24th June, 2011

Today we've just waved goodbye to the folks from Arbroath Town Mission. This is a group of elderly guests, one of them in a  wheelchair, others a bit unsteady on their feet, who are part of a church run lunch club in Arbroath. They come to the Centre every year for a wee break and enjoy the freedom of a half board service, which lets them get out every day on a trip or a wander, all accessible from the Centre (they bring their own minibus) and come back to a nice hot meal and a blether in the evening.

It's good to have a mid week residential group. Community groups can still run regardless, as they don't use the same space at the same time and it all works very well. We've had groups in for the last 3 weekends as well. One of them is an inner city church group who we support through our subsidy fund. They came on a self-catering basis and it was lovely to meet them on the Friday evening with the fantastic aroma of a good Glasgow curry wafting through, cooked by Bangladeshi group members who had arrived earlier to prepare their meal.  Makes you feel really international and at home at the same time. This was a family group, lively with children and babies. The weekend before it was a youth group. Our accommodation is flexible enough to suit everyone & they all seem happy with their stay.

Soon we will be starting B&B. We had hoped to have a Brazilian girl with us for that, but her visa wasn't going to be ready in time, so now we're starting out with some of our local students staying overnight to look after guests and then we have a Spanish girl called Amaia coming as a summer volunteer, who will live in. Revenue from B&B in the summer and the self catering flat helps us to subsidise community groups and groups with low income as we help people to grow and find release through conferences, workshops and holidays, so if you're thinking of a trip to the Highlands, why not come and stay here. You'll have a great time and you'll be helping others.

It may not be much of a summer so far, but it's still worth coming to Pitlochry. The Festival Theatre celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, still doing the stay 6 days and see 6 plays summer routine. It's also a really nice place to go for a coffee, and there's an art gallery there too. Locally made Stuart Tower ice cream has to be tasted to be believed, but the multitude of flavours is amazing. all made with milk straight off the farm. Local adventure firm Nae Limitz has just opened Scotland's first bungee jump over the river Garry - quite a sight - and I expect quite an experience if you're brave enough. The Watermill bookshop in Aberfeldy (20 mins away) has a range of books and music you would normally expect to see in a city, with an excellent children's section and lots of local lore and mountain guides. It too has a very upmarket art gallery and a pleasant cafe for a cappuccino or homemade cake.  And there are plenty of water sctivities to go on, whether it's canoeing or whitewater rafting, fishing or gorge walking, where you'll get wet anyway. So you may as well make the best of it and enjoy Scotland here this summer.