THERE’S a place in Highland Perthshire that is proving it is anything but dull, or boring for that matter, as the team at Highland Safaris has been entertaining tourists and locals alike for a quarter of a century now.

In fact, owners Donald and Julie Riddell recently celebrated the attraction’s 25th anniversary with the unveiling of a specially commissioned russet steel stag statue, having started by organising photography tours with an old trusty Land Rover in Glenlyon back in 1992.

Since then, the business has grown exponentially and is now based in Dull, to the west of Aberfeldy in Scotland’s ‘Big Tree Country. It’s here, at the home stead, that you’ll find the Red Deer centre, where you can get close and personal with the resident deer and even Ossian the Barn Owl.

Once you’ve met the natives, and the kids have panned for gold and gem stones, you can either settle in front of the wood burning stove with a drink and one of the many home-made cakes, sweet treats and savoury bakes, or take on one of the more adventurous options.

If you’re after an adrenaline rush, a ‘drop at the top’ service will take you and a mountain bike to the top of a hill before you free-wheel up to 25 miles downhill through forestry with views looking across the Strathtay valley. If you prefer a more comfortable seat in a Land Rover or the specially-converted 12-seater Pinzgauer, book one of the mountain or forest safaris, where your very own kilted, and very knowledgeable guide will take you from the valley floor to the high ridges where you may be able to spot wild red deer, black grouse, the elusive mountain hare or even a golden eagle.

After all that, stop off in one of the mountain bothies – which provide a great setting for bespoke weddings or activities during a stag or hen do – for a a platter of local treats and a dram of Dewars whisky to warm you up.

As if that wasn’t enough to offer, the team at the multi-award-winning Highland Safaris is proud to bring its latest venture to the public – Loch Tay Safaris. Tourism on Loch Tay, says Donald, isn’t a new concept as paddle steamers were used to transport thousands of tourists up and down the loch dating as far back as the Victorian era.

Today’s mode of transport is a bit more modern however, as the custom-built cabin rib can seat up to 12 people at any one time and is suitable for all ages, including my very own granny who was 90 when she boarded the Iolaire. Sat high, but surprisingly secure, above the water as the Iolaire whips along the loch, the guides will take you on a journey of local history, heritage and folklore, passing by Queen Sybilla’s Island and the abandoned village of Lawers before pausing at the deepest point of the loch to offer a gift to the Kelpies.

There’s no doubt that Highland Safaris has plenty to offer and the fact that the café is a hotspot for the locals and visitors come back year upon year is a real testament to the team. That’s the emphasis at Highland Safaris though, providing something for both locals and visitors, and those wishing to get the best out of their visit to Highland Perthshire can invest in a Safari Pass, which encourages families to visit many of the other attractions in the area.

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