Page 1

Exciting future for oldest distillery Gordon stronghold for sale Pushing boundaries in Africa

Showcasing independent films Top award for MacLeod castle Roo Irvine on Halloween antiques p1



inside this issue 10 Traditional


Inside Glenturret Scotland’s oldest distillery.


26 Happy



Celebrating SinoScottish links.

36 Wooing

Chinese visitors

Why more Chinese tourists visit Scotland.

44 Toasting


Two new expressions to excite whisky lovers. 46 A

Gordon for me!

Former clan stronghold goes up for sale.

58 Preserving


Top award for Fairy Flag castle.


68 An

Actor’s life for me…

Scott Kyle on flings, football, heroin and demons.

88 Gintelligence

Fiona Holland’s verdict on Kintyre Gin.


camera, location

82 News



Catch up on some of the stories from around Scotland.


Holidaying in a real-live film set.

92 Hunting


Roo Irvine goes in search of Halloween artefacts.

108 Pushing

152 Destination

African boundaries


Glasgow student expanding the frontiers of knowledge.

116 Enlightenment


Scots at the forefront of science and medicine.

Where to go and stay in Scotland.

138 Industry



The drama and power of industrial Scotland.

the glen


Highland hospitality from the Lonach Highlanders.

130 New


What’s worth celebrating and commemorating this October.

Date 4 Your Diary 162

142 Mystery 122 Welcome

Anniversary Vaults 158


New twist to Loch Ness monster myth.

What’s on in Scotland and abroad this month.

Cover Photo

Cover Photo by Stewart Cunningham. 1934 Singer car on Berneray


Showcasing independent movie makers.


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.



History, heritage and whisky

Photos by Stewart Cunningham


by Paul Kelbie


here are exciting times ahead for Scotland’s oldest working whisky distillery as it prepares to expand into fresh markets with a range of new products.


Initially known as ‘The Hosh’, meaning ‘foot’, Glenturret is situated at the bottom of a hidden glen on the banks of the River Turret, two miles outside the Perthshire town of Crieff. The area is steeped in history. Long before it was made completely legal illicit stills dotted the countryside as the surrounding hills provided smugglers with a valuable vantage point to spot approaching lawmen. Legendary characters such as Rob Roy MacGregor roamed the adjacent glens and is reputed to have regularly sold his stolen cattle and celebrated his exploits in nearby Crieff, under the nose of the authorities. It was also at Crieff that Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army set up camp so the Young Pretender could hold his final war council before heading to Culloden. Although no documentary evidence has yet been found it is entirely plausible that both of these historic



characters and their followers could have indulged in a little spirit made in the local area, quite possibly from the stills that sat on the spot of what is now Glenturret. Official records show there was at least one still working on the site as far back as 1775, although there is growing evidence the date may be much earlier as the buildings go back to at least 1763. Over the years several changes of ownership and the events of history have resulted in Glenturret, as it has been known since 1875, having had something of a chequered past. At least twice whisky production was interrupted. The first time was during the First World War and then again when demand for whisky fell following the introduction of prohibition in the USA in 1928.


It was’t until the late 1950s that it went back into full use after being taken over by entrepreneur James Fairlie. By the early 1960s Glenturret


John Laurie, General Manager of Glenturret in the room where visitors can experience blending their own whisky

was once again producing the brand that has become known for its exceptional quality and smooth texture. During the 1980s and early 90s the distillery was owned by Rémy Cointreau before being sold to what became Edrington and becoming home to The Famous Grouse Experience. Today the distillery belongs to Silvio


Denz, owner of Lalique crystal. His company bought it last year and is now about to embark on an exciting new chapter for the brand which will see Glenturret secure its place among Scotland’s most sought after whiskies. The secret of Glenturret’s success is many fold. It is hand-made in relatively small batches using traditional methods and water drawn

directly from Loch Turret, which is fed by rainwater streaming down from Ben Chonzie through the ancient granite rock of the Grampian Mountains to give it a unique softness ideal for whisky making. “We only did 205,000 litres of alcohol this year, and that was a 35,000 increase on last year,” said John Laurie, General Manager of Glenturret.


The spirit safe

“We are on a growth to produce 500,000 litres a year and that is the maximum we can do. It might sound a lot but when you consider Macallan probably did 500,000 litres last week, never mind last year, we are still very small in the scheme of things. However, that scarcity makes us even more special.” Glenturret is still very much a traditional distillery using methods that have been handed down through the generations. “The mill is 120 years old. The mash tun is done by hand. The wash backs are made from Douglas fir. We fill our two copper stills by hand from the stirrup pump. We ferment for three days instead of 24 hours, so we get a really light, floral, smooth character from the whisky. All of that will stay the same, we will never change. It is all about tradition and craftsmanship!” Once the spirit has been distilled it goes into casks to mature and again



1905 photo of staff at the distillery

quality is the watchword. “We only use the best, most expensive casks. Probably, per litre of whisky produced, Glenturret spends more on casks than anyone else. We have no concerns at all when it comes to spending on quality - it has to be the best,” said John, who is in charge of a very small team of 34 people of which just six make the whisky. “We have a photo from 1905 which shows there were 16 guys and a dog named Fly working here then and at least two of today’s staff can trace their families back to men in that picture,” said John. Today, the dog has been replaced by two cats, Glen and Turret, who are employed to patrol the warehouses in search of mice but have become almost as popular with tourists as the whisky. Glenturret, which is rapidly attracting attention from collectors, currently


Turret the cat


produces four core ranges - a 10-year-old and three non-age statement whiskies. However, there are plans to announce some new additions next year, including a Lalique decanter range. The brand is already strong in the UK and central Europe but the coming months will see a concerted effort to promote Glenturret further afield, particularly in the USA and China. “We’ve seen a big increase in interest from those countries,” said John. “France, Germany, America and China now make up the four largest groups of visitors to the distillery so it makes sense to increase our presence in their home markets.


“China has always been a market for Scotch whisky but it’s never been as big as it is now. The culture there really fits with our story. They respect the history. They want a whisky that is good quality, has a great taste and an interesting heritage. Glenturret has got all three in abundance.”

John Laurie with an original 1965 bottle of Glenturret whisky




Photos by Stewart Cunningham A choir sang the Chinese National Anthem and entertained guests with Chinese and Scottish songs

Celebrating a major milestone p26

by Paul Kelbie


ny 70th anniversary is worthy of special attention but when it commemorates the transformation of an entire nation into a global powerhouse it is cause for a major celebration. That’s why more than 200 people gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

An audience of dignitaries, including several Lord Provosts, members of the Scottish Parliament, business leaders and leading figures from the Chinese, Scottish and cultural communities attended the reception hosted by the Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh. In welcoming the guests Acting Consul General Hou Danna highlighted the magnificent

successes of China over the last 70 years and the growing business, educational and cultural links with Scotland. Since the formation of the People’s Republic of China the country has cut the illiteracy rate from 80 per cent to just 4 percent, more than doubled life expectancy from 35 years to 77 years and lifted over 700 million people out of poverty, among its many other achievements.


Acting Consul General Hou Danna

“China has transformed from an impoverished and backward country to the world’s second largest economy, the biggest industrial country and the largest trader in goods,” said Hou, who went on to praise the growing links between China and Scotland, many of them developed and nurtured over the last 22 years since the Chinese Consul opened in Edinburgh. “Six cities in China and Scotland have become sister cities. China has now become one of Scotland’s major sources of inward investment, bearing fruitful results. Many Chinese businesses have set up here.

Ben Macpherson, Scotland’s Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development


“Cultural people to people exchanges between us are flourishing. We welcome a growing number of Chinese Art troupes to perform during the Edinburgh International Festival each year. We have also seen the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, the band of Royal

Consul Zen Wei and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Cllr Frank Ross


Singing the Robert Burns’ song ‘Auld Lang Syne’


Regiment of Scotland and the City of Glasgow Chorus among those Scottish Arts groups performing in China.

“Over 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Scotland last year, double the total of five years ago, making Scotland one of Chinese tourists’


favourite long-haul destinations.” Hou said education, collaboration and cultural exchanges had added new impetus to relations between the two countries. The number of Chinese students at Scottish universities now exceeds 20,000 and Chinese classes have become increasingly popular in Scotland with more than 50,000 people now learning the language almost as many people who speak Gaelic, the traditional native language of the Highlands and other parts of Scotland. “Recently I have been surprised, but pleased, to meet and talk to some Scottish people who can speak fluent Chinese. The promotion of Chinese language and culture in Scotland is providing a new channel to extend and enhance our strong links,” said Hou. She added that a lot of the credit to maintaining good relationships between the countries belonged to


those of the Chinese community who live and work in Scotland. It is a community that has grown substantially over recent decades. “Scotland’s history of Chinese immigration has enriched our culture, our business community and society at large. In 1953 there were only three Chinese families recorded as living in Glasgow, our largest city. Now there are more than 3,000 Chinese families calling that city home,” said Ben Macpherson, Scotland’s Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development. “Today Scotland has more than 10,000 families who can trace their ancestry back to China. The community continues to grow and contribute to the well being of our nation.” But, the minister also pointed out that it has not all been one-way traffic. “Since 1949 Scots have been visiting, working and collaborating

with their counterparts in China. These collaborations extend into every area of life including culture, business, industry, science and many more. We also see an increasing interest in Scotland and Scottish culture in China which is well demonstrated by the Chinese tourists who chose to visit Scotland. “Everyone from China who comes to Scotland, whether to live, work, study or to visit is hugely welcome. “As the People’s republic of China celebrates its 70th anniversary the stories we all share today show that it is the bonds between our people which cement the relationship between our nations the most. By bringing the best of our cultures together and seeking to understand one another we help to build a better world for all. “China has achieved so much in 70 years and has so much to be proud of. We celebrate that and look forward to seeing what China will achieve in the next 70 years.”



Photo by Guy Phillips


Haste ye back

Photo by Peter Dibdin/VisitScotlamd Visitors in St Andrews, Fife



s China celebrates its national golden week new research has revealed what Chinese holidaymakers think of Scotland.

the national tourism organisation, found a staggering 87 per cent of Chinese visitors to the country say they would like to return because of the “beautiful landscapes”.

A survey carrie out by VisitScotland,

As well as the scenery,

holidaymakers also listed Scotland’s culture, relaxing atmosphere and family-friendliness as motivations for a return trip. The insights come from the initial findings of new research conducted


among travellers, aged 25 to 45 from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in mainland China. In recent years, China has become one of the fastest growing outbound tourism countries in the world, reflected in a 300 per cent rise in visitor numbers to Scotland within the last 10 years according to


International Passenger Survey figures. Scotland is now a priority market for the country’s tourism body and it’s hoped the new research will give a better understanding of Chinese holidaymakers to help improve their visitor experience.

The survey found that Chinese holidaymakers, who haven’t visited Scotland before, rely on very traditional images when thinking of Scotland: bagpipes, kilts, whisky, and castles. While previous visitors also associate Scotland with images of wildlife, nature, escapism, spirit of freedom and friendly local people.

Photo by Peter Dibdin/VisitScotlamd Visitors in Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow


Around 35 per cent of those questioned consider Scotland to be full of proud history and heritage and 30 per cent believe it is a nontouristy destination where they can truly enjoy themselves. Those surveyed also deemed Scotland a great place for active or outdoor pursuits and think it has breath-taking natural scenery. One of China’s most iconic dancers, Yang Liping, recently revealed her thoughts on Scotland during an exclusive interview with ViistScotland. Chinese visitors to Scotland are inspired to come by iconic sights and attractions they have heard of (33 per cent) – with Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness, the Highlands and Glasgow mentioned most often. The top four visited locations are Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands and the Loch Lomond area. The majority of visitors stayed in a hotel while in Scotland, with over half in four star and above.

Photo by Peter Dibdin/VisitScotlamd Visitors on Victoria Street, Edinburgh


During their trip they visited ancient and traditional buildings, historical sites and heritage wonders, enjoyed stories and artefacts, and experienced the great outdoors, coastlines and islands. Visitors also took in lakes, mountains and grasslands, indulged in gourmet and luxury foods, tried local delicacies and did some souvenir shopping. As well as finding out what Chinese people think of Scotland, the research also discovered their general motivations when picking a destination to visit. They include, seeking quality time in natural beauty, immersing themselves in the local culture and escaping from daily routine, and seeking relaxation. “People in China increasingly enjoy holidays to long-haul destinations. Their growing appetite for unique and exciting experiences means that Scotland is perfectly positioned to offer them exactly what they’re looking for time and time again,” said Hazel Sellar, VisitScotland Market Manager for China.




Expressions of creativity A

ward-winning Highland distillery Tomatin has announced the release of two new limited-edition expressions, a 2009 Caribbean Rum Finish and 2006 Amontillado Sherry Finish. The 2009 Caribbean Rum expression was initially matured for nine years in traditional Scotch Whisky Oak Casks before a one year finish in first fill Caribbean Rum Barrels. This distinctive maturation is the distillery’s second release using Caribbean Rum Barrels, having previously released a limited expression in 2016. The barrels have imparted flavours of soft tropical fruit, mocha and salted caramel, rounded off with a sweet, lingering finish. Non-chill filtered and with natural colour, the limited run has produced just 7,200 70cl bottles (46% abv) of this 10-year-old whisky, available world-wide and set to retail at £49. The 2006 Amontillado Sherry similarly spent nine years maturing in traditional Scotch Whisky Oak Casks, before enjoying a three year finish in first fill Amontillado Sherry Butts, resulting in rich flavours of dark chocolate, dried fruits, espresso and a hint of nut.


The 12 year old, non-chill filtered and natural coloured limited-edition expression has a limited of run of just 5,400 70cl bottles (46% abv) available globally, priced at £60. “Our dedication to the continuous development of Tomatin Single Malt has been reflected in our growth and recent award wins. We are constantly striving to produce exceptional expressions that appeal to our existing customers and a wider audience,” said Graham Eunson,

Distillery Operations Director at Tomatin.

casks sourced from prestigious partners within the industry.

“The array of tropical notes, sweet mixed spices and rich sherry infusions will hopefully entice a range of enthusiasts to sample the new products.”

The new releases are not the first from Tomatin. Back in 2016 the distillery released limited edition 14-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon and 9-year-old Caribbean Rum expressions which proved hugely popular, followed by the limited edition 15 year old Moscatel finished single malt released last year.

Tomatin’s ability to experiment with creatively finished expressions comes from the distillery’s exceptional wood policy which ensures there is a wide range of


Historic home in need of a little TLC

Photos: Strutt & Parker Craig Castle and estate



former clan stronghold dating back almost 500 years has gone on the market for little more than the price of a two-bedroom flat in a desirable area of central London. Situated in the shadow of the foothills of the spectacular Grampian mountains, near Rhynie, Craig Castle was once home to the Gordon clan and dates back more than 470-years to the 16th century.


The Gordons were once close allies of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce as they rose to become one of the most powerful families, dominating much of the North-east of Scotland. The estate dates back as far as the early 13th century when, in around 1220, a previous castle of timber construction is documented to have stood to the south of Craig Castle. Little remains of that castle today, apart from a mound and a stone dovecot. By the 15th century, the original timber castle was in a state of disrepair and the lands of Auchindoir were owned by the Irvines of Drum before they reverted to the Crown. In 1510, King James IV granted a charter of the lands in favour of Patrick Gordon, who commissioned the construction of Craig Castle. He was reputedly killed during the Battle of Flodden and the original castle was finished by his son William in



1548. The castle remained a Gordon stronghold for over three centuries. The oldest part of the castle is set out across an L-shaped plan, typical of the era. Sixteenth century features


include a grand arched ornamental gateway with a timber arched door and weighty iron knocker, gun loops, crow-stepped gabling, a turret and a corbelled parapet.


Internally, the original part of the castle boasts a barrel vaulted ceiling, a cell, a priest hole, a former chapel which is now the dining hall, a minstrels’ gallery and a spiral staircase. There is an even evidence of an escape tunnel, although this has long since been sealed. The 18th century wing – adjoined to the original by a connecting passage – is thought to have been designed by renowned architect William Adam. A Georgian addition, designed by Aberdonian architect Archibald Simpson, was constructed in 1832. The castle is in mixed condition; the original core is in need of renovation but the inhabitable accommodation includes three reception rooms and nine bedrooms. The landscaped gardens of the estate come complete with a walled garden, mature specimen trees, a summer house and a B-listed sundial.


The sale includes two traditional


cottages, a B-listed former mill with potential for development subject to the necessary planning consents, a block of mature coniferous woodland and open hill ground with mixed sporting and environment potential. There are two former grouse moors on the estate and a renewed management programme could provide the opportunity for grouse shooting in future. Stalking is also available. “Castle Craig Estate occupies a fairy tale setting in one of the most private and stunning landscapes of Scotland. The land is varied, from low pastures to open heather hill and woodland, which in part is intersected by the meandering Burn of Craig,” said Diane Fleming, selling agent for Strutt & Parker who are asking for offers over £1.23m. “The estate offers abundant potential from reinstating the oldest part of the castle to its former glory, developing a former mill to create a further


dwelling or studio/workshop and capitalising on sporting potential such as re-establishing grouse numbers.

whisky industry and many outdoorsy pursuits on the doorstep including skiing, walking, cycling, shooting, fishing and stalking.

“The castle in particular will capture the imagination of those with vision and ambition, as well as those attracted to history and architecture. The area offers a fantastic lifestyle near Aberdeen with attractions such as the renowned Scottish

“The estate is offered for sale as a whole or in five lots providing opportunities at several different levels of the rural property market. We expect it to attract significant interest from both British and international buyers.”




Flying the flag for MacLeod heritage

Photos: Dunvegan Castle & Gardens / MacLeod Estate. Dunvegan Castle & Gardens


by Paul Watson


ne of Scotland’s most legendary castles has won a prestigious honour in recognition of efforts to cement its reputation as a worldclass heritage attraction.


Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye has been occupied continuously by the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for more than 750 years and is probably the oldest inhabited castle in the north of Scotland.


Situated by the shore of Loch Dunvegan it provides a living link with the past and the supernatural. Among the swords, silver and family portraits there’s the legendary Fairy Flag which is reputed to have been granted to the Clan Chief to be flown

in times of mortal danger to summon help from Fairy Kingdom. It’s charms will only work three times and so far it’s only been used twice. But even without paranormal help the team in charge of keeping the


castle running have done an almost superhuman job and been honoured with the 2019 Historic Houses Restoration Award. “All the restoration works we have undertaken at Dunvegan over the last 10 years have been largely accomplished in-house, with the help of a fantastic team of dedicated external contractors,” said Hugh MacLeod, Estate Director, who praised his late father for having the vision to see that in order to ‘Hold Fast’ (the clan MacLeod motto) in the modern world, Dunvegan had to adapt from being a medieval fortress designed to keep people out, to a place focused on welcoming people in.

Photo by Bizzy Arnott Photography James Birch, President of Historic Houses, Hugh MacLeod, Estate Director and Harry Dalmeny, UK Chairman of Sotheby’s at the Sotheby’s awards reception in London


“This award comes in the middle of another successful tourism season for the estate despite. High visitor numbers create additional pressures for not only our team, but also the historic fabric of a Highland fortress that was designed to be impregnable. But these challenges

Photo by Bizzy Arnott Photography


have been largely addressed thanks to a rolling programme of major capital investment across the estate, totalling £4 million since 2008.” The Historic Houses Restoration Award is the latest in a number of accolades won by the estate, including the Scottish Land & Estates’ ‘Helping it Happen Tourism

Award’ in 2018 and a 5* Visit Scotland quality assurance award in 2016. Since the early make or break days of the 1960s the estate team have extended a warm Highland welcome to millions of visitors and had a beneficial ripple effect for many Skye businesses that rely on crucial visitor spend. It’s calculated that each year Dunvegan contributes an average of £900,000 through a combination of


employment and purchase of local goods and services. Since 2008 alone, it has contributed £8.3m to the Skye economy and over £12m to the Scottish economy. “This award will help us to continue to ‘Hold Fast’ to our goal of preserving, developing and sharing the unique heritage of Dunvegan Castle and the MacLeod Estate for future generations to enjoy,” added Hugh. Dunvegan Castle & Gardens is at the

heart of the 42,000-acre MacLeod Estate on the Isle of Skye. It is a major heritage attraction, acting as a magnet for over 174,000 visitors each year. “For more than 10 years this award has brought to the fore examples

of the whole range of Historic Houses member properties, from family homes lovingly updated for a new generation to whole buildings brought back into use as venues for events, backdrops for films, or places to stay,� said James Birch, President of Historic Houses.




An actor’s life for me…by Scott Kyle

Photo by J Cooper Rounding off the Highlander Fling in the traditional way


Fling has flung! A

t the end of big show or film project it’s not unusual to feel a little deflated but, I have to admit, weeks after the Highlander Fling in Glasgow I’m still buzzing.


After spending the best part of a year planning, promoting and organising the event, at Double Tree by The Hilton, I thought I’d be exhausted but instead I still have a huge smile on my face thinking about how well it went and looking forward to the next one.


Photo by J Cooper

Hundreds of people flew in to Glasgow from as far away as Australia to attend the Fling and by all counts everyone had a great time, and that’s mostly down to the audience and the performers who made the night so special.


Photo by J Cooper

Some of the costumes people made were absolutely breathtaking and it was really appreciated. It’s that kind of audience participation that creates such a lively and fun evening - so much so that folks are already booking tickets to come next year!

I know my Outlander mates Stephen Walters, Roman Berrux and Howard Corlett - enjoyed meeting so many fun and interesting folk; as did fellow performers Simon Weir (Trainspotting 2), Paul Cassidy (Holmes & Watson), Leah McCrae

(River City), Jai McDowall (X Factor winner), Tony McGeever (Shetland) and prolific theatre actor Arron Usher.

thinner by going on a diet and getting lots of exercise.

But, we all need a little help sometime so I’ve signed up with a personal trainer, Laura Park and the team at Energie Fitness in Cambuslang, where my football team works out. She offered to get me into shape for the Scottish Baftas on 3 November.

Next year is approaching fast so I’m already starting to pull everything together for the next one. I can’t wait!

Oh, the glamour!


way from the fun and games of the Fling I’ve spent much of the last few weeks trying to change my appearance a little - for the worse. An old friend of mine, Sean Wilkie, is involved in a BBC project and he asked me to play a part in his new production. I last worked with Sean in 2006 on a film called ‘Pondlife’ in which I played a love interest now he wants me to be a homeless, heroin addict. That’s showbiz! In preparation for the role I’ve had to grow my beard and make myself


Like a lot of actors my diet was never the best. It’s easy to slip into bad habits, especially when you’re touring from place to place, and just pull in at a fast food restaurant to grab something quick and easy. However, since playing Ross on Outlander I’ve shed more than 21lbs by replacing breakfast and lunch with protein shakes, eating a healthy balanced evening meal and playing lots, and lots of football. I’ve never felt better!

When Laura asked about my next role I told her about playing a heroin addict and she offered to help me loose some weight, so you’ll soon be seeing less of me.

Personal trainer Laura Park ready to put me through my paces



I’ll go anywhere for a game of football


ow that I’ve done so well in getting fitter I’m determined to keep it up, especially as it has helped me to play better in the numerous charity football games I get asked to take part in.

It’s like a dream come true to be on the same pitch as people like Frank McGarvie, Bobby Peta, Charlie Miller, Andy McLaren, Marvin Andrews, Derick Ferguson, Bob Malcolm, Simon Donnelly and others.

Later this month I’ll be playing with some of the former Rangers and Celtic legends in an Old Firm Greats match.

I’ve played a couple of times before, once each for both teams but then I’ll play for anybody as long as they give me a game, especially when it’s for a good cause.


Fitba Greats started around three years ago, bringing ex players from the Old Firm teams together to play with and in front of fans. The games have since become a popular family day out and although not a registered charity Fitba Greats does a lot to support the Samaritans and collect donations for local food banks.

On the buses


ne of the things I enjoy most in life is showcasing Scotland, especially to visitors from overseas.

The day after the Fling a bunch of us went for a magical mystery trip on a couple of open top buses I had hired for the day.

Photo J. Cooper Sampling whisky at the Clydeside Distillery

Our adventure took us to some of the most famous sights in Scotland but also a few places many tour operators forget about - such as Stirling Castle. This, for me, is the one of the best castles in the world. I always suggest it to anyone who asks for recommendations of where to go as it’s often overlooked by tour

operators who tend to take people to Edinburgh and then speed past Stirling on their way to Loch Ness and the Highlands. Stirling is one of the biggest and most historically important castles in Scotland. It’s easy to lose track of time there as there is so much to see.


Also on the itinerary for the day was a trip to the Clydeside Distillery which was enjoyed by all, but especially those of us who sampled the

Photo J. Cooper

Battle of Bannockburn memorial to Robert the Bruce p76

whisky. Other highlights included the Transport Museum, the Bannockburn battlefield and the Kelpies - a magnificent art structure which has to be seen up close to be really appreciated.


Fright night

Photos by Pamela Raith Photography Scenes from the West End production of The Exorcist


s we get closer to Halloween it was rather appropriate that Karen and I were invited along to a performance of The Exorcist playing in Glasgow as part of a nationwide tour. Adapted by John Pielmeier for the stage from Peter Blatty’s original


novel this Bill Kenwright production at the Theatre Royal was brilliant. Like a lot of people who’ve seen the famous film of the same name by William Friedkin I was really curious to see how it would work in a live theatre.

The movie about a teenage girl possessed by a demon has gone down in cinematic history as one of the most successful horror movies ever made. It was banned in a lot of towns because it had people fainting and throwing up in cinemas when it was released in 1973. You can imagine Karen and I were a little but


nervous when we went along. Although the stage show doesn’t have the luxury of cinematic special effects it managed to create a chilling atmosphere and made me jump in my seat more than once. Regan, the youngster at the centre of the story who is transformed from a sweet and innocent girl into monstrous evil entity, was played excellently by Susannah Edgley while Sophie Ward put in a great performance as her distraught mother, supported very ably by Ben Caplan, Paul Nicholas and Tristram Wymark. One of the best bits for me was hearing the voice of Sir Ian McKellen as the evil demon. I’ll never be able to watch him as Gandolf in Lord of the Rings in the same way again. There’s still plenty of time to catch the show at various venues across the UK between now and the end of November.



News from around Scotland

Poetry in bronze

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop unveiled the artwork, Bridge of Pages, by the local artist Gordon Muir and featuring a poem by the Makar, Jackie Kay


n ode to the Queensferry Crossing by Scotland’s national poet has been set in bronze in a specially commissioned work. The artwork, Bridge of Pages, by the local artist Gordon Muir and featuring a poem by the Makar, Jackie Kay, has been erected on the Forth Road Bridge west footpath.


“It is a huge honour to have a poem on the bridge. I am particularly excited that this is one of the few public poems in the world to be in braille. It is funny to have a poem that will outlive you. I think the Queensberry Crossing is a magnificent sculpture,” said Ms Kay.

The poem has also been set in braille along the bottom of the work.

Tackling climate change

n international network to mobilise cultural heritage organisations to take urgent action against climate change is to have its official launch in Scotland this month. Hosted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), in partnership


The 3.5m-wide plaque represents five pages of a book with illustrations of mythical and historical characters from the area, alongside scenes from the Queensferry Crossing’s construction. These were hand sculpted in clay before being set in bronze.

with arts, culture and heritage organisations around the world, the Climate Heritage Network Global launch will take place in Edinburgh on 24-25 October. The new body will highlight the severity of the threat that climate change poses to cultural heritage

and explore the potential of the sector to inspire climate action and support communities in the equitable transition to a low carbon future. Partners from cities, regions, universities and cultural organisations around the world will attend, including representatives from

the California Office of Historic Preservation, Historic England, The

Metropolitan Institute of Cultural Heritage in Ecuador and The

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland.


China, and welcomed almost 120 new students on to a new double degree in Biomedical Engineering, to be delivered as part of a Joint

Educational Partnership between the two institutions.

New research centre links China and Dundee

he University of Dundee has opened a new joint research centre with North Eastern University (NEU),

The four-year programme, the


final 12 months of which will be in Dundee, will be taught by academic staff from both Dundee and NEU. At full strength the programme will host almost 500 of the next generation of leading biomedical

engineers, who will go on to work alongside doctors to deliver advances in ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning, and image-guided surgery to improve diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The programme is only the second Chinese Government-approved Joint Programme with a British University in Biomedical Engineering and is a recognition of Dundee’s expertise in this field.

Wad of money for Waverley


he last sea-going paddle steamer in the world will receive £1 million of Scottish Government funding to help

it sail again. The Waverley Paddle Steamer has been in operation for over 70 years,

transporting millions of passengers to a variety of locations throughout the UK but is currently out-of-service and urgently requires new boilers.

Refurbished rooms at the inn


ollowing an extensive refurbishment programme a new country hotel in the Highlands, The Cluanie Inn, has opened its doors. Dating back to 1787, the Cluanie Inn in Glen Shiel on the way to the Isle of Skye used to be a staging post for cattle drovers. The hotel has 18 en-suite characterfilled bedrooms boasting wilderness views perfect for a romantic getaway.


Explore Gaelic heritage


isitors to the Blackhouse in Arnol, run by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), can now enjoy free sessions to explore Gaelic heritage and culture related to the historic site. Local volunteers, who have researched and created the content as part of HES’ Gaelic Volunteer Programme, will deliver the sessions and explore their interpretation of the Gaelic heritage and culture associated with the Blackhouse and surrounding community. The volunteers have been encouraged to bring their own skills to the

Photo by HES Members of the Gaelic Volunteer Programme at the Blackhouse

programme and deliver creative and informative sessions through music, poetry, storytelling, crafts or talks. The sessions aim to highlight the central importance of Gaelic heritage, not only to understand the Blackhouse, but to the culture of the surrounding area. The sessions will primarily be delivered in English, but with every session there will be the opportunity to learn a few words of Gaelic. The Blackhouse, or taigh-dubh as it’s known in Gaelic, was built between 1852 and 1895 and was the home

of a Hebridean crofting family and their animals. The thatched house is preserved almost as the family left it when they moved out in 1965. “I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Western Isles to experience this new offering at the Blackhouse to find out about what life was like for those who lived in these historic houses, and how it shaped communities for generations,” said Jane Ryder, Chair of HES Board.



Sounds like Scotland

he country’s unique stories and people take centre stage in a new podcast called 100,000 Welcomes.

Taking the English translation of the Scottish Gaelic phrase, Ceud Mìle Fàilte, the podcast offers listeners the chance to experience an authentic Scotland as told by its people. From Alison O’Donnell (aka DS Alison ‘Tosh’ McIntosh in TV series, Shetland) and wild swimmers in Cairngorms National Park, to foraging in Dumfries and Galloway and street art in Aberdeenshire, the podcast aims to inform educate and entertain listeners, targeting visitors in the US and UK. A total of five 25-minute episode focus on five different themes: adventure and wellness; food and drink; nature, scenery and landscape; culture; and Scotland on screen.


Neil Robertson, Jenni Steele, Gillian Berrie and Alison O’Donnell at The Hippodrome, Bo’ness

100,000 Welcomes can be found on online platforms iTunes and




- with Fiona Holland F iona Holland is a journalist and long-time gin lover, collecting and sampling unusual and uncommon gins for more than

20 years. Recently, her job amassing the juniper-laced spirit has become significantly easier with the explosion of craft distilleries in Scotland. It’s

difficult to keep up with them all, but you can be assured she’ll try her best…

Boar-n of the land – a refreshing and earthy tipple Kintyre Gin

Beinn an Tuirc Distillery, near Campbeltown 43 per cent ABV £36 for 70cl


here’s a swine-like theme which emerges and unites this month’s offering from Beinn an Tuirc Distillery on the Kintyre Peninsula. Housed in an old piggery on Torrisdale Estate, some 12 miles north of Campbeltown and a couple of miles south of Carradale, Kintyre Gin is distilled in the shadow of the Hill of the Wild Boar – Beinn an Tuirc in Gaelic. It is the highest point on Kintyre and it not only supplies the distillery with abundant clean spring water, another of its streams also feeds the estate’s micro-hydro scheme, which supplies power to the copper still.

The distillery building

When they say ‘sustainable’ they mean it – it’s no hogwash! Celebrating its third birthday this year, Kintyre Gin is the brainchild of


The micro hydro scheme

Orkney Distilling’s Beyla gin


The Kintyre Gin team

Niall and Emma Macalister Hall. As with many estates and farms the length and breadth of the country, diversification is the name of the game, and they have achieved that here with aplomb – in addition to the distillery, eco-power and farming, Torrisdale House also allows visitors to enjoy the self-catering high life with views over Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran. Not surprisingly, there are an abundance of forageable goodies on the estate – and it took some time to work out which were both sustainable enough, as well as available year round for the gin. Step forward Icelandic moss and sheep’s sorrel – both found in


abundance and both of which bring marked characteristics to the finished liquid. And that rather brings me to the point. Everything about this gin seemed to just reek autumnal west coast of Scotland to me. On the nose, there’s a light sweet freshness, but it is followed up rapidly by a sort of damp, earthy scent – like wet bark and musty, fallen leaves. I honestly hadn’t selected it at this time of year for this reason – it’s purely a happy coincidence. A little neat spirit brings forward that hint of sweetness again, but what really hit me was an almost herbal medicinal tone; in a good way. There’s a good strong juniper lead, though not overpowering, and I was

left feeling it was an almost savoury drink, which I liked. Perhaps it is the Icelandic moss and the sheep sorrel which we have to thank for that, or perhaps it’s just the blended ratios of all the botanicals, but it was a pleasant surprise. In among the other botanicals featured, is both lemon and bitter orange peel, though I can’t say I found this to be a particularly citrusy spirit – they may, however, have been responsible for that little background sweetness, along with the almond, which further enhances the earthiness of it all. Diluting with a one-to-one measure of gin and Fever Tree light tonic and a little lime, brought the sweeter taste back. While the juniper then recedes

markedly, the woody, herbal notes leave it feeling light, refreshing and a little bit different. With or without tonic, it’s a gin which is certainly on the dry side and I enjoyed the almost savoury tang before the tonic was added. All this deliciousness is presented in an understated, yet striking bottle. Almost like a carafe, the wide overhanging mouth of the bottle sits tightly on a short neck with a smoky coloured bottle. The subdued grey background hues, host a pattern of contour lines, which correspond to the mountain-scape of Beinn an Tuirc itself and the stylised wild boar logo is simple and unites the brand, while firmly grounding it in the Kintyre landscape.

Ginteresting T

Adding to the ecological credentials of this distillery is the fact that, for every case of Kintyre Gin sold, a new tree is planted on the estate. Those visiting the distillery can also take part in this reforestation scheme. In fact, since the distillery began, and as part of a wider planting scheme, more than 15,000 new trees have found a new home at Torrisdale.


And there’s plenty of community spirit, too, with some of the distillery’s profits going towards worthy local projects, including Beinn an Tuirc Kintyre Pipe Band, which is sponsored by the distillery. The company also hosts and runs Gintyre gin festival and all proceeds are donated to the South Kintyre Development Trust charity.


Antique hunting with Roo Irvine Morbid Curiosities...

Photo by Stewart Cunningham Death mask of notorious body snatcher William Burke found at Inveraray Jail


he dark world of macabre antiques is something only a few seasoned experts would readily admit to dabbling in, but yet it exists in many forms. There are collectors for almost anything, from apparently haunted dolls and 19th century vampire hunting kits to post mortem photography and death masks.


Throughout the centuries people have always been fascinated by death but the Victorians took it to a whole new level. They were fascinated, if not obsessed, by the frailty of human mortality - not entirely surprising at a time when 57 per cent of children in working class families rarely saw their sixth birthday.

Death was very much part of everyday life. The deathbed was a focal point for many families as they gathered to say goodbye to a relative. Not unsurprisingly the desire to hold on to the memory of a loved one found expression in the advent of death masks, Memento Mori jewellery made from human hair and other items in a bid to hang on to the deceased for as long as possible.

Photo by Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0 Queen Mary death mask at Falkland Palace


Photo by The Continnuum Group Mary King’s Close

A perfect example of this is Queen Victoria. We all know she publicly mourned Prince Albert for 40 years, but it isn’t common knowledge that she literally preserved his last day, living it over like Groundhog Day. Their home was frozen in time and more startlingly; the servants would lay out Albert’s clothes every morning, fetched hot water for his morning shave, checked his chamber pot and changed the sheets. The very glass he took his last dose of medicine from stayed in the same position by his bedside for 40 years. Some may find this morbid and at odds with reality and acceptance, but this was simply the Victorian Way. Today, death occurs predominantly in hospitals, so we are saved from witnessing it in our own homes. We are as afraid and hesitant about discussing death, as the Victorians were accepting and almost respectful of it. Death Masks helped identify the deceased, and provided vital clues


Photo by Richard Mortel CC BY 2.0 Plague mask from the 17th century in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin

as to the character of a persona study known as phrenology. Occasionally, these masks will pop up in museums; rarely you may see one in an antique shop. For an auctioneer to find a collection of nine, in a rural Shed in Cumbria (as happened in 2017) is a rare day indeed. Interestingly, the death masks were of Victorian crooks. One was identified as Francois Benjamin Courvoisier, a one-time man-servant hanged in London for the murder of his employer and suspected of being a serial killer. The masks were expected to sell for £2,000 but went for over £40,000 - such is the interest in macabre history. But it’s not just criminals whose faces were saved for posterity. Mary Queen of Scots has a death mask made of wax, which was created after her execution in 1587. There are reportedly four still in existence, one in Jedburgh at the Mary Queen of Scots house and one in Lennoxlove House, East Lothian.

These examples are a real memento of our past; similar to the frightening masks worn by doctors during the Plague. The Great Plague of Edinburgh in 1645 took the lives of nearly half of Edinburgh’s population. The doctors that tended to these victims were formidable characters, dressed in long leather cloaks, large brimmed hats and eerie long beaked masks. Edinburgh, in particular dealt with victims in a brutal manner- leaving them bricked up between walls and left to die, in desperate attempts to control the spread of this horrific disease. In Mary King’s Close- a site I visited recently, the plague was especially rife and over 300 residents in that street alone were buried alive between the walls. It is no surprise the area is said to be haunted by its victims. The bird-like mask however, is the most powerful, physical representation of the plague. The masks are very easy to buy, as

Photo (PD) Queen Victoria in her mourning gown


Photo (PD) Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their nine children

Photo by Josh Berglund CC BY 2.0 Vampire killing kit

modern replicas, due to the steam punk trend. The real challenge lies in uncovering a 400-year-old authentic mask. One example sold for 10,000 Euros to a German museum, which I strongly believe is a fair price for this dark part of our history. Some antiques can’t have their value measured in currency.


What about the ‘unreal’, the supernatural? Auctions have featured haunted paintings, possessed dolls, evil boxes. All sold and most still appear to wreak some level of havoc on their current owners. The previously unknown category of ‘Haunted Antiques’, is certainly becoming a real collectable. The

UK’s only Antiques Paranormal Research Centre has opened as a museum in Hinckley, in 2018. Some would believe it to be inevitable that antiques can gather emotion and memories over time, considering the numerous hands they have passed through.

Kjetil Bjørnsrud CC BY-SA 3.0 Edinburgh vaults

A 2012 movie “the Possession” was inspired by a particular Dybbuk box. Rife in Jewish folklore, a Dybbuk is a malicious and restless spirit that is often trapped and contained in a box… until that box is opened. Unsurprisingly, they’re readily available online and can be bought for double figures. The only downside

is, you don’t know if you are buying the real thing, without opening it. Perhaps the cost of opening the box, would far outweigh the cost of buying it. I think it’s safe to say that the traditional antiques we have in our home are safer to deal with, if a lot

less interesting. However, if you do find that dusty little box in the attic, sealed shut and with no key, I would just leave it where it is, and make your money elsewhere! Happy Halloween!


Famous faces create popular places

Photos: Cottages & Castles Cape Cove near Helensburgh


by Scott Aitken


tar quality isn’t reserved for just people. Sometimes a spectacular location or impressive property can provide a degree of support to actors that people can’t match.


An internationally renowned show like ‘Downtown Abbey’ would, possibly, be less appealing without the magnificence of Highclere Castle, and would Scotland’s own ‘Monarch of the Glen’ have been as popular if it hadn’t been set amid the spender of Ardverikie estate?


Set-jetting which encourages movie fans to visit the sites of their favourite films has been big business for years. Now, some folks are looking for an even closer brush with fame with a staycation-location where they can walk the same floor boards as top stars.

One of latest properties offering holidaymakers the red carpet treatment is Cape Cove, a spectacular house on the shore of Loch Long, on the Rosneath Peninsula. The architecturally impressive, five-


bedroom beach house appears in a television show called ‘The Nest’, featuring ‘Line of Duty’ star Martin Compston and Sophie Rundle, who stars in ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Gentleman Jack’. Designed by Cameron Webster architects the house won the GIA Award in 2011 and the RIAS Award and Saltire Society Housing Award the following year. It has been used in the tv series as the luxury home of a wealthy couple, played by Compton


and Rundle, who get involved with a young girl from an altogether different background. The Nest is a five-part thriller set in and around Glasgow which is due to be screened later this year. The story revolves around a wealthy couple living in a luxury home and leading an almost perfect life. The only thing missing is a child and when they meet a teenage girl willing to ask as a surrogate to carry their


baby they jump at the chance. But, is it a dream come true or the start of a nightmare? Other big names in the show include Shirley Henderson, Katie Leung, Fiona Bell, James Harkness, Bailey Patrick, Kate Dickie, Paul Brannigan and Samuel Small. However, one of the stars being


tipped to get a lot of attention isn’t human. Cape Cove is already a popular holiday rental property but demand for the iconic home looks set to increase almost as soon as the new BBC thriller goes on air. “This is one of our most popular properties and it is usually booked up in advance,� said Mathew Bettoli of holiday rental company Cottages & Castles.


“Overlooking Loch Long, it has a private, sheltered pebble beach and jetty, and offers the ultimate in privacy, luxury and amazing views. As well as the beach, there is a huge decked terrace with barbecue and additional outside seating with a firepit and hot-tub. “The interior design is equally stunning, offering contemporary design, amazing views and the latest multimedia technology. Even better there is a pub within walking distance!�



Glasgow student empowering Africa’s young scientists

Photo by Martin Shields Sofiat Olaosebikan


by Helen Lloyd


University of Glasgow student is using maths and computing skills to train young scientists in Africa to help push the frontiers of knowledge in science and technology. Sofiat Olaosebikan, supported by students and staff at the University of Glasgow, has set up an initiative to teach and empower young scientists with the skills they need to help drive innovative research in the African continent.


“There are lots of problems in Africa that need to be solved. My goal is to raise an army of intellectuals that are going to contribute to the development of Africa,” said Sofiat, a PhD Computing Science student at the College of Science and Engineering in Glasgow. “I want to empower young scientists in Africa with the skills to help them bridge the gap between their preexisting knowledge and real-world scientific problems. I believe this will help them grow to become innovate thinkers who will push Africa forward on the frontiers of science and technology.

Photo by Martin Shields


“I am a good example of one such African scientist who was empowered by the opportunities I have been given. This initiative was born out of a strong desire to give back to the community by helping other young scientists in Africa and show them what is possible.” Since 2018, Sofiat with the support of the University’s School of Computing Science, has delivered computer programming workshops in Nigeria and Rwanda through her PWSAfrica project – which stands for Programming Workshop for Scientists in Africa.


Photo by PWSAfrica PWSAfrica workshop

“For my team and I, the experience and the impact we have been able to make was worth all the effort to set up this initiative. For some of those that we worked with, they saw where I am right now as something they couldn’t achieve,” she said. “But me standing in front of them teaching them something that they aspire to know and the fact I was also in their shoes only a few years ago, they tell me felt like an inspiration to them.” Professor Chris Johnson, Head of the School of Computing Science, said he is fully supportive of PWSAfrica and the work being carried out by his students and colleagues. “The University is not an inwardlooking institution. It shouldn’t be just about the campus or the building you are based in. It should be about your ability to get out, to influence how people think and how people learn in different countries,” he said.


“With all the pressures that exist today in University life to bring in research grants and to teach increasingly larger numbers of students, it is absolutely fantastic when a few people do something different and challenge preconceptions and go out and do something that I think is important.” Rachel Sandison, Vice-Principal, External Relations said Sofiat is an excellent example of the University of Glasgow’s world-changing student community who are committed to making a difference at both a local and global level. “We are incredibly proud of Sofiat’s achievements and ambitions, and are delighted that we can provide the supporting framework to make these dreams a reality,” she said. Sofiat completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria before getting accepted to a fully funded masters programme at the African Institute of Mathematical

Sciences (AIMS). In 2016, she moved to Glasgow after being accepted for a PhD at the University’s School of Computing Science. In 2018, with the support of the School of Computing Science, PWSAfrica started off a workshop series at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, delivering two weeks of training which focused on the fundamental concepts of computer programming for scientific purposes. Sofiat’s fellow PhD researchers and teaching assistants volunteered their own time and expertise to travel to Africa with her to work as tutors in the PWSAfrica workshops. “In our first two-week long workshop we trained over 100 undergraduate and postgraduate students from various STEM departments on the basics of Python programming. It was a wonderful start and a huge success - for the students’ experience, and their voracious appetite for learning; for the

Photo by PWSAfrica

Photo by PWSAfrica


Photo by PWSAfrica

team’s incredible journey, and the knowledge we imparted,” said Sofia.

Photo by PWSAfrica


“This year, the project ran a second workshop at the University of Rwanda. We are very proud of what

we’ve achieved so far, and we’re excited about making even more impact.”


Enlightenment 2.0 -

Discovery, Development and Innovation

Breakthrough in war on malaria


Mosquito Aedes biting a human

cots scientists have discovered a new drug that may prevent the spread of malaria, and also treat people suffering with the deadly parasitic disease.

parasite then grows in the liver and in red blood cells. Parasites can also change in the blood to take on a male and female form, which can reinfect mosquitoes when they bite and suck blood from infected people.

Malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease, currently affects over 200 million people, and kills nearly half a million people – mostly children – every year.

Now, scientists led by Professor Andrew Tobin of the University of Glasgow, have discovered a drug that can kill the parasite at all three stages of its life cycle – when it is in the liver, in red blood cells, as well as preventing sexual development of the parasite.

It is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which infects humans through the bite of a mosquito. The


“We are tremendously excited about these new findings, and hope they pave the way for the first step in the eradication of malaria,” said Professor Tobin, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow. “Our work has shown that by killing the parasites at the various stages of parasite development, we have not only discovered a potential cure for malaria but also a way of stopping the spread of malaria from person to mosquito which can then infect other people.”

Food for thought


aking decisions on an empty stomach could be more than just bad for our waistline.

While most people know shopping when hungry is a bad idea, because they’re more likely to choose unhealthy or indulgent foods, it appears other decisions are impacted too. New research from the University of

Dr Benjamin Vincent of the University of Dundee

Dundee, carried out by psychologist Dr Benjamin Vincent, found hunger significantly altered people’s decision-making, making them impatient and more likely to settle for a small reward that arrives sooner rather than wait for a larger one at a later date. Even when decisions are completely unrelated to relieving their food cravings researchers found people are much more impulsive when

hungry. “We hear of children going to school without having had breakfast, many people are on calorie restriction diets, and lots of people fast for religious reasons. Hunger is so common that it is important to understand the non-obvious ways in which our preferences and decisions may be affected by it,” said Dr Vincent.


Martian water

Dr Luke Daly


nalysis of Martian meteorites has revealed details of how asteroid impacts help create temporary sources of running water on the red plant. The findings are the outcome of a kind of ‘Martian CSI’, involving Glasgow university scientists, which uses sophisticated techniques to reconstruct major events that shaped


the rock since it formed on Mars around 1.4 billion years ago.

the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.

“There’s a huge amount of information about Mars locked inside the little pieces of the red planet which have fallen to Earth as meteorites, which new analytical techniques can allow us to access,” said Dr Luke Daly, Research Associate in Solar System Science at

The evidence gathered suggests that around 633 million years ago an asteroid crashed into Mars with enough force to melt ice under the planet surface and send it rushing through newly-formed cracks in the rock.

Preserving Iraqi Kurdistan heritage


cots academics have helped create new museum spaces and educational resources to engage Iraqi children and the wider public in the archaeology, history and diverse cultural heritage of the region.

Dr Claudia Glatz officailly opens new museum space

A range of education resources have been were created by an international team led by the University of Glasgow’s Dr Claudia Glatz.

Heritage Protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq project is aimed predominantly at schoolchildren in the region often referred to as the “Cradle of Civilisations”. It is where the world’s first farmers domesticated plants and animals around 10,000 years ago, the first cities and empires developed from about 5500 years ago, and also where writing was invented for the first time.

The Archaeological Practice and

“We want to excite, enthuse and

enable the people who live near, and sometimes on top of archaeological sites, to engage with and protect their heritage. This is critical for its preservation. Our project is the first of its kind in that it includes a wide demographic in this effort, providing information and resources for rural communities, museums and schools,” said Dr Claudia Glatz, a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow and project lead.


Putting the bite on midges

Photo by Dunpharlain CC BY-SA 4.0 Highland midges biting a human


cotland’s biting midge population carries previously unknown viruses, according to new research.

A study carried out by scientists at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) investigated the total collection of viruses in the biting midge (Culicoides impunctatus).

The scientists discovered several new viruses although there is currently no evidence they pose a threat to humans. There are at least 41 different species of biting midge described in the UK, of which 37 are present in Scotland. “What we found is important because biting midges can be carriers of arboviruses; and although

midges are not currently a public health concern in Scotland – and we stress there is nothing for the public to be concerned about,” said Sejal Modha, lead author. “Our research gives us a better understanding of midges and the viruses they may carry, helping us prepare for any possible future emerging risks through improved surveillance and knowledge.”

Award for combating silent killer


lasgow cardiovascular scientist Professor Rhian Touyz has been presented with the 2019 award of research excellence by the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension. The honour is the AHA Council’s most prestigious accolade and recognises research excellence and outstanding contributions in the field of hypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has few symptoms but can lead to a variety of health risks such as heart-attacks and strokes which kill more than 17million people a year.


Prof. Rhian Touyz


Highland hospitality for cyclists

Members of the Lonach Highlanders and Lonach Pipe Band playing for the cyclists



here was a special welcome in the glen for hundreds of people cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats as they pedalled into Strathdon. After an arduous day in the saddle


a group of around 900 pedal bikers and their support crews received a

rousing welcome from the organisers of one of Aberdeenshire’s oldest and

Cyclists watch members of the Lonach Highlanders and Lonach Pipe Band


most iconic Highland Games.

The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society put on a show of traditional Scottish hospitality for the cyclists as they arrived in Strathdon on the seventh day of their 980-mile, nine-

day Deloitte Ride Across Britain. To ensure the visit to Strathdon was memorable the society arranged for the Lonach Pipe Band and

members of the Lonach Highlanders to greet the at the end of 110 mile journey from Hopetoun House near Edinburgh.


Pop-up campsite in Bellabeg Park, Strathdon for cyclists in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain

Further demonstrating the community welcome, members of the Lonach Society School of Dancing entertained the visitors with a display of traditional Highland dancing. A sea of camping tents and a number of large marquees were erected in Bellabeg Park, which usually plays host to the annual Lonach Highland


Games. The overnight halt in Donside came amid two of the most gruelling days in the saddle for the cyclists. The route from Edinburgh to Aberdeenshire saw them climb a total of 7,000 feet, including ascents of the Cairnwell Pass through Glenshee and tackling the hilly Crathie to Corgarff road.

Eight miles into the following morning’s 118-mile stage to the Kyle of Sutherland, the cyclists encountered a demanding two-anda-half mile, 20 per cent gradient climb up the Lecht. Stage nine then saw the group cover a further 100 miles to reach their final destination, John o’Groats. Organised by Threshold Sports, the

Deloitte Ride Across Britain is an annual nine-day cycling event that sees participants complete a 980mile route from one end of Britain.

than made up for the exertion,” said Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society.

“Bellabeg Park was a very welcome sight for the cyclists. The climbs up through Glenshee and over from Crathie to Corgarff are quite something, but the spectacular views they afford will have more

“That scenery and those climbs will have been captured in plenty of photographs. “In recognition of the effort the cyclists made to get to Strathdon,

the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society wanted to make it a memorable visit for them. “As the pipe band entered the field the cyclists’ reaction was incredible. People were slightly in awe and clamoured to get pictures and videos.  It was great to see.”




Celebrating the best of Indie film I

Anne and Tim (Heather Brittain O’Scanlon and Ciaran Sheehan) in The Wating Room

t may not have the sun-kissed beach of Cannes, the celebrity association of Sundance or the opulent architecture of Venice but as the venue for an international film festival Paisley is pioneering.


This month sees the debut of a new and innovative event dedicated to showcasing independent movies from around the world.

more than 250 movie shorts and feature films representing a variety of genres, including comedy, animation and horror.

The two-day HB Film Festival at the historic town’s Wynd Centre features

Produced by emerging Scottish, British and international film-makers


each of the movies entered into the festival are to be judged on their merits for 17 different prestigious awards. “The HB Film Festival has been birthed out of the idea of supporting indie filmmakers from all over the globe and give them a platform to showcase their work,” said Gary Hewitt, Festival Director. “Our main goal is to support Indie Film and help promote Indie Talent”.


Unlike other film festivals, The HB Film Festival promises not to make any selections until the Final Deadline closes. This means every film that is submitted has got the same chance of winning. Although still in its infancy there have been more 259 submissions to this year’s inaugural festival and lots of interest from movie fans, producers and performers from around the country and locally.


In addition to a huge selection of films visitors to the festival will also be treated to live comedy, musical


entertainment and a Charity Movie Quiz - proceeds to Medicinema at the Royal Hospital for Children,

Glasgow. “As we are a two day event, we offer


plenty of screening opportunities for low-budget filmmakers and indie films. As well as live screening there will be networking opportunities and free filmmaking advice from local


filmmakers,� said Garry. “We want to become a cultural gathering for film lovers and professionals, to support the creation

of networks between filmmakers and local communities, and to initiate inspiring exchanges between filmmakers and professionals coming from different artistic disciplines.�


The beauty of Scotland’s industrial heritage

Photo by HES Dandy Roll, Woollard and Henry engineering works, Dyce, Aberdeenshire


by Helen Lloyd


n exhibition showcasing the visual impact, drama and power of Scotland as an industrial nation has gone on display at New Lanark World Heritage Site. ‘Industry + Aesthetics’ features survey photography of industrial sites from the National Record of the Historic Environment, which is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).


Photo by HES Welding Bench, West Fabrication Shed, Shipyard, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde

The images shine a spotlight on Scotland’s industrial heritage, capturing aspects from the everyday to the exceptional and the undervalued. The photographs were chosen for the exhibition as a result of a crowdsourcing exercise, which invited participants to look at the images and choose which words, feelings and emotions were conjured up by each. “The purpose of this exhibition is very much to capture those first emotions that grab us all when we look at an industry for the first time,” said Miriam McDonald, Industrial Survey & Record Projects Manager at


HES and curator of the exhibition. “Within the images on display you can sense excitement, sadness, awe, poignancy, pride and danger. As part of my job I have the privilege of visiting and researching the extent of our industrial nation, and Industry + Aesthetics is very much a celebration of this heritage.” The images from HES are being presented alongside items from the New Lanark photography collection, and projects from students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. “The wider exhibition, ‘Snapshots of a Lost World: the Decline of Scottish Industry’, explores the

past, present, and evolving future of New Lanark; using the Industry + Aesthetics exhibition as a jumping off point,” said Helen Martin, Collections and Exhibitions Officer at New Lanark, a unique 18th-century mill village sitting alongside the picturesque River Clyde. Located less than one hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh visitors can see recreated millworkers’ houses, historic working machinery and the nearby ‘Falls of Clyde’ waterfalls. ‘Industry + Aesthetics’ is on display at New Lanark until Sunday 27 October 2019. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Photo by HES Dismantling a brick-making machine, Mayfield Brickworks, Carluke, South Lanarkshire


Nessie’s identity remains a mystery

Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland A floodlit Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness


by Scott Aitken


he mystery of what lies beneath the surface of Loch Ness has been given a new twist.

A team of international scientists carried out extensive DNA search of the loch only to discover that while the existence of a mythical dinosaur is unlikely there may indeed by a monster of some other kind.


Professor Neil Gemmell and Adrian Shine

A total of 250 samples of water were taken around, through the centre, and into the very depths of Loch Ness by researchers led by Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago. The aim was to extract DNA from each water sample, compare it with a global database of known species and build up a comprehensive picture of life present in the Loch, from bacteria to fish and everything else in between. “Most species are so small you can barely see them but there are a few that are larger and of course the question we’re all asking is - is there anything big enough to explain the sorts of observations people have made over the years that have led to this legend of a monster or creature


in Loch Ness?” said Professor Gemmell. With over a thousand reported sightings dating back to the 6th century, Professor Gemmell says of all the ideas for what people have seen in the water, one of the more common, and outrageous, is there might be a Jurassic-age reptile or population of Jurassic-age reptiles such as a plesiosaur present in Loch Ness. “We can’t find any evidence of a creature that’s remotely related to that in our environmental-DNA sequence data. I don’t think the plesiosaur idea holds up based on the data that we have obtained,” said Professor Gemmell. However the research team tested

other predominant theories of various giant fish; whether it be a giant catfish or a giant sturgeon, an eel, or even a shark such as a Greenland shark. “There’s no shark DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. There is also no catfish DNA in Loch Ness based on our sampling. We can’t find any evidence of sturgeon either,” said the Professor who added that one possible theory remains. “There is a very significant amount of eel DNA. Eels are very plentiful in Loch Ness, with eel DNA found at pretty much every location sampled – there are a lot of them. So - are they giant eels? Well, our data doesn’t reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can’t discount the possibility that

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Looking across the bay at Drumnadrochit


there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore we can’t discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel.” The eel theory goes back as far as

Photo by Kenny Lam (VisitScotland) Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness


1933 and would appear to provide a possible explanation for a video, shot by Mr Gordon Holmes in 2007, which shows a four metre torpedo-like shape seemingly swimming on the Loch’s surface.

“Divers have claimed they’ve seen eels that are as thick as their legs in the loch, whether they’re exaggerating or not - I don’t know - but there is a possibility there are very large eels present in the

loch. Whether they are as big as around four metres as some of these sightings suggest – well, as a geneticist I think about mutations and natural variation a lot, and while an eel that big would be well


outside the normal range, it seems not impossible that something could grow to such unusual size.” Professor Gemmell is philosophical

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland View of Urquhart Castle from the loch


about the study findings, and believes no matter what science says, there will always be belief in the Loch Ness monster.

As many believers claim the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. Loch Ness and the ‘Nessie’

phenomenon is worth millions to the Scottish economy. Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to the loch and Drumnadrochit every year to catch a glimpse of the mythical

monster. At over 22 miles long, Loch Ness encompasses a huge variety of experiences to tempt visitors,

including boat trips, award winning visitor attractions, local artisan food and drink producers and accommodation that offers the best of Highland hospitality.


Chris Taylor of VisitScotland with Adrian Shine and Prof Gemmell

“Loch Ness and the mystery surrounding the elusive monster has fascinated visitors for years. It is a story that transcends Scotland and has become part of popular culture across the world,” said Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director. “This scientific investigation, led by Professor Gemmell, into the inhabitants of one of Scotland’s largest lochs has once again shone a spotlight on the Highlands. Its findings will provide further insight into what lies beneath but questions still remain, and visitors will, no doubt, continue to be drawn to the loch to seek the answers for themselves.” Professor Gemmell’s team included Adrian Shine from the Loch Ness Project who has conducted previous research on the loch, Professor Eric Verspoor, director of the Rivers and Lochs Institute at Inverness College University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), and molecular ecologist Lucio


Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Looking through trees towards the ruins of Urquhart Castle

Marcello from UHI.


“Prof. Gemmell’s environmental DNA survey of Loch Ness has furnished us, at a stroke, with species lists, to compare with those we have compiled over the last forty years with net and microscope,” said Mr

“This powerful yet elegant technique has also brought a new maturity to the popular debate about what much larger creatures might sometimes be seen here.”


Destination Scotland P

lan your trip to the most beautiful country in the world with our directory of places to stay, eat, visit and enjoy.

Rokeby Manor

Invergarry, Highlands Situated on the edge of the Highland Village of Invergarry Rokeby Manor is the epitome of a late Georgian-early Victorian country house.


This former country house, as featured in issue 32 of Scotland Correspondent, has been turned into a romantic retreat surrounded by landscaped gardens and natural woodland.

Royal Scots Club

Meldrum House

More personal than a hotel the Royal Scots Club offers a rare combination of all the charm of a country house with the added cosy atmosphere of a private members’ club in the heart of Scotland’s historic capital of Edinburgh.

More than 800 years of history are wrapped up in this unique boutique country house hotel nestled in the heart of Aberdeenshire’s tranquil countryside. Complete with its own golf course the 240-acre estate and 13th century baronial mansion is the epitome of luxury. As featured in issue 27 of Scotland Correspondent. Meldrum House provides a truly exceptional experience and is an ideal base from which to explore the rich and colourful north east corner of Scotland.


Founded in 1919 as a living memorial to those who fell in The Great War the club is situated in one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian streets and is open for bed and breakfast, meetings and events, functions and private dining. Featured in issue 22 of Scotland Correspondent.

Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire

Chester Residence

Embo House

A luxurious bolthole in central Edinburgh with an expanse of space and all the perks of a grand hotel as featured in issue 21 of Scotland Correspondent.

Luxury exclusive self-catering accommodation in a Grad-A listed Georgian mansion overlooking the Dornoch Firth. As featured in issue 24 of Scotland Correspondent. Embo House is steeped in history. This former ancestral castle of Clan Gordon with its 8-spacious bedrooms provides contemporary and luxurious accommodation for large family groups, golfers or even weddings.


Behind the facades of gracious, listed Georgian townhouses in Edinburgh’s New Town these 5-star apartments are spacious and packed with luxury features, including a top of the range kitchen, a heavenly bathroom or two and sumptuously grand living rooms. 9 Rothesay Place (Main Reception), Edinburgh, EH3 7SL. Tel: +44 (0) 131 226 2075


Embo House, Dornoch, Sutherland. IV25 3PP Tel: 01738 451610


Gleddoch Hotel

Carnoustie Golf Hotel

An independently owned hotel resort overlooking the Clyde Estuary with 75 bedrooms, an 18 hole championship golf course, an elegant banqueting room and a luxury Imperia Spa.

Carnoustie Golf Hotel offers an extensive collection of facilities, including 75 luxury en-suite bedrooms and 10 suites with amazing views over the Championship course, the sea and the local town of Carnoustie. Featured in issue 16 of Scotland Correspondent.


One of the most prestigious, luxury hotels in the Glasgow area just 10 minutes from the airport featured in issue 13 of Scotland Correspondent.


Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island

Mercure Hotel inverness

Located on the west coast of Scotland on a private 300 acre island with gorgeous views overlooking Loch Linnhe and the dramatic Morvern mountains beyond.

Featured in issue 15 of Scotland Correspondent. This stylish Inverness hotel has been refurbished throughout, blending traditional Highland hospitality with supreme comfort in the finest waterside hotel Inverness has to offer.

Benderloch, Oban

Featured in issue 3 of Scotland Correspondent. The hotel offers a variety of accommodation with 16 bedrooms in the main house, five spa suites in the gardens with private hot tub, two garden cottages with two bedrooms each which are ideal for families and six hilltop reserves overlooking Loch Linnhe with private hot tub and balconies.



Portavadie Lodge on Loch Lomond Luss, Loch Lomond

The Lodge on Loch Lomond Hotel, on the beachfront at Luss near Glasgow, is the perfect place to relax overlooking Scotland’s favourite loch.

Loch Fyne, Argyll Sitting on the shores of Loch Fyne on Scotland’s west coast, Portavadie is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and unwind amid glorious scenery.

As featured in issue 5 of Scotland Correspondent. The 48-bedroom hotel, complete with a range of conference and banqueting facilities for up to 200 guests and leisure facilities, enjoys an intimate, warm and charming atmosphere. The award-winning Colquhoun’s Restaurant and Lounge are the perfect place to relax and unwind and watch the changing landscape of the loch.

As featured in issue 2 of Scotland Correspondent. The resort offers world-class marina facilities, a range of holiday accommodation, restaurants and bars, beauty and wellbeing treatments, shopping and event spaces. The spa and leisure experience provides an exceptional way to enjoy the views over Loch Fyne at any time of year, making Portavadie the destination of choice for all occasions.

Trump Turnberry

Dundas Castle

Trump Turnberry is an iconic landmark on the spectacular Ayrshire coast providing warm Scottish hospitality.

Dundas Castle is a most spectacular venue for any event. This authentic Scottish Castle has been transformed into a 5-star ‘Exclusive Use’ venue with 17 bedrooms. As featured in issue 13 of Scotland Correspondent. Parts of the castle date back to 1416 and has belonged to the Stewart-Clark family since the late 1800s.

Turnberry, Ayrshire

As featured in issue 7 of Scotland Correspondent. It offers a range of exceptional venues ideal for meetings, events and weddings. Enjoy the fresh Scottish air while enjoying the wonderful scenery, exceptional dining options, indulgent spa treatments, outdoor activities and championship golf.


Enjoy all the amenities of the finest hotels but with the exclusivity of staying in your own castle.


George Hotel

Inveraray, Argyll Imagine relaxing by an open peat fire, sipping a singlemalt whisky after a sumptuous meal before retiring to a luxury bed in a 247-year-old hotel by the side of a spectacular Scottish loch. As featured in issue 11 of Scotland Correspondent. Each of the George’s 17 rooms have been beautifully decorated and many boast a super king-size bed, jacuzzi bath and even a real open log and coal fire to add an extra layer of romantic cosiness.

Glamis House Glamis, Angus

Built in 1798 Glamis House is a stunning, traditional home with an impressive history, as featured in issue 19 of Scotland Correspondent. The house is situated in the grounds of Glamis Castle. With room for up to 13 people to sleep the house is situated in a stunningly beautiful part of the country boasting superb beaches, great walking trails and renowned golf courses close by, including Carnoustie. Glamis House, Forfar, Angus Tel: 01738 451610

The Station Hotel

Glen Nevis Hostel

Situated in the heart of Scotland’s world renowned whisky country the Station Hotel in Rothes, as featured in issue 30 of Scotland Correspondent, provides the perfect blend of of history, tradition and modern luxury.

Visitors on a budget looking to spend time in one of the most spectacular areas of the Scottish Highlands can do so Glen Nevis Youth Hostel in Fort William, Lochaber.


With 14 bedrooms, including five luxury suites, the fourstar hotel is ideally placed to serve as a base for visitors interested in exploring the well-signposted nearby whisky, golf and castle trails of Speyside.


Fort William

As featured in issue 20 of Scotland Correspondent this jewell in the crown of Hostelling Scotland has recently been refurbished to provide a mix of private en-suite rooms and shared accommodation with all the comforts and modern conveniences of a home from home.

The Chester Hotel Aberdeen

Trump International

Balmedie, Aberdeenshire MacLeod House & Lodge is a five-star luxury hotel located near Balmedie, Aberdeenshire at Trump International Championship Links Golf Course and award-winning five-star resort. As featured in issue 20 of Scotland Correspondent. This historic Scottish mansion and lodge, set amid mature woodland, provides sumptuous accommodation, exquisite dining and an intimate bar. Available for exclusive use, corporate events and weddings it has all the facilities and amenities to suit the modern, traveller.

Situated in the heart of Aberdeen’s historic west end The Chester Hotel, with its 50 luxurious bedrooms and suites, renowned restaurant and stylish lounge bar, is ideally placed for accessing some of the most exciting and challenging golf courses Scotland has to offer. As featured in issue 19 of Scotland Correspondent. It provides a perfect base to explore the north-east with its abundance of castles, whisky distilleries and breathtaking scenery. 59-63 Queen’s Road Aberdeen, AB15 4YP. T: 01224 327777


Edinburgh The former Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) tender, MV Fingal, is Scotland’s first floating hotel, complete with Presidential suit - as featured in issue 31 of Scotland Correspondent Now berthed permanently at the Prince of Wales Dock in the historic Port of Leith, it is a unique addition to Edinburgh’s booming hotel scene. Developed by The Royal Yacht Britannia each of Fingal’s 23 luxury cabins are each named after Stevenson lighthouses, inspired by her rich maritime heritage.


This month in history


cotland has much to celebrate and commemorate from the births and deaths of worthy persons to notable events in history. Here’s a brief guide to some of the events and dates worth remembering this October.

friend Samuel Johnson - considered by many to be the best biography written in the English language.


1686 October 15 Poet, playwright and leading light of the Scottish Enlightenment Allan Ramsay, father of the famous painter Allan Ramsay, was born in Lanarkshire.

1713 October 13 Celebrated portrait painter Allan Ramsay, son of the poet of the same name, was born in Edinburgh.


1728 October 27 Captain James Cook, who made the first detailed maps of Newfoundland, was the first recorded European to make contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as being the first European to circumnavigate New Zealand, was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents.

1740 October 29 Diarist and biographer James Boswell was born in Parliament Square, Edinburgh. He is best known for his account of the life of his

1774 October 8 Rev Henry Duncan, founder of the first savings bank set up to help the poor which laid the foundations of the modern system, was born in the Manse at Lochrutton.

1780 October 4 African explorer Alexander Laing, who, in 1826, was the first European to reach Timbuktu was born in Edinburgh.

1794 October 28 Dr Robert Liston was born in West Lothian. He was known as the ‘fastest knife in the West’ for his speed and skill at amputations at a time when time was a major factor in reducing pain and survival of patients. He was the first person to carry out a surgical operation in Britain with the aid of anaesthetic.

Wellcome CC-BY-4.0

1852 October 2 Winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize for Chemistry Sir William Ramsay, who discovered the gases helium, xenon, neon, argon, radon and krypton, was born in Glasgow.

1911 October 26 Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean, considered by many as one of the major Scottish poets of the modern era, was born on the island of Raasay. 1921 October 17 George Mackay Brown, considered one of the greatest Scottish poets of the 20th century, was born in Stromness.

1796 October 24 Artist David Roberts, best known for his large oil paintings, depicting of Egypt and a favourite of Queen Victoria was born in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

1802 October 10 Geologist, folklorist and writer Hugh Miller was born on the Black Isle, Cromarty. Although he had not formal academic education Miller is today considered one of Scotland’s premier palaeontologists

1880 October 15 Women’s Rights campaigner, celebrated palaeontology and author Dr Marie Stopes, who founded the first modern birth control clinic in the UK, was born Edinburgh.

1922 October 28 Novelist Cliff Hanley was born in Glasgow. He wrote the words to the tune Scotland the Brave and, using the pen-name Henry Calvin, he achieved success in the US and Canada for a series of thrillers.

1854 October 2 Sociologist, geographer, philanthropist and pioneering town planner Patrick Geddes who coined the term ‘conurbation’ born in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. 1854 October 27 William Alexander Smith, founder of the Boys’ Brigade, was born in Thurso.

1940 October 23 Poet, dramatist, jazz innovator and champion of the Scottish arts scene from the 1960s onwards, Tom McGrath was born in Rutherglen, Glasgow.

Deaths 1318 October 14 Edward Bruce, Earl of Carrick and younger brother of Robert the Bruce killed at the Battle of Faughart near Dundalk, Ireland.


tyres died in Ireland. In 2005 he was inducted into America’s Automotive Hall of Fame

1821 October 4 Celebrated engineer John Rennie from East Lothian, who designed numerous bridges, canals, waterways and other structures as a pioneering the use of cast-iron, died in London.

1931 October 2 Glasgow-born Sir Thomas Lipton, grocer, tea merchant, philanthropist and contestant for the “Americas Cup” died in London.

Notable Events

CC BY-SA 3.0

1263 October 1 The Battle of Largs between invading troops from Norway and Scots defenders. The Norwegians were forced to retreat, putting an end to their campaign.

1845 October 26 Lady Caroline Nairne, songwriter and poet, whose work includes the world famous “Will ye no’ come back again?’ and “Charlie is my Darling” died at Findo Gask, Perthshire.

1935 October 9 Ornithologist and painter Archibald Thorburn from Lasswade, Midlothian, who was famous for his stunning artwork of British wildlife, died in Surrey.

1295 October 23 Signing of a treaty between King John Balliol of Scotland and King Philippe IV of France which promised mutual help against English aggression and marked the start of the “Auld Alliance”. 1297 October 11 William Wallace and Andrew de Moray sent a letter to the mayors of Lubeck and Hamburg saying that Scotland, as an independent country, was open for business.

Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0

1921 October 23 Veterinary surgeon and inventor John Boyd Dunlop from Dreghorn, who is credited with re-inventing pneumatic


1943 October 15 Perth-born poet William Souter, who wrote in both English and Scots and has been described as one of Scotland’s best literary figures, died of Tuberculosis.

1511 October 11 The ship “Great Michael” was launched. Built on the orders of King James IV it was the largest ship in the Royal Scottish Navy and the biggest afloat in the world at the time.

1883 October 4 The Boys’ Brigade was founded in Glasgow and went on to become a global movement working with millions of children round the world. 1881 October 14 A sudden storm resulted in the deaths of 189 fishermen, a third of the male population of the Berwickshire village of Eyemouth. Known among locals as ‘Black Friday’ it remains Scotland’s worst fishing disaster.

Alan Findlay CC BY-SA 2.0

1562 October 28 The Battle of Corrichie was fought near Meikle Tap, Aberdeenshire between the forces of George Gordon, 4th early of Huntly and Chief of Clan Gordon against the army of Mary Queen of Scots. The Gordons were defeated.

1939 October 14 A german submarine slipped into the Royal Navy anchorage at Scapa Flow and sank HMS “Royal Oak” with the loss of 810 lives.

1568 October 1 The Bannatyne Manuscript, the most extensive anthology of 15th and 16th century Scottish poetry was published by George Bannatyne, an Edinburgh merchant. 1594 October 3 The Battle of Glenlivet was fought between George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, with 2,000 Highlanders from the Clans Gordon. Hay, Comyn and Cameron against a Royalist force under 7th Earl of Argyll, consisting of 10,000 troops from Clans Campbell, Murray, Stewart, Forbes, Macgillivray, Maclean, Grant, Chattan and MacIntosh. Despite being outnumbered 5-1 the rebels won.

1850 October 17 James “Paraffin” Young was granted a patent for the extraction of paraffin from coal and shale.

1788 October 14 First successful trial of a steamboat was carried out ton Dalswinton Loch, Dumfries by Patrick Miller and William Symington.

1960 October 25 Elvis Presley, whose ancestors hailed from Lonmay, Aberdeenshire, touched down at Prestwick airport, Ayrshire on his way back to the USA from military service in Germany. 1983 October 21 The Burrell Collection in Glasgow was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth. The museum’s art collection had been donated to the city nearly 40 years earlier by the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell.

1687 October 19 First public hire sedan chairs were introduced to Edinburgh so wealthy citizens could be transported through the streets and lanes of the city too narrow for a horse and carriage.

Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0

1947 October 2 The paddle steamer Waverley was launched from A. & J. Inglis’s yard on the Clyde as a replacement for one of the same name sunk during the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk.

1880 October 28 Dr Henry Faulds, a Scots medical missionary from Beith, Ayrshire, published a letter in “Nature” giving the first evidence of the uniqueness of fingerprinting and its forensic potential in police work.

August Schwerdfeger CC BY 4.0

1995 October 17 The island of Skye was connected to the mainland with the opening of the Skye Bridge.


Date 4 ur diary


3 October - 3 November The Enchanted Forest By Pitlochry, Scotland Set amid the stunning Autumn woodland of Forestry Commission Scotland’s Faskally Wood in Highland Perthshire, The Enchanted Forest is Scotland’s premier sound and light event delivering a feast for your senses. Come experience the outdoors at night with spectacular imagery. 3-5 October Ayrshire Real Ale Festival Troon Concert Hall South Beach, Ayr Street, Troon, KA10 6EF A showcase of more than 160 real ales from around the UK along with some excellent ciders and little wine and plenty of food and snacks. 4-6 October Callander Jazz & Blues Festival Callander, Scotland, UK The Callander Jazz and Blues Festival is the largest rural Jazz & Blues festival in Scotland and is firmly established on the UK festival map. First held back in 2006, the festival has grown every year, with this years event featuring over 50 gigs at 15 venues, performing live jazz, blues, soul and boogie over 3 days. 4-6 October Ullapool Guitar Festival The Macphail Centre Mill Street Ullapool IV26 2UN A unique festival bringing together a mix of music old and new, of electric and acoustic, of steel and nylon, of seasoned performers and those, like the students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, just starting out on their careers, amid some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery. 5-12 October Crieff and Strathearn Drovers’ Tryst Walking Festival Crieff, Strathearn, Perthshire, Scotland Crieff & Strathearn Drovers’ Tryst annually celebrates the life, work and play of the people who made Crieff the cattle-droving crossroads of Scotland in the 1700s. The modern day Tryst is a walking festival run by volunteers and built around a programme of guided walks in the


If you have a future event you would like included in our diary please email details to stunning scenery and autumn colours of Strathearn & surrounding areas of Perthshire. The walks vary in difficulty but all are enriched by wildlife, plants, trees, history and the company of like-minded people. 5-20 October Dundee Science Festival Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB Bringing people together to enjoy science, with lots of amazing events from interactive live shows, science busking and creative workshops to storytime and discussion sessions across the City of Discoveries. 10-14 October Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival 21 Twageos Road, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0BB The Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Club promotes the best in traditional Shetland music with a series of events culminating in the annual Shetland Accordion & Fiddle Festival. 11-13 October Mull Rally Isle of Mull, Scotland 11-19 October Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail / The Royal National Mod Glasgow, Scotland Glasgow will play host to An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Royal National Mod – 29 years since it was last held in the city. Famous for celebrating our Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage, Scotland’s premier Gaelic festival provides opportunities for people of all ages to perform across a range of competitive disciplines including Gaelic music and song, Highland dancing, instrumental, drama, sport and literature. 12 October The Golden Spurtle- World Porridge Making Championship Carrbridge, Inverness shire, Scotland Since 1996, the World Porridge Making Championships have taken place each year in the Scottish Highlands village of Carrbridge. The oaty cookoff draws competitors from across the globe to compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and title of “World Porridge Making Champion.”

12-18 October Tiree Wave Classic Isle of Tiree, Tiree, Scotland The Tiree Wave Classic is the longest running professional windsurfing event in the world. It was founded in 1986 and has run to the present day. It showcases the best of the UK’s windsurfing talent across a number of fleets ranging from Juniors to World Cup Professional Windsurfers. 13-19 October St Andrews Golf Week 7 Pilmour Links, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9JG Can you imagine playing over the world famous links where names such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Old Tom Morris claimed some of their most memorable wins! Well here is your opportunity to achieve this dream and play The Old Course which hosted The Open Championship most recently in 2015 and will do so again in 2021 for The 150th Open! 14-20 October Edinburgh Cocktail Week Edinburgh, EH2 2AD Edinburgh Cocktail Week returns with its biggest and most exciting festival line-up yet! Following its popularity last year, the Cocktail Village returns to Festival Square, even bigger in size and experience with a new enchanted Cocktail Forest themed extension, 19 pop-up bars, live music and a cosy covered outdoor street food area! 17 October Scottish Society for Psychical Research “It Happened to Me: Real Ghost Stories for Hallowe’en” The Glasgow Theosophical Society, 17 Queens Crescent, Glasgow, G4 9BL Join us to hear first-hand accounts of the paranormal! Our evening will feature 3 speakers to kick the evening off, but then we’ll have an ‘open-mic’ for members and visitors to share their own experiences! The evening promises to be fascinating, entertaining and perfect for this time of year! 17-27 October Biggar Little Festival Biggar, Scotland A family-friendly festival in the historic market town of Biggar - a small town at large! Join us to celebrate music, dance, arts and crafts, literature, and drama. Biggar will be filled with an eclectic programme of workshops, exhibitions, children’s events, performances, a craft and food fair, and festival clubs.

17-20 October Loch Ness Knit Fest Bught Lane, Inverness, IV3 5SS Our festival is now in its 4th year and has become a must-visit event for yarn enthusiasts from all over the world. Record numbers flocked to Loch Ness Knit Fest in 2018 from over 22 countries. This year we have an enhanced four day programme with over 20 workshops, more than 50 vendors in the marketplace, demonstrations, main stage entertainment, sightseeing tours and evening events including highland feast, concert and knit along with Danish designer Christel Seyfarth. 17-20 October St Andrews Voices North Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AJ Set in the beautiful town of St Andrews, each October we present a varied programme of events showcasing the versatility and beauty of the human voice in an amazingly broad spectrum of genres including opera, cabaret, lieder, folk, spoken word, choral, a cappella, early music, new music and more… The festival runs during the day and night and includes family concerts, opportunities to sing-along and get involved, as well as free events to enjoy while relaxing with a drink. Come along and discover something new! 19-20 October Tweed Valley Forest Festival Tweed Valley Forest Park, Glentress, Scottish Borders,TD1 The Tweed Valley Forest Festival has been running since 2006 and has been attracting over 5,000 people each year from far and near to celebrate the connections with the area’s Halloween customs and growing forest culture. 24 October - 3 November Edinburgh Horror Festival Edinburgh, EH1 1QW The Edinburgh Horror Festival, or EHF as all the cool kids call it, is a multi-art-form event running over the weekend before Hallowe’en each year in Edinburgh.  Incorporating theatre, comedy, magic, spoken word, movies, games, improv, workshops, interactive events and more. 27 October Tamfest Ayr, KA7 1LU Tamfest is Ayrshire’s premiere family Halloween festival. Rooted in heritage and inspired by the apocryphal Tam o’ Shanter poem by Robert Burns, Tamfest is a festival unlike any other! With Tamfest 2019 we will be celebrating our fifth anniversary, it  will be our biggest year yet for the festival and we have chosen the bewitching Cutty Sark as our


theme. The infamous dancing witch will be at the centre of the festival this year! 25-28 October Dornoch Whisky Festival Dornoch, IV25 3SD The Dornoch Whisky Festival is an opportunity to learn about and savour malt whiskies in the beautiful location of Dornoch in the North Highlands of Scotland. 26-27 October Spirits and Spooks at Traquair Innerleithen, EH44 6PW Come to Traquair at night, if you dare, and experience a ghostly tour when inhabitants of the house will come to life to tell you their stories. Expect the unexpected as you meet a priest in terror of being discovered; the Earl and his wife discussing how to support the Jacobite Rebellion and the terrible consequences of what happened when they did. As you are guided through the house watch out for creaking floorboards and as the wind whistles through the ancient walls who knows what else you may discover. 26 October Glenfiddich Piping Championships Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH18 5TL The Glenfiddich Piping Championship was established in 1974 to inspire and stimulate the world’s finest individual pipers and to seek the best overall exponents of ceol mor or piobaireachd (the great music) and ceol beag (the little music). glenfiddich-piping-championship/ 26 October Illuminator Run Bridgeview Road, Aboyne, AB34 5JN Go wild through the night on Scotland’s toughest night half marathon. Run or walk 15 dark miles over rugged hill trails with just the glow of your head torch to lead the way. See the natural beauty of Glen Tanar’s ancient Scots pine forest in a spectacular new light. 30 October - 3 November Oktoberfest West Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh, EH2 2HG The Princes Street Gardens West is transformed into a traditional Oktoberfest with live music and great atmosphere. We have a special offer for your Sunday Lunch, so you can let the entire family experience Bavarian culture for a day.


31 October Samhuinn Fire Festival Edinburgh, EH1 1RN Our Samhuinn celebration takes place in Edinburgh’s Old Town which has historic significance as a site of ancient markets and All Hallows fairs, street theatre and performances (especially of the Galoshan plays from which our performance takes its structure). It is also an opportunity for us to bring our form of street theatre and performance right into the heart of the city. Samhuinn has grown steadily over the years and is viewed by audiences of thousands.


6 October Armadale Highland Gathering and the Perth Kilt Run City of Armadale 7 Orchard Ave, Armadale, Western Australia 6112 Armadale, WA Australia Celebrate all things Scottish at the largest Highland Gathering event held in Western Australia! You don’t need to be Scottish to take part in this annual tradition, so gather your family and friends to enjoy the visual spectacle of kilts, bagpipes and a medieval fair. armadale-highland-gathering-and-the-perth-kiltrun-2019/1319451038213977/ 12 October Canberra Burns Club Highland Gathering Kambah District Playing Fields, off Kett Street Canberra, ACT, Australia The Canberra Highland gathering is an Australian take on this traditional Scottish event. Bagpipe bands will mass in Canberra to compete in the ACT pipe band championship. Highland dancers will compete in the Canberra City Championship. There will also other music types throughout the day as well as historic reenactments and displays. In between watching the bands, dancers and other displays you can browse the wide array of market stalls or grab a bite to eat from the wide range of food stalls (including traditional Scottish food). There will also be a series of Scottish heavy sporting events run by the Tartan Warriors. 12 October The Bluebell Jog: Canberra Scottish Ball Albert Hall, 100 Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla Canberra Music from Chris Duncan and Catherine Strutt Australia’s foremost Scottish music duo. 17-19 October The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney

Get ready to witness the largest Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo ever staged when it marches exclusively into Sydney for four shows only at ANZ Stadium. Featuring over 1,500 of the world’s finest pipers, drummers, dancers, military musicians and performers, this renowned Scottish spectacular will be brought to life set against the backdrop of a full-size replica of Edinburgh Castle. 19 October Scots on The Rocks – Chaotic Ceilidh Abraham Mott Hall, Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney Scots on The Rocks is a not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting Scottish Country Dancing in Sydney, Australia. Our October Ceilidh will feature music by ARIA Award winning Chris Duncan & Catherine Strutt. It promises to be a night of energetic and popular dances. Includes supper but BYO alcohol.


1 October Fish and Chips Supper Lord William Pub, 265 Rue des Seigneurs, Montreal Catch up with some old friends, meet some new friends! Join us for a fun evening at the Lord William Pub. Hope to see you there 5 October Centre for Scottish Studies Fall Colloquium Robert Whitelaw Room, McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph, Ontario Representing the Scottish past in film, text and media at the University of Guelph. 11-19 October Celtic Colours International Festival Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is alive with music, energy and excitement as people come from far and wide to celebrate our rich culture. From concerts to dances and workshops to community suppers, we offer a full range of events against a gorgeous backdrop of autumn colours. 11-13 October Scots’ Gathering St. Andrew-Caledonian Society of Calgary, Canmore, Alberta Unleash Your Inner Scot at a unique Cultural Gathering held annually in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Explore the arts with dancing, music and needlework workshops.

Learn new things with whisky tasting and cultural lectures. Enjoy meeting new friends at the classes, ceilidh and ball. 18 October Taste of Scotland – Whisky Tasting Night St Andrew’s Society of Montreal Officer’s Mess, Black Watch Armoury 2067 Bleury Street, Montreal The St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal would like to invite all members, their friends and anybody else interested in fine whisky to our annual Taste of Scotland Whisky Tasting Night. This ever popular event will allow guests to sample over 25 different brands of whisky and enjoy a buffet featuring a variety of delectable Scottish dishes. 19 October VPD Pipe Band: Pipes & Drams – A Whisky Tasting Experience The Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC Come and enjoy tastings of premium Scottish Whisky brands, ode to a haggis, performances by the world renowned Vancouver Police Pipe Band and Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers. 26 October Scotchtoberfest Maple Hall 2552 Old Montreal Road Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A4 Presented by The Scottish Society of Ottawa - an evening of Nibbles, Live Music, Dancing

New Zealand

5 October NZ Young Piper of the Year 322 Hardy Street Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand 7010 After the success of the inaugural NZ Young Piper of the Year in 2018 we are pleased to be holding the event again in October 2019! This exciting one day event consists of two core sections: a standard style competition during the day for all ages and graded events including a full list of Novice, D, C, and B Grade Piobaireachd and light music followed by a concert style event in the evening for those entered in the Under 21 MSR & Hornpipe Jig events. 12 October Mini Pipe Band Contest Murphys Law Irish Bar Papakura, Auckland Auckland – New Zealand Auckland , New Zealand


New Zealand’s top mini pipe bands will battle it out at. Info: 28 October VUW Wellington Scottish Interest Group - ‘Stravaiging round the New Zealand coast’. Victoria University of Wellington Law School, Old Government Buildings, Lambton Quay, Wellington 40 years a professional geologist with GNS Science (and predecessors) – possibly best known as ‘the geologist at Te Papa’ and as a science communicator, Dr Hamish Campbell will give an illustrated account of some of his adventures as a co-presenter on ‘Coast New Zealand’ – “behind every co-presenter is a great Scot”.


4-6 October Scottish North American Leadership Conference 2019 St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit, Kilgour Scottish Centre, Troy, Michigan. This year’s theme includes genealogy and The Scottish North American Diaspora: Our Scottish Ancestral Roots and the Cultural Pathways Guiding Our Journey. Featuring Friday Evening’s Keynote Speaker The Rt. Hon. Viscount Dunrossil. 5-6 October Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Festival Riverside Park, 500 S. Light Plant Rd, Aztec, New Mexico The Aztec Highland Games features traditional Highland sports, lots of music and family entertainments for a great day out for all ages. 5 October Kilt Fest NJ Liberty Lake Park, Bordentown, NJ If you have a kilt, wear it to Kilt Fest. If you don’t have one, here is your chance to get one. If you just like wearing pants, you will still enjoy Kilt Fest, a unique, medieval Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Kilt Fest is hosted by American Highlander and The New Jersey Renaissance Faire, and features the music, sports, food, drink and culture of the 7 Celtic nations. 5 October Scotland County Highland Games North Carolina Rural Heritage Center on X-Way Road in Laurinburg, NC. A family-friendly celebration of Scotland and all things Scottish. 1


2-13 October Seaside Highland Games Ventura County Fairgrounds 10 W Harbor Blvd. Ventura, California, USA The premier Scottish event on the central California Coast, organised to fill the void of a Scottish presence in California’s Central Coast. The SHG is a nonprofit public benefit corporation organised for the educational purposes of sharing Scottish history, art, literature, music and tradition. 12 October Indianapolis Scottish Highland Games & Festival German Park, 8600 S Meridian St. Indianapolis A fun and friendly day out for all the family to celebrate Scotland and all things Scottish. 12 October Radford Highlanders Festival Radford University, Radford, VA For 2019, the festival will return to the Radford University campus where it was proudly held for a number of years before moving to Bisset Park. Whether a family’s background is of Scots-Irish origin or of other descent, the day always brings with it an air of excitement and anticipation. There is no place more beautiful than Southwest Virginia in the fall and the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a beautiful back-drop for the fall festival. 12-13 October The Kerr County Celtic Festival Scottish Highland Games and Highland Dance Competition Hill Country Arts Foundation, 120 Point Theatre Road, Ingram, TX 78025 Come enjoy the Texas Hill Country and celebrate your Celtic heritage! 12 October Scottish Pirate Mòd Ceilidh Little Flower Catholic Church, 1805 Pierce Street, Hollywood, FL. The Scottish American Society of South Florida, Inc. began in 1983 when a group of Scots and Scottish Americans got together to put on a festival in Key Biscayne to introduce South Florida to the rich culture of Scotland. The theme for this year’s annual Ceilidh is a Scottish Pirate Mòd with ceilidh/mòd mashup with tartaned/kilted pirates thrown into the mix. 13 October Scotland Connecticut Highland Games 96 Waldo Road, Scotland, CT 06264 A day of Scottish celebration for all the family in

Scotland, USA. 18-20 October Stone Mountain Highland Games Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, Atlanta, Georgia, USA Come and join us as we gather once again on the meadows of the Stone Mountain Park located in the Northeast suburbs of Atlanta GA. Friday events start at the Host Hotel with lectures, dance gala, and receptions. On Saturday and Sunday, we will be transforming the

meadows and meandering tree-lined paths into the impressive mix of sights and sounds of a Scottish Highland Games presented in a uniquely southern style. Don your tartans if you have them and come join us. No tartan? That’s OK too! EVERYONE can be Scottish for this special weekend celebration. 26-27 October Richmond Highland Games Richmond Raceway Complex, 600 E Laburnum Ave Richmond VA 23222



Profile for Scotland Correspondent

Scotland Correspondent Issue 34  

THE magazine for lovers of all things Scottish. Great stories and pictures covering history, heritage, lifestyle, travel and much more. In...

Scotland Correspondent Issue 34  

THE magazine for lovers of all things Scottish. Great stories and pictures covering history, heritage, lifestyle, travel and much more. In...