17 Degrees Mag

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Falkirk Business Hub, Falkirk, FK1 1LL

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DTA

DTA has been in business for over eleven years in Falkirk – they are very passionate about helping women in business and creating opportunities for the next generation.

Deborah, pictured on the left with some of the women in the team – who set up the business went to school in Falkirk – after university, she went on to qualify as a CA with KPMG. She is passionate about giving young people an opportunity in the accounting industry. Over the years, DTA has given a number of students the opportunity to gain work experience while they have been at school, college or university. A number have gone on to secure training contracts with other national firms.

In the summer of 2021, DTA decided to extend the opportunity of work experience to create a Modern Apprentice role for a school leaver. Amy joined DTA in July 2021 on an initial 18-month apprenticeship studying towards an AAT – Diploma in Accounting. Amy has been a great success since she joined and will now study to become a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. The whole process will take Amy seven years -she will earn while she learns, plus she will be an integral part of the DTA team.

Due to Amy’s success, DTA is now looking for another school leaver. Please contact them at andy@dtaccounting.co.uk for more information on this exciting opportunity.

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HIGHLAND CLOTHING SPECIALISTS

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Highland Clothing Specialists

JH Kilt Hire in Grangemouth town centre has been kitting out clients across the UK in kilts and highland clothing for over 20 years. They have an outstanding range of tartans including the official Falkirk FC tartan and their extremely popular in-house designs, Breacangorm, Breacandubh and Destiny range.

They also stock the largest selection of accessories in the Forth Valley area, including sporrans, buckles, kilt pins, cufflinks, sgian dubh’s, ghillie brogues and much more. Jim Healy and his team will make sure you have everything you need to stand out from the crowd with their highland packages!

13 York Arcade, Grangemouth, FK3 8BA
T: 01324 489 196
E: info@jhkilthire.co.uk

Monday – Saturday
9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday Closed

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The Weir’s

Ross and Nicola Weir are high school sweethearts who met in 2009 at Grangemouth Stadium when they were only twelve years old. Over the next 10 years they grew up together and their relationship grew from strength to strength.

On the 25th of June, on their 10th anniversary, with the view of Loch Lomond in the background, Ross got down on one knee and held open a Tiffany box.

Their first step in the wedding planning process was to secure their venue and Balbirnie House in Glenrothes blew the couple away. It was the modern vintage décor that Nicola always had her heart set on. The couple set their date for Saturday 2nd July 2022.

The Suppliers

Nicola gushes, “Each and every one of our suppliers was incredible and made our day everything we ever dreamed of.” They did their best to use as many local suppliers as possible.

Celebrant

Their celebrant was Sheila Scobbie from the Humanist Society Scotland. The couple wanted a personal ceremony that would be both relaxed and funny. Sheila did just that and the ceremony was everything the couple wanted.

Mother-of-the-Bride & Groom Outfits

Both the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom got their gorgeous outfits from Catwalk in Falkirk. They both loved every minute of trying on dresses for the big day and found the service to be second to none. Nicola, “I thought their outfits complimented each other perfectly and both looked breathtaking.”

Bridemaids’ Dresses

For the bridesmaids’ dresses, Nicola’s bride squad had a great experience at Olivia Cameron. She says, “I knew I wanted the bridesmaids to be in silk but had originally thought the colour was going to be blush pink. However, while trying on the sample dresses the Tuscan Gold won everybody over. My golden girls looked incredibly glamorous.”

Hair and Makeup

“It was so special to have my sister Naomi Milne (LK Glam, Larbert) do my wedding hair and cousin Justine Weir (Tweedie & Marshall, Falkirk) do the bridesmaid’s hair. Laura Ann Smith (Smiths Hairdressing, Bonnybridge) was their other hairdresser on the day. They were all both so talented at what they do and made us all look and feel amazing.”

Finally, their Make Up Artists Tyler Lawless MUA and Rachel Wilcox MUA were a big part of their wedding morning. They joined the morning celebrations and had Nicola and her bridesmaids looking and feeling so glamorous.

“It was the most incredible day of our lives with all our amazing friends and family – memories to last a lifetime.”

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The Woodside

Never has the love of food, drink and above all good times been clearer than at The Woodside in Doune.

 

Located in the heart of the Forth Valley, the newly renovated property is a showstopper and an example of Scottish Hospitality at its finest! 12 months in the making, the recent refurbishment of The Woodside came with a price tag of 1.4 million pounds, and not a penny of that investment has been wasted.

 

Open to residents and non-residents alike, The Woodside is sure to be a new hub for the local community. The hotel itself is a beautiful building and the 11 letting rooms are large and spacious. Their new facilities include a pub with a full range of premium beers, lagers, gins, wines, and cocktails. A function suite for events can hold up to 40 people. The Woodside even boasts their own coffee house with hand roasted coffee, and home baking. Their brand-new restaurant provides homemade and locally sourced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to patrons. Dining is also available outside in their fabulous newly created terrace area.

The Front of House team at The Woodside are all smiles on arrival and nothing is too much trouble. The group is led by General Manager Vicky McInnes and supported by Operations Manager Richard Mcmullan who were responsible for the opening of the Allan Park in Stirling.

The Food

At The Woodside the focus is creating great quality, interesting dishes with both Scottish and classical French influences

“Our ethos is simple. Simple things done well. Our food is not “fancy”, you will never see a “foam” on our menus. Anyone can make a burger, but if it is done well it can be a truly wonderful thing.”

This ethos is clearly shared by the culinary crew at the Woodside. The team is led by Executive Chef Robert Cichock alongside Head Chef Craig Symon. Robert Cichock is also heading up the kitchen teams both at the Riverside in Dunblane (with Head Chef James Mason) and the Allan Park in Stirling (with Head Chef Matthew James). Something is clearly working when it comes to this team of chefs: the food is delicious.

The Story

So, who are the mysterious pioneers behind this fabulous addition to the local culinary scene? The Riddle’s that’s who! Stuart Riddle, along with his wife Jo, are owners of several hospitality venues, and are creating a portfolio of pubs, restaurants, and hotels.

Stuart started his career working in the kitchens of AA Rosette awarded hotels, later becoming head chef at the 2 AA Rosette Dunain Park Country House Hotel. Stuart went on to impress in various roles including, Menu Development Manager at the Spirit Group, Catering Controller at Bellhaven Pubs and Head of Food Development at Greene King. A resume such as this, has set him in good stead for running The Woodside alongside Jo – a former restaurant manager herself.

“My now wife and I had talked about having a restaurant when I was a young chef and she worked as a restaurant manager in the late 1990’s, but we didn’t feel it was realistic and wouldn’t have known where to start”.

In 2013, Stuart and Joanna started their first hospitality company and embarked on a £700,000 development of the Stirling Arms to create “The Riverside – pub, kitchen & coffee house”.

“After a successful career in the corporate world and surviving several redundancy scares and numerous restructures, we felt we would like to be masters of our own destiny. We also felt that we could do it better than the nationals. At that point, I was 36, I handed back my company car keys, and we created The Riverside”

The Riverside was heavily remodelled to offer a modern 140 cover venue while still retaining the best of its heritage features. Situated on the river in the heart of Dunblane, the new Riverside was a victory, with locals embracing the refurb.

After the success of their Riverside venture, the pair invested £1,200,000 renovating The Allan Park Hotel in 2018. Located in Stirling, it was renamed “The Allan Park – pub, restaurant & coffee house w/ rooms” and transformed into a contemporary 120 cover venue with 8 letting rooms.

In November of 2021 they took ownership of their third property, The Woodside Hotel now known simply as “The Woodside”.

The Area

So the intrepid couple have chosen Perthshire as the home for their latest venture. We asked them why they seem so drawn to the area?

“Perthshire is such a captivating part of Scotland. It is home to a wealth of incredible foods, food producers, breweries and distilleries and there’s just so much for our guests to enjoy in the local area”.

It is true that this Hotel is nestled in an enviable location. Situated near the historical Doune Castle, The Woodside makes an excellent base for exploring the Trossachs and Western Highlands. The local area is beautiful as well. From historic spots like The National Wallace Monument to family fun at Blair Drummond Safari Park, there seems to be something for everyone here.

After a day of fun and exploration, it’s all back to The Woodside for a warm welcome in cosy comfort. Stuart and Jo’s fabulous refurbishment of a traditional Doune property, has breathed life into the local area and reinstated an historic community hub to its former glory.

“The Woodside really is our dream come true and we look forward to welcoming you through its doors.” – Stuart & Joanna Riddle

To Summarise

Whatever your reason for visiting The Woodside – a healthy or hearty breakfast, a relaxing overnight base to explore the local area, fantastic food with family in the restaurant, a glass of wine or a local beer with friends in the bar – you can be assured of a friendly welcome from staff who care.

The atmosphere is a success, the food is fantastic, the renovation is tasteful and adds to the character of the building. This place is not to be missed! To find out more info or to experience The Woodside for yourself, please visit their website here: https://www.thewoodsidedoune.co.uk/

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Go Forth Working for Stirling

Go Forth Stirling is one of the 37 active BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) in Scotland working to enhance the high street experience and deliver projects specific to their business community’s needs.

A Background of Business Improvement Districts

A BID is a geographical area in which the local businesses have voted to invest together to improve their environment. Essentially, they are an agreement between businesses to improve commercial enterprise in a particular location.

The levy collected from local businesses is used to develop specific projects and initiatives which will benefit all business trading environments in the local area, increase footfall and generally provide support to businesses. These improvements can include providing additional services or projects, outside of what the local authority already covers. It can give these businesses and authorities vital funding, resources, and the opportunity to realise the potential of an area more quickly.

BIDs were first established in Canada and the US in the 1960s and now exist across the globe including in South Africa, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Legislation enabling the formation of BIDs was passed in 2003 in England and Wales and in 2006 in Scotland. There are now 333 BIDs across the UK as a whole and now over 1500 worldwide.

Benefits of a Business Improvement District include:

– Businesses being more autonomous and influential around what happens in their local area
– Improving the area can attract more customers, resulting in more income (and therefore potentially more employment)
– Networking opportunities for new and growing ventures.
– All monies invested or raised remain in and are reinvested in the local area.

The Team

Go Forth is headed by Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith who is responsible for the vision and direction of the BID, devising and initiating its many projects, liaising with members of Stirling’s business community and running the organisation’s day-to-day operations. She is supported by Digital Communication and Community Engagement Officer Jitka Fleglova who is in regular contact with the BID’s levy payers. She also administrates the organisation and runs its social media platforms.

The BID Street Ambassadors Gail Lamb and Josie Brown are the ‘eyes and ears’ of Go Forth Stirling in the city. They carry out a variety of roles including listening to the concerns of business owners, tackling graffiti and helping tourists gain the best possible experience of Stirling. They also log and report any street issues each day. The BID also has a 13-strong non-executive Board led by Chairman David Black who also chairs Stirling City Heritage Trust.

The Board is made up of local business owners who help shape the BID’s strategic direction and ensure the organisation carries out the aims of its Business Plan.

Making a Difference Stirling

Go Forth has been working for Stirling for just over five years and has accomplished many fantastic things during that time. One of the highlights is the ground-breaking Street Stories project, which transforms empty shops into vibrant works of art. The initiative, which can be seen in vacant shop windows around the City, features a range of animated artworks showcasing the work of Scottish artists including Jacqueline Marr and Michael Corr. Each artwork is brought to life via interactive Augmented Reality (AR) and forms part of a Trail telling the stories of Stirling’s people, heritage and history via mediums such as mosaic, dance, mural, digital, and fluid art.

They’re also proud of bringing Bricklive’s Fantasy Kingdom tour – a fantasy trail featuring life-sized brick models of dragons, castles, wizards and princesses – to Stirling. The magnificent free Lego Trail was unlike anything Stirling had ever seen before – it entertained residents and visitors alike and brought 8,000 people to the city.

Another project which has made a real difference to Stirling is their Supercharged Shopfront Improvement Grant, which has revitalised the look of the city centre. Business owners were able to apply for a grant of up to £5K to give their shopfronts a facelift, and many took up that offer. Highlights of the project include the transformation of Greek family restaurant Café Aina (King Street) with a fresh look which includes restored marble signage and a completely new and improved shopfront for the Fone Express store in Upper Craigs.

In the Thistles, Go Forth contributed to internal ‘wayfinding’ signage, which directs shoppers to retailers based in the centre. Meanwhile, the 17th century Pend (lane) – which leads to The Pend Café Deli & Bistro and Frances Hunter Hair & Beauty in Port Street – has been beautifully renovated with the archway’s original stonework restored and the introduction of new lighting and planters.

 

The Next Five Years

The team were delighted with the results of their re-ballot in the Summer which saw business owners give a resounding ‘Yes’ to a second term. Danielle McRorie-Smith (Director) says: “Our second term began in September 2022 and our ambitious five-year plan includes better street cleaning, ongoing free public Wi-Fi in the city centre and the continuation of our popular grant schemes.”

There are also plans for new events including an enhanced winter festival and the introduction of annual business awards beginning next February. Other key proposals include tackling parking concerns, introducing improved wayfinding and signposting around the city and addressing the number of vacant properties in Stirling.

Danielle elaborates: “We will react to and manage whatever the business community requires through dedicated support and lobbying; maintaining current projects and services and evolving to introduce and develop new initiatives. We also aim to invest £1.8M in Stirling during the second term, with projections based on the amount of capital from levy payers plus the extra grant funding the BID expects to leverage.”

Business Success Stories

There have been many amazing success stories over the past five years but here are some of the highlights that the team shared with us.

The Street Ambassadors have proved a real hit with the business community and visitors. Since they began work just over a year ago, they’ve made great strides in tackling environmental and anti-social issues such as graffiti, listening to business owners and taking on board/feeding back their concerns and signposting visitors around the city.

Go Forth established an online training platform in April 2020 to offer business owners the opportunity for flexible, cost-free training. Since then, 7,500 courses have been have enrolled in the diverse range of more than 20 CPD-accredited courses which include all levels of Food Safety and GDPR. 620 individuals have now been certificated in Go Forth’s Fire Safety Training Course. The programme is particularly aimed at the city’s hospitality sector, which was hit hard by pandemic restrictions, and includes the Alcohol Licensing Awareness (Scotland) training course which is mandatory for all staff involved in serving or selling alcohol. Details of this course and all the available training options are available on the Go Forth Stirling website – www.goforthstirling.co.uk/online-training

Last year, Go Forth and Stirling Council joined forces to launch a free Wi-Fi service covering the entire city centre. Residents, business owners, shoppers and visitors can access the service via their smartphones or other devices anywhere in the city centre. The move boosted local investment in internet connectivity and digital transformation and saw the BID achieve one of the central goals set out in its original five-year business plan.

Finally, one of their most successful stories has to be their ongoing Independent Stirling marketing campaign. Go Forth launched a new brand – Independent Stirling – to support the amazing range of independent shops and businesses Stirling has to offer. Independent Stirling has a dedicated website – www.independentstirling.co.uk – featuring an interactive map of Stirling’s independent traders plus business profiles and Blog posts highlighting the hidden gems of Stirling and the talents and individuality of local entrepreneurs.

The website is supported by a wider social media campaign which includes photos and videos to promote businesses and an ‘I’m In’ sticker initiative to display in shop windows and highlight Stirling’s independent culture. It also includes a promotional video showcasing the flourishing independent scene and featuring more than 20 businesses.

Join the BID

Businesses in Stirling that are not technically in the BID geographical area can still be part of the BID. Go Forth offers a voluntary levy scheme which means any business outwith the current BID zone, but within the Stirling Council area, can become a member by paying a yearly levy linked to their rateable value. Businesses in areas such as Causewayhead, Bridge of Allan and Riverside are welcome to come on board and be part of the BID.

The Future is Exciting

Danielle highlights their plans: “We’re very excited about our forthcoming Independent Stirling Business Awards which launch in November and take place in February next year. Planning is underway and the event will feature a variety of Awards Categories – including Café of the Year and Hair & Beauty Business of the Year – plus a special Outstanding Contribution to the City Award.”

The Awards are open to all independent businesses in the city centre BID zone and they will be nominated and voted for by members of the public and the business community. They will then be presented by a special guest at a glittering Awards Ceremony at the Golden Lion Hotel on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

Go Forth Highlights

– £165K invested in festive lighting – ALL NEW lights coming this winter
– The BIDs public WiFi network has kept 60K people connected in the city centre since its introduction
– 84 businesses have had a grant from Go Forth to help with flooding, their shop front improvements, their ecommerce or to assist start-ups.
– The night-time economy is connected by a pubwatch committee, a network of digital networks and an incident crime reporting system provided by the BID
– A 50K project introducing technology to monitor each street’s footfall and vehicular traffic 24/7 has just completed


BID facts

BIDs across the British Isles represent 121,485 businesses and contribute £172 Million to their business communities.

BIDs may leverage additional monies from government, project funding and the like: Go Forth has leveraged an additional 300K in the past two years.

11 new BIDs are currently at development stage in Scotland. (53 across the UK).

A sign that the business community recognises the continued importance of BIDs and what they provide to the local trading environment!

 

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Lesley Anderson Law Is Expanding

Lesley Anderson LLB (HONS) DIP LP NP is an accredited Solicitor Advocate specialising in family law and, separately, child law. Lesley has been in practice since 2005 and sits as Chairperson of the Family Law Association and Vice-Chair Civil of the Society of Solicitor Advocates. 

Since 2017, Lesley has been a qualified Solicitor Advocate, allowing her rights of audience in the higher Scottish courts. She is a Falkirk Bairn – who has brought her expertise home to benefit the local area. Lesley always wanted to be a lawyer, having been inspired by the TV programme LA Law. After obtaining an Honours Degree and Diploma in Legal Practice from Glasgow University, Lesley spent time living in Dublin, Manchester and London before returning to Scotland. Gaining experience in several Legal Firms, including nine years with Russel and Aitken, Lesley established Lesley Anderson Law in January 2019.

The law firm operates from bespoke offices within Falkirk Town Centre and, in just three years, they have bought additional premises at 25 Vicar Street and have employed local people. They are absolutely delighted to be expanding their premises and are recruiting for additional members of their team. Lesley is joined by her Personal Assistant & Office Manager Claire and her Trainee Rachel.

The firm offers an expert legal service and aim to provide their clients with the ability to make an informed choice, and therefore offer a free initial consultation to prospective clients across Scotland.

With the business being just over a year old when the pandemic hit, they chose not to furlough their staff and to work throughout. This decision benefitted their clients as they were able to progress work and as a result the business has seen huge growth.

They offer a range of legal services, including:

FAMILY LAW
CHILD LAW
WILLS & POWER OF ATTORNEY
SOLICITOR ADVOCACY
LITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION
DEBT RECOVERY

Get in touch

enquiries@lesleyandersonlaw.co.uk
01324 278565
5 Manse Place, Falkirk, FK1 1JN

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Culinary Excellence Category Winners

Best Newcomer – McLays Coffee House
Best Family Owned – Millars at The Courtyard
Best Italian – Ciro’s at Glenbervie
Best Tapas – Christies Falkirk
Best Chippie – The Allanwater Café
Best Bakery – The Falkirk Cake Lady
Best Wine Bar – The Wine Library
Best Cocktails – Oscar’s Wine Bar
Best Coffee Shop and Afternoon Tea – Central Perk Falkirk
Best Hotel Restaurant – Richmond Park Hotel
Best Farm Shop – Blairmains Farm Shop and Coffee Bothy
Best Ice Cream Parlour – McMoo’s Ice Cream Parlour, Desserts & Café
Best Breakfast – The Corner Café
Best Fine Dining – Mason Belles Kitchen
Best Garden Centre-  Klondyke Garden Centre
Best Burger –  Monterey Jack’s Falkirk
Best Pizza – Behind The Wall
Best Indian Restaurant – Sanam Tandoori
Best Scottish – The Croft and Creel
Best Steak – Champany Inn
Best Thai Restaurant – Erawan Thai restaurant
Best Pub Grub – The Birds and Bees

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!

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The Dickson Wedding In Ibiza

In June, we went on our first family holiday to Ibiza to attend the special wedding of our friends, Deborah and Brian. The couple, now the Dicksons, are originally from Grangemouth. They have been together for over a decade and have a beautiful daughter, Zara, who was born in February 2021.

They have lived an exciting life together; just six months after they began dating, they went travelling to Australia and ended up settling there for several years. Living and working in the sunshine suited the pair, but they weren’t so keen on the distance from home. They moved back to Scotland in 2015, but quickly realised that they were meant to live somewhere a bit warmer. In 2016, they made the move to beautiful Ibiza and haven’t looked back. Brian works offshore in the North Sea and Deborah runs her successful private spa service, Ibiza Beauty and Massage.

I’ve known Deborah since I was a little girl as we were neighbours growing up, with our parents being good friends. She also visited our family to work in a local spa while we lived in California. We’ve always kept in touch and even had our little girls the same year! It was an honour to be invited to their wedding.

It was our first time taking Charlotte on a plane and we felt a bit apprehensive but she was a wee star! She slept half of the time and then was amused by snacks and toys for the rest.

The wedding was in the quieter part of the island, Cala Tarida and we stayed at the Insotel Tarida Playa, which was an all-inclusive hotel just a 5-minute taxi from the villa they were to be married at. The hotel was right next to the beach which had lovely, family-friendly restaurants.

The wedding actually took place over two days as the first part was the official Spanish ceremony at the registrars. It so happened to sit at the top of the gorgeous Dalt Villa. All the guests travelled together on a bus, which was a quite a challenge for the driver to get over the small Roman bridges of Ibiza’s Old Town. At one point Brian, the groom, was directing the driver! But the setting was something out of a film. We all gathered into the room they were to be married and the couple sat on big thrones as they spoke their vows to one another. It was unlike a traditional wedding as you can see in the pictures with all the buggies – all of Zara’s friends! After the wedding, there were pictures and we all headed down the hill to a beautiful restaurant where we enjoyed Spanish tapas, Sangria and Champagne, toasting to their love! It was a day we will never forget but the wedding wasn’t over yet!

The next day was their official wedding day at the stunning villa in Cala Tarida with breathtaking ocean views. The ceremony was conducted by Deborah’s godfather, poolside. It was so intimate and special, especially as their little girl Zara was present. After the ceremony, the drinks were flowing and so were delicious tapas. The evening meal was an amazing bbq, which was absolutely perfect for a wedding in the heat.

They danced their first song at sunset to Klangkarusell’s Sonnentanz, it was very Ibizan!! The babies were all shortly rocked to sleep in their buggies and parked up alongside each other while the adults danced for a few more hours. Many of us remarked that it felt like we were living in a movie. I’m sure that day will live in our memories for a long, long time.

If you’re heading on holiday or to an aboard wedding with young children, just embrace it! It will be an amazing memory for everyone.

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Bringing History to Life One Tour At A Time

Lynne and Gary are a husband and wife who share a love of Scottish history and ghost hunting. Together they operate History and Horror Tours; which they are now bringing to Bannockburn House in Stirling.

The couple have a passion for making history accessible and telling the real, personal stories of people from long ago. Their tours aren’t about dates and names; they share the little anecdotes that turn characters into people.

Gary has been telling Jacobite stories for over 20 years, long before Outlander was on our screens! Being dyslexic, he is able to read a history book and then bring it to life for others in story form.

He decided to become a tour guide after being on a tour in Edinburgh, where a guide said that the Romans didn’t get this far North – which isn’t true! He thought to himself, if you’re going to tell a story, it needs to be right! He got a job with Mercat Tours in Edinburgh and worked in the vaults. Even though he didn’t have the required history degree, they recognised that he knew his stuff! He was driving all the way from Perthshire each day, so his employer suggested he stay on at night to do the ghost tours, and this is when he really found his passion for dark history.

Lynn went to school in Linlithgow and grew up playing around the palace. This is where she discovered her love of history and being surrounded by it. She was also intrigued by the paranormal side of history and the stories of the people who used to walk the halls of the castle.

In 2005, the couple started walking tours of Perth. Gary at that point was researching lots and writing his own history books telling the stories of real people. They then got the inspiration to start ghost tours of Castle Menzies. With all his research, Gary was aware of the dark history that had happened there and knew that there were stories to tell! Including the story of three redcoats who were killed by a clan chief. He wanted to bring these stories to life. Gary says: ”Even people who don’t believe in ghosts; love a ghost story.” The tours were extremely popular, as they say the dark side of history gets you!

Lynn says: “Our ghost tours are the closest thing you’ve got to a time machine. We are telling real personal stories of people who have lived and worked in the castle/house.”

They were both keen to explore the tales of the past at Bannockburn House, Stirling, and are now offering a nighttime tour of the house, which is so active that it is fast becoming known as the most haunted house in Central Scotland. The couple told us several spooky stories of ghosts they’ve encountered and unexplained events during their horror tours that have turned non-believers into believers.

They’re both incredibly passionate about the work they do and the tales they tell. They in-still this in the guides that work for them. Gary says: “You’ve got to put the same passion to a group of 3 or group of 30. They all deserve to have a memorable experience.”

The tour averages an hour and a half long, depending on how many spooky things happen! Not only is Bannockburn House very active, it has a fantastic history that Gary and Lynn are passionate about promoting. During their tours, they tell the local stories of the ghosts they encounter, and they encourage people to come back for the daytime tour to explore and discover the history. They offer their evening tours from April-October every Thursday night.

Book your haunted house tour!

historyandhorrortours@hotmail.com

0784 0094 667

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-haunted-house-tour-tickets-161748856183

*Warning: This site has a reputation of being an active paranormal location, therefore this tour is not for the faint-hearted.

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Young Love’s Young Dream

How They Met

Scott Blair, who is originally from Grangemouth, just so happened to meet the love of his life down in London in 2017. Alex, now his wife, was studying Musical Theatre alongside Scott’s younger sister Laura. They crossed paths on a night out and ended up chatting for ages. They exchanged numbers after they’d taken a few shots and Scott plucked up the courage to ask!

But they didn’t quite see how the long-distance relationship would work, and nothing happened for a few weeks. It didn’t take long for them to realise that they had met someone very special, and what was the harm in trying. And they’ve never looked back.

 

The Proposal

The pair quickly became besotted and became accustomed to the short flight to and from London and Scotland to see each other often. Scott realised that Alex was the one quite quickly in their relationship. Traditionally, he asked her dad, John, for her hand in marriage and was delighted when he gave his blessing.

Scott planned the proposal for a weekend Alex was up visiting. He booked their favourite local Italian restaurant, Chianti, and took her out for a lovely meal. He’d put the ring in his jacket pocket and was worried sick the whole meal as he left it in the cloak room without thinking! The meal was absolutely delicious and when it came round to dessert Scott quickly texted his mum, Angela, to get the rose petals and candles sorted. He had planned to propose to Alex as soon as they got home.

When they walked in, Alex quickly got busy sorting some washing in the bedroom and Scott was racking his brains as to how he was going to get her to walk into the living room so that she could see what he had in store for her! He pretended to not be able to find the remote and as she came ready to show him exactly where he had left it. And, voilà, her life was changed forever as Scott was down on one knee ready to ask her the biggest question of her life. Alex quickly said yes and was absolutely over the moon as she too knew that he was the one!

Wedding Planning

Alex finished her degree in London and decided to trade the big smoke for the big flare and moved in with Scott in his flat in Grangemouth. They then grew to a family of three when they brought Leo, their full of life Golden Labrador, home. The couple both work at Thornbridge Sawmills in Grangemouth and love spending as much time as possible together.

After the first lockdown, they purchased a beautiful family home in Falkirk. At this point, wedding plans were well underway. Luckily, the couple had chosen a long engagement and to wait three years until 2022 to get married. This meant that their wedding was unaffected by severe Covid-19 restrictions.

They got married at the stunning Sherbrooke Castle Hotel in Glasgow on the 19th of February 2022. There were 84 of their family and friends present during the day, joined by 30 more at night. People travelled from far and wide to attend; especially Alex’s older brother Sam, who made it over from Canada.

It was a crisp, sunny February day and the couple were so excited to finally become husband and wife. Alex got ready at her family home in Shawlands accompanied by her parents and bridesmaids, and Scott got ready at their home in Falkirk with his best man Ben and groomsman Jamie.

There weren’t many dry eyes when Alex walked down the aisle, looking like a fairy tale princess. They were married in a humanist ceremony with many Scottish traditions such as hand fasting. A special moment happened when Scott’s grandad wrapped Alex in a tartan shawl, to officially welcome her to the Blair clan! The couple wrote their own wedding vows; promising to never take a second with each other for granted.

After the ceremony it was time to capture pictures to treasure for a lifetime. The sun shone as the couple smiled alongside their nearest and dearest. Then came the speeches and a delicious meal, followed by an evening of dancing the night away. The couple choose the song ‘The One’ by Kodaline as their first dance as husband and wife. Alex then had a choreographed dance with her father; with a background in musical theatre, this was a must! There were also a few social dancing songs played, followed by an evening of chart hits from Los Perros. It was an evening to remember forever.

We’d like to wish Mr and Mrs Blair a long, happy life together.

Supplier List:

Photographers: Canvas and Peach
Videographer: One3Media
Humanist: Wendy Dallas from Fuze
Venue: Sherbrooke Castle Hotel
Cake: Cakes-n-Crafts
Decorator: Make Believe
Florist: Flowers by Cherry
Dress: Bijoux Bridal
Kilts: JH Kilt hire
Mothers’ Outfits: Frox of Falkirk
Band: Los Perros