ONE Highland village has firmly stood the test of time as a midwinter destination for people from all walks of life.
Attracting royalty, military, poets and even Hollywood in its time, next week Kenmore rolls out the ‘red carpet’ to welcome thousands of visitors to the area to celebrate their second annual WinterWeek+ festival.
WinterWeek+ which starts this Saturday 11th and runs until Sunday 19th February, not only coincides with the 170th anniversary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s honeymoon in the area , but also encompasses that most romantic date of the year: Valentine’s Day.
Says a spokesperson: “In 1842, the Royal couple Queen Victoria and Albert enjoyed a belated honeymoon in the area, staying at the Taymouth Castle, then home to the Campbells of Breadalbane.
“The Taymouth Castle, lovingly restored in recent years and currently undergoing a transformation into a multi-starred hotel and resort, also played host to Hollywood’s Queen Victoria some 155 years later, when it stood in for Balmoral in the Oscar-nominated film Mrs Brown, featuring Billy Connolly and Dame Judi Dench.
“The Mains of Taymouth Estate, which would have once provided the services to the Castle inhabitants ontinues to be a managed estate, offering visitors a whole range of activities from salmon fishing to pony trekking, from golfing to walking, all of which would have also been enjoyed by the honeymooning Queen and Prince in Victorian times.
“A few years earlier, national bard Rabbie Burns was also a regular to the area, in fact was so taken with it that he composed a poem sitting on the bridge over the Tay and wrote it in pencil on the chimney breast of the fireplace in The Kenmore Hotel’s Poets Bar where it still is to this very day.
“Scotland’s oldest inn would also have been at the heart of Kenmore when Victoria and Albert were in town, and local folklore would have it that they sampled Archie’s Wee Bar Feastie Menu, a mixture of delicious fayre that the republican leader Oliver Cromwell and his army had savoured not 150 years before them, on their pursuit of the Earl of Montrose.
“Such is the historical draw of the area, it was selected as the site for the unique reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch-dwelling, built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology based on the excavation evidence from the 2,600 year-old site of ‘Oakbank Crannog’, one of the 18 crannogs preserved in Loch Tay, Scotland.
“This magnificent replica, then a symbol of wealth and status, pays homage to the indigenous dwellings of the Iron Age people in the area and is now one of the area’s most popular visitor attractions.”
Barrie Andrian, director of the Scottish Crannog Centre and the driving force behind the WinterWeek+ celebrations, commented: “Kenmore is literally steeped in history and there’s a very good reason it has been a favoured destination for midwinter travellers across the centuries.
“Amidst a backdrop of stunning scenery and stately homes, we also have mouthwateringly good local produce and activities galore. Could you ask for anything more?”
Other activities during WinterWeek+ include craft workshops, food tasting events at the Mains of Taymouth Courtyard and landrover safaris.
For further information about WinterWeek+, visit www.winterweek.co.uk
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