The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Let your very own picnic butler make it a great day

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We get the hamper and rugs and off we go.

JACK BLACK

Picture yourself sitting beside a beautiful loch, waves lapping against the shore with rolling hills in the distance.

Just then, a red squirrel runs past, next a roe deer catches your eye as you tuck into another oatcake covered in Scottish salmon and Caboc cream – all served to you on a silver platter by your very own private butler…

With many people now imagining long, lazy summer days spent indulging in delicious food and drink al fresco, the dream picnic has been made a reality by VisitScotl­and and Forest Holidays with the creation of the Picnic Butler.

A new experience for stay-at-home holiday makers as well as visitors to Scotland, the picnic butler has been introduced to celebrate the country’s Year of Food & Drink 2015 and the delicious variety of gastronomy on offer.

The picnic butler is an exclusive package offered by Forest Holidays at its two Scottish locations: Strathyre in Perthshire and Ardgartan in Argyll.

Each location is nestled in breathtaki­ng Forestry Commission land on the edge of stunning lochs, surrounded by dramatic mountains.

Picnic butler Jack Black is an experience­d forest ranger who takes groups out to special places at each location so they can relax and experience a picnic of local produce.

He also offers guidance on foraging, making fires, spotting wildlife and outdoor survival, creating moments guests will remember for a lifetime.

Guests at Forest Holidays’ two Scottish locations are able to choose from a range of picnic butler experience­s tailored to either couples or families.

Each location sources produce from local suppliers for the picnic hampers, including Scottish smoked salmon, artisan cheese and oat cakes, seasonal fruits, tasty tablet, Scottish spring water and even a glass of sparkling wine for romantic walks.

Jack knows he has an important role to play in setting the scene for the perfect Scottish picnic.

He said: “It all starts with dressing up and being presentabl­e – putting on my kilt, socks and feathers. Next, it is meeting and greeting the picnickers at the retreat and getting to know them. Then we get the hamper and the rugs and off we go.

“En route to the perfect picnic spot we talk about the setting – the trees, plants, water and a lot about the culture and traditions of the Scottish hills.

“When we reach the picnic spot – in the forest or next to the Loch – we lay everything out and serve the sparkling wine or champagne.

“Then it is time to let them enjoy the tranquil setting and delicious food.”

At Strathyre, guests can spend time looking for rare wildlife including red squirrels, wild deer and buzzards while surrounded by the majestic peaks of Ben Ledi.

On the edge of the Argyll Forest Park, just a short drive from Loch Lomond, Ardgartan has 40 luxury cabins on the banks of Loch Long and is surrounded by enchanting forest and pine-clad mountains.

The picnic butler is available at Forest Holidays’ two Scotland locations and can be booked directly through the website www.forestholi­days.co.uk as a prebookabl­e extra when booking a holiday.

It can also be booked for resident guests on-site at both of the locations.

 ?? Picture: Michael McGurk. ?? Enjoy a picnic with a bit of a difference – with your very own picnic butler showing you the sights.
Picture: Michael McGurk. Enjoy a picnic with a bit of a difference – with your very own picnic butler showing you the sights.

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