Scotland Correspondent issue 5

Page 1

Horse McDonald a voice of inspiration Smoking gun clue to historic murder mystery Celebrating golf’s best holes In search of the perfect getaway


Making the most of Mackintosh Remembering U.S.A’s first AfricanAmerican Doctor




inside this issue 8 Horse Mcdonald

Iconic singer bares her soul to critical acclaim

16 Lodge on Loch


Award winning food and the ‘best view’ in Scotland

Horse McDonald - In Careful

24 Mackintosh


Celebrating the genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

52 Whisky Galore

Movie remake creates new set-jetting trail

80 Done and dusted 106 A medical first The couple out to prove how crushed rocks can save the planet

The USA’s first AfricanAmerican doctor remembered in Glasgow

84 Country fashion

108 It’s a date

The German sportswear company expanding into Scotland

60 Rolling back

Horse McDonald

90 Hole lot of love

34 Who shot the

The search for Scotland’s best loved golf holes

Fresh clues shed light on historic murder

99 Toughing it out

Red Fox?

40 Great getaways In search of serenity in Scotland


70 Jail time fun

Within the walls of Victorian prison where the past comes alive

Date 4 ur diary Cover Photo

waves of time

Award for investigation into shipwrecks that uncovered forgotten history

A round-up of what’s on this month

Adventure racing boom attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world

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Horse McDonald on her journey to find a voice L

by Paul Kelbie

ife for internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter Horse McDonald couldn’t be much better.

The one woman play of her life story, ‘Careful’, has been playing to rave reviews around the country. She is in the middle of writing her autobiography, has several musical tour dates lined up and was recently named an ‘Outstanding Woman of Scotland’ for her contribution to the country’s culture and society. It’s all a far cry from the darker days of her teenage years growing up in Lanark as the ‘only gay in the village’, having to run the gauntlet of verbal abuse from police officers and sometimes worse from local bullies. Back in the less tolerant and less enlightened times of the 1970s and 1980s she was still trying to find her voice and discover herself. “I had no idea what was wrong with me, I couldn’t fit in, there was nobody


else like me. I thought I was a man because I liked women. There was no-one else like that,” said Horse, who began her life-long passion for telling stories through music when she was just 10-years-old. “When things were difficult I would retreat to my bedroom, my sanctuary, to write songs and sing. Music saved my life. I have been in a lot of very dark places. Using my voice has been uplifting and helped me get through it all.” Despite all the difficulties Horse, who admits to having a stubborn streak and inbuilt sense of justice, has always remained true to herself and refused to conform. “Like everyone else I’ve spent a lot of time trying to ‘find myself’ and my voice,” said Horse. “The one thing I realised quite early on was I can’t not be myself. That’s why I’ve never been ‘in’ as a gay person, I’ve always been ‘out’. While other people hid themselves or were closeted

I couldn’t do that even though it brought me a lot of problems. “I now realise I had to experience all those hurdles. They made me stronger and very creative. In some strange way those bad experiences helped bring the music out of me.” Over the years Horse has produced nine albums, including ‘The Same Sky’ and ‘God’s Home Movie’. She has toured with big international names such as Tina Turner, BB King, Bryan Ferry, Burt Bacharach and performed to packed venues around the world. Despite her success her feet have remained securely grounded and she is still often surprised when people treat her as something of a celebrity. “People sometimes shake when they come to meet me and I’m gobsmacked as to why. I’m just little old me,” said Horse, who admits it has only been in the last 10 years or so that she has been

able to appreciate her own talents and is willing to accept that she can sing and that her work is valued by others. “I never thought all those years ago when I started out that I would get so much wonderful feedback from people who say my music is the backdrop to their lives,” she says, genuinely humbled by the idea. “What could be more exciting and gratifying than realising your music is so important. I know how much I love music and how much it means to me but when somebody else says my music means that much to them it’s just mind-blowing.” Now regarded as somewhat of an iconic figure Horse has gone from being an outsider to a role model. Her place in LGBT and music industry history is recognised as an inspiration to others. “I was one of the “first’ openly lesbian performers in the music


industry. I was there before Melissa Etheridge, KD Lang and others. I am proud of that and honoured to be called a role model but, like everyone else, I want to be recognised for being good at what I do, a singer and song writer. “I’ve been up for several awards within different organisations over the years and I’m nearly always referred to as ‘Horse, lesbian singer’. Why can’t it just be ‘Horse, singer’? You don’t see ‘Elton John, gay singer’ or ‘George Michael, gay singer’, whenever they are mentioned.” There is no doubt that being gay has played a part in many of the defining moments of Horse’s life story. Some have been good and some shockingly disturbing. “There have been three or four really horrible things that happened to me, really awful things,” said Horse who reveals some of those moments in the award-winning, intimate, thoughtprovoking emotional-rollercoaster

one-woman play, Careful, which has been playing to audiences across Scotland. First performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, the poignant and compelling story of Horse’s triumph over adversity through music, is collaboratively written with writer and comedian Lynn Ferguson, directed by Maggie Kinloch and produced by The Gilded Balloon. It’s the singer’s first foray into acting and she admits reliving her own past has been a highly emotional experience. “I’ve been approached many times by people who have said they would like to write my biography but I always said no until now. “The play is very intimate and encapsulates the audience in such a way that they feel emotionally involved and part of an experience,” said Horse who feels the process has been highly cathartic and uplifting for

both the audiences and herself. “A lot of people get very upset because they feel empathy for things that happened, whether it’s abuse, grief, bereavement, bullying or whatever it is. We’ve even had big rufty-tufty blokes crying in the audience and then wanting to come up and give me a hug afterwards.” Throughout the show Horse skilfully mixes humour with tears to take the audience on a highly personal journey, which at times could have taken a completely different direction. “My whole life has been tainted by several sliding doors moments,” said Horse. “But, I am in a much happier place now. I’m married and there’s so much wonderful things happening. “At this point in my life I thought I’d be all dried up and in a different place altogether but I feel very creative and very lucky. “When I was young and was


struggling with stuff I didn’t want to live for ever but now I want to live as long as I can because there’s so much I want to do. “People used to stare at me because I was different. Now they stare because they recognise me and often come up to say how much they like my work. I’ve kind of gone full circle.” Horse, who appeared in the official LGBT charity video “It Does Get Better” would like to see her play performed in schools for students. There is already an Education Resource pack for teachers, trainers, community workers and lecturers that accompanies the play and explores the themes and issues raised, including bullying, bereavement, grief, parental relationships and the universal theme of finding one’s voice.

Horse - Careful - The Hour

“I think it would be tremendous and not just for LGBT groups but actually for teachers, parents and all kids. The thing that comes out of the play is that we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns. We are all human beings and experience all the same human emotions. “I’d love to get hold of kids around that 15-year-old age bracket, especially those who are having a difficult time finding themselves or being bullied for being different whether that’s being gay or just for having red hair or a big nose, and tell them that things do get better. I’m living proof of that!”


It Does Get Better - The L Project (Official LGBT Charity Song)





Take time to savour the view


verlooking the picturesque views of one of the most celebrated bodies of water in the world the Lodge on Loch Lomond is a truly unique destination.

of Ben Lomond mountain and surrounding foothills, the resort is a highly popular venue for weddings, conferences, romantic breaks and family holidays.

from Scotland’s largest international airport, this oasis of beauty and tranquility provides an easy luxury escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Located on the beachfront at Luss, enjoying a magnificent panorama

Less than an hour from Glasgow City Centre, and just 30 minutes

With just 47 guest bedrooms and a range of conference and banqueting


facilities for up to 200 guests the resort manages to create an intimate and friendly atmosphere for any occasion. Leisure facilities at the resort include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and laconium. There is even a private jetty so guests can make full use of all the water-based activities Loch Lomond has to offer. There’s a wide variety of things to do on the loch, from an exhilarating speedboat trip or luxurious onehour yacht cruise to a spot of wakeboarding or canoe safari.


The majority of guest bedrooms have their own balcony which allows guests it sit back, relax and soak up the spectacular surroundings - recently voted the best view in Scotland by a nationwide survey - in complete privacy. Whatever the weather the view from the Lodge on Loch Lomond

is always breathtaking. The floor to ceiling windows in the dining make for a perfect viewing spot, especially for those enjoying the finest cuisine made from local ingredients in the award winning Colquhoun’s Restaurant and Lounge. The restaurant was recently awarded two AA rosettes in recognition of its culinary excellence.The AA inspectors noted that “the food was well executed and the flavour and presentation, a delight to dine on.” The AA guide sums up the restaurant

experience as: “The unbeatable loch views and sense of tranquillity in the balcony restaurant give the impression that you are floating on water. From the open-view kitchen, the modern British food is underpinned by classic technique. Chicken liver parfait served with pear chutney and toasted brioche makes for a well-made starter and might be followed by slow-braised pork belly with spiced apple compote, sauté potatoes and apple jus. Desserts such as white chocolate and kirsch parfait, mango purée and orange sorbet are impressive.” It wasn’t just the restaurant that received high praise during the inspection, as the hotel also maintained its 4 star AA rating. Overall, the Lodge on Loch Lomond received glowing comments from the AA inspectors who stated: “The Lodge on Loch Lomond has a great deal to commend. It boasts a most idyllic location, a contemporary and stylish interior and an impressive


range of facilities in the hotel and spa.” Out-with the hotel and its Scandinavian-style complex there’s plenty to see and do. A short leisurely stroll along the beach leads to the middle of the historic quaint village of Luss, recognised as being one of the prettiest places in Scotland. Many of the cottages that provide the conservation village with its unique character were built to house workers in the cotton mill and slate quarries of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, Luss is much older than a mere three or four centuries. A settlement is believed to have occupied the same spot for almost 2,000 years. Every year on March 10 local residents celebrate Saint Kessog’s Day by paying tribute to the Irish miracle worker who was Scotland’s patron saint before St. Andrew. At the Battle of Bannockburn King


Robert said to his men that he was committing them to battle in the ‘name of the Blessed Kessog of Luss’. Several months after the victory The Bruce visited Luss to give thanks to Kessog who is buried in the vicinity. Within a few minutes drive of Luss


there’s the town of Helensburgh, birthplace of television pioneer John Logie Baird and home to Hill House. The art deco style mansion was designed by architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and is a favourite destination for visitors from all over the world.

The Lodge on Loch Lomond, set in the middle of Scotland’s first National Park yet close to so many amenities, provides the best of both worlds. It is an ideal leisure retreat for a quiet, romantic break or a great place to enjoy an active family fun filled holiday.



Celebrating the enduring legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Photo by GCMB - House for an Art Lover



special celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland’s most celebrated architects and designers is to be held in Glasgow next year.


A number of rare and some previously unseen works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh are to be put on public display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Alongside the work of Mackintosh will be work by his wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances Macdonald and her husband James Herbert McNair.

Photo by Remi Mathis - Hill House

higher, even though he was truly a man before his time. Largely unappreciated until after his death in 1928 he is now regarded as one of the most influential and celebrated architects and artists of the 20th century. His iconic designs can be found adorning buildings and furniture, tea-towels and earrings from Australia to Zimbabwe while legions of fans flock to Scotland every year to follow in his footsteps. According to Glasgow Mackintosh, formerly the Mackintosh Heritage Group, around a million tourists flock to Mackintosh venues associated with the iconic designer each year.

Glasgow Mackintosh venues include: House for an Art Lover; The Hunterian; Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum; The Lighthouse; Mackintosh Church; Scotland Street School Museum; The Willow Tea Rooms and The Hill House. Situated at the top of Helensburgh overlooking the Firth of Clyde Hill House is perhaps Mackintosh’s greatest domestic triumph. Built between 1901 and 1903 for wealthy publisher Walter Blackie and his family, the whole building was entirely designed by Mackintosh, inside and out, from furniture to cutlery, fixtures and fittings, the gardens and street lamps.

“Charles Rennie Mackintosh is rightly celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century,” said Alison Brown, curator with Glasgow Museums. “He is rightly regarded as the father of Glasgow Style, arguably Britain’s most important contribution to the international Art Nouveau movement.” Almost 90 years after his death the adulation and appreciation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh has never been


Scotland Street Museum

Photo by Ad Meskens - Glasgow School of Art



It is a firm favourite with visitors from around the world, including celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Harrison Ford, especially as it contains plenty of examples of Mackintosh’s famous ladder-backed chairs, distinctive designs and art nouveau stencils. The house and its interior has been carefully preserved by the National Trust for Scotland and has all the appearance of being suspended in time, almost as if waiting for the artist himself to return and walk through the door.


Lorna Hepburn, Manager of Hill House said, “We get more than 23,000 visitors a year at Hill House. Many of our visitors come from America, Japan, all parts of Europe and many have been looking forward to their visit for many years, having long been admirers of Mackintosh’s work. “The Hill House is Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece and ranks among the most outstanding examples of 20th century architecture anywhere in the world.

Interior of House for an Art Lover

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

“The Japanese, in particular are are very interested in Mackintosh. There’s a lot of reproduction Mackintosh furniture made for the Japanese market and I’ve even heard tales of visitors coming into the house and lying down to kiss the ground.” However, unlike Robert Burns, who is estimated to be worth in excess of £160 million to the economy, the legacy of Mackintosh, who died in London of tongue cancer aged 60, is relatively untapped in comparison.

Glasgow School of Art

gained entry aged just 15 to Glasgow School of Art – a building he was later to redesign and which became one of his most celebrated works. Despite his architectural ability his achievements went largely unappreciated during his lifetime. As he grew increasingly bitter about the lack of recognition he turned to drink and, by the early 1920s, had abandoned architectural practice and moved to the south of France to indulge his passion for watercolour landscape painting. Rennie Mackintosh, once owned by the late New York television producer Donald L. Taffner and his wife Eleanor, were sold by Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull a couple of years ago they went for £1.3 million.

Although Mackintosh is as important to Glasgow as Gaudi is to Barcelona and Frank Lloyd Wright is to Chicago the potential for Mackintosh tourism is still to be fully realised. However, the true value of Mackintosh cannot be measured in solely financial terms as his contribution to the establishment of art nouveau is recognised across the world,. Born in 1868, the son of a policeman, Mackintosh was dyslexic but his creative talent was such that he


Today, his paintings are worth a fortune. When the largest single private collection of furniture, drawings and paintings by Charles

John Mackie, director of the auction house, said: “It was a fantastic atmosphere in a packed sale room with many of the bidders flying in from the United States and Europe, some leaving their private jets at Edinburgh International Airport.”

major world capitals in any global assessment. Largely ignored during his lifetime Mackintosh has become one Scotland’s finest unique selling points in attracting visitors to the extent that VisitScotland uses Mackintosh iconography alongside whisky, golf and dramatic highland landscapes in its marketing the world over.

A still life painting called ‘Yellow Tulips’ sold for £130,000 while a pair of mahogany card room chairs went for £46,000 asserting the premise that anything to do with Charles Rennie Mackintosh is valuable.


Today it is almost impossible to flip open any book on world Art Nouveau without finding a chapter on Glasgow. Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s achievements in architecture and design have ensured Glasgow’s place alongside

“Glasgow is Scotland’s cultural powerhouse, a position that is as relative today as it was over 100 years ago when Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries created Glasgow Style, which remains instantly recognisable and continues to permeate the designs of many different things we see today,” said Duncan Dornan, head of Glasgow Museums. “His contribution to cultural life in Scotland cannot be understated.”



Time to right a 265-yearold wrong


Stewart known as James of the Glen, was arrested instead on suspicion of being complicit in the murder.

resh insight into a shot that rang out in a remote Highland glen almost three centuries ago, and led to the death of an innocent man, continues to keep alive one of the country’s most enduring murder mysteries. The cold-blooded killing of Colin Campbell has become a legend in Scottish folklore, not least because it was immortalised by author Robert Louis Stevenson in the classic novel Kidnapped. For more than 260 years historians, crime experts and amateur sleuths around the world have been fascinated by the real-life whodunit which is far more intriguing than any fictional murder. After detailed and painstaking investigation of ancient legal documents, a distinguished historian has identified a new prime suspect in the murder of ‘The Red Fox’ and called on the government to right one of Scotland’s longest miscarriages of justice. The Stewarts of Appin had fought with the Jacobites in 1745 and after their defeat at Culloden their lands were confiscated and given to the Campbells as a reward for


Photo by Euan Nelson Lettermore wood

Photo by Euan Nelson Scene of crime

supporting the Hanoverian throne. So, when, on the morning of 14 May 1752 Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure was shot dead on the wooded slopes around Loch Linnhe, while going about his governmentappointed duties as Factor, suspicion immediately fell on the Stewarts. Chief suspect was a local firebrand by the name of Alan Breck Stewart. A huge manhunt failed to find Alan Breck so his foster-father, James

Tried by a jury made up of mostly Campbells the result of the court case, presided over by the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, came as no surprise. James was hanged in November 1752 and his body left to rot on the gibbet as an example to others. “I come from that area of the country and like most people I was always thought the killing had been carried out by one of the Stewarts of Appin,” said Alan MacInness, Emeritus Professor of History at Strathclyde University. But, after detailed examination of witness statements, ballistic evidence and trial documents Prof. MacInness is convinced James Stewart is innocent and that it wasn’t Alan Breck or any other member of the Stewart clan who killed Colin Campbell. “It was an inside job. The only person who had the opportunity, the means and the motive was the dead man’s nephew Mungo Campbell,” said Prof. MacInness.

Photo by Kim Traynor - Kidnspped statue in Edinburgh


Death of the Red Fox by Willaim Brassey Hole


“Mungo was a very shadowy character and very difficult. He didn’t really get on with the rest of his family. By his own admission he was a ruthless man who would stop at very little to achieve his goals. “He inherited his uncle’s wealth and job as Factor which he used to ingratiate himself with the military and the government. He was a very ambitious man.” The first thing Prof. MacInness noticed in reviewing the evidence was that none of the witnesses reported seeing any smoke from a weapon. “Campbell was allegedly killed by a long range shot from a musket. In the 18th century muskets retained smoke for some time after shots were fired but nobody saw any. “Witnesses also claimed to have heard only one shot yet Campbell was hit with two bullets. The chances of two shooters firing muskets at exactly the same time without any smoke seems unlikely. The most plausible explanation is that Campbell was shot at close range by a single person firing two pistols


simultaneously. “The only person who had the opportunity to do that was Mungo Campbell. He was on his own with his uncle for more than eight minutes and when you look at his statement as to what happened many of the things he says were not possible.” Prof. MacInness also points to Mungo Campbell’s behaviour after the shooting and during the trial. His intimidation of witnesses points to a cover-up. “The prosecution for the murder of Colin Campbell was handed to the Campbells of Barcaldine, it was effectively privatised. They were allowed to run their own investigation and Mungo Campbell spent his time beating up witnesses and taking their testimonies,” said Prof. MacInness. While the prosecution took several months to organise their case against James the defence was given just a day and a half to prepare. “The case against James of the Glen should never even have got to trial. There was absolutely no grounds, technical or circumstantial, to convict

him. James should be exonerated. The circumstantial evidence that does exist is far stronger against Mungo than James,” said Prof. MacInness. In 2008 Glasgow lawyer John Macaulay campaigned for a pardon for James of the Glen and requested the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission re-examine the case but his efforts were unsuccessful. However, in 2015 the Scottish Government announced it would not recommend to the Queen that the Royal Prerogative of Mercy should be used for a posthumous pardon. A spokesman for the government said that while elements of the trial may be questionable there was no evidence to clearly exonerate Stewart. However, Professor MacInness disagrees. “There is absolutely a case for James of the Glen to get a pardon. He was an innocent man hanged for something he had no part in,” he said. “I wish the Scottish Government would stop being so conservative and show a little more radicalism.”



Get away and escape the rat race



s one of the quietest destinations in Europe, Scotland is the perfect place to enjoy some peace and calm. Research carried out for VisitScotland recently discovered that almost a quarter of visitors’ come to the country to ‘get away from it all.’ A growing interest in physical and mental health has led to increased interest in ‘wellbeing tourism’ as holidaymakers embrace the chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, whether it’s a desire to de-stress or a craving for calm, Scotland’s stunning vistas, wild open mountains and hushed hideaways make it the ideal location to unwind in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Galloway Forest Park Scotland has some of the most spectacular sights in the world but deep in Galloway Forest Park the view is literally out of this world.

Photo by James Curran - Loch Rannoch


Photo by Graham Thomson - Gallaway Forest Park

Photo by Dave Souza - GlenCoe


As Britain’s largest forest park it already regularly attracts lots of visitors during the day but it is well worth visiting at night too. Gallloway Forest Park is the UK’s first Dark Sky Park and one of the best places to stargaze in Europe. With over 7000 stars and planets visible each night, every visit is a different experience. There are vast areas with dark skies which make Scotland a mustvisit destination offering a unique experience but Galloway Forest Park has to be one of the best. Glencoe The deep valley and towering mountains of Glen Coe were carved out centuries ago by icy glaciers and volcanic explosions. Glencoe village is picturesquely located between the banks of Loch Leven and the mouth of the famous glen. The Lost Valley Glencoe is one of the most beautiful and other-worldly places in Scotland. It’s even featured in films such as James Bond’s Skyfall and several Harry Potter movies. Sandwood Bay Dubbed one of the most unspoilt beaches in Great Britain, the pink sands of Sandwood Bay in Kinlochbervie are a secluded paradise. Facing straight into the teeth of the North Atlantic, the beach is flanked by cliffs and to the south stands the impressive sea stack of Am Buachaille. The peaceful bay can only be accessed by a 4 mile path but the journey is more than worth it. Scott’s View The beauty of the Scottish Borders has long cast a spell on not just visitors but also those who live there. As one of Scotland’s most celebrated writers, Sir Walter Scott often enjoyed escaping into the Borders countryside to reflect. You can follow in his footsteps to his reputed


Photo by Graham Lewis - Sandwood Bay

Photo by Mehfoos Lal Yacoob - Scott’s View


favourite place, known now as Scott’s View, the stunning vantage point near Melrose overlooks the River Tweed and Eildon Hills. Small Isles (Eigg, Rum, Muck, Canna) Full of wonderful wildlife and stunning scenery, Scotland’s Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides provide a peaceful escape from the mainland. With little to no traffic and few people it’s a unique chance to get back to nature.


The largest island, Rum is home to formidable volcanic peaks, the incredible Kinloch Castle, the Kilmory Bay Red Deer and the UK’s biggest bird of prey, sea eagles, while the nearby Isle of Eigg is this year celebrating 20 years of being fully sustainable. The smaller isles of Muck and Canna each possess their own special treasures. Whether it’s the sandy beaches, rocky shores and breathtaking panoramic views on Muck or the high basalt cliffs of Canna, this tiny corner of the country is ideal for walks, watching birds and simply basking in the beauty of your surroundings.

Photo by Graham Lewis - Small Isles



Holy Isle Just off the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde lies Holy Isle, an ancient spiritual heritage dating back to the 6th century. This sacred site is dedicated to peace and wellbeing, its unspoiled beauty is also a haven for wildlife. On the north of the island visitors are welcome to stay at the Centre of World Peace and Health which regularly hosts courses and retreat programmes, while the south is a closed Buddhist retreat. Clackmannanshire Scotland’s smallest county has a big offering to make to those looking to get away from it all. What it lacks in size it makes up for in stunning landscapes, medieval castles, historic tower houses and a growing art scene. Found between the majestic Ochil

Hills and the banks of the River Forth, and just a short journey from the central belt, Clackmannanshire is perfectly located for those looking to unwind for the day. Enjoy a scenic walk or cycle in the striking Ochil Hills and discover Clackmannanshire’s exciting tourism treasures.

blend of Scottish and Scandinavian delights.

Shetland With its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, heather-clad moorlands and fascinating rock formations, the Shetland isles are unlike anywhere else in the world.

This idyllic getaway may be just a few hours away from the central belt but it’s a world away from the hurly burly of Scotland’s cities.As well as a great base for exploring the Perthshire countryside, the area is fantastic for walks and even has its own Clan Trail.

Made up of more than 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited, the archipelago has its own unique culture, rich history and breathtaking beauty. From Iron Age brochs and Pictish wheelhouses to the spectacular Up Helly Aa Festival, which takes place each January, and distinct culinary delights, the Shetland Isles offers a winning

Photo by - Lamlash Bay and the Holy Isle


Kinloch Rannoch Nestled in the shadow of Schiehallion, on the banks of the River Tummel, lies the pretty village of Kinloch Rannoch.

A short distance from the village is the delightful Rannoch Station Tearoom, situated on the platform of one of Britain’s most remote and romantic train stations.



Photo by Guy Phillips


Blending fact with fiction

Photo by VisitScotland - Eilean Donan Castle appeared in The World is not Enough



cocktail of whisky, comedy and great scenery could provide a major boost for communities across Scotland this summer as Whisky Galore opens in cinemas. The movie, which is based on the 1947 novel by Compton Mackenzie and stars Gregor Fisher, Eddie Izzard and Sean Biggerstaff is a remake of the classic 1940s black and white comedy. VisitScotland, the country’s tourism organisation has created a map for movie fans and set-jetting visitors highlighting the locations used in the new film version.


While Alexander Mackendrick’s 1949 film was shot almost entirely on location in the Outer Hebrides, where Barra stood in for the fictional islands of Great Todday and Little Todday, Gillies MacKinnon’s version makes use of outstanding locations throughout Scotland, from the

On a seven-and-a-half-week shoot in Portsoy, it rained for half a day – max, and even then it was very light drizzle.

Borders up to Aberdeenshire, from Ayrshire to Glasgow and across to the East Neuk of Fife. Working closely with Whisky Galore’s distributors, Arrow Films, the national tourism organisation’s map shines a spotlight on the principal filming locations, including the Aberdeenshire villages of Portsoy and Pennan, St Abb’s Head in the Scottish Borders and the Central Bar in Glasgow.

“Normally when you take over a town, which we more or less did at Portsoy, there’s a bit of agro because you’re closing roads and so on, but there was none of that. We were welcomed with open arms to the point that when I expressed an interest in buying some lobster, four lobsters were delivered to my door the next day, free of charge. I couldn’t believe it. Half the community is in the film. It was a joy.”

The map is available for download at and a printed version is available in selected VisitScotland iCentres, as well as at some of the locations featured. Based on the real-life sinking of the SS Politician off the coast of Eriskay in 1941, and the subsequent seizing of thousands of bottles of whisky by locals, Whisky Galore! is a celebration of a nation’s love for the “Water of Life”.


“I’ve been in this business for 40 years and I can honestly say this was one of the nicest, if not the nicest, job I’ve ever had,” said actor Gregor Fisher, who plays postmaster Macroon. “There were no negatives about it.

Portsoy, about 50 miles north of Aberdeen, is a beautiful historic fishing village with a harbour dating back to the 17th century, making it the oldest on the Moray Firth. Until now it’s closest claim to show business stardom has been as the birthplace of Jimmy Paterson, trombonist with 1980s chart toppers Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Photo by Michael Garlick - Portsoy Harbour

However, now its hoped that the village’s prominent role on the big screen will attract many more starstruck tourists. “We were delighted to work with the production team on a project of this scale, helping them transform the coastal village of Portsoy into part of the Isle of Toddy for few weeks back in July 2015. Local people became part of the crew and took the production to their heart,” said

Jim Savege, Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council. “This is a major production which features Aberdeenshire at its very core, something for us all to be proud of. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the filming locations and of course to try our local whisky.” Locations on the Whisky Galore map include:

Aberdeenshire – Portsoy Harbour; Mill Beach and New Aberdour Beach, Kennan Argyll & Bute – Luss Village Hall Ayrshire – Beach at Ardour Fife – St Monan’s Parish Church Inverclyde – Loch Thom, Greenock Dumbarton – Geilston House and Gardens, Dumbarton Glasgow – Central Bar, Renton; Pinkston Watersports North Lanarkshire – Forrestburn Race Track, near Harthill Scottish Borders – St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire “Since the novel by Compton Mackenzie was published back in 1947, Whisky Galore has been raising laughs for 70 years,” said Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland. “Celebrating not only this nation’s love for the Water of Life but also demonstrating the warmth, humour and spirit of our people, this new film shows off Scotland at its dazzling best. Our handy map will allow


Photo by VisitScotland - Castle Drummond appeared in Outlander


visitors to explore the Whisky Galore! locations and enjoy a set-jetting holiday around Scotland.” Set-jetting, the visiting of locations used in movies is now big business for Scotland. More than 100 movies, and numerous television series have cashed in on the country’s spectacular scenery over recent years.


From Eilean Donan Castle’s appearance in the James Bond movie ‘The World is Not Enough’ and Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire in Disney’s ‘Brave’, to Glasgow doubling for Philadelphia in ‘World War Z’ , and Castle Drummond playing the part of the Palace of Versailles in Outlander ,Scotland has had a staring role. “Scotland is widely recognised as

an excellent location for film and TV productions. Whisky Galore! has been added to the growing list of films shot here. This map allows visitors from home and abroad to walk in the footsteps of the actors and actresses that appeared in the film, and they can also enjoy the spectacular scenery that Scotland has to offer,” said Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop.



Diving into the past

Photos by Wessex Archeology - Wreck in Goat Well Bay, Kirkcudbright



project to map and protect Scotland’s forgotten marine heritage has won a prestigious European prize. The Scottish Atlantic Maritime Past: Heritage, Investigation, Research & Education Project (SAMPHIRE) worked closely with communities to record important archaeological sites along the west coast of Scotland The £100,000 project, which ran from the end of 2012 until the end of 2015, covered the entire west coast of the mainland from Kinlochbervie to the border. The research, funded by the Crown Estate, worked by ‘crowd sourcing’ information about possible archaeological sites in the marine environment through face-to-face meetings with harbour masters, scallop divers, recreational divers, fishermen and other local residents in the towns and villages of the west coast. Locations identified were recorded before the most promising were visited by teams of professional and volunteer archaeological divers to


Discovery of a canonball in the Sound of Mull


Investigating possible sites in Dournie Wester Ross

verify the information received. As a result of the work carried out the project has been named winner of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award 2017. Devised and run by leading heritage and archaeology practice Wessex Archaeology the exercise utilised the expertise of Dr Jonathan Benjamin and John McCarthy marine archaeology and dive experts based at Flinders University in South Australia. “We are delighted to have been announced as a winner of this prestigious European prize which celebrates best practice in heritage conservation, research, management, education and communication,� said Chris Brayne, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology, a not for profit company and registered charity promoting culture, arts, heritage and science through the pursuit of archaeology.


“This was an innovative, collaborative, project which involved over 100 members of the local community along the coast of West Scotland. We were very fortunate in being able to partner with a great many local and national organisations including community

dive clubs and scientific partners such as the Scottish Association of Marine Science.” “This project has been a real labour of love for our team of maritime archaeologists, allowing us to work closely with the people who live on

Wreck sites recorded by the project include: • The Lady Middleton (a schooner lost in 1868) • The Yemassee (an American cargo ship lost in 1859) • The SS Viscount (lost in 1924) • The Hersilla (an armed iron naval yacht lost in 1916) • The Sheila (an early MacBrayne ferry built in 1904 and sunk in 1927) • The Mafeking (a salvage vessel lost in attempts to recover the Sheila) • The schooner Medora (lost in 1860) • The Iris (a brig lost in 1874) • The SS George A. West (a wooden steam trawler lost in 1927) • The Thalia (a steam yacht lost in 1942) • The Cathcartpark (a steamship lost in 1912 near the island of Iona) • The Lord Bangor (a wooden ship lost in 1894) • The Carrigart (a steam drifter lost in 1933) • The Falcon, a previously unlocated paddle steamer built in 1860 and lost in 1867 with great loss of life.


Plotting sites in Kinlochbervie

Diver over wreck of the Iris


and visit the beautiful west coast of Scotland,” said John McCarthy from Flinders University. “We’ve been constantly amazed by the depth of unique knowledge of local maritime heritage held within these communities, which has allowed us to record a large number of previously unknown shipwrecks, many of which would have been impossible to find using sonar surveys.” Mr McCarthy said he hoped the success and recognition of the all the work involved would encourage more projects. The SAMPHIRE team will be presented with their award by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Placido Domingo at an event in Finland on 15 May.


Diver at the Sound of Mull


Wreck at Glenelg Bay

Remains of a wreck on Loch Fyne

Elphin, Scourie and Ullapool





A prison break with a difference by Sean Murphy Photos by Stewart Cunningham

a prison break with a difference it can be a lot of fun.

pending time in an eerie Victorian jail cell was never intended to be a luxury experience, but for those looking for

Walking the uneven flagstones of dimly lit corridors, surrounded by the sound of jangling keys and echoes of the past, it’s easy to feel transported

S p71

back to the days when children as young as seven could be imprisoned for stealing a slice of bread. Turning back time to create a living history of crime and punishment at Scotland’s premier prison museum is all in a day’s work for the staff at Inveraray Jail. Getting into costume and character every day takes the skills of a method actor, the mind of a historian and the sewing skills of a seamstress to bring the 19th century prison back to life - but the work has its perks. Fortunately Hanna Emily Nixon, with her background in drama and work experience in a costume shop in Manchester, more than fits the bill. Now as she and her colleagues entertain and educate more than 65,000 visitors who pass through the jail doors each year her knowledge of the Victorian era has exceeded beyond her wildest dreams.

Playing the part of Janet Thomson, matron and wife of the first prison governor, Hanna’s role is to explain to visitors about life inside the bleak stone prison by the side of Loch Fyne in Inveraray, Argyll.

jail’s history is the number of people who were in who didn’t actually do the crimes, or were in for committing what we would regard today as minor offences which would only get a wrap on the knuckles these days.

“My favourite story is of the prisoner Elisa Thorpe, who I used to play, because she was wrongly imprisoned and ended up being released after she was found not guilty,” said Miss Nixon, who designs all of the costumes for the living history museum.

“There were an awful lot of people in here who simply didn’t need to be. If anything learning about the history of the jail lets us see how far we’ve come today in the way we deal with crime.”

“The most important thing about the


At the County Court anyone from the surrounding area sentenced to prison or transportation would have

spent time in the jail where children as young as seven could be detained for minor crimes and subjected to whippings or pointless manual labour. “The birching table is a replica of the real thing. It was designed specifically for whipping boys. The idea was to give boys and teenage males such a thrashing that they won’t ever do anything like that again.” said Gavin Dick, Prison Governor of Inveraray Jail. “Up to the age of 14 you could have 14 stripes but from 14 to 18 you could have 36 stripes as they called it.” The jail closed in 1889 and reopened exactly a century later but it was used as a sheriff court for Argyll right up to 1953. For a while the offices were used as a sorting office by the Post Office but shortly after they left it fell into disrepair until it reopened as a visitor attraction in 1989.



These days the jail employs 14 staff in total of which six get dressed up in period clothing. The jail also boasts the only Black Maria in the UK. The police cart was built in 1891 to move prisoners from police cells in Aberdeen to the new Craiginches Prison two miles away from the city. In 1930 the Black Maria was no longer required by the police and it was taken to Cobblestock Farm near Peterculter where it was roofed over with corrugated iron, had its wheels removed and was used as a garden shed. It was rescued by Aberdeen Prison staff as a historic vehicle in 1990 and moved to Inveraray Jail 14 years later – it is the only surviving Black Maria in Britain. The horse drawn police cart got its name from Maria Lee a black landlady in Boston who let the police know whenever she thought one of her lodgers was up to no good. The police turned up so often that soon their horse and cart was known as the Black Maria. Soon all police



vehicles in both the USA and Britain were known as Black Marias. “Even though it could be tough in the jail many people were better off inside than out,” said Miss Nixon. “There was a family in Inveraray who had seven children and the mother and father would get three of the children and tell them to go to the shop, steal a turnip, and make sure they were seen so they could get a week in the jail. “When those three came out another three would be chosen, life was better in the jail for many people, it meant they could be warm, fed and clothed rather than being at home where there was nothing for them.” Inverary Jail, which opened as the county prison of Argyll in 1820 complete with its own courthouse, had only four keepers or governors. Duncan Campbell, a keeper was in charge for the first 21years, but after the new prison regulations of 1839 stressed that prison staff should be properly trained he was replaced by a governor, matron and warder - who along with a prisoner can all be found in costume there today. Inveraray Jail was a county prison so prisoners were only ever in for days, weeks or months as a rule but before 1847 there was no provision for criminally insane prisoners. The lack of provision for the insane meant that a few prisoners who had been insane at the time of their offence ended up locked up in the Old Prison for years on end. One such prisoner Archibald McLellan killed his little girl in a fit of madness in 1826 and should have been in a hospital but they had no hospitals. The family could have had him home again if they had been had been willing and able to pay a bond of £150 to say he wouldn’t do it again but they couldn’t so the best they could do was to put him in a cell and


leave him there. He stayed there until 1847 when Perth Prison opened a wing for criminally insane prisoners from all over Scotland. It was called the Criminal Lunatic Asylum Wing. “Mad Archie is always popular with the Dads who are horrible because they get their kids and say ‘come and see this’, then start banging on the doors when the kids or their wives eyes first settle on Archie. It usually scares them silly,” said Samantha Potts, assistant manager of the jail who has played both prisoner and matron. “Adults are really into the cruelty of it all. They always want to hear all about the punishments and the locking up. The kids aren’t into the truly gruesome stuff it’s more the simple details that fascinate them. “They want to know what the kids had for breakfast, which was porridge and broth. The other thing they love is the fact that the prisoners only had a bath every two weeks. They like things that they can relate to”. Inveraray was a County Court which meant anyone from Argyll who was arrested and sent to court for a serious crime would have come through it and probably be sentenced to jail or transportation. A prison ship would come up from London every now and again and jails all over Scotland would send their convicts to be taken abroad. “The ships would usually come into Edinburgh Leith, Renton somewhere like that and take the convicts down to London and Portland Prison before going on to Australia,” said Rob Irons, who plays the Warder. Rob has plenty of experience of the penal system having spent 23 years as a prison guard in Northern Ireland before taking up his role at Inveraray Jail. “People always ask how many deaths there were in here and whether they still haunt the place. I’m not exactly sure how many deaths

there were but I think there were about five or six which the public can read up on, but there must have been more than that over 70 years. “Children love coming here because they experience a wee bit of fear which gives them a kick. The staff are all dressed up and we’re all in character which both scares and fascinates them at the same time. They are very wary everywhere they go but by the time they leave they are hyper. “We get lots of adults coming who love it because if we do the part right then it brings the history to life. It’s more interactive than reading a board and everyone loves getting locked up.” A broad range of punishments were meted out in the jail, where children as young as seven could be sent for minor crimes, including whippings and the pointless soul crushing manual labour of the crank machine.



Rockin’ all over the world


or more than 30 years Cameron and Moira Thomson have been astounding gardeners with their ability to turn six acres of previously regarded worthless land into a modern Garden of Eden. Using 420 million years old, freshly ground, untreated, volcanic rock from Scottish quarries the couple have been involved in a mission to convince sceptics they can revitalise barren soil and reverse climate change.


A generation ago most of the farmland around their home in the foothills of the Grampian mountains near Pitlochry was ‘worn out’. The boulder-strewn land is largely infertile, acidic and open to the most severe weather conditions. Hardly the best location for anyone to plant their dream garden. Yet, their home-made application of rock dust, mixed with municipal compost, has created rich, deep soils capable of producing cabbages the

size of footballs, onions bigger than coconuts and gooseberries as large as plums. For years scientists have been warning of an apocalyptic future in which the earth, made infertile from over-production and mass reliance on chemicals, becomes unable to yield the volume of crops needed to feed the burgeoning human population. However, if the Thomson’s are

Moira and Cameron Thomson

correct an answer to some of the earth’s problems are not only at hand, but under our feet. The secrets of rock dust have been promoted for decades by various writers and celebrities such as Alan Titchmarsh and Alys Fowler are fans. The Thomsons also have a wealth of anecdotal evidence from gardeners around the world who have followed their example with tremendous success. “This is a simple solution which could help solve the twin problems of crop yield and climate change. and it doesn’t involve drastic life changes by anyone,” said Moira Thomson. “People don’t have to stop driving cars to do this, just spread some rock dust on their gardens. We could cover the earth with rock dust and start to absorb carbon in a more natural fashion which, along with reducing emissions and using a combination of other initiatives, will have a better and faster response.”


Before the Thomsons began their “good life” experiment, erosion and leaching were so severe in the glen where they set up home that nothing had been grown there for almost 50 years. The basis of their theory is simple. By spreading a thin layer of the dust over the land, they are able to mimic the earth’s glacial cycles which naturally fertilise the land. Since the last ice age, three million years ago, the earth has gone through 25 similar glaciations, each lasting about 90,000 years. “We are 10,000 years into an interglacial - a hiatus between ice ages - meaning modern soils are relatively barren and artificial fertilisers are needed,” said Cameron. “By spreading the dust we are doing in minutes what the earth takes thousands of years to do - putting essential minerals in the rocks back into the earth. As a result of practising what they

preach the couple have managed to produce fruit and vegetables that have increased pest, disease and drought resistance, with a longer shelf life and higher nutritional value than most produce found in supermarkets, Over the years the couple, who established the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (Seer) Centre charitable trust in 1997 to test their ideas, have slowly convinced others of their theory. They believe that when rock dust is mixed with compost it has a dramatic effect on crop yields and the farming industry needs to look more closely at the value of remineralisation and re-fertilisation. Various studies over the last few years have shown the mineral content of vegetables had fallen dramatically in this country in the last few decades. A report by nutritionist and chiropractor Dr. David Thomas revealed the content

increased use of artificial fertilizers and chemicals to devise bigger, faster growing pest free crops. When he published his report, under the auspices of the Medical research Council, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food & Royal Society of Chemistry, Dr Thomas said the findings made clear that the diet of the average UK resident is now far less nutritious than it was 75 years ago. “It is likely levels of a whole host of other trace elements which have proven benefits to health and whose absence can create disease conditions, have also been depleted,” he said. of natural minerals, such as iron, calcium, copper and magnesium, has decreased by up to 76 percent since 1940.

“Nowadays you need to eat three times as many oranges as you would have done in 1940 to get the same amount of iron.”

One of the reasons suggested for the plunging health benefits is the growth of intensive farming methods and

The research found the level of magnesium in vegetables had dropped by nearly 25 per cent,


calcium by 46 per cent, sodium by 50 per cent and copper levels by more than 75 per cent. In fruit, sodium had dipped by 27 per cent, iron by 25 per cent and copper by 20 per cent. A lack of iron can impair intellectual functions, while calcium is vital for strong teeth and bones, particularly in children. A shortage of magnesium can lead to neurological and heart problems. Dr Thomas’s findings appeared to confirm a previous study published in the British Food Journal comparing the nutritional composition of 20 fruits and 20 vegetables between the late 1930s and early 1990s. “If remineralisation is adopted as a matter of priority on a global scale, our species could sustain itself by increasing crop production without the use of agricultural chemicals. We could regenerate vanishing soils via soil remineralisation and the activities of soil micro-organisms and earthworms,” said Cameron.


German country sports label targets Scotland O

utdoor activities clothing expert Schรถffel is to increase its retail presence in Scotland with an expansion of outlets selling the 200-year-old brand. The German heritage brand has earned an excellent reputation over the years for fine materials, excellent craftsmanship and definitive design. It views Scotland as an ideal market for its products. The family business, which is one of the leading European outdoor and ski clothing brands, currently has around 10 stockists in the country. But, it says it is actively looking for more. Schรถffel, founded in 1804 in Bavaria, Germany, has prospered over the past seven generations by combining innovation and technology with


a passion for superb styling and outstanding quality. The company, which is at present run by Peter Schรถffel - the 6th generation of the family, started out with the Ptarmigan shooting coat. Over the last 20 years it has been refined and improved with many of the new various styles now regarded as the definitive super lightweight shooting coats. Schoffel jackets are all windproof and waterproof, making them perfect for Scottish weather. The Schรถffel Country range has been carefully expanded to include several styles in coats, jackets and fleeces of the finest quality in classic, attractive colours. The ladies range is designed to suit the female form by using innovative




styling and design, but still retaining the essential features and sporty cut. Managing Director Peter Schöffel claims the company has been working intensively over the last few years on strategic brand positioning The business has been careful to react to changing social trends with a broadly-based image and product campaign. “An absolute performance mentality is not the most important thing for our quality-oriented customers”, says Peter Schöffel. “They are sporty, health-conscious and take great pleasure from nature, but without constantly looking at the stopwatch. “Schöffel wants to accommodate this trend for more individuality and people taking a relaxed approach to their own sportiness.”



Schöffel stockists in Scotland Greaves Sports, Glasgow Bosuns Locker, South Queensferry Stewart Christie & Co, Edinburgh Banks of Perth, Perth James Crockery & Son, Blairgowrie House of Bruar, Blair Atholl Glenluce Gunroom, Newton Stewart A Hume Country Clothing, Kelso Norvite Farm & Country, Inverurie, Aboyne and Insch Gammies Country Clothing, Forfar



Golf’s hole of fame

Photo by VisitScotland - Tom Morris 18th hole at the Old Course, St Andrews



cotland is world renowned as the home of golf. It’s where the game was born and it remains a thriving modern destination for millions of golfers each year. There are some 550 courses in Scotland, of which 92 are true Links courses, but out of almost 10,000 holes which is the best one? That’s a question posed to more than 3,000 golfers in a poll by the country’s national tourism organisation. VisitScotland asked golfers to vote for the best opening and closing holes, a best Par 3, 4 and 5, as well as a best view and a best overall hole from a selection of shortlisted holes across the country. The result was that Tom Morris, the closing hole at St Andrew’s Old Course named after the legendary champion and course designer, was named the best in the entire country. Its neighbouring 17th hole was voted the best Par 4 in Scotland.


The award for the hole with the best view went to the 9th hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club on the Aberdeenshire coast. The course, which boasts stirring views across the Bay of Cruden and Slains Castle, beat out competition from the Castle Course at St Andrews, Machrihanish Dunes and Gullane Golf Club. The category included nominations for more than 300 individual holes, testament to the wealth of stunning views across Scotland’s courses.


While St Andrew’s can boast the best final hole the honour of being the best opening one can be found some 200 miles away at Machrihanish Golf Club on the Kintyre Peninsula. Known as ‘The Battery’ the hole, where the tee box already features a plaque to that effect, received over 1,000 votes as the best opening hole in Scotland. Machrihanish and Cruden Bay

weren’t the only local courses to perform better in the poll than some of their more well-known compatriots. Moray Golf Club’s closing hole, overlooking the Moray Firth, came second in its category, ahead of both Carnoustie and Turnberry. The 12th hole at neighbouring Hopeman Golf Club, received more than 120 votes for the best view, despite not being shortlisted.

Photo by St Andrews Links Trust - 17th hole at the Old Course, St Andrews


The Postage Stamp (8th) at Troon was voted the best par 3 in Scotland, while the 12th hole at Kingsbarns Golf Club on the Fife Coast was voted the best Par 5. The neighbour of St Andrews finished ahead of holes from Castle Stuart (18th), 2014 Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles (16th) and the recently redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry (10th). The final results of the poll were as follows: Best Hole – Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (799 votes,


27% share) Best Opening Hole – The Battery, 1st at Machrihanish Golf Club (1025 votes, 30% share) Best Closing Hole - Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (825 votes, 24% share) Best Par 3 – The Postage Stamp, 8th at Royal Troon (891 votes, 26% share) Best Par 4 – Road, 17th at the Old Course, St Andrews (1176 votes, 36% share) Best Par 5 – Orrdeal, 12th at Kingsbarns Golf Club (654 votes,

19% share) Best View – 9th at Championship Course, Cruden Bay Golf Club (662 votes, 20% share) “We’re thrilled that the golfing public have taken the time to put their support behind their favourite courses in Scotland, from local favourites to the home of golf itself, St Andrews,” said Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland. “Every club plays its part in making

Photo by Kenny Lam / VisitScotland - Closing hole at the St Andrews


Scotland the essential golfing destination, so we’re proud to honour such a diverse range of our spectacular courses.” The golf industry in Scotland is worth more than £1 billion annually to the Scottish economy, supporting 4,700 jobs and spreading benefits across the country’s golfing regions. Research carried out by VisitScotland has revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of overnight visitors from overseas come to Scotland to play golf. The North American market remains key, representing 30 per cent of all overnight golfing visitors with


14 per cent coming from Europe. Of all overnight visitors, 81 percent overall agreed their trip was one of the best golfing holidays or short breaks they had ever taken. “Scotland has some of the finest golfing assets in the world as well as a rich golfing history and heritage, and with such tremendous international appeal, it comes as no surprise that the value of this important tourism sector has grown enormously in recent years,” said Danny Cusick, Tourism Sector Portfolio Director at Scottish Enterprise.

Photo by VisitScotland - The Postage Stamp at Royal Troon



Come and have a go - if you think you’re hardy enough! W

hen the going gets tough the tough get going ‌ to Scotland.

An increasing number of adrenaline junkies, fitness fanatics and enthusiasts of all levels are heading for the rugged terrain of the Highlands each year to take part in some of the world’s toughest adventure races. Such is the rise in popularity and demand for challenging competition that a number of changes have been made and new events added to the annual sporting calendar. Each year more and more middle distance triathlon athletes from across the UK and further afield are attracted to Scotland, looking to test themselves on the spectacular and rugged trails of the likes of Glencoe, Ballachulish and Kinlochleven.


Photo by Gerry McCann

This year will see the the inaugural Ultra Tour of Edinburgh (UTE), a new 50km running tour of Scotland’s capital city, While being both challenging and completely engaging running The Ultra Tour of Edinburgh, on Sunday 22 October, will give both visitors and residents an alternative and all encompassing impression of Edinburgh in just a few hours, the perfect urban adventure in just one day. From a Braveheart style start down the Royal Mile, the mixed terrain route takes runners through the streets and alleyways of the city centre, onto hills, up crags and past monuments, museums, seats of Royalty and Government; from the


occasional sojourn totally off road to enjoy the hill top views of the Pentland Hills to the harbours of Leith. From there runners will head to the New Town and on to the finish at Murrayfield Stadium, home to Scottish Rugby. The Ultra Tour of Edinburgh, an open participatory event, is an achievable step up from a marathon into ultrarunning territory, as well as for those who are graduating from 10 mile, half marathon or multisport events. However being an Edinburgh event the route includes 3000 feet of tough ascent and descent. The majority who have prepared well and put in the training miles should do very well, completing the course in the 10 hours allowed.

Photo by Gerry McCann


”We are looking for around 500 runners to take up the challenge of the inaugural Ultra Tour,” said Jim Mee, founder of the organisers Rat Race Adventure Sports in Edinburgh in 2004 and has subsequently grown the firm into the UK’s largest operator of mass participation, wilderness adventure challenges. ’This is a fully way-marked journey through the city streets and outlying countryside that includes historic urban landscapes and evocative landmarks, parklands, hills, rivers, cycleways, foot paths, canals and coastal waters. It truly is a tour-deforce of Edinburgh sightseeing, all wrapped up into an achievable but challenging Ultra Run event format.” Almost every weekend somewhere in Scotland there is an endurance race sending people through woods, up mountains, down river gorges or over a variety of obstacles with natural and man-made. It’s a sport which has boomed in the

Photo by Gerry McCann



last 30 years attracting thousands of people from all walks of life looking to swap the rat-race for another more personally satisfying challenge. It’s now estimated the popularity for adventure sports and challenging outdoor events could worth almost £200 million a year to the Scottish economy as mountain biking, winter sports, open water swimming attract an increasing number of visitors from throughout the UK and Europe.


Photo by Gerry McCann


Glasgow’s part in helping first ever African American doctor However, he was thrown an academic lifeline by the University of Glasgow which offered him a place despite slavery still being in existence in the British Caribbean and racist views still prevalent in the United Kingdom. McCune Smith jumped at the chance in 1832, especially after members of the free black community in New York rallied around to help raise the funds needed to send him to Glasgow.


former slave who graduated from a Scottish university to become the first ever African American doctor has been remembered in Glasgow. It is 180 years since James McCune Smith received his medical degree and earned a place in the history books. Born into slavery in 1813 but freed by New York State’s Emancipation Act McCune Smith was recognised as being intellectually gifted at a young age. He attended the African Free School in Manhattan, where he was described as being exceptionally bright, but when he applied for entry to several American universities he was refused admission on account of his race.


The 19-year-old scholar proved to be such an outstanding student during his years at the University of Glasgow that he obtained not one but three degrees - a bachelor’s degree in 1835, a master’s degree in 1836, and his medical doctorate in 1837. “McCune Smith was born in 1813 in New York city a slave, his mother had been a slave in South Carolina, but he was freed on July 4, 1827, when New York freed all the enslaved people in the state,” said Professor Simon Newman, historian and lead academic on ‘The Runaway Slaves Project’ at the University of Glasgow. “He was already attending school at that point and clearly a brilliant pupil, so he applied for medical school several years later at Columbia and other American universities, but he was rejected by them all.” However, despite the set backs he

turned his attention overseas and was accepted by the University of Glasgow, which ironically was a far better medical school than any of the American ones he had applied to. “The University of Glasgow received his application and accepted him. The difference between Glasgow and the American universities was that they did not appear to care about his race, and his experiences as a student at Glasgow was remarkably free of racism,” said Professor Newman. “The only real experience of racism he experienced at Glasgow, which he recorded, was when he went home to America and an American ship’s captain refused him a cabin because they were for whites only. The students and his colleagues and members of the Glasgow Emancipation Society were outraged, so they protested and managed to get him a cabin on the ship. “Frederick Douglas, another wellknown former African American slave and abolitionist, would later say that McCune Smith would “breathe the free air of Scotland”, and it changed him. He began to envisage a world completely different from the one he grew up in, there could be an equality of the races.” In his addition to the three degrees he obtained over his five years at Glasgow McCune Smith also

received a fully rounded classical education. He would read original works in Greek, Latin and French talents which were reflected in his writing and speeches throughout the rest of his life. When McCune Smith returned home to New York he set up a medical practice in lower Manhattan serving the black and white poor communities. As a leading intellectual in the city he went on to marry Malvina Barnet, the daughter of one of the richest and influential free black families in New York, and became a leading figure in the New York black community and a national figure. “His greatest influence was to show that black men and women were not simply defined by slavery and abolitionism,” said Professor Newman.


James McCune Smith - “This was an age when probably the best know doctor Josiah Nott, who was McCune Smith’s contemporary, was a racist slaveholder who believed that slavery was right, that it was justified by God and was proved by biology. To have someone like McCune Smith as a doctor in New

York City, who was publishing a lot more than Josiah Nott, who was probably a much more educated and intelligent man, was an example in itself that could not be emulated by most African Americans. Only his Glasgow education allowed him to do this.”

Date 4 ur diary


26 April - 7 May Tradfest Edinburgh - Dun Eideann Edinburgh, EH1 1SR Experience Traditional Culture, live as Edinburgh’s TradFest kick starts the summer season with a feast of folk arts – music, storytelling, dance, folk film, literature & talks, crafts & visual arts – across the city. 27 April - 1 May Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Elgin, Moray, IV30 9AW This annual celebration of Scotland’s national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind anywhere in the world with a programme of over 500 whisky-inspired events. 1 - 6 May Scottish Six Days Trials Fort William, Scotland, UK A motorcycle trial with a difference. A test of reliability over distances of up to 100 miles a day for six days, taking in a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads in the best - and worst - weather the Highlands of Scotland has to offer. 5 - 7 May Ullapool Book Festival Ullapool, IV26 2UY A showcase for Highland writers but also for writers from other parts of Scotland, and indeed the world. 6 May Neilston Show Neilston, Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, G78 3LE Neilston Cattle Show began life early in the 19th Century and is one of the earliest shows in the farming calendar. The show brings the whole community together for tugs o’ war, races, dog competitions, sideshows, horse riding, show jumping, sheep and cattle events. 12 - 14 May VAMOS! Perth, Perthshire, PH2 6BB VAMOS! - A Weekend of American Style Music. Top Artists from all genres including Rock n Roll, Country, Rockabilly, Jazz, Soul, Blues or Bluegrass


If you have a future event you would like included in our diary please email details to 13 May Kilmacolm and Port Glasgow Show Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK Established in 1835 and held almost every year since Kilmacolm & Port Glasgow Agricultural Show provides a great family day out with lots of trade stands, craft tent and entertainment for all ages. 13 - 14 May Cairngorms Nature Festival 14 The Square, Grantown on Spey, PH26 3HG A celebration of the fantastic natural heritage of the Cairngorms National Park with over 50 activities ensuring there is something for everyone. 13 - 14 May Loch Fyne Food Fair Clachan, Cairndow, PA26 8BJ A feast of West Coast food, wine and entertainment. Food tents, craft tent and table talk sessions. Children’s Entertainments including climbing wall, trampolines, bouncy castle, kiddies rides and face painting. 14 May Gourock Highland Games George Road, Gourock, Renfrewshire, PA19 1YT The start of the Highland Games season with hundreds of drummers, pipers, heavies and highland dancers. A chance to celebrate sports, music and dancing outdoors against the scenic backdrop of the firth of Clyde and Argyll hills beyond. 15 - 27 May Perth Festival of the Arts Perth, PH1 5PH Now in its 45th Year it is one of the oldest continuously running arts Festivals in Scotland. A musical extravaganza with Van Morrison, Jools Holland, Sir James Galway, English Touring Opera, The Sixteen, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra & more. 19 - 22 May Arran Mountain Festival Isle of Arran, KA27 8HY The Arran Mountain Festival offers walkers and more experienced climbers alike the chance to explore the island’s amazing landscape. Wildlife-watching walks along the island’s coastline to airy scrambles on towering granite ridges.

20 May The Fife Show Cupar, Fife, KY15 4ND Since 1821, an annual Show has been held in Fife to encourage and showcase the breeding of livestock. Thousands of visitors come to see livestock and machinery, both vintage and modern, at close quarters. 20 May Stonehouse Show Union Street, Stonehouse, Scotland, UK Agricultural show with Clydesdale horses, show jumping, ponies, craft section & kids’ entertainment. 20 May British Pipe Band Championships Paisley, Scotland, UK One of the biggest events in world piping is on its way to Paisley. 21 May Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia Pitlochry, PH16 5BX The most picturesque, closed road sportive in the UK offers much more than its breath-taking scenery. A tough contest for elites and beginners alike, Etape Caledonia brings a sense of true achievement, reward and a beautiful weekend away in the stunning setting that is the Scottish Highlands. 21 May Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair Fochabers, IV32 7PQ Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair is set for another crowd-pleasing year as the event welcomes up to 10,000 national and international visitors to enjoy a programme of events that marry traditional and contemporary performances. 25 - 28 May Orkney Folk Festival Victoria St, Stromness, Orkney, KW16 3AA The Orkney Folk Festival is one of the most prolific and special throughout Scotland, the UK and further afield. This year’s event will includes 36 ticketed events, across 20 venues in 14 different towns, villages and parishes. 25 - 28 May Knockengorroch World Ceilidh Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, DG7 3TJ One of the most beautiful and unique festival venues in the UK celebrating the history and the people that once lived in this area.


26 May - 4 June Hidden Door Festival Kings Stable Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF The Hidden Door Festival opens up urban spaces as a platform for new and emerging artists, musicians, theatre makers, film makers and poets. These temporary events showcase new work and create engaging environments for the public to experience, explore and discover. 26 - 28 May May Festival King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX The May Festival hosts performances from favourite authors, chefs, musicians and more.This all encompassing arts and science festival offers over 100 events across three days with a variety of themes including sports, film, science and Gaelic. 26 - 28 May Mhor Festival Lochearnhead, Perthshire, FK19 8PQ one of Scotland’s best loved food festivals, full of music, whisky, food and entertainment. Situated in the beautiful grounds of Monachyle Mhor on the banks of Loch Voil in the Scottish Highlands. 27 May Drymen Show Drymen, G63 0LE Agricultural show with horse classes, jumping and showing, sheepdog trials and other entertainments offering fun for all the family. 27 May Stewarton and Dunlop Show Irvine Road (B769), Stewarton, Ayrshire, KA3 3EB Agricultural show with cattle, sheep, Clydesdales, light horse showing & jumping, fun dog show, Inter Show Challenge. 27 - 28 May Blair Atholl Gathering and Highland Games Blair Atholl, Perthshire, PH18 5TL This unrivalled spectacle gives locals and visitors alike the chance to participate in a unique Highland tradition that has persisted for generations. The two day Atholl Gathering weekend consists of The Atholl Highlanders’ Parade on Saturday followed by the Highland Games on Sunday. 27 May Lesmahagow Show Brocketsbrae Showfield, Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK

Date 4 ur diary 27 May Glentress Seven Peebles, EH45 8NB TweedLove’s flagship endurance mountain bike event, and now firmly established as one of Scotland’s most popular MTB events. It’s a great day’s riding and racing for everyone, with the emphasis on great trails and a friendly, fun atmosphere. 27 May Highland and Moray Food & Drink Festival Bishops Road, Inverness, IV3 5SA Up to 50 wonderful exhibitors showcasing the best of Highland and Moray food and drink. Sample lots of local treats or take home a treat or two! 27 May Blackford Highland Games Blackford, Perthshire, PH4 1QF Blackford Highland Games have been held since 1870. This traditional Highland games with heavy events, tug o’ war, Highland dancing, cycling and running. 27 May West Lothian Highland Games Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, UK Borough Muir Park. Traditional family friendly event offering running, cycling, light field, heavy and track events, Highland dancing and pipe bands. 27 - 28 May Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon PO Box 9270, Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, UK Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon Voted as the UK’s top race in Runner’s World magazine multiple times. The race has grown in popularity due to its picturesque location, fantastic atmosphere as well as the post-race celebrations of Danish pastries and ceilidh dancing! 27 - 28 May Traquair Medieval Fayre Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, EH44 6PW Get transported back to ancient times with a Jacobite visitation! Medieval Tournament, deerhound drag coursing, falconry, archery, equestrian displays, living history, early music, jesters and children’s entertainment.


If you have a future event you would like included in our diary please email details to 27 - 28 May Whisky Stramash Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW Whisky inspired fun and frivolity with high-jinx character and thought-provoking activities. Designed to appeal to consumers with an appetite for adventure,as well as whisky purists open to intrigue.


4 - 7 May 25th Australian Celtic Festival Glen Innes, NSW Australia The Australian Celtic Festival attracts clans, cultural groups, dancers and performers from around the world. The four day Festival features entertainment that includes a street parade, kirking of the Tartan, massed pipe bands, strong man events, yard dog trials, children’s entertainment, a fun run, dancing, flag raising ceremonies, poet breakfasts, market stalls and Celtic foods. 19 - 21 May The Robert Burns Scottish Festival Camperdown, VIC Australia A fine weekend of music, dance and poetry celebrating Camperdown’s unique link to Robert Burns. 27 May Berry Celtic Festival Berry, NSW Australia The annual Berry Celtic Festival starts with the Grand Street Parade featuring distinctive colourful kilts, pipe bands, various Celtic Clans, Scottish Terrier dogs, vintage cars and hot rods. There’s full day of family entertainment, including Celtic fiddlers, highland dancing, enchanted singing, and lots of Celtic merchandise stalls to view. 28 May - 4 June Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival Wingham, NSW Australia Lots of Scottish singing, dancing, Highland games, a genealogy fair, Braveheart Poet’s breakfast and much more. An ideal event for any homesick Scot or those who enjoy the spirit of Scotland. The Clan of Honour this year is Clan Cameron.


20 - 21 May Saskatchewan Highland Gathering & Celtic Festival Regina, SK Canada The Saskatchewan Highland Gathering & Celtic Festival promotes all things Scottish and Celtic. Pipers, drummers, dancers, heavy events athletes, and enthusiasts from all over Western Canada come to participate in this exciting line-up of events. 21 - 22 May 154th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival Victoria, BC Canada The annual Highland Games & Celtic Festival is held over the three day weekend of Victoria Day (first Monday after May 21st) at Topaz Park in the City of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Events start a week prior to the Games for a 10 day celebration of Scottish and Celtic arts, music and sport kicking off with the Tartan Parade through downtown Victoria. 27 May Kingston Scottish Festival Rideau Acres Campground 1014 Cunningham Rd Kingston, ON Canada A celebration of all things Scottish with Highland dancing competitions, piping and drumming events and much more. 31 May - 4 June The Gathering of the Scots Perth-Andover, NB Canada An annual Scottish cultural festival hosted in the community of Perth-Andover, New Brunswick. Based on the format of traditional Scottish highland games, this festival includes dozens of interactive and performance venues for visitors to enjoy. See Scottish athletics, rygby, kilted golf, along with dozens of musical and dance performaces.


5 - 7 May Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games Maverick Stadium, Arlington, TX United States The Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games turns 31 in 2017. Come and enjoy one of the premiere Scottish entertainment festivals in the country. The skirl of the Pipes, the cheers of encouragement for the Athletic events, and the swirling of the Highland Dancers reminds all Scots of our rich and glorious heritage.


6 May 41st Annual Savannah Scottish Games Bynah’s Field at Bethesda Academy, 9520 Ferguson Ave, Savannah, GA United States. The 4th oldest Scottish games in the Southeastern United States. Come and celebrate the best of Celtic heritage and maybe find your own roots. 13 May Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival Mount Airy Fire Department Carnival Grounds, 1003 Twin Arch Rd. Mount Airy, MD United States A unique opportunity to explore the rich culture and tradition that resulted from the movement of many Irish and Scottish immigrants to the United States. 13 May 13th Annual Celtic Beltane Festival Columbia Woods Park, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive, Norton, OH United States The Scottish American Society celebrates the ancient May festival heralding the start of summer with pipe bands, Scottish and Irish dancers, Celtic musicians and much more. 20 - 21 May Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games Maryville College, Maryville, TN United States The Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games at Maryville College is East Tennessee’s premier celebration of Scottish culture and history. Now one of the oldest Scottish Festivals in the country its the perfect place to get a wee glimpse of Scotland - and to discover the rich traditions and history of the area’s Scottish and ScotsIrish settlers. 20 May Finger Lakes Celtic Games & Festival 4925 Collett Rd, Farmington, NY United States Come and enjoy a wonderful array of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Cornish performers, vendors, and foods. 27 - 28 May Scottish Fest OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA The oldest and largest festival of its kind in the Southern California area. Come and enjoy Scot Fest’s many competitions, music, dance, athletics, products for sale, youth activities, food and lively atmosphere. 27 - 28 May 50th Alma Highland Festival and Games Alma, MI United States - The Alma Highland Festival and Games first began in 1968. This year celebrates our 50th annual Highland Festival and Games providing a full weekend of Scottish music, dance, heavy events, Clans, entertainment and more.