A day of two halves in Perthshire

It’s no secret that the Dude and I moved to Scotland for a change of lifestyle. We wanted to explore new places, enjoy walks along the coast, buy bicycles and just generally slow life down. Nearly four years down the line, I think we have managed to have a shot at so many new things. We have visited places we had only ever seen in magazines or on the internet and meet so many lovely people who are passionate about travelling in Scotland and being outdoors.  Possibly one of our new favourites has to be a recent trip, a day of two halves in Perthshire. With a hint of adrenaline came stand up paddle boarding on the river Tay in the morning and sauna and spa pool overlooking Loch Tay in the afternoon. Perfect.

Beyond Adventure

Based on the outskirts of Aberfeldy, you might think that Beyond Adventure are the new kids on the block. Don’t be fooled by the shiny new building, these guys have been sharing the thrills and spills of highland Perthshire and beyond for over twenty years! With an ethos of helping clients to push themselves further along the learning curve and gain qualifications for BC  (British Canoeing) Safety & Rescue and Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. That’s not all they are about though. They also want to nurture first time adventurers and others to enjoy their surroundings whilst having fun.

We arrived early for our mornings activity and over a lovely cup of coffee we chatted about what we should expect from our stand up paddle boarding experience on the river. I mentioned that although I was excited I was also slightly apprehensive about going along the river. Both Ross and Mark assured me that I would be fine, the river levels were okay and that we would be looked after.

Time came to crack on and we were sized up for wetsuits, windproof tops, helmets, buoyancy aids and paddles. Then loaded into the van and driven just a few miles up river to begin our adventure.

Beyond Adventure, SUP experience. Helmets on the rack

Stand up Paddle Boarding

Before getting in the water our instructor, Mark, gave us a briefing – how to, where to etc. Then we were off (on our knees).

I think it was less than five minutes and I found myself fully submerged in the river. Lost my balance and I was in! After removing content of the river from my nose in a lady like manner I got up on my knees for another go. This happened even before we got to the rapids, which I could see would be our next obstacle.

With Mark leading the way over the white water, both the Dude and I followed his lead and found the path of least resistance. We made it over the small white water! Yay.

Beyond Adventure. SUP experience on the river TayPhoto credit: Beyond Adventure instructor, Mark

Having recovered from this excitement Mark suggested that we tried to stand up in a bit of calm water to the side of the river. With a bit of stabilisation help from Mark, I managed to stand up on my board. Although I was quite chuffed with myself I didn’t feel confident enough to stay on my feet and dropped back to my knees before we moved on again. Dude managed it alright on his own but also dropped back to his knees for a while.

Beyond Adventure, SUP experience. Photo credit: Beyond Adventure instructor, Mark

I found myself becoming braver and looking across to the river banks, admiring the big houses and looking for wildlife. We saw ducks, a dipper and a kingfisher during our adventure.

The next bit of fast water was approaching and Mark directed us to the best place to go. By now the Dude was back up on his feet and about to attempt this standing up. He made it! The celebration was short lived as he then came off the board into the water!

Beyond Adventure, SUP experiencePhoto credit: Beyond Adventure instructor, Mark

Those of you who have been following my swimming adventures will know that he hasn’t joined in with me because of the cold water. Falling in to the river came as quite a shock to him and it took him a while to calm his breathing back down and not let panic take over. He tells me now that he is annoyed at himself for falling off. Letting a split second lapse of concentration (and possible celebration in is head) after the rapids lead to him falling off. Personally, I pleased it wasn’t just me that came off!

In the blink of an eye we were back to the Beyond Adventure’s base. I couldn’t resist a quick swim before getting out though (minus the buoyancy aid). Any excuse.

Brilliant

We were absolutely buzzing with excitement after getting out. Immediately reliving the thrills and spills of stand up paddleboarding (SUP’ing). I felt instantly at ease meeting Ross and Mark for this experience. They deal with people all time, and like me, some are more nervous. It’s good to know that we were in safe hands whilst getting to try out something new.

Perthshire is an absolutely brilliant playground. If SUP ‘ing isn’t your thing then you could try canoeing, bouldering or maybe hiring a mountain bike with Beyond Adventure.

Beyond Adventure, SUP experience on the river Tay
Photo credit: Beyond Adventure instructor, Mark

Lunch at The Paper Boat

I had seen posts on social media about The Paper Boat at Kenmore over the summer. After a busy morning we needed good coffee and food to warm ourselves up.

Perched on the edge of Loch Tay, the ever changing view itself is an appealling factor for stopping here. However, it’s not the only reason to bide a while.

The menu is short and sweet but as soon as I saw “Grown up fish finger sarnie. Gigantic fish fingers with home made chunky tartare sauce on thick local farmhouse white bread” I was sold. Not one to be outdone, Dude ordered the same.

Fish finger sandwich at the Paper Boat, Kenmore

Wowzers!!!

Definitely a contender for the best fish finger butty ever!

The atmosphere is relaxed, with a mix of comfy sofa’s and arm chairs to wooden tables and chairs looking out onto the harbour. I totally missed out on the cake because I was so full from my sandwich, it looks delicious. We shall be back again.

The Hot Box – Taymouth Marina

We have been to Kenmore plenty of times but have always had other plans. Not this time.

Neighbours with the Scottish Crannog Centre, The Hot Box is, by comparison, a fairly new addition to Loch Tay.

Taymouth Marina, Kenmore, Perthshire

With a very Scandinavian feel to it, The Hot Box is an engaging hydrotherapy experience with picturesque views along the loch. This style of well being and relaxation is proven to improve circulation, releases endorphins, can help decrease inflammation and rid the body of toxins.

Dude and I wasted no time getting changed into our second set of swimming kit and heading into the sauna to warm up. Possibly the largest sauna either of us have been in (forty feet long) and with killer views it was easy to sit back and relax.

Taymouth Marina, Hot Box, Perthshire

Once we were sufficiently thawed out, the next thing to do is cool down. This is the best bit; there are three options for this – the cold water rain shower in the steam room, overhead cold water dunk buckets or a dook in the loch. Not for the faint hearted, there are two ways of getting in. Down the slide, which I didn’t even contemplate, or taking the steps down and walking into the water. I loved this bit, getting another cold water fix was perfect.

Taymouth Marina, The Hot Box, Perthshire

And repeat.

We rotated from the sauna to the loch, to the hydro pool, to the dunk buckets, to the steam room. You get the picture.

Taymouth Marina, The Hot Box, Perthshire

Personally, I think we had a good day to experience this. It was quite windy and there were a couple of light rain showers, really quite autumnal. This meant that we really reaped the benefit of the heat in the sauna etc.

Taymouth Marina, The Box, Perthshire

I was annoyed with myself for forgetting to take our books which we could have read on the loungers and wrapped ourselves up in the blankets to make it a truly relaxing practice.  There is a fire pit which wasn’t lit during our visit but I imagine it would be really nice and toasty to sit around.

Taymouth Marina, The Hot Box

Heart 200

We thoroughly enjoyed having a day of two halves in Perthshire and later on this month, we will be exploring the full Heart 200 route. A road trip which will take us through the heart of Scotland. There is quirky glamping lined up, more outdoor adventures and we’ll be sure to show off some of the best places to eat too.

Travelling around Scotland, there’s always an adventure to be had. But surely Perthshire’s playground is the centre piece, where there is something for everyone?

Taymouth Marina, The Hot Box, Perthshire

** Dude and I would like to thank the team at Beyond Adventure and Taymouth Marina, Hot Box for their kind hospitality. These activities were both complimentary in return for this post. All opinions on how to clear your nose after falling in the river and obsession with cold water are entirely my own.**

 

 

 

 

 

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