Memories of Pitlochry

Pitlochry is a special place for me, having been there numerous times during my childhood and when I lived in Scotland a couple of year ago.  Although special to me for nostalgic reasons, it is also an excellent place to visit in its own right.  If you do decide to go to Pitlochry it is worth going for a long weekend, or if you are exploring the wider area it might be worth using it as a base for a week.

Pitlochry
Pitlochry from afar

 

Location

Pitlochry is in the heart of Scotland, just before you reach the Highlands.  It is in North Perthsire, approximately a 1hr 40min drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow.  You can also reach it by train from Edinburgh.

Part of what makes Pitlochry such a good place to visit is what it is nearby:

  • The Cairngorms are just to the North
  • Perth is only 45 mins away
  • Blair Atholl is 15 mins away with attractions including a castle, working mill and the excellent House of Bruar
  • The lovely town of Aberfeldy is 25 mins away
  • Loch Tummel is just to the West with some excellent views and walks

 

The Town

Pitlochry isn’t a huge town but it has enough to keep anyone entertained and well-fed for a while.  The high street has numerous shops and restaurants as well as more mundane (but essential) facilities such as good car parking, a post office and a petrol station.

Shopping highlights on my last trip there (early 2016) included:

  • MacDonalds Butchers – where we got some excellent homemade sausages
  • Drinkmonger – where I got a nice special bottle of whisky I’m still working my way through

For eating there are some excellent choices and the ones we can recommend from across all our trips there are:

 

As for accomodation, the one place I can recommend is where we stayed on our last overnight trip – Craigatin House B&B.  It is easily one of the best B&Bs I’ve every stayed in, with excellent rooms and fantastic breakfasts.  The owners and staff were also very helpful and friendly.  Highly recommended

Craigatin
Craigatin

 

What to Do

As noted above there are lots of places near Pitlochry to do things but there are also plenty of places you can walk to in and very near the Town.  My favourites are

  • Black Spout Wood and Waterfall – we had a lovely walk round here in the autumn and the waterfall was amazing.
4A319244-C157-49EC-84F1-04808F2CE7BF
The Edradour Black Spout Waterfall
  • Blair Athol Distillery – the home of Bells Whisky.  We had a great guided tour round here with an excellent guide.  Worth checking out the single malt of Blair Athol whilst you are here.
blair-athol-distillery
Blair Athol Distillery

Also recommended are:

  • Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Edradour Distillery
  • Faskally Wood
  • Pitlochry Dam
9C49494F-3F92-4FEE-AE72-CE99D609C438
View from the top of the dam

 

Beer – Oxford Gold Review

Brakspear beers are always a solid bet and you can easily pick them in most supermarkets.  The most recent one I’ve been drinking is Oxford Gold a golden ale that in the bottle comes in at 4.6%.

 

Oxford Gold

 

The label isn’t the most exciting in the world but it is distinctly Brakspear.  Unsurprisingly the look of the beer is golden and the aroma is lightly fragrant and citrusy.

 

The taste is very nicely balanced, refreshing and easy to drink, as well as a distinct note of honey.  Overall it is a very solid beer and I have a few of these stored away for any occasion.

Top 5 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. Pathfinder: Kingmaker by Owlcat Games

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric single-player RPG based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Kingmaker Adventure Path.

Funding Goal – $500,000 by Wednesday 12th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Ancient Cities by Uncasual Games

Ancient Cities is a strategy survival city builder PC game through the ages, strongly focused on history and realism.

Funding Goal – €100,000 by Wednesday 28th June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Ealdorlight by Revelation Games

3D RPG with roguelike step-based combat, a realistic damage model & procedural storytelling for PC, Mac and Linux.

Funding Goal – £40,000 by Thursday 6th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

4. The Underground King by Alexandru Nechita

The Underground King is a strategy racing manager RPG; build junk cars, recruit lowlifes & compete in street races for profit & infamy!

Funding Goal – €15,000 by Thursday 6th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

5. The Infinite Black 2 by Spellbook

Command your fleet in this online tactical role-playing space adventure based on the original cult classic!

Funding Goal – $20,000 by Thursday 13th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Spring Reds

 

My Wife and I took to drinking a lot of Red Wine in a rainy spring until the English Summer finally got round to appearing.  During that time we had three excellent and highly recommended red wines.

 

The first was the excellent 2015 Cabalie from France at 13%.  It has a stylish label and has a lovely aroma of fruits, particularly blackcurrants.  The taste both with and without food was fruity and peppery and just a very pleasant drink.  It is one of the few red wines I would buy simply to drink on its own.

 

cabalie

 

Next up is The Holdings 2015 Syrah Malbec; a lovely 13% red from Argentina.  The label is a bit of an odd one but I think it works in its own way.  The aroma is of strong red fruits and the taste was dry, lightly fruity but also slightly sharp.  We had the wine with a steak and it went really well with it.  I would buy again to have alongside red meat.

 

The Holdings

 

Last but by no means least, the 2014 El Bombero; a 15% red from Spain.  The label screams Spanish at you and the aroma is juicy berries and vanilla.  Both with and without food it is smooth, rich and a little bit spicy.  It is though very easy to drink and I would buy again to drink for any meal appropriate to have red wine alongside.

 

El Bombero

Wine Review – Henri D’Autignac Grenache

Every now and again my wife and I decide to try some wines from Aldi or Lidl and unfortunately we usually end up being disappointed.  We tried against last month with the  2015; a rose at 12.5%.

henri-d-autignac-grenache-rosewein-2015-zoom--1

The label is no frills and basic and the smell is lightly floral and red berries.  So far so good but it all falls apart with the taste.  I expect to be able to drink a rose on its own quite happily but unfortunately the acidity of the wine overpowered all other tastes.  On a second taste it was slightly better but no a drink I would choose optionally.

 

We then had the wine alongside some pesto chicken and Mediterranean roasted vegetables; unfortunately the wine now tastes like cheap perfume.  In conclusion I have to say this is a no recommendation!

Pro Cycling – May Review & Stats

May is another very busy month in pro cycling, particularly as it has the first of the grand tours – the Giro d’Italia.

 

Men – May

  • Races
    • World Tour – 2 stage races, 1 one-day race
    • One-day – 29
    • Stage Races – 26
    • Stages – 133
  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – three riders with 2 wins
    • Stage wins – Boassan Hagen – 5
    • Combined wins – Boassan Hagen – 5
    • Distance won – Boassan Hagen – 828
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Dumoulin – 9
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – Multiple teams with two wins each
    • Stage wins – Multiple teams with 6 wins each
    • Combined wins – Multiple teams with 6 wins each
    • Distance won – Quick-step floors with 1069.5km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 9 days each
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Denmark – 5
    • Stage wins – Italy – 16
    • Combined wins – Italy 16
    • Distance won – Italy – 2783.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Netherlands – 15
  • Rider of the month – Dumoulin with his Giro victory and two stage wins

Women – May

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Vos – 3
    • Stage wins – Multiple riders with 2
    • Combined wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Distance won – Vos – 320km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 2
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – WM3 Energie – 4
    • Stage wins – Multiple teams with 3
    • Combined wins – Orica-Scott – 5
    • Distance won – Orica-Scott – 458.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Orica-Scott – 3
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Netherlands – 5
    • Stage wins – USA – 3
    • Combined wins – Netherlands – 7
    • Distance won – Netherlands – 752.2km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple nations with 3
  • Rider of the month – Vos with her 3 wins

Men – Season to date

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Van Avermaet – 4
    • Stage wins – Gaviria – 8
    • Combined wins – Valverde and Gaviria with 8
    • Distance won – Valverde – 1449.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Dumoulin – 9
    • Points jerseys – Kristoff – 3
    • Climber jerseys – Multiple riders with 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Bernal – 3
    • Time trial wins – Multiple riders with 2
    • Stage race wins – Valverde and Calmejane with 3
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – BMC Racing – 6
    • Stage wins – Quick-Step Floors – 23
    • Combined wins – Quick-Step Floors – 28
    • Distance won – Quick-Step Floors – 4547.8km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Quick-Step Floors – 23
    • Points jerseys – Dimension Data – 4
    • Climber jerseys -Manzana Postobon – 5
    • Young rider jerseys – Quick-Step Floors – 4
    • Team time trial wins – BMC Racing – 3
    • Stage race wins – Movistar – 6
    • Team classification wins – Movistar – 6
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Italy – 16
    • Stage wins – France – 48
    • Combined wins – France – 63
    • Distance won – France – 9969.64km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – France – 40
    • Points jerseys – Spain – 8
    • Climber jerseys – Colombia – 7
    • Young rider jerseys – Colombia – 8
    • Stage race wins – France – 10
  • Rider of the season to date – Still Valverde after his epic Spring

Women – Season to date

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Stage wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Combined wins – Moolman – 5
    • Distance won – D’Hoore – 488.8km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 5
    • Points jerseys – Multiple riders with 1
    • Climber jerseys – Hall – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Klein – 2
    • Time trial wins – Moolman – 2
    • Stage race wins – Multiple riders with 1
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – Multiple teams with 5
    • Stage wins – United Healthcare – 6
    • Combined wins – Boels-Dolmans – 10
    • Distance won – Boels-Dolmans – 1089.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – United Healthcare – 9
    • Points jerseys – Multiple teams with 1
    • Climber jerseys – United Healthcare – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Cervelo-Bigla – 3
    • Team time trial wins – Multiple teams with 1
    • Stage race wins – Multiple teams with 2
    • Team classification wins – Multiple teams with 2
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Netherlands – 11
    • Stage wins – USA – 11
    • Combined wins – Netherlands – 19
    • Distance won – Netherlands – 1948.1km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple nations with 10
    • Points jerseys – Multiple nations with 2
    • Climber jerseys – USA – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – USA – 3
    • Stage race wins – Netherlands – 3
  • Rider of the season to date – No real stand out rider yet but probably Anna Van Der Breggan

Wine Review – Von Reben Riesling

I love a good Riesling, particularly with Asian Food, and the Von Reben Riesling fits the bill perfectly.  The label is as simple as you will ever see but I think it works; kind of no nonsense like the win.  The smell isn’t necessarily inviting, with it being quite sharp and only the aroma of apples really coming out.

 

von reben

 

On to the taste and without food, it was dry and sharp but in a good way.  Alongside the wine we had a Lamb Pasanda and the wine really came in to its own.  It complemented the curry beautifully and it cut through the spiciness for a nice refreshing finish.

 

I would definitely buy this again, especially to have alongside a curry.

Top 5 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. Breaking Point by Alderon Games

Breaking Point is a persistent sandbox Survival Horror game with an emphasis on atmosphere, gunplay, and true modern horror elements.

Funding Goal – $403,000 (Australian) by Thursday 22nd June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Ash of Gods by AurumDust Studio

A turn-based RPG featuring a Rogue-like storytelling featuring risks that TRULY affect the gameplay and an extensive online PvP mode!

Funding Goal – $75,000 by Saturday 24th June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Blasphemous by The Game Kitchen

Vanquish bloodthirsty creatures, the devotees of a twisted religion. Hand-crafted pixel art action game by the makers of The Last Door.

Funding Goal – $50,000 by Wednesday 21st June (Already achieved!)

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

4. Deep Sixed by Little Red Dog Games

You’re on a suicide mission to explore a massive nebula far from home. Use strategy, duct tape and your ingenuity to live another day.

Funding Goal – $15,000 by Wednesday 21st June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

5. Paradise Lost by Juan Pedraza

Unravel the secrets behind this mysterious forsaken planet along with your team, find out what happen to those living there.

Funding Goal – $30,000 (Mexican) by Saturday 17th June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Beer Review – Badger’s Choice

 

First of all I have to say that Poacher’s choice is hands down one of my favourite beers.  It comes in a reassuring bottle from Badger Brewery and comes in at 5.7%.  The beer is classed as a ruby ale but to my mind it is a much richer and darker beer than that.  When it is poured it looks quite dark and malty, with aromas of fruit and liquorice on the nose.

 

poachers choice

 

The taste is fruity with a lovely liquorice aftertaste and it is a great drinker on its own.  It is perfect for an autumn or early spring day.  I have to give it a very high recommendation and it is well worth trying, even if ruby beers aren’t necessarily your thing.

Local Election Conclusions – Wales

Next up is the conclusions from the local elections in Wales, where there was also local elections for every single council.  There are the same problems with independnet votes but not to the same issues as Scotland and no result has had to be excluded.

 

As before I’ve taken local electoral divisions and assigned them to a constituency based on their boundaries.  This was a lot smoother in Wales with very little overlap across constituencies.

 

Results

The overall predicted seat totals for Wales are:

  • Labour: 22 (-3 vs 2015)
  • Conservative: 8 (-3 vs 2015)
  • Plaid Cymru: 8 (+5 vs 2015)
  • Liberal Democrat: 2 (+1 vs 2015)

 

Constituency by constituency:

Constituency Predicted 2017 Winner Change from 2015
Aberavon LAB No change
Aberconwy CON No change
Alyn & Deeside LAB No change
Arfon PC No change
Blaenau Gwent LAB No change
Brecon & Radnorshire LD LD gain from Con
Bridgend LAB No change
Caerphilly PC PC gain from LAB
Cardiff Central LD LD gain from LAB
Cardiff North CON No change
Cardiff South & Penarth LAB No change
Cardiff West LAB No change
Carmarthen East & Dinefwr PC No change
Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South PC PC gain from CON
Ceredigion PC PC gain from LD
Clwyd South LAB No change
Clwyd West CON No change
Cynon Valley LAB No change
Delyn LAB No change
Dwyfor Meirionnydd PC No change
Gower LAB LAB gain from CON
Islwyn LAB No change
Llanelli LAB No change
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney LAB No change
Monmouth CON No change
Montgomeryshire CON No change
Neath LAB No change
Newport East LAB No change
Newport West LAB No change
Ogmore LAB No change
Pontypridd LAB No change
Preseli Pembrokeshire CON No change
Rhondda PC PC gain from LAB
Swansea East LAB No change
Swansea West LAB No change
Torfaen LAB No change
Vale of Clwyd CON No change
Vale of Glamorgan CON No change
Wrexham LAB No change
Ynys Môn PC PC gain from LAB

 

Conclusion

The outlook in Wales is very interesting and I think it may be fairly accurate, though I wonder if Plaid Cymru’s gains are slightly overstates; I think 5-6 might be a more realistic target.