News, trivia and tales

Scottish heather overlooking Lake



With the heather stands on The King’s Course in the process of being reinstated – restoring James Braid’s 1919 design to its former glory – it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on this much-loved plant. Believed to be lucky, a tradition brought down to England from Balmoral by Queen Victoria, there are hundreds of cultivars of the hardy shrub. At Gleneagles you’ll find golds, reds, purples and whites year round at Glenmor and outside The Dormy Clubhouse, while dramatic heather moorlands surround the 5km cycling and walking trail. Heather survives particularly well in the acidic, sandy soil here but it’s also very much in vogue with gardeners throughout the UK. At this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, for example, Sam Ovens used a range of different heathers tocreate a wonderfully wild-looking garden. This rugged plant clearly has a lasting appeal.




Did you know that Gleneagles produces its own runny honey? For the past five years the six beehives dotted around the estate have housed over 40,000 bees, which thrive on the gorse on the golf courses, as well as the late-flowering heather, willow herb and flowers that grow in the gardens of nearby Auchterarder. You’ll find it in the Gleneagles honey cake, honey and chocolate petits fours, or perhaps drizzled over creamy goat’s cheese as a starter. Be warned though, it disappears fast.



Since the hotel first opened in 1924, the Gleneagles wine racks have been full of the world’s best vintages. At one time shipments came to the hotel from Europe by rail, with tracks stopping right outside the cellar. Though a fair few bottles have been drunk since then, there are still some treasures to be found, including this bottle of 2008 Screaming Eagle cabernet sauvignon (below left), which was bought before the Ryder Cup. Worth around £4,000, there’s a wait of 2-4 years to get hold of a bottle. Another gem is this bottle of Korbel California champagne (middle). A gift from George Bush at the 2005 G8 summit, it’s a blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir and is marked with the US presidential seal. Lastly is a bottle of Clos Haut Peyraguey (right), a Premier Cru Sauternes from 1924. With peach, apricot and floral notes, it was bought for £145 ten years ago and is worth around £650 today.


Porridge – the Gleneagles way

There’s nothing better than simple, everyday things done brilliantly – such as the Gleneagles porridge. Stirred through the night by chefs in the kitchen and made using local Aberfeldy Mills oatmeal, this slow, gentle cooking method gives a deliciously creamy taste, which is complemented by tart local Dunning raspberries and a light Drambuie syrup. It’s unmistakably porridge – but not as you’ve ever tasted it before.



You might notice some wonderful new paint shades on the walls at Gleneagles – from a beautiful soft grey in The American Bar (due to open later this year), to a subtle marble and deep green in the lobby and lounge. There’s an interesting story behind the company that produces the paints, Craig & Rose. It begins back in 1829, when two dashing twentysomething Scots met in Edinburgh. James Craig and Hugh Rose went into business together, trading shale, whale, linseed and olive oil – before becoming one of Britain’s first oil-based paint companies. Since then, Craig & Rose has helped to transform the Forth bridge, Hampton Court Palace, the Royal Yacht Britannia – and now, Gleneagles.



DeDICATED FOLLOwers of fashion

Scotland has produced some of the most innovative and brilliant fashion designers in the world – from Jonathan Saunders to Christopher Kane. If you’re looking to spot the next big name in the business then keep your eye on the Scottish Fashion Awards this summer. The shortlist will be announced in August and the winners in October. Pictured is last year’s star and model of the year, Glaswegian Misha Hart. She’s gone on to front Burberry’s S/S 2016 advertising campaign, shot by Mario Testino, and she’s also working on big campaigns for Massimo Dutti and accessories designer Anya Hindmarch.



Mindful Massage

The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA is famous for leading the way with revolutionary new treatments.This summer, guests can enjoy the latest therapies: a two-hour Ayurvedic journey that combines a full body exfoliation, body wrap, scalp and body massage tailored to your Ayurvedic energy (Dosha) type; a two-hour treatment that uses warm bamboo canes to iron out deep-seated tension in the muscles; and a mindfulness massage that uses breathing and visualisation techniques to relax the mind, complemented by a warm rose quartz massage to re-energise the body. Call 01764 694332 to book a treatment.



Playing host

Some of the world’s most significant golfing events are coming to Gleneagles. The first ever joint men’s and ladies’ competition, the European Golf Team Championships, will take place in 2018, while in 2019 the largest event in women’s golf, the Solheim Cup – known as the Ryder Cup of the women’s game – is coming to the estate. Both will draw thousands of spectators. Keep up to date with other announcements at



Scotland has a great tradition of Italian ice cream-making, dating back to when immigrants from Tuscany and Naples arrived in the late 19th century. Today you can still enjoy a scoop or two, and some of the best can be found at the Stewart Tower Dairy in Stanley, which supplies our restaurants and makes fresh Italian-style gelato in flavours like Perthshire cream tea and Scottish fudge. Pop in to the farm, which is just 30 minutes from Gleneagles, and you can see the beautiful Holstein Friesians in the field and watch the ice cream being made.

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