If you go down to the woods today...
The Enchanted Forest
In fairy tales, people that creep around the woods at night end up being boiled in a witch’s cauldron, but pick the right night in Perthshire and you’ll end up wandering around a psychedelic wonderland. The Enchanted Forest, an annual sound and light show that turns Faskally Wood into a strange fantasy world, is now in its seventh year and the team behind it expect to blow the minds of over 20,000 visitors during the event’s three week run. This year’s extravaganza is titled ‘A Journey Into Space’. Visitors will be met outside Fishers Hotel on Pitlochry’s main street by a shuttle bus, which will take them to the launchpad at Faskally Wood. After undergoing a brief ‘astronaut-training’ session they will watch countdown commence before the main show lifts off. Visitors can then explore their new world within the forest, making their way around the paved walk, exploring new planetary landscapes, bridging the void and encountering some of their favourite extra-terrestrials, all before returning safely to Earth. Be warned: it’s a pretty trippy night out, so try to avoid eating any of those funny mushrooms that grow at this time of year.
The Vibe Enchanted Forest tour
Jamie Struthers and Simon Lee run Vibe Tours, offering unique trips to music and other cultural events across Scotland. They explain to us about this year’s specially-programmed tour to the Enchanted Forest.
Your route to Pitlochry and the Enchanted Forest takes quite a diversion. Can you talk us through it?
JAMIE: The tour leaves Edinburgh on Wednesday 22 October and makes its way through the highlands to the Isle of Skye where we stay at a place called the Edinbane Hotel, right in the heart of the island.
SIMON: The hotel has a real Scottish character about it; you don’t get many pubs like that any more, really family-orientated, you’ve got kids from18-months to 18-years-old running about the place. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons they have a session where bands and musicians from the island come and play, the biggest of whom are the Peatbog Faeries.
JAMIE: You can never know what to expect. Sometimes you turn up and there’s one musician. Sometimes you can’t get in the door there are so many of them.
Do you get to join in?
JAMIE: Yes, well we want to offer a bit of a workshop. Anyone who’s keen can be shown how to play the traditional instruments like the bodhran, the bagpipes and the fiddle. And if they don’t fancy it they can sit at the back by the fire and drink their whisky.
SIMON: We should mention that we also have a day spent looking round Skye. It’s a magical island that’s really brought to life by the local stories. We visit some quite special places there.
And after that, down to the Enchanted Forest?
JAMIE: Yes, two nights up at the Edinbane Hotel and then the third day is when we drive over to Pitlochry and the Enchanted Forest. We’re going to offer camping there in our own tents.
SIMON: As well as the Enchanted Forest there’s the Perthshire Dougie MacLean Festival that’s on. It’s not as big as Rock Ness or anything, but there are a lot of interesting music events happening in local pubs.
What do you make of the Enchanted Forest?
JAMIE: It’s incredible. It starts with an amazing sound and light show set out over a loch. It uses lots of different genres of music, all synchronised to the lighting effects. You get sheets of lightning and fire coming up off the loch,things like that.
SIMON: Quite trippy, you could describe it as.
JAMIE: It’s hypnotic to stand and watch, and I’ve no idea how they manage to do it. It appeals to everyone, and you can take from it what you want.
The Vibe Enchanted Forest tour leaves on 22 Oct and returns 25 Oct, 0131 478 6500, www.thevibescotland.co.uk, £110.
The Enchanted Forest: Information
• The Enchanted Forest runs from 17 Oct to 2 Nov in Faskally Wood, near Pitlochry, Perthshire. The show will take place 135 times over the 3 weeks with 20,000 people expected to attend.
• Two weeks of preparation, involving 60 technicians, stewards and security staff, are needed to transform the wood.
• The Enchanted Forest has been running for six years with a different theme each autumn. 2008 takes ‘A Journey Into Space’ as its inspiration.
• Several thousand metres of cable will be used to power and control hundreds of lights and speakers, specially positioned around Loch Dumore to produce a spectacular light and sound performance.
• Tickets cost from £9.50 and must be booked in advance. Visit www.enchantedforest.org.uk or call Ticketline on 0844 888 6688.
• You can travel to Pitlochry on public transport via Perth. The Citylink bus from Edinburgh and Glasgow departs five times daily, takes just over two hours and costs from £12 one-way (08705 505 050, www.citylink.co.uk). The ScotRail train service from Glasgow and Edinburgh runs six times daily, takes approximately two hours and costs from £8 one-way (08457 550 033, www.firstgroup.com/scotrail).
• A shuttle bus to Faskally Wood leaves from FishersHotel on Atholl Road in Pitlochry.