Page 1

New direction for Outlander actor Celebrate Valentine’s in romantic Scotland p1

Dundee so cool it’s hot! Return of the fireside storyteller



inside this issue 8A

land of love and romance

Celebrate St Valentine’s Day somewhere special this year.

22 Burns


New documents shed fresh light on life of Robert Burns.

34 Destination


Time to explore Scotland’s City of Discoveries. p4

46 Art

of life

Ronnie Goodwin on life behind and before the cameras.

60 Viva


Celebrating Scotland’s growing links with Spain.

86 Stirred



How to make the world’s best martini.

74 Bubble




Pàl Ó’ Siadhail and the art of storytelling.

Celebrating the majesty of Scotland’s mountains.

It’s a date

What’s on this month

98 Help needed

for famous five

The top destinations seeking public help to win an award.

108 Day



Remembering the massacre of Glencoe. p5



How to make a penguin happy.

80 Bard

114 Peak

Cover Photo Coo - Ronnie B. Goodwin

Contacts: Advertising:

Editorial: Tel: +44 (0)1436 678158

General Enquiries:

Scotland Correspondent is an independent magazine published by Flag Media Limited. The monthly digital title provides an international audience of readers with comprehensive coverage of modern day Scotland, its people, achievements, culture, history and customs. Every issue covers a variety of topics of interest to thousands of people every month, many of them visitors to Scotland or part of the great Scottish diaspora. The digital edition incorporates audio, video and text in a single platform designed for use on Apple, Android and Windows devices. The magazine is free to subscribe to and download. For more information on how to get a copy, subscribe or enquire about advertising please contact the relevant departments. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for any claim made by advertisements in Scotland Correspondent magazine or on the Scotland Correspondent website. All information should be checked with the advertisers. The content of the magazine does not necessarily represent the views of the publishers or imply any endorsement. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior agreement in writing from Flag Media Limited.



Love is all around

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland South Queensferry beach



cotland has always had something of a split personality. For a country so steeped in bloody history, covered in fortified castles and ancient battlefields, it is also one of the most romantic destinations in the world. It’s the nation that gave birth to probably one of the most passionate poets who ever lived and loved, Robert Burns, and is home to Gretna Green, a destination for eloping couples to get married for centuries.


Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Ashton Lane, Glasgow


Remarkably, it’s even host to the bones of St Valentine himself. Part of the remains of the patron saint of love were brought to Glasgow by Franciscan monks in the 19th century and they have been given a place of honour in St Luke’s Church on Ballater Street, Glasgow ever since.

Where better to enjoy a romantic break but a country that boasts such stunning scenery and provides a level of romantic charm and tranquillity unrivalled by almost any other place on the planet. If you’re seeking somewhere to spend quality time with a loved one


this Valentine’s Day Scotland has something for everybody. A weekend break in a vibrant city, by the side of a loch, up a mountain, round the corner from a castle, next to a beach or under a starry sky is definitely going to be an unforgettable experience. Scotland has more than 10,000 miles of spectacular coastline full of spectacular cliffs, secluded inlets and numerous golden beaches. Whether it is an isolated cove or a vast stretch of golden sands there are plenty of places to choose from. Many, like St Andrew’s where the iconic beach scenes for Chariots of Fire were filmed, are within walking distance of urban centres which means you can enjoy a romantic brisk walk among the waves and then head into town for the evening.

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Warebeth Beach near Stromness


Scotland has seven cities and numerous towns full of romantic restaurants, pubs, hotels and various venues offering a range of entertainments. Many magnificent art galleries and museums are free to visit, there is thriving night life and an abundance of high quality eateries to suite every taste and budget. Outside the built up areas, usually within minutes of a top class hotel, B&B or luxury retreat, the landscape is, by and large, breathtakingly beautiful. History and romance are intertwined in a terrain dotted with man-made structures, such as standing stone circles dating back thousands of years and natural attractions much, much older. Scotland has 282 mountains over 3,000-ft high, and some 1,752 other


Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Glenrosa Water with the peak of Cir Mhor in the distance, Arran

high points, including 221 Corbetts (between 2,500ft to 3,000ft), 224 Grahams (2000ft-2500ft), 89 Donalds (Lowland hills over 2,000ft) and 1,218 Marilyns (hills with a 150m drop on all sides). Whether you want to look up or look down you can be guaranteed to find a romantic viewpoint almost anywhere. And then there are the glens, hundreds of them, of all shapes and sizes where the views constantly change with the weather, seasons and time of day. No matter how many times you walk through one of Scotland’s glens you won’t have the same experience twice.


Photo by Tracy Kelbie St Andrews

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Heads at Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow


Photo by Peter Dibdin A selfie in Edinburgh

Overlooking many glens, or tactically situated to protect them, are many of Scotland’s 2,000 plus castles. From ruined keeps and magnificent fortresses to fairytale towers and elaborate palaces there’s plenty of variety. There’s something about a castle, whether it’s a dramatic cliff top ruin or a story-book style mansion, that creates an allure of mystery, glamour and charm all rolled into one.

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland Ring of Brodgar, Orkney


A large number of these magnificent structures are located close to one or more of Scotland’s 31,400 plus fresh water lochs. These beautiful bodies of water range from a few hundred yards to more than 22 miles long. Take your partner by the hand and experience the magical romance of walking the bonnie banks of any one of these glittering oasis of tranquility. Loch Lomond, just 30 minutes from Glasgow but a world apart from the


hustle and bustle, is probably one of the most famous romantic locations in the world. The allure of the loch is made even more attractive by the chance to enjoy the dramatic scenery of the whole of the West Coast by seaplane. Loch Lomond Seaplanes is the UK’s only commercial air service and operates sight-seeing trips from the loch several times a day. It’s the ultimate in romantic travel and the best way to see a lot of Scotland in a short time. Back on the ground Scotland’s skies


continue to hold a glittering appeal. Scotland has some of the largest expanses of dark sky in Europe making it a perfect destination to just stand and wonder at the stars. From Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries, the UK’s first official Dark Sky Park, to the Highlands and islands there are numerous romantic locations free from light pollution to enjoy the greatest natural show in the universe from earth.

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland




New thoughts on the politics and character of Robert Burns N ewly-identified documents have shed a fresh ray of light on Robert Burns, his character, his beliefs and his career.

Two letters have gone on display for the first time at National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealing how Robert Burns was viewed by his contemporaries.

The letters, written by John Mitchell, Burns’ boss, to one of the poet’s most important patrons, Robert Graham of Fintry, will inform debate on the extent of the Bard’s radicalism. The first letter, written in 1789, describes how on being told he had been appointed as an excise man, Burns “…stood with Eyes & hands, directed upwards, in an attitude Poetically fancifull.” The second letter, from 1796, makes arrangements for providing for Burns’ family after his death – and


shows what Mitchell thought of Burns’ radicalism. He writes: “He had certainly many shining qualities, blended with foibles of various kinds, the most irreconcilable whereof were his political principles, which somehow unluckily was rooted, & proves now a drawback to the

humane feelings of many, but such a Genious as he possessed behoved to have eccentricities of some kind or other.” These remarkable documents are being displayed for the first time alongside other unique treasures

Robert Burns



from NRS, including a rare document in the poet’s own hand writing, as part of ‘Robert Burns: Radical Exciseman’, a free exhibition running in General Register House in Edinburgh until 23 February.


“This is a rare opportunity to see documents about Robert Burns written by those who knew him, as well as a document in the poet’s own handwriting,” said Dr David Brown, Head of Court, Legal and Private Records at NRS.


The documents form part of the Graham of Fintry papers, which were acquired for the nation by National Records of Scotland in 2009.

“This is the paradox of his life in this period: government service and a potentially sceptical attitude towards government”.

“The newly discovered letters confirm Burns’s enthusiasm for the Excise service, where he found many likeminded individuals and an amenable space in which he could develop an increasing enthusiasm for political reform,” said Noted Burns expert Professor Gerard Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.

In a separate one day only exhibition to mark the bard’s birthday a letter not seen for more than a century was put on display on 25 January at the National Library of Scotland.


The letter from Robert Burns to one of his oldest friends, which had not been seen in public for more than 100 years, was acquired last year by the Library at auction and tells of an evening Burns spent with his

former school-friend William Niven in Maybole in Ayrshire, near to where they went to school. The letter was written in August 1786, just weeks after publication of his first work Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect which was to make his name. At the time he was still considering emigrating to Jamaica but this plan was shelved following the positive reaction to his poems. In the letter, Burns thanks Niven for what was clearly a very enjoyable encounter.  “I thank you with the most heart-felt sincerity for the

worthy knot of lads you introduced me to. Never did I meet with so many congenial souls together……... To all and each of them make my most friendly compliments particularly ‘Spunkie, youthful Tammie’. There is a suggestion Burns may not have behaved as well as he would have liked. He refers to “two truly worthy old gentlemen” and adds: “I


am afraid the conduct you forced me on may make them see me in a light I would fondly think I do not deserve.” Although his life was about to change due to the success of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Burns appeared willing to play down the importance of his writing. “Never blaze my songs among the million, as I would abhor to hear every prentice

mouthing my poor performances in the streets,” he writes to Niven. The letter, which has been in private hands since 1899, is an important addition to the Library’s collection of material by and about Robert Burns which adds to the collective knowledge about the poet so beloved around the world. “I always think it’s remarkable and



admirable that Scotland’s most celebrated national figure isn’t a politician, a soldier, or a king or queen, but is instead a writer – someone whose songs and poems have enriched millions of people’s lives,” said Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, paying tribute


to the poet in the run up to Burns Night on January 25.

humour and passion still speak profoundly to us today.

“I think that says something about the continuing importance of culture in our lives. And of course it also highlights the enduring value of Burns’ work – the way his sympathy,

“For those qualities, and many more, Burns will be remembered and celebrated, ‘till a the seas gang dry.’



Discover Dundee p34


here is so much more to Dundee these days than jute, jam and journalism. The accurately self-styled City of Discoveries has been named one of the world’s coolest destinations for 2018. Ranked alongside Shanghai,


Photo by Ross Fraser McLean V&A Dundee designed by Kengo Kuma

Madagascar and the Faroe Islands the prestigious Wall Street Journal has identified Scotland’s fourth largest city as one of 10 “hot destinations” in 2018 for “adventurous sophisticates, curious foodies and deep-pocketed beach bums”. In naming the City of Discovery on its hot list, The Wall Street Journal highlights the opening of the new V&A Museum of Design, Dundee as part of its attraction.   It’s not the first time Dundee’s attractions have been appreciated. It was previously named “coolest little city in Britain” by GQ Magazine.   “We’ve always known Dundee was

‘cool’ and now we can say it is ‘hot’ too, thanks to The Wall Street Journal,” said Jim Clarkson, Regional Director at VisitScotland. “To be named as a must-visit destination, in such a prestigious publication, is testament to the hard work and dedication of our local tourism partners in continuing to revitalise the region and deliver a top quality experience for visitors.   “The city is buzzing around the multi-million pound makeover of the waterfront and the opening of the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee in 2018 and it’s fantastic to see this excitement has spread beyond our shores.”  

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland Discovery Point and the V&A Museum of Design



cc Hans Musil Dundee and Firth of Tay from Dundee Law

The 10 ‘hot destinations’ named by The Wall Street Journal” 1. Faroe Islands 2.    Puebla, Mexico 3.    Kuelap, Peru 4.    Minneapolis 5.    Dundee, Scotland 6.    Grenada 7.    Madagascar 8.    Montenegro 9.    Shanghai 10.  La Rioja, Spain p38

The city was also recently ranked alongside Los Angeles, Singapore and Florence in a list of the top 22 destinations to visit in 2018 by Bloomberg Business Week. Indeed, Dundee emerged as number six on the list next to Singapore, South Korea, Jordan, Namibia and Fiji.

alongside antiquarian booksellers and art galleries.

According to Bloomberg the opening of the V&A Museum later this year will help cement the city’s status as an internationally renowned cultural hub. In recent years Dundee’s Central Waterfront has undergone a £1 billion transformation to transform an 8km stretch of this former industrial centre into a vibrant capital of culture.

Take time to explore one of Europe’s finest industrial museums, discover historic links to legendary explorers and scientific achievements. Not for nothing is Dundee known as the City of Discoveries.

Situated just 60 miles north of Edinburgh, Dundee is Scotland’s fourth largest city and a hotbed of innovation, exploration and culture. There can be few places in the world capable of blending history and modernity quite so successfully. Cobbled streets and cosy courtyards full of colourful cafés and trendy boutiques sitting comfortably

The city is awash with architectural gems, both old and new, housing a range of family friendly attractions living up to its reputation as the UK’s first City of Design

Situated by the silvery River Tay the city is bursting with amazing things to see and do. Visitors are encouraged to explore its extraordinary maritime history with a visit to HMS Unicorn, one of the six oldest ships in the world and Scotland’s only example of a wooden warship, launched in 1824. Combine that by following in the footsteps of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton aboard the Royal Research Ship Discovery

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland HMS Unicorn at Victoria Dock, Dundee


at the multi award-winning Discovery Point. The RRS Discovery is one of the greatest ships to ever leave the city’s shipbuilding docks. Launched in 1901 it played a key role in exploration of the Antarctic and remains a fitting tribute to the memory of the brave men who helped open up the world. Back on dry land the Scottish Jute Museum @ Verdant Works tells the fascinating story of how Dundee became the jute capital of the world

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland City Quay, Victoria Dock


in the 19th and 20th centuries. Find out what working conditions were really like in the city’s many jute mills from the people who lived and worked through one of the most important chapters of the city’s history. Away from the clamour of the industrial past relax and enjoy the attractions of the eight galleries of The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum. This award-winning Victorian Gothic building is home to the city’s main art


Photo by KennyLam/VisitScotland Slessor Gardens, Dundee


collection, spanning 400 million years of history and culture. For those who prefer to look at more natural beauty a brisk walk up Dundee Law provides a spectacular view of the city, taking in the two Tay bridges and across to Fife. For a view of a different kind the Mills Observatory in Balgay Park offers a chance to study the stars and planets at Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory. And, later this year, a new jewell in


the crown will increase the city’s international appeal even more with the opening of V&A Dundee on 15 September. “The opening of V&A Dundee will be a game-changer for tourism in Dundee, propelling the East of Scotland into the global spotlight and shining a light on all this incredible corner of the country has to offer,” said Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive. “Such a highly-regarded attraction has the potential to transform

local tourism and will undoubtedly draw visitors from far and wide. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Scotland’s cultural offering, in turn growing the local economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities. “With prestigious publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and The Guardian all naming Dundee as a must-visit destination in 2018, there is a real sense of excitement and anticipation in the region.”



Photo by Ronnie B. Goodwin Bull in long grass


Shortcuts to success T

here can be little doubt that award winning film maker, actor, writer, photographer, mentor and popular artist Ronnie B Goodwin is a man of many talents. The 55-Year-old Scot is making quite a name for himself on both sides of the Atlantic through his appearances in front of the camera and his skills behind it, as well as his artwork


Photo by STARZ Outlander

A familiar face among followers of the Outlander tv series the supporting actor recently returned from a visit to Colorado, where a personal appearance before fans of the show and an auction of his work raised a substantial donation for Alzheimer’s research. Among aficionados of the short film genre Ronnie is probably best known for his award winning movies ‘Shooter’, ‘King’, and ‘Fly a Legacy’, which qualified for Best Live Action Short Film at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Over the last few years Ronnie’s films have appeared in numerous festivals around the world and played in hundreds of venues across the US and beyond. They have even been shown on the outside of historic buildings in the centre of London. As a supporting actor he has appeared in Outlander as one of the horsemen and in the tv movie Lorna Doone as well as iconic Scottish


Photo by STARZ Outlander

detective series Taggart and in Carters Nightmare and Dark Earth. But it is on the flip side of the camera where he is most likely to be found, framing shots, directing the action or editing and re-writing stories in postproduction.

“My dad was an amateur actor and mum was also a performer working in opera while my sister Sylvia was into horses,” said Ronnie who admits to having benefitted enormously from both his parents’ love of show business and from his sister’s equine passion.

Ronnie got into film making at a very early age, he was just 14 when he was given his first camera.

It was his younger sibling Sylvia, who has bred and trained horses for the Queen, who taught Ronnie how to


Photo by Alf AriĂąo Ronnie B. Goodwin

ride for a part in the 1990 tv movie version of Lorna Doone, starring Sean Bean and Clive Owen, which was made on the moors of Ayrshire. “I was given a chance to ride horses on the show. Sylvia had to quickly teach me over two days and I got the job. That was my first shot at being an action supporting actor. It was a steep learning curve but it stood me in very good stead. “I had a ball filming Lorna Doone. Six weeks of amazing filming on a job where I got to meet some terrific people who are now extremely well on in the film industry, like Clive Owen, Sean Bean, Polly Walker and Tommy Gormley who was Assistant Director (AD) on the show and is now AD to JJ Abrams”. The classic romance story by by English author Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869. was originally set in late 17th century Devon and Somerset but the film was made near Glasgow to make the most of the unspoilt Scottish moorland landscape. However, it wasn’t long before Ronnie was back behind the camera as the advent of the digital age enabled him to further his love of film making. And it didn’t take long for his first success to come with the evocative movie ‘Shooter’. ‘Shooter’ was initially made as a previsualisation of a story I wanted to tell,” said Ronnie. “It was only four and a half minutes

Photo by Ronnie B. Goodwin Highland Cow



Photo by Ronnie B. Goodwin Fox

long, and I had to borrow cameras and equipment to make and cut the film, but when I finished it I thought it was actually pretty good and submitted it to a film festival. “It was officially selected to be shown at the festival and it was the start of a whole new chapter for me. People loved the movie and I got great feedback so I entered more festivals, something like 140 or more in the end, and I won awards at a


bunch of them. “It was then that I was invited to the Palm Springs Film Festival in the US where ‘Shooter’ screened and that was a real highlight for me.” From there ‘Shooter’ was shown at the Kansas City film festival and has since continued to gather accolades from film fans around the world. After ‘Shooter’ Ronnie’s next film was

‘Fly a Legacy’ about his other great, life-long passion. “I wanted to make something that showed the beauty of fly fishing,” said Ronnie. “The initial movie, called ‘Fly’, was just 90 seconds long but when I put it online the response was overwhelming. A group of people from the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) saw it and asked to include it in a


Photo by Ronnie B. Goodwin Elk

‘Shooter’ The Multi Award Winning short film.

‘Fly a Legacy’ Oscar Qualifier, Toured 110 cinemas in the USA.

‘Betty Blue’ Award Winning short.


‘KING’ 1 minute short film featuring Paul Hunter, screened at the Sony Production awards, Somerset House.

‘The Ritual’ Alf Arino DOP, My Hands and an Orvis Fly Rod.

tour of 110 cinemas in the United States but they wanted it a bit longer. Thanks to some sponsorship from Orvis, the fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods specialists, Ronnie created ‘Fly a Legacy’, a story about a grandfather handing down his knowledge to his grandson. “When the film finished the F3T tour I entered it into the Cannes short film festival where it was picked up by Shorts International and distributed to lots of cinemas, it even qualified for the Oscars,” said Ronnie proudly. Indeed, Ronnie’s love for fly fishing plays a big part in his movie making. One of his most popular films features him casting a line from his


boat Betty Blue to a song specially written and performed by his friend, and Outlander star, Stephen Walters. “I took Stephen out for a day’s fishing and he had a great time, just relaxing and clearing his mind. A few weeks later he wrote and recorded a song all about it. When he sent it to me it was a perfect fit for the movie,” said Ronnie. The outdoors continues to play a big part in Ronnie’s life and, combined with his interest in photography, has opened up yet another creative avenue for his talents. Through his website Ronnie has discovered a new legion of fans for his pictures which have found their

Photo by Ronnie B. Goodwin Owl


way onto calendars, place mats, wall paintings, shawls, tee-shirts and mugs around the world. It has even seen him being invited to the US to talk about his career and promote his art. A good friend of Ronnie, Brian Terpstra, recently arranged for him to go to Colorado to do a charity event at which he talked about his work as an actor, film maker and artist. Some of Ronnie’s art was auctioned and he managed to raise a sizeable sum for an Alzheimers research charity, a cause close to Ronnie’s heart as his father had suffered from the condition. “I am extremely grateful to Brian for organising the event in Fort Collins, Colorado, “ said Ronnie. “It was a great opportunity to meet many people who have become friends through Facebook, Twitter and such like. “I even ended up being taken on by a gallery wanting to sell my work. It’s been an amazing journey so far.” In Scotland Ronnie’s work can be purchased through Picture It or direct from his website www.




Viva Escocia

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Cliffs at Isbister, South Ronaldsay



cotland’s ever increasing appeal to overseas visitors appears to have struck a chord with at least one section of European millennials - the Spanish. New research has revealed more millennials visit Scotland from Spain than anywhere else in Europe. A survey of international travellers to the country carried out by VisitScotland’s Insight Department found Spanish visitors tend to be younger, “with a larger proportion of visitors being under the age of 34 years old”, compared with tourists from other European countries.


The research discovered that Spanish visitors stay on average longer in Scotland – 7.8 nights per visit compared with 7.3 nights for the UK overall – and spend more (£449 per visit), contributing £40 million to the national economy. They are also more likely than average to visit a cathedral, church or abbey and historical buildings as well as a county park or garden. The Year of Young People 2018 aims to inspire visitors to Scotland through

Photo by Iona Spence/VisitScotland Festivals play a big part in attracting young people to Scotland


a year-long programme of events and activities co-designed by Scotland’s young people and the events and festivals sector. “The future of Scottish tourism lies beyond our shores. From Beijing to Banchory, we are inspiring, supporting and encouraging businesses to match their global growth ambitions,” said Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland.


“The Year of Young People has a rich programme of events to inspire our international visitors and, with research revealing Spanish millennials showing a particular interest in Scotland, it is the perfect time to engage with the Spanish market.� The rise in Spanish millennials coming to Scotland is part of a wider trend in an upsurge in international visitors. The latest statistics show the number of overseas tourists coming to Scotland has increased by 15


Photo by Iona Spence/VisitScotland


per cent in one year – driven by a substantial rise in European visitors. Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show 20 p3er cent more visitors from Europe came here in the 12 months to September 2017 – a total of 1.8 million people – and spent £1.1 billion, 24 per cent more, than during the previous 12 months. For the UK as a whole, the increase in European visitors in this period was lower, at 6 per cent, with expenditure up 1 per cent.

Photo by Iona Spence


The number of visitors to Scotland overall, both overseas and domestic, increased by 2 per cent (to 14.1 million) and expenditure was up 7 per cent (to £5 billion) for the 12 month period. “It is very encouraging that many more Europeans are choosing to come to Scotland. This is testament, not only to our world-class landscapes and our vibrant cities but also to the welcome and warmth of our people,” said Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Tourism Secretary. “These figures also show that, when


combining overseas and domestic tourism, total expenditure was more than ÂŁ5 billion, highlighting the economic importance of tourism to supporting communities throughout Scotland. VisitScotland Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughead described the latest ONS figures as phenomenal and attributed some of the success to the global popularity of the Outlander books and television series. “We knew anecdotally that tourism businesses across Scotland had a good summer in 2017, but it is absolutely phenomenal to see just how much growth there was compared to the same period in 2016 with overseas visits up by 14.6 per

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Landyachting on West Sands, St Andrews



Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Young travellers at Pittenweem Harbour

cent and domestic visits up by 10 per cent from July to September. “Such exceptional increases across visits and spend can be attributed to a myriad of different factors which have worked together to create a perfect blend for Scottish tourism. Key influences include increased capacity on air routes from countries all across the world, favourable exchange rates and of course the Outlander effect which has had a huge impact with many coming to experience the land that inspired the popular books and TV series. ”More than that, we are noticing a real uplift in the staycation market with less people flying out of the UK for the first time in a number of years, meaning many are simply getting out and about exploring their own country.  This is a real testament to the hard work of our tourism industry which is constantly innovating and investing to ensure visitors receive not only a quality experience, but a memorable one.”


Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Year of Young People 2018 projected onto Salisbury Crags, Edinburgh


Photo by Peter Dibdin Edinburgh, city of romance


Photo by Guy Phillips


Ppp-popping bubbles at a penguin party

Photos by Siân Addison/ RZSS



demand for ‘bubbles’ isn’t unusual at most celebrations but it’s not normally meant literally.

Instead of champagne it appears all the average party popping penguin needs to make merry isn’t Champagne but a real bubble machine. The penguin colony at Edinburgh Zoo had great fun celebrating Penguin Awareness Day on 20 January with their new toy. The group enjoyed chasing and popping bubbles made by the machine, which they received as a Christmas gift.   “The bubble machine was generously gifted through the Amazon wishlist set up for our animals,” said Lorna Moffat, penguin keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.


“Our colony of over 130 birds enjoy lots of different types of enrichment, from their water slide to their floating platforms, but the bubble machine is always a firm favourite so getting a new one is fantastic. “All three of our penguin species loved playing with the bubbles, especially our youngest rockhopper chick who was taking part for the first time.”   RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is home to the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe. Penguins have been an integral part of the Zoo since

it opened in 1913 and RZSS now play an important part in their conservation around the globe. Project Pinnamin, a collaboration between RZSS, the British Antarctic Survey, RSPB, Tristan Conservation and the Government of South Africa, is spearheading research to help improve the very limited understanding of the northern rockhopper and the factors affecting its population numbers on Tristan da Cunha, in the South Atlantic Ocean. Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, the majority of northern rockhopper penguins live on Gough Island where in the space of just 50 years more than two million breeding pairs, about 98 per cent of the population, were lost. On Tristan de Cunha, about 380km northeast of Gough island, numbers are believed to have fallen from from the hundreds of thousands in the 1870s to just 5,000 pairs by 1955. Between them Gough island and the archipelago of Tristan de Cunha


account for around 85 per cent of the world’s surviving population of northern rockhopper penguins. As the numbers of Northern rockhopper penguin continue to decline it is the job of experts working with Project Pinnamin to study the marine ecology, breeding biology and identify the potential impact of any natural or man-made threats. Just one environmental tragedy or accident could devastate

the species completely. Since September 2016 scientists have been using the latest technology to watch the penguins, learn about their feeding rituals and breeding habits. T It’s hoped this research, in which RZSS Edinburgh is playing a vital role, will inform conservation measures to help secure the future for this endangered species.




A life-changing journey of self-discovery

Wonder and The Medicine Wheels – A Rainbow Warrior’s Tale’ is an exciting new work by celebrated storyteller Pàl Ó Siadhail which lifts the veil between reality and fantasy to take readers on an odyssey of self discovery.


A powerfully understated parable, written in the classical metaphor of The Hero’s Journey, it revives the language, spirit and emotion of an era long since past to create an enchantingly entertaining moral epic for the modern age.

Pàl Ó Siadhail is a latter-day seanchaidh, the 21st century embodiment of the ancient Gaelic Bards who would travel across the country telling stories by the fireside in return for hospitality.

Pàl Ó Siadhail


Passionate about the history, heritage and culture of the Gaelic speaking people of Scotland he has expertly crafted a tale of magic and marvel that transcends the mists of time to strike a chord with anyone searching for meaning, purpose and a renewed love of being. This wondrous tale of fairies, standing stones, mermaids, ancient prophecies and forgotten secrets of Mother Earth serves to inspire and encourage the reader to listen to one’s heart and follow their dreams to overcome the challenges of life. It’s a story that has been 41 years in the writing. Pàl, a great believer in the healing power of love and forgiveness, has drawn upon his own experiences and a search for inner peace which has taken him from the stifling streets of Glasgow to the freedom and open landscape of Skye where he lives with his wife Catherine and two children, Dougal and Flora. A former professional footballer


turned DJ and radio presenter Paul has always been a believer in following his own road. After 10 years of playing at music festivals, on Virgin radio and the BBC he began to look for more from life only to find it in the mountains, glens and culture of the Gaels. “I started taking to the mountains and exploring the old Gaelic place names. One thing led to another and I became fascinated by the Gaelic

language, land, history and heritage. I couldn’t get enough of it,” said Pàl. “I immersed myself completely in Gaelic and became fluent in the language and fascinated by all the old tales and stories. The traditions, legends, culture and the language of the Gaels goes hand-in-hand with every day life, it impacts us all even if most people don’t realise it.” It was this burning desire to learn


and understand the Gaelic influence on the modern Scottish psyche that sparked the epic tale of Wonder and the Medicine Wheels which has captured the attention of literary experts and artists around the world. Although written in English it has all the rhythm of Gaelic and Scots which serves to lift the words from the page. “Wonder and the Medicine Wheels: A Rainbow Warrior’s Tale” is a mystical hero’s journey very like the ancient Gaelic tales themselves as they were recited around the village fire on a cold night with a sky full to the brim with stars,” said Joanne Sprott, a professional copy editor and proofreader with more than 20 years experience in publishing. “Pàl Ó Siadhail has captured not just this ancient story of quest and


sacrifice to transform the hero and his world, but has made it into a prose poem epic with all the rhythm and flavor of that story told ‘round the fire. I felt like I was actually listening to Wonder’s adventures even though I was reading them on the page. The language is both archaic and musical, a perfect fit for the story  Pàl has chosen to tell. “It’s well worth being drawn closer to the fire to be with this storyteller.” The story has already found resonance with fans of the highly successful AfroCelt Sound System. The internationally renowned Grammy award winning musicians, who have sold more than 3million records world-wide, included an excerpt of Pàl’s book on their recent album, ‘The Source’, which reached number 1 on the Amazon and iTunes world music charts.

The hauntingly beautiful spoken word track, ‘Child of Wonder’, features Pàl reading a passage from ‘Wonder and the Medicine Wheels’ accompanied by a mesmerising musical arrangement played on kora, harp and flutes. It also attracted the attention of world-renowned Polish artist Tomasz Alen Kopera, famous for his work symbolising the mysteries of the universe and human psyche, who was inspired to provide a cover image for the book. ‘Wonder and The Medicine Wheels – A Rainbow Warrior’s Tale’ is now available to download as an e-book or audio file from Amazon priced £3.99.


World’s best martini award goes to family distillery



he search to find the most delicious martini on the planet has left an awardwining Scottish producer stirred but not shaken with success. Arbikie Gin has won the title of The World’s Best Martini 2018, after beating five other finalists in a spectacular showdown at Oslo in Hackney, London.


Alex and Francesco from Arbikie Gin on stage

More than 250 gin lovers attended the event which saw last year’s champions, Daffy’s Gin, beaten by Scottish distillers Arbikie Gin in partnership with bartender Francesco from The Gibson. Arbikie fought off tough competition with their Showcase Martini Recipe bringing home the title of the World’s Best Martini 2018. The family run estate’s AK’s Gin is a relatively new addition to the Arbikie menu and is named after Alexander Kirkwood Stirling, father of current distillery owners Iain, John and David who’s family have worked the 200acre estate for generations. The spirit is made from honey and wheat produced on the family farm and then mixed with carefully selected botanicals, including juniper, black pepper, mace and cardamom, chosen by Master Distiller Kirsty Black. A combination of Arbikie AK Gin,


Sea Herbs Vermouth and Smoked Liquid garnished with lemon zest and served with style, created a unique and innovative twist on the classic Martini that impressed judges Mark Ludmon of Bar Magazine, Annie Hayes of Master of Malt and Witek Wojaczek of Artesian Bar at The Langham.

British blended gin, Pothecary came a close second and Irish distillers, Bertha’s Revenge claimed the popular vote. According to the organisers of the competition each of the finalists created innovative, mouth-watering Martinis that tantalised tastebuds and kept guests going back for more.

Gary Sharp and James Thomas

From local Scottish botanicals, home-grown organic ingredients and splashes of the exotic, guests and judges alike were able to explore the globe with each of the finalists unique and surprising twists on the quintessentially British cocktail. The international competition to find the best martini was founded by Gary Sharp and James Thomas, arguably the country’s biggest Martini aficionados. The pair spent the whole year sampling martinis around the world before awarding Arbikie Gin as the creator of The World’s Best Martini of 2018. After a year of travel and discovery, co-founders Gary and James narrowed down the 10 contestants to six gin finalists that passed The Contender’s Challenge Series, an international competition where gin producers from all over the world submit samples of their gin to the official Martini experts. Featuring boutique brands from all


Caption - Francesco from The Gibson mixing a martini


over the UK and Ireland, the gins that competed at the final event included the current winners Arbikie, Bertha’s Revenge, Conker, Curio, Da Mhile, Kokoro, Lilliput, Pothecary, Salcombe, and last year’s winners, Daffy’s Gin. Each of these spirits teamed up with a bar and bartender in order to be scored on both a showcase Martini and a classic Martini. Taking place at one of East London’s hottest bars, Oslo, the finale event was a chance for the contenders to showcase their two cocktails to an audience of industry names and the gin-loving public.


The judges at work

It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it


Alexander Forsyth, Arbikie Global Brand Ambassador, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious award and all credit must go to Francesco at The Gibson who worked incredibly hard to create a superb twist on the classic martini whilst maintaining the delicate flavours of AK’s Gin. We can’t wait to defend our title next year.”



Make your own Arbikie AK Gin Martini Ingredients

• •

55ml Aks Arbikie 8 ml of sea herbs



• •

2 drop smoked liquid Lemon zest

Method Chill the Martini glass with dry ice and zest the mixing glass. Next place chunks of ice into the mixing glass, add all of the ingredients and stir. Remove the dry ice from the Martini glass and pour the mixture into the glass, adding a piece of lemon zest to garnish.



Five go looking for votes

Photo by VisitScotland Luskentyre



ive of Scotland’s most outstanding locations have been shortlisted for a handful of national awards to find the best destinations in Britain. The Old Forge, Callanish Stones, Loch Druidibeg, Luskentyre Beach and Speyside will compete for the coveted awards organised by the BBC Countryfile Magazine. Now in their seventh year, the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018 are a celebration of the British countryside and its people, from mighty landmarks and outstanding national parks to the best nature reserves and finest rural pubs.


“The BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards are about celebrating the joy, wonder and care we all share for the landscapes, wildlife and communities of rural Britain,” said Mark Rowe, one of the judges of the awards. “The shortlists comprise some familiar names and locations as well as more than a few underdogs and intriguing nominations - and they come from all corners of the UK.” Last year’s awards saw Abernethy Forest, Strathspey, Highlands named Nature Reserve of The Year and Inverewe Gardens in Wester Ross taking the title Garden of The Year. This year The Old Forge, mainland Britain’s most remote pub based in Lochaber has been shortlisted for Pub of the Year. Judge Phoebe Smith said: “It’s set in a beautiful landscape looking out to the islands – a great reward for the effort it takes to get there and have that pint.”

Photo by Gerry McCann The Old Forge



The Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis are also in the running for an award, this time for Landmark of the Year. The 5,000-year-old stones, with their awe-inspiring ancient mystery were described by Mark Rowe as a “stunning landmark�.

Photo by VisitScotland Callanish Stones



Loch Druidibeg on South Uist is up for Nature Reserve of the Year. Renowned for its austere beauty the loch is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. Another island destination shortlisted this year is the Isle of Harris where Luskentyre Beach is in the running for Beach of the Year.

Photo by VisitScotland Loch Druidibeg



Photo cc Dean Eades Carbridge, Speyside cc Dean Eades

On the mainland Speyside has been included as a finalist for Holiday Destination of the Year. Members of the public have until 5 March to cast their votes online on the BBC Countryfile Magazine website,


“It’s Scotland’s wonderful mix of awe-inspiring landscapes, stunning beaches, wondrous wildlife and fascinating heritage and culture that draw millions of visitors every year, so it is little wonder that readers and judges have nominated some of our outstanding attractions among the UK’s greatest countryside sites,”

said Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland.   “Each of them richly deserve to be crowned national winners and I would encourage as many people as possible to take the time to vote for these outstanding Scottish sites.”


A wound too deep to heal

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Glencoe



n the 13th February men and women of Scotland’s largest clan will gather in a small Highland village to commemorate an event that took place 326 years ago but which still resonates in the collective memory of a nation.

will congregate for a special service in St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Glencoe. After saying prayers for their ancestors they will march from the Bridge of Coe to a stone memorial for those killed in the infamous massacre of 1692 to lay a wreath of remembrance.

Members of the Clan Donald Society

It is a tradition that is carried out


every year and ensures that one of the worst atrocities in Scottish history is never forgotten even though, by historical standards, it involved relatively few casualties. Some 38 people were killed which, compared to other violent events throughout Scotland’s bloody story is fairly small, the massacre of

Photo cc Kim Traynor Glencoe Massacre Memorial

Glencoe remains a potent symbol of treachery. In the late 17th century Clan Donald was a major force throughout the Highlands of which the MacIains of Glencoe were a relatively minor sept. However, they were fiercely independent and loyal to the deposed James VII who had been forced into exile when King William of Orange took over the throne of England. Chief of the MacIains was Alasdair MacDonald, a big man with a fearsome reputation among his enemies of which the neighbouring Campbell Clan was one in particular. The MacIains were frequently involved in carrying out raids on Campbell lands, stealing cattle and other property. When it was ordered that all the Highland Chiefs were required to sign an oath of allegiance to King William by January 1, 1692 or face retribution there were those who saw


After the massacre by artist Peter Graham

The Massacre of Glencoe by James Hamilton

an opportunity to settle old scores. Many of the clan chiefs were men of their word and had felt bound by an earlier oath to support the exiled King James and therefore could not make a second one. However, in December 1691 King James, sensing his followers would suffer for their loyalty, released his devoted clansmen from their oath. Unfortunately by the time that news reached the MacIains their chief had only three days to meet the deadline. In one of the worst winters for years Alasdair MacDonald set off from his home for the military garrison at Fort William to sign the Oath of Allegiance, only to be told on his arrival that he needed to swear his loyalty before a Sheriff at Inveraray, which was another 75 miles away. Even then the Chief of the MacIains might still have made the deadline if he had not been stopped and detained for a day by a column of Campbell soldiers serving in the regiment of the Duke of Argyll. He was then forced to wait several more days at Inveraray until Sheriff Colin Campbell arrived to take the oath.


By the time his signed oath reached Edinburgh the MacDonalds of Glencoe had missed the deadline and the Secretary of State, John Dalrymple, Master of Stair, refused to accept it. Dalrymple was a lowland Scot who disliked the Highlanders’ way of life and the MacDonalds in particular. While Alasdair Macdonald returned to his family in Glencoe believing he had fulfilled his duty to protect his people Dalrymple issued the order that the MacDonalds were to be “cut off root and branch” as a lesson to others. In the beginning of February a column of soldiers under the leadership of Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon arrived at Glencoe under the guise of requiring shelter as the garrison at Fort William was full. For 12 days the soldiers ate, slept and socialised with the MacDonalds as friends. But, in the early hours of February 13, as most of the clan lay sleeping with a blizzard blowing outside, the soldiers were given the order “to put all to the sword under seventy”.

By morning 38 members of the clan lay dead in their beds or in the snow alongside their chief. Most of the others had fled into the mountains where the freezing temperatures claimed the lives of some more, including Alasdair Macdonald’s elderly wife. Ever since the atrocity controversy has raged over how so few people were killed. It is widely accepted that some of the soldiers, sickened by the order to kill the people who had sheltered them, alerted their hosts and allowed them to escape. When news of the slaughter reached the rest of Scotland there was uproar at the treachery, callousness and brutality of the act. An official inquiry was launched, the Scottish Parliament declared it as murder and John Dalrymple, the Master of Stair, was forced to resign but never held to account for his part in the massacre. The atrocity became a rallying cry for Jacobite sympathisers and although the government did its best to sweep the matter under the carpet Highlanders have a long memory and they still haven’t forgotten.



Celebrating the great outdoors

Photos by Gerry McCann



ebruary may be the month of romance and what could be more romantic than a wild highland backdrop.

This month sees two international festivals in Scotland celebrating the beauty and magnificence of mountains. The Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival kicks off the month on 3 February with the focus on epic journeys in Scotland and beyond.


Kite-surfing across the Greenlandic ice cap, paddling through the Amazon in a self-made dugout canoe and various self-powered journeys around the world form some of the intriguing stories to be discovered at this year’s festival, which is now in its 15th year. The two day event combines the best mountain and adventure films with powerful presentations from some of the world’s top adventurers. Home-talent is represented with an eagerly-anticipated presentation by Mark Beaumont, who recently smashed the world record for cycling round the globe. The festival will also screen almost 20 adventure films, covering epic journeys by bike, kayak canoe and kite-assisted skis, as well as documenting scary climbs, swimming with orcas, epic mountain biking and sketchy ski descents down some of the steepest mountain faces in Scotland. “The standard of films being


submitted is so high that we’ve had to leave out some wonderful films. But the films that have made the final selection are fantastic and I know our audience will be thrilled and inspired by them. Our speakers will then elevate the festival to a new level.,” said Stevie Christies, Festival Director. The festival, staged in association with Tiso, Mountain Equipment, Alien Rock and Wilderness Scotland, expects big numbers from the climbing, snowsports, kayaking, adventure sports, outdoor photography and filmmaking communities; as well as those who love the outdoors, travel and mountain adventure, from all over the UK to attend the event. From its humble beginnings in 2003, it’s grown to be one of the most popular and dynamic events in Scotland’s outdoor adventure calendar, attracting in excess of 2,000 outdoor enthusiasts annually. After Edinburgh it’s the turn of the

Fort William Mountain Festival to celebrate everything that the great outdoors has to offer. A superb line-up of uplifting talks, exhilarating film screenings, mountain skills workshops and exhibitions have been organised for the five-day festival, from 21-25 February. From armchair adventurers and weekend warriors to the UK’s mountain communities The Fort William Mountain Festival is an energising experience for everyone. “Visiting Lochaber in February for the Mountain Festival is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of the region first hand, with the best winter walking, climbing and snowsports conditions of the year,” said a festival spokesperson. “The Fort William Mountain Festival offers the added bonus of another superb line-up of uplifting talks from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, and mountain


Link to Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 Link to Edinburgh mountain film festival

filmmakers, together with exhilarating film screenings from cutting-edge outdoor athletes and adventurers; mountain skills workshops and exhibitions. “It celebrates our wild landscape and the opportunities it presents. The mountains and glens that surround us influence our culture in many


ways. We want to promote the value of the landscape of Lochaber as the best destination in the UK to live, work and play. The five-day programme includes a torchlit descent of Aonach Mor on ski, board and mountain bike to kick things off on February 21.


The Festivals take place as a new £60,000 marketing campaign is launched to promote Scottish snowsports to new audiences.

living in areas of England, Northern Ireland and the Scottish Central Belt who travel overseas for their annual ski or snowboarding holiday.

The 12-month digital drive will utilise video and social media channels to showcase the unique offering in Scotland – quality facilities, easy accessibility and beautiful scenery – to target snowsports enthusiasts

It will also highlight the accessibility, good value, environmentally-friendly and ‘no fuss’ aspects of a Scottish snowsports holiday and is already creating a real buzz based on this winter’s excellent early season snow.


It’s estimated a successful Scottish snowsports season can contribute more than £37million to the economy, of which only £7.5million is spent ‘on the hill’ at the snowsports resorts with the remainder spent on accommodation, shopping, alternative activities, eating and drinking and on transport, particularly fuel for the car.




Date 4 ur diary


4 December - 2 February LEGO: Jacobite Risings at Stirling Castle Castle Esplanade, Stirling Brick to the Past comes to Stirling Castle this winter with their fantastic LEGO depiction of the Jacobite Risings. The enormous 6x3m scene features Historic Scotland’s own Corgarff Castle and Ruthven Barracks as well as over 2000 soldiers, Cairngorm mountain range, a Highland village, fortifications, Scottish wildlife and one or two surprises. 18 January - 4 February Glasgow Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, Celtic Connections celebrates Celtic music and its connections to cultures across the globe. 2,100 musicians from around the world will descend on Glasgow and bring the city to life for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, and free events. 2 - 4 February Kingussie Food on Film Festival Kingussie Kingussie’s annual winter festival – FOOD ON FILM – brings the big screen to the rural Highlands of Scotland in a unique way, to celebrate and explore the world of food with a feast of short films, documentaries and features to make you laugh, make you think and make you hungry! about/?ref=page_internal 2 February - 3 March FebruaryFest The Clachaig Inn, Glencoe Clachaig’s FebruaryFest has grown over the last 2 decades from humble beginnings to being as much a part of Glencoe in winter as is the sight of the Buachaille covered in a snowy crown as you emerge from the wilderness of Rannoch Moor on the A82. It’s based on basic principles. Good beer, hearty food, great craic. What more do you need after a day out in the winter weather amidst the most breathtaking scenery? februaryfest-2018/ 3 - 4 February Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival Edinburgh


If you have a future event you would like included in our diary please email details to This year’s guest speakers include Mark Beaumont, Sarah Outen, Pete Whittaker and Kelly Cordes. We also have an incredible selection of the best mountain and adventure films to share with you. The venue, as usual, is George Square Lecture Theatre at Edinburgh University. 8 - 11 February Scottish Caravan, Motorhome & Holiday Home Show Exhibition Way, Glasgow The only place to start your next adventure is at Scotland’s largest caravan, motorhome and holiday home show event. 8 - 11 February Spectra: Aberdeen’s Festival of Light Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen Running for four nights between the 8th–11th February 2018 SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s stunning Festival of Light, will return to celebrate the Scottish Year of Young People through this year’s theme ‘Play the Night’. Bringing together leading international artists with Scottish collaborators and developing new talent,  the festival will deliver a four-day light and music exhibition using new technologies and tools to animate Union Terrace Gardens, the Kirk of St Nicholas, and Marischal College. 17 February Annual Inverness Fiddlers’ Rally Bishops Road, Inverness As always, the Inverness Fiddlers will be joined by special guests for the event; our guest artists in 2018 will be Scottish Folk singer Emily Smith and renowned Shetland Fiddler Gemma Donald. asp?pageid=294186 21 February - 4 March Glasgow Film Festival 12 Rose Street, Glasgow Glasgow Film Festival is one of the leading UK film festivals. Our audience is central to our programming and our ethos – we aim to enable our audiences to experience the best international cinema. GFF programme regularly features: new local and international film from all genres; mainstream crowd-pleasers to groundbreaking art-house experimentation; the return of well-loved classics alongside rare cult gems; with filmmaker guest appearances, interactive workshops and discussion panels to complete the mix!

21 - 25 February Fort William Mountain Festival A celebration of all things adventurous and outdoors, and what better place to hold the festival than in the Outdoor Capital of the UK itself. By bringing together athletes, speakers, films, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts from a whole variety of backgrounds the festival aims to encourage others to get out and explore the wilderness around them. 23 - 24 February Groove Cairngorm Aviemore the UK’s only resort based snowsports and music festival returns to Aviemore, Scotland 23rd & 24th February 2018. In partnership with Cairngorm Mountain & Badaguish Outdoor Centre.


3 February Quirindi Military Tattoo Quirindi , NSW The event aims to showcase military bands in both a competition and exhibition format, and pays homage to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. 3 February Toowoomba Caledonian Society and Pipe Band Burns Supper Toowoomba, QLD Australia five course dinner, pipe band performances and the Address to the Haggis.

24 February - 7 March Inverness Music Festival Inverness The Inverness Music Festival and the Highlights concerts are organised and run by the Inverness Festival Association. Inverness Music Festival is a competitive music festival open to all ages and abilities. Performers are adjudicated on their performance.

5 February - 26 March Scots on the Rocks Scottish Country Dancing Beginners Course Fort Street Public School, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW No need for swords, kilts, a partner or even a Scottish accent. No previous dancing experience necessary just a pair of soft soled shoes, so that you can feel the floor under your feet. Dress comfortably – skirts, shorts or


loose trousers will give your legs more freedom when you’re flying along! 16 February 30th Anniversary Clan MacRae Gathering, Dinner & AGM Albury, NSW Join lots of Clan members, family, friends, and all interested MacRaes will join us for a weekend of all things “MacRae”. None members very welcome. 18 February Richmond Highland Gathering Richmond, TAS The St Andrew Society Richmond Highland Gathering is on again at the Richmond Village Green on Sunday, 16th February 2014. Bring your friends and family down to see the Highland Dancing and Pipe Band competitions, and of course the magical town of Richmond.


9 February Mid-Winter Celtic Festival Regina, SK We have a fantastic weekend planned: Celtic music, workshops and a concert featuring both Fred Morrison and Troy MacGillivray, on Fred’s second visit to the Canadian prairies! 11 February Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate Calgary Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB 22 February WhiskyFête 2018 Montréal, QC Montreal’s most unique whisky tasting event at the Mont Royal Club.

New Zealand

4 February Scottish Country Dancing In the Gardens Hamilton Gardens, Cobham Dr. Hamilton Dancers from around the region will meet for a picnic and social dancing on the Round Lawn. Come and ‘have a go’ with us and enjoy the music. Suitable for children to seniors. No experience or special clothing required.


10 February Pipes In the Park 2018 Waitangi Park, 107 Cable St, Wellington Pipes in the Park - Wellington is a celebration of Scotland in the heart of Wellington NZ. 10 February The 25th Annual Paeroa Highland Games & Tattoo Paeroa Domain, Paeroa, New Zealand + Google Map The 25th Annual Paeroa Highland Games & Tattoo will be held on Saturday 10th February 2018 at the Paeroa Domain. What started out as a small Pipe Bands Competition has grown over the years, and today is a fully-fledged Highland Games, one of only seven such Scottish gatherings in New Zealand, and the only one in New Zealand to hold an Evening Tattoo. 11 February Shetland Society of Wellington Society Picnic Wellington, New Zealand The Shetland Society of Wellington has a long and busy history. It was formed in 1922 by a group of Shetland Islanders who had left their homeland and settled in New Zealand. Many Shetlanders came to live in the greater Wellington region.


3 February The Caledonian Society of Arizona Burns Supper Chandler, AZ Come share in this event which has been a Scottish tradition for more than 250 years, and is celebrated annually around the world. 5 - 9 February Celtic Arts Winter School: Highland Pipes & Drums Seabeck, WA inter School is one of the flagship programs of the Celtic Arts Foundation. Each year, we bring some of the world’s most accomplished Celtic musicians from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the US to teach aspiring musicians. 9-10 February Celtic Family Jamboree The Rustic Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville, FL 34602 Bring your own food, drinks, alcohol. Family friendly, leashed dogs OK, RV & Tent camping on site, playground, campfires, bathrooms/showers; food, ice, firewood & beer available.  Friday evening potluck dinner -- bring a dish to share!  Saturday morning FREE workshops.  Ongoing Highland athletics demo.  Celtic merchandise & jewelry for sale.

17-18 February The Queen Mary ScotsFestival & International Highland Games Long Beach, CA The Queen Mary’s ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXV in Long Beach kicks off the Scottish Festival and Highland Games season offering guests a glimpse into Scotland’s rich culture and history featuring an array of activities from Highland athletics and dancing to Lowlands music and cuisine. 24 February Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival Green Cove Springs, FL Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival are bringing a “Wee Bit o’ Scotland”  to the Northeast Florida area. Each year residents of Northeast Florida and the surrounding areas gather and enjoy the athletics, music, food and fun of the games.



Scotland correspondent issue 14