No wonder ‘The Enchanted Forest’ has everyone clamouring to add it to their ‘bucket list’ – says Anthony Thomas
‘Do you know what I like best about the Edinburgh People’s Festival?’ asked my friend Mae Shaw after our commemoration of Antonio Gramsci earlier this year ‘Nobody has heard of it’ she declared. Well, to the list of ‘Scotland’s unintentionally best kept secrets’ you must add Pitlochry’s spectacular light show ‘The Enchanted Forest’ – I would put it up there alongside Shetland’s ‘Up Helly Aa’. Everyone should go at least once in their lives.
Never heard of it? You soon will. It is fast becoming one of Scotland’s most exciting national treasures. Not only did it attract 80,000 visitors this year, from all over the world, it was named the ‘Best Cultural Event’ in Scotland again. And no wonder.
The 2017 show ‘OIR an UISGE’ in Gaelic [pronounced or-an-oosh-kuh] translates as the ‘EDGE OF THE WATER’ and is out of this world. It ran from 28th September to 29th October and is organised by a local charity ‘The Enchanted Forest Community Trust’. They came up with the idea back in 2010 to present ‘Dazzling visuals and innovative design set against an original music score’ in the local forest. Produced by Zoe Squair, the lighting for the show is designed by Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, with sound design and composition by RJ McConnell and Jon Beales. Some 80,000 people ambled around Faskally Forest during its month long run this year with the tiny Loch Dunmore at its epicentre. Each of us I’m sure were utterly mesmerised by what these artists created amidst the breath taking scenery of this Highland Perthshire setting.
Organisationally the event is just superb too – ticket holders constantly whisked away in luxury coaches from outside the Fisher Hotel in the centre of Pitlochry out to the stunning ‘Enchanted Forest’ 3/4mile away. And whisked back again whenever you wish.
Art and nature blends beautifully in this environment. The lights are positioned unobtrusively to delight the eye as they project their colours all around you. The two sound and light shows – one on the water, another amid the trees – understandably attract the largest audiences and last around 6 minutes. Sturdy wooden platforms are erected to accommodate all the ‘jaw-droppers’ taking pictures.
Coloured lights set beneath the trees reflect upon still waters and cast such magical images as belong in the most stunning landscape paintings in any art gallery.
I was so enthralled by it all I went round again and again as you are encouraged to do. This is a treat for young and old alike with mulled wine, hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows at hand to keep you warm inside.
I was tempted to Tweet sardonically:
‘#theenchantedforest An absolutely world class event/experience. What a shame we can’t do things like this in Scotland…..wait a minute!!!’
If you have never been, as I suspect most Scots have not, you have to go in October 2018. Everyone is putting this exceptional autumn experience on their ‘bucket list.’ And no wonder.