everywhere you can pick up a bespoke bagpipe.

It is, however, just about everywhere north of Perth, actually, that you'll find a Nickel n' Dime.

Handy for your home goods, this provider of the low-priced and pliable has already been seen in Inverness, Elgin and Nairn but the unfathomable name requires a double-take and MacPlastic™s is much more apt, surely? Macca's Placcas?

  Cateran Cafe (High Street)

Named from the fearsome Highland warriors who had a sideline in stealing cattle, apparently, they're a much friendlier bunch in here, these days.

With an unusual line in  Pastéis de nata and pictures of the Algarve on the walls, the tourist Tourette's kicked in and it was asked if the owner was Portuguese?

Nah, seems she just went there on holiday once.

There's a short loop by the River Ericht that starts by a well-tended garden and a kiddie's play park, not shown.

It's less than half-a-mile to the viewing platform at Cargill's Leap and no, never heard of it, neither.

The Presbyterian minister Donald Cargill had a problem. His particular brand of preaching was banned during the reign of Charles II so he had to sermonise in secret.

Following a religious raid one evening, it's said he escaped by leaping the gorge here although he'd later be strung up for treason in 1681, in Edinburgh.

If you look carefully, there's a small sign down there to tell you there's no fishing allowed.

If you can read that close up then your name is probably Donald Cargill and you didn't take nearly as big a run up as was needed.

As well as being a bit of a base for your hillwalker, the river's a clue as to the other type of people who tend to stay here.

Fisherfolk, of course, although the toffs who are inclined to hunker in bunkers come mid-August are unlikely to find the luxury to which they're accustomed in town.

  Sampan Indian Restaurant (Tannage Street)

There's not a lot of choice and you'll be wondering if Wetherspoon™s really is the worst dining option in town. Head down to the bridge, however, and hidden slightly behind the Angus Hotel, this tandoori's right on the river. There's an unexpected and eye-wateringly good view, not shown, that doesn't just come from the vindaloo.

If highlighting the fact that the bus station has stances instead of stands sounds like floundering then yes, things are a bit but what's this? It's only a vending machine, a vending machine for... raspberries[1]!

Insert coin, push button, here's one fruit machine where you can literally hold your plums. It's one where you won't be putting your winnings straight back in as well. Squish!

[1] And, if you look closely,  Irn-Bru™, of course.

  The Old Cross Inn (Alyth Road, Rattray)

Technically speaking, it's Blairgowrie and Rattray although the latter tends to get dropped and locals even lose the 'Gowrie'. Just the four rooms here and excellent value but there's a little bit of guilt being felt.

Guilty at not trying their rated restaurant and guilty at leaving one's phone behind on the bed even if Kelly was happy to pop it in the post. Idiot!