This is a guest post by Ruth from 23rd Sept 2022 as originally published on BlueNoun.

What a fantastic meet-up with the Great Perthshire network, where we toured the Summer Harvest farm & production units (read about the tour here).

It was a unique opportunity to learn about the Summer Harvest business and join representatives of local industries to brainstorm ideas for the future of Perthshire tourism and the Great Perthshire brand identity.

Mark Bush leads the tour towards the farmhouse

Great Perthshire – Great Holidays

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a passionate advocate for Perthshire tourism.

Blue Noun Language Hub is based in Crieff in Perthshire – for some very good reasons.

For a start, we adore showing off Perthshire’s unique combination of gorgeous, easily accessible landscape (walks, castles, mountain biking & canoeing), experience-based tourism (ghost tours, distillery tours) and artisanal food and drink producers.

All of which create a rich tableau to offer our international English learning guests.

View across Perthshire landscape (Muthill)

Great Perthshire – Superb Makers

Particularly relevant to Blue Noun Language Hub is throughout the Perthshire region there is a plethora of small, creative businesses. Artists, designers, craftspeople and makers of all ilks have studios, workshops and production units hidden away around Perthshire.

We take our English learners on ‘Meet the Makers’ tours.

We take you ‘behind the scenes.’

(We show you the ‘real’ Scotland).

Quarto Press, Coupar Angus, Perthshire

There is lots to Talk About

Due to being geographically fragmented, this rural economy remains invisible on many levels (unfortunately too often to policymakers). There’s also a prevailing misconception that cottage industries & rural industries are amateur or unimportant to the economy (so not worth looking at or listening to).

In fact, collectively, they make up a huge percentage of our rural economy – often in places where no other industry/jobs are available.

The innovation they demonstrate is extraordinary – and in our opinion – well worth showcasing as tourism assets.

In the same period [2019] there were 354,125 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs.

SMEs accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses, 55.4% of private sector employment, and 41.5% of private sector turnover.

How Best to Help Build Great Perthshire Brand Identity

Rural businesses are quite different to each other – but in many ways, united by the same problems.

As a network of primary producers, retailers, wholesalers, chefs and restauranteurs, Great Perthshire aims to earn market share and create tourism opportunities.

For example, one potential USP is that Perthshire is often referred to as ‘Scotland’s Larder‘.

What can be done to develop this reputation? How to make it profitable for all? What standards need to be upheld? (and how to/who should manage this)?

The premise of Great Perthshire brand is to unite under one marketing banner to build up a brand identity for Perthshire tourism and Perthshire makers. In addition, such a network will share knowledge and resources to collectively solve both collective and individual problems.

Jonathan Wilson from Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery explained that many people think that our local distilleries are just in competition with each other. In fact, they often collaborate.

They realise that if you have a good distillery visit, you are likely to return to the area and likely visit a different distillery/ try a different whisky from the region. Individual success benefits everyone in the long term.

Perthshire makers are highly expert – making and selling to both local and international markets.  They each have skills and experience to share with each other (and with our language learners).

Conversations and collaborations are going to be key to the region’s success.

Jonathan Wilson from Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery

Exploring Perthshire | For Artists, Makers and Culture Lovers

One thing that is particularly interesting for our international language learners (and perhaps unnoticed by the majority of locals) is the unique ways Perthshire makers are in touch with their landscape and heritage.

Perthshire producers represent a fascinating mix of traditional craft and techniques and modern tools. There’s plenty of innovation in the vernacular architecture of repurposing farm & domestic buildings into production units and otherwise adapting to rural life, supplies and seasonal cycles.

What is normal for us is really quite extraordinary.

Straw barn and trailer at Ferneyfold Farm

Alternative Scottish Tourism

We love tourism that gives an informed experience of a place. Tourism that doesn’t tell you what to think, but which presents information and experiences – answers questions and shares a passion for the place.

For our English learners (creatives, academics, thinkers), that’s much more interesting than the usual touristic Scotland cliches that tell just one story of a place.

Of course, there are plenty of folks who are into this.

We’re here for the English learners who are not.


It’s a Genuine Cultural Exchange!

Our meet the Maker tours are a two-way conversation. Our language learning guests are professional internationals with their own research and expertise to share – often in design, marketing and entrepreneurship.

We bring people together for superb conversations. Often they start as a makers presentation – and become passionate chats across all kinds of topics.

David Cameron | Ferneyfold Farm’s owner

Each small Perthshire business has a fascinating story to tell about creating, innovating, adapting and selling – and this is the unique experience of ‘Scotland’ that we offer to our English language learners.

Great Perthshire Makers Need Strong Networks

Shop Window Crieff

Although the makers and spaces are often unseen, their products support regional tourism and put Perthshire on the map internationally for arts, crafts & artisan products and top-quality food produce.

There are quite a few great charities and organisations now facilitating and supporting Perthshire rural makers to form strong networks, including our friends at GrowbizPerthshire Artisans and Perthshire Open Studios.

Great Perthshire is an organisation designed to link individual producers together with a brand identity for our region: both as a way of attracting visitors to the region and as a brand identity for selling from the region.

Great Perthshire currently organises a food festival every year in September which has over 50 smaller events taking place under the larger festival banner.

Great Perthshire is growing – and still experimenting with how it can best support its members. If you are a local producer, or Perthshire tourism business owner, now is a good time to become part of this conversation.

At the very least, get your business listed for free on their directory.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch, join the meet-ups and have your say!

Ross from Beyond Adventures – Aberfeldy - Perthshire

Great Perthshire Coordinator | Sarah Russell

Meet Sarah, the Coordinator for the group. Sarah’s background is in wine, hospitality and training.

As well as helping to do the admin, reporting, social media, etc for the Food & Drink group, she works with Giraffe Trading a cafe & catering social enterprise in Perth.

Sarah Russell | Coordinator at Great Perthshire

“Perth and Kinross has a very strong food & drink presence, but in terms of tourism it also offers an exciting range of outdoor and heritage experiences for visitors and locals to explore and enjoy.

The Great Perthshire network is committed to working with local business and partnership organisations to help grow the food tourism in the region. We want to be innovative and foster a culture of enterprise and knowledge exchange.  We also really want to help the sector to inspire and encourage the next generation in their growth and development.

Food & drink is one of the largest industry sectors in Scotland and regional food is so important to Scotland. Great Perthshire is looking to put local food and drink on the map and encourage people to be inspired by the outstanding produce and talent Perthshire has to offer”.

Sarah Russell, 2022

Great Perthshire for Creative Industry English!

In case you haven’t yet guessed, Blue Noun Language Hub in Crieff is not a typical language school! 

We are all about speaking English – only we reach our language targets differently from traditional language schools.

Although we have a small programme of general English classes to help learners in our local community, we’re actually specialists in coaching English to artists & designers, creatives and creative thinkers.

Such professionals travel from around the world to join us at our hub for a week of intensive English practice around cultural themes.

We believe that bringing like-minded people together makes great conversations, friendships and collaborations happen. Language experiences enrich your English – and reset your mindset around English language learning.

The language skills we coach are needed for working in the cultural sector, including presenting artwork/creative practice, pitching design projects, collaborating, applying for international opportunities, making suggestions & recommendations, and expressing opinions.

All of these language skills are practised through our Meet the Makers tours (outside of a classroom and in particularly interesting ways).

‘Behind-the-scenes’ tours are an intimate opportunity to practice professional English language with professional peers, WHILE discovering the landscape and authentic Scottish cultures.

It’s the best of all words – speaking creative industry English language with professional makers, experiencing Scottish culture from within – and of course, tasting and sampling all the unique flavours of Perthshire as you go!

Find out more about Blue Noun holidays here.