Long been a favourite with day-trippers, Dunkeld in Perthshire has been announced as the Best Place to Live in Scotland in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide. And in my entirely biased opinion (as a resident of Dunkeld) this comes as no great surprise.

For some visitors, walking down the main street in Dunkeld (Atholl Street) could take less than five minutes, but for locals it can take most of an afternoon.

Bumping into friends and neighbours whether on the street or in one of the popular shops and eateries is a daily occurrence.

For me, it just makes sense to live in a place like Dunkeld.

At weekends I can choose to spend time in town with friends, walk 15 minutes to the nearest loch for a swim, or explore the surrounding hills with the dog and often not see another soul.

The latest Sunday Times guide cited Dunkeld as having “a thriving village community”, and I have to agree. The community is most certainly vibrant with plenty of colourful characters.

A Friday night in the pub (whether The Taybank or the Perth Arms Hotel), it still amazes me at the sheer amount of young people that have flocked to the town, myself included.

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A main reason the town is flourishing is due to the energy and affection poured in by new and existing business owners, many of which are young professionals.

What Dunkeld lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. Since the launch of ex-Great British Bake-off contestant Flora Shedden’s Aran Bakery in 2017, the town has welcomed an influx of new independent stores and eateries.

The Herald:

Some highlights include Dunkeld Whisky Box (a fantastic selection of Scottish craft beers), Nova Botanics, Redwood Wines, Kat n Kat (craft store), Corbenic Shop, and Flora’s newest store Lon which is described in the guide as “possibly the hippest general store in Scotland”.

People often wonder if there is enough ‘opportunity’ here for young people to live, and the truth is the town is crammed with hard-working creatives, many of which have had to forge their own way to live the lifestyle they so desire.

Among my friends for instance there is a ski maker, mountain bike suspension specialists, an opera singer, organic vegetable farm growers (Little Trochry Farm), a potter, filmmakers, some are forestry workers, and some specialise in environmental science or restoration. But we all share a common passion for the outdoors and our local town.

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There’s the massive mountain bike scene, the local women’s football team, the wild swimming enthusiasts, and the energetic hikers.

But aside from the countless beautiful trails, lochs and pine forests, Dunkeld is also thriving in its food and music scene and arts culture. Establishments such as The Taybank and The Birnam Arts Institute are popular hubs for tourists and locals alike.

Of course, no place is without its flaws, the property prices can be grim, and this isn’t helped by second-home owners, but all in all I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. And it would appear I’m not the only one.