Page 1

See Scotlnd by seaplane

Castles to lord it in

The power of a pie

50 years in one dram

Saving lives with innovation

Outlaw King behind the scenes p1



inside this issue 12 Ready



New seaplane flights to Oban and Bute.


24 The

pies have it

Inside the Scotch pie bake-off.

33 Seasonal


Festive luxury at Highland hotels.

40 Creative


Artistic view of Glasgow.

46 Remembering Eye-catching tribute to

John Muir


conservation visionary.

Going home

Sri Lankan artefacts returned.

54 Celebrating

St Columba

Marking 1,500 years of a legendary figure.


64 Matter

of life or death

72 An

Actor’s life for me‌

The team saving remote lives.

Scott Kyle on awards, charity, theatre and eating pies.

84 Fighting

unseen enemies

The war on disease waged by Scots scientists.

92 Hunting

antiques with Roo Irvine Fantasy dinner with Queen Victoria.


97 Short-term


Six of the best castles to rent.

Plain sailing

Award for innovative cruise company.

124 Gintelligence 132 Fiona Holland’s review of Old Curiosity gin.

130 Competition Chance to win a copy of ‘Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland’.

140 Behind



Insight into making Outlaw King.


149 Blending

new and old


Distillery captures spirit 154 Expressions of quality.

of interest

Decades of experience in a single dram.

160 Back

to barracks

178 Light

Home with a criminal history.

Looking for the heavenly dancers.


194 Stay


Places to stay, as featured in Scotland Correspondent.

Anniversary Vaults 200

166 Shadows

the past

What’s worth celebrating and commemorating this December.


Images relive forgotten times.

190 Mysterious

woman 172 Changing


Date 4 Your Diary 204

Solving the riddle of the Spanish lady.

What’s on in Scotland and abroad this month.

Cover Photo

Photo by David N Anderson / VisitScotland Kirroughtree Forest stars

Climate impact on natural behaviour.


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.



Photo by LLS Eilean Donan Castle

Water way to see Scotland by Paul Kelbie


cotland’s most iconic airline, Loch Lomond Seaplanes, has launched a new range of scheduled flights from the world’s most famous loch to two highly popular tourist destinations. The airline, which almost single-


handedly reawakened the glamour and romance of air travel tourism in Scotland, is now flying regular services to the picturesque seaside town of Oban and the historic and majestic Isle of Bute.

Operating on a daily basis the flights, which start from just £89 per person, allow visitors easy and memorable

access to the home of Mount Stuart one of the world’s most impressive neo-Gothic mansions, built by the descendants of King Robert the Bruce.

The magic island of Bute also has the historic 13th century Rothesay Castle, complete with moat and drawbridge as well as an abundance

Photo by LLS Crinan Bay

Photo by LLS Rothesay Castle, Isle of Bute


of Viking and Scottish Royal history. The new regular flights to Oban will reduce the arduous journey by car of around two hours 30 minutes, and train travel of almost four hours, to less than half an hour and take

Photo by LLS Loch Lomond towards Ben Lomond


passengers over some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Flying at 160mph below cloud level the seaplane is able to cover more than 80 miles in just 35 minutes and give passengers a breathtaking view of Scotland’s highlands and islands.


Operating from its base outside the 5-Star Cameron House Hotel Resort on Loch Lomond the company, which was set up some 15 years ago by experienced international pilot David West, has become a major must-do experience for visitors to

Photo by LLS Return to an age when aviation was exciting


the country, the beauty of which is especially breathtaking when seen from above. Located just 30 minutes from Glasgow, on the world famous waters of Loch Lomond, the airline


has been a pioneer in modern air travel after becoming the UK’s first and only commercial seaplane service for more than 50 years.

Photo by LLS Landing on the River Clyde in the centre of Glasgow


Over the years the airline has ferried thousand of passengers, including a long list of celebrities such as Outlander star Sam Heughan, Gary

Barlow and Howard Donald of Take That, Ellie Goulding, Ben Stiller, Susan Boyle, Chris de Burgh, David Hasselhoff and Bruce Springsteen’s

E-Street Band among others. The now familiar Loch Lomond Seaplane has featured in numerous


commercials for Scottish tourism, along with countless television documentaries and drama series. It was even used in the

opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Not only has the airline proved to be a unique visitor attraction in its own right but it is also a pioneer in sustainable tourism. By their very nature float planes are more

environmentally friendly than conventional fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and even most motorised boats.


Perhaps, one of its most iconic

television appearances was in animated form in the popular Irn-Bru Snowman - The Sequel commercial.

Seaplanes don’t need acres of concrete runways which scar the landscape and, unlike most power driven marine vessels, a seaplane’s propeller is entirely above the water

Photo by LLS The three Forth bridges

so it doesn’t disturb sediments or marine life. Additionally they don’t spread non native species, discharge oily bilge or sewage and any wake caused by their motion through the water is too small to be a factor in shoreline erosion. The seaplane has proved to be ideal for Scotland, a country with 6,200 miles of coastline, 562 large freshwater lochs and 790 major islands. It has helped open parts of the country normally difficult and time consuming to access. The airline is has won large number of accolades for innovation, unique experience and was even voted by Scots in a nationwide poll as the country’s top “Must Do” activity.

Photo by LLS Looking towards the Snow capped Cuillins on Skye




The pie’s the limit by Paul Kelbie Photos by Stewart Cunningham


lder than the vast majority of tartans but as Scottish as bagpipes and haggis the humble Scotch pie is an often overlooked traditional delicacy.


Although its exact origins have been lost in the mists of time this tasty dish is the ultimate in convenience food, enjoyed by working men, football fans and families throughout the country. It has been a staple of the Scottish

diet for more than 500 years and there are almost as many varieties as there are clans. Every butcher, baker and pie maker has their own secret ingredient or method which has been refined and perfected over many years, sometimes generations, as recipes are handed down from father


The judges get ready to tuck in.

to son or mother to daughter. Made from a pastry that is both crunchy and moist and, traditionally, filled with minced mutton seasoned to taste it is so much more than just a pie. It is an iconic link with history that bonds people together. There can be few native born Scots in the world who have never tasted a Scotch pie. Deliciously practical it is a dish that can be eaten hot or cold, while sitting down at the table or on the move and, most importantly for ordinary families, it is both a satisfying and economical meal. Like most things the Scotch pie has evolved. Mutton is now often replaced with beef mince and the range of filling ingredients extends to haggis, macaroni, mashed potato, baked beans, cheese, curry and other adaptations. Once a year the best of the best pie makers, from all over Scotland and beyond, compete in the World Championship Scotch Pie Awards to


see who is the best. Now in its 21st year the championship, which was started in 1999 by Fife butcher and baker Alan Stuart, has grown from just being about Scotch pies to include everything from macaroni pies to apple pies, with sausage rolls, bridies, steak pies, hot savoury, cold savoury, haggis and vegetarian categories added to the mix. This year a small army of 60 handpicked, independent judges including Scotland Correspondent’s Scott Kyle - had to examine, smell, taste and mark more than 450 different pies from over 70 entrants. It is a serious responsibility as the kudos of being crowned Scotch Pie Champion is priceless. The resulting publicity can catapult the winner to international recognition and get people willing to travel huge distances just to taste the winning product. “I grew up eating Scotch pies and I thought I knew all there is to know

about what makes a good one,” said Scott, a self-confessed pie lover. “I’ve never seen so many pies in my life. Every one of them looked beautiful, smelled wonderful and tasted fantastic. It’s a tough job picking the best and I’m glad I was not on my own in making the decisions”. Each pie was subjected to range of

tests by a variety of judges who gave marks for each one. The scores were then added up ready for the results to be declared at a big gala dinner in January. One entrant eagerly waiting the announcement is Kevin Haggard from Santa Maria, California. As the only Scotch Pie maker in


Kevin Haggard - a contender for the crown

America Kevin has been making the delicacy for over 30 years, supplying around 300,000 pies a year to ScotsAmericans across the US. “This is my fourth year entering the competition,” said Kevin, of Sunblest Foods - home to www., who flew to Scotland specially to take part in the competition. Kevin, 59, fell in love with the Scotch pie while, as a young man, he was backpacking around the world. It was


the start of a passion which saw him take up jobs working for a Scottish baker in Australia and later for a Scottish baker in Canada to learn the skills to take back to the USA. “When I got back to my home town of Seattle I opened up my first pie shop,” said Kevin. “The first thing I had to do was find Scotsmen. I saw an advert in a newspaper advertising a Burns Night Supper by the Pacific North West Scottish Society and got in touch.

They invited me to the dance to sell my pies and from that moment on I was immersed in the Scottish community in the United States.” Kevin now has a mobile vending operation that goes to all the Scottish Highland Games throughout the western United States, from Albuquerque, Tucson and San Francisco to San Diego, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and all points in between. He also has a business out of


Scott Kyle and Kevin Haggard

Topeka, Kansas that distributes his products through the mid-west and mid-south areas, including Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis–Saint Paul and beyond. “At the Highland Games there’s

probably about 50 per cent of the people who are very familiar with Scotch pies but they can’t find them anywhere in the US. They are extremely enthusiastic when they discover me,” said Kevin.

Evan Thompson, Scott Kyle and Kevin Haggard


“The other half are people who have never tasted them but they are at the games to experience all things Scottish so they will try it. We get a very, very large percentage of return customers once they have tasted one. Many people often end up

buying cases of pies from the event to take home with them. Kevin, who came across details of the World Championship while surfing the web a few years ago was inspired to enter by the feedback he was getting from the Scottish community in the US, especially native born Scots who told him his pies were every bit as good, if not better, than what they had enjoyed in Scotland. “I came the first year because I really wanted to see how I measured up,” said Kevin. “ Now I keep coming back because I want to win it. The first time I saw the trophy, a big wooden Scotch meat pie, I thought to myself “I have to have that!”. Maybe 2020 will be Kevin’s year. We’ll find out in January.



Trio of treats for the festive season

Rokeby Manor

by Helen Lloyd


hree recently refurbished and re-opened Highland hotels are celebrating their first festive season with a series of unforgettable Christmas and Hogmanay packages. There’s room at the inns for anyone looking for an ideal getaway to experience the tranquil beauty of winter in the hills and indulge in some seriously relaxing ‘me’ time.

The team behind Black Sheep Hotels, a collection of boutique Highland country hotels, have created a special treat for those seeking a Christmas with a difference. The hotels, two of which have been profiled in Scotland Correspondent magazine, include Whispering Pine Lodge at Letterfinlay, The Cluanie Inn at Glenmoriston and Rokeby Manor at Invergarry, are offering the ideal break away. 

Whether it is to discover what the Highlands has to offer, indulge in true tranquillity, or simply have someone else look after you, Black Sheep Hotels is offering an experience to be remembered for life, not just for Christmas. Their two-night Christmas packages, available in all three hotels, include arriving at the hotel on Christmas Eve to watch a Christmas Carols performance followed by a threecourse meal.


Upon awaking on Christmas morning, guests will receive a surprise gift at the door followed by a traditional festive lunch. That will be followed later in the afternoon with mulled wine and hot chocolate served by the bonfire before a light evening buffet.

Whispering Pine Lodge


A late check out is offered on Boxing Day to ensure you take full advantage of being looked after. The Hogmanay packages also offer an alternative New Year to experience by celebrating 2020 in the most magnificent of settings.


Upon arriving on New Year’s Eve, guest can relax in the restaurant for some tea and cakes followed by a three-course dinner with light musical entertainment to see you through the

The Cluanie Inn


evening to toast in the New Year. As guests begin 2020, a late brunch will be served followed by a threecourse meal in the evening. With a

late check out on the 2nd, guests have time to roam the Highlands and take in the serene calmn of the surroundings.

“These packages are great for those that really want to get away from it all during the festive period,” said Saket Gupta, Marketing Director for Black Sheep Hotels.

“The Highlands provides the perfect setting and space to really relax and unwind over the festive period and we look forward to looking after our guests”.

The two-night packages are available in all three properties and start from £499.




Celebrating creative Glasgow

Glasgow University Nocturne by Lynn Howarth

by Helen Lloyd


lasgow, once the industrial backbone of the western world, has found new recognition as “a creative


and cultural centre of European importance”.

largest city is the Cultural and Creative Capital of the UK.

According to the European Commission’s Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019 report Scotland’s

The study ranked 190 cities in 30 European countries on their “cultural vibrancy”, “creative economy”, and

Hutechesons Hall by Joe Broadley


Fighting the Gods by Lynn Howarth

Broadley, Lynn Howarth, Robert Kelsey and Margaret Johnston among many more. Glasgow has long been renowned as a place of world-class architectural heritage. The city boasts a stunning range of buildings that form its city centre and suburbs. The very fine, blonde and red sandstone buildings: mansions, terraces, tenements, public, civic and commercial buildings and offices, were a byproduct of a period of rapid and prosperous Victorian expansion which made Glasgow the second city of the British Empire.

Elder Park Library by Joe Broadley

ability to attract creative talent and stimulate cultural engagement. To celebrate this cultural vibrancy and creative talent it is being showcased in a new exhibition held at the Glasgow Art Club.


This is Glasgow features work of club members which depicts, symbolises or reflects the City of Glasgow in physical, human or metaphorical terms using any media. The exhibition features work by established artists such as Joe

The new exhibition at 185 Bath Street displays a wealth of these iconic and recognisable buildings, including the Mitchell Library, the University of Glasgow and tenement buildings. They sit alongside works which approach the brief in other ways.

Shops on Albert Drive by Joe Broadley

City Lights by Lynn Howarth


Big Yin by Margaret Johnstone

Margaret Johnston presents a portrait of one of Glasgow’s most famous faces, Billy Connolly, who is also a long standing member of the Club.


Robert Kelsey, perhaps best known for his sea and landscapes of the Hebrides and West Coast, presents two pieces which are instantly recognisable in style but perhaps less

so in subject matter. One depicts a sandstone tenement in Maryhill, while ‘Saturday Shoppers, Buchanan Street’, shows Glasgow as a bustling, cosmopolitan city brimming with

Maryhill tenement by Robert Kelsey

energy and vitality. According to the organisers of the exhibition: “Glasgow is a place that moves ideas and culture forward, not just within the city limits, but worldwide. As an epicentre of contemporary visual and performing arts, architecture and design, the city creates with the future in mind while also honouring the city’s rich past.

The Glasgow Art Club has been at the heart of the arts and culture in Glasgow for over 150 years. It seems fitting to celebrate Glasgow within the building which has served as a meeting place for generations of the city’s most innovative and creative inhabitants, and continues to do so.” As Bridget McConnell, Glasgow Life chair, recently pointed out; “Glasgow

is a city bursting with energy, passion and creativity and filled with artists, designers, creators and innovators,” The exhibition, This is Glasgow, is open to the public Monday to Saturday between 11am and 5pm. Entry is free. Members of the public should ring the doorbell for access.


Tribute to conservation champion by Scott Aitken


he legacy of one of Scotland’’s most famous sons, John Muir, has been immortalised through a fivemetre high steel bear sculpted by renowned Scottish artist, Andy Scott. The remarkable artwork, fixed to a base erected on a mound planted with wild flowers, and fittingly illuminated lighting powered by renewable energy, has been unveiled close to the main road to Muir’s birthplace of Dunbar. Situated at the eastern gateway to Dunbar, the location has been selected as it forms the primary gateway into the town and is visible from the east coast railway line and A1.

Andy Scott’s giant bear sculpture at Dunbar


John Muir was born in the East Lothian town in 1838 but emigrated to the United States in 1849 where he played a key role in the development of America’s national parks.

Andy Scott and Kids from Dunbar primary school


John Muir (PD)

Muir was responsible for petitioning the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill, establishing Yosemite National Park. The sculpture of the bear is symbolic of Muir’s travels through the far-off wilderness of America’s west, through the Rockies and his advocacy for National Parks. The sculpture is made of welded steel and is fabricated from steel plates of various thicknesses, heavy at the bottom and lighter towards the top, giving the structure an inherent strength. Visitors can access it via a walkway. The artist, Andy Scott, is the same man who designed the world renowned Kelpies and more than 70 other extraordinary works of art throughout Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally.


A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, his distinctive hand-crafted figurative sculptures combine traditional skill with contemporary fabrication techniques. “It is fantastic to see this sculpture finally being erected as part of the Hallhill development, especially in memory of such an influential character as John Muir, which is particularly apt given today’s focus on the environment,” said Andy Scott.

welcoming landmark to the town and draw people into the area to find out more about John Muir.

“This bear sculpture will provide an opportunity to enlighten people about the man and his work. It is a symbol of the wilderness John Muir was such a passionate advocate of and is testament to his incredible desire to protect the natural environment.”

“It complements fantastic attractions such as John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar and the John Muir Way, which continues to be a popular trail with visitors and locals alike. At five metres high, we’re sure the sculpture will become a real talking point, helping to draw even more visitors to the area.”

It is hoped the bear will act as a

“We’re absolutely delighted that Andy Scott’s latest eye-catching sculpture has been unveiled here in East Lothian. It’s a highly appropriate way of paying tribute to John Muir, one of the county’s most famous sons, who played such an influential role in the development of America’s national parks,” said Angela Leitch, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council.

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland The Kelpies by Andy Scott




Wanniya Uruwarige, chief of the Vedda people

Ancestral remains returned to homeland A n elder from an ancient Sri Lankan tribe has taken part in a ceremony to mark the return of human remains to his homeland.


Wanniya Uruwarige, chief of the jungle-dwelling Vedda people, attended a special event in traditional Vedda dress, to receive nine human skulls – thought to be more than 200 years old – at a ceremony in the

University of Edinburgh’s Playfair Library.

The ceremony was the culmination of a study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Science

of Human History in Germany, and Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh, which confirmed the Vedda’s claim as Sri Lanka’s earliest inhabitants. The skulls, which were acquired more than a hundred years ago and housed in the University’s anatomical collection – were used to show that the tribe previously lived as isolated tropical rainforest foragers. The Vedda plan to display the skulls in a collection that will showcase their history as traditional huntergatherers and forest-dwellers.

Due to land loss and civil war, the Vedda have suffered major disruption to their way of life. Researchers suggest that the traditional life of the group could become extinct within two generations. The University of Edinburgh has a globally important anatomical remains collection consisting of 12,000 objects from 300 years of continuous teaching and research. The collection at the University’s Anatomical Museum opened in 1884, and is freely available for the public

to access. Anatomical remains are now utilised for research into the history of genetics, diets and the movement of people. Chief Wanniya Uruwarige, said: “The dead are very important in Vedda society. Every year we hold a special ceremony to honour those who are no longer with us. Even though these remains have been in Edinburgh for many years, their spirits have remained with us in Sri Lanka. This reuniting of spirits and physical remains – for which I thank the University – is a very special moment for my people.”


Celebrating Saint Columba Saint Columba converting the Picts CC BY-SA 3.0

by Helen Lloyd


lans are being drawn up for a year long celebration to mark the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St Columba.

Born sometime around December


7, 521AD in Donegal, Ireland St Columba, known as St Colmcille in Gaelic which means Dove of the Church, remains an important figure in both Scotland and Ireland, where he is one of the country’s three patron saints.

To celebrate the saint’s historic birth Bòrd na Gàidhlig have unveiled Colmcille 1500 – 12 month long global celebration starting on 7 December 2020 and running to 7th December 2021. Although there are still 14 months

Photo by Hchc2009 CC BY-SA 4.0 Castell Coch stained glass panel


Iona Abbey and Ross of Mull

to go before the celebrations begin Bòrd na Gàidhlig, in conjunction with its Irish counterpart Foras na Gaeilge, aims to ensure there is plenty of time for communities and organisations to co-ordinate events.


So far public bodies in Scotland, Ireland, Nova Scotia and the Isle of Man have shown an interest in marking the legacy of St Columba. Shona MacLennan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive officer, hopes more

communities around the world can unite together to co-ordinate a proper global celebration of a leader who helped unify peoples and countries through his spiritual guidance and through Gaelic culture.

“St Columba’s historical significance in Scotland cannot be underestimated. He arrived in Scotland at a time of bloody rivalries between warrior tribes. He went on to unite not just the Gaels, but also the Picts, who for centuries had

resisted invaders, including the might of the Roman empire,” she said. Discussions are currently underway between organisations in Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia in Canada and Isle of Man on how best to celebrate

St Columba’s legacy. As well as Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Foras na Gaeilge, the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Ealain na Gaeltachta in Ireland, Gaelic Affairs in Nova Scotia


Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Waves on Iona

and the Isle of Man Government are all getting involved. “The theme of Colmcille 1500 is very much one of togetherness, encouraging people to engage with each other at a local, national and international level. It should also increase awareness of Columba’s legacy and his impact to this day on our shared Gaelic languages and cultures,” said Ms MacLennan. “We hope by celebrating his birth it will build relations and develop new friendships, uniting people behind a spirit of togetherness and cooperation.” According to the history books, St Columba was born the grandson of the Irish King Niall, also known as Niall of the Nine Hostages. The village of Glencolmcille in Donegal is named after him. He entered the priesthood aged 20, when he became a pupil of St Finnian at Clonard Abbey. When a prince cousin gave him some land at


Derry, he started his own monastery, allowing him to travel throughout the north of Ireland teaching Christianity. In just 10 years he founded some 30 monasteries.

Columba was revered among the Gaelic speakers of the kingdom of Dal Riada, due in large part to his monastery providing education for the sons of its kings.

However, in 563AD he left Ireland as an act of penance after sparking a war by failing to hand over a copy of the Gospels he had illegally copied. The resulting pitched battle between two Irish tribes led to the deaths of 3,000 people.

However, it was after his lifetime that his ‘fame’ grew, mainly as a result of one of his successors, Adomnan, Abbot of Iona who recorded the ‘miracles’ of St Columba in the book Vita Colum Cille, or Life of Columba.

As a self-imposed act of penance, St Columba left Ireland and arrived on the island of Iona with 12 followers in 563AD, where he established a monastic community. It was here that built an abbey, which became prolific in its production of manuscripts, carvings and Celtic crosses. This continued well after St Columba’s death, with arguably its greatest work being the Book of Kells, which dates from 800 AD, and is now on display in Trinity College, Dublin.

One of the miracles recorded tells of when Columba visited King Bridei of the Picts at his castle in Inverness. According to Adomnan, Columba arrived to find the gates locked, however, when he made the sign of the cross they opened of their own accord. Bridei was so astonished he converted on the spot. Another involved Columba arriving on the shores of the River Ness in 565AD where he found local people burying a man who had been bitten “most severely” by a monster living in the water.

Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland The Rock said to contain the footprint of St Columba


Columba encouraged one of his followers to swim out into the Ness as bait to attract the monster. As soon as the animal emerged Columba gave the sign of the cross and the terrified creature fled to the nearby loch. This has been interpreted as the first written reference to the Loch Ness Monster. Columba died in 597 and was buried on Iona, which became a place of pilgrimage. Kings wished to be buried near to him and a network of Celtic high crosses developed around his shrine. St Columba’s feast day is celebrated on June 9. He was supplanted by St Andrew as the patron saint of Scotland, but remains one of three patron saints of Ireland after St Patrick and St Brigid of Kildare. He is also the patron saint of the city of Derry, where he founded his monastic settlement.

Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Iona looking to Mull


Photo by Paul Tomkins Entrance of St Columba’s cave near Loch Coalisport




Saving lives in remote areas Photos by Evolved Monitors


where rarer languages are involved. This leads to the colonisation of healthcare and reduces opportunities for early recognition of critical illness, which greatly increases mortality rates.

levels – and allow minimally trained users to identify critical illness through its user interface. Armed with this knowledge, people can then direct remote medics to where the resource is needed most.

Specialist training to read the raw data of patient monitoring displays is often not available in remote and small communities, especially

Evolved Monitors is a new start-up that seeks to change this by using clinical algorithms built into their remote-patient monitoring system to analyse the raw data – such as blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygenation

“We’ve continuously gone down a road where we keep adding raw data to the screens of medical monitors like the electrocardiogram, and it’s quite a high skillset to analyse them. These machines are locked away in a

new startup business that could fundamentally change the way critical illness is identified, responded to and save lives in remote communities is looking for cofounders to help evolve the future of patient monitoring technology.



critical care ward where we have the smartest doctors and nurses already. We want to move that knowledge far, far forward into the hands of everyday users so that we can start picking up on these illnesses at home and in remote areas because we realise that early recognition of critical illness is the key to survival,” said Nicholas Dillon, the Founder of Evolved Monitors. “I teach remote healthcare internationally, often through language barriers, and have taught via translators and even mime. It really makes you get down to the basics of what people need to know and get rid of anything overly complicated. Using this concept, we’re taking what was a really highend clinical skill and, through the combination of technology and user design, made it so that anyone can see a problem hours before you’d normally pick it up. This is what we are doing in hospitals and it’s what paramedics are doing. Imagine having a device like that in a small


village where it takes five days to walk to a hospital.” Nicholas, an Associate Lecturer at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and an experienced remote medic, has a background in the oil and gas industry working as a media on rigs in the North Sea and internationally. H was previously head of medical operations for one of the worlds largest oil fields and also headed up jungle and mountain type expeditions. His experience working in far-flung communities has been invaluable in founding Evolved Monitors. Early detection of critical illness within the home allows healthcare providers to be more effective and efficient when working in remote areas by giving first responders the right information to make the call on where to send resources. The mass availability of remote monitoring can also enable early detection of illnesses affecting large populations.

“Years ago, Google used search data for cold and flu recipes to predict flu epidemics and the rise of illnesses,” said Nicholas. “If you have enough of these devices out there, we can do the same thing. You’d have a really good, live understanding of population health and you can use that information to start predicting epidemics before they happen. This helps you to intervene before the problem gets much larger.” Evolved Monitors is one of 25 businesses to first successfully complete RGU’s Startup Accelerator programme, part of a suite of initiatives launched by RGU designed to promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the economy through the diversification of services and products. RGU’s Startup Accelerator is the only funded programme of its kind in the north-east of Scotland that delivers mentor-led development as well as


seed funding and incubation space to turn creative ideas into viable, high-growth businesses. Now with an understanding of the business behind his vision, Nicholas is looking for additional cofounders to take the next steps with him.


“Anybody with a passion for helping people and making a difference, it could be an accountant, a tech person or medical person, should get in contact with me. It’s an opportunity to get involved at a grassroots level with something that could be big,� said Nicholas.




An actor’s life for me…by Scott Kyle Starry, starry night


Photo by Colin D Fisher/ CDFIMAGES.COM

t wasn’t exactly a night of a thousands stars but the 2019 Scottish Bafta Awards certainly attracted the great and the good of Scotland’s entertainment industry. Among the big names at this year’s event were my fellow Outlander


actors Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin, who I have worked alongside many times in pantomimes I produced. In previous years Karen and I have been fortunate enough to be invited along as guests of Bafta. In 2015 we went to support our good friend,

and my fellow Kajaki co star, David Elliot who picked up the “Best Actor” award for his portrayal of Cpl Mark Wright in the British war movie Kajaki - The True Story. We were back again in 2016 as part of the Angel’s Share and Outlander

family, to support Ken Loach, Paul Laverty and Rebecca O’Brien who received an award for outstanding contribution to the industry. This year was different. I was offered the opportunity to host a table and invite my own guests, such as Stu Pearson, the real-life hero I portrayed in Kajaki. My other dinner table companions included Tony McGeever, who was in A War of Two Halves with me; comedian Raymond Mearns; Lisa Grifffiths, who I went to college with and who runs The Performance Academy

Theatre School; Simeon Rosset of Rosset Butlers; and Joe Foy, who I have known since my time stacking supermarket shelves at night to pay my way through drama college. It was amazing to be in such talented and supportive company to celebrate the very best in Scottish film, television and games. One of the highlights of the night was seeing Alex Ferns getting the Best Actor (Television) prize for his part in the drama Chernobyl.

Alex is a great performer and he summed the whole business up for me when he dedicated his award to the victims of the nuclear accident. He said: “I’d like to commemorate Chernobyl and the people that put their lives on the line.That’s what this is all about. I don’t care about anything else.” He was right! As actors we get to play characters, sometimes they are real people who have gone through extraordinary experiences. It is a privilege to tell their stories to a wider audience.

Walking back to happiness


way from showbiz I’ve taken on a new role as Community Fundraiser for Healthy n Happy, a local charity and Community Development Trust in Cambuslang and Rutherglen where I grew up. My task is to raise an ‘army’ of kilt walkers to support the good work of the trust which is helping to make the area where I spent my childhood one of the healthiest and happiest places to live in Scotland. The trust provides opportunities for people to actively improve their lives and the places where they live, work and play. It’s a great vision and one I’m proud to play a part in. I have travelled across the world to help good causes but now it’s time to give something back and help the people closer to home who have supported me. One of the challenges I have set myself is to help to get as many

Photo by Colin D Fisher/ CDFIMAGES.COM


people involved to take part in activities to raise money and awareness. I’ve already signed up to do a 23 mile Kiltwalk in 2020 to raise funds and I’d welcome some company to join me. Walking is a great way to get healthy and increase happiness so it makes sense to join in the Kiltwalk and raise funds for a great cause at the same time.


Photo by Colin D Fisher/ CDFIMAGES.COM


Supporting act

Scenes from Alex and Eliza



hen I’m not on stage I like to watch others perform so I was really proud to be invited along to see a play my old college friend Umar Butt has written, directed and performed in. Alex and Eliza, which was on at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, is a tale about the impact the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan has had, and continues to have, on a family. Despite the serious backstory it is full of humour, music and excellent story-telling.


It is based on a true story of Umar’s family which makes it incredibly emotional to watch. I found it especially touching when he was weeping on stage because I knew it was real tears. But, there’s a lot of laughs too. Umar and I last worked together in


2013, when we produced “How to make a killing in Bollywood� and toured the UK with it. We will be working together again in 2020 when he will be directing me in the play One Mississippi which deals with mental health issues among young men.


Photo by Stewart Cunningham Judging the World Scotch Pie Championship


The pie that loved me


s a kid one of my favourite treats was to go swimming on a Saturday and then pop into the local shop on the way home to get a hot Scotch pie. I use to love biting into the crispy pastry shell and tasting the warm, succulent filling. It was the ultimate comfort food, especially on a cold winter’s day.

Even as an adult I have continued to enjoy a good Scotch pie. It’s the ultimate in convenient food when you’re on the road as an actor, rushing between venues in different towns. As something of an amateur expert I was delighted to be asked to help judge the 21st World Scotch Pie Championships in Dunfermline.

However, faced with the prospect of more than 400 pies from over 70 competitors, from as far away as California, I admit it was pretty daunting. Who knew there so much more to judging a good pie than stuffing it in your mouth? I didn’t. It’s all taken very seriously as


the judges examine the pies for appearance (inside and out), then they smell it, examine the density of filling, check for imperfections in the pastry and that’s before they even try to taste it. It was great day and I learned a lot about the humble Scotch pie which has been a part of the traditional Scottish menu for over 500 years. But, if you want to know who makes the best pies I’m afraid I’ve been sworn to secrecy. You’ll have to wait until January when the winners will be announced at a special event - I can’t wait!

Photo by Stewart Cunningham


You can read more about the World Scotch Pie Championship on page 24.


Photo by Parasite Immuno-epidemiology group. Microscopic examination of urine samples for the presence of S.haematobium eggs by field technician in Murehwa.

Waging war on disease


cotland’s role in helping to eliminate tropical diseases that effect almost 1billion people is being explored in a new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

Parasites: Battle for Survival examines five deadly diseases, which


together affect 1 in 18 people around the world and thrive in areas lacking access to clean water, healthcare and adequate sanitation. Malaria, Guinea worm disease, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and leishmaniasis are among the diseases the World Health

Organisation is aiming to eliminate. All but malaria are classified as neglected, meaning that historically they have seen a lack of interest and funding from healthcare groups and governments despite their huge impact. Researchers at the Universities of

Photo by Matthews Lab. Tryapanosomes in blood

Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are at the forefront of these efforts. They are collaborating with scientists and communities around the globe to understand, prevent and treat these debilitating diseases. If successful in eliminating one of them, it will be the first time a human disease has been eliminated since Smallpox was wiped out in 1979.

Presented in partnership with these three universities, this interactive, family friendly exhibition will explore the Scottish involvement in identifying and treating tropical disease and highlight the research currently taking place in Scotland. With a view to engaging young visitors in STEM subjects, the exhibition’s creators have collaborated with secondary school

pupils to trial designs, games and text. “The five diseases we are highlighting in Parasites: Battle for Survival impact hundreds of millions of people around the world and yet they’re almost unheard of,” said Sophie Goggins, Curator of Biomedical Science at National Museums Scotland.


Photo by Parasite Immuno-epidemiology group Zimbabwe fieldwork. Urine filtration of samples to detect S. haematobium eggs

“Scientists here in Scotland are among those fighting to eliminate them and this fun and engaging exhibition will explore the cuttingedge research and important fieldwork taking place right now in the hope that these deadly diseases will soon be consigned to history.�

Photo by Sinclair Stammers, Reece Lab Female malaria mosquito blood feeding

Photo by Vincent Jamonneau, IRD Boat with tsetse fly trap


Visitors to the exhibition will find out how diseases are transmitted and how parasites can adapt to fight back against modern medicine. They can explore the discovery of these diseases and get a taster of how a laboratory works. They will then have the chance to put their new knowledge to the test by attempting to diagnose and treat a disease. On display will be objects from the lab and the field which are being used to combat these five diseases. These include an ingenious small boat which has been specially designed to catch tsetse flies, which spread Sleeping Sickness in subSaharan Africa and pipe filters which are used for drinking water and are

Photo by C.Faust Testing in the field


a powerful tool in the fight against Guinea-Worm Disease. Parasites is presented in partnership with with the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research at the


Photo by Julia Wcislo

University of Dundee, Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology at the University of Glasgow.


Photo by University of Glasgow Diagnosing sleeping sickness in West Africa

“By working together, we can find new treatments for neglected tropical diseases. The Drug Discovery Unit in Dundee was borne out of scientists’ determination to ensure their research could lead to new medicines. We hope this exhibition will share our passion with the public, and inspire the next generation of scientists to join us,” said Catharine Goddard, Manager of The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research at the University of Dundee. Photo by University of Glasgow Diagnosis in Malawi


Parasites: Battle for Survival runs until 19 April 2020.


Antique hunting with Roo Irvine

A Christmas wish

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their nine children (PD)


was recently asked who my ideal dinner party guest would be, with the stipulation that it should be someone connected with the world of antiques. It presented an interesting dilemma. There are so many personalities from history to choose from, including such luminaries as the great furniture craftsman Thomas Chippendale, the creator of jewelled opulence Carl Faberge or even the notable glass maker William Beilby. Maybe, I should choose somebody less well known, like a nameless Murano glassmaker carving out his career in the 13th century, Perhaps, I


should go in completely the opposite direction and invite somebody really famous, like Henry VIII. At least I could be assured of a good feast. However, doubtless after much mead, I might be tempted give him some subtle marriage advice, which would probably be a mistake.

Antiques exist in the context of history and Victoria’s long reign was a wonderful turning point for humanity during which slavery was largely abolished, action was taken to reduce cruelty to animals and efforts were made to improve morality and encourage compassion.

After much thought I decided the ideal dinner guest I would wish to spend time with should be more of a kindred spirit, a fellow hopeless romantic - Queen Victoria. I would dearly love to spend an evening talking with the monarch who gave her name to one of the most spellbinding periods in history about life, love and the universe.

She became Queen at the tender age of 18 and although many thought she would fail she demonstrated intelligence, resilience and an interest in technological advances which helped to better society. The Victorian era was the most eclectic in terms of styles, colours, and materials which makes the

Queen Victoria


Charles Dickens

period so attractive to today’s antique collectors. Victoriana has a special place in our collective resonance with the past, especially at Christmas when Victorian markets are all the rage and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens remains everyone’s favourite seasonal story. Like me, Victoria also fell deeply in love with the glorious land that is Scotland. After first visiting in 1842, two years into her marriage to Prince Albert, she was so enamoured by the natural beauty and sense of calm, she bought Balmoral castle. Recently, a Persian gilded manuscript based on Victoria’s Scottish journals was presented to the Queen and has recently been on show in Edinburgh at the Queen’s Gallery.


Marley’s Ghost by John_Leech 1843 (PD-Art)

In the book Victoria tells of surviving a carriage accident, where her life flashed before her eyes, and, less dramatically, recalls her first tasting of the haggis. It is a fascinating personal record of an extraordinary life.

functional need.

After her beloved Albert died, Victoria spent up to four months a year at Balmoral, calling it her “dear paradise”. It played an integral role in soothing her sad soul. It was her absolute, undying love for Albert that inspired the 19th century fashion for mourning dress and jewellery. She wore black until her dying day.

I’m sure that over dinner Victoria and I would laugh, cry, and put the world to rights. She wore her heart on her sleeve as, I hope, I do. We also share something else in common. The date she left this earth, 22 January, is the same one I arrived, albeit separated by quite a few decades.

Jewellery with human hair woven into it became trendy during times of mourning. This fascinating part of our history is hugely collectable and a perfect example of items that were born of emotion rather than

In her later years she became enamoured with Scotsman John Brown, her most loyal servant. She even took a lock of his hair and a photograph of him to her grave.

This festive season I’ll raise a glass to Queen Victoria and, in the word’s of rehabilitated Ebenezer Scrooge, that other giant of the Victorian age, say: “A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!”

Photo by Stuart Yeates CC BY-SA 2.0 Balmoral Castle

Photo by George Washington Wilson John Brown with Queen Victoria 1863



Dream castles for fantasy holidays

Bird’s eye view of Airlie Castle, Angus

by Scott Aitken


n years gone by most castles were symbols of power and wealth, or the stuff of fairy tale fantasies but now they are accessible to anyone.

It used to be that renting a tiny Highland cottage with a small group of friends was considered the ideal new year getaway but as reveller’s expectations have grown so have the size of the properties. An increasing number of people have discovered that arranging a family or group get-together in a stately home is more fun, less expensive and

altogether more memorable than a stay in many hotels. For less than the price of an average family holiday in many resorts vacationers can lord it up in any one of a rising number of Scottish castles available to rent. A lot of the properties are oneoffs and it is that individuality that appeals to many people who are fed up of cloned hotel chains. They want a traditional Scottish experience in an unusual setting, whether with the whole family, just as a couple, or with a group of friends.

Christmas and New Year is always a popular time for castle holidays for larger groups looking to celebrate in style as many people have worked out it can be so much more economical than a hotel with the added bonus of absolute privacy. Six of the best examples of Scottish castles available to rent include Airlie Castle in Angus; Castle of Park near Cornhill; Castle on the Loch at Dunoon; Muckrach Castle, Grantown; Old Newton of Doune in Stirlingshire; and Wardhill Castle, Aberdeenshire.


Airlie Castle This nine-bedroom, 18th century castle situated within a 30,000 acre estate in the Angus Glens is ideal for history lovers looking for an active family break.

Airlie Castle


Surrounded on three sides by dramatic tumbling rivers at the end of a long tree-lined drive, this secluded property is just 20 miles north of Dundee, within easy reach of the world famous golf courses at Carnoustie and St Andrews.


Airlie Castle library

It coms complete with an extensive walled garden, tennis court, games room and opportunities for fishing

Airlie Castle kitchen


and stalking. this magnificent castle has everything you need for a truly exceptional holiday.

The main house sleeps 14 and there’s additional space for four more guests in the adjoining cottage.

Airlie Castle dining room

Airlie Castle games room

Relax in the garden


Castle of Park This magnificent Aberdeenshire tower house near Banff dates back to 1536 and comes complete with a

Castle of Park, Cornhill, Banff


variety of exquisite original features, as well as a swimming pool. There’s plenty of room for up to 18 guests to relax and enjoy the opulent


Aerial view of Castle of Park

surroundings, from the painted ceilings in the Great Hall to the murals on the walls of ornate chapel which add a medieval touch to the property.

Castle of Park library


A spiral staircases leads to the bedrooms on the first and second floors while outside the castle guests can enjoy the spacious gardens set in 40 acres of private grounds.

The castle is well positioned to enjoy all the splendour of the spectacular Moray coast and is within easy reach of numerous golf courses, castles and whisky distilleries.

Castle of Park double bedroom

The Great Hall of Castle of Park


Castle on the Loch

This 19th century, 19 bedroom castle at Hunters Quay, near Dunoon can sleep up to 42 guests.

Castle on the Loch, Dunoon


Easy to reach via direct ferry from Glasgow this impressive stately home is set within delightful gardens and offers stunning views of the Holy Loch and beyond.


Aerial view of Castle on the Loch

It is full of splendid features, including beautiful ceilings, decorative plasterwork, carved doors and a superb sweeping double-sided staircase with a glass cupola. There’s also heated indoor swimming pool, a games room with a snooker table, a large outdoor play area, and a

The dining room


spacious conservatory. Built by the same architect as nearby Dunoon Castle, this property would make a truly atmospheric Christmas or New Year venue. The bedrooms all have en-suite facilities but it’s the numerous reception areas which

really hold the wow-factor. The large drawing room even has its own bar and the double doors to the small drawing room can be opened to provide one very large room, perfect for bringing in the bells in style.

Splendid views

Indoor swimming pool


Muckrach Castle Built by the second son of John Grant of Freuchie in 1598, this tower house at Dulnain Bridge in the heart

Muckrach Castle near Grantown on Spey


of the Cairngorms National Park is steeped in history and traditional charm. Climb the spiralling staircase to


Muckrach Castle near Grantown on Spey

gawp at the spectacular views over Strathspey or get out and about, hiking, biking or just strolling, to enjoy the abundance of wildlife that

Modern conservatory


surrounds the castle. The five bedroom castle is great for family getaways with plenty for

adults and children to enjoy nearby, including Landmark Forest Adventure Park and the Strathspey Steam Railway.

Vaulted ceiling kitchen

Uninterrupted views

Stylish bedrooms


Old Newton of Doune This imposing 700-year-old castle in the Perthshire village of Doune is ideal for larger groups as it sleeps up to 12 guests.

Old Newton of Doune near Stirling


Steeped in history the 16th-century part of the house was originally built for defence but was turned into a home in the 18th and 19th centuries.


The sitting room

Over the years it has welcomed a variety of notable guests from Bonnie Prince Charlie and philosopher David Hume to the author Sir Walter Scott and, more recently, the cast the

Stylish kitchen


popular TV series ‘Outlander’. Set amid acres of parkland on a private estate the castle is situated across the road from historic Doune

Castle, where they filmed scenes for Outlander and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. It is also less than nine miles from the city of Stirling.

Master bedroom

Twin bedroom


Wardhill Castle Situated on the outskirts of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire within a private estate, this luxuriously renovated 12th century castle has been plucked straight from a fairy tale.

Wardhill Castle at Meikle Wartle, Aberdeenshire


Set in a private, secluded location with room for 14 guests it is ideal for families or large groups of friends to relax.


Drawing room

Each room boasts a true sense of grandeur and has been designed to strike a balance between modern and traditional.

Master bedroom


Less than 25 miles from Aberdeen city centre it has easy access to some of the oldest golf courses in the world. There are at least five golf courses within 10 miles of the castle.

There are also an abundance of other historic attractions in the area and plenty of whisky distillers to visit.

Dining room


First floor landing and stairs

Secluded and private



Photo by Guy Phillips



- 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…

A warming festive flourish Christmas Gin

Old Curiosity Distillery, Edinburgh 39 per cent ABV £35.95 for 50cl on website


ack in 2012, two people bought a piece of land on the outskirts of Edinburgh with the aim of creating an organic haven for plants. This former wine merchant, Hamish Martin, along with his wife Liberty are owners of their beautifully created Secret Herb Garden in the shadow of the Pentland Hills. This deftly crafted garden is an oasis for more than 600 varieties of herbs, spices and flowers which are used in the creation of various products and are much sought after by Edinburgh restaurants. And, as their care and experimentation with their 7.5acre plot grew, so Hamish retrained as a herbologist. In 2017, however, their botanical business took a new and interesting turn. With Hamish’s background in the drinks industry and with an unceasing supply of intriguing herbs and florals to choose from, the Martins launched the Old


Photo by Laura Meek Hamish Martin


Curiosity Distillery with their flagship Apothecary Rose Gin. In addition to growing the vast

Photo by Laura Meek Visitors to the Secret Herb Garden


majority of their own botanicals, they also have more than 1000 juniper bushes from which they harvest the backbone ingredient of their stable

of gins. And, since it is, indeed, the season to be jolly, I have turned to their

Christmas Gin for a bit of a festive feel this month. Developed in partnership with Great

British Bake Off 2018 finalist Ruby Bhogal, it is a crystal clear and rather seasonal red, and feels enticing before you’ve even taken the stopper

out of the bottle. Surprisingly, although there is a spicy hint on the nose, it’s not


the prevailing aroma – it is one of sweetness and fruit, perhaps thanks to the blue mallow and black hollyhock petals which give this gin its special colour. Other botanicals from the garden include winter savoury, angelica and coriander. Take a sip of it neat, however, and the spices begin to reveal themselves. The scent of ginger and cardamom are to the fore and form a robust base for the cinnamon to weave its magic – and it is that cosy cinnamon which turns this from simply being a spiced gin into one with Christmas at its heart, like a big blanket of fireside warmth. A splash of Fever Tree’s Refreshingly Light Tonic adds a further touch of sparkle. Oddly, first of all, it makes the cocktail punchier, with the spice hit becoming more prominent, and, secondly, the delicious red hue changes to a fresh pink. I added a sliver of tangerine to this, which also helped to release the festive flavours and a gentle fruity tone – it now feels like you could be wrapping presents and tucking into a mince pie. It was also suggested to me that it could make a fabulous change from the traditional brandy to pour over your Christmas pudding. In terms of looks, a little like Kirkjuvagr’s Beyla, which I reviewed a couple of months ago, the 50cl bottle has a diminutive size more redolent of a sumptuous perfume – it’s beautifully done and, with the red liquid inside, feels luxurious. The tiny tag around its fine neck contains a recipe for Ruby’s gin spiced shortbread, created specially for Old Curiosity Distillery – it is rather a nice touch. My teeny criticism, if I had to nitpick, is the stopper – and it is by no means the only gin which this applies to; there are several others which suffer a similar issue. The overhanglip of the bottle and the relatively shallow depth and smooth finish of the wooden stopper, actually makes it a little difficult to grip and uncork; obviously I did persevere and was successful, but it’s just a tiny niggle.


Ginteresting T

he Secret Herb Garden is open for tours, when visitors will learn all about the garden and the plants, as well as how they are dried, preserved and blended to create the distillery’s unique flavours. The process from earth to bottle if you like, with the


opportunity to sample and learn. In addition, a large barn, which came as part of the site, has now been decluttered – apparently a fairly hefty job – and transformed into a gin lounge, which can be hired for private function and seats 30 people..

Photo by Laura Meek Inside the distillery



Win a laugh or two for the New Year A chance to get a free copy of the DVD ‘Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland’

This month we are giving away a copy of the new in-depth documentary about the life and influence of Scotland’s most famous living comedian. As revealed in last month’s issue of Scotland Correspondent magazine the film presents an intimate, deeply personal and funny portrait of the former shipyard worker turned performer. To enter the competition to win a free copy of the DVD ‘Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland’ released by Dazzler Media just email us with the correct answer to this question: Where in Scotland was Billy Connolly born? A) Edinburgh B) Glasgow C) Dundee Send your answer to us at by midnight on 31 December 2019 for a chance to win a copy of the DVD. Good luck! Terms and conditions: 1. Closing date for entries is midnight 31 December, 2019 after which a winner will be randomly selected and notified by email shortly thereafter. 2. The random selection of the winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 3. The winner will be notified by email and asked to provide a postal address of where to send the prize. If there is no response within 14 days of the winner being notified the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be picked at random. 4. In entering the competition the winner gives permission for Scotland Correspondent to publish their name in the next available issue of the magazine and on social media to announce the winner. 5. No cash alternative is available in exchange for the prize(s). 6. By entering the competition you are agreeing to receive email communications from Scotland Correspondent magazine. 7. Scotland Correspondent, and the publishers of the magazine, reserve the right to disqualify any entry not in accordance with these terms and conditions 8. Scotland Correspondent magazine reserves the right to change the rules or withdraw the competition at any time.


Photos by The Majestic Line The Majestic Line fleet

Award for innovative cruise company by Helen Lloyd


pecialist cruise company the Majestic Line has won the ‘Innovation in Tourism’ accolade in the prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

through the season, from April to October, sailing mainly out of Oban with some departures from Inverness and also the Holy Loch.

The Majestic Line pioneered small ship cruising on the west-coast of Scotland when it launched in 2004 with just one small ship, a converted fishing boat, called the Glen Massan.

Named after a fictional shipping company in Neil Munro’s Para Handy tales The Majestic Line provides easy access to some of the most remote and beautiful areas of the world with the intimacy and exclusivity of a 1920s country house party. It provides an ideal antidote to the pressures of modern life.

The company now has four vessels and runs regular short cruises

In making the award the judges commented that they “loved this


entry as it exceeded all aspects of the category criteria. True innovation, creativity based on customer experience and now achieving real growth - all after identification of a gap in the market. An inspirational example - this business has really captured the best of Scotland.” The Majestic Line vision is to introduce people to the fabulous scenery and food of Argyll with the crew providing genuine, warm Scottish hospitality.  The atmosphere on board is informal and fun allowing the majority of

Innovation in Tourism Award


guests who have never been to Scotland before to relax and really enjoy a unique experience.

Passing by Duart Castle


Each cruise ship can accommodate up to 14 guests who eat at a communal table in the deck saloon with panoramic views of the stunning

Highland scenery. The superb Argyll food and drink served onboard is a major factor in the success of The Majestic Line.Â

Such is the success of the company’s attention to customer satisfaction that a number of clients have returned again and again, up to

15 times in some cases. Two of the company’s vessels, “The Glen Massan” and “The Glen

Tarsan”, are traditional fishing vessels which have been converted for cruising while retaining their original character and charm.


The other two steel hulled vessels in the fleet, “The Glen Etive” and “The Glen Shiel”, were specially commissioned by the Ardmaleish

Glen Shiel arriving in Holy Loch


Boat Building company on the Isle of Bute. In awarding the ’Innovation in

Tourism’ prize, which was sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the judges said: “Providing a variety of cruises round the islands of Argyll

& The Hebrides filled a gap in the market, now brought to life by The Majestic Line.

“The story of the growth since its birth in 2004 turning beautifully crafted wooden hull trawlers into fine cruising was inspired when taking

excellence as their guide. Sustaining growth ambitions using those innovative ideas, to introduce mini cruises with gourmet food filled the


The fleet in Oban Bay

gap, and saw the business grow to what it is today”. As the winner of the “Innovation in Tourism” category the Majestic Line is now automatically a finalist at the Scottish Thistle Awards to be held in

March 2020.

the company.

“In the year that we launched our fourth small cruise ship, we are delighted to receive this award for ‘Innovation in Tourism’,” said Andy Thoms, co-founder and director of

“The Glen Shiel has been designed specifically to cruise to St Kilda and incorporates all that we have learned from operating a fleet of small cruise ships over the last 15 years.”

Guests enjoying Prosecco at Cape Wrath



Making of an Outlaw King Photo by Netflix / David Eustace Inside Dunfermline Abbey

by Paul Watson


scar-nominated filmmaker David Mackenzie has revealed the emotional draw of revisiting his old Highland stomping grounds for the making of the blockbuster movie Outlaw King. In an exclusive video released on


the anniversary of the historical epic the celebrated director remembers growing up in Highland Perthshire and being dropped off by his mum south of Dalwhinnie to hike home – and returning to the same spot more than 30 years later to film Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. The video Outlaw King: In conversation with director

David Mackenzie, was filmed at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries at an exclusive screening of Outlaw King in the shadow of Dunfermline Abbey, the resting place of Robert the Bruce, which doubled as Westminster in the film. Outlaw King charts the story of Robert the Bruce from defeated nobleman in 1304 to victorious King

of Scots at the Battle of Loudoun Hill in 1307. It was released globally on streaming platform Netflix to its 130 million subscribers in more than 190

countries on Friday, 9 November last year. Â Shot entirely in Scotland, according

to the borders of 1320, Outlaw King remains the largest production to be made in the country to date, featuring locations and attractions

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland Robert the Bruce Statue at the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre


Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Craigmillar Castle

such as Craigmillar Castle, Blackness Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Glen Coe, the University of Glasgow and the Isle of Skye. “It was a great responsibility to try to tell the story of one of the great Scottish national heroes, if not thee great Scottish national hero, and to do him justice while making a film of integrity that tells an element of the story of his life. That was at the forefront of everything that we were doing all the way through,” said David Mackenzie. “It was really important to us to use as many sites as possible that Robert himself had a connection with. Treading in these hallowed places and feeling that your feet are on the same ground that these guys were on 700 years ago is a really resonant thing; for me, as a director; for the actors to get into their part; and for everyone on the film set.” Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland Linlithgow Palace and St Michael’s Parish Church


Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland,

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Blackness Castle

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland The Cloisters, University of Glasgow

Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Isle of Skye road bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Glen Coe


which own historical properties that appear in Outlaw King or have links to Robert the Bruce, claim the film has been a factor in a rise in visitor numbers over the past 12 months. VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation behind the documentary film, produced an interactive online guide, On the trail of the Outlaw King, which highlighted 20 film locations and 24 sites linked to Robert the Bruce across the country.

Photo by Netflix / David Eustace Chris Pine as Robert The Bruce


The guide has been viewed more than 45,000 times since the film’s release, with the majority of users from Germany (40 per cent), followed by France (31 per cent), the UK (14 per cent) and the USA (9 per cent).  The top three most popular destinations on the map were revealed by VisitScotland as Loch Lomond, which depicts the Battle of Methven in the film; Dunstaffnage Castle, which was besieged and


captured by Robert the Bruce in 1309; and Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye, which portrays Islay in the film. “It’s wonderful to see the reaction to Outlaw King. David Mackenzie’s stunning portrayal of Robert the Bruce’s fall and subsequent rise to power is a spectacular advert for Scotland’s history, heritage and landscapes – all of which are

Robert The Bruce and his bride Photo by Netflix / David Eustace


important factors that influence a visitors’ decision-making,” said Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland. “It’s fantastic to see so many film fans and history lovers taking advantage of our Outlaw King map to explore Scotland and the real story and locations behind the King of Scots.”



Ardnahoe stills

Blending modernity and tradition by Scott Aitken


little more than one year ago the Isle of Islay’s ninth and newest distillery, Ardnahoe, filled its first batch of spirit into its first cask. Although there are still two years to go before it can officially be called whisky the distillery that made it is winning awards for its dedication to exceptional standards.

Situated on the North-east of the island Ardnahoe only opened in April 2019 but has already welcomed more than 24,000 visitors and earned a Five Star grading from VisitScotland. The distillery, which takes its name from its location and is Gaelic for “Height of the Hollow”, received top marks in the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance (QA) Scheme, a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry.

The attraction offers a range of tours, tastings, a gift shop and a restaurant. As the restaurant has a commitment to using quality locally sourced produce, it received VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best award. Along with his sons Scott and Andrew, Ardnahoe was founded by Stewart Laing, who has over 50 years’ experience in the whisky industry. His strong affinity for Islay and a reverence for its distinctive, peated malt whiskies meant it was


the perfect place to open a distillery and in 2015 he found the four-acre site by Loch Ardnahoe. Work began in late 2016 and the first runs of distillation began in late 2018. In April of 2019, Ardnahoe was officially opened to the public and it has an expert visitor centre team on hand to ensure visitors have the best experience possible. Ardnahoe becomes one of only two distilleries on the island to receive a


Five Star grading from VisitScotland. It is the third distillery in Argyll & Bute to receive the accolade. Regarded by many as ‘whisky island’, Islay is just 25 miles long and 15 miles wide but boasts a remarkable nine distilleries. Bowmore is said to be one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, dating back to 1779. Despite being a modern distillery, set beautifully in a stunning location,



Ardnahoe prides itself on employing rigorously traditional methods and values. The spirit being produced is sweet, smoky and smooth yet peaty

and spicy – unique and dynamic to its core. “The whole distillery team at

Ardnahoe have a real passion for whisky and Islay. Coupled with their expert knowledge and warm welcome, they have offered an

exceptional experience for visitors since we opened in April,� said Paul Graham, Visitor Centre Operations Manager, welcoming the award.


Decades of spirit by Paul Watson


or more than 120 years the Highland distillery of Tomatin has been producing and blending malt Scotch whisky.

Located near Inverness it is famous for its portfolio of soft and mellow whiskies, including a core range, a limited-edition range and a premium archive range. Throughout the last 50 years the distillery, which opened in 1897, has borne witness to vast change. At its peak in the 1970s, Tomatin was the largest distillery in the world operating 23 stills and producing 12 million litres of alcohol every year. Today it remains one of the fastest growing whisky brands in the UK and ranks within the Top 10 Single Malt brands in the USA. Tomatin recently reported its turnover had increased by almost 25 per cent during the company’s previous financial year. However, over the last decade significant time has been invested in rediscovering the distillery,



people and values, and in refining the business model to move away from the formerly lucrative bulk commodity market to now focus on Tomatin’s core range of single malts to great acclaim. In 2016 Tomatin won Distiller of the Year and Brand Innovator of the Year 2017 at the Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards. Â


Now, the award winning distillery has released a new, limited edition single malt - Decades II, which includes spirit from the last five decades. The unique expression is a marriage of 21 casks, selected from key years throughout the last five decades. As a tribute to the Tomatin way of life, and the generations of staff that to


this day remain custodians of this exceptional Scotch Whisky. With time spent maturing in a mix of traditional Scotch Whisky, exBourbon, ex-Sherry and re-charred French oak casks from the last 50 years, Decades II is described as a rich and complex expression. The makers claim “initial bursts of fruits give way to hints of sweet pastry and wood shavings, and aromas of both cooked fruits and floral coconut tones. The remarkable expression is unctuous, with notes of Christmas cake, maple syrup and fresh red berries giving way to tropical fruits ahead of a long waxy, tropical finish.” Working at Tomatin is a family tradition among many of the staff, more than 50 per cent of whom still live on the distillery grounds to this day, providing continuity and safeguarding the best traditions for future generations. 


“Balancing the flavour profiles of just a few casks can be a real challenge, so to marry five decades of Tomatin whisky in such a way that each cask compliments the next is a testament to the team, both those who work at Tomatin today and those that worked at Tomatin before us, who distilled and laid down some of the casks we’ve used. We’ve been the custodians of exceptional Scotch for generations, and that care and experience is really showcased by Decades II,” said Graham Eunson, Distillery Operations Director. “It’s reassuring to know that their care and passion will be passed down through family members, long after the current generation has retired. As Tomatin’s new Decades II expression includes whisky from the last five decades at the distillery, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the launch than to honour the coopers, warehouse and office staff that have made the brand what it is today.”


Living with history


nce a hotbed of smugglers, Jacobites and migrants to the New World - both voluntary and forced - the village of Carsthorn in Dumfries is now a sleepy, tranquil retreat


overlooking the Solway Firth.

Ireland and beyond.

First mentioned in the history books as far back as 1562 it used to be major port with regular sailings between Liverpool, the Isle of Man,

In 1760 a young local teenager called John Paul Jones sailed from here, aged 13, to embark on a seafaring career which saw him become

a hero of the American War of Independence and a founding father of the US Navy. Other local lads, who can lay claim to being born in the parish, include John Campbell, who went on to become colonial governor of Newfoundland, and James Craik, former Physician General of the US Army and personal doctor to President George Washington. Throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries Carsethorn, one of four villages which makes up the Parish of Kirkbean, witnessed a mass migration of Scots to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Among those forced to take the trip were convicts being expelled to the penal colonies of Australia. They used to be marched down from Dumfries in chains and housed in the barracks at the river’s edge to await transportation. That building still stands today as


a comfortable, family home in a stunning location - and it’s currently on the market for offers over £650,000. Dating back to the 1700s The Barracks has enjoyed a fascinating history and interesting journey to become the stunning family residence - with four reception


rooms, up to five bedrooms, extensive garden grounds and stunning views - that it is today. According selling agents Galbraith the current owners have undertaken extensive improvements to the property since their purchase in 2012.


There is even room for further development of a separate annexe, which the current owners utilise as


an office space, as it benefits from independent access. Together with an integral garage and boat-store on

the ground floor, along with a games room, there is potential, to further extend the property.


Packing herring in Aberdeen

Rare glimpses of the past by Paul Watson


ust over a year since its acquisition, a taster of the vast MacKinnon Collection has gone on display at the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG).


The National Library and the National Galleries of Scotland joined forces to purchase the collection – made up of more than 14,000 photographs dating from the 1840s to the mid20th century in Scotland – in May last year, with the help of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Government and Art Fund.

Now people are able to view highlights from the collection at concurrent exhibitions: At the Water’s Edge at the National Library, and Scotland’s Photograph Album at the Portrait Gallery. “Scotland has a unique relationship with photography which dates back

Fishwife with net


to the work of the early pioneers such as Hill and Adamson,” said Dr John Scally, National Librarian. “The exhibition is a glimpse into MacKinnon’s wider collection, which consists of more than 14,000 pictures, but I am excited to share a selection of them as we believe they are truly Scotland’s photograph album.

Residents of St Kilda


“I am confident every Scot will feel a connection with these wonderful photographs and we look forward to sharing them with the public over the coming months.� The MacKinnon Collection was put together by collector Murray MacKinnon, who established a successful chain of film-processing stores in the 1980s, starting from his pharmacy in Dyce, near Aberdeen.


Landing Herrings at Aberdeen, late 19th century

The collection covers an expansive range of subjects – including family portraits, working life, street scenes, sporting pursuits, working life, transport, landscapes and cityscapes. Until last year, it was estimated to be one of the last great collections of Scottish photography still in private hands. “Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection allows audiences the chance to be transported back to a century of change and growth. It is not only a fascinating look at historical Scottish life that sits just on the


edge of living memory, but also an important showcase of the innovative progression of photography in Scotland,” said Sir John Leighton, Director General National Galleries of Scotland. Taking inspiration from Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters for 2020, the National Library’s At the Water’s Edge reflects on this theme, with a strong emphasis on social history and the changing nature of Scotland’s coastal communities. Highlights include photographs by George Washington Wilson, capturing working life and remote

landscapes in Orkney and St Kilda in the 1870s, along with some of the earliest known images of fishing communities in Aberdeen and Edinburgh dating from the 1870s onwards. At the Water’s Edge at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, and Scotland’s Photograph Album at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh run from until Sunday 16 February 2020. Admission is free.


Climate change to wildlife habits Photo by Martyn Baker

by Scott Aitken


he rapid rise in global warming is having a major impact on the natural behaviour of wild animals in Scotland.

changes to red deer on the Isle of Rum, located off the west coast of Scotland, have played a key role in a rapid shift in birth dates in recent years.

Red deer on a Scottish island are providing scientists with some of the first evidence that animals are evolving to give birth earlier in the year as the climate warms.

Previous studies have shown the deer have been giving birth earlier since the 1980s, at a rate of about three days per decade, partly due to the effects of warmer temperatures on the deer’s behaviour and physiology.

New research has revealed genetic

Now scientists have revealed that


genetic changes caused by natural selection, the theory of evolution developed by Charles Darwin, are also involved. The study provides a rare example of evolution happening quickly enough to be detected over only a few decades. “These findings are a fascinating example of the impact climate change may be having on wildlife. More and more research is demonstrating climate change is

Photo by J Pemberton Weighing a calf


influencing species across the UK and the world,� said Sally Thomas, Scottish Natural Heritage’s Director of People and Nature.

Photo by Martyn Baker


An international team of scientists, including experts from the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, made the discovery using field records and genetic data

collected on Rum, a national nature reserve managed by Scottish Natural heritage, over a 45-year period since 1972.

“Long-term studies of individual lifetimes are one of the few ways to understand how populations

respond to environmental change and how to manage its effects,” said Professor Josephine Pemberton, of

the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences.


Photo by J Pemberton Red deer calf

Female red deer, called hinds, give birth to a single calf each year, and those that reproduce earlier in the year have more offspring over their lifetime, researchers say. Their findings show this is partly because of an association between the genes that make hinds give birth earlier and higher overall reproductive


success. As a result, genes for breeding earlier have become more common in the Rum deer population over time. The research involved scientists from Scotland along with counterparts from the Australian National University and Cambridge. It was funded by the Natural Environment

Research Council. “This is one of the few cases where we have documented evolution in action, showing that it may help populations adapt to climate warming,â€? said Dr TimothĂŠe Bonnet, of the Australian National University, who led the study.


Photo by Fiona McRae/VisitScotland/Discover Fraserburgh Rattray Head, Buchan, Aberdeenshire

Wondrous love at Dalriada


omance isn’t just in the air in Aberdeenshire – it’s written in the skies. The spectacular Aurora


Borealis would light up any love nest, and couples spending a romantic Valentine’s break at Dalriada Luxury Lodges have the perfect vantage point from which to spot the

so-called Northern Lights.

There are no guarantees, but the dark winter skies offer the best chance of seeing the incredible lights

phenomenon. Set on an elevated spot on the Aberdeenshire coast near the historic coastal town

of Stonehaven, Dalriada’s eight stylish lodges have picture windows offering a wide vista looking out over

the sea, ideal for couples hoping to catch a glimpse of nature’s incredible light show.

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Stonehaven harbour


With over 260 castles, Aberdeenshire is well named Scotland’s castle country and one of the most dramatic is a short hop from Dalriada Lodges. The ruins of Dunnottar Castle,

Photo by Jakub Iwanicki / VisitScotland Dunottar castle


perched on the edge of the sea, is an iconic destination. Steeped in history, the reputedly haunted castle makes a fascination place explore and marvel at the breathtaking views.  


Alternatively, the pretty pink castle that is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella is a short drive

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland Craigievar Castle, said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle


from Dalriada, near Alford. Craigievar, castle is open seasonally, but the grounds are open all year round

offering the perfect reason for a hand in hand stroll, while looking out for the elusive pine marten.


Dalriada’s five-star self-catering lodges have fully equipped designer kitchens, if you fancy conjuring up the recipe of love by serving up a romantic meal. Or, for something completely different, take a wander into Stonehaven to sample one of Britain’s best eating experiences - the award-winning Bay Fish and Chips. Sharing locally caught fish and chips with a squeeze of lemon, and eating them on the seafront is the height of true love!  For a night in, enjoy the simple pleasures within the comfort of your own spacious lodge. Draw the curtains, dim the lights and snuggle up on the generous sofas watching a movie together on the large screen smart television, with a steady supply of your favourite foodie treats.  For those seeking a spot of shared retail therapy the journey from Stonehaven to Aberdeen takes less than 20 minutes by train. The city has an amazing array of stores



with quirky independent shops lining up alongside the familiar high street names. The train takes passengers straight into the heart of the city close to Union Square, a shopping centre which boasts a cinema and a range of different eateries.   There are lots of great things to do and see in Aberdeen. The paved streets and quaint 

Photo by Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland Looking over Aberdeen


buildings of the old fishing village of Footdee provide the perfect backdrop for a unique couple selfie while the golden sands of nearby Aberdeen beach offer a perfect location to blow away the cobwebs. Dalriada Luxury Lodges are available to reserve throughout the year. Guests can add a wide range of packages to their stay, including local food, cycle hire and a round of golf for free.




Spanish lady mystery solved

Photo by Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Unknown Young Woman by Alonso Sanchez Coello


four-year investigation to solve an international art mystery has discovered the origins of one of Glasgow


Museums’ most famous paintings. For more than 100 years scholars have been debating who painted

the beautiful portrait Lady in a Fur Wrap, traditionally thought to be by El Greco (1541–1614).

But, new research and closer analysis of the masterpiece has allowed experts to understand more about El Greco’s style and that of other artists painting at this time. Technical examination, carried out by the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid and later by the University of Glasgow in partnership with Glasgow Museums, has led professionals to reattribute the Lady, renowned as one of the finest 16th century portraits in Europe, to Alonso Sánchez Coello (c.1531-1588). Lady in a Fur Wrap was purchased by Sir William Stirling Maxwell in 1853. It is one of an important collection of Spanish works, which together with Pollok House, was donated to the City of Glasgow in 1967 by Sir William’s granddaughter Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald. It is planned the painting will return to Pollok House, run by the National Trust for Scotland, in summer 2020 with a fresh interpretation. “Through our partnership with leading experts in the field of Spanish art we have gained a much fuller understanding and appreciation of this important painting. After detailed analysis and examination, we are closer to understanding who painted one of Glasgow Museums’ most popular and internationally recognised artworks,” said Duncan Dornan, Head of Glasgow Museums part of Glasgow Life. “The Lady in a Fur Wrap is a fascinating portrait. This technical study has also, excitingly, revealed unexpected elements such as traces of underdrawing hidden behind the surface. These suggest a different style of dress for the Lady, before the eye-catching fur cape was introduced. These are all elements that continue to attract debate and although we now understand who painted the work the identity of the mysterious lady is still unanswered. It is certain the Lady in a Fur Wrap will continue to intrigue and inspire for generations to come.” The Lady in a Fur Wrap has

Photo by CGS CIC Glasgow Museums Collection Lady in a Fur Wrap, Alonso Sanchez Coello circa 1580-1588

fascinated viewers ever since it was exhibited in the Louvre, Paris, in 1838. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, it has presented a conundrum. Increasingly, scholars in the field of Spanish Art thought the Lady looked different from other paintings known to be by El Greco. This led them to propose a number of new possibilities regarding who painted it, when and who is featured in the painting.

Using the opportunity of the Lady in a Fur Wrap being on loan to the Prado in Madrid for the 2014 celebrations for the 4th centenary of El Greco’s death, technical examination of the painting was carried out at the museum that year. A broad spectrum of scientific examination techniques (imaging and analytical) were employed to ensure a very in-depth understanding of the material-technical aspects of this painting: different


photographic techniques including raking light and UV fluorescence photography, X-radiography, infrared reflectography (IRR), stereomicroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energydispersive X-ray microanalysis (SEMEDX). Further analysis with fluorescent staining and FTIR APA Imaging on paint cross sections prepared by the Prado was carried out in 2018 by the University of Glasgow and Bern University of Applied Sciences. The experts from Prado and the University of Glasgow decided that in order to be able to understand and interpret the results similar examination needed to be carried out using equivalent analytical equipment and procedures on comparative works by El Greco and other contemporary artists, such as Alonso Sánchez Coello. A comprehensive research project was set up in Glasgow to unpack the complex history and significance of this unique painting. It explored questions of artistic technique, and used scientific analysis and further research methods involving the history of dress, society and collecting. The project compared the results with equivalent scientific investigation and additional research on five other major 16th-century Spanish portraits in the Stirling Maxwell collection in Glasgow. Further, it drew on the results of similar research on paintings held by international institutions such as the Prado Museum. “Through technical analysis of the painting’s surface, as well as analysis of microscopic paint samples, we now know much more about how this most enigmatic portrait was painted and the relationship of its materials and methods of creation to those of other important pictures in this and other collections,” said Dr Mark Richter, University of Glasgow,


who coordinated the scientific investigation in Glasgow. ‘All the evidence indicates that the materials and techniques used in the creation of the painting are consistent with 16th century practice in Spain. However, the composition of the layers in the Lady in a Fur Wrap is different from paintings we know to be by El Greco. “Most paintings are built up using multiple layers. In the 16th century, when this painting was made, these layers normally included a ground layer, a priming layer, multiple paint layers and finally varnish. Technical examination carried out by the Museo del Prado and the University of Glasgow has allowed us to examine these layers in detail. The composition of the layers in the Lady are considerably different from the layers seen in autograph works by El Greco.   “One of the main differences is that El Greco typically primed his gessoed canvases with a layer of brownishred. This distinctive layer tended to include precious pigments of many different colours, suggesting he used scrapings from his paint palette for this initial layer. The priming layer in the Lady does not correspond with this, instead it features a light grey layer. “Another distinguishing trait is the painterly quality of his underdrawing, which is radically different from the drawn lines clearly visible in the infrared reflectography of this painting. Details like this, important for understanding an artist’s individual technique, help explain why the Lady in a Fur Wrap is no longer considered to be painted by El Greco.” As a result of the Prado’s technical analysis on the Lady, they went on to examine in more detail artistic practice by portrait painters at the court of Philip II of Spain. One of these artists is Sofonisba Anguissola, the subject of a new exhibition at the museum in Madrid.

Head of Spanish Renaissance Painting, Museo Nacional del Prado, Dr Leticia Ruiz Gómez, said: “A conclusion has been reached that the Lady in a Fur Wrap is neither the work of El Greco, nor Sofonisba Anguissola, but the work of Alonso Sánchez Coello. I think this is a splendid Sánchez Coello.’ Alonso Sánchez Coello was the principal portraitist at Philip II’s court and much favoured by the King. In his time Sánchez Coello was better known and more admired than El Greco. The misattribution of the Lady was instrumental in establishing El Greco’s reputation outside Spain in the 19th century. More recently the portrait’s popular association with Sofonisba Anguissola helped revive interest in her work. “Now, at last, it will re-establish the international reputation that Alonso Sánchez Coello deserves,” said Dr Hilary Macartney, who led the research at the University of Glasgow.   “Other aspects in addition to the paint analysis have been crucial in concluding our findings. The case for attributing The Lady in the Fur Wrap to Sánchez Coello takes into account a range of factors, including stylistic characteristics. “Sánchez Coello is most closely associated with conventional, formal royal portraits, however we now believe that he was also responsible for portraits of a different and more informal character, such as the Prado’s Unknown Young Woman, as well as The Lady in the Fur Wrap, which combined intimacy and current ideals of female beauty.   “Together with leading scholars of Spanish art, dress and related historical fields we deliberated over features including dress and jewellery and the status of people represented in portraiture in this period. It is only in considering all these aspects that we have been able to attribute this outstanding portrait to Alonso Sánchez Coello.”


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.

Whispering Pine Lodge Spean Bridge

Surrounded by history, mystery and spectacular scenery Whispering Pine Lodge at Spean Bridge, as featured in issue 35, combines a sense of the past with all the comforts of a modern hotel.


Originally built as a hunting lodge in the 1800s it has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment as part of the Black Sheep Hotels group to become an ideal place for guests to relax and unwind.

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


Rokeby Manor

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.

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


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.

Invergarry, Highlands

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.


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 December.

Births 521 December 7 St. Columba is believed to have been born in Donegal, Ireland. After being banished to Scotland he established a monastery on the island of Iona and is credited with converting the Picts to Christianity.

1542 December 8 Mary, Queen of Scots was born Linlithgow Palace.


1585 December 13 Poet William Drummond, was born at Hawthornden Castle, Midlothian. He is one of the 16 poets and writers to appear on the Scott Monument on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

1720 December 31 Charles Edward Stewart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, was born in Rome.

1766 December 29 Chemist and inventor Charles Macintosh, who patented the waterproof fabric which became the Macintosh coat, was born in Glasgow.

1781 December 11 Inventor of the kaleidoscope, David Brewster aka the ‘father of modern experimental optics’, was born in the Borders town of Jedburgh.

1812 December 23 Author and government reformer Samuel Smiles, who wrote “the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism” was born in Haddington.

1868 December 10 Artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow.

1795 December 4 Philosopher, writer, historian, mathematician and teacher Thomas Carlyle, regarded as one of the greatest minds of the 19th century, was born in Ecclefechan.

Deaths 1824 December 10 Novelist and poet George MacDonald, who was a pioneering figure in the field of modern fantasy literature and a mentor to writer Lewis Carroll, was born in Huntly.

1809 December 24 American folk hero Kit Carson was born in Kentucky. Carson was the son of Lindsay Carson who had a Scots-Irish background.

1809 December 29 Four times British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents.

1165 December 9 King Malcolm IV died aged 24 at Jedburgh Castle after just 12 years on the throne of Scotland.

1848 December 2 Christian missionary Mary Slessor, who dedicated her life to promoting women’s rights and protecting native children in West Africa, was born in Aberdeen.

1214 December 4 King William I, aka William the Lion died at Stirling and was succeeded by his son Alexander II. William has


been credited with founding Arbroath Abbey, where the Declaration of Arbroath, attesting Scotland’s independence, was later signed.

1542 December 14 James V died at Falkland Palace and was succeeded by Mary Queen of Scots.

1856 December 24 Self-taught geologist, folklorist and writer Hugh Miller, who is considered one of Scotland’s premier palaeontologists, died aged 54 in Edinburgh.

1734 December 28 Celebrated col hero and legendary outlaw Rob Roy McGregor died aged 63 in Balquhidder, Stirlingshire of natural causes.


1894 December 3 One of Scotland’s most celebrated writers, and author of classics such as Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson died in Samoa.

1930 December 22 Journalist, newspaper editor and author of the Para Handy stories, Neil Munro, died in Helensburgh.

1907 December 17 Scientist and inventor William Thomson, who rose to become 1st Baron Kelvin,, scientist and inventor, died in Largs. 1947 December 14 Comedian and Music Hall star Will Fyfe died aged 62 in St Andrews, Fife.

1928 December 11 1928 Architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh died of cancer in London.

1956 December 6 Death of Helen Duncan, medium who was last person jailed in the UK under the Witchcraft Act

Bridge at Dundee just as a train was crossing and killing at least 75 people.

1745 December 6 Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army reached Derby, the southernmost point of their invasion of England.

1973 December 5 Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the Brechin-born inventor of radar which helped to win the Battle of Britain in 1940 and was the foundation for a variety of other technologies, died in Inverness.

1768 December 1 The first volume of Encyclopedia Britannica was published in Edinburgh. 1787 December 1 First lighthouse in Scotland opened at Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh.

1896 December 14 The third oldest subway system in the world, Glasgow District Underground, opened to the public. Only London and Budapest metros are older.

1904 December 27 Peter Pan, by Scottish playwright J M Barrie, was first performed at the Duke of York Theatre, London.

Notable events 1653 December 16 Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1828 December 24 William Burke, one half of body snatchers Burke & Hare went on trial in Edinburgh after Hare turned King’s evidence.

1915 December 30 At least 405 sailors were killed after the cruiser “Natal” exploded in Cromarty harbour, probably as a result of a faulty ammunition shell.


1715 December 22 James Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed at Peterhead at the start of the failed 1715 Jacobite rebellion. 1724 December 24 In response to the Jacobite threat General George Wade was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British army in Scotland. He built military roads through the Highlands to move troops quickly against troublesome clans.

1846 December 21 Linlithgow born Robert Liston carried out the first hospital operation using ether as an anaesthetic.

1929 December 31 72 children sent off to the movies while parents prepared for Hogmanay were killed in a fire which swept through the Glen Cinema in Paisley. 1950 December 25 Four Scottish students broke into Westminster Abbey and removed the Stone of Destiny.

1879 December 28 A savage storm destroyed the Tay

1988 December 21 American airlines Pan Am 747 was blown up by a terrorist bomb over the Dumfries town of Lockerbie, killing 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 residents on the ground.


Date 4 ur diary


Until 4 January Edinburgh’s Christmas Edinburgh Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh, the traditional Christmas Market offers something for everyone. With stalls selling everything from local and bespoke products and gifts to tasty treats, visiting the market is a must this year. There is no better way to soak up the festive atmosphere christmas-market-east-princes-street-garden Until 3 January Stirling Winter Festival Stirling. Stirling, the perfect place to visit during the festive season, bring some sparkle to your season in Stirling. Join us for an outstanding programme of events for the whole family to enjoy, including Carol Concerts, Christmas shopping, and a fantastic range of bars and restaurants to visit, all set against a sparkling festive backdrop.There really is no better place to enjoy at this special time of year. 8 December Glasgow’s Santa Dash George Square, Glasgow Dust off your Santa boots and join thousands of other Santas for a festive 5K! Don’t miss this mass participation run as the city centre transforms in to a red sea of festivity. It’s a sight to beho-ho-hold – adults, children and even dogs all welcome! Pages/Santa-Dash.aspx 14 - 24 December A Magical Christmas at The Falkirk Wheel Falkirk This December the Falkirk Wheel will be transforming into a Winter Wonderland as Santa and his elves prepare for the big day. Families are in for a treat as they embark on a special trip to Santa’s Grotto. 25 December The Ba’ Laing Street, Kirkwall, Orkney Every Christmas and New Year’s Day the “Ba’” is contested in the streets of Kirkwall. The game has been played in its present form since about 1850 between the Uppies and the Doonies.


If you have a future event you would like included in our diary please email details to 26 December Nippy Dipper Boxing Day Dip Aberdeen Beach, Aberdeen Brush off the Xmas cobwebs with a refreshing dip in the chilly North Sea. Raise funds for your own charity or the Lord Provost’s Charitable Trust. about/?ref=page_internal 30 December Edinburgh’ Torchlight Procession Edinburgh Blaze throgh the city accompanied by pipers and drummers, fire and fanfare and forge a river of light through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. A spectacular and unforgettable family-friendly event culminating in the historic Holyrood Park. torchlight-procession 31 December - 1 January Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Edinburgh The part of all parties. Celebrate the New Year in style in the home of Hogmanay’s capital city. 31 December Stonehaven Fireball Festival Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire The Fireball Ceremony is Stonehaven’s unique way to welcome in the New Year and greet friends and neighbours. As the midnight chimes ring out on December 31st, approximately 40 men and women parade up and down the High Street swinging fiercely flaming balls around their heads. 31 December Candlelit Concert St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh A festive end of year celebration in the candlelit atmosphere in St Giles’ Cathedral. candlelit-concert 31 December - 1 January Edinburgh Street Party Edinburgh See in the New Year, at the world’s best street party as Edinburgh invites the world to share the love, embrace friends – old and new – and celebrate the New Year in the home of Hogmanay.

31 December Bogmanay Bogbain Farm, Inverness IV2 5BD. At 9pm Tartan Paint will kick of the evening with their unique blend of ceilidh music, sure to get the feet tapping and hips moving. They will take you through the bells where our confetti cannons will blow at midnight. A stop for a filled warm roll, then more dancing till around 1230ish (Scottish Ceilidh time so this may vary) the disco begins and that will carry on right through till 2am when it’s surely time for carriages (unless you know a good house party, if so, let us know and we’ll join you). 31 December - 1 January The Red Hot Highland Fling Inverness Scotland’s biggest and most spectacular FREE Hogmanay party which regularly features in the list of top 10 places in the United Kingdom to welcome in the New Year. 31 December - 1 January Stirling’s Hogmanay Stirling To celebrate Hogmanay 2018 and bring in the New Year in style, Stirling will host two spectacular events on the iconic Stirling Castle Esplanade. There can be no better place to bring in the New Year with friends.


7 December Daylesford Highland Gathering Victoria Park, Daylesford, VIC A wee bit of Scotland in the picturesque tourist town of Daylesford, Victoria. Our charming Gathering includes a captivating Street March in the Main Street of Daylesford and then a full days Drumming, Piping and Dancing at the picturesque Victoria Park, located at the southern entrance of Daylesford. 8 December Early Medieval Routes Around Scotland study day Canberra This study day presents findings from two experiential research activities:  a walk from Dunkeld to Iona and a sailing trip from the Firth of Clyde to Oban and back.  Both sought to explore routes which might have been used by early medieval religious people.  The aim was to test the viability of theoretical routes, and also to better understand the experience of the early medieval traveller.  In this lavishly illustrated study day, we will follow the routes taken during the two expeditions, and discuss the insights gained as a result. 20 December Grumpy Celtic Christmas – Eric Bogle & Claymore Memo Music Hall, Melbourne. Audiences are in for a Celtic treat this December as, Eric Bogle and Claymore join forces at the Memo for a one night only in Melbourne Christmas extravaganza, “A Grumpy Celtic Christmas”. Considered two of Australia’s top artists, along with the incredible Glenbrae Celtic Dancers, the event will showcase the best of Celtic entertainment. 32 December Caledonian Society of WA Hogmanay Ceilidh Bob Daniels Community Centre, 895 Beaufort Street, Inglewood The Caledonian Society of Western Australia aims to bring like-minded people together in an inclusive, family friendly environment. The Society hosts fun, diverse, and inexpensive Scottish socials and themed events on the last Saturday of every month packed with dancing, music, food, and live entertainment.


8 December The 56th Annual Gleneagles Ball Pacific Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver We look forward to welcoming you to our 56th Annual Gleneagles Ball. 31 December 8th Annual Hogman-eh! Aberdeen Pavilion, Landsdowne Park, Ottawa, Ontario Join us at our 8th Annual Hogman-eh! 2019. A New Year’s Celebration – Scottish style. Scots and everyone wanting to enjoy a lively Scottish style party are invited to the largest, New Year’s Eve celebration in Eastern Ontario, and the largest Hogmanay celebration outside of Scotland!

New Zealand

14 December 40th Jenny Mair Highland Square Day The Square, Palmerston North Central, Palmerston North 4410, New Zealand The Jenny Mair Highland Square Day is set again to showcase a raft of talent from across the country and overseas. Saturday 14 December 2019 marks the 40th Square Day! Upwards of 20 highland pipe bands and scores of


contestant solo bagpipers and solo drummers will converge on The Square, with the celebration of this milestone being an extra special element this year.


6-7 December 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade Old Town, Alexandria, VA The Campagna Center presents the 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade. Enjoy marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and much more. parade 7 December 174th Feast of the Haggis Rockwell on the River, 3057 North Rockwell Street, Chicago, IL, 60618 The Chicago Scots enthusiastically invite everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination to come and enjoy an evening steeped in history and Scottish fun. The celebration of Scotland will include an exquisite dinner, live entertainment including bagpipers, Highland Dancers, a lively ceilidh, auction and much more.


7 December Andrew’s Society of San Francisco’s 156th Annual Banquet & Ball Marines’ Memorial Club, 609 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Founded in 1863, the society joins men and women of Scottish birth and those of the same heritage in a bond of culture and benevolent purpose. Join us for the celebration of our patron Saint Andrew and our Scottish heritage at the annual Saint Andrews Society Banquet and Ball. The Prince Charles Pipe Band, Highland dancers, and the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers will perform. 8 December Saint Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles St Andrew’s Day Celebration at The Tam. Tam O’Shanter, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039 The Saint Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles is the oldest organisation in Southern California devoted to the promotion of Scottish culture. 17 December Scottish Christmas Celebration American-Scottish Foundation & Burns Society of New York Union Club, 101 E 69th St, New York City There will be an open bar with wine and beer and heavy hors d’oeuvres. We will have musical accompaniment as we sing traditional Scottish songs and Christmas carols.



Profile for Scotland Correspondent

Scotland Correspondent Issue 36  

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

Scotland Correspondent Issue 36  

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