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Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering 2019

From Fri Aug 23 2019 to Mon Aug 26 2019
Add to Calendar08/23/2019 13:0008/26/2019 23:59Europe/LondonScottish Mensa Annual Gathering 2019

Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering

Best Western Queens Hotel,


Best Western Queens Hotel, PH2 8HB Perth
United Kingdom
Start Time

Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering

23 - 26 August 2019

Queen’s Hotel, Leonard Street, Perth, PH2 8HB

This year’s Scottish Gathering will be held in Perth, Scotland’s ancient capital and newest city. We will be based at the Queen’s Hotel in Leonard Street and could not be more happily placed for transport links by train or coach. The hotel features a health spa with pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Our programme is available below. Please email if you have any queries.

Book Your Bedroom

In the meantime you can book your room by calling 01738 442222. Don’t forget to say you are coming for the Scottish Mensa Gathering to benefit from the special rates (see below). Prices are per room, per night, includes breakfast and use of the spa.


Single £75.00
Twin £92.00 (£85.00 single occupancy)
Double £97.00 (£90.00 single occupancy)

Book Your Events

Time Friday 23rd August 2019
15.00 - 16.00

Registration (Hotel Reception)          

If you arrive outwith this time slot your Welcome Pack will be available from one of the organisers, Eileen Munro or Janet McAuley.


13.30 – 17.00 

Scone Palace/Falconry Display. £14.50

Watch a Falconry Display in front of the Palace before exploring the Palace itself with its wonderful array of rare antiques and paintings. Learn the story behind the painting that inspired the film ‘Belle’. Then have a gentle, stroll round the grounds where there are Douglas firs planted from seeds sent by David Douglas himself in 1826. See the Abbey where Kings including Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II were crowned. But please don’t get lost in the Maze.

Be aware that there is a bit of walking involved - all on the flat – but good shoes are advised. Travel is by taxi so please make sure you are at the collection point on time.

Note:  Minimum number required for transport.

17:30 - 21:00

Early Evening Meal. PAYG

Don’t forget to collect your voucher for a free glass of wine or a soft drink with a main course in the Hotel bar.

18:00 – 19:30

Gin Tasting. 17.55 (18.00 start) – 19.30. £23.00

We don’t know how many craft gins are distilled in Scotland but it is fast becoming a major export. This Gathering was originally to be held in Dundee so we have brought five different Dundee gins for you to try. And, as it’s Christmas, there’s even a gift for you.

19.30 – 21.00

Ice breaker. Free (PAYG drinks)

Come along to the Balmoral Suite on the first floor and party with new and old friends.

  Saturday 24th August 2019
09.00 - 17.15

Coach Tour. £35.00

Depart Perth at 9am and travel to the Red Deer Centre at Dull for a guided tour.  En route you can see many interesting sights which will be marked on your map and described on the information sheet.  Next a visit to the ancient Fortingall Yew, part of Big Tree Country, with its fascinating story. From here we head to the picturesque village of Kenmore for lunch (cost not included).  Upon leaving Kenmore there is a short journey to the Scottish Crannog Centre where you can sit within a replica Crannog round an open fire and hear about the history of Crannogs, before trying out some activities and browsing the museum. The final stop of the day is The Hermitage, surrounded by a variety of large trees and the site of the stupendous Black Linn Falls.  Best viewed from the folly, Ossian’s Hall, you might even see salmon trying to leap up the falls. We recommend that you wear walking shoes for parts of this tour, notably the uneven log path into the Crannog and the walk to the falls at the Hermitage. And it can be cool over the water at the Crannog even on warm days so we recommend that you take a jumper, although they do provide blankets. There is quite a lot to be packed into the tour so please stick to the times given by the tour leader in order to be back in time for dinner. Please inform us of any allergies you may have.

10.00 - 12.45

Perth Theatre Tour. £5.00

Meet in the Hotel Reception area for a short walk to Perth’s splendid and newly refurbished Edwardian theatre for a ‘behind the magic’ tour. There’s a fortune in gold leaf in the auditorium. Be aware that this tour involves climbing stairs to access some areas.

14.00 – 16.00

Drama Workshop. £5.00

A fast moving workshop focused on fun. No previous experience is needed, just a lively imagination and a willingness to throw yourself into the spirit of things.

19.00 – 01.00

Christmas Dinner. £25.00

Are we early? Are we late? Or are we just crackers?  We may not have the roaring log fire but the sun will be shining so you can pretend you are in the Southern Hemisphere!  Meet in the Balmoral Suite for a festive glass of fizz before the meal. Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. Please wear a Christmas top or jumper. There will be a prize for the best one. And watch out for the man in the red suit!

  • Roast Butternut, White Onion & Sage Soup (V, GF*, DF)
  • Farmhouse Terrine, Apple & Pear Chutney, Sour Dough Bread (GF*)
  • Beetroot Cured Salmon, Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup, Pickled Celery (GF,DF)
  • Traditional Roast Turkey, Roast Potatoes, Chipolatas, Seasonal Vegetables, Roast Gravy, Sage & Cranberry Stuffing (GF*, DF*)
  • Braised Featherblade of Beef, Celeriac Mash, Seasonal Vegetables, Red Wine & Mushroom Sauce (GF)
  • Cauliflower, Kale & Harissa Strudel, Garlic Roasted Parmentier Potatoes (V*)
  • Chocolate Jaffa Cheesecake with Mint Syrup (V)
  • Traditional Christmas Pudding with Brandy Custard (V, GF*)
  • Selection of Cheeses, Tomato Chutney, Grapes, Arran Oaties (V, GF*)
  • Coffee or Tea and Chocolate Mints
Dietary codes

V = Vegetarian V* = Vegan GF = Gluten Free GF* = Can be Gluten Free

DF = Dairy Free DF* = Can be Dairy Free

  Sunday 25th August 2018

09.00 - 12:15

Both at same timings

River Tay Boat Trip. £35.50

Weather permitting, head off for a relaxing trip along the River Tay, Scotland’s longest river. The route will be decided on the day. Please see the sheet in your Welcome Pack for more information on the Tay. As the river is tidal please make sure you are on time so we don’t miss the tide. It may be cool on the water so take some warm clothing. As this event is weather dependent it could be cancelled at short notice but should this happen full refunds will be given.  Transport to and from this event is by taxi so please be on time.


Target Archery & AquaZorbing £27.50

As with the river trip this event is weather dependent. The archery will be target archery and will be for half your time. The other half will be aquazorbing. The zorbs are all two person so you won’t be on your own if you haven’t tried it before. If this event is cancelled due to bad weather then full refunds will be given. Again, transport is by taxi so please be at the collection point on time.

(N.B. You will be required to fill in a risk accessment form for these events)

10.00 - 12.00

Pantomime Workshop. £5.00

A genre of theatre that is uniquely British. And an essential part of the Christmas season. Oh yes it is!!  Come along and find out what it is that makes Pantomime such fun and have a go yourself.

13.00 – 14.00

Forestry Commission talk. £3.00

What makes Perthshire ‘Big Tree Country’?  Perhaps the presence of the oldest living thing in Europe, or maybe the tallest beech hedge in the world or even MacBeth’s cursed Birnam Wood and Douglas firs grown from seeds that David Douglas himself sent to this country. Scottish forests were denuded during World War 1 which resulted in the formation of the Scottish Forestry Commission and this fascinating talk by Mike Strachan from the Commission will tell the story of all these wonderful trees, and more, and will also set out the difficulties of preserving them.

13.00 – 17.00 

V&A. £21.50

From its early beginnings as a Museum of Manufactures in 1852 the V&A is now the world’s leading museum of applied art & design. The foundation stone for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London was laid by Queen Victoria in 1899.  The building has developed over many years with the new Exhibition Road Quarter, of the now named V&A, completed in 2017.

We do not need to transport you to London for this event as the V&A opened its first ever branch, on Dundee’s waterfront next to the RSS Discovery, in September 2018.  This is an exciting new building, projecting over the waters of the Tay like the prow of a boat and designed to evoke the shipping for which Dundee was famous. There are  no straight external walls to create the appearance of a Scottish cliff face.

Travel to this event is by taxi.  After some time to explore on your own you will enjoy a guided tour covering the main exhibition and the history and architecture of the V&A Dundee. You will also have sufficient time after the guided tour to explore the museum further. Or visit RSS Discovery next door (cost not included).  Please note that the Videogame Exhibition which will be on at the V&A during our visit is not included in the cost. Minimum numbers required for this event.

14.30 – 15.30

Suffragette talk. £3.00  

‘Perth and the Suffragettes – Militancy, Mobs and Mayhem’ an illustrated talk.

Dr Norman Watson is a journalist and a best-selling author. After a long career with The Courier, he is now DC Thomson’s first-ever company historian. Despite 5000 newspaper articles on news and politics, he says he is better known for dozily missing deadlines, forgetting appointments, being sued, locked up, thrown out of countries, getting caught up in a coup….and once being birched by the KGB.

On safer ground, he has researched, written and lectured on the suffrage movement for 30 years and has co-curated major ‘Votes for Women’ exhibitions in Dundee, Edinburgh and London.

16.00 – 17.00 

Perth Prison talk. £3.00

Perth Prison was built in 1812 to hold French prisoners captured during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1842 it began service as a civilian prison and in 1912 it was the only prison in Scotland to administer force feeding to the Suffragettes. Today it houses many life-term prisoners. The current Governor Fraser Munro from the Scottish Prison Service will give an illustrated talk about the history of Perth prison and the challenges in administering the modern prison.

18.00 – 19.45

Scottish High Tea. £13.00

Join us for a traditional Scottish meal in the hotel which has housed both Bonnie Prince Charlie and The Beatles. The difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea is that High Tea is a main meal with Afternoon Tea added. Make sure you have room for it all. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

  • Deep Fried Crumbed Fillet of Haddock with tartare sauce and lemon
  • Home made Steak & Ale Pie, tender beef in local ale gravy with shortcrust pastry
  • Breast of Chicken wrapped in Bacon served with gravy
  • Macaroni Cheese (V)
  • Chilled Ham or Cheese Salad
  • All served with Chips, Peas and Carrots

High Tea is served with lashings of Tea or Filtered Coffee, bread and butter, scones, meringues, strawberry tarts and eclairs

20.00 – 21.00

Greyfriars Graveyard. Free

Nestled quietly in the centre of the city, this fascinating graveyard is adorned with some of the oldest monuments and headstones to be found anywhere in Scotland, such as the ‘Weeping Woman’ and the ‘Adam & Eve’ stones. This tour guided by David Bowler of Adler Archeology, gives a fascinating insight into the livelihoods of former residents of the city. The graveyard was formed on ground which was part of Greyfriars Monastery which was destroyed by fire in the riots that began following John Knox’s fiery sermon in St John’s Kirk.  The city was in need of a new graveyard and it was used almost immediately in 1580 and the oldest gravestones date from then. Note:- the graveyard is managed as a ‘biodiversity bank’ in which wildflowers, butterflies and insects are encouraged to flourish. This means it will be cut at the end of summer after the flowers have seeded.  Thus, the grass will be quite long at the time of our visit.

21.15 – 23.00 

BrewDog Beer School. Free tasting then PAYG drinks 

(Tasting open only to 12 guests however,  you can come along and have a drink)

A guided tasting of a selection of BrewDog Headliners and a tasting guide. A crew member will lead a guided tasting and talk about the style, the main flavours you should expect to pick out and the history of the beer. Plus they’ll school you on the best way to taste and critique beer. You can ask questions and learn a lot more about the incredible variety of craft beer out there. Please note that only the tasting is free.

21.15 – 23.00

Gin Bar. PAYG 

Join Eileen and Janet at The Venue for a relaxing nightcap or two. Meet in the piano room at the back. And although this is a gin bar they have as many whiskies as gins and most other drinks you care to mention as well.

  Monday 26th August 2019
09.30 – 11.45

Balhousie Castle. £12.50

Less than a mile outside the city centre Balhousie Castle is within walking distance. However, should you require transport this can be organised for you, at an additional cost, by speaking to the organisers at the weekend. The cost will be £10 return for up to four people. The Castle is the regimental headquarters of the feared and respected Black Watch Regiment and is often the venue for touring events such as the Weeping Window Poppies and the Kelpies. Your guided tour will fill you in on the history of the Castle and the Black Watch.

09.30 - 11.45

Historical Walk. Free

From the Bronze Age to the Romans and the turbulent Middle Ages, the Reformation and the Jacobite Rebellions, the Victorian Era and two World Wars Perth has played an important part in them all. We are lucky to have a Blue Badge Guide take us on a tour of the fascinating places and tell us the tales of the history of this wonderful city.

12.00 – 14.00 

Farewell Lunch. £15.00

All too soon it’s over. Say ‘au revoir’ over a hot and cold buffet lunch in the Hotel dining room.