Scotland Correspondent Issue 44

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On the road from Fraserburgh to Newburgh Whisky plans for ‘Lallybroch’ castle Alister MacKenzie’s Scottish golf trail

Solving the riddle of missing Jacobite gold Secrets of the Royal Mile explored Opening up Scotland’s history p1

August 2020

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Index - Inside this issue

inside this issue

12 Timeless

beauty on the NE250 part five

40 Discovering

unknown corners of Edinburgh


welcome for Loch Ness visitors

56 Opening

up the Highlands at the Fife Arms

64 New

look for Nairn

73 Teeing

off celebrations for Alister MacKenzie p7

Index - Inside this issue

50 Monster

Index - Inside this issue

inside this issue

87 New 104 A

wee livener with... Tom Morton

life for Perth’s oldest trails


95 Dram

dreams for Midhope distillery


Chef in a Kilt with‌. Gordon Howe

Index - Inside this issue

124 Opening

the gates of Scotland’s castles

142 Hunting

152 Mystery

antiques with... Roo Irvine

of Jacobite treasure solved?

164 Musical

Correspondent and the story behind the song

172 Malcolm

MacWatt blending styles p9

Index - Inside this issue

inside this issue

Strange Tales from Thin Places


232 Our

guide on where to stay

209 Living

it large properties 178 An actor’s to buy life for me with... Scott Kyle

1 Cover 188 New

chapter for book town p10


Photo by Damian Shields/ VisitScotland/NE250 Slains Castle

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Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Astrid Horn CC BY-SA 2.0 Cairnbulg Castle

Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections


omantic castles, picturesque villages, spectacular sea cliffs, enchanting coves and smugglers’ caves coupled with shipwrecked ghosts, historic battles and even a vampire or two can all be found between Fraserburgh and Newburgh. This short drive is just over 33 miles long but takes curious travellers on a journey through time spanning thousands of years of human history.


Just outside of Fraserburgh the villages of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy are the first points of interest.There have been fishing communities on this stretch of coastline since at least the 1500s. Nearby Cainbulg castle can trace its origins back to the 13th century when it was one of the Nine Castles of the Knuckle and a stronghold of the Comyn family, rivals to Robert The Bruce for the Scottish crown.

Bruce seized the castle during his Harrying of Buchan in 1308 when he laid waste to Comyn lands throughout the region. He later gifted the estate to the Earls of Ross in 1316 who in turn passed it to the Fraser family in 1375 who held on to it for almost 300 years. Extensively rebuilt during the 19th century by the Duthie family the castle returned to the Frasers in the 1930s and remains the home of Katherine Fraser, Mistress of Saltoun.

Sometime around the 1860s a cholera epidemic resulted in many of the old collection of fishermen’s homes being cleared to make way for the planned fishing villages which formed the foundations of today’s Cairnbulg. Expansion and “modernisation’ of the villages coincided with a boom in herring fishing and at one time more than 200 boats operated out of Cairnbulg and neighbouring Inverallochy. As far back as 1696 records show that at least 19 fishermen lived in and worked from Inverallochy where the remains of Inverallochy Castle can still be seen near the village. It is believed to have been built sometime in the early 16th century, possibly by Sir William Comyn of Inverallochy who was Lord Lyon of Scotland from 1512 to 1519. Although the castle, a scheduled monument, is a ruin visitors with

Photo by Stanley Howe CC BY-SA 2.0 Remains of Inverallochy Castle


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Anne Burgess CC BY-SA 2.0 Inverallochy

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/Discover Fraserburgh Maggie’s Hoosie

a passion for history should take time to visit Maggie’s Hoosie, perfectly preserved 19th century fishwife’s cottage. The tiny two-bedroom dwelling, with its earthen floors and lack of electricity or running water, provides a glimpse of what life was like for ordinary families in the 1800s. The house belonged to a local woman, Maggie, who was born there in 1867 and lived in the property just as it is now until her death in 1950. One other claim to fame enjoyed by Inverallochy is that in the 19th century the local fishermen were renowned as great golfers. In 1905 a team from Inverallochy Golf Club, which opened in 1888, won a match against UK Prime Minister Arthur Balfour and nine of his Westminster parliamentary colleagues. Once through Inverallochy the route follows the coast to St


Photo PD British troops board a fishing boat from the beach at Dunkirk

Combs which takes its name from a church dedicated to St Colm or Columba which used to exist in the area. Although records of a settlement only go back to the 17th century there is evidence people were living around the area since the Neolithic period. St Combs has possibly one of the best stretches of sand dune beach in the country. One story often recounted about the area, possibly apocryphal, is that during the 1940 evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk one of the ‘little ships’ involved was owned by a fisherman from Cairnbulg. He is said to have sailed more than 700 miles to the battle zone and sailed up and down the French beach shouting: ‘’Is there onybody here fae Cairnbulg, Inverallochy or St Combs? I’ll only tak’ folk fae the Broch but if there’s ony room left, I’ll tak’ folk fae Peterheid.’’

Photo PD British troops board a fishing boat from the beach at Dunkirk


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by JThomas CC BY-SA 2.0 St Combs Beach

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

St Combs lies in the parish of Lonmay, a small cluster of cottages about five miles inland via the B9033. Although a little bit of a detour (about seven minutes) Rock and Roll fans might want to have a look as Lonmay is the village where the family of Elvis Presley originate. It’s believed Andrew Presley, the great-great-great-great-greatgreat-grandfather of the king of Rock ’n’ Roll, married Elspeth Leg on August 23 1713 in the old parish church built in 1607, which is now a ruin. Their son, also called Andrew, emigrated to North Carolina in 1745 and began the American branch of the family. Back on the road between St Combs and Peterhead the next village on route is Crimond which lies about two miles inland from the coast. Once part of the estates owned by Sir Archibald Douglas, former Guardian of Scotland, it was here in 1297 that William Wallace rested while heading north to join up with fellow resistance leader Andrew de Moray, the often

Photo by Sagaciousphil CC BY-SA 3.0 Parish Church of Crimond clock


Elvis Presley whose ancestors came from Lonmay

forgotten hero of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The village, which gives its name to the tune usually associated with the hymn ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’, has another curious

claim to fame - time is different. The village church clock has an extra minute between the 11 and 12 making for 61 minutes in the hour. Next on the road is St Fergus.

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Sagaciousphil CC BY-SA 3.0 Parish Church of Crimond


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections Photo by David Purchase CC BY-SA 2.0 Inverugie Castle

Now the home to the imposing North Sea gas terminal, processing around 15 per cent of the entire UK gas supply, the settlement dates back several centuries. Nearby, the remains of Inverugie Castle are all that’s left of an


imposing 14th century fortress built to replace an earlier motteand-bailey castle constructed by the Cheynne family in the 12th century. In 1345 the castle passed to the Keiths who controlled it and the surrounding area until their

lands were seized in 1745 as a punishment for supporting the Jacobites. Interestingly, sometime in the 18th century the poet Robert Burns’ father, William, trained as a gardener at Inverugie Castle before moving to Ayrshire.

A short distance away lies the ruins of the 15th century Craig of Inverugie or Ravenscraig Castle.

Once the seat of the barony of Torthorston it was owned first by the Cheyne family and then the

Keiths. King James VI is known to have visited the castle in 1589.

Photo by Martyn Gorman CC BY-SA 2.0 Watch House in St Fergus’s Kirkyard used in early 1800s to protect newly buried corpses from grave robbers


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Jim Davidson CC BY-SA 2.0 Ruins of Ravenscraig Castle

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Less than five miles from St Fergus is Peterhead, the easternmost point of mainland Scotland and the largest community on this stretch of the route. Known locally as The Bloo Toon (or Blue Town) the residents are known as Bloomogganners. The name is believed to derive from the thick blue stockings, or moggins, the town’s fishermen used to wear. Peterhead, founded in 1587, was governed by a Feudal Superior who, at the time of the 1715 Jacobite Rising, was the 10th Earl Marischal George Keith who resided at Inverugie Castle just two miles outside the town. Photo NLS (PD) James VIII landing at Peterhead 1715

It’s little surprise then that the port was chosen as the landing place for exiled King James VIII who arrived in the country on 22 December 1715 to support the rebellion started by the Earl of Braemar two months earlier on 9 September. Enthusiasm for the Jacobite cause was very high in the town with both men and women taking up arms on behalf of the exiled James, who was proclaimed King in his absence at Peterhead’s Mercat Cross on 23rd September. After the failure of the rebellion Hanoverian troops were garrisoned in the town and Peterhead’s defences dismantled. The town’s historic cannons were seized and remain to this day in the Tower of London. However the town’s Jacobite spirit remained unbroken and in 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie, tried to reclaim the throne for his father James, Peterhead was again a rebel port with the harbour being used to land weapons and ammunition.

James Francis Edward Stuart in 1712 by Alexis Simon Belle


Following Culloden a number of Jacobites made their escape

Photo by Sagaciousphil CC BY-SA 3.0 Old St. Peter’s Church, Peterhead

from Peterhead to exile in Europe. One of them was James Francis Edward Keith who became Field Marshal to Frederick the Great of Prussia. In 1868 King Wilhelm I of Prussia gifted a copy of the statue of Field Marshal James Keith which now stands proudly outside the Town House. Over the years Peterhead has spawned a number of famous historical characters. It has also provided residence for some of the country’s most notorious names - chiefly as inmates of what was once the most secure prison in Scotland. Peterhead Prison, which was opened in 1888 and was the last in the UK to have armed guards, is now a museum and major visitor attraction.

General Field-Marschall James Francis Keith


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Ronnie Leask CC BY-SA 2.0 Statue of Field Marshal James Keith

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Bullers of Buchan

Just outside Peterhead lies the village of Boddam close to the spectacular Bullers of Buchan,

sea cliffs that rise to 200ft and are home to a variety of seabirds.

Photo Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Bullers of Buchan


People have been living in this area since prehistoric times. Boddam Castle, which is now

Sir William Keith was born. A colourful character he went on to become Lieutenant Governor

of Pennsylvania and Delaware in 1717 and encouraged Benjamin Franklin to set up a printing

Photo by Richard Slessor CC BY-SA 2.0 Ruins of Boddam Castle


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

a ruin, was built in the late 16th century by members of the Keith family. It was here, in 1669, that

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

business. The Buchan Ness lighthouse is a major landmark in the area. It was from here that many

trading and whaling ships set sail for the likes of Archangel and Greenland during the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result of numerous ships running aground

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Buchanness Lighthouse


on the rugged coastline Robert Stevenson was commissioned to build a lighthouse in 1819 which went into operation in 1827.

rocks and the villagers, prevented from claiming salvage rights to the cargo unless there were no survivors, found a live monkey among the wreckage. Unwilling

to risk loosing their spoils they hanged the poor animal. Even today residents of Peterhead tease their neighbours


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

There is a common story, immortalised in song, that is often used to poke fun at the folk of Boddam. Sometime around 1772 a ship ran aground on the

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Slains Castle

with the cry “Fa hangit the monkey?” After leaving Boddam the road follows the coastline to Cruden Bay to the west of Slains Castle, which overlooks the bay in which the popular coastal village is nestled.

Photo by Damian Shields/ VisitScotland/North East 250 Slains Castle


Built on the site close to where Scotland’s King Malcolm II stopped an invading army of Danes in 1012 it has a spectacular Old Tom Morris designed golf course, and a beautiful unspoiled beach from where pioneering aviator Tryggve Gran took off to complete the first solo flight across the North Sea to Norway on 30 July 1914. Other claims to fame include that

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Cruden Bay


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

it was here that Irish author Bram Stoker wrote the first chapters of his novel Dracula. He used to holiday at Cruden Bay regularly

between 1893 and 1910. He is believed to have drawn inspiration for Dracula’s Castle from Slains Castle.

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Slains Castle


Now a ruin the former home of the Earls of Erroll was first built in the late 16th century and extended and refurbished several

cliff top fortress. After more than 300 years the 20th Earl of Erroll sold it to a

businessman in 1913 who leased the property out. It was eventually abandoned and stripped of its roof in 1925 to avoid taxes.


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

times over the following centuries. The last major alterations were carried out in 1837 to resemble more of a baronial mansion than a

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections Photo Mikey Shepherd CC BY-SA 4.0 View of Cruden Bay from the estuary

In the 1840s the 18th Earl founded the fishing community of Port Erroll and although the harbour area still retains the name the village is universally known as Cruden bay.

Photo by Richard Slessor CC BY-SA 2.0 Port Erroll from the Beach


When he wasn’t staying at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel in the village Bram Stoker would often rent a cottage in the clifftop hamlet of Whinnyfold (pronounced finny-fa) above Cruden Bay to write.

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Created as a small fishing community in the 1860s local residents, numbering more than 190 fishermen and their families, had to scramble down the steep cliffs to reach their boats on the beach, It’s no surprise that Stoker found inspiration there, especially for his novel ‘The Mystery of the Sea’, as just a short distance away lie a series of treacherous rocks known as the Skares on which

Photo Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Port Erroll at the north end of Cruden bay


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

many ships have foundered over the years. Legend has it that the ghosts of shipwrecked sailors emerge from their watery graves once a year.

Aerial view of Collieston CC0 1.0


The journey from Whinnyfold to the picturesque village of Collieston is considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest, notable for colonies of cliff nesting

seabirds including kittiwake, guillemot, razorbill, fulmar and shag. The earliest mention of Collieston

The current settlement was established as a fishing village sometime in the 15th century and flourished as such for more almost 400 years until the

emergence of drift net fishing in the 19th century meant the harbour was no longer suitable for larger vessels.


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

in the history books goes back to the arrival of St Ternan who came to the area on a mission to convert Picts to Christianity.

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

However, the natural terrain dotted with numerous isolated coves and sea caves, made it

an ideal location for smugglers. During the 18th century it is estimated that more than 8,000

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Collieston


gallons of illegal spirits were being landed in secret every month on this stretch of coastline

Collieston remains a popular

destination for tourists during the summer months as they are lured by the romantic reputation and

spectacular beaches. A little more than five miles from


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections


Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

Photo by Anne Burgess CC BY-SA 2.0 Knockhall Castle

Collieston lies the village of Newburgh, which dates back to 1261. In the 19th century Newburgh was a major sea port for sailing ships carrying cargoes of tea, coal and other commodities around the world. A number of the richer clipper captains built impressive homes in the village, many of which still carry names such as Shanghai house and Santa Cruz. Just outside the village lies the remains of Knockhall Castle, a former home of Clan Udny, which was recently put up for sale for offers over £130,000. It is believed to have been built for Henry, Master of Sinclair, the future 6th Lord Sinclair, in 1565 who’s family had held the lands of Newburgh since 1261. View from Knockhall Castle


Historical records reveal Scotland’s King James VI, who

Travel - Beauty, history and intrigue with supernatural connections

was later to become King James I of England with the Union of the Crowns in 1603, paid a visit to the castle and stayed the night on 9th July 1589. The castle remained in Sinclair hands until 1633 when it passed to the Udny family who lived in it until 1734. The castle was also the home of Jamie Fleeman, better known as “the Laird of Udny’s Fool”, the last person in Britain to be employed as a family jester. As a member of the Laird’s household his pauper appearance enabled him to go where he pleased so was used by the Countess of Erroll to carry messages to Jacobite rebels. Once, when stopped by a self-important gentleman who condescendingly asked “Whose fool are you?” Fleeman is supposed to have replied “I’m Udny’s feel. Wha’s feel are ye?” In 1734, while staying with the Laird and his family at Knockhall Fleeman was roused by a barking dog. Discovering the castle on fire he woke everyone else by picking up a large oak chest, which usually required three men to lift it, and threw it through a window. His actions were credited with saving the lives of the family. When Fleeman died in 1778 his

photo by Ken Fitlike Jamie Fleeman’s grave

last words “I’m a Christian, dinna bury me like a beast” were taken to heart and he was laid to rest at

nearby Longside where a stone erected to mark his grave in 1861 can still be seen.




Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland A view of the Royal Mile from the top of St Giles Cathedral; Edinburgh

Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile by Tracey Macintosh

and cafes.

dinburgh’s iconic Royal Mile is a must see for visitors to Scotland. That wonderful stretch from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle is steeped in history and bustles with street entertainers, ghost walks, various gift shops and a wide range of restaurants

This year the atmosphere is a little different without the world famous festivals or Military Tattoo, but there are still plenty of reasons to visit. In addition to the obvious attractions, and there are lots, there are some particular gems well worth exploring.

E p40

Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland The Hub in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh International Festival


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Photo TRMKC Plague Doctor in Mary King’s Close

Photo by Maria CC BY-SA 3.0 Mary King’s Close

Mary King’s Close Mary King’s Close is a series of extremely well preserved underground streets that run beneath the historic heart of Edinburgh and give a fascinating insight into life in the 17th century in the city’s Old Town. Overcrowding led to building beneath ground level and following construction of the Royal Exchange in the 18th century, directly above Mary King’s Close, the area was partially blocked up and eventually fell out of use. There is a gruesome myth that Mary King’s Close was sealed up during an epidemic of Bubonic plague and the inhabitants left to perish. More recent research suggests the area was closed off for quarantine reasons but food and water were provided to the unfortunate residents.


Photo by Remi Mathis CC BY-SA 3.0 Edinburgh Thistle Chapel, St Giles’ Chapel

Mary King herself is an interesting character. After being widowed with four children, she ran a successful clothing business in the underground streets and had a seat on Edinburgh Council. The close was named after her posthumously and the possessions listed in her will show she was a relatively wealthy and successful businesswoman in her own right following her husband’s death. With regular tours available in the company of costumed guides bringing to life stories and characters from Edinburgh’s past, Mary King’s Close gives a real sense of 17th century life in the heart of the city.

Thistle Chapel, St Giles Cathedral Across from Mary King’s Close is St Giles Cathedral. This stunning gothic building, with its iconic

crown steeple, is one of the landmarks of Edinburgh’s skyline. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, the cathedral was founded in the 12th Century during the reign of Kind David I. Technically it can no longer be called a cathedral as it has no bishop but the name has endured. As well as being the patron Saint of Edinburgh, St Giles is also the patron saint of cripples and lepers. Over the centuries there have been extensive alterations and renovations. During the 19th century an ambitious project to transform St Giles into the ‘Westminster of the North’ took place, largely masterminded and partially funded by William Chamber, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. As a frail octogenarian he was carried in to see the finished cathedral in 1883 but sadly passed away three days before the re-opening service.

Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Photo by CPClegg CC BY-SA 4.0 Thistle Chapel Interior


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Today, St Giles is seen as one of the most important parish churches in Scotland and its stunning interior and stained glass are hugely impressive. During the turbulence of the reformation, St Giles became a Protestant church with John Knox as its minister. Following his death in 1572 Knox was buried in St Giles Cemetery which has since been paved over and is now a parking area. A relatively recent addition to St Giles is the Thistle Chapel, a small chantry in the south east corner of the cathedral completed in 1911 and designed by architect Robert Lorimer. Among the wooden carvings of flowers and animals on the ornate ceiling there are also a number of angelic musicians, including three angels playing bagpipes – the inspiration for the name of a restaurant just across the road.

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland St Giles Cathedral; The High Kirk of Edinburgh on The Royal Mile


The origin of the Order of the Thistle is unclear. One theory is that James III may have founded it. The first records of the thistle being used as a royal symbol date from his reign when it began appearing on silver coins in 1470. Even today the thistle endures as a national emblem of Scotland. Outside St Giles lies the Heart of Midlothian, a mosaic set into the pavement at the west door marking the position of the 15th Century Tolbooth. As one of the city’s municipal buildings, the Tolbooth served as a prison, court of session and was the site of public executions. After many renovations the Tolbooth was demolished in 1817.


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

A stunning neo-Gothic structure in its own right the Thistle Chapel is the home of Scotland’s chivalric order, the Order of the Thistle.

Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

© Sir Gawain CC BY-SA 3.0 Dunbar’s Close Garden

Dunbar’s Close Garden Dunbar’s Close is tucked away in the Canongate and a walk through the cobbled close reveals a 17th century style garden a great spot for relaxing and recharging away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile. The Garden was named after David Dunbar, a writer who owned the surrounding tenements in 1733. In the 1970s, landscape architect Seamus Filor was commissioned to create a 17th Century style garden in the long, narrow area behind the buildings of Dunbar Close. The cost of maintaining Dunbar Close Garden is currently met by the Mushroom Trust, a small Scottish charity established to support the creation of greenspaces particularly in urban areas for public benefit. Entrance to the garden has always been free of charge.


Photo by Lobster1 CC BY-SA 3.0 Dunbar’s Close Gardens, Edinburgh

Today, the garden offers a surprising and peaceful oasis away from the busy city centre among flowers, herbs and trees in a series of parterres that perfectly suit the long narrow space enclosed by the Cannongate

kirkyard and neighbouring tenements. Look out for the Tulip tree, originally from North America, and the Florentine irises, both a reference to the wealth of the Cannongate in 17th century Scotland.

Scottish Storytelling Centre Traditional social gatherings would have included storytelling around the fire as well as the music and dancing now mainly associated with ceilidhs. This oral tradition pervades Scotland, both past and present, and the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the High Street is a wonderful place to re-affirm that great custom. Incorporated within the building is John Knox House. Dating back to 1470 this is the oldest surviving complete building on the Royal Mile. The museum and the house are fascinating to visit and give a glimpse of life in Scotland during the turmoil of the Reformation. A stark contrast to John Knox House the centre offers a range of excellent, modern performance and workshop spaces including a 99 seat auditorium complete with lighting, projection and

Photo by Kim Traynor CC BY-SA 3.0 Gladstone’s Land, Edinburgh

amplification and a café/bar. With a regular programme of both performances and workshops as well as more informal open mic storytelling sessions, it provides a number of ways to engage with the art of storytelling in a great setting and is well worth a visit.

Gladstone’s Land Walking up the Royal Mile, towards Edinburgh Castle, Gladstone’s Land is easy to spot with its eye catching golden hawk sitting under the archway built to shelter 17th century shoppers. It is the only surviving shop frontage from this era in Edinburgh. The original building dates back to 1550 but was redeveloped between 1617 and 1620 by wealthy merchant Thomas

Gladstone who bought the property to create a fashionable and opulent residence for himself and his wife, as well as to provide a source of income from various parts of the building he rented out. Tenants included the Minister of St Giles, a Knight and an exclusive grocer who traded from the lower floor. The house, which spans six floors, was rescued from demolition in the 1930s and is now in the care of National Trust for Scotland. The ground floor accommodates an NTS shop, while floors one and two have been restored to give visitors an idea of 17th century living quarters enjoyed by wealthy tenants and merchants. The upper floors are available to hire as holiday accommodation.


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Photo by Enric CC BY-SA 4.0 Entrance to Gladstone’s Land

Photo by Lila CC BY-SA 4.0 Witches Well Edinburgh


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

Perhaps the most enigmatic of the Royal Mile’s hidden treasures the Witches Well is one of the least known. Situated at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle Esplanade the small well is a monument to the many innocent people, mainly women, who were accused of witchcraft, tortured and killed. The plentiful ghost walks around the Royal Mile go into gruesome detail on the methods of torture

and means of execution common in the city between the 15th and 18th centuries. Possibly more sinister is that the grounds for accusation were at best tenuous. A feud with a neighbour, being an animal lover, having some knowledge of herbs or just being plain unlucky could lead to accusations of witchcraft which could lead to torture and execution. James VI of Scotland was particularly obsessed with the persecution of witches and his fixation most likely explains why

Scotland saw almost five times as many people killed for witch craft compared with other European countries. This is the same King James who authorised a new translation of the bible most widely used today. Commissioned in 1894 by Sir Patrick Geddes, a philanthropist and town planner, and designed by his friend John Duncan, the witches well features images referencing the duality of good and evil along with a strong emphasis on healing and medicine.


Travel - Six of the best hidden treasures of The Royal Mile

The Witches Well

Travel - Lock down upsurge in monster sightings

Photos by Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition ready for visitors

Lock down upsurge in monster sightings

by Paul Watson


hile the world has been in self-imposed lockdown Scotland’s most famous mystery creature, the Loch Ness Monster, has been busy enjoying the peace and quiet.


Although the number of visitors to the country’s largest body of freshwater has been severely restricted there has been no less than five reported sighting of Nessie this year, all of which have been confirmed by the Official Loch Ness Monster Register.

The first was in January when webcam watcher Eoin Fagan spotted an unidentified moving object emerging from the water for a few seconds before disappearing under the surface. The second sighting of the year was on April 10 when Kalynn

Travel - Lock down upsurge in monster sightings

Wangle from the USA spotted something unexplained in the water for seven minutes while watching the webcam. A few days later Eoin Fagan added to his January sighting when he again saw something unusual. Indeed, he reported another two sightings, on April 13 and 22. The first occurred just after 8am and was captured on webcam. It appeared to show an object travelling through the water and leaving a trail of white foam. His second sighting in April again happened early in the morning. While watching the waters around Urquhart Castle via webcam Eoin spotted a large black shape in the water, estimated to be about 30ft long, on the surface of the loch. It stayed on view, swimming and splashing about, for around two minutes before disappearing beneath the surface. According to Eoin there was no

boat traffic in the vicinity and the loch was calm. More recently, on 10 June, Kalynn Wangle captured a mystery object in the water while watching the webcam from her home in Oregon. This time the object remained in view for a full 10 minutes before disappearing. Remarkably, there were more sightings of the Loch Ness Monster last year - 18 in total than at any time since 1983, when

Nessie-mania was at a peak. Incredibly, the first sighting of a monster in the loch was recorded in 565AD. “Usually there is some kind of plausible explanation but these recent webcam sightings have left even us flummoxed,� said Robbie Bremner, Director of the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, which has now re-opened following a four-month closure during the Covid-19 lockdown.


Travel - Lock down upsurge in monster sightings

“In total, there has been over 1,100 recorded sightings of Nessie, and they can’t all be wrong. In fact, in a year marked


by so many extraordinary events, a handful of Nessie sightings doesn’t seem quite so wild anymore.”

The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. It first opened on 3 May 1980 under

“Aside from the addition of sanitising stations, protective screens, and a carefullycontrolled ‘flow’ through the seven themed rooms, the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition experience will be the same as it ever was – just with fewer customers,” said Robbie.

“Meanwhile, our Loch Ness cruises, taking in the beauty of Urquhart Castle, would ordinarily host 12 passengers per hour, but these will now be fully private for members of the same family - up to eight passengers in total. I suspect these will prove to be very popular given the current mood.”


Travel - Lock down upsurge in monster sightings

the direction of founder Ronnie Bremner. In 2001 the five-star VisitScotland rated centre passed to his sons Robbie and David and continues to showcase 500 million years of history across seven themed areas.


Photo by Guy Phillips


Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style

Taste of the highlife Highland style


uests to the prestigious Fife Arms hotel in the village of Braemar may notice a few new improvements to help them better enjoy Highland hospitality. Chief among the changes is the hotel’s newly expanded team of ghillies. The Fife Arms has always had a ghillie, who was the guests’ main point of contact for anything they needed, but now that team has been expanded to provide a 24 hours a day service and fulfil the needs of guests throughout their stay. From booking reservations in the


newly spaced out restaurants, arranging private foraging excursions, to organising private pre-dinner drinks in the art deco glamour of Elsa’s Bar or in the comfort of guests’ own rooms, the ghillie team is on hand to make sure everyone’s stay is perfect. In keeping with the characteristic warmth and magic of The Fife Arms and its surroundings guests are encouraged to roam and ramble freely in the wild and dramatic Cairngorms National Park, right on the hotel’s doorstep.

A new Fife Arms self-guided directory, featuring walking and cycling itineraries has been curated to suit all levels of ambitions. Whether it’s for lone rangers, family outings or a romantic foray à deux, the new guide reveals the best locations for wildlife spotting, for foraging - and to see local sights. Scavenger hunts, nature trails and activity sheets are also available for younger guests to take with them on their adventure in the Big Outdoors. The Fife Arms’ own in-house forager, Natasha Lloyd, is passionate about sharing her

Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style


Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style expert knowledge of the local plants and vegetation. She regularly leads tours of the surrounding areas, identifying, explaining and sharing the taste of plants that can be transformed into teas, tinctures, condiments or cosmetics. Situated next to the River Dee, one of the most famous salmon rivers in the world, the Fife Arms is an ideal base for anglers keen on fishing for salmon or trout. For those with a love of history Braemar holds an important place in Scotland’s story. In addition to its associations with Queen Victoria the area played a major role in both Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. To accompany guests’ excursions, The Fife Arms’ chefs have created a special Highland Picnic, which can be arranged through the ghillies.


Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style


Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style The picnics come in a Fife Arms hamper backpack with homemade pies and hearty sandwiches with meats and


smoked salmon sourced locally, sweet treats made fresh by the pastry team and flasks of tea and coffee.

The ghillie team can also arrange delicious Scottish whisky or a bottle of sparkling water to be packed with the picnic hamper

Travel - Taste of the highlife Highland style

which can to them at a prearranged spot on their walk by their ghillie. Â

The Fife Arms is an ideal place for outdoor explorers and wildlife enthusiasts to reconnect with nature and for anyone seeking

inspiration or relaxation, to escape the everyday.




Travel - Change of pace for special place Photo by Alexander Williamson Nairn Harbour Sunset

Change of pace for special place

by Scott Aitken


seaside town which boasts sandy beaches, championship golf courses and awardwinning restaurants is welcoming visitors with a whole new look. Nairn, which is located on the Moray Firth and was once dubbed the ‘Brighton of the North’, has been rebranded ‘Scotland’s Highland Playground’ due to its diverse range of activities, events, history and culture.


The new image, which was commissioned by the town’s Nairn Business Improvement District, has been launched to promote the area as an ideal location for a holidaymakers from across Scotland, the UK and further afield.

really does have something for everyone. From championships golf courses, three stunning beaches, award-winning restaurants, Culbin Forest on our doorstep and, of course, great transport links, Nairn is an ideal holiday destination. It has it all.”

“Nairn is predominantly a tourist town,” said Michael Boylan, chair of Nairn BID. “Our local economy relies on people wanting to travel and stay here and enjoy what we have to offer.

Nairn has long been recognised a relaxing seaside resort and is one of the sunniest and driest places in Scotland. It rose to prominence as a vacation destination in Victorian times and during the early part of the 20th century attracted big names, such as Charlie Chaplin who would often

“Staycations are likely to become more of a thing and Nairn

Travel - Change of pace for special place Photo by Alexander Williamson Nairn Highland Games


Travel - Change of pace for special place Photo by Alexander Williamson

spend his holidays in the town. Today, not only is it a popular

Photo by Alexander Williamson


family holiday destination and an ideal base for walking, cycling, touring and golfing,

but being located so centrally with Inverness to the west and Aberdeen to the east, it is a great

Travel - Change of pace for special place Each year Nairn hosts a three day food and drink festival

base to explore other attractions too.

“We are very excited to be launching Nairn as Scotland’s Highland Playground as it really

does have everything you could want for a traditional family holiday,” said Lucy Harding,

Photo by Alexander Williamson


Travel - Change of pace for special place

manager of Nairn BID. “There is something for everyone to enjoy whether that’s simple relaxing walks and picnics on the beaches, exploring our rich

Photo by Alexander Williamson


history with Cawdor Castle, Brodie Castle and Fort George on the doorstep or something a bit more adventurous. “The Highlands are increasingly

“We wanted to make a statement about Nairn’s uniqueness as a seaside resort in the heart of the Highlands. Nairn is a wonderful natural playground. We have beautiful beaches, world class

golf courses, lots of open space and play areas and, of course, the famous Moray Firth dolphins which you can often see from the beach.”


Travel - Change of pace for special place

popular with tourists, particularly with the success of the North Coast 500, which is also on our doorstep, which means we get a lot of visitors passing through.

Travel - Change of pace for special place Culloden Battlefield from Jacobite lines (PD)

Nairn has an expanse of beautiful beaches, they were even used as a substitute for Normandy during training for D-day during World War II, as well as stunning scenery and two championship golf courses. The town is also surrounded with plenty of fascinating Highland heritage such as Culloden Moor, the site of the last major battle on British soil which saw the end of the Jacobite dream. Cawdor Castle, with its intriguing links to MacBeth, ever-changing gardens, nine-hole golf course and flock of Hebridean sheep, is also within easy travelling distances. Similarly, Brodie Castle, a magnificent turreted castle with a playful garden and over 400 varieties of daffodil, and Fort George, home to Scotland’s largest regimental museum outside Edinburgh, are both nearby.


Travel - Change of pace for special place Photo by Mihael Grmek CC BY-SA 3.0 Brodie Castle

Cawdor Castle CC0 1.0



Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

Celebrating a legend of golf

Alister MacKenzie 1870 -1934


n the pantheon of golfing greats Scotland can lay claim to many names who have helped shape the modern game, whether they were players, caddies, green keepers or golf course designers. Chief among them is Alister MacKenzie who was born 150 years ago this month and is responsible for designing some of the best courses in the world across four continents.

Although a surgeon by profession, MacKenzie served in the Boer War and was an expert in camouflage, it is his work as a golf course architect he is most renowned for. He was born to Scottish parents on 30 August 1870 in Normanton, near Leeds. His mother had roots in Glasgow and his father, a doctor, was raised in the Highlands near Lochinver where the young Alister would spend

much of his childhood holidays, leading to a strong identification with his Scottish roots which lasted the rest of his life. While as a civilian surgeon with the British army in South Africa MacKenzie became fascinated at how the Boers made the “best use of natural cover and the construction of artificial cover indistinguishable from nature’. It was a valuable lesson he would pass on to others during the First


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

World War and later adapt for his work as a golf course designer. In his 1920 book Golf

Duff House and Golf Course


Architecture he wrote: �the chief object of every golf course architect worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature

[and presumably also the hazards] so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself.�

developed a taste for golf course design and learned to develop many of his ideas. His trademark undulating, long and narrow

greens angled from the centre of the fairway punctuated with large free-form bunkers began taking shape around this time.


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

A keen amateur golfer MacKenzie was a member of several clubs in Yorkshire during the late 19th and early 20th century where he

Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

After World War One Mackenzie gave up medicine to concentrate on course design, having won a Country Life magazine

competition to design a golf hole in 1914. In 1919 he went into association

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Duff House, Banff


with renowned architects Harry Colt and Charles Alison before going it alone in 1923.

Point Club and the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. At least three of his courses are

still regarded as among the top 10 in the world, earning him a well deserved place in the Golf Hall of Fame.


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

Throughout his career he designed more than 50 courses, including those at Augusta National Golf Club, the Cypress

Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

However, you don’t have to travel to the US or Australia to play a MacKenzie creation as the architect is credited with several

courses in Scotland. Among the most spectacular is Duff House Royal Golf Club, Banff

Photo by Damian Shields/VisitScotland/North East 250 Duff House, Banff


where he laid the foundations of the challenging two-tier greens, forerunner of the design used by him at the Augusta National.

houses in Scotland, and nestles by the River Deveron with fantastic views of the Moray Firth.

Opened in 1910 the original course was designed by Archie Simpson but in 1923 MacKenzie wrote to the club suggesting a


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

The scratch 68 course is situated amid manicured parkland, adjacent to one of the grandest 18th century classical country

Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

series of improvements. With the backing of the cub committee he

redesigned all 18 greens, on the 6,043 yard course, introduced

undulating fairways and blind shots with a focus on natural

Photo by Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland Looking down to the 18th green and clubhouse at Royal Troon Golf Course, South Ayrshire


Further south the Portland Course at the Royal Troon Golf Club,

Troon, originally designed by1883 Open Championship winner


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

beauty free from artificial features.

Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

William Fernie, was redesigned by MacKenzie in the early 1920’s.

Photo by Fife Council / Airborne Lens Dunfermline Golf Club


Around the same time MacKenzie designed the 18-hole, par 71

parkland course at Pitreavie Golf Club in Dunfermline, Fife where

can still be strongly felt.

Between 1922 and 1923 he oversaw the design of Bonnyton


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

his influence, particularly in the double and triple-tiered greens,

Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf Golf Club, Eaglesham, Glasgow. Probably one of the lesser known MacKenzie creations he was

instrumental in its construction and opened the course with an exhibition match involving George

Duncan, Abe Mitchell, J. H. Kirkwood and Walter Hagen.

The MacKenzie Championship Course at Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen is the only parkland course in the city and is considered one of the best of its kind in Scotland. Designed by the man himself in the late 1920s it remains a true test of skill.

Last but not least, the Rosemount Course at Blairgowie Golf Club, Perth and Kinross, is another unique MacKenzie design opened in 1927.

the man himself in 1914 but the onset of war put everything on hold. After the end of hostilities Mackenzie was invited back and his design to extend the course from nine to 18 holes was adopted by the club.


Originally called the Lansdowne course it was initially inspected by

As the number of MacKenzie course in Scotland doesn’t even reach double figures it’s easy to fit them all into one great holiday and explore the golfing roots of a

true legend. Dr Alister MacKenze, who had emigrated to the USA in the late 1920s where he did most of his

course designing, died in Santa Cruz, California on 6 January 1934 but his legacy lives on.


Activities - Celebrating a legend of golf

Photo Mark Alexander/VisitScotland/Golf Perthshire Blairgowrie.Rosemount


Activities - Trails of history and adventure Photos by Markus Stitz

Trails of history and adventure

by Scott Aitken


new 205 miles long gravel backpacking route, spanning almost the entirety of Highland Perthshire, is attracting interest from cyclists around the world.

Scottish history and inspired some of Scotland’s greatest writers, such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, as they conjured up tales of adventure and travel.

The Drovers’ Trail follows in the footsteps of the ancient stockmen who walked the hills in rain and shine to take their animals to market.

Using more modern techniques round-the-world single-speed cyclist and film-maker Markus Stitz has created a video guide to showcase the spectacular off-road cycling opportunities available across Highland Perthshire.

These often forgotten tracks played an important role in

Drovers, tells the story of the ancient byways created by the

cattle drovers on their journey from the Cairngorms through the Tay Valley to Crieff, which was once Scotland’s most important cattle market at the end of the 17th century. The project was led and administered by Highland Perthshire Cycling, a charity set up to promote, encourage and enable more cycling in the area for both locals and visitors, and delivered by Bikepacking Scotland. The lengths of the individual


Activities - Trails of history and adventure

routes range from 12 km to 120 km, starting in the Highland Perthshire towns and villages of


Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Aberfeldy and Comrie, as well as the remote Rannoch Station.

Eight of the 11 routes are easily accessible by Scotrail and Caledonian Sleeper train services.

and the Tay Valley, but also of the huge variety of landscapes that can be found across the area,”

Activities - Trails of history and adventure

“Designing the various routes made me aware of not only the rich history of Highland Perthshire

said Markus. “I sought to use the story of the


Activities - Trails of history and adventure

cattle drovers to draw parallels with the adventurous spirit of


bikepacking, while showcasing the immense beauty of the area.

“I hope the new film and the route network will encourage more

to experience their immediate surroundings.â€?Â

The different routes are designed as day journeys for different


Activities - Trails of history and adventure

people to explore the area and will also give locals new ideas

Activities - Trails of history and adventure

ages and abilities, but can also be combined or shortened


by using quiet roads or cycle paths. They are graded as easy,

straightforward, challenging or expert.

35 mm and wider, they will also appeal to mountain bikers and

make great day trips for touring cyclists.


Activities - Trails of history and adventure

While the routes have been designed for bikes with tyres


Outlander link to new distillery


castle recognised by millions of people around the world as the home of fictional Highlander Jamie Fraser in Outlander is to

become the location of a new whisky distillery.

Plans have been announced for a new malt distillery on the

historic Hopetoun Estate near Queensferry, close to the 16th century tower house better known to fans of the time-travelling books and television series as


Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

Photo by Bewahrerderwerte CC BY-SA 4.0 Midhope Castle also known as Lallybroch to millions of Outlander fans

Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

Lallybroch or Broch Tuarach. A planning application has

been submitted to West Lothian Council for the development at Midhope, 12 miles west of the

Artist’s impression of Midhope Castle and planned distillery


city of Edinburgh. The contemporary distillery is to

Immediately adjacent to the distillery site lies the striking Midhope Castle, which is

Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

be positioned within a carefully designed landscape drawing inspiration from historic features.

presently an empty shell. It is intended the distillery development will lead to a


Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

longer-term project involving the significant restoration and return to use of Midhope Castle and its


immediate grounds. Hopetoun Estate has a long

tradition of growing and supplying malting barley for the Scotch Whisky industry and

commitment to environmental sustainability.

“We will set out to design and build a distillery that makes great whisky while addressing


Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

the new distillery would use exclusively estate-grown barley. It would also reflect the estate’s

Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

sustainability through every element of its architecture, its construction and its operation,� said a spokesperson for the

Photo by Camer01 CC BY-SA 3.0


Midhope Castle Distillery Company. “With an innovative approach

“We believe this approach goes hand in hand with producing a distinctive and characterful single malt Scotch Whisky capable of reflecting the qualities and traditions of one of Scotland’s great historic estates.”


Food & Beverage - Outlander link to new distillery

across the board we would aim to reduce our production carbon footprint to the absolute minimum, if not to zero.

17th April 2021 p102


Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

Photo by Leslie Barrie CC BY-SA 2.0 Campbeltown and Campbeltown Loch

An independent spirit

Now Campbeltown Loch is a beautiful place But the price of the whisky is grim How nice it would be if the whisky was free And the Loch was filled up to the brim…



t was Andy Stewart whose 1960s recording of Alan Cameron’s song (to the bagpipe march, The Glendaruel Highlanders) brought whisky and Campbeltown back together in the public consciousness. By that time, what was once

known as “the Whisky Capital of the World” had faded into a sleepy, slumbering town, a Scottish outpost nearer to Northern Ireland than many parts of Scotland. Signs of the prosperity which once made it the richest

Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton


Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

community in Scotland per head of population were still evident: the grand buildings, soaring tenements and wide streets.

contained within the real Campbeltown Loch and still maintaining a fishing fleet, though one sadly diminished.

The large and sheltered harbour,

Two distilleries were left out of a

Photo by sebastian.b. CC BY 2.0 Springbank


total which peaked at anything from 22 to 36, depending on which account you believe. It was, undoubtedly a hugely important source of whisky until it became a victim both

salt water of Campbeltown Loch to be alcoholic, just Glen Scotia and Springbank were left as functioning distilleries. Their futures would be erratic, though. Even through the

1980s, temporary closures were the order of the day, though ownership of Springbank remained with the Mitchell family. Today there are three distilleries


Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

of prohibition in the USA and overproduction of cheap, inferior product. The town’s main market and its reputation for quality vanished. So by the time Andy was longing for the

Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

Photo by Peter Currie CC BY-SA 3.0

in Campbeltown, and amid the disastrous economic situation faced by the town with the closure of its creamery and a local wind generator manufacturer, they offer, once the pandemic threat has receded, one of the main sources of revenue and employment locally. Glen Scotia is thriving, now owned by Loch Lomond Distillers, and the Mitchell family still own and operate Springbank, as well as the ‘new’ Glengyle. Glengyle produces a whisky called Kilkerran (the original name of Campbeltown, Cille Chiarain in Gaelic). It would be called Glengyle, but that brand happens to be owned by Loch Lomond, who produce a blended whisky of that name. One of those little local difficulties. Also under the Mitchell umbrella is Cadenheads, a whisky retailer based in Campbeltown but with well known branches in


Edinburgh, London and shops throughout Europe, from the Czech Republic to Denmark. And hand in hand with this European vision for its whiskies comes a unique political allegiance: Springbank was the only distillery (and it is now the oldest independent distillery in Scotland) to support Scottish independence, and it has really put its spirit where its mouth was, issuing not one but two whiskies after the referendum of 2014 to celebrate the 45 per cent of Scots who voted for independence. The limited edition Spirit of Freedom 45 blend was even bottled at 45% abv. Ranald Watson, sales and marketing manager at J and A Mitchell, said at the time that “Springbank was the only Scottish distillery to come out publicly in favour of

Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton Photo by Peter Currie CC BY-SA 3.0 Turning the barley by hand at Springbank


Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

independence and our stance struck a chord with many voters throughout the country and beyond.� The company also released a 30-year-old blend, called Spirit of Freedom 30, to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Photo by sebastian.b. CC BY 2.0

So despite being an outlier geographically, Springbank has positioned itself amid a significant percentage of Scottish hearts and minds. As for the town of Campbeltown, it has been one of my favourite Scottish places ever since longago childhood holidays to Kintyre in a Bedford camper van, and more recent visits in search of whisky and, on one occasion, a long-distance charity cycle ride from Shetland to raise money for the local CT scanner appeal. I love the sheer oddness of Campbeltown. This minimetropolis in its lovely position, so far away from the cities of the central belt (and yet only a few hours by sea), built on a peculiarly grand scale for such a small town with a population of only around 4500. And its whiskies. Campbeltown is an official and legally protected whisky classification, though to be honest the styles of the five whiskies available from its three distilleries vary considerably. You’d be hard put to find the obvious similarities between a classic Glen Scotia and heavily peated Longrow, one of three whiskies produced by Springbank. The other being Hazelburn.

Photo by sebastian.b. CC BY 2.0 Sampling a dram from the cask drawn by a copper dog


All three whiskies are made using different distillation techniques in what is, they proudly avow, a distillery where things are still done mostly by hand. For this article, I treated myself to

a large dram of Springbank 10, and, like the best fusions of place and spirit, it sent me tumbling back in time and hundreds of miles in space to the place I

remember with such affection. A visit is now being planned, though probably not by bicycle this time. Oh! Campbeltown Loch, I wish

you were whisky! Campbeltown Loch, Och Aye! Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky! I would drink you dry.

Tasting Notes

Springbank 10-year-old NOSE:

Around £38 per bottle

Salt, sea and a curious urban quality, though that may simply be my memories of the town’s layout and architecture. The ashy dankness of old warehouses (though Springbank have completed new ones) and dusty barrels lying in darkness, generation unto generation. Well, a decade or so. Fruit and cinnamon, wood and some good lumps of peat and coal.


This is really I think a different beast from older expressions of Springbank, meatier and with more of a pronounced woody undertow. That intrinsic and definite brininess is there, the oceanic flavour which, if there is a unifying factor, brings together the Campbeltown malts. But it’s robust in ways which Springbank bottlings of the past had a tendency not to be. Uncompromising. Slightly confrontational.


Smooth and satisfying, with just enough edge to let you know that (at 46 per cent) you’re dealing with an aristocrat among drams. Still, there’s a wildness to this whisky which will, I hope, always remain. behind the douce red sandstone of Campbeltown, strange things happen…


Food & Beverage - Skailg: A wee livener with... Tom Morton

Photo by sebastian.b. CC BY 2.0 Spirits safe



Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with….Gordon Howe

Chef in a kilt

with….Gordon Howe

A taste of land and sea

Photos by Gordon Howe


ebridean Beef and Reef, - a modern twist on a classic “Surf & Turf”. For this recipe I have used two award winning suppliers of our World Class Scottish produce.


Firstly, Jackson Bros Master Butcher of Oban. Alister Jackson’s beef is specially selected and supplied for him by John Scott Meat, of Ayrshire, and is nurtured from their very select group of beef finishing farms in

central Scotland.

The specialist meat supplier acquires their stock from select farms that consistently meet the rigorous quality standard specifications that, quite frankly,

Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with….Gordon Howe

you only get and can expect in premium quality meat. The Cattle, mainly Aberdeen Angus Cross and Limousin, “Heifers” cows are put to the Aberdeen Angus or Limousin Bull. Their offspring flourish in the natural yet gently nurturing conditions of the beautiful Ayrshire coast and surrounding green central belt. Their own farm, Thirdpart Farm, has a family history going back over 200 years of live premium stock production and remains true to tradition. The farm perfectly situated in Skemorlie, North Ayrshire, rises from sea level to a scenic and panoramic 1,080ft above sea level. It is from here the prime stock are finished and sold via John Scott Meat directly to Alister at Jackson Bros Master Butchers. Alister’s passionate approach to his beef selection, the “Chewing

the Cud” process, guarantees consistency, texture, fat percentage and flavour. For my seafood choice for this recipe I picked the award winning Isle of Mull Scallops, located in the Scottish Inner Hebrides at Baliscate.

Scotland has a plentiful, rich history of producing first class seafood dating back to 7000BC. The Isle of Mull, in particular, is surrounded by rich, clear waters of the Atlantic gently warmed by the passing Gulf Stream making it a perfect source for these world class scallops.


Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with….Gordon Howe

The Isle Mull Scallops Company established in 2010 have a zero waste policy. This means shells are environmentally friendly disposed of, by being crushed as the top layer on Forestry Commission roads and the inner waste inedible “Skirt” is used by fishermen as bait or by fish farms to feed “Wrasse” These truly delicious, delicate and sustainable scallops, hand cut less than a mile from the sea and delivered fresh within hours, are the perfect match with Jacksons’s fillet of beef tenderloin for this recipe

The Recipe: Serves 4 ( Main Course) Prep 25/30 mins. Cooking 30/35 mins Main Ingredients 500g Beef Fillet 12 scallops 16 Asparagus Spears 120g Samphire 120g Sugar Snaps 1 large Lemon (juiced) and Rind cut into very thin fine strips 3 tbsp Finely Chopped flat leaf parsley 1 tbsp Watercress 12 small fresh mint leaves 50g Lightly salted butter 1 garlic clove Sea salt and crushed pepper to season 1 tbsp Scottish Rapeseed oil Cucumber and Dill Pickle 1/2 cucumber roughly chopped 1 tsp freshly chopped Dill 2 table spoons of Scottish Heather honey 2 table spoons of apple cider vinegar Good pinch of Sea Salt (Combine all in small food processor and pulse until almost paste with little chunks, set aside in the fridge until the food is played)


Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with‌.Gordon Howe


Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with‌.Gordon Howe

Directions: Remove your beef fillet tail from the packaging, pat dry and bring up to room temperature about 2025 minutes. Keep the fillet in one piece Pre-heat a heavy based frying pan until it smokes when you add rapeseed oil and it crackles. Season the meat with sea salt and ground pepper just before cooking, drop in crushed whole garlic clove. Next, Put a medium saucepan of lightly salted water on to boil. Now, Place the meat in the Center of the pan, Cook over high heat turning the steak on all sides every 5 to 6 minutes (25/30 minutes total)to produce a nice medium rare piece of fillet. Finish by adding the knob of butter.


Leave to rest in a warm place for 3-4 minutes. The meat will firm as it cooks, press softly with your thumb, the more the fillet springs back the hotter the protein cells expand (the more well done your meat is

cooked) for medium rare fillet, it should have a soft feel with a little spring back. Put a small frying pan on until it’s just smoking it very hot. Then, Drop the Asparagus into

Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with‌.Gordon Howe

the salted water cook for two to three minutes and remove from water and set aside. Now add the Sugar Snaps and cook for two minutes then remove. Pat dry and season with sea salt then place Scallops in hot frying pan clockwise, leave for one minute, season with salt. Start with the first scallop, turning them over one at a time in a clockwise direction. Leave for two or three minutes until golden with a gentile spring when touched. Take the pan off the heat and plate - you

will lose a lot of seasoning in the pan.

To serve Divide the Samphire between the four plates, in a long line, centred on the plate. Then the same with the sugar snaps on top of the samphire. Place three scallops on top and leave space between each scallop and place the generously sliced fillet between each scallop standing up.

Lay asparagus, end up leaning towards the beef and scallops. Heavily drizzle the cucumber and dill pickle around the plate generously. Put one edible flower beside the beef and a few petals around the pickle. Put one small fresh mint leave on top of each scallop. Mix chopped fresh parsley in the lemon juice and drizzle over scallops and scatter some lemon rind strips and serve immediately. Side dish suggestions


Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with‌.Gordon Howe

Crusty bread and butter, creamy mashed potatoes or hand cut chips. Note! Edible flowers I foraged Serbian Bell (semi-



Food & Beverage - A taste of Scotland, Chef in a Kilt with‌.Gordon Howe

evergreen perennials) flowers growing wild on a sea wall in Ayr for this recipe. Fresh purple petals with fresh taste. Forage with knowledge and care or buy online.



History - Back in time for visitors Photo by PaulT (Gunther Tschuch) CC BY-SA 4.0 Inchcolm Abbey

Back in time for visitors T

housands of years of history are once again accessible to visitors as the country’s biggest operator of Scotland’s attractions emerges from lockdown

Photo by D.Shaw CC BY-SA 3.0 Fort George, near Inverness


Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for more than 300 properties across the country, including top attractions such as Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles.

History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Laurence Norah Jedburgh Abbey


History - Back in time for visitors

Now, after some four months of enforced closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the gates to many of these and other historic

Photo by HES Edinburgh Castle


sites are beginning to open in a phased return to ‘normal’ this month.

Between August 1 and midSeptember more than 25 properties cared for by HES will be reopened on a rolling basis.

historic locations such as the Great Hall, War Memorial and St Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle, the Great Hall and Chapel

Royal at Stirling Castle, and part of Grant Tower at Urquhart Castle.


History - Back in time for visitors

Visitors will be able to enjoy access to outdoor spaces as the Queen Anne Gardens at Stirling Castle as well as exploring

History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Kim Traynor Aberdour Castle

Used by Mary Queen of Scots to host lavish banquets, the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle was completed in 1511, while the Great Hall at Stirling Castle is the largest of its kind in Scotland and was completed in 1503. Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can also enjoy seeing the firing of the One O’clock Gun - a tradition that goes back more than 150 years to 1861 when it was devised as a way of allowing ships in the Firth of Forth to set their chronometers, essential for navigation. It is anticipated that by the end of August further indoor spaces will open at Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles sites depending on the latest Scottish Government guidance. New safety measures have been put in place, with cash payments no longer being accepted for the foreseeable future, and visitors being asked to use contactless


payment where possible. Oneway systems will be in place in some locations, and access will be restricted to small enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Visitors will be required to wear face coverings when entering the retail shops, in line with Scottish Government guidance. The cafés on site will be open to visitors, providing a take-away offer. Visitor numbers will be limited for safety reasons with timed ticketing slots, and all visitors must book tickets online in advance. Contact information will also be collected from visitors when booking tickets to assist contact tracing as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system. “We very much look forward to welcoming Historic Scotland members, and members of the public back to Edinburgh Castle,

Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle,” said Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES. “Since lockdown began – which is the first time since the Second World War that all of our visitor attractions have been closed – we have been working hard to implement new safety measures at our sites in line with Scottish Government guidance. “We want our visitors to not only be safe, but feel safe too, while experiencing Scotland’s heritage sites with all they have to offer again. “I’m sure many of our visitors will be eager to cross the drawbridge of three of Scotland’s most iconic sites now that lockdown restrictions are easing as well as our other sites across the country which will be re-opening on a rolling basis. We’ve worked hard to get our sites ready to welcome visitors, and as before, a fun

History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Tom Parnell CC BY-SA 4.0 Arbroath Abbey

Photo by Neil Parley CC BY 3.0 Elgin Cathedral


History - Back in time for visitors

and enjoyable experience awaits to explore and discover the fascinating history within these

Doune Castle


world-renowned castles.� It is hoped that by mid-

This will include the opening up of free access to the grounds of Doune Castle, Caerlaverock

History - Back in time for visitors

September around 70 per cent of HES free to access and ticketed properties will be open.


History - Back in time for visitors Caerlaverock Castle

Castle and Dundonald Castle. These properties, which would normally be staffed, have external green spaces which can be

Photo by Suicasmo CC BY-SA 4.0 St Andrews Castle


opened in line with continuing restrictions to offer health and wellbeing benefits to the local community.

Other ticketed sites across Scotland will reopen on a rolling basis including Glasgow Cathedral, Fort George,

History - Back in time for visitors Photo VisitScotland St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrews Castle and Cathedral and Skara Brae. Due to the phased reopening,

with the exception of Inchcolm Abbey, seasonal sites will not be opening for the 2020 season in order for HES to focus on access

for properties which are open year-round. There are over 40 seasonal sites which usually open in April and close in October.

Photo by Dg-505 CC BY 3.0 Skara Brae


History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Blackness Castle

“There will of course be some initial changes including

Photo by Š Guillaume Piolle CC BY 3.0 Dunstaffnage Castle


managing visitor numbers at certain sites, as well as restricting

access to specific locations, but we can assure visitors of a warm

History - Back in time for visitors

welcome as always,� added Mr Paterson.

“We want to ask our visitors to help create a safe environment

by behaving responsibly and following our guidance at

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Craigmillar Castle


History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Marsupium Photography CC BY-SA 2.0 Dirleton Castle

properties, and we will be providing further information on

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Dryburgh Abbey


our website for visitors to help them prepare for their visit.�

Additional sites proposed for reopening in August and

History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Stewart Cunningham Dumbarton Castle

September include Aberdour Castle, Arbroath Abbey &

Abbott’s House, Blackness Castle, Craigmillar Castle,

Dirleton Castle, Dryburgh Abbey, Dumbarton Castle, Dunblane

Photo by DeFacto CC BY-SA 4.0 Dunblane Cathedral


History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0 Huntly Castle

Cathedral, Dunstaffnage Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Huntly Castle,

Jedburgh Abbey, Linlithgow Palace & Peel, Melrose Abbey

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Linlithgow Palace and St Michael’s Parish Church


and Tantallon Castle.

History - Back in time for visitors Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Melrose Abbey

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Tantallon Castle




History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine

Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine

Photo PD Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Cribbage Board 1880–1900 (PD)


Curious curios

s an old soul I often surprise myself at just how much I relate to those ‘modern Victorians’ of yesteryear. An era that started almost 200 years ago and ended at the dawn of the last century still seems like only


a short time ago - perhaps it’s because we remain surrounded by so much that links us to this momentous time in history.

knowledge-thirsty, and infinitely curious. They were superstitious, creative and romantic dreamers traits I can easily associate with.

The Victorians were, generally speaking, ferociously openminded, mystical, inquisitive,

The Victorian Age was one of phenomenal progress and change. The science, fashion,

History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0 Mauchline ware money box barrel with Alloway Kirk and Robert Burns theme


History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0

technology, betterment of human values and eclectic style of those 64 years between 1837 and 1901 were a whirl of innovation and curiosity.

into an art form. In 1851, a letter written by Charlotte Bronte marvelled at the wonder of the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace, London that year.

It is no surprise therefore that the Victorians turned collecting

“Its grandeur does not consist in one thing, but in the unique

Crochet needle case circa 1880–1900


assemblage of things. Whatever human industry has created you find here… it seems as if only magic could have gathered this mass from all the ends of the earth,” she wrote. The Great Exhibition was truly a

History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo Š Acabashi, Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons 19th century Victorian bird taxidermy, dolls, and stuffed fish

global showcase of inspiration, aspiration and achievement. The sheer scale of items on show encouraged curiosity and sparked a fashion for collecting. Whether it was ceramics, glass, silver or sculpture Victorians took great pride in accumulating objects that attracted interest and displaying them for others to enjoy. A typical Victorian home was full of clutter. Every surface, including the walls, were often covered in curios and display cabinets were packed full of objects demonstrating the owner’s personality, education and taste. It is a style all too familiar to someone like myself. At my shop, Kilcreggan Antiques, no space goes unfilled, no inch undecorated. Every piece rests where it is for a reason, nothing is accidental, everything is in perfect proportion, alignment and positioning to create the most exquisite still-life. I am the Queen

Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0 Taxidermied East Australian Birds 1850s


History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo PD Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Brooch 1880–1900

of ‘cramming’ things in! Collecting is addictive and one of the most charming items Victorians fell in love with was Tartanware. Originally created from Mauchlin ware it became hugely popular during Queen Victoria’s reign because of her love of all things Scottish. Mauchline, predominantly associated with the souvenir market, was known for its beautiful small items crafted from the sycamore tree. They were


often decorated with pen and ink illustrations or photos of local towns, especially around the Ayrshire town of Mauchline. One of the largest manufacturers, William and Andrew Smith, invented a revolutionary inking machine allowing them to print tartan patterns on to paper in order to decorate wooden pieces. These pieces were only made up until 1933 when a fire destroyed the machinery that allowed the process.

Due to the charming Scottish connection, the expensive and ingenious technology, Tartanware is hotly collected and was especially popular among enthusiastic Victorians. It was, and remains, very popular with Americans. In many ways the Victorians were more adventurous with their collecting than we are today. Their curiosity and thirst for knowledge led them to indulge in the most wondrous hobbies and pastimes. Cemetery picnics, séances,

History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo PD Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Card case 1880–1900


History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0 Machine Ware, Burns Poetical Works,_ Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0 Burns Poetical Works

Scent flask 1880–1900

Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0


crystal gazing, and sending coded messages through flowers highlighted their intensely spiritual side and how comfortable they were with death in pursuit of the meaning of life. Through scrapbooking, fern collecting, kaleidoscopic arrangements and anthropomorphic taxidermy they showed a love for life and nature. Whatever an individual’s thoughts on taxidermy today, the Victorians loved bringing animals to life with very human characteristics and creating fanciful scenarios such as ice-skating hedgehogs and classrooms full of rabbits. It is part of human nature to collect even if we don’t always know why. The Victorians showed us how joyous it can be and encouraged us to be proud of our personal treasures, whatever they may be.

History - Antique hunting with... Roo Irvine

Photo by Rosser1954 CC BY-SA 4.0




History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? Photo Ericoides PD Loch nan Uamh

Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved?

by Scott Aitken


t’s a mystery that has endured for centuries. Somewhere in the forests of Argyll, by the shores of Loch Arkaig, treasure hunters have searched high and low for a fortune in Jacobite gold. Now, 250 years after the start of the 1745 Rebellion, new evidence has emerged which may solve the riddle. In an extraordinary twist to the story, every bit as thrilling as an episode of Outlander, a newly discovered silver cup has led


Photo by Paul Kelbie Loch Nam Uamh viaduct

experts to claim the gold is no longer there, It was smuggled out of the Highlands to London by an Englishman and then sent to Bonnie Prince Charlie in France. As battle raged between the

British Army and the rebellious Jacobites on 16 April 1746 at Culloden two French ships, Le Mars and La Bellone, sailed towards Loch nan Uamh on the West coast of Scotland.

History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? This rare and exceptional Jacobite item is being sold by Spink & Son Auction House


History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved?

Photo Spink & Son Louis d’Or

They were laden with several casks of Louis d’Ors gold coin, sent by the French King Louis XV to finance the rebellion. But, by the time they arrived on 29 April, they were too late. The Jacobites were beaten and those that survived the battle, including their charismatic leader Prince Charles Edward Stuart, were being hunted by the redcoats throughout Scotland. Shortly after laying anchor in Loch

Photo by Heather Eeles CC BY 3.0 Loch Arkaig


nan Uamh the French ships were surprised by three Royal Navy ships which arrived in hot pursuit. The gold, estimated to be worth between £5million and £10million today, was hurriedly unloaded at dead of night and hidden. As hundreds of spectators watched from the shore the rival ships engaged in a bloody skirmish during which many of the French privateers were killed or wounded. In the chaos of battle

both Le Mars and La Bellone, badly damaged, managed to slip out of the loch for the safety of the open sea, and escape. While the battle had been raging in the middle of the loch the treasure was carried away from the shoreline and disappeared into legend. Six of the caskets were believed to have been taken to Loch Arkaig and hidden somewhere near Fort William with the

History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved?

Prince Charles Edward Stuart (PD Art)


History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? intention of using the money to help the Jacobites rise again one day. It is believed Murray of Broughton initially took charge of the gold, which he used to help Jacobite fugitives, but when he was arrested by government troops and turned King’s evidence the treasure was moved to a new hiding spot.


Both Donald Cameron of Lochiel and then Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, Chief of Clan Macpherson, were credited with keeping the treasure hidden. However, as time passed there were numerous claims the money had been embezzled or squandered. Now it’s claimed some of the money was recovered after the

exiled Prince Charlie sent coded word to a Jacobite secret agent to reclaim the gold. He recruited Charles Selby, a Jacobite sympathiser and English Catholic to manage the operation. The gold was dug up by the Highlanders and smuggled to Selby’s farmhouse over the English border at Yearl, near Wooler in Northumberland.

History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? Portrait of Charles Selby circa 1760 titled on reverse Charles Selby of Earl with Cup presented to him by Prince Charlie. Private Collection, courtesy Koopman Rare Art Ltd

Selby, with a trusted servant, then rode the gold down to London himself, in two runs, where it was received by clandestine Jacobite bankers, converted to notes and sent to the Prince in France. Some ÂŁ6000 was recovered in this way, the rest of the gold having already been pilfered or given away in the Highlands. Selby refused all payment for risking his life in the Jacobite

cause. Instead he was given a silver cup belonging to the Prince and engraved with his Jacobite royal crest, which had been recovered by Cluny Macpherson from the battlefield at Culloden. The cup was made in 1743 by Paul Crespin, a highly regarded London silversmith of Huguenot ancestry with workshops in Soho. It is about ten inches high and

is of typical period form with a pedestal foot, two leaf-capped handles and a domed cover with baluster finial. The body of the cup is applied with banding and profusely flat chased with roses - a nationalist symbol of Jacobite re-birth. Selby had himself proudly painted holding the Prince’s cup and after his death, when it was safe to do


History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved?

so, his son arranged for it to be engraved: From Prince Charles Edwd Stuart To Chas Selby Esqr of Earle In Remembrance of His Many Services in 1745 & 1746


After months of research in Scotland and England, historian


History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved?

The story of how an Englishman saved the Jacobites gold remained hidden until 2018 when, after more than 250 years, the silver cup emerged at auction in America.

History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? Martyn Downer, a specialist in historic objects and works of art, pieced the remarkable story together, tracing the lost


portrait of Charles Selby to his descendants in England. The silver cup, a rare and

exceptional Jacobite item, is now being sold by leading auctioneers Spink by private treaty or auction with a price guide of ÂŁ150,000.

History - Riddle of lost Jacobite gold solved? Historian Martyn Downer, a specialist in historic objects and works of art




Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

Photo by S.MacMillen PD Caledonia, N.Y. historical sign


Story behind the song… Letter from America

t’s often said Scotland’s greatest export has been its people. Over the last 200 years millions of Scots have packed their bags in search of a new and better life in other countries. At various times since the 18th century economic or cultural changes have sparked successive waves of emigration. Some people went willingly in search of adventure and opportunity while others were forced into it by powerful land owners or political policies. In the later half of the 20th century, between 1951 and 1981, more than 753,000 Scots


Photo by Dave Fergusson CC BY-SA 2.0 Lonbain ruined village

emigrated, mostly for economic reasons. They were the latest in a very long line of Scots who made new lives for themselves elsewhere. Between 1821 and 1945 over

2million Scots left the nation of their birth to set up home in a new country. More than half went to the US and Canada. Others went to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, where an estimated 100,000

Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

with Tom Morton

#world #folk #scottish

Music to accompany reading Scotland Correspondent, the world’s only free online magazine dealing with Scotland all things Scottish. 1) Shooglenifty - Tammie Norrie 2) Wrigley Sisters - The Baa Rag 3) Humblebums - Her Father didn’t Like Me Anyway 4) Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street 5) Proclaimers - Letter from America 6) Willie Hunter - Leaving Lerwick Harbour 7) Tidelines - Sun Never Sleeps 8) Hamish Imlach - Goodbye Booze 9) John Martyn - Johnny Too Bad 10) Karine Polwart - From Rags to riches 11) King Creosote - Something to Believe In

with Tom Morton


Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

people claim Scottish ancestry the most of any country outside of the English-speaking world.

Photo by Jllm06 CC BY-SA 4.0 Monument to Scottish immigrants, USA


In Canada, where numerous towns, rivers and mountains carry the names of Scots, more than

15 per cent of of the national population have Scottish heritage, making them the

As for the USA, where large scale emigration from Scotland began in earnest following the Battle

of Culloden, some 8.3 per cent of Americans, up to 25 million people out of a total of 328million,


Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

third-largest ethnic group in the country.

Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

Photo © Bryan Ledgard CC BY 2.0 The Proclaimers on stage

Listen here claim Scottish descent. In 1987 Scottish duo The Proclaimers released their debut album, ‘This is the Story’. One of the top hits on the LP was their own composition, ‘Letter from America’, which highlighted Scotland’s bitter sweet relationship with emigration. Written and performed by Leithborn brothers Craig and Charlie Reid its highly evocative lyrics


Photo by Richerman CC BY-SA 3.0 Badbea village monument

reflect on “all the blood that flowed away” from Scotland over the years, along with the huge amount of talent and skills lost to the country. The song, which reached No 3 in

the UK charts, is one of the tracks featured in this month’s Musical Correspondent, presented by Tom Morton. Other acts appearing on the show include the highly talented

Photo by Haydn Blackey CC BY-SA 2.0 Memorial to Scottish immigrants, Sydney, Nova Scotia

Shooglenifty, the Wrigley Sisters, the Humblebums, Gerry Rafferty, Willie Hunter, Tidelines, Hamish Imlach, John Martyn, Karine Polwart and King Creosote. p169

Broadcast - Musical Correspondent... with Tom Morton

Photo by Bill Henderson CC BY-SA 2.0 Badbea Clearance Village information board



Arts - Scottish blood and American roots

Scottish blood and American roots S cottish songwriter Malcolm MacWatt has gone back into the roots of country music with his latest folk/americana crossover EP.

Skail, an old Scots word meaning to disperse, scatter and sail over water, sees MacWatt weaving traditional Scottish yarn into the fabric of Americana for his third 2020 studio release. The EP, which MacWatt has described as a cross between “Old Crow Medicine Show jamming with The Corries� is


already generating huge interest on both sides of the Atlantic.

he grew up.

The EP features three songs with the Appalachians, evictions, slavery and independence at their heart and is a meeting of Scottish and American roots music with MacWatt playing all instruments throughout.

During the weeks of isolation he happened across an article about the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia up the east coast of America to Maine, which now includes the Scottish Highlands due to ancient geological links going back millions of years.

Written and recorded at the height of the coronavirus lockdown from his home in south-east London, MacWatt found himself longing for the fresh air, clean water, open spaces, familiar faces and above all the safety of Morayshire where

Coming from the Moray Firth with the northern mountains of the Black Isle an everyday skyline, the stories of the Highland Clearances were already well known to him but in the context of a pandemic, together with the

Arts - Scottish blood and American roots

tragic narratives surrounding UK immigration, he felt compelled to explore the connections between Scottish emigration to the New World in the 18th Century and the roots of country and Americana music. The result was a magical cultural cross-over featuring three unique tracks, each telling their own story. Track one, “The Widow and The Cruel Sea”, is the story of a woman who loses her fisherman husband at sea and is desperate to escape the social confines of a

young widow in a Highland village to start a new life in the American colonies. The second song, “Old World Rules and Empire Takes”, looks at British rule over the eastern seaboard of America. It touches on the Battle of Kings Mountain, a crucial skirmish in the War of American Independence, where forces for the Crown, led by Major Patrick Ferguson from Aberdeenshire, were defeated by settlers, many of whom would also have been of Scottish descent.

The song ends with the line “Scottish blood in American clay” to acknowledge those transAtlantic ties. The third, and final track on the EP, is “The Crofter and The Cherokee” which links the Highland Clearances with the Trail of Tears as a Georgia native travels back in time tracing his family roots up the Appalachian Trail and across the Atlantic to Scotland. In this song the fiddle motif represents Scotland with the banjo and resonator guitar


Arts - Scottish blood and American roots Malcolm MacWatt

sounding off for America - all played by MacWatt who also demonstrates his skill with the guitar, fiddle and bodhran on the EP. “SKAIL very much reflects me as an artist: I’m a mixed-race Scot with a deep appreciation for the traditional music of Scotland but who is heavily influenced by American folk and roots,” said MacWatt, whose previous release, ”Hearts and Horizons” EP, received widespread acclaim from across the country spectrum in the UK, Canada and the US. “The songs almost wrote themselves, in fact there’s times I felt voices long gone were whispering in my ear.”





Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

An actor’s life for me with... Scott Kyle

A scene from ‘A War of Two Halves’

The show must, and does, go on


or the last 73 years summer in Scotland has meant festival time. This month should have seen the start of three weeks of organised chaos on the streets of Edinburgh as performers from around the world descend on the city for the annual Fringe Festival.


What started as an impromptu event staged by eight theatre groups gatecrashing the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, which was set up to celebrate European cultural life in the aftermath of the Second World War, has become a world show business phenomenon.

Now, each year more and more performers from up to 70 countries come to the city to put on a show, attracting bigger and bigger audiences in the process. Over the years millions have flocked to Scotland’s capital city to perform and/or view shows of such colourful variety, mix of

Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle Promoting a show on the Royal Mile at a previous Fringe Festival


Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

genres and innovation that it has to be seen to be truly believed. It is now the second biggest cultural event in the world next to

Karen and I had a great time at The Tattoo last year. I can’t wait to go again


Olympics. This month the Fringe should have been welcoming up to

due to Covid-19. And, it’s not just the Fringe that has suffered. The Art Festival,

Book Festival, International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (I had a great time there last year) have all been


Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

3million visitors, bringing in around £200million to the wider Scottish economy. Instead, the curtain has been pulled down on

Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

cancelled too. It is unprecedented and, for an actor and producer like myself, completely

A scene from ‘A War of Two Halves’


heartbreaking. The Fringe holds very special

Two Halves’ play at Tynecastle stadium about the Heart of Midlothian football players killed


Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

memories for me. This time last year I was there playing in the highly emotive ‘A War of

Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

in the First World War.

Photo by Kenny Lam/VisitScotland Festival street performer in better times

It is also where I received the Stage Award for Acting Excellence for my portrayal of ‘Billy’ in the smash hit comedy ‘Singin I`m No a Billy, He`s a Tim’. However, I believe we can all learn a lesson from those pioneers of 1947. Despite facing major obstacles, such as not being uninvited and certainly not part of the formal programme, they found a way to get involved by putting on shows on the fringe of the official festival and create the start of something special. And, in the same spirit, I’m glad to see there is some light in the wings, if not at the end of the tunnel. While most of the traditional elements of the festival have been halted the innovation and creativity which started the whole concept 73 years ago is still strong so some shows will go on this year - virtually. The Fringe Society has very cleverly come up with some alternative digital plans, including some live-streamed performances, virtual shows and online community events to keep


the spirit of the festival alive. One of the concepts being unveiled is Fringe on Friday, a 60-minute variety show to be streamed live on the evenings of Friday 7, 14, 21 and 28 August. The aim is to showcase the best of the festival across a range of genres, including comedy, music, dance and cabaret. There is also the Fringe Pick n Mix in which audiences can enjoy the spirit of the festival in miniature. Artists will upload 60-second films of themselves in action – from snippets of what would have been 2020 shows to snappy set pieces staged in the

shed – for viewers to watch from home. And that’s just the beginning! Despite there being no physical festival there’s still quite a lot worth checking out on the official website at Theatre is much more than just entertainment. The arts play a major role in society and community. Performances can be educational, inspiring and thought provoking. Thanks to modern technology we might not be able to go to Edinburgh this summer but we can still support The Fringe.

Arts - An actor’s life for me... by Scott Kyle

Getting my award




Arts - New chapter for international book festival Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at last year’s Book Festival

New chapter for international book festival


he annual Wigtown Book Festival, one of the bestloved events in Scotland’s cultural calendar, is to go ahead this year - online.

Much of the character and economy of the pretty, historic coastal town of less than 1,000 residents is built on books.

Organisers of the 22nd annual festival are inviting the world to take part in one of the country’s most colourful and entertaining cultural events.

Each autumn the marquees go up as the community welcomes a multitude of visitors, authors, poets, illustrators, celebrities, political figures, scientists,


historians, journalists and others to its 10-day festival. This year the Covid-19 pandemic prompted the organisers to shift the event online, a move they hope will introduce people around the planet to all that the festival, the town and south-west Scotland have to offer.

Arts - New chapter for international book festival Bigwig at Wigtown Book Festival 2019

“This is a town like no other, with a festival like no other that takes place in Scotland’s literary heartland – and going online allows us to invite the whole world to join us,” said Adrian Turpin, the festival’s artistic director. “There will be famous names, fabulous books and plenty of the off-beat, quirky fun that give Wigtown and its festival a charm and character all of their own. “Each year the town, including around 100 volunteers, pull together to offer the warmest of welcomes to festival visitors. “And while we are all disappointed that it won’t be possible this autumn, we hope that people who discover us digitally might be tempted to come here in person in 2021 or beyond.” The online festival takes place

Festival Director Adrian Turpin


Arts - New chapter for international book festival

from 25 September to 4 October and while the full programme won’t be unveiled until 1 September it is sure to feature a wide variety of events to suit

Wigtown Book Festival


almost every literary taste. Themes this year will include ‘Heartland’, a number of events celebrating the south of Scotland

as Scotland’s Literary Heartland; ‘Solway to Sea’, a series of livestreamed events supported by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of Year and Coasts and Waters

There will also be separate

programmes for children (Big Wig) and young people (WigWam) as well as the annual ‘Wigtown Poetry Prize’.

According to the organisers there’s a lot that marks out Wigtown, its people, and the Dumfries & Galloway region as being special.


Arts - New chapter for international book festival

2020; and ‘The Magnusson Lecture’ delivered by historian Rosemary Goring.

Arts - New chapter for international book festival Since being declared Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998 Wigtown has become home to 18 book shops and book related


businesses. Among these is the world famous Open Book – which visitors rent through Airbnb so they can enjoy a holiday running

their own bookshop while staying in the cosy self-contained flat above the store.

Arts - New chapter for international book festival

Residents include Shaun Bythell, owner of Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop and best-selling author of Diary of a

Bookseller and Confessions of a Bookseller. The nearby saltmarshes and

Solway Firth are home to an amazing variety of wildlife, and each year welcome huge flocks of barnacle geese and the whooper


Arts - New chapter for international book festival Scotland’s First Minister being interviewed at the festival

swans that migrate there from Iceland.

On the edge of the town is the reputedly haunted Baldoon Castle, where the terrible events

Former Labour MP Alan Johnson being interviewed by Andy Cassell at the festival


took place which inspired Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor and 1835 Donizetti

Arts - New chapter for international book festival Sally Magnusson and Gavin Esler at Wigtown Book Festival

opera Lucia di Lammermoor. The region is also closely

associated with the lives and works of many other greats such as Robert Burns, Dorothy L

Sayers, John Buchan, JM Barrie and SR Crocket.

Audience members enjoying the show




Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

Strange tales from Scotland’s thin places with...Thomas MacCalman Morton

Sea monsters for lunch

Sea serpent from Hart Nautical Collections (PD)


ne of my lunchtime pleasures, early in my sojourn in the Shetland Isles, was to partake of deep-fried monkfish tails in the old Viking Cafe, perched


atop of the Lerwick bus station with views of the fishing fleet and the island of Bressay. There was sufficient sustenance in one of those platefuls (with chips of course) to last even a young and

hungry journalist two or more days without additional food. What it did for the state of my arteries I shudder to think. I recently stumbled across the

Listen here website A Book of Creatures ( and was disconcerted to find the monkfish making it into the official category of monsters, with its own Shetlandic name. Not Mareel, as in the name of the local arts centre, but there is a connection. As A Book of Creatures states: “The Marool of Shetland is a malevolent marine devil, appearing in the form of a fish. It has eyes all over its head, and a crest of flame. It can be seen in mareel, or phosphorescent seafoam. During storms the marool can be heard singing wildly with joy when a ship capsizes.” The Monkfish’s strange appearance, with its massive head, would scare anyone not used to seeing it appear in a net. Most non-fishery folk, used to its delicious tail, would perhaps be disconcerted enough not to order if they knew what one looks like in the wild. In the 1980s, when Lochinver was a thriving fishing port, it was heavily used by French and Spanish bottom-trawlers

fishing off the continental shelf for Orange Roughy and Black Scabbard, two even uglier, and extremely long-lived fish considered delicacies in That Europe. But monsters? They’re certainly not in the same class as the Bregdi or Brigdi. It represents the terror felt by the haaf fishermen of being overwhelmed while at sea, as this beast was in the habit, it seems, of chasing boats, wrapping its fins around them (or using a fin to slice a boat

in half) and then dragging the remains of the vessel and its crew down with it into the depths. The haaf or far haaf fishing involved open boats with a crew of six, rowed or sailed up to 40 miles out to sea in often very dangerous conditions. The Bregdi or Brigdi was (recent sightings are scant) terrified of cold steel and amber beads. A handy knife slashed at its fins was enough to get rid of the thing. Apparently.


Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

Photo by Meocrisis CC BY-SA 3.0 Monkfish

Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

Sober viewings by upstanding local worthies, however, reported in the newspapers, catch and hold the attention more than highly coloured tales told around

Photo by Ronnie Robertson CC BY-SA 2.0 Bressay Sound


the peat fire. I’m grateful to Shetland Archivist Brian Smith for sending me a transcript of a cutting he has, so worn it is impossible to reproduce

or decipher whether it is from The Shetland News or The Shetland Times. But it is from the comparatively recent date of 1937 and is headlined “Monster Seen

It reads as follows: “Officers, crew, and passengers on the inter-island steamer Earl of

Zetland, returning from the North Isles, yesterday, saw three large pointed fins about six feet in height.

“They thought they were the dorsal of three big baskingsharks swimming behind each other. It was soon realised, however,


Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

from Steamer”.

Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

that the fins belonged to one fish, as it disappeared several times and came to the surface again. “Mr Magnus Shearer, ex-county convener, who was on board, estimated the length of the monster at 30 feet at least,

Photo by Ronnie Robertson CC BY-SA 2.0 The haunted Windhoose


though it’s head and tail were always below. “The fins were dark in colour, and the monster moved at a fast speed southwards, passing the steamer easily, and then it turned and went north.

“It was visible when the steamer was two or three miles away. When it came to the surface it emitted a loud puff or blow, but it was definitely not a whale.” Puzzling, but perhaps not so downright terrifying as ‘It’,

most haunted house in Scotland. This nightmarish ‘thing’, straight out of the worst kind of horror film, appears in various forms, and has been described as a “slub” or jellyfish, a legless animal, a headless human, and

a bag of white wool. It moves quickly, flies, communicates without speech to humans, and in the Windhoose story, appeared once a year at Christmas, its arrival sounding “like a mass of dead flesh hitting the floor.”


Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

as Jessie M Saxby, eminent Shetland author, This is the truly awful, amorphous blob of vicious sea-borne horror which occurs in various terrifying Shetland contexts, notably in one of the hauntings of the legendary Windhoose in Yell, allegedly the

Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

That manifestation was dealt with using a sword and a BIble, though the story has the creature, having been buried, disappearing in a miasma of mist. I can only say that I have been in the Windhoose in winter after dark, and have never been so frightened in all my life by the sound of a cow mooing. On this subject, I have just discovered a wonderful article by JA Teit in a 1918 edition of the Journal of American folklore called “Water-Beings


in Shetlandic Folk-Lore, as Remembered by Shetlanders in British Columbia.” It covers a great deal of mysterious ground, including Njuggles (or Njogles, Shetlandic water-horses), selkies and the so-called finn folk, but I was particularly interested in some of the sea ‘monsters’ described. In reference to the sighting from the Earl of Zetland of something truly vast in scale I wonder if the word ‘kraken’ came to anyone’s lips, back in the 1930s? Teit writes: “The Sea-Serpent or

Kraken. According to tradition, the sea-serpent was occasionally seen, especially off the coast of Norway. It had its home at the bottom of the sea, and it rarely came to the surface. An old man once told me that it was not seen once in a lifetime, and, when seen, usually portended bad luck or some calamity. “There was just one sea-serpent, according to some; while others believed that there were several that bred under the ocean. Thus large or small ones were seen. Large ones were from one to

“Sea-serpents, it seems, never attacked any boats; but they were fearful to behold, and people dreaded to see them. When travelling on the surface of the water, they could go at high speed; and they would soon disappear from view. They were seen only in fine or calm weather. Some people believe that large trees drifting in the sea from the Norwegian coast have sometimes been mistaken for sea-serpents. “Once a large serpent was cast ashore dead somewhere (in North Shetland), and its body for months blocked the mouth of a

gjo,—a short, narrow inlet of the sea surrounded by steep banks or cliffs Some of its bones could be seen in the water there for many years.” Teit also refers to floating monsters, and here he quotes members of his own family “Several kinds of shapeless monsters have at various times been seen in the sea. One of these was occasionally seen in fine weather. Something like a small floating islet, partly covered with barnacles and seaweed, was supposed to be the back of a huge sea-monster that appeared above water. It was usually very flat, but sometimes humped, or higher in the middle. “An uncle of mine told me of once having seen something of this kind when becalmed in a smack somewhere in the northeast waters of Shetland. He and his companions observed a very large and flat object in the water some distance off. It was apparently floating, and resembled a flat islet or rock, of perhaps an acre in extent, almost covered with water. Not

being able to make out clearly through the glasses the shape and nature of the object, they lowered their small boat, and, taking a gun, three of them rowed up fairly close to it. They did not dare to go too close, but they could ascertain that the monster (or object) was of great bulk and mostly submerged. The names of two of the men in the boat, if I remember well, were Magnus Hughson and Magnus Robertson; and, before they returned, one of them shot a bullet into the object, which shortly afterwards sank quietly out of sight. “None of the men ever knew exactly what they had seen. As nothing untoward happened to any of the crew, it was judged that the sight of this creature did not portend evil in any way. Some people argue that these things may be partly submerged wrecks or derelicts grown over with barnacles and seaweed.” It’s all a long way from those massive Monkfish feasts in the Viking Cafe, so many years ago. But then again, perhaps not so very far at all…


Supernatural - Strange Tales from Scotland’s Thin Places with... Thomas MacCalman Morton

two hundred feet long. When travelling on the surface of the sea, the sea-serpent’s body stuck out of the water here and there, and its head reared thirty or forty feet above the surface. It had a serpent-like head, large eyes, and a long mane similar to masses of seaweed. Smaller sea-serpents of from eighty to a hundred feet long are said to have been seen. Their bodies looked like a line of skin bows (“buoys for floating nets or lines”) set a little distance apart, and their heads were low in the water




Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history by Helen Lloyd


life of luxury immersed in history awaits potential purchasers interested in buying a unique seaside property with its own ocean-filled swimming pool. Balcary Tower is a historic coastal residence offering direct

beach access,19 acres of land including a woodland garden and paddocks, a modern boathouse, slipway and even a seawater pool. Complete with wonderful sea views over Balcary Bay and Hestan Island this C-listed Tower was built around 1860 by Colonel Johnstone, the Laird of

Auchencairn House, probably for his French mistress, who was also a governess to the family. Situated on a rock promontory at the entrance to Balcary Bay on the Solway Firth in Dumfries & Galloway, the property is as close as it comes to island living without having to leave the shore.


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Photos by Galbraith Balcary Tower beach

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Its setting at the end of a long private wooded drive ensures a high degree of privacy. The raised

Balcary Tower


terraces above the shoreline provide an ideal location for entertaining, dining or to sit and

enjoy the beautiful views. Hestan Island was a centre for

of monks who built Dundrennan Abbey near Kirkcudbright. The island is sometimes accessible on

foot during certain periods of low tide. Today Balcary Bay is popular with kayakers.


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

smugglers for much of the 18th century and was also used for fishing by the Cistercian order

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Balcary drawing room

“Balcary Tower has all the elements to create a wonderful lifestyle in a superb and secluded coastal setting,” said David Corrie, a partner with Galbraith, handling the sale.

Seawater swimming pool

“Refurbished with the attention to detail and sympathy a property such as this deserves, the Tower offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a unique property in impeccable condition.” The Tower was extended in the 1960s and again in the 1970s and mostly recently was entirely refurbished in 2012 to a very high standard. Accommodation includes a formal dining room, cosy drawing room with wood burning stove and a wonderful open plan kitchen/ sitting room with dining area.

View from the terrace


The sitting room has a Contura wood burning stove and a large

picture window overlooking the rock pool and to the sea beyond. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a shower room. The master bedroom has a dressing room as well as its en suite bathroom with amazing sea views.

The roof of the Tower offers stunning 360° views of the estuary, Hestan Island, garden and surrounding countryside. The property has a rock-cut swimming pool which fills naturally with sea water at high

tide and has a sluice gate so that water can be changed if required. Balcary Tower is on the market for offers over ÂŁ1.1 million. Staying with the beach front property theme, perched high on



Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Kitchen sitting room

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

a cliffside overlooking the Solway Firth, The Edge is an award

The Edge


winning home designed to make the most of the panoramic views.

Winner of the Scottish Home Awards 2013 and the Saltire

an oak deck sweeping around the main living space, with glass walls

to the vast open plan kitchendining-sitting room on the


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Society Housing Design Award 2012, this luxury residence has

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

ground floor. Upstairs, the master bedroom suite and additional lounge/fifth bedroom open to an extensive deck with glass balustrades

View from The Edge


taking full advantage of the stunning location. “The Edge is a perfect place to entertain on long summer evenings, combining total privacy

and the most amazing terrace with wonderful views over the lovely beach at Sandyhills and the sea,� said Marion Currie of Galbraith.

Accommodation includes: entrance hall, utility room with dog shower, stunning open plan

living/dining/kitchen extending over 49 feet; laundry room, four bedrooms (three en suite), family bathroom and fifth bedroom / study. Outside, electric gates open to a parking area for several vehicles. An oak deck sweeps around the main ground floor accommodation, while a

boardwalk connects to a viewing platform projecting beyond the cliff edge for maximum impact. Surrounded by woodland, an RSPB reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest and located in a National Scenic Area, The Edge is on the market for offers over ÂŁ975,000.


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

With triple glazed windows, solar thermal store and on-site heat generation for domestic hot water, whole house MVHR, and an air source heat pump, the house is also highly energy efficient.

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

For this with a slightly lower budget Letterellan, just outside the village of Fearnan in

Letterellan, Loch Tay


Pethshire, is a beautiful country house with 10 acres of land on the banks of Loch Tay.

“The situation of Letterellan is unsurpassed, with wonderful views over Loch Tay, renowned

combination that will delight those interested in fishing or water sports. The property has

lovely landscaped gardens and woodland, offering total privacy and seclusion yet is within easy


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

for its natural beauty. The private foreshore, jetty and salmon fishing rights are a rarely available

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history


reach of Aberfeldy and Perth,” said Scott Holley of Galbraith, who is handling the sale of the property which is on the market for offers over £895,000. The lochside at Letterellan is accessed by a grass track that winds through a bluebell wood

Letterellan jetty


in the grounds, and opens out onto a private pebble beach with boathouse and private jetty. From here the owner can launch boats and take advantage of salmon fishing rights. The property offers attractive accommodation with many fine

features including a bright and spacious reception hall, dining room, library, snug and drawing room. Several of the reception rooms benefit from open fireplaces, making it a perfect house for entertaining year-round. On the first floor there are seven

well-proportioned bedrooms. Four of these have en-suite bathrooms and the three remaining bedrooms share two family bathrooms. There is also a walk-in dressing room, which could be used as an eighth bedroom. A second staircase allows two of the bedrooms to

have separate access, offering flexibility, perhaps for B&B use. Letterellan’s outbuildings include a summer house with spectacular views over the loch. The landscaped grounds include wellkept lawns, established woodland including Oak, Sycamore, Beech,

Ash, Scots Pine and Larch and mature rhododendrons and azaleas. Further north, Straloch House Estate - a historic A-listed mansion near Aberdeen, is up for sale for offers over £2,950,000.



Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

Letterellan sitting room

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

This superb Georgian retreat is surrounded by 244 acres of beautiful landscaped parkland, woodland and grazing land and includes a ‘B’ listed two-bedroom gate lodge and a private chapel. Straloch House was built around 1780 and has been attentively

Straloch House


restored internally and externally over the past decade. “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a historic mansion house in impeccable condition. Its secluded and private situation is of particular note, enabling the purchaser to gain maximum

benefit from the wonderful grounds and policies, with meandering paths and bridges scattered throughout,” said Hannah Christiansen of Galbraith. “The house has been laid out so that the East Wing and the West Wing both have their own access

“This is an exceptionally beautiful property offering a wonderful rural lifestyle for those buyers

looking to escape larger cities and have peace and space, yet only five miles from the airport at Aberdeen.” Straloch House offers extensive refurbished accommodation over four storeys including 15 bedrooms, three formal reception

rooms, gym and billiard room. There is a spacious drawing room and dining room with open fireplaces, and a billiard room with its own bar. The ground floor is fitted with Italian marble and elegant wood


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

and these could each be used as an annexe, while the principal reception rooms and main bedrooms are in the central part of the house.

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history House of Craigie

flooring. The lower ground floor has been thoughtfully updated to suit luxurious family living with a gym, a play room, an office, a wine cellar, and a beauty room.

share a family bathroom. The second floor accommodates four more double bedrooms with a bathroom and shower room, and also a kitchen.

On the first floor is the master bedroom with en-suite and dressing room, and a further three double bedrooms that

The gatehouse, a picturesque ‘B’ listed 2-bedroom cottage at the main entrance to Straloch House Estate, could be used as


either extra accommodation or for holiday lettings. The estate also boasts wonderful features such as the private chapel and the walled garden. Draped in ivy and sitting in the historic kirkyard, the chapel is nestled on the edge of woodland

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

to the south east of the main house. It was built in 1908, and still retains many of its original features such as parquet flooring, a vaulted ceiling and a slate roof. Alternatively, a rare chance has emerged to buy a magnificent B-listed Georgian property set high in the Ayrshire countryside near Troon.

House of Craigie is an eight bedroom home complete with indoor swimming pool, all weather tennis court and grazing paddock set in seven acres of land. A combination of period charm and modern living offers income generating potential, with five

luxury one bedroom courtyard cottages created by the current owners from the stone outbuildings. Planning permission has already been granted for a further row of three, two bedroom cottages. From this hilltop position views are outstanding over rolling


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

farmland and out to the islands of Ailsa Craig, Arran and Jura far to the west.

House of Craigie


Once owned by the Duke of Portland and latterly, Lady Sara Collins of the Collins publishing family around the turn of the

millennium, a cornerstone of the house is engraved to Apryle 8, 1746 – just eight days prior to the battle of Culloden.

of Craigie is one that we expect to generate both domestic and international interest,� said Jake Shaw-Tan of Galbraith.

“The care and investment the current owners have placed into the property is outstanding and this has handsomely delivered


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

“It is extremely rare for a property of such heritage and splendour to come onto the market and the opportunity to purchase House

Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

the delicate balance between a modern, family home and the original charm that is so important at House of Craigie. Enviable


features include the indoor pool, the cantilever staircase, games room as well as the all-weather tennis court with outstanding

views to the west and islands of the Firth of Clyde. “The addition of holiday cottages

add additional holiday lets, we forecast substantial attention from those who would be interested in operating an established holiday

location that is ideally placed for Ayrshire, Arran and Glasgow.�


Living Scotland - Dream homes, beautiful views and living with history

– complete with separate entrance and parking area – has provided income in recent years. With the potential to



Destination - Scotland

Destination P Scotland

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

Rokeby Manor

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


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

Destination - Scotland

Royal Scots Club Edinburgh

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. 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.

Meldrum House

Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire 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.

Chester Residence Edinburgh

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. 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 Sutherland

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


Destination - Scotland 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 Benderloch, Oban

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 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.



Mercure Hotel inverness Inverness

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.

Luss, Loch Lomond

Destination - Scotland

Lodge on Loch Lomond


Loch Fyne, Argyll

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

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 awardwinning 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

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

Dundas Castle Edinburgh

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


Destination - Scotland George Hotel

Inveraray, Argyll Imagine relaxing by an open peat fire, sipping a single-malt 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 kingsize 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 four-star hotel is ideally placed to serve as a base for visitors interested in exploring the wellsignposted 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.

Destination - Scotland

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 breath-taking scenery. 59-63 Queen’s Road Aberdeen, AB15 4YP. T: 01224 327777


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