There are certain events in life that should feature on a bucket list – and for me, visiting an attraction that I’ve been trying to get tickets to for more than three years – The Enchanted Forest in Perthshire, was just one such event.
And the reason it’s taken me three years to obtain tickets to this sound and light open-air spectacular is only down to the fact it sells out the moment tickets go on sale every year – and I’ve always been too slow!
However, this time around I was lucky enough to ensure that the moment they opened up the sales desk I was there faster than many sprinters, no easy task for someone like me, and got hold of four tickets for the family.
So, off we all trundled up to Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. Having checked the weather forecast on a far too regular basis in advance of the visit, we were delighted to see that it was supposed to be cold and dry.
A wee word of caution first. The route you will travel on to reach the attraction, the A9 is controlled by average speed cameras so don’t be tempted. You’ll only receive a speeding ticket in the post as a reminder of your stupidity. Also, on the same road there are roadworks underway (our visit was October 2019) so allow a little extra time on your journey to account for these.
The event is now so well organised, it provides shuttle buses that run from Pitlochry where park and ride facilities are available. There’s also an accessible bus service which is new for this year (2019). It has a tail lift to accommodate wheelchair users. This departs from Blair Athol Distillery at specific times and must be booked in advance by phone on 0800 978 8761. Customers will be able to park at the distillery, close to the bus venue. Faskally Wood is located five minutes from the town of Pitlochry. It does have disabled parking facilities available but these are very limited, must be pre-booked and are provided on a first-come-first-served basis only.
The event is exceptionally well staffed with stewards controlling traffic and providing disabled drivers with explicit instructions on entering the venue and parking.
On arrival, we were directed to a dedicated bay. We were then given a health and safety talk by a very friendly and helpful member of staff. There are toilets available adjacent to the disabled car parking area and within the event.
So, appropriately dressed for what turned out to be a cold evening we made way into the forest.
Scotland’s multi-award winning show fuses the creative talents of Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes (lighting designers) with RJ McConnell, Jon Beales and Rachel Cullen (sound designers) to create an outdoor experience that will set your imagination alight.
With dazzling visuals and innovative design set against an original music score explore the stunning autumn woodland setting of Forest and Land Scotland’s Faskally Wood. Using the forest as a natural backdrop, you will experience a light show that is, quite simply, out of this world.
The Enchanted Forest is renowned for being Scotland’s premier sound and light experience and attracted over 80,000 visitors in 2018.
The event has swept the board in recent years at a number of prestigious award ceremonies including, Best Cultural Event at the VisitScotland Regional Awards in 2018, Best Outdoor Festival at the Scottish Outdoor & Leisure Awards 2017, Best Cultural Event at the UK Event Awards 2016, Scottish Rural Award for Tourism & Hospitality in 2016, Scottish Thistle Award for best event in 2015, the Event Management Grand Prix, and Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards.
This year’s event is titled Cosmos and what a stunner of a show it is. I’m sorry to say that if you’re reading this thinking you’d like to go, then, as mentioned earlier you’re going to be disappointed as once again it’s a sold-out event.
This year the creative team are encouraging you to look up, and be inspired by the magnificence of the cosmos.
Influenced by the vastness and natural beauty of the skies that sit above the forest, the talented creative team has pulled together a spectacular event that combines breathtaking visuals, state-of-the-art technologies and an inspirational soundscape.
Visitors will follow the winding trail past mysterious Loch Dunmore, (watch out for the appearance of an astronaut floating above the loch as you walk deeper into the woods, to explore the sights and sounds of the cosmos.
The show is split into different sections which you follow via a good, solid and fairly level pathway. On the date of my visit, there were people with walking sticks, crutches, wheelchairs and motorised disabled buggies – and all were managing the pathway just fine. There are also a couple of eateries located at various points in addition to portable toilet facilities. You can even toast marshmallows on an open fire at one snack area halfway around the venue.
The one thing that shone through the whole evening, if you’ll pardon the pun, was the utter sheer professionalism that’s been used in putting the whole son et lumiere together. It’s so well designed with the latest technology being employed with multicolour changing LED lighting, lasers, projection equipment, smoke machines and strobe lighting – think Hollywood style special effects meet a Scottish forest walk surrounding a lochan. (For my USA readers that a small lake).
The whole thing gels exceptionally well, it’s slick, and the music compliments the effects and the two laser-effect designed projected shows which run on a continual loop from the first entry to the last when it closes down for the evening at 10.30pm.
It’s painfully obvious a huge amount of thought has gone into the design, which changes each year. But that’s no less than you would imagine since the company behind Enchanted Forest have an award-winning track record.
I’d recommend you make sure you have plenty of memory cards for your camera, or spare space on your telephone for pics, because, if you’re like me, you’ll take them every couple of steps as yet another colourful wonder of the world vista opens up in front of you.
For further information, the attraction has a very helpful and informative website which you can view here.