The Enchanted Forest, Faskally Wood Pitlochry, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company
Derek Allan (producer), Kate Bonney (lighting designer), RJ McConnell and Jon Beales (sound designer), Northern Light (sound & lighting main contractor) NL Productions (lead production company) Marcin Buczek (site design, recording engineer & additional programming), Julie Broadfoot (photo)
All or Nothing (aerial artistes) Joanna Shaw (flute & piccolo), Mike Butcher (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones),Andrew Connell-Smith (trumpet) and Christopher Mansfield (trombone), Martin Murphy (french horn), Stuart Watson (tuba & accordion), Paul Hameed (drums & percussion), Pauline Knowles (mezzo-soprano), Robin Mason ('cello)
Running time

If you go down to the woods today, make sure it’s to Faskally Wood!
The concept of an outdoor son et lumière spectacle at the start of Scotland’s winter may seem crazy, but over the last 13 years The Enchanted Forest, the biggest Autumn festival in Scotland, has gained a reputation of being top in its field. The multi award winning event attracts visitors and awards like iron shavings to a magnet. The 45,000 visitors expected to this year’s show, elemental, is testament to its success and a fine way to mark the Year of Homecoming Scotland.

The stunning natural backdrop of the forest is in itself gorgeous but combined with the innovative installations from the creative and technical team, the overall effect is utterly magical and full of surprises at every turn.

The show’s producer Derek Allan commented, “We have worked especially hard this year to ensure we deliver a show that is both creative and visually stunning. Every year the remarkable natural woodland of Faskally Wood provides our canvas and inspiration …Thanks to funding from EventScotland we have been able to develop the show to include live performers whose acrobatics…will both wow and delight the crowds…”

And indeed they did! To access Faskally Wood, visitors are bussed from Pitlochry in steady streams. As soon as the journey starts, there is a cheeky commentary from, it has to be said, the rather oddly matched mother and son, Heather and Finlay, who give housekeeping details with a heap of levity.

The themes of elemental greet visitors on a map with the words From Earth to Air – Fire – Pitched Plants – Whispering Mist – Shock. Visitors are invited to meander in a controlled way as the paths are narrow and stationed throughout with friendly red jacketed stewards as well as the odd druid who will point you to where you can have “a wee or a tea”.

Part of the joy of this family friendly show is the sheer surprise and delights that greets you at every turn. From dancing fountains and silent lightning; ghostly birches and captivating acrobats and the exquisite other worldly plants designed by students from Edinburgh’s Napier University, all accompanied by atmospheric original music, the experience is breath taking and utterly captivating. You can pause here and there for food and drink from the on- site catering team or go in to the Storytelling Yurt for the small fee of £1 to hear tales from the two in house story tellers, Claire and Lindsey.

At the event’s formal opening Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire said, “This is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s finest cultural events …. Last year it attracted over 40,000 visitors to Highland Perthshire. It is an essential boost to the local economy, as well as an ambassador for the natural beauty of Scotland right across the globe. It’s an absolute must-see event for both Scots and visitors to Scotland.”

The Enchanted Forest scooped the pool at the 2011 Scottish Event Awards and has been named Best Cultural Event at the 2013 Scottish Event Awards. It has been shortlisted for this title for the third year in a row in 2014, as well as Best Large Event.

For anyone who has a bucket list, or for anyone who wants to be astounded at the beauty and talent in Scotland this perfectly named event is an absolute must that is more than worth the journey. Enchanting indeed!

Friday 3rd October – Sunday 26th October
Monday - Thursday
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 - 15: £7.00; Adult: £14.00; Family Ticket: £35.00
Monday - Thursday Prime Time (7pm - 8pm)
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 - 15: £8.00; Adult: £16.00; Family Ticket: £43.00
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Child Under 3: FREE; Child 3 - 15: £10.00; Adult: £20.00; Family Ticket: £55.00