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The Scots Magazine - January 2018

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What it takes to join the
remarkable men and women
of Scottish Mountain Rescue
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Jan 2018
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Protecting a land
under threat
Exclusive interview as the stunt
cyclist joins Celtic Connections
for an unforgettable show
Welcome to...
The Write Stuff!
T’S only in its second year but I reckon A Write Highland
Hoolie book festival, held in Mallaig recently, is one of
the best wee fests in Scotland.
Of course, given that one of the organisers is our own
Polly Pullar, and that The Scots Magazine was the event’s
media partner, I’m probably biased.
I held a feature writing workshop at the weekend-long
festival, and was lucky enough to attend many of the
fascinating talks by authors at the event. They included
Scots Magazine columnist Cameron McNeish who was
just as engaging and passionate a speaker as you’d expect.
There was novelist Bernard MacLaverty, one of the
finest writers of his generation, and Mairi Hedderwick, the
children’s author famous for the Katie Morag stories.
There were many other great speakers, but a highlight
of the weekend, for me, was being judge of the children’s
writing competition. The standard was incredible – it was
a tougher gig than I’d imagined. I agonised over what
Search: The Scots Magazine
turned out to be some very difficult decisions – especially
when it was clear entrants had poured their hearts and
souls into their work.
Pictured with me are some of the winners. Their
entries were so good we’ve published them online. I
know you’ll be impressed. Find them here:
Talking of prizes, The Scots Magazine was at the
Scottish Magazine Awards in Edinburgh last month, where
we won “Sales Performance of the Year”. It’s an amazing
achievement and I’m proud of my team for their hard
work in producing what I know is the best magazine you’ll
read. And yes, that’s me being unashamedly biased again.
The award is also testament to the incredible support
loyal readers show every month. So, on behalf of The
Scots Magazine team, a huge thank you to you all.
Follow us:
Digital editions
8 Great Scottish Journeys
Coast-to-coast adventure on
the Caledonian Canal
16 Burns 2018
Celebrate the Bard at
Edinburgh’s Summerhall
and at Dumfries’ iconic
Big Burns Supper
26 Celtic Connections
A pick of the top acts at this
world-famous festival
47Eight Museum Marvels 70 Take A Hike
A winter wander in stunning
Glen Lyon, Perthshire
History and heritage at the
Scottish Football Museum
Wild About Scotland
Nature expert Jim Crumley
meets the elusive ptarmigan
Polly’s People
A marine expert with news
of deep sea alien invaders
62 A Design For Life
An eco-friendly dream
home in the Angus glens
72 On Your Bike
Try a peaceful winter’s ride
on family-friendly trails
Park Campaign Update
The move for a National Park
in Galloway gathers pace
66 Mountain Rescue
How lives are saved by
brave and dedicated teams
38 A Wee Blether...
With TV presenter Carol
Smillie, whose career has
taken an unusual twist
48 The Cruise Conundrum
Don Roberto
The remarkable life of Robert
Cunninghame Graham
The impact, good and bad,
that cruising has on Scotland
“ ”
94 Slàinte Mhath
Dehydrated and
sunburned, I discovered
maps could lie
Whisky expert Euan Duguid
toasts a new Raasay dram
96 Carina’s Kitchen
Read about Cameron
McNeish’s tales of
Word Of Th
Our star chef cooks
up a traditional dish
with a personal
sant, not
entirely clean
This Month
the Reviews
Profiling Scotland’s best
hotels and restaurants
Sound Of Scotland
Your music columnist
Lisa-Marie Ferla predicts
an exciting 2018
If You Go One Place…
Make sure it’s Edinburgh to celebrate Hogmanay, page
If You Read One Thing…
It’s got to be our fantastic
exclusive interview with stunt
cyclist Danny MacAskill, page
If You Do One Thing…
Enter our competition to find the 2018 Scots Magazine
Photographer of the Year, page
102 Scottish Bookshelf
A long-awaited sequel to
Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde,
plus latest book reviews
Around Scotland
The most exciting events
from across the country
Kenny MacAskill’s
Roots And Branches
The brave Scots who fought
in the Spanish Civil War
118 Winter In Lochaber
The first of four seasonal
photo-features from this
beautiful region
Kevin McKidd is said to have
campaigned unsuccessfully for a
role as a stormtrooper in
The Phantom Menace.
The Scots actor
bombarded his agent
with calls for a part.
More amazing
Scottish facts
Cover Picture: MARCUS MCADAM; Winter at Neist Point Lighthouse, Skye.
98 Eat, Sleep, Drink...
January 2018
New series, Vol. 186,
No 1 First published
in 1739
Meet Your Writers
Keith Fergus
The celebrated photographer is a long-time
contributor to The Scots Magazine and author of
many guides and books about Scotland’s outdoors
– including his latest, Great Scottish Journeys,
based on the stunning photographic series in
these pages and produced in conjunction with
your favourite magazine. This issue, you have the
chance to win a signed copy. See page 102
Sales Performance
of the Year 2017
Consumer Magazine
Editor of the Year 2016
Online Presence of the
Year 2016
PPA Scotland Magazine
Lifestyle Magazine of
the Year 2017
ACE Newspaper and
Magazine Awards
Polly Pullar
A writer, photographer, naturalist and wildlife
rehabilitator with a passion for the natural world.
Polly has contributed to The Scots Magazine for
30 years. She is the author of six books, including
the recent The Red Squirrel – A Future In The
Forest, with photographer Neil McIntyre. This
month, Polly brings you a revealing feature on the
impact of alien species. See page 58
Bob Sharp
Consumer Magazine of
the Year 2016, 2015,
A stalwart of Mountain Rescue in Scotland with
more than 40 years experience. A former leader
of Lomond Mountain Rescue, attending
hundreds of call-outs, Bob is a climber, qualified
mountain leader, “Munroist” and author. This
month, Bob’s written a fascinating piece on what
drives climbers to volunteer for gruelling service in
Mountain Rescue. See page 66
Consumer Magazine
Editor of the Year 2017,
2015, 2014
Kenny MacAskill
Best Twitter Feed 2016
The Drum Online Media
Online Presence of the
Year 2017, 2015, 2014
Front Cover of the Year
2017, 2015, 2014
Feature Writer of the
Year 2015
PPA Scotland Magazine
The former Scottish Justice Minister and MSP is
an expert on the Scottish diaspora and co-author
of the book Global Scots – Voices From Afar,
which he wrote with friend and former First
Minister Henry McLeish. This month, Kenny
brings you the amazing tale of the many brave
Scots volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil
War. See page 114
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007_SMG_141217.indd 7
28/11/2017 12:12:41
The snow-capped mountains of Lochaber from Gairlochy
008_SMG_141217.indd 8
28/11/2017 12:17:09
Great Scottish
Join Keith Fergus as he travels coast-to-coast
following the gloriously scenic course of the
Caledonian Canal, from Inverness to Fort William
008_SMG_141217.indd 9
28/11/2017 12:17:27
Some of the finest scenery in the Highlands
Tranquil mooring
on the canal
HE Caledonian Canal runs for 96km (60 miles) between
Inverness and Corpach on the outskirts of Fort William. It is a
beautiful waterway, one that cuts its course through the Great
Glen and includes Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy – which
account for 61km (38 miles) of its journey – and settlements such
as Banavie, Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus.
Construction began in the early 1800s to provide safe passage
for ships travelling between the North Sea and the Atlantic coast,
negating the need for the arduous journey through the Pentland
Firth and around Cape Wrath. It was designed by Thomas
Telford, who oversaw progress at Gairlochy from the Lockkeeper’s Cottage, following survey work by James Watt. It opened
in 1822 with further construction work from 1843-47.
The canal’s greatest feat of engineering is Neptune’s Staircase
at Banavie. Comprising eight locks, it was named after the Roman
god of the sea by the men who built the locks between 1803-22.
Its 457m (1500ft) length – making it one of the longest set of
locks in Britain – was built to allow boats to rise or fall 19.5m
(64ft). Today it takes about an hour and a half to pass through.
The Caledonian Canal
at Inverness
Words and pictures: KEITH FERGUS
Corpach Lighthouse is dwarfed by
the huge bulk of Ben Nevis
008_SMG_141217.indd 10
28/11/2017 12:17:50
Loch Lochy is thought to mean
“Loch of the Dark Goddess”
A chilly winter dawn
Fact File
l The highest point of the Caledonian Canal is Laggan Locks,
where it rises to 32m (105ft) above sea level.
l The curiously named Battle of the Shirts was contested in 1544
at Loch Lochy between the combin ed forces of Clan Fraser/Clan
Grant and Clan Cameron/Clan Donald.
l The distinctive cast-iron Moy Bridge was constructed in North
Wales before being assembled on the canal in 1821. It is the only
original bridge along the canal.
l When open ed, 12 men were employed to open an d close the
locks of Neptune’s Staircase but since the 1960s, when the
system was mechanised, this has been reduced to only two.
l Corpach has the somewhat melancholy Gaelic translation of
Corpse Place, as it was where funeral processions between Fort
William and Annat used to rest.
008_SMG_141217.indd 11
28/11/2017 12:18:13
Looking along the
Caledonian Canal from
the top of Neptune’s
Loch Oich is
6.5km (4 miles)
in length
The views from
Corpach to Ben Nevis
are remarkable
a true feat of
You can read about a whole series of
fantastic journeys in our fabulous new book
from Keith Fergus. To get a copy go to or telephone
0800 318 846 (Freephone UK). Lines open
Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm (GMT)
Next month: Join Keith as he explores the stunning Colvend Coast
008_SMG_141217.indd 12
28/11/2017 12:18:39
We live in a fabulous country for adventures.
Share yours with our social media hashtag...
Jamie Donnelly
November 13
Sunset on Knapps Loch on Monday.
November 15
#WednesdayWisdom Getting a little
old for the bigger hills now at 14 and
1/2 but lots of happy memories
exploring and taking in the views.
Not bad for being 13 when this was
taken! @Dogs_Today
June Moore
November 14
Double rainbow arched over our
tents yesterday in Arisaig.
Archie Mclaren @kenmore_Photo November 8
My most favourite photo I have ever taken. Winter Sunset Over
Loch Tay at the old Pier, Dalerb.
The Scots Magazine Team Get Around Too!
Karen and husband Jim stopped
off at Arisaig on the road to
Morar, on a weekend escape. She
fell in love with its quiet charm
and can’t wait to go back.
014_SMG_141217.indd 14
Garry enjoyed a lovely autumnal
stroll round about the Hermitage,
near Dunkeld. This was a recce
for the November Scots Mag hike,
the last of 2017.
Robert bagged two more Corbetts,
Cruach and Sgurr Innse, at Spean
Bridge, on a crisp, cold – and very
windy – winter’s day. It made for a
great hike… and very rosy cheeks!
28/11/2017 12:21:24
@jamesreillyt November 7
#aurora from Firkin Point
@lomondtrossachs just a pity that
the cloud began rolling in.
@aurorawatchuk @ScotsMagazine
Andrew Lynas
ber 12
@andrew.lynas Novem
Mike Stead
@tweetymike November 4
@ScotsMagazine our son Hector
spotting deer now the Ospreys have
departed, @ScotWildlife Loch of the
Lowes near Dunkeld
David Main
November 9
One man and his dog…
An Teallach.
Luke Stuart
November 6
Looking out across Loch Ness from
Urquhart Castle, I snapped this
picture on a lovely autumn day.
Friends from down south were very
impressed, but I’m keeping it to
myself that the weather that day
the exception rather than the rule
John Davie
@johndavie10 November 15
Rosco taking in the view across the
Mamores @jrcosmo1
Share your #OutAndAboutScotland
pics with us on Twitter, Facebook
or Instagram for a chance to be
featured next month!
Follow us…
014_SMG_141217.indd 15
The Scots Magazine
28/11/2017 12:21:42
Burns 2018
The Bard At Summerhall
See the poet as never before in this exuberant multi-arts festival
HERE are many words and phrases
written by Robert Burns that quickly
spring to one’s lips, but Burns Unbroke
isn’t one. It comes from the verse written at
the beginning of his first poetry collection,
the Kilmarnock Edition, which was published
in 1786:
The Simple Bard, unbroke by rules of art,
He pours the wild effusions of the heart:
And if inspir’d ‘tis Nature’s pow’rs inspire;
Her’s all the melting thrill, and her’s the kindling fire.
It’s the title of a multi-arts Burns festival that opens in
Edinburgh’s Summerhall on January 25. Here you’ll find
no addressing of the haggis, no immortal memories nor
any other speeches that prevail at traditional Burns’
celebrations. Instead you’ll find a contemporary display of
ingenious visual arts that explores the Bard’s life and
highlight his continuing relevance in the 21st century.
The festival sees the end of three years’ planning by
Sheilagh Tennant, inspired by a Burns-themed visual arts
exhibition she curated in 2009.
“I feel that Burns Unbroke will offer a way of
expanding on the more traditional celebrations,” she says.
“It will offer new insights into Burns and particularly in
relation to the continuing relevance of his poetry. For me,
Red Burns,
David Mach
Monument to a Mouse,
Kenny Hunter
the most exciting aspect of the festival is that, for
the first time, contemporary interpretations of
Burns in different disciplines are being brought
together under one banner.
“What amazes me about Burns is the breadth
of his influence – even today. I find this apparent
ability to connect with people from different
cultures and times on a deep emotional level
fascinating. I think it’s fair to say that it is perhaps an
indication of a truly great artist when an audience or
reader can feel as if they are being spoken to directly.”
Burns Unbroke, which will run until March 10, will
feature work by more than 30 visual artists and will
include four specially-commissioned works – a mural by
Ciara Veronica Dunne, a film/installation by Ross Fleming,
a series of mixed media installations by Derrick Guild and
Robert Powell who has been asked to design a map
highlighting all the places in Edinburgh relevant to Burns.
There will also be poetry and song performances
staged over the first weekend of the festival. In one event,
five contemporary poets – Liz Lochhead, Billy Letford,
Harry Giles, Iona Lee and Andrew Blair – will give their
own interpretations of a Burns poem of their choosing.
Oor Rabbie is an introduction to Burns for anyone
aged seven or over, presented by Andy Cannon and
Wendy Weatherby. Burns Eruption is a combination few
lovers of Burns will ever tire of – music, poetry, haggis and
Burns and the School of Love,
David Mach
Folk musician
Rachel Sermanni
Burnsomania by
Calum Colvin
whisky! The whisky has Burns stamped all over it, as it is
the Robert Burns Single Malt from Isle of Arran distillery.
Sheilagh believes that Summerhall, formerly the Royal
(Dick) Veterinary College, is made to measure for the
festival. “It’s ideal for several reasons,” she says. “Firstly it’s
in Edinburgh which is where Burns really made his name.
“Secondly I really value the building’s accessibility to all
which is unlike many contemporary arts venues which
can sometimes be intimidating. This aspect would seem to
Robert Burns,
Greg Moodie
Ae Fond Kiss,
Jo McDonald
be very much in the spirit of Burns, a man who appeared
to have a deep dislike of exclusivity.
“Finally where else in Edinburgh could we find so many
different – and highly adaptable – spaces for the exhibition
programme as well as theatres, purpose-built lecture
theatres, a café, restaurant and bar all under one roof?
“We’re hoping that this will become a regular event as
long as Burns’s poetry remains relevant. And that is likely
to be for a very, very long time!” ��
David Begbie
Alexander Newley
Burns 2018
Going BIG
With Burns
Dumfries’ Big Burns Supper
is a nine-day community-led
popular celebration of the Bard
HE Big Burns Supper is another event born of the
feeling that one day isn’t enough to celebrate the
life and times of Robert Burns.
From January 18-28, the Borders town will bulge at
the seams with revellers, as the whole community takes
to the streets in celebration.
With more than 200 different shows being staged in
over 50 venues, the word shouldn’t be “big” but
“huge”. Since its inception in 2012, the audience has
swollen to more than 70,000 and if you add hundreds
of entertainers, you begin to get an idea of the scale of
the operation.
This year’s festival is the biggest ever, with a line-up
that includes some of the top names in showbiz.
Performers will include the Bay City Rollers, Eddi
Reader and Dougie Maclean, with Bill Bailey and
Donovan thrown in for good measure.
Community involvement lies at the heart of this
nine-day Burns bonanza, and one scheme successfully
piloted in 2017 returns this year. The Washing Line
Project reached out to Dumfries residents aged 65 and
over who were invited to contribute one word that
summed up their feelings about the town.
These words were then highlighted on a 394m
(430-yard) washing line strung above the High Street.
But as well as the older inhabitants of Dumfries,
there is much for the younger generation to enjoy.
There’s a brand new children’s theatre as well as the
return of the sell-out Roller Disco.
The event has been dubbed “the world’s biggest
Burns celebration”, but if there is any festival bigger,
then those involved with the Dumfries festival would
be glad to know about it. Then they’d trump it by
simply making theirs even bigger!
Top: Glamorous fun
Above: Musician and
comedian Bill Bailey
Right: The Washing Line
Above: Varied
Left: Eddi Reader
Below: Summing up the
town in a word
Poignant Event
For Cycling Star
Stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill is preparing for a very special show
O what you love and keep doing it as long as
you love it, no matter what it is… see where
it takes you.”
That was the worldly wise parting thought of
globally renowned stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill
following an exclusive interview with The Scots
Danny (32) is well kent – especially on social media
channels where he rose to fame – for performing
perilous stunts, be it on windswept mountain ridges,
train tracks or craggy coastlines.
Now, a poignant homecoming appearance will
mark a whole new challenge for the man with the
nerves of steel – despite being in the relatively
comfortable confines of the SECC Hydro.
Celebrating Celtic Connections’ 25th anniversary,
the night will take the form of a spectacular, unique
celebration of late musician and producer Martyn
Bennett. Danny will perform to a live soundtrack from
the re-formed GRIT Orchestra.
He explained, “I wouldn’t want to reveal too much
in advance and ruin the surprise.
“We will, however, be working on the show for the
most part of January and building a big set.
“Riding my mountain bike accompanied with
fantastic music will be a unique experience for me. It
Night stunts pose
additional challenges
will be interesting to see how the process turns out!”
Whatever else, the event on January 27 is bound to
be charged with emotion.
Martyn Bennett, who died of cancer aged 33 in
2005, was one of Scotland’s most fêted young
musicians. He caused a sensation – and some
controversy – in British folk music as he mixed Scottish
bagpipe and fiddle music with techno beats.
In 2015, The GRIT Orchestra performed one
of the most memorable and moving opening nights
of Celtic Connections’ history when they performed
Martyn’s final album, also called Grit, to mark
the 10th anniversary of the musician’s death.
A few months previously, Danny had released a
film titled The Ridge, shot on his home island of
Skye, featuring him cycling along the steep and
rocky Cuillin Ridge.
In its first five days, the video was viewed a
staggering 10 million times on YouTube.
That acclaimed clip – which now has racked up
more than 54 million views – was set to the soundtrack
of Martyn Bennett’s Blackbird.
And Danny revealed how the forthcoming
performance is the realisation of something beyond ��
From gentle
trails and
wet and wild
routes to
playing in
the urban
cycling is all
wants to do
I’ve always wanted to see Martyn’s music
live. Now I’ll be part of that
a long-held dream. He said, “Back when we were
finalising The Ridge, Blackbird stuck out to us and was
the best fit for the film.
“Ever since, I have always wanted to go and see the
GRIT Orchestra play Martyn’s music live, but never had
the time. Now I’m going to be part of that performance,
not just to watch and listen, so it is going to very special.
“It will be a great honour to be performing at this
occasion. I hope it will be a fascinating experience for
As well as expectancy, there’s a real sense of catharsis
for Danny, originally from Dunvegan on Skye, in the
lead-up to the show.
“My mum was always into traditional music,” he
explained. “This kind of music was always playing in the
house on Skye or in the car.
“As a kid I also used to try to play the chanter. Part of
me wishes I had stuck to it.”
One wonders where Danny would’ve found the time
to learn the pipes, however. He’s been riding a bike since
he was four years old, cycling to primary school every day
from the age of five.
He recalled how he used to skid, wheelie and jump
through local tracks and trails.
At the age of 17, Danny moved to Aviemore where he
started attempting increasingly ambitious tricks as well as
riding in traditional-style trials – including street trials.
Trials riding is an extreme test of bicycle handling skills,
over all kinds of obstacles, both natural and man-made –
without putting your feet down.
His meteoric rise to fame began in April 2009, thanks
to a short video clip showcasing such manoeuvres in and
around Edinburgh, where Danny was working at the time
as a mechanic.
The clip has been celebrated as “probably the best
collection of street/street trials riding ever seen” and
became a social media sensation.
“That first ever film, Inspired Bicycles, sparked a whole
A perfect landing on the rail
career, which has taken me all over the world, up
mountains, closer to idols, whom I can now also call my
friends in some cases,” he explained.
“This would all not have happened without social
media – but also not without my flatmate Dave Sowerby
back then.
“He did the filming, and it was his idea to put the
clip online. It is pretty crazy to think about what has
come of it.”
Danny now rides professionally, including leading his
Drop and Roll tour, a professional street trials team
showcasing gravity-defying skills the world over.
He’s just returned from another overseas trip – but he
declared there’s nowhere like home.
“There are so many great places to ride around the
world. It really depends on what kind of riding, though.
It depends on whether I want to ride my street trials
bike through the streets, or hit the trails with my
mountain bike. ��
Danny is laid back
and grounded
despite his fame
Why go round
an obstacle when
you can go over?
takes my mind off the fear
not landing a trick perfectly
“Vancouver is a great place for urban riding, and
Whistler – also in Canada – is a dream for every mountain
bike rider out there, I suppose.
“But Scotland and Skye are home to me. Even though
I like to travel to other places around the world, it is just
great to be able to co me back and go riding Sco ttish
trails with friends.
“There is nothing more enjoyable than heading down
those steep, muddy and rooty trails. Riding here with my
friends is always so much fun, and the trails and scenery
here are pretty spectacular as well.
“I especially like riding in and around Innerleithen
or Aviemore. Skye and Torridon also offer more epic
riding terrain.”
And music goes part and parcel with that very terrain.
“What I tend to do when I’m cycling is listen to music
I like and when the chorus sets in, it is like a cue for me
to get going.
“I often have my phone playing my favourite track at
the time. It takes my mind off the fear and doubts that I
may not land a trick perfectly.
“Music helps me to get on with things.”
Danny added, “It will be interesting see how it is
during the performance, because normally during a shoot
a trick takes a few split seconds and I will be performing
for a number of minutes.”
Surely the man who cycled up the Cuillin Ridge and
lived to tell the tale isn’t getting butterflies?
Many stunts
defy gravity
“Live performances are always a little nerve-racking. I
am used to live shows, which I do with my mates on the
Drop and Roll Tour, but only because I have done them
hundreds of times.
“This performance will be a very different story,
though. I will be nervous for sure. The show is on a
different level, because when I perform on the night, it
will be the first time I have ridden it on stage in front of an
audience. I definitely will have butterflies, especially at
such a big venue!”
Martyn Ashton
Hans Rey
Ridge-pole acrobatics
My reckoning is that Danny will not be too
overwhelmed, though.
“Every trick I do during a show or shoot has fear
involved. I am used to being confronted with genuine fear
of injury,” he added.
“The way I look at it, it is going to happen whatever
you do, so you may as well get up there and just enjoy it.
“There is no point in worrying about things, so I am
looking forward to the challenge.”
There’s a down-to-earth, laid back acceptance with
Danny. Yet with his career comes many aspects;
sponsors, logistics, media interviews and the commercial
cut and thrust. But there’s one thing that has kept this
young man earthed.
“All I ever wanted – and still do – is to ride my bike. If I
don’t have time to ride my bike, then this does have an
effect on my well-being.
“That’s why I have a team behind me and they try to
find a healthy balance between appointments and
projects and me having time to just go out for a ride.
“Saying that, my sponsors help me to live my dream,
create films, I wouldn’t otherwise be able to realise, and
for that I am very grateful.
“But nothing beats just jumping on the bike in
Glasgow, or hitting the trails in the Scottish countryside
with my mates.”
Danny pauses, pensively.
“I wouldn’t trade that in for anything in the world.”
“I definitely have had my heroes and still do,” said
Danny. “That’s how every kid gets into a sport or
other hobby, I suppose.”
Danny explains that early inspiration in his
career came from Martyn Ashton, a former British
and world champion mountain bike trials rider,
stunt rider and team manager.
He has been credited with turning trials from a
niche form of riding into the sport it is today. Ashton
was paralysed in an accident in 2013, during a bike
trials demo at the British MotoGP.
A three-metre fall from a high bar left him with
severe damage to his spinal cord and dislocated T9
and T10 vertebrae – highlighting the potential
dangers of the endeavour.
Danny also added that the influence of Hans
Rey is rooted in everything he does.
Known as Hans “No Way” Rey, he is a pioneer
in mountain bike trials and extreme mountain
biking and has amassed a large number of wins at
championship events.
Rey is also the only permanent member of the
Hans Rey Adventure Team, a quest to explore the
world using his mountain bike talents, always in
search of something historical or mysterious.
Despite the clear influence, Danny asserts he’s
very much followed his own path.
“I never had the aspiration to become a
professional. I perceived my idols to be doing
something they love to do. I, too, just wanted to
ride my bike because I loved it.”
Inspired by Danny’s story? Regardless of level or
ability, there are many ways to get on your bike
and get out there, from gentle trails to
competitions. Find out more by visiting
Danny’s Inspirations
Celtic Connections
Go On! Make
The Connection!
selected acts
to look out
for at this
year’s festival
Le Vent du Nord
O2 ABC, January 24
Greetings from Canada, in the form of
this Quebec-based quintet who provide
fiddle, accordion, jaw harp, bass and
percussion. Since their inception in
2002, the band have racked up more
than 1600 concerts in five continents
and have won numerous awards. With
their ninth album on the way, they’re
sure to lift the roof off the O2. The wind
from the north can be a cruel one, but
these lads will soon warm up a chilly
January evening.
Royal Concert Hall, January 21
Chris Stout and Catriona McKay
Royal Concert Hall, January 19
Chris (fiddle) and harpist Catriona are a regular team,
but for this gig they will be joined by a real variety of
g uests. Fife’s King Creosote will bring his own brand
of indie-folk, with the Scottish Ensemble providing
their customary string expertise. And as if this wasn’t
enough, Sao Paulo vocalist and body-percussionist
Marcelo Preto will add a colourful Brazilian touch.
Much of the music will be centred round Chris and
Catriona’s latest album, Bare Knuckle, in a variety of
groupings or as a whole ensemble.
This new quintet of leading accordionists and composers
underline the festival’s continental touch.
Tuulikki Bartosik (Estonia), Hannah James (England),
Teija Niku (Finland), Mairearad Green (Scotland) and
Karen Tweed (England/Ireland) will create music that
explores the common ground between Nordic, Celtic and
Baltic traditions. There will also be examples gleaned from
each individual’s personal and wide-ranging travels which
will lead to an evening of squeezebox sensations!
Martin Simpson with Tony McManus
Royal Concert Hall, January 28
World-class guitarist and one
of the UK’s foremost singer/
songwriters, Simpson has
earned a record 27
nominations – and six wins – in
the Radio 2 Folk Awards. His
latest and 20th album, Trails
and Tribulations, is regarded
by many as his finest. In this gig
he’s joined by Tony McManus,
a Scot who has made his mark
on the Celtic music scene.
Maid of the Loch
Mitchell Theatre, January 28
This will be as near you’ll get to
an actual passage in this famous
passenger paddle steamer, one
that has brought great pleasure
to millions of passengers over
the years as it plied its trade on
beautiful Loch Lomond. Phil
Cunningham, Siobhan Miller
and friends will perform their
own personal tribute to the
Maid, in an evening of music,
song and poetry.
The Tannahill Weavers – Golden Anniversary
25th Anniversary Concert,
Royal Concert Hall, January 18.
Line-up includes Eddi Reader,
Saltfishforty, Siobhan Miller and
Ian McCalman.
Ricky Ross and Roseanne
Reid, The Mackintosh Church,
January 19.
Ricky’s solo career continues
with a new mix of re-worked
Deacon Blue favourites.
Skerryvore and We Banjo 3,
Barrowland Ballroom,
January 20
Scottish/Irish combination mixes
rock, pop, funk and bluegrass.
Band of Burns, Old
Fruitmarket, January 25.
Celebrate Burns Night with 12
musicians from a variety of
bands and backgrounds.
Big Country 35th Anniversary,
02 ABC, January 26.
Marking 35 years since their
debut album The Crossing.
Shake The Chains, Mitchell
Theatre, January 31.
Five singers and songwriters get
together with a series of
freshly-penned songs alongside
arrangements of classics.
Royal Concert Hall, January 20
Formed in a Paisley pub in 1968,
the Weavers now rank as
national treasures, having been
inducted into the Scottish
Traditional Hall of Fame in 2011.
In this special 50th birthday
gathering, today’s line-up of
founder members Roy Gullane
and Phil Smillie, John Martin and
latest recruit Lorne MacDougall
will be joined by ex-members
and friends old and new. It is
sure to be an evening mixed with nostalgia and music from their forthcoming
anniversary album Orach (Golden).
Baltimore Fiddle Fair,
St Andrews in the Square,
February 1.
The Fiddle Fair, established in
1992, features world class
musicians from Ireland,
Scotland and beyond.
FOCUS ON… Edinburgh
Your fabulous 9-page guide to
Party Time
In Edinburgh!
A spectacular show to mark
Hogmanay in Edinburgh
Scotland’s magnificent, lively capital...
FOCUS ON… Edinburgh
Warm smiles on a cold night
Home Of Hogmanay
Edinburgh leads the way in worldwide New Year celebrations
“It’s an important event for the whole
F it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – that
of Scotland. But we’ve got the best
seems to be the maxim of Underbelly
backdrop to work with. Where else can
Productions, the live entertainment
boast such a setting as Edinburgh with its
company which has taken over the
castle and gardens? The way we describe
running of the Hogmanay celebrations
it is like Scotland inviting the rest of the
in Edinburgh.
world to the biggest party in the world.”
“No way are we trying to totally
The line-up of performers is
reinvent the whole Hogmanay festival,”
predominantly Scottish. Alongside The
says co-director Ed Bartlam. “We’re
Organisers Ed and Charlie
Human League are The Treacherous
keeping the much-loved parts of it, like
Orchestra, Kipper Ceilidh, Edinburgh’s Nina Nesbitt, and
the torchlight procession, the street party and the concert
Heilan Crew. There will be Scottish acts showcasing on all
in the gardens, but giving them a bit of a refresh and a
three stages – Waverley, East End and Castle Street – as
reboot. We want to make it a real carnival atmosphere.”
well as the new location at the foot of the castle, which
With bands, DJs, street dancers, flash mobs and
will host the Ceilidh Under The Castle.
acrobatics, it’s going to be a party with a capital “P”!
Hosting the street party will be Still Game’s Sanjeev
Kohli, and Ed and his co-director Charlie Wood believe
they’ve got the ideal man for the job.
“From the moment we met him to discuss it, he was
totally onboard and really up for it,” continues Ed. “He’s
got the mischievous spirit we need and as a Scotsman he’s
hugely proud of the event. We want everyone to feel – and
there will be 65,000 people there – that they’re part of one
big party and like any good party, you need a good host.
Sanjeev’s perfect, we’re really excited about having him.
“He’ll be projected onto huge screens which means he
will be able to draw everyone together.”
Underbelly have introduced two innovative events –
one aimed at families, the other with a more literary feel.
“We’ve a fireworks display with music called Bairns
Afore that kicks off at 5pm. It’s a ticketed event that’ll give
families a chance to experience the special atmosphere of
Princes Street Gardens on Hogmanay.
“We’ve also introduced Message From the Skies,
which starts on New Year’s Day and runs through to Burns
Night on January 25. We’ve commissioned Val McDermid
to write a short story, split up into 12 chapters. We’re
going to project each chapter on to a different building
around Edinburgh.
“The idea is that you walk around Edinburgh and read
this short story. The city’s Double Take Productions are
the projection company, an example of the wealth of
talent we have in Scotland.”
Ed has no doubt that Edinburgh is the home of
Hogmanay. “Other New Year celebrations like Sydney
and Dubai are just one big fireworks display. Hogmanay is
more than just fireworks at midnight. It’s what happens
any good party
a good host
– Sanjeev is perfect
Val’s story may be
be a cliff-hanger –
before and after that’s important. Edinburgh has promoted
itself as being a three-day festival with lots of events.”
Ed’s role is very much hands-on. In fact, he’s taking
part in one of the events that is an integral part of the city’s
New Year celebrations – the Loony Dook – see below.
“People say that I should wear Speedos. I was thinking
more along the lines of a wetsuit. It’s going to be cold!”
for a dip!
Roll Up For A Loony Dook
The torchlight
procession gets
IF you fancy a dip in the River Forth on New Year’s
Day, you won’t be alone – especially if you start your
dook at South Queensferry. That is the venue for the
world-famous Loony Dook, where hundreds of
hardy souls brave the conditions to raise money for
The “dook” originated in 1986 as a hangover
cure for three locals, but since then has grown in
popularity so much it is now handled by a firm of
event managers. The registration fee for dookers
covers stewarding and administration, with proceeds
benefiting RNLI station at South Queensferry and
local charities.
You’ll find participants from all over the world,
with some of the most colourful – and imaginative
– costumes. It’s a New Year party with a difference!
FOCUS ON… Edinburgh
Down On The Farm
There’s a delightful pastoral oasis deep in the heart of the city
HE last thing you expect to hear as you walk up
Edinburgh’s Gorgie Road are lambs bleating or
ducks quacking. However, tucked away in a corner
only a corner’s kick from Tynecastle Stadium lies Gorgie
City Farm, a bastion of countryside amid the urban sprawl.
As soon as you walk through the gates, you are greeted
by the sights, sounds and smells of the farmyard. It’s an
amazing juxtaposition but only a couple of years ago the
future of the farm was extremely doubtful.
“In April 2016, we launched an urgent appeal to save
the farm,” says development manager Sarah Campbell.
“Rising costs and a serious reduction in funding meant we
had to approach the community to help keep it open.
“The response was phenomenal! Within six weeks,
local folk and businesses had donated £100,000. Without
Come on in…
that we’d have been lost. Such support made us feel really
part of the community.
“Since then we have built a fundraising strategy to
capitalise on this success and have built up a new portfolio
of grants, sponsorship and donations.”
The farm might be small, but don’t measure its size –
measure the amount the farm packs into its 10,100 sqm
(2.5 acres). As well as the livestock of ducks, cattle, sheep,
chickens, pigs and goats there’s an educational garden
with herbs and vegetables, plus a wildlife garden with a
range of insects, beasts and birds.
There’s also a small playpark and café – and even
an animal hotel where your pet can be given
accommodation while you enjoy a few days’ holiday.
Food, bedding and cages or hutches are provided for your
…for cuddles…
Cramond Isle
WHEN is an isle not an isle? When it’s Cramond Isle! The island is
linked to the mainland by a 1.6km (one-mile) causeway that is
covered by several feet of water when the tide is in. And when it
comes in, it comes in at a pace! Many a visitor has been taken
unawares and has had either to sit it out waiting for low tide, or
alert the coastguard.
With the nearby village of Cramond a Roman outpost, it is likely
the island was garrisoned, but after Roman occupation it was used
for farming , mainly sheep, or as a fishing outpost. During the Second
World War the island was fortified to combat torpedo boats, with
some fortifications still in evidence today.
Nowadays, it is a popular haunt for day trippers who must always
have one eye on the gorgeous scenery – and one eye on the tide!
…and education
The animals are
clearly happy!
rabbits, guinea pigs or poultry, and they have access to
outside space during the day.
The site was a waste depot for the Edinburgh
Corporation until the 1930s, before being used for civil
defence during the Second World War. It then lay derelict
until the farm opened to the public in 1982.
While the farm benefited from 11th-hour support from
the community, they are repaying this in several ways.
“We present educational tours and workshops to more
than 1600 participants every year,” says Sarah, “and over
Now you see it…
10% have additional support needs. There are placements
for teenagers with behavioural problems, providing
training for potential employment or further education.
“Quite often this is the first experience some children
will have of seeing farm animals and arable farming at first
hand. We also organise monthly sessions for our
volunteers, preparing and cooking produce harvested
from our gardens. These help reduce social isolation and
increase community participation.”
Gorgie City Farm is definitely on the up – the yearly
footfall has risen from 160,000 to 220,000 – and there’s a
real vibrancy about the place, with visitors continually
coming and going. Although there are plenty opportunities
to experience the farming life out in the country, this city
farm is the only one of its kind in Scotland.
Sarah joined the farm in 2010, and since then has
experienced a sort of culinary epiphany.
“I was a veggie for 25 years before I came to the farm,”
she admits. “But now I have no qualms if any our produce
lands on a plate in front of me! I know our animals are
well cared for and like many people, I like to know the
background of where my food comes from.
“I feel very proud to say I work at the farm. It is a free
an d accessible place for all in a city which can be both
expensive and exclusive. Our volunteering opportunities
bring together people of all ages and abilities, so I believe
it to be a really special place that offers a safe haven for
so many people.” ��
FOCUS ON… Edinburgh
Carving A Niche In
The City’s Art Scene
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops plays a vital role in community art
HAT started in 1986 in a draughty old railway
shed has blossomed into a £7million state-ofthe-art facility in Newhaven, Leith.
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops support, nurture and
inspire artists working in every form of visual art.
With 26 studios, two project spaces and specialised
workshops, the centre can host 30-40 artists on a
permanent basis. There are also two apartments on site so
artists from all over the UK and beyond can stay onsite.
“We support artists at all stages from the graduate to
the established, enabling them to build sustainable
careers,” says research curator Dan Brown. “Artists,
especially recent graduates, are often in a difficult financial
position so we fundraise to offer subsidised access to these
spaces, training and equipment.
“We have worked very closely with Edinburgh College
of Art since our formation and also have a close
understanding with Edinburgh University. However, we
want to expand our partnerships to include all of the
Scottish art colleges. Next year we will launch a National
Bursary Award for art graduates from all over Scotland.”
The centre’s work isn’t limited to those with prior
experience in visual arts.
“Anyone can come in and start working,” says Dan.
“If you are using specific equipment you will need to be
trained and we have technicians on site to do this. We
provide the space, the tools and the support. All you have
to provide are the materials. This is open to anyone who
wants to engage in creating visual art. Our adult education
programme helps provide the necessary skills.”
As well as supporting artists in-house, the centre
engages with the local community. As the only public arts
venue in a huge area, the scope for outreach is huge. Two
primary schools are benefiting from a long-term
educational programme and work continues to offer
workshops for other organisations and community groups.
“We ran a project called Clay Mountain in conjunction
with our art festival exhibition,” continues Dan. “This
involved five tons of clay being deposited in our courtyard
and inviting the public to come and work with it, with
We provide the space, the tools and the
All you have to bring are materials
artists, to contribute to an ongoing, evolving sculpture.
“Over 500 members of the public of all ages were
engaged with this project over its two-week run and
produced some amazing work in the process.
“Another project was where members of the public
were invited to hand in an object which was broken, ugly
or unwanted. The artist Tobias Sternberg was provided
with background information on each piece and then,
with a team of assistants, turned the item into an artwork.
“The object was then signed and dated and returned
to its owner as a piece of unique contemporary art. Five
years later, we still meet people who have the work as
pride of place in their home.”
Thistle Chapel, St Giles’ Hidden Gem
THERE are carvings of another sort in the city that
should not be missed. St Giles Cathedral, on the Royal
Mile, is worth a visit on its own but one small corner in
the nave is one of eye-opening brilliance. This is the
Thistle Chapel, is a fairly recent addition to the building
that dates back only back as far as 1911.
It was designed as a meeting place for the Knights
of the Thistle by Robert Lorimer but it’s the intricate
woodwork that makes this chapel stand out as a true
work of art. There are carvings from Scottish oak of
birds, animals, angels and flowers stretching from floor
to ceiling and if that isn’t breathtaking enough, the floor
is Ailsa Craig granite with insets of Iona marble. And all
at a cost of around £25,000!
The chapel is generally closed to the public, but it
can be viewed during guided tours of the cathedral.
For more information go to ��
FOCUS ON… Edinburgh
Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, 0131 225 1550.
Award-winning eaterie below Scottish National Gallery,
run by Carina and Victor Contini.
Ostara Café, Coburg Street, Leith, 0131 261 5441.
By the Water of Leith, and ideal for that Sunday brunch.
The Table, Dundas Street, 0131 281 1689. Open-plan
kitchen, with two chefs, 10 seats… and one table.
La Garrique, Jeffrey Street, 0131 557 3032. Busy French
bistro minutes from Royal Mile and Waverley station.
Café Andaluz
Apex Haymarket, 0131 474 3456.
Good quality accommodation within a stroll of
Haymarket Station.
Café Andaluz, George Street, 0131 220 9980. Excellent
tapas as central as you’ll get.
The Scottish National
Portrait Gallery
Salisbury Hotel, Newington, 0131 667 1264.
Comfortable lodgings one mile from city
centre on good bus route. Free parking.
G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 0131 220 6666.
Boutique hotel in Edinburgh’s Old Town, with
each room boasting superb view.
Averon Guest House, Gilmore Pace, 0131
229 9932. Georgian townhouse a 10-minute
walk from Princes Street, with plenty good
restaurants close by.
The Sandaig Guest House, Leith Links, 0131
554 7357. Victorian guest house handilyplaced for exploring the bars and restaurants
of Leith.
The Real Mary King’s Close, High Street, 0131 225 0672 .
Take an underground trip into 17th century Edinburgh.
Craigmillar Castle, Craigmillar Castle Road, 0131 661 4445.
Edinburgh’s “other” castle, with one of Scotland’s oldest tower
Holyrood Park. Even if you don’t want to climb the famous Arthur’s
Seat, there’s plenty low-level walking to be done.
The Sandaig Guest House
Writer’s Museum, Lawnmarket 0131 529 4901. Celebrate the
lives of three great Scotsmen, Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson
and Sir Walter Scott.
l Want more? For an online Follow-up Focus, go to
Pictures: ALAMY
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, 0131 624 6200.
Just the job for a rainy day, scanning Scotland’s past and present
through a wealth of imagery.
A Wee Blether With…
Fame on
Wheel Of
After a diverse career on
stage and screen, Carol
is looking forward to a
future with a difference
Would you say The Wheel Of
Fortune was your big break?
Far Left:
Rooms was
a hit.
Left: Carol’s
new role is
just pants!
Yes, because it was the first television that I had ever
done. I was with a modelling agency and the role of the
hostess was cast through them. What went in my favour
was the fact that I was slightly smaller than most models
which meant I didn’t tower over presenter Nicky
Campbell when I put on my heels!
Do you miss doing stage work?
Impersonator Ronnie Ancona came
up with the catch phrase “Smiley smiley
Carol Smillie”. Did that annoy you?
The people make me proud because of their humour
and the warmth. I mean, they are not perfect by any
manner of means but they make me laugh every
time I come home.
No, I thought it was hilarious! What I loved about
it, was that it wasn’t done with malice. It was
done with affection.
Changing Rooms was another big
success. Were you any good at DIY
I was quite good, actually. I vividly remember
wallpapering my parent’s kitchen when I was
about 17or 18. I also painted my wardrobe
white and put Laura Ashley wallpaper in the
panels. When my parents moved out of that
house, they dumped the wardrobe. The
bin men asked me to sign it.
You did Strictly Come
Dancing in 2004. Would
you do it again?
I think it was probably the most
incredible experience of my TV
career, but I couldn’t put myself
through it again. I haven’t danced
a step since but still have one of
the dresses!
038_SMG_141217.indd 38
No! I felt the time had come to move on and give
someone else a chance. Far better that than sitting
about waiting for the odd scrap to come along.
You are a Glaswegian born and bred. What
makes you proud of the city?
Your new venture is Pretty Clever
Pants. What are they and how did
they come about?
My daughters and I were having a chat about
staying at someone’s house for a sleep-over
when they were due their period. We
then surveyed 100 teenage girls across
three schools and 91% said they were
so afraid of having an accident that
they just didn’t go and stay at
someone’s house, didn’t wear light
coloured clothing and avoided
sport. Pretty Clever Pants avoid
any discomfort.
What does 2018 hold in
I’m looking forward to see what
will happen with Pretty Clever
Pants. I’ve a funny feeling my
pants are going to take off!
29/11/2017 11:04:13
The Cruise
As the number of cruises to Scotland increases,
experts are measuring the impact – good and bad
S people across the globe plan their
vacations, figures suggest that cruises are
the way to holiday in 2018 – and
Scotland is fast becoming a must-visit cruise
ship destination.
The latest figures show that there was a 35%
increase in cruise ship calls to Scottish ports in 2016
– and 2017 figures are expected to show a similar
increase. “Scotland’s cruise ship boom is hugely significant
to our tourism industry and our economy,” says Riddell
Graham, VisitScotland’s director of partnerships.
Following their highly successful 2017 Scottish season, Fred
Olsen Cruise Lines are offering eight voyages around Scotland’s coast
this year. “With unspoiled landscapes, remote islands, unique traditions,
UNESCO World Heritage sites and world class visitor attractions, Scotland
is an excellent, highly popular destination for our cruise ships,” says Justin
Stanton, sales and marketing director for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
And it’s not only cruise passengers who are discovering Scotland’s holiday
potential. In 2017, record-breaking numbers of tourists flocked to our visitor
attractions, beauty spots, historic buildings, special events and festivals, leading to the
development of a new and unexpected phenomenon: “Over-tourism.”
As a direct result of over-tourism, at the height of the summer season, police on
Skye advised potential visitors to stay away unless their accommodation was already
organised as the island was fully-booked.
The North Coast 500 teetered on the verge of being a victim of its own success,
with the roads struggling to cope with the huge influx of vehicles. Even Edinburgh was
bursting at the seams, with Edinburgh Castle, Britannia and The Fringe all reporting
record-breaking visitor numbers.
The records continued with the cruise ships. On July 5, 2017, 7000 cruise ship
passengers disembarked in Orkney, while 146,000 passengers landed at Invergordon
in 2017, sparking concerns Scotland’s new-found popularity as a cruise destination
was contributing to over-tourism.
There were reports of wedding parties at St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney being
warned that their big day risked being photog raphed by hundreds of cruise ship
passengers, while Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness was packed to the ��
Heading majestically
towards Rosyth
We need to provide cruise ships with the
right facilities all around Scotland’s coast
although the occasional one with about 2000 guests is
ramparts when passengers from two large cruise ships
fine – but not all the time,” she says.
visited on the same day.
“In 2018, a cruise ship with capacity for 4950
“Cruise ships are good for the economy but we have
passengers will be making three calls to Kirkwall. That’s an
to be careful not to shoot the goose who lays the golden
incredible amount of people to be disembarking at the
egg,” warns Alasdair Galbraith, who is a tour guide on
same time, especially as most of them will want to visit the
Skye, where local councillors are considering applying for
same places: Skara Brae, The Ring of Brodgar and the
World Heritage status to protect the island from the
Italian Chapel. Skara Brae is always mobbed when there’s
negative aspects of too many visitors.
a cruise ship in port.”
“When a cruise ship with over 2000 passengers
Although, at the moment, cruise ship
comes into Portree, it takes over the whole
Museum Of
are concentrating on ports on the
island. Skye’s legendary tranquillity is in
Rural Life
west and north of Scotland, Riddell
short supply when there are so many
Graham of VisitScotland explains that
visitors here.
efforts are being made to attract cruise
“However,” stresses Alasdair, “the
ships to the east coast. “The full impact of
cruise ships are only part of the problem.
all these cruise ships arriving and their
During the summer months, Skye’s
passengers disembarking is actually only
11,000 population can increase to
felt at certain ports at certain times of the
30,000 – and more. Those visitors who
year,” says Riddell.
come to Skye for a few days and stay, eat
“We need to relieve any negative aspects of
and shop in the local communities are much
this impact, such as overcrowded visitor attractions and
more beneficial to the island than those who arrive in
their motorhomes, having filled up with groceries and fuel too many coaches on too narrow roads, by providing
cruise ship facilities right around Scotland’s coast and
before leaving the mainland, and either zoom round the
encouraging cruise companies to take their passengers to
island and off again or camp in passing places, often
different parts of Scotland.”
leaving their rubbish behind.
This is already happening, with Leith and Rosyth
“My view is that we need to consider applying for
attracting high numbers of cruise ships, while Dundee is
National Park status for Skye and other places facing
becoming more popular and in 2018, for the first time,
similar issues, such as Orkney and the Outer Hebrides. As
the port at Montrose will welcome a cruise ship. “The
a National Park, it would be possible to introduce bylaws
massive increase in cruise liner calls is fantastic for
which could help control the impact over-tourism is
Scotland,” continues Riddell. “However, we need to
making to Scotland’s remote and wild places.”
ensure this not only generates economic growth and
Clare Burgher is a tour guide on Orkney, where 140
cruise ships called in 2017. “Cruise ships carrying between increases global awareness but also manages the
environmental and social impacts.”
800 to 1000 passengers are most appropriate for Orkney,
Escorted into
Boudicca in Ullapool
Castle Stalker on
Loch Linnhe
Life On The High Seas
AS I may have mentioned before, I really do
have #TheBestJobInTheWorld – as was proved
yet again when I was offered the chance to
cruise around Scotland!
Accompanied by my friend Faye and 798
other passengers, I set sail from Rosyth on Fred
Olsen’s Black Watch, an elegant and stylish
lady of the seas who cosseted and indulged us
for eight truly fabulous days.
During our Lochs of Scotland tour, we
called at Orkney (Ring of Brodgar and Skara
Brae), Invergordon (a trip along Loch Ness and
visit to Urquhart Castle), Ullapool (Gruinard
Bay and Corrieshalloch Gorge), Fort William
(Loch Ness Distillery – it had to be done!)
and Skye (whistle-stop tour, including the
excellent Museum of Rural Life).
We were welcomed everywhere and, at
the end of each onshore excursion, there
was time to do our own thing, including
sitting on the harbour wall at Ullapool with
a bag of chips and gazing at the stunning
combination of Loch Broom and “our”
beautiful ship!
Wendy and Faye
take to the seas
For more information about Fred Olsen
cruises around Scotland (with departures
from Rosyth and Newcastle), visit or call
0800 0355 242.
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21/11/17 13:55:07
In the latest in our series, we glimpse sporting glory and historic
moments with a tour of th e Scottish Football Museum at Hampden
HE Scottish
Museum is
one of Glasgow’s
biggest attractions.
As well as housing
more than 2000
items of football
memorabilia in 14 display galleries, it
also includes the Scottish Football
Hall of Fame, which honours 83
individuals who have made a
significant contribution to Scottish
football. Richard McBrearty (pictured)
is the curator, and we asked him to
choose his eight favourite exhibits
and explain why they are so
important to the museum.
047_SMG_141217.indd 47
Scottish Cup, 1874
“The Scottish Cup is the oldest existing football trophy in the world,”
says Richard. “It is the crown jewel of the museum collection,
connecting the multi-million-pound industry of today with the origins
of the game during the Victorian era.
“The trophy only leaves the museum once each year, for about 25
minutes, at the end of the Scottish Cup Final. It is presented to the
captain of the winning team out in the arena and after the traditional
lap of honour, the original trophy is swapped for a replica.”
A total of 34 clubs have appeared in the Cup Final, with 25 winning
the competition. Celtic hold the record with 37 successes out of 56
appearances. Rangers come second with 33 wins. In third are
Queens Park, who have won the cup 10 times. They were the
inaugural winners in 1873-74, beating Clydesdale 2-0 in the final.
29/11/2017 12:29:53
Scotland Men’s National
Team Shirt, 1954
“This Scotland shirt, worn by Clyde left back Harry
Haddock, is slightly unusual for the period in that it
has white sleeves,” says Richard. “The match in
question was a friendly game arranged against
Hungary, one of the great international teams of the
1950s era. Led by Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarians
had reached the World Cup Final earlier that year.
Although Scotland lost 4-2 they played very well
against such accomplished opponents. The reason
for the white sleeves is simple. Although Scotland
wore dark blue shirts and the Hungarians wore red,
this match was broadcast on television in black and
white. As it was difficult to differentiate, the white
sleeves were introduced to the Scotland shirt.”
“Our unique geology makes Scotland a
place of worldwide importance in terms of
geology and the fossil record. One of the
most important discoveries is quite recent,
from the banks of the River Tweed. The
fossil tetrapod, affectionately nick-named
“Ribbo” because of the large number of
prominent ribs might not look remarkable,
but this fossil and the material it was found
with represent the earliest known steps of
life on land to the template that you and I
follow today – ribs surrounding a lung
structure, and five digits on each limb. You
can see Ribbo in the touring exhibition
Fossil Hunters, currently at Museum nan
Eilean, Uist & Barra until December 2
before moving to Dumfries in February”.
Wembley Wizards
Match Ball, 1928
Richard says, “Scotland has enjoyed or
endured – depending on the scoreline
– a historic football rivalry with England,
and Wembley Stadium was
traditionally a home from home for
Scotland fans who would travel down
in huge numbers. This match of 1928
stands out as one of Scotland’s most
famous results of the 20th century, partly
because of the emphatic score line of 5-1
and partly because no one at the time had
expected such a one-sided result.
“Two goals from Alex James and a hat-trick by
Alex Jackson sealed the famous victory. At the
end of the match, as Scotland fans poured onto
the field to celebrate, goalkeeper Jack Harkness
stuffed the match ball up his jersey. The ball was later
presented to the Scottish FA who in turn donated to the
Scottish Football Museum.”
Match Ticket From
Scotland v England,
“This little ticket is the only one known
to have survived from the world’s first
official international football match,”
says Richard. “That means the district of
Partick, where the match was played,
can claim to be the official birthplace
of international football.
“Approximately 4000 spectators paid
a shilling each to enter the West of
Scotland Cricket Ground to watch an
intriguing match between Scotland and England end in
a draw. It was, however, the start of something big – in
2014 more than one billion viewers tuned in to watch
Germany defeat Argentina in the final of the FIFA
World Cup in Brazil.”
Rory Super Scot, World
Cup Mascot, 1974
“This fun character, understandably popular with
younger visitors, is Scotland’s first ever World Cup
mascot,” continues Richard. “He was introduced
for the qualifying campaign and proved to be a
lucky mascot as Scotland reached their first World
Cup Finals in 16 years.
“The British International Championship
tournament had traditionally been the biggest
attraction for the four ‘Home Nations’ but the
FIFA World Cup gradually eclipsed the older
competition. Scotland would go on to enjoy a
successful spell in qualifying, appearing at five
successive World Cups from 1974 to 1990. The
1970s saw continued growth in the commercialism
of football; growing interest in the World Cup led
to merchandising and sponsorship opportunities.”
Alexander Watson Hutton
Plaque, 1977
Says Richard, “This plaque was presented to the Scottish
Football Association by Buenos Aires radio station Radio
Rivadavia before an international between Argentina and
Scotland in 1977. Watson Hutton, a Scottish teacher,
emigrated to Argentina in 1882 and is acknowledged as the
father of Argentine football. He created the first great football
team of Argentina – Alumni Athletic Club – who won 10
league titles in 11 years during the early 20th century. He also
resurrected the Argentine Association Football League (now the
Argentine FA) and was its first president. The strong Scottish link
with the early Argentine game is seen in the play-off match for
the first Argentine Championship in 1891 – St Andrews FC
defeated the Old Caledonians to claim the first historic title.”
Hampden Park Turnstiles
“Artefacts from the original ‘Third’ Hampden Park (19031998) feature prominently in the museum,” adds Richard.
“The original turnstiles are a link to the crowds who used
to pass through them in record numbers. Between 1908
and 1950 Hampden Park was the largest football arena in
the world. At its height in 1937, the stadium set two world
attendance records in the space of a week. The overall
record of 149,415 was for Scotland’s match with England,
and one week later the world record for a national cup final
was set when 147,365 was recorded for Celtic’s victory
over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final. On both occasions
20,000-plus spectators were locked outside and thousands
more entered the ground not properly accounted for.”
Scotland Women’s National
Team Shirt 2017
“This signed shirt is from Scotland’s victory over Spain at
UEFA Women’s Euro 2017,” says Richard. “Our women’s
national team qualified for a major tournament for the first
time and a Caroline Weir goal in this match recorded
Scotland’s first victory. This achievement reflects the rapid
development of women’s football in Scotland over the last 20
years. Despite facing historic discrimination for much of the
20th century – women’s football was not officially recognised
in Scotland until 1974 – the women’s game has an incredible
story to tell. The first record of women playing football
anywhere in Europe can be traced to Lanarkshire in 1628,
while the world’s first association football match involving
women’s teams was recorded at Edinburgh in 1881.”
n Next Month: Glasgow’s Riverside Museum
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15/11/17 16:57:58
Jim Crumley, Scotland’s leading wildlife author,
052_SMG_141217.indd 52
28/11/2017 13:58:08
writes exclusively for you every month...
Surviving In Our
Harshest Extremes
Jim recalls his encounters with elusive ptarmigan, and it
seems the birds have left a deep impression on him…
AVE you ever looked into the black eye
of a ptarmigan at very close quarters and
thought that there is something other
worldly about what you saw there? Or did you
ever let your mind wander on from there to
wonder just what it takes to inhabit the extremes
of our mountain land for a living, in the way that
the ptarmigan does?
Two stalwart students of ptarmigan, ecologist
Adam Watson and writer Seton Gordon, have
both written about ptarmigan nests on the
Cairngorms plateau at more than 4000 feet. It is
an unchancy place in which to try and brood a
clutch of eggs, to keep them warm enough for
long enough to hatch them successfully;
unchancier still as a place in which to while away
the dead of winter.
While you are thinking about all that, I would
like you to consider Coire Garbhlach. Coire
Garbhlach is a crazy place. It is a narrow canyon,
steep-sided and twisted; an eerie, W-shaped
slash howked out of the western flank of the
Moine Mhor in the high Cairngorms.
It burrows so deep into the raw corpus of the
mountain massif that whenever I have been
there I have found myself entertaining thoughts
that stray unnervingly into a no-man’s-land
between the natural world and the unnatural
one, whatever you might call it.
“I believe in God but I spell it Nature,” wrote
the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a
philosophy for which I have a lot of sympathy.
And in Coire Garbhlach of all places, you can
perhaps see what he was getting at.
Or how about this from Nan Shepherd’s little
masterclass of a book, The Living Mountain:
“I believe that I now understand in some
small measure why the Buddhist goes on
pilgrimage to a mountain. The journey is itself
part of the technique by which the god is sought.
It is a journey into Being; for as I penetrate more
deeply into the mountain’s life, I penetrate also
my own. For an hour I am beyond desire. It is
not ecstasy, that leap out of the self that makes
man like a god. I am not out of myself, but in
myself. I am. To know Being, this is the final
grace accorded from the mountain.”
If you incline towards such rarefied notions,
you might find that these too incubate more
readily in a landscape like Coire Garbhlach.
An over-reaction to a lump of mountainside?
A little too fey around the edges?
Perhaps, although I think it is a dull soul who
is willing to deny a sense of entering a
particularly rarefied inner sanctum of the
mountain world when he crosses the threshold
of Coire Garbhlach, and negotiates its slaloming
course all the way to its headwall.
And anyway, what does all this have to do
with ptarmigan? It’s just that I have newly
stumbled on a small flock on the plateau of
Beinn Udlaidh in Glen Orchy, and on a day of
such steely stillness that nothing else on the
mountain was moving, I remembered Seton ��
It is an unchancy place in which to
try and brood a clutch of eggs
052_SMG_141217.indd 53
28/11/2017 13:58:24
Wild About Scotland
Gordon’s liking for the metaphor of the white-winged
flight of such a group as “like a drifting shower of autumn
snow”. I went from there to thinking how encounters with
ptarmigan always strike me as significant moments, they
seem to burn their presence into my mind so that I recall
the circumstances more vividly than other species, and
that such recollections endure for many years.
Then I went rummaging among my small clutch of
Seton Gordon books in search of more enlightenment,
and I found this:
“It is said that the letter P in their name was inserted by
the French – for what reason I know not – and that the
word is originally derived from the Gaelic Tarmach,
meaning ‘to be the source of’, and given, perhaps, to this
hill dweller as it was thought that from this bird originated
all feathered life.”
So it was re-reading those words from his book The
Land of the Hills and the Glens, which he wrote almost a
hundred years ago now, that finally edged me towards
this train of thought. One of the qualities I admire about
Seton Gordon is that his writing is full of moments when
he takes a step aside from reliable biology to
accommodate the sense of a much older relationship
between the tribes of nature and the people who lived
near them, and who interpreted their presence in ways
that mostly elude what we like to think of as our own
more sophisticated era.
A more analytical mind will consider that quotation
and point out that it hangs on nothing at all other than that
unconvincing opening phrase, “it is said”. Said by whom?
And when did they say it? And what was the reason for
such an extraordinarily unscientific belief?
But Seton Gordon knew Gaelic and he knew Gaels.
He pursued original sources, even if he didn’t always
quote them in his writing. Besides, the quotation
resonated when I was looking for something to explain
why I felt that ptarmigan sightings always felt so significant.
It is, I concede, a nature writer’s response rather than,
say, a naturalist’s, but then I have never claimed to be a
naturalist, and it was certainly not a naturalist’s instinct that
tumbled Coire Garbhlach and the black eye of a
ptarmigan into the mix when I was confronted with the
idea of the ptarmigan as the origin of all feathered life.
Uppermost in my store of memories from Coire
Garbhlach is one which is also uppermost in my store of
ptarmigan encounters, a sublime day of deep snow and
sunlight, into which intruded the unmistakable tones of at
least two ptarmigan. Whenever a mountain snores at you,
it is usually because there are ptarmigan nearby and you
have not seen them yet. You might not see them at all, for
they are highly skilled in the art of not being seen when
they don’t want you to see them.
They were somewhere above and to my left, but out
of sight. I should explain that I used to harbour delusional
notions of being a wildlife photographer as well as a
nature writer. I know better now, because the one gets in
the way of the other, and I leave the photography to the
true artists like my friend Laurie Campbell whose work
often graces and dignifies these pages. The nature writer
in me now knows that stillness, and waiting for the birds to
Left: Icy conditions in the
Below: The ptarmigan’s
distinctive red splash
052_SMG_141217.indd 54
28/11/2017 13:58:48
Left: The harshest
of habitats
Below: Blending
into the background
helps the species
appear when they are ready, is a more fruitful policy than
trying to stalk them, but that day I tried to stalk them.
The waterfall at the heart of the glen was well fuelled
by the hefty snowfall that had begun to melt in the
sunlight. The repetitive flatulence of the ptarmigan began
to penetrate the symphonic voices of the fall like a sticking
needle on a vinyl LP. I plotted a wide, climbing arc to
come on the birds more stealthily, and brandishing an
absurd telephoto lens the size of a small baseball bat.
The voices became clearer as I closed in. I moved in a
slow crouch.
The male ptarmigan in midwinter and in deep snow is
elusive, and unless he moves, he looks like, well, deep
snow. I knew I was close, I thought I had performed an
impressive stalk, but I did not know – although I was
● To avoid the worst of the weather, the
ptarmigan burrows a small depression in the
snow. But for complete shelter, it can go
deeper and build a small snow-cave.
052_SMG_141217.indd 55
Coire Garbhlach
about to find out – that no human footfall, no matter how
meticulously placed, can sink into six inches of snow
without a ptarmigan six feet away hearing it.
I raised my camera, I peered round a snow-smothered
rock, and there were the ptarmigan, six feet away, or at
least there were their craning heads and necks, for the
rock still obscured the rest of them. They were much too
close for my telephoto lens which was as much use to me
right then as a baseball bat.
But my lasting reward was not photographic. It was an
eyeball encounter with two cock birds in what looked like
a cloak of new ermine, from which the blackest of black ��
28/11/2017 13:59:09
Wild About Scotland
Masters of disguise
eyes glared. A vivid red wattle like an arched smear of
blood and a black eye stripe like the tip of a stiletto
combine to draw your attention to the black pool of the
eye. My first thought – that its unblinking glare was one of
outrage – is perhaps understandable, given the clumsy
nature of my colossal intrusion, and the sense that the
birds themselves were so self-evidently confident
fragments of the mountain itself, and as hewn from it as
any red granite boulder.
So I retreated with what discretion I could muster, and
without a photograph. But instead I was handed the seeds
of a new knowledge. And the image of those two
ptarmigan heads craning towards me is in my mind
forever. And the more I have thought about the
moment in the intervening years,
the easier I find it to accept
that there was a time when a race of
mountain people who lived closer to the
heights than we do ourselves should confer
on the ptarmigan the honour that “from
this bird originated all feathered life”.
Nor is it an idea that is wholly new
to me. Twenty years ago, on a trip to
Alaska to make two programmes for BBC radio about the
relationship between people and wilderness, I met a man
from the Tlingit tribe at the headquarters of the Bald Eagle
Foundation in Haines.
He had been summoned by the man who ran the
foundation to talk to me about local traditions. At first, he
was sullen and on the silent side of reluctant, but finally he
started to talk, and then his tribal story poured out of him
in a monotone voice. Almost his last words to me were:
“It wasn’t God that made the world. It was Raven. The
story says the Raven created the Eagle because you had to
have a balance. You had to have another side. So he
made the Eagle. He has a white head, he has a white tail,
but his body is black. So the Raven made him.”
052_SMG_141217.indd 56
He had told me that all the clans of the tribe derive
from either Raven or Eagle. It comes down through
your mother. It still permeates tribal culture in the
21st century.
“Say an Eagle passed away,” he said. “The Ravens
there give you support. You always have the opposite clan
to do things like sit with the body, or go and get the body
for you… Without deaths, we wouldn’t have a culture. It
would be gone.”
He sat back and looked straight at me, a look that
wondered if I were a lost cause, if I had understood a word.
I remember that Tlingit look in a backroom of the
Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines Alaska,
all these years later, and as if it were
yesterday, just as I remember that
ptarmigan look on a ledge of Coire
Garbhlach and the feeling is the same. The
Tlingit’s very last words to me were these:
“So that’s why it’s important when you say the
Raven and the Eagle.”
So that’s why it’s important when you say of
the ptarmigan that from this bird originated all
feathered life.
The ptarmigan is known colloquially in the United
States as the “snow chicken”. In Japan, it is known
as the “thunder bird”.
Ptarmigan was the name of a communications
system used by British forces during the Gulf War.
Mobile phones were based on its technology.
It is the only bird in the British Isles to turn
completely white during winter, the same as the
mountain hare.
28/11/2017 13:59:26
Alien Hitchhikers
Polly Pullar meets marine expert Sarah Brown,
to learn of the enivornmental impact of the alien
species invading Scotland’s seas and lochs
AM standing inhaling the salted breeze on a
windswept headland on a blue day with postcardperfect clouds above sea of navy.
Marram grasses bend and stretch as sand sprints in
patterns along the beach. Herring gulls hang like
nursery mobiles riding the wind. It’s an idyllic scene
that belies the fact that beneath this perfect vista, our
waters are heavily polluted with plastics.
Horrific images across the media reveal a growing
plague. Recently we learned that most fish we buy
potentially contains plastics. In short, like the
The Chinese mitten crab
threatened marine creatures, we too are consuming
plastic. It kills, maims and damages every living thing,
and is frequently mistaken for food.
Perhaps we are less aware that beneath the dancing
waves there are other insidious perils. Aliens are at
work. These interlopers to our marine environment
have the power to clog, smother, dominate and
outcompete local flora and fauna. These are a range of
invasive non-native species (INNS) that are tenacious,
resilient, sneakily admirable and totally incompatible
with our native fauna and flora. No one knows more
about these disruptive globetrotters than Sarah Brown.
I go to many talks and lectures. Often there are
dozing individuals like nodding dogs on a car’s parcel
shelf. However, when Sarah begins regaling us with the
story of invasive intruders, the audience is wide awake.
Sarah, who is a marine biosecurity consultant, runs
C2W – Marine Matters Managed, and works with a
range of professionals helping find solutions to the
growing number of oceanic problems while aiming for
a cleaner and greener marine environment.
She is also an active member of the Clyde Marine
Planning Partnership, and a communicator with an
inordinate gift. Her turn of phrase, sharp wit and
seamless delivery means that at the end of her session,
you are left not only giggling, but also well versed in
the issues surrounding such wilful invaders as the
carpet sea squirt, Didemnum vexillum – more
commonly referred to as D vex, and orange sheath
tunicate, Japanese skeleton shrimp, common cord
grass, green sea fingers, orange-tipped and leathery
sea squirts, mitten crab or Pacific oyster, to list a few.
“I hate them but I sort of love them too,” says
Sarah. “These are the most tenacious, adaptable plants
and animals you are likely to find. They will take great
ranges of temperature and salinity and then throw in
defences like micro-harpoons and acidic coverings.
They have grit – if they weren’t from the other side of
the world they could be mistaken for Scottish!”
Many of these weeds, squirts, jellies, crustaceans
and molluscs have travelled great distances attached to
the hulls of boats and their tackle. Some may have
arrived due to inadequate treatment with anti-fouling
products. These aliens now emerging in our seas are
opportunists that really relish a dirty-bottomed
boat. Not only do they destroy local species wherever
they colonise, but have the power to swiftly take over,
in most cases with little or no competition. Most
worrying of all, every year more are appearing. ��
These species have grit – if they weren’t
alien they could be mistaken for Scottish!
Common slipper
shell, Crepidula
D vex,
the carpet
sea squirt
“Though I am a marine biosecurity consultant, I am
also a boater. For many years I have been enjoying the
freedom that this brings, but it is people like me, who set
sail when we want and go where we want, who need to
be extra vigilant to ensure we aren’t transporting these
organisms. We need to rely on our anti-fouling working to
best possible effect, to ensure we aren’t unwittingly
harbouring – forgive my pun – such unwanted hitchhikers.
My concerns and interest in invasive species are not only
due to their impact on the natural environment, and the
economy, but also because of the impact they could have
on our boating.”
Sarah explains that these usually hidden freeloaders
often lurk in ballast water tanks, on hull fouling, or even in
a boat’s filters – irradiated with ultraviolet, subject to
anoxic conditions, yet still able to survive. They are adept
at contending with the roughest weather and numerous
changes in temperature as they cross the globe, usually on
commercial ships. Once in UK waters they can quickly
colonise, ousting the natives as they begin their spread
from harbours into the wider marine environment. Some
sea squirt
Styela clava
cling on and continue travelling, causing misery in other
seas where they are simply not part of the ecosystem.
Some hitch-hiking stowaways can also survive for a
time out of water, particularly on wet equipment.
“This is one time the infamous Scottish rain works in
our favour. Most of these INNS can’t stand up to a good
drench in pure fresh water so it does them in – but damp,
salty equipment is heaven for them. No competition and
left to their own devices some of these species will survive
two weeks or more in the dark, cold, wet niches of say a
wetsuit, an outboard, a creel or fishing net!” Sarah says.
As the world becomes smaller and there is increasing
international trade, more unwanted species find easy
passage to the UK. In the English Channel where there is
heavy boat traffic, more than 60 invasive species have
been discovered, 24 of which have now been recorded in
Scottish waters – and not only in the marine environment.
Thankfully not all have become invasive. Crustaceans
such as the freshwater zebra mussel first appeared in UK
waters in 1825 and have been recorded in the Forth and
Clyde Canal.
“This could have been a tragedy for the canal but
quick action by staff halted the launch of an infected
vessel and she was thoroughly cleaned. These creatures
are tenacious but we can be smarter and limit their spread
– it is great to see biosecurity like this working in real life.”
The Chinese mitten crab that lives in fresh water, but
breeds in the sea, appears to be heading north, though
has not yet been recorded in Scotland. It is of vital
importance to report any suspicious sightings of this
We can be smarter and limit
the spread of these creatures
Japanese wireweed
destructive crustacean before it too begins to colonise.
“It’s a continual struggle to keep these invasive species,
such as the smothering sea squirt known simply as D vex,
from spreading. Our seas are important for both the
environment and economy. So it’s crucial that anyone
who gets afloat for recreation or whose livelihood relies on
the water is aware of the threat and takes action.
“It is vital to have a good, practical biosecurity plan and
to follow it consistently. It is also important to report
sightings of anything you are unsure of. But please take
pictures – a ‘high alert’ report of D vex, the carpet
sea-squirt can often be a wasted journ ey when we turn up
to find out it is actually just a discarded carpet!”
Speaking to other boat owners, nearly all admitted
they struggle to find time to properly clean their vessels
more than once a year. Some were totally unaware of the
dangers of aliens and didn’t know they pose a grave threat
to our own rich biodiversity. Sarah is adamant.
“Simple biosecurity means never letting the hull get
significantly fouled. Use your boat more often and the
antifouling paint works better. Check, clean and dry all kit
when you can, including ropes, buoys and mooring.
“Lower your mooring to the seabed in winter to limit
fouling, and always antifoul well. Don’t skimp on paint,
follow manufacturers’ instructions. Wash down your
anchor before leaving the bay, removing all sediments.
“We have a choice – either we take steps to show the
biosecurity world that we are not an added worry, or we
will soon see changes in attitude towards visiting boats,
particularly in sensitive areas.”
D vex found
in Loch Fyne
The sea squirt has a primitive brain that helps it
move through the water. When it stops moving,
it literally eats its own brain!
The Chinese mitten crab is one of the World’s
top-100 invasive species. It is named so because
of its furry claws which resemble mittens.
D vex was first found in Scotland, in the Firth of
Clyde, in 2009.
n ew bu i ld
r ur al
u r b an
A modern, versatile property
co ast
The building has a lot of glass
A Design For Life
In the quest for their dream home, architects Rosemary and Ben
have designed a modern, eco-friendly home in the Angus Glens
HERE can be few homes with as spectacular a
setting as Humpty House – and even fewer offices!
Situated in a quarry in a forest clearing with views
overlooking the beautiful Loch of Lintrathen, the largely
open-plan house that Ben and Rosemary Scrimgeour built
in the heart of the Angus Glens was designed to last them
a lifetime.
“At the moment, Humpty House has the capacity for
Rosemary, me and our two young sons, our architectural
practice and all the ‘stuff’ family life involves,” says Ben.
“However, we designed our house so that when
Rosemary and I are 86, it will still work perfectly for us.”
Ben reveals that, thanks to the steel frame that runs
through the centre of the two-storey house, the building
can easily be adapted in the future. “Sustainability is the
current buzz word in architecture but a truly sustainable
building is an adaptable building,” stresses Ben.
Rosemary and Ben moved into the Humpty House
two years ago, after several years of planning and building
their perfect home. “We first saw this patch of land just
after Ben and I got married,” says Rosemary, who grew up
on a nearby farm and works with Ben in their architectural
practice, The Building Workshop.
Inspired by the spectacular landscape surrounding the
quarry, Ben and Rosemary set about designing a
three-bedroom house that echoed local farm buildings
and would provide them with a place to work, live and
play – and was flooded with daylight.
“Our house is north-facing to make the most of the
view of the loch so, as well as full length windows
throughout the house, we have lots of glass in the roof on
the office side of the building,” explains Rosemary.
“This is a happy building – and it’s a building that
works as a home and a workplace,” continues Rosemary,
as she shows me around the three upstairs bedrooms.
“We love entertaining and recently had 25 guests for
supper. Our two boys, who are two and four, have lots of
space to play indoors and out.
“We can hold large design meetings with clients and
contractors without leaving the building. And we’re
surrounded by nature – geese fly over Humpty House in
winter, red squirrels dash about the trees and deer are
frequent visitors to our garden.
“This is our home for life.”
For more information about The Building Workshop,
n ew build
r ur al
u r b an
co ast
This is a happy
works as a home
and workplace
Get out there and try something new...
Eag Dhubh, on the dramatic Bein n Alligin , deep in Torridon . See Cameron McNeish, page 74
◆ Mountain Rescue p66 ◆ Take A Hike p70 ◆ On Your Bike p72 ◆ Gear Review p83
Picture: ALAMY
The Heroes Of
Mountain Rescue
After 40 years’ involvement in gruelling rescues, the former
Lomond team leader asks what moves volunteers to sign up
OLUNTEERS wanted for hazardous rescues. Ever present risk
to life and limb. Long periods spent at night in appalling
weather. Clothes, footwear and gear trashed.
Personal and social life suspended for long periods.
No payment for effort, and recognition in the
event of success doubtful.”
Imagine reading this advert. Would
you be attracted to join your local
Rescue Funding
Scottish Mountain Rescue is made up of
23 teams based throughout Scotland from
Assynt to Galloway and comprises of more
than 800 volunteers. It has charitable status
( SC045003) and is funded almost entirely
through voluntary contributions.
To donate, go to
Coming to the rescue,
by land or air
mountain rescue team? It doesn’t sound like a pleasant
job. Indeed, there are numerous negatives.
Man y rescues take place in the dark when the weather
is so bad most sensible people wouldn’t consider
venturing out. Call-outs often occur at inconvenient
times – typically coinciding with a family anniversary! – or
during the day when work beckons. Rescuers commit to
give a vast amount of their time each year; there is
the ever-present risk to life and limb plus the
stress that invariably accompanies a
tragic incident.
Yet almost 1000 people are
involved in Scottish mountain
rescue and there is no
shortage of newcomers.
Why would anyone wish to be involved, and why would
so many stay for so long? A large majority remain
members for 20 years, some a lot longer. What’s the
attraction? Is it the opportunity for discounted gear and
friendly banter in the company of like-minded souls… or
perhaps something a little deeper?
My introduction to mountain rescue was serendipitous.
In 1976, I was descending Stob Coire nam Beith in
Glen coe with my pal when he slipped on verglas – we’d
removed our crampons too early – and fell hundreds of
feet into the frozen waters of the Allt Coire nam Beithach.
He was badly injured and semi-conscious but I did my
best to manage his injuries and drag him off the mountain
and to hospital.
In the days following, I questioned why we didn’t call
out the Glencoe team. I began to think about the mountain
rescue service, what it does and who is involved.
Shortly afterwards a work colleague who, fortuitously,
was secretary of my local mountain rescue team, invited
me to attend a training session.
I leapt at the opportunity and quickly became involved
in the training programme, fundraising ventures and
making friends with people from work backgrounds very
different from my own. It was a steep learning curve but I
must have done something right. After a year I was given
the nod and added to the call-out list. I had arrived!
I never reflected on what motivated me. I enjoyed all
the technical stuff, the craic and especially the call-outs,
but never paused to consider more deeply until years later
when engaged in a particularly challenging incident.
We had been tasked to search for three teenagers
overdue from an expedition on Ben Lomon d. The
weather was truly foul with little information to
form a clear search plan. We located the girls
in the early hours of the following day.
All were anxious, soaked and mildly
hypothermic but we judged they
could walk off the mountain
with careful support. ��
Left: Members
of Lomond
transport a
can happen
Right: Located,
secured – now
to get down
off the hill
The parents waiting in the car park were overjoyed
with relief and thanked us for our efforts. But one stayed
behind, keen to know more. “Why do you do this? Surely
you’d rather be at home? Why do you risk your life?
Shouldn’t you get paid?” I can’t recall my answers, but her
questions did prompt me to examine my motives.
Volunteer Scotland, the national centre, suggests that
volunteering provides opportunities for people to effect
positive practical change, work in a team, make friends,
gain confidence, boost self-esteem, discover hidden
talents, learn new skills and become part of a new
community. It’s also enjoyable, regardless of downsides.
Those involved in mountain rescue would empathise
with much of this. In a recent issue of this magazine
Hamish MacInnes remarked, “The key motivation is
always to help those in trouble. Working in a small team,
often in the dark and atrocious weather, creates a terrific
bond between team members.”
Another experienced rescuer talked about the
satisfaction in helping someone in trouble.
“Fighting the weather and carrying heavy loads when
you’re tired and haven’t had your tea and all you’ve eaten
is a chocolate bar and you’re desperately thirsty, then
come off the mountain and go home for a shower and a
meal – that’s very rewarding. The rescues that give me the
Enduring the
worst conditions
greatest satisfaction are those where you save a life in
horrendous conditions.”
These are individual views, but what of the mountain
rescue fraternity? A recent study of teams in Scotland and
England revealed strong agreement on a number of issues.
There’s a clear feeling of a driving force centred on
adventure and anticipation – the physical/technical
challenge of a rescue, not knowing what the next call-out
may bring, the need to take risks and the determination to
endure hardship. We all find ways to break away from the
tedium of ordinary life and seek a degree of challenge.
There’s no doubt mountain rescue, which typically
comes bundled with hardships, risks and uncertainty,
provides a way to satisfy this basic human instinct.
The study revealed the value of teamwork and
achievement. People gain extreme satisfaction in seeing a
job through to completion, playing a key role within the
emergency services, working with like-minded people and
achieving clear and specific goals.
Mountain rescue is a situation where success hinges on
small but important contributions from people with
different experience and skills, together with the co-ordinated
efforts of several agencies. It is a source of great pride for
many rescuers that they provide a unique service and set
of skills unmatched by other emergency organisations.
Another factor is learning and personal development.
While many of those new to mountain rescue arrive with
relevant skills such as first aid or mountain navigation,
there are numerous specific skills – often safety-related –
new to everyone. In this regard, aspiring and experienced
rescuers alike are prepared to learn and share their own
knowledge. This is one reason why team members
recognise the value of and invest so much time in training.
The social dimension is also important. Mountain
rescue involves people from various backgrounds and
agencies working in close harmony, often in sensitive and
sometimes tragic circumstances. Team members quickly
identify each other’s skills and interests and determine
how best everyone functions in a rescue situation.
Not only is this based on technical knowledge, but also
Search and
Rescue dogs on
personalities and friendships. The social context – be it
working with people of different capabilities or simply
enjoying the craic after a rescue – is clearly something that
rescuers find attractive and motivating.
But is this the entire story? In a sense, these factors are
the consequences of being involved in mountain rescue;
what people experience through the process of rescuing
an injured person or finding someone who is lost. I believe
there is a deeper purpose that underpins all these things.
When rescuers are asked what motivates them, the
answer which stands proud is “To help others in distress”.
This is the point made by Hamish MacInnes. Rescue work
is enjoyable and rewarding, but the foundation is a selfless
desire to help others. The fact that rescue work invariably
conditions for the
Torridon team
takes place in extremely challenging conditions simply
confirms the strength of this motive. This would explain
why so many remain involved for so long. It is not the
reward that arises through achievement, the slick
teamwork and technical competence that drives people,
but the unselfish desire to help others in trouble, whatever
the personal cost. For me, that is altruism at its finest. It is
reflected in the words of an experienced dog handler.
“Occasionally, people ask why I’m still involved 30
years on. I saw it plainly that night the men went missing.
It was written in the faces of the relatives as they cast their
eyes up the mountain. As we moved away to begin the
search, there was trust and expectation in their eyes. They
knew we were their last hope of seeing their loved ones.”
Pictures: ALAMY
Skills training
is crucial for
team members
Take A Hike
Cairns No More?
Nick Drainey debates stacks of stones on Meall Buidhe, Glen Lyon
Length: 10km (6 miles).
Height gained: 533m
Time: 4 hours.
OS Landranger 51.
Parking: Head west on
a single track road from
Bridge of Balgie, Glen
Lyon. After 4.4km (2¾
miles) go right. Another
couple of miles on,
park at the roadside in
front of a large dam.
Looking west from
Meall Garbh
HERE is a cairn on top of Meall Buidhe which can
let you know on a misty day that you don’t need to
go any further to bag a Munro.
If you have the misfortune to reach the top in miserable
weather, it is a great shame. Although the mountain may
not have the drama of rocky ridges or pointy summits, it is
one of the best viewpoints in the Highlands.
Glencoe, the Mamores, the Nevis Range and the Grey
Corries can be seen across the vast Rannoch Moor. And
moving round to the south there is Ben Lui, Ben More,
the Tarmachan ridge, Ben Lawers, Schiehallion or the
Grampians to gaze at.
When you leave the dam at the end of the road from
Glen Lyon, a stretch of heather moorland is clambered up
before the edge of a coire is reached, leading to the
summit of Meall Buidhe.
There is little need for cairns here as the way is pretty
obvious, even in cloudy weather. But on other hills, piles
of stones along the route can reassure – and sometimes
correct thoughts of going in a different direction.
Some say they are not needed and a map and
compass should be all that is necessary to find your way,
which is true. The argument against the cairns adds that
they are an intrusion on the natural world. This is also true
– but with paths as wide as roads and windfarms the size
of small towns, surely cairns are far from the most
significant incongruity in the mountains of Scotland.
The guidance they give to walkers outweighs any
desire some have to dismantle them. To me, this attitude
is the same as people have when complaining about
routes being “too easy” to be a proper hill walk. That is
nonsense; walking in the hills and mountains is about
Nick’s Top Tip...
In winter, add an hour to the
estimated length of your walk. If
you get caught in bad weather
and have to complete the route
in poor light, a head torch is OK
on a good path – but it is always
more comfortable to allow more
time and finish in natural light.
070_SMG_141217.indd 70
28/11/2017 14:02:04
enjoyment, not completing a survival course, even if some
knowledge of how to cope when things go wrong – such
as using a map and compass or retreating in poor weather
– is needed.
Cairns do sometimes get a bit out of hand – the line
leading to the top of Cairn Gorm can probably be seen
from space – but others are landmarks in their own right.
Think of Bronze Age piles on hills in Caithness, or the
huge 3500-year-old mound on Tinto in Lanarkshire.
So, here’s to the piles of stones as we mark the arrival
of 2018. But let me suggest a collective New Year’s
resolution; don’t eat your lunch leaning on summit cairns.
Once you have admired the view and taken a picture,
keep them clear to allow others to savour their moment
on top of a hill or mountain, whether they have reached
the high point of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh or a Munro
on the Cuillin Ridge.
l Something a bit more strenuous: Add Stùchd an
Lochain by going up it after returning to the dam,
meaning you have bagged two Munros in one day.
l Very strenuous: The four Glen Lyon Munros of Carn
Gorm, Meall Garbh, Carn Mairg and Creag Mhor make
for a good strenuous day in the hills, starting at Invervar.
Grid references:
Start/Finish: NN511464
Point 2: NN511467
Point 3: NN507469
Point 4: NN504488
Point 5: NN501489
Point 6: NN499491
Point 7: NN498499
Point 8: NN499491
Point 9: NN501489
Point 10: NN504488
Point 11: NN507469
Point 12: NN511467
Next month’s walk takes in East Lomond, the little hill perfect for a winter's stroll, and the pretty village of
Falkland, which was used for the blockbuster TV series Outlander. Don’t miss it in February’s Scots Magazine!
070_SMG_141217.indd 71
Stuchd an Lochain an d Sron a’ Choire
Chnapanich from Meall Buidhe
29/11/2017 10:04:52
On Your Bike
On The Right Track
Callendar Estate’s family-friendly trails offer a
peaceful winter ride – as long as you don’t get lost!
Distance: 2km
(1.2 miles) to 7km
(4.5 miles) per trail
Ascent: Very little
Maps: OS
Explorer 349 and
Landranger 65
Parking: Car park
(and café) at the
visitor centre.
’VE always been quietly proud of my
sense of direction. I grew up with my
dad encouraging me to navigate for him
in the car and in the hills, before the days
of satnav and phone GPS, and by and
large we got to where we needed to be.
Sometimes I think it’s a shame that
satnavs have taken that uncertainty and
adventure out of driving, but that thought
evaporates any time I have to drive into
Glasgow. And I always head in the right
direction when I come out of a high street
shop, which not everyone seems to be
able to do!
All of which made getting lost in the car
park at the Callendar Estate cycling trails all
the more embarrassing…
In my defense, there was a bit of work
going on and a few odd fences up, but I
cycled back and forth between the jump
track, the café and entrance a few times
before I finally spotted another moving
The trails offer
great views
biker and headed quickly in his direction.
These family-friendly trails just outside
Falkirk are some of the newest in
Scotland, but they’ve already built up
enough of a reputation to fill the car park
on a bright winter Sunday. The annual
Falkirk Funduro draws keen riders to race
in the dark on special sections of trail here
in November, but most weekends it’s an
eclectic mix of cyclists pottering about. It’s
refreshing to see. It reminded me of
Carron Valley, a much less intimidating
start for casual riders than the car parks full
of carbon fibre super bikes at Innerleithen,
Laggan or Glentress. There’s every
convenience as well, from the café to the
bike hire shop, so everyone can get out
and stretch their legs.
The estate is accessible, in every sense.
It’s easy to get to and it’s easy to ride – the
reds offer a few sharper turns and steeper
climbs, but it’s all a question of energy
rather than technical skill. Except for Jack’s
Trail, that is, a super-short “pro line” graded
trail that falls away from the top of the red
return over several sizeable gap jumps and
a small drop. Approach with caution!
Canada Wood was a good warm-up,
and despite the number of people in the
car park, I only came across one cyclist the
Much less
casual riders
072_SMG_141217.indd 72
28/11/2017 12:23:56
Enjoy the woods at
your own pace
whole way around. It’s amazing how some trail centres
just manage to absorb quantities of people like that, leaving
you free to take your own pace and enjoy the woods.
Criss-crossing wider tracks popular with pedestrians, I
was soon heading over towards Craigburn Woods and
Auchengean. As you head farther from the car park, the
trails go up in grade until you reach the red. Frequent trail
centre riders will always debate the grading of new trails,
but with “red” – meaning for advanced riders – in
Scotland covering everything from Fort William’s relentless
Red Giant downhill trail to, well, trails like this, it’s safe to
say that this was at the gentler end of the scale.
It turned out that the car park was really just the
beginning of my adventures in the wrong direction that
day. It wasn’t for want of the trails being marked, it’s just
that I quickly lost a sense of where everything was in
relation to everything else.
The eastern section of the Craigburn blue was closed
off for repair, and I wasn’t too sure where I was going
when I headed off west following the signs.
A quick glance at Trailforks assured me I was heading
towards the reds. Adding a little elevation to the route so
far, the red climb regularly offers little laybys and great
views back towards the Ochils. Ben Ledi and Ben
Lomond wore wee caps of snow in the distance, and I
had a little peaceful moment taking it all in before heading
off to find some of the variant lines off the top.
At the back of Auchengean, a farm track heads off to
Kilbean wood for another wee loop. Returning from this I
got lost again, and ended up overshooting my junction by
about a kilometre. My fault entirely – turns out I’d missed
a sign while daydreaming!
I bet summer sees this place heaving, but I’m most
grateful for developments like this during the winter.
Having somewhere to ride without lethally wet sniper
roots or greased rocks is always a bonus, and if the
weather turns on you you’ll never be far away from the
car. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until summer to
give Falkirk a go!
Alex’s Top Tip...
Don’t have a full-on
mountain bike? Don’t let
that put you off. A sturdy
hybrid or cyclocross bike
will ride just fine on all
the trails too, so you don’t
have to miss out.
072_SMG_141217.indd 73
28/11/2017 12:24:12
Cameron McNeish, Scotland’s top outdoor writer,
Some ”Wee“
Hills Of Torridon
Torridon’s Munros are diverse and justifiably
popular, but as Cameron McNeish explains,
the area’s Corbetts are very special too
explores the most exciting places. This month, Wester Ross
Sgorr nan Lochan
Uaine with Torridon
hills beyond
Cameron’s Country
EW place-names strum the heart-strings of hillgoers
like Torridon does. For some it’s an aspirational
place, tucked away in Wester Ross; for others the
area represents all that is good about Scottish hillwalking
– steep-sided, corrie-sculptured hills, well maintained
footpaths, wildlife and a close proximity to the sea.
Torridon’s Munros are among the finest and most
challenging in the country – curvaceous Beinn Alligin,
rugged Liathach and Beinn Eighe, more of a mini-range of
mountains and corries. While they are popular, some
smaller peaks are just as worthy. Take Beinn Damh.
Just sometimes, your first glimpse of a mountain can
have a profound effect, like love at first sight. It’s often not
only the natural beauty, but the circumstances.
Some years ago I’d been making my way through
slobbery snow in the Coulags Pass between the head of
Loch Carron and Glen Torridon in Wester Ross. I’d grown
weary of sleety rain and wet feet. Suddenly the clouds
began to evaporate leaving a still, silent evening.
The speed of change was distinctly eerie. The dark
sandstone tiers of Beinn Damh gave way to flushed snow
slopes, accentuating the steep flanks, scooped corries and
craggy shoulders that give this Corbett – hills between
2500 and 2999ft – such character. Its sudden appearance
took my breath away. It was one of those moments, like a
l In the 1600s, an ironworks in the village of
Torridon provided wrought iron for shipment
to England. The village was known as Fasag up
to the 1950s and is now a favoured stoppingoff point on the classic North Coast 500 route.
Liathach looms dramatically
divine manifestation, that our landscapes occasionally
bless us with.
This hill, the most westerly of the mountains that flank
the south shore of Upper Loch Torridon, offers a rare
solitude despite sharing many of the attributes of its higher
neighbours. Given Beinn Damh’s position, between the
other shapely hills of Torridon, there is justification in
claiming it to be a better viewpoint, as I discovered when I
climbed the hill again recently during a brief cold spell.
From the Torridon Hotel I went through the roadside
wicker gate to a stalker’s path which climbed through pine
and rhododendron. The rhododendrons faded out and
the trees became smaller, heads bent to the winds and
limbs contorted. Pine roots poked through the paper-thin
skin of the earth, slippery after the frosts of the night.
Just ahead, the Allt Coire Roill took a plunge over a
sandstone cliff into a deep rocky chasm, its spray filling the
air like smoke. Already I felt I was in a different world.
Beyond the treeline sunshine beckoned, the topmost
peaks looking like islands on a great sea of shade. Beyond
the glistening summits the sky burned almost as black. The
footpath divides – to the left it follows the Allt Coire Roill
towards the Drochaid Coire Roill, the right fork climbs into
the Toll Ban, the “white corrie” of Beinn Damh. I took the
latter up the steep slopes of the corrie towards the broad
col separating Beinn Damh proper from its outlier, Sgurr
na Bana Mhoraire. It’s well worth walking south-west
across this broad saddle to gaze down the scree slopes to
Loch Damh. You can get an even better view by making a
short diversion to the summit of Sgurr na Bana Mhoraire.
This saddle top itself is pretty featureless and in the
hard, granular snow the path had vanished. I crunched
south-easterly towards the first of two subsidiary tops,
easily bypassed on its west side. Great quartzite boulders
fill the dip between these two tops and from the second, a
narrow ridge makes an airy staircase to the main summit.
Ruadh-stac Beag with
Bheinn Eighe behind it
Climbers atop
Eag Dhubh,
Ben Alligin
wasn’t on the view. I wanted to
“findMya mind
more direct descent to the north
The cairn sits on the very edge of the steep Coir’ an
Laoigh, a high eyrie with dramatic views of the Torridon
giants on one side and the Coulin deer forest on the other.
The north-east ridge, the Stuc Toll nam Biast, makes
for a fairly intimidating line of descent, especially in snow,
to the pass of the Drochaid Coire Roill where the left fork
of my earlier ascent route runs across the foot of Coire Roill.
I would think this route makes a better alternative ascent
– it’s easier scrambling uphill than down. A good scramble
for another day, perhaps?
If you do decide to descend this way, bear in mind
that most of the difficulties can be avoided on the right.
You’ll face a similar dilemma on a smaller Torridonian
mountain. Ruadh-stac Beag is one of two Corbetts that
appear as twin portals to the delights of inner Torridon.
These hills dominate the watershed between the Loch
Maree basin and the otherworldly landscape that lies to
the north of Beinn Eighe’s serrated ridgeline.
A restored stalker’s pony path runs between the two
hills, Ruadh-stac Beag and Meall a’ Ghiubhais (spelled
Meall a’ Ghuithais on the latest OS Landranger map)
offering easy access to both. While most guidebooks
recommend out-and-back ascents from the high point of
this path, the steep screes and formidable crags of
Ruadh-stac Beag make a direct ascent tricky.
You have to climb Ruadh-stac Beag by its back door –
from the high saddle that connects its south ridge with
Spidean Coire nan Clach of Beinn Eighe. So I left the pony
path well before its high point and crossed over the lower
reaches of Beinn Eighe’s north-east ridge.
Great fields of boulder scree formed the flattish bottom
of the glen between the main ridge of Bein n Eighe an d
Ruadh-stac Beag itself. Like a coin stuck in the groun d,
Ruadh-stac Beag has a rounded profile and the slopes
above me looked almost vertical. All its slopes are steep,
the south ridge slightly less so.
Slowly I made my way up a surface of unstable
boulders, but higher up a slick of old snow made the
footing a little more secure. The summit felt surreal, a slim
plateau with every side falling away almost vertically.
The peaks of Beinn Eighe appeared as a confused
jumble with Spidean a’ Choire Leith of Liathach rising
above in perfect pyramidal symmetry – but my mind
wasn’t on the view. I wanted to find a more direct descent
to the north. On previous visits I had spent some time
gazing up at Ruadh-stac Beag’s north-eastern battlements
and I was pretty sure I could avoid those northern crags.
I descended slowly from the summit plateau, north
and then east, tiptoeing down fingers of rock, lowering
myself gingerly between boulders. Eventually, flushed with
relief, I saw that if I moved further right, away from the
main crags, I could reach scree slopes giving access to a ��
Beinn Eighe, Liathach,
Beinn Dearg and
Beinn Alligin
Fed on by bloodsuckers, dehydrated and
sunburned, I discovered maps could lie
long moraine that ran towards the Toll a’ Ghiubhais, the
valley between the two Corbetts. My knees were knocking
by the time I got down; I’d recommend anyone who
didn’t like loose rock and scree, or exposure, to go back
down Ruadh-stac Beag the way they came.
Meall a’ Ghiubhais posed little problem. From the
wide valley floor it was a straightforward plod up the steep
slopes to the summit saddle. Island-dotted Loch Maree
stretched into distant Loch Ewe; to the west the distant
Hebrides rode the horizon. The shapely extravagance of
Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Baosbheinn claimed their
reputation as pearls in this Torridonian crown.
Deeply satisfied, I lay against the summit cairn and
watched the dusk gather. The words of mountaineer-poet
Geoffrey Winthrop Young came to mind: “Only a hill: but
all of life to me, up there, between the sunset and the
sea.” It had been a hard day, but a good one.
Another pair of Torridonian hills in the same category
are Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine, 871m (2858ft) and Sgurr
Dubh, 782m (2566ft). You’ll see them if you drive from
Achnasheen to Kinlochewe, two knobbly bumps that
generally serve as the foreground to the bigger hills.
Their very position, just south of Liathach and Beinn
Eighe and west of the lovely Lochs Clair and Coulin,
makes them among the best viewpoints in the land.
Several years ago I climbed them as part of a long
through route from Achnashellach to Dundonnell. The
weather was superb and rather than go through the
Coulin Forest I took to the tops – over Beinn Liath Mor
and down into the magnificent cliff-girt corrie that cradles
Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine’s eponymous lochan.
Years later I recall the burning heat as I toiled up
scree-slopes under a heavy pack. I wrongly assumed a
pleasant high-level ridge walk would take me to Sgurr
Dubh from where I could easily descend to Loch Clair.
Fed upon by blood-sucking clegs, dehydrated and
sunburned, I discovered maps could lie. On the ground it
was Torridon at its most vicious – craggy, ragged and
scabrous. Terraces of sandstone cut across the ridge at
right angles. Fortunately the sandstone contortions cradled
dozens of small lochans. I limped from pool to pool,
dousing my head and taking as much liquid as I could.
The summit of Sgurr Dubh took a long time in coming.
High above the glen I gazed up the length of Coire Dubh
into the heart of Torridon. On one side rose the slopes of
Beinn Eighe; on the other the terraced crags of Liathach. I
sat there until the fierceness of the sun drove me down to
the shade of the pines.
There are other Corbetts in the area – Baosbheinn,
Beinn an Eoin and Beinn Dearg come to mind, climbed
individually or as a giant two-day mountain horseshoe
route of just 40km (25 miles), but a substantially tough trip
I have pencilled in for this spring. Watch this space.
Loch Torridon is a sea loch that stretches for 15 miles,
and is important for salmon and mussel production.
The Torridon mountains are made of sandstone, with
some topped by white quartzite.
The village of Shieldaig was founded in 1800 with a
view for training seamen for the Napoleonic Wars.
Rhynie, 1958
Huntly, 1968
Glenbucket, 1977
Prints from
Canvases from
Glen Clunie, Braemar, 1984
River Don at Inverurie, 1969
Winter Wonderland
Join us for a stroll down memory lane with these delightful photographs featuring wonderful winter
scenes from years gone by. These images chosen from our archives have all been lovingly restored and
are available to purchase as a high quality print or canvas. The view our entire collection, simply go to
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27/11/17 09:03:24
Campaign Latest...
We speak to the authors of a paper in support of a new National Park
in Galloway, who think it could be a real boon for the picturesque area
HE public are being asked to share their views on
the idea of a National Park for the Galloway area.
A discussion paper on the subject was launched
by the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) on
Monday, December 11.
It’s part of a wide-ranging engagement exercise
designed to gauge the level of support for a new National
Park in the south-west region.
The GNPA describe Galloway as Scotland’s “forgotten
corner”. The Association’s John Thomson said, “As far
back as the 1940s, parts of Galloway were seen as
eminently deserving of National Park status.
“Seventy years on, the region’s wealth of natural and
cultural interest is widely acknowledged. It has a
Biosphere Reserve, a Dark Sky Park and acclaimed
wildlife sites and historic buildings. Yet it remains
something of a ‘forgotten corner’ A group of local people
is determined to put this right and are convinced the key
is the establishment of a National Park.”
The discussion paper – called A National Park In
Galloway? – outlines what a Park is and the potential
benefits it can bring to an area. It also sets out the
environmental credentials that make the area a prime
candidate for NP status.
John added, “Within a relatively small space we have
all the features for which Scotland is renowned: wild hill
country, a highly varied and often dramatic coastline,
lochs, rivers and forests.
“All that’s combined with a rich cultural legacy and an
enchanting farmed landscape, dotted with attractive
villages and welcoming small towns.”
The paper also sets out the challenges often facing rural
communities, which include low wages, loss of younger
residents and an ageing population.
John said, “The paper doesn’t pretend that the creation
of a National Park would instantly solve all these problems,
but its authors see the area’s natural and cultural assets as
key to its future economic and social success.”
The paper can be viewed at
HE Isle of Skye could be Scotland’s next World Heritage Site.
It’s one of a range of ideas published in a Highland Council
paper intended to enhance protection and ease tourism pressure on
the Inner Hebridean island.
Skye – which campaigners have tipped for inclusion in a possible
maritime National Park – would join six other parts of Scotland
which already have UNESCO World Heritage Status. They include
St Kilda, the Antonine Wall, neolithic Orkney and the Forth Bridge.
The local authority proposal would see Skye bid for “dual” World
Heritage Status, based on both landscape and the island’s unique
See page 40 for more on Skye and mass tourism.
Skye as a dual World
Heritage Site?
National Park
Gear Guide
We put the latest outdoor clothing
and equipment to the test
1. Berghaus Extrem 5000 Jacket, £300
Contact details:;;;
LTHOUGH marked at £300, you’ll
get it much cheaper if you shop
around. Whatever you pay, you’re getting
a top bit of kit for the Scottish winter. It’s
an outer shell – totally waterproof (three
layer Goretex), including taped zips, and
fantastic in a gale. I’d recommend it for
general winter mountaineering but
re-inforced sections mean it’s robust enough for
climbing. The hood’s big enough to comfortably take a
lid. Long sleeves keep the weather off your hands. Wide
cuffs accommodate gloves, and big tabs can be adjusted
wearing gloves. Numerous pockets are strategically
placed to avoid pack straps and harness.
2. Mountain Warehouse Pakka Waterproofs, £25.99
PAIR of waterproof trousers occupy a
permanent place in my rucksack but
tend to take up a reasonable amount of
room. These breeks come in a wee
draw-string pouch but the question was,
would they go back in? They sure do. Once
dry they fold back to original size and can
fit into a rucksack’s side pocket. The acid
test is, of course, how they perform in the wet. A rainy and
windy trek in the Sidlaws saw them pass with flying
colours, also providing an extra layer of insulation in the
biting wind. Side pockets are bottomless, so access to
trousers or shorts for compass or camera is quick and easy.
However, there are no zips on the legs to allow slipping
them on quickly so you’ve have to take your boots of first.
3. Patagonia Crosstrek™ Fleece, £90
INTER for me is all about making
sure my layers overlap without
leaving any gaps before I set out. It may
seem like a small point, but making sure
the end of every single garment is covered
by your next layer makes such a difference
to your overall warmth on the hill.
I’m pleased to say the Crosstrek fleece is
perfect for this. It’s long – which can be something of a
rarity in women’s midlayer tops – to cover the seams
between baselayer top and trousers, and it has those
all-important thumb-loops – essential to stop your gloves
pushing midlayers back. Brilliant all-round and versatile
midlayer in Polartec® Power Stretch® fabric.
4. Carnation Footcare Silversock, £12
FTER signing up to take part in a 10k
run later this year, I’m now in serious
training mode. On cold winter mornings,
whatever the weather, I’m out there with
my head torch and fluorescent jacket,
pounding the pavements – wondering how
my feet can possibly be cold when every
other part of me is sweltering! However,
that’s all changed since I discovered Silversocks. Made
with silver threads, these socks promise to keep feet warm
in winter and cool in summer – and although I’ve yet to
test their cooling abilities, with my Silversocks on, my feet
are now very toasty as the frozen rain pelts my legs and
the wind nearly blows me over!
For the perfect holiday, take one part stunning scenery, two
parts touring and tasting, three parts delicious whisky, and
serve chilled. Our suggestion? Serve up with a side of expert
guidance and convivial company.
A dram of whisky at home, in your very own chair, unfettered by time or
outside demands, is a beautiful thing. But sometimes, an adventure can
be even better. So why not take your love of whisky on the road with our
spectacular tour of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands, bursting with notes of
sea spray and mountain air?
From the Highlands of mainland Scotland to the majestic windswept islands
of Mull and Skye, we sip and swirl to our hearts’ content. Visit distilleries
at Ardnamurchan and Tullibardine; tantalise your tastebuds with expert-led
tastings in the shadow of Ben Nevis and the colourful coast of Tobermory;
and enjoy sumptuous Scottish produce at elegant restaurants and modern,
laid-back whisky bars.
New for 2018, on selected tours include: more lunches,
wine at dinner, hotel porterage and service charges, as
well as the great hotels and expert guides you’ve already
come to love. There’s never been a better time to travel
with us.
• Return coach travel from Glasgow,
Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Kinross or Perth
• 5 nights’ bed and breakfast
accommodation: 1 night at the 4* Perle
Oban Hotel, Oban; 2 nights’ at the
Highland Hotel, Fort William; 1 night at the
4* Duisdale House Hotel, Skye and 1 night
at the 3* Salutation Hotel, Perth
• 6 lunches and 5 dinners with wine and a
• Comfortable coaching throughout
• Ferry crossings to Mull, Kilchoan, Mallaig
and Corran
• Visits to Oban Distillery, Tobermory
Distillery, Ardnamurchan Distillery, Adelphi
Distillery, Old Inverlochy Castle, Ben Nevis
Distillery, Talisker Distillery, Gaelic Whiskies,
Eilean Donan Castle, Edradour Distillery
and Tullibardine Distillery
• Services of a specialist guide as your
holiday tour manager
6 days from
£1295 PP
Remote? Perhaps. Small? Certainly. But a series of scenic walks around the
Outer Hebrides reveals a profusion of landmark sites and unforgettable
views to surprise even the most seasoned rambler. There are many ways to
see this wild and wonderful archipelago — but this is the first time we’ve
done it on foot! Strap on your favourite walking boots, and join us on
some of the British Isles’ most breath-taking routes.
9 days from
£1995 PP
The Hadrian’s Wall footpath crosses wild and beautiful terrain, its route
covering the shortest distance coast to coast across the country, following
Hadrian’s frontier. This is a real walking holiday (up to 13 miles per day) – a
wonderful way to chart the entire length of the frontier, on foot – as the
Romans would have done. Pass forts, mile castles and some fine museums,
as we walk west to west.
6 days from
£1795 PP
For painterly perfection and winning walks, look no further than Orkney and
Shetland. The Northern Isles boast a double whammy of style and substance,
with no end of intriguing subjects and scenic routes on offer. There are few
places in the British Isles that so endear themselves to artists and amblers as
Orkney and Shetland. Here in Scotland’s Northern Isles, an abundance of aweinspiring sites and breath-taking walks — in both senses of the word — ensure
this new tour will become a firm favourite.
6 days from
£1495 PP
Orkney and Shetland are an archaeologist’s dream — stunning, isolated
archipelagos carpeted by windswept landscapes, dotted with the remains
of ancient cultures, and ringed by the North Sea. Join us on this islandhopping tour, following expert archaeologists as they bring the extensive
relics of the region to life. Scotland’s Northern Isles are imbued with an
allure that’s hard to pin down. Surrounded by the waves, one has the
feeling that one is separated from the mainland by more than just distance
— perhaps by time itself.
10 days from
£2495 PP
Whether you’ve lived in Scotland all your life or you’re yet to have
the pleasure of visiting, there’s always more to explore, with secrets
to surprise even the most seasoned visitor — and this is just the tour
to reveal them. Join us for our Grand Tour of Scotland and discover
it all for yourself. Fàilte gu Alba! Go on the trail of folk heroes, film
sets, holy grails and mythical monsters on this awe-inspiring, allencompassing, Grand Tour of Scotland, perhaps our biggest and best
Grand Tour yet.
For brochure call 01224 338004 & quote SM code, or email
To book call 01334 657155 and quote ‘The Scots Magazine’
Organised by Brightwater Holidays ABTOT 5001; ATOL 4498. Single room supplements may apply. Subject to availability. DC Thomson and its group of companies would like to contact
you about new offers and services we think may be of interest to you. By providing your contact details and email address we assume that we can contact you by post and email.
In the October edition, you carried
an article about the Black Douglas.
When Douglas went to the
Crusades, another knight by the
name of Sir Symon Locard went
with him. Douglas carried the
casket with Bruce’s heart and
Symon carried the key to the
casket. Upon returning home he
changed his name to Lockhart. The
town in Lanarkshire called
Symington (Symon’s Toun) is
named after him. He returned from
the crusades with a mystical stone
known today as the Lee Penny. It is
from this stone that Sir Walter Scott
got the idea to write The Talisman.
Angus Lockhart, by email
From spoils of war to a
National Treasure
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Canteen
What a good idea to feature some of Scotland’s museum treasures.
The later history of Bonny Prince Charlie’s canteen is fascinating.
Following defeat at Culloden, it fell into enemy hands and was
passe d up the line to the victorious Duke of Cumbe rland. It was
given by him to Lord Bury, a young officer on his staff, who was
despatched off to London to give the news of victory to the Duke’s
father, King George II. The canteen, which used to be on display in
the National Museum of Scotland, stayed with his family until the
1980s when they put it on the market. The Government refused to
grant an export license, saying it was a National Art Treasure, which
gave time for the public to raise £150,000 to purchase the cante e n.
Sandy Macpherson, Edinburgh, wins a crystal whisky glass
Visitors’ Book
Loony Dook
The wild swimming article (August)
reminded me of New Year 2014 at
the Arrocher Hotel. One of the
waiters went for a swim in the
harbour; we we re told it was for
charity. Whe n he came out of the
water, the manager handed him a
towel and a very large malt whisky!
Jim Jarvie, Dunfermline
Re the letter from Tim Hill in the
November issue asking about hills
with visitors’ books at their summits.
There was such a book at the
summit of Rois Bheinn, in Moidart,
when I was last there in 2004.
Donald MacKenzie, Fort William
n Send us your news!
The Scots Magazine ,
2 Albert Square, Dundee
DD1 9QJ or email us at
Shelter Call
I’ve just returned from a holiday in
Scotland, I must say I was
disappointed with the lack of
sheltered amenities in the towns I
visited. My lasting memory was of
20 students sitting in the rain in
Mallaig looking out over the
harbour. The only shelter was in
shops pretending to be looking at
buying a souvenir or something.
Surely it’s not that hard to put in
place some public shelters for the
comfort of the tourists?
GM, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Afternoon tea at The Hub: Mary Lamont, Fife. Deer park tour and accommodation: Melanie Dixon, Cheltenham.
More About Douglas
We want to hear your stories
Don Roberto
Aristocrat, rancher, prospector and politician
– how was such a flamboyant Scot forgotten?
FTER cattle ranching in 19th-century Argentina, he befriended
Buffalo Bill in the United States and went on to prospect for
gold in Spain before returning home to Scotland. There, he
helped found the Labour Party – and then moved allegiance to take
on the role of founding president of the SNP.
Despite his colourful life and key role in starting two of Britain’s
biggest political parties, Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham –
also known as Don Roberto – is largely unknown.
Now his great-great nephew, Jamie Jauncey, is re-telling his
forefather’s daring exploits – which also include being captured
trying to enter a forbidden city in Morocco and imprisonment as
an MP – to audiences across Scotland.
Jamie explains, “He was an extraordinary character. I grew up
with a lot of stories about him – he was a big, mythical family figure
in the background. He moved to Scottish Nationalism after
becoming disenchanted with socialism. But the political bit was only
part of a rich and extraordinary life.
“He was a very mercurial person and moved on from things. He was
a great starter but not a great finisher – he got bored.”
Robert was born into an aristocratic Scottish family in 1852 and was
sent to Harrow School. In 1869, aged 17, he headed to Argentina where
he hoped to make money in cattle ranching. It ultimately proved
financially disastrous, but brought him fame across South America and was
the start of an adventurous adult life.
Jamie says, “He went to Argentina because basically the family were in
financial shtuck. His father had been hit on the head as a young cavalry
officer in Ireland in 1840 and as he got older his mental health
deteriorated. He ended up being taken out of
the family and placed in a house in
Dumfriesshire under medical supervision. It
is a tragic story. He had been squandering
the family assets and Robert was taken out
of school at 17.
“He decided to go out to Argentina to make
his fortune – there were big fortunes to be made
in the cattle business. The family dug up a
connection and he went to stay with a couple of
Scots chaps who were running an estancia – very badly,
as it turned out.
“He struck out on his own and was there for about six years; it was a
hell of a life. He became a fantastic horseman and had a lot of adventures.”
While in Argentina he was given the affectionate nickname of Don
Roberto and in later years reportedly said, “God forbid that I should go to a
heaven where there are no horses.”
He returned to the country throughout his life, and died there of
pneumonia in 1936. His body lay in state in Buenos Aires before being
flown home and buried next to his wife on Inchmahome Island, on the
Lake of Menteith near Aberfoyle.
Despite Cunninghame Graham’s fame, Jamie said his financial skills
were lacking – and a revolution in Argentina did not help, especially when
he was kidnapped by bandits. “All his money-making ventures were
disastrous. He never actually restored the family fortune and in 1906 he
ended up having to sell Gartmore, the family home overlooking the Lake of
Menteith – he was devastated by that.
“He went gold prospecting in Spain on the basis of reading a Roman
writer from the early years AD. He tried to find a gold mine and failed.”
He also spent time in Texas, and there are tales of him befriending
Buffalo Bill. He tried cattle ranching there but again failed and went to
Mexico City to set up as a fencing master.
Jamie says his relative’s most “outlandish” failure came during an
attempt to reach the forbidden city of Tarudant in southern Morocco in
1898. “Disguised as a Turkish doctor, and accompanied by three locals,
he set off on horseback into the Atlas mountains at a time when
Christians were liable to be killed on sight.
“He was within a day’s journey of the holy city when he was caught
by the local Caid and imprisoned for three weeks in that potentate’s
mountain castle. He told the story in his book Mogreb-el-Acksa.”
He returned to Britain following his father’s death and entered
politics, winning the Westminster seat of North West Lanarkshire ��
He was elected
president of the
new Scottish National
Party in 1934
Clockwise from top left: Don Roberto’s
book; Keir Hardie; Buffalo Bill; and
ranching in Argentina.
as a Liberal Party candidate in 1886. At this time he
married an actress from Yorkshire, Carrie Horsfall, who he
tried to claim was actually a Chilean actress
called Gabriela de la Balmondiere. He also became a
prolific writer, producing books, poetry and essays.
Jamie says, “He would try his hand at anything and
probably pulled it off too because I think he was a very
gifted person. I suspect that may have worked against him
in that a lot of things came very easily to him.
“In his literary career he was considered a great writer
of his generation, but quite slapdash. George Bernard Shaw
said something to the effect that ‘if he really pulled his
finger out he would wipe the floor with the rest of us’.
“He would send off his manuscripts in a terrible state.
When they came back he’d already be four books ahead.”
On what became known as Bloody Sunday in 1887
he was arrested during a march in support of freedom of
the right of assembly and Irish home rule, and spent six
weeks in Pentonville Prison. His socialist leanings then saw
him found the Scottish Labour Party with Keir Hardie in
1888 and leave the Liberal Party.
In 1892 he was defeated after standing for the Scottish
Labour Party in Glasgow Camlachie. He then helped Keir
Hardie form the Independent Labour Party in 1893.
Having been a founder of the Scottish Home Rule
Association 1886, he was still a firm believer in selfdetermination and was elected the Honorary President of
the new Scottish National Party in 1934 after having help
to found the National Party of Scotland in 1928.
Jamie says it was the rise of the SNP in recent years
which sparked his interest in his great-great uncle.
“As a child and teenager I got increasingly fed up of
hearing about him and didn’t really start g etting interested
until around the time of the independence referendum.
“I am sure he was flattered, as an older man, to be
invited to be a figurehead. He did always believe in the
very basic principle that Scotland was a nation and that
self-determination was something to aspire to and be
cherished. He said famously he would rather ‘that the
taxes were wasted in Edinburgh instead of London’.”
Despite his history, Jamie believes it possible his
relative would be a Green Party supporter today.
“He would have really struggled with modern politics.
I don’t think he would have liked big party machinery at
all – he wouldn’t have been at all good at playing by
any kind of rules.”
Of The Year
The search for our 2018
Photographer of the Year
HE first category in our search for our
next winner is Landscape Photography.
This stunning shot of the Cobbler
should provide ample inspiration.
It was taken by renowned photographer
Keith Fergus. Here’s how he did it...
“I took this image on a perfectly still
November morning, just after dawn. My
ascent began at 6.30am and I was on the
North Peak by 8am.
“The air was crystal clear as I mounted
my Canon 80D camera on its tripod and
composed my image. I included the
foreground rocks that mimicked the shape
of the summit profile while the long arm of
Loch Long drew the eye towards the
distant horizon. My polariser filter helped
infuse the warm light while an aperture of
F11 and an exposure of 1/10th of a second
helped keep the image sharp.”
Our competition has three categories running
in consecutive months – Landscape, Wildlife
and Urban. We’ll select the five best in each
category. When the series is finished we’ll
publish all 15 finalists and readers will vote for
their favourite. The winner will receive a £200
cheque, an engraved trophy, a large canvas
print of their winning picture and – most
importantly – the title of The Scots Magazine
Photographer Of The Year 2018!
To enter, visit our website: and enter the code SMPhoto18.
You can then upload your image in JPEG
format. Alternatively, send shots, marked
Photo Comp, to,
or by post to The Scots Magazine, Albert
Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
Closing date is 5pm on Weds, March 14, 2018.
All entries must be in the sole ownership of the
entrant and not infringe on the copyright of any
other party.
Visit our website for full competition Ts&Cs,,
or send a large, stamped self-addressed
envelope to Scots Magazine Marketing, Copy of
your Competition Terms, DC Thomson & Co Ltd,
2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
Slàinte Mhath
The Past Reborn
Your whisky expert finds a forgotten historic blend is now
being resurrected in a new and exciting Hebridean distillery
UST over two years ago, I likened the ventures of
whisky innovator Alasdair Day to a Back to The Future
style caper.
Not only had Alasdair travelled through the mists of
time to resurrect a forgotten whisky blended by a forebear
in the Scottish Borders during the early 1900s, but he’d
also used his time-travelling expertise to unveil a sample of
a dram from a Hebridean distillery – that hadn’t even
been built yet!
Well, fast forward to the current day, and in the words
of Doc Emmett Brown – Great Scott! That very distillery
on Raasay, the tiny island situated off the East coast of
Skye, is now complete and fully operational. And, for
once, Alasdair is taking time to savour the here and now.
“The journey to get where we are today has been full
of challenges and exciting milestones, and the reward of
walking into a working still room on this wee Hebridean
island is indescribable.
“I’m exceptionally proud to see the Isle of Raasay
Distillery open. We have a fantastic production team
made up of young talent and ambition, long-term
expertise and born-and-raised local skill.
“There is, of course, plenty to happen before we bottle
our first single malt in 2020 but I’m filled with excitement
about it.”
Eight years ago Alasdair, who was working full time in
Bill Dobbie
and Alasdair Day
the dairy business, made a foray into the whisky trade,
inspired by his late great-grandfather, Richard Day’s cellar
book. It held the secret recipe to the long lost Tweeddale
Blend. Richard, who died in 1965, had owned J & A
Davidson (latterly known as Richard Day) a Coldstreambased brewing and blending company, but the signature
blend disappeared after the Second World War.
Today, Alasdair sources the exact same cask-matured
whiskies as used in that original book. They are moved to
an independent blender and bottler, and blended on
Alasdair’s exact instructions.
The success of that venture has been the foundation
stone for the Raasay, which Alasdair has on embarked on
with business partner Bill Dobbie, under their umbrella of
R&B distillers (Raasay and Borders). He even created a
prototype dram – While We Wait – based on what the
real McCoy should taste like.
Raasay is only 23km (14 miles) in length and its 120
residents have watched eagerly as a disused Gothic villa
hotel, Borodale House, has been transformed into the
new distillery, as well as the adjacent visitors’ centre
and accommodation.
Building the new operation hasn’t just required the
same meticulous approach to detail as Tweeddale – it has
also demanded a light touch.
“As a result of an environmental survey we’ve
Testing the produce
The two copper pot
stills from Tuscany
Raasay’s diverse
geology makes it the
perfect site
constructed a bat hotel, which we’ve fondly named the
Belfry, in the roof of Borodale House and installed special
bat boxes in surrounding trees,” said Alasdair.
“The bats migrated from the site during the heavy roof
works we did before the summer and then returned.
We’re respectful neighbours and don’t see much of each
other but we’re very happy to host what’s been confirmed
as the UK’s most north-westerly population of brown longeared bats. In the future we may introduce a bat tour at
the distillery as well!”
As part of that tour, visitors will also see Raasay is
furnished with two copper pot stills sourced from Frilli in
Tuscany. R&B predict that it will be able to produce
150,000 bottles of Scotch whisky a year.
“Building a distillery on Raasay was not a whim, the
site was perfect because the island has such a unique
distribution of diverse geology,” added Alasdair.
“This includes the high mineral content in our natural
water supply, which filters through the volcanic rock of
Raasay’s iconic Dun Caan.
“We use this water at every stage of the distillation and
bottling project, unlike most distilleries which use local
water supplies only for distillation and therefore attaining
much less flavour influence.
“Something else that separates us from many other
distilleries is that our whisky is matured on the island in
our bonded warehouse. The air and altitude can really
affect the final flavour.”
The distillery is expected to generate employment for
up to 10% of the island’s residents. All in all, quite an
accomplishment from the genesis of a dusty old book.
So does Alasdair have any message for readers who
may be toying with a big idea over the New Year?
“Take the leap,” he asserts. “My father and I spent
years thinking that we might do something with my great
grandfather’s cellar book and finally I was at a point where
I realised it was important to take that first step.
“It’s a big task that requires a lot of faith to quit your
day job and embark on a project like this. But if you really
believe in it and surround yourself with people to support
and empower you, then it’s more than possible.”
Euan Downs A Dram
We’ve already sampled Raasay While We Wait.
So for Auld Lang Syne I opted to sample a
Tweeddale Blend.
With a delicate nose and just a whiff of toffee, this
resurrected dram from Alasdair’s greatgrandfather’s recipe is smooth and malty on the
palate. The finish is medium with an afterglow of
oak and distant smoke.
My verdict – timeless..
Carina’s Kitchen
After the excesses of
the festive season, we
need something
simple but tasty
ANDS up who eats too much in December?
Every year we say we’ll resist, we’ll just have a
little, one glass will be fine… but oh no, we don’t
listen and it all goes straight to our hips – or to Victor’s
tummy! I do love him cuddly.
So we’re back to dieting. I’m going to admit I’m not as
bad as I’ve been in previous years as I’ve cut grains from
my diet since June on doctors orders and I’ve never felt
better. I’ve eaten more and more vegetables than ever to
bulk out the space vacated by the grains and although I’m
eating so much more, I’ve not been piling on the pounds.
Over the summer I do feel as if I could be vegetarian.
There are many who suggest that we should all be
vegetarian. In order to provide a sustainable world food
system we should be eating less meat but we still should
be eating a balanced diet.
A tragic 11% of the world’s population is hungry,
eating less than the recommended daily calorie intake of
2000. Yet estimates say between one third and a half of all
food produced is wasted. We know western culture is the
biggest culprit. We eat, buy and bin too much.
I do think we are more aware now, though. The
number of television programmes dedicated to showing
us how much money we waste and with all our pockets
tightened over the last few years, we’ve had to move
towards being less wasteful.
Supermarket bulk buying and the dreaded date codes
have driven us to a fear of not getting a bargain, but do we
need three because we get one free even though we only
wanted one in the first place? We’re seeing through the
marketing, and being forced to recycle and separate our
waste at home does make us all think more.
Restaurants have been doing this for years. We are
very conscious of this in our restaurants and have changed
our menus accordingly to manage portion sizes so guests
get just the right amount per dish. In the past our portions
– and prices – were bigger but we’ve reduced to align
with our own habits and by watching what gets wasted.
The Scottish Café & Restaurant was the first gallery
restaurant in the UK to achieve a three-star rating from the
Sustainable Restaurant Association. This body looks at
sourcing, environment and the social aspect of a
The moral of the story is we all need less waste – for
our trousers and for our planet.
Everything in moderation always serves us well. The
little bit of barley in this delicious soup will give me a good
boost for January and made in advance with any extra
boxed and frozen veg there will be no waste from this pot
that’s for sure.
Traditional Scotch Broth with a heavenly finishing touch!
This recipe reduces waste as well as calories, so you can indulge in a hearty, healthy bowlful
● 200g of dried pearl barley
Garlic & Rosemary Pesto
● 200g of dried mixed beans, soaked
● 1 clove garlic
● 2 carrots, washed, peeled and
● 1 handful of rosemary leaves finely
overnight in plenty of cold water
● 1 baby turnip, washed, peeled and
● 2 onions, peeled and chopped
● 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and
● 200g of curly kale, washed and
● 2 litres of hot mutton or vegetable
● 1 teaspoon of salt
● 3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil
Rinse the beans in fresh water,
add to pot of cold water and then
bring to the boil. Drain the beans.
In a separate pot, bring the stock
to the boil and reduce the
temperature to a simmer.
Add the beans with the barley.
Don’t miss Carina’s column next month for another great recipe
Add all the vegetables, except the
Simmer for at least 1 hour until
the beans are tender.
Add the chopped kale, cook for
another 10 minutes until the kale
has “dissolved” and the soup looks
thick. Check the seasoning.
Finally cream together the pesto
ingredients using a pestle and
mortar. Use the oil to obtain a lovely
smooth consistency. Add a
tablespoon to the soup just before
you serve.
Eat, Drink, Sleep...The Reviews
ITH verdant
forests, hills
towering over
scenic lochs, a rich
heritage and abundant
wildlife, Highland
Perthshire is one of the
most amazing parts of
Somewhere so
stunning deserves a
special base from which
to experience it – so I was
thrilled to be invited for a
short break at Mains of
Taymouth Country Estate
& Golf Club.
The estate lies at the
head of Loch Tay, near
the tiny village of
Kenmore, just six miles
from the bustling market
town of Aberfeldy.
The family-owned
estate and nine-hole golf
course covers 160 acres
and offers award-winning
luxury self-catering
holiday cottages, lodges,
houses, villas and
The key word for me
here is luxury – and I
certainly wasn’t
We stayed in Granary
Court, one of a handful
of converted original
estate buildings
surrounding a secluded
It’s something of a
Tardis – from the
courtyard entrance it
looks fairly small. Inside,
098_SMG_141217.indd 98
Mains Of Taymouth
Enjoy the peace and relaxation – but don’t forget to
explore the surrounding outdoor lover’s paradise
A sizeable back
garden with sauna
however, is a fourbedroom property
sprawling over three
floors. Two bedrooms are
en-suite, there are two
other bathrooms, an
enormous lounge area
with massive comfy
leather sofas and a wood
burning stove, as well as a
huge basement kitchen
and dining area.
The lounge overlooks
the kitchen area through
a series of beautiful stone
archways, and the two
are linked by a wooden
staircase. The kitchen is
the best-equipped in any
self-catering property I’ve
ever stayed in. It had
every conceivable utensil
and gadget you would
ever need – and a few
you didn’t know you
In the sizeable and
private back garden is a
large hot tub and a stone
outbuilding that houses a
Finnish sauna. It was all
incredibly decadent!
There are flat-screen
TVs in the lounge,
kitchen and bedrooms
but we didn’t turn any on
even once during our stay
– it seemed almost
sacrilegious to break the
incredible feeling of
peace and quiet. It was a
real treat to curl up on
the sofa, fire blazing, with
a good book and a glass
of wine.
I have to admit, I was
enjoying relaxing in the
Granary so much I was
reluctant to leave to
explore my surroundings
– but I’m very glad I did.
28/11/2017 12:27:03
Poppy Seed Restaurant
There’s loads to do in
this part of the country.
It’s an outdoor lover’s
paradise – plenty of hills
to climb, angling and
watersports on Loch Tay.
If history is your thing,
then there’s the Scottish
Crannog Centre on your
doorstep, as well as
ancient standing stones
and a plethora of other
One of two stand-out
attractions I visited was
Dewar’s World of
Whisky, at Aberfeldy. We
did the Connoisseur’s
Tour, which includes the
chance to sample a 1985
Aberfeldy single malt
straight from the cask, as
well as five other
expressions from the
Our visit to Highland
Safaris was also great fun.
It included a chance to
feed the inhabitants at
the Red Deer Centre,
followed by a 2.5hr tour
deep into the Perthshire
hills in a 4x4. Our guide
Tony was superb –
incredibly knowledgeable
and very humorous.
For accommodation
options and prices
Tel: 01887 830226
Luxury awaits…
Very moreish
Robert Wight sampled fine
culinary delights in the Trossachs
FOOD: One of the best places to eat in the Trossachs.
An uncluttered menu – five or six choices per course
– is frequently updated and is always delicious.
Produce is seasonal and local where possible. To start,
my partner and I both opted for pan-seared scallops
with crispy, crumbled black pudding and delicately
battered cauliflower florets. The scallops were
deliciously creamy and cooked to perfection. For my
main, I had chicken supreme with wild mushroom and
gnocchi. It was very tasty, but my partner really struck
gold – sirloin steak, shallot purée, caramelised lentil de
puy and pickled red onion. It was ordered rare and
was perhaps leaning slightly more toward medium but
it was an enormous chunk of meat! Naturally I had to
sample it – it was as tender as a fillet and almost melted
in the mouth. I know what I’ll be ordering next time.
For dessert, we both had winter Eton mess – winter
fruits, a heavenly mango sorbet, scrumptious whipped
cream and lovely chewy meringue. My partner said it
was one of the best desserts she’d tasted – and I have
to agree it was very moreish… 9/10
SERVICE: Super. Proprietor Veronica greeted us like
old friends. Chatty, with excellent food knowledge!
AMBIENCE: Décor an elegant blend of traditional and
modern. Classy but very relaxed and welcoming. 9/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: Great value for the standard of
cuisine and quality of produce. Sirloin was the most
expensive dish at £23.50, but I reckon it’s the best
you’ll taste. 8/10
FACILITIES: Comfortable lounge has one
of Scotland’s best whisky selections. Car
park can fill quickly on a busy night. 8/10
… in spacious rooms
098_SMG_141217.indd 99
28/11/2017 12:27:22
Sound Of Scotland
In The
Lisa-Marie Ferla anticipates an
exciting musical revolution in 2018
H, January. It’s a month associated with fresh starts
and looking forward to the future, yet it is also one
in which everybody is too tired, cold and skint after
the excesses of the festive period to commit to much of
anything beyond the essential.
It is, let’s face it, the perfect month for Scotland’s finest
small venue to celebrate emerging talent with a monthlong music festival, featuring names you can expect to see
making waves across the rest of 2018 and beyond.
Back for an eighth year, King Tut’s New Year’s
Revolution will feature more than 50 acts playing
Glasgow’s most famous small stage across 16 nights, plus
venue DJs and delicious, healthy food from the venue’s
Paleo Canteen for those not yet ready to give up on their
new year’s resolutions.
The format is simple: a headline act and three supports
hand-picked from the finest new Scottish musical talent
each night, named DJs in the bar and an after-show
featuring even more music on Fridays and Saturdays, all
for the princely sum of eight quid. Grab a £40 “Golden
Ticket”, guaranteeing entry to every show, and that’s 16
nights of new music for less than the cost of a single ticket
The Little Kicks
It’s the
month to
up the road at The SSE Hydro.
For the venue, King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution and
its sister festival, King Tut’s Summer Nights in July, fit in
with its broader ethos: to give the best emerging talent in
Scotland a platform to show what they can do, in front of
one of the best live audiences in the world. For the bands,
it’s a chance to play the stage that kick-started the careers
of the likes of Oasis, Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, Florence and
the Machine and Amy MacDonald.
“It’s a huge deal!” Glasgow electro-pop trio
BooHooHoo, who have a coveted Friday night headline
slot on January 12, tell me. “We played King Tut’s
Summer Nights last year and had a great night, but to be
back headlining a night feels good.”
The band’s DebutHooHoo three-track EP, mixed by
Lewis Gardiner of Prides, sold out its initial run of
brightly-coloured USB drive “bracelets” through
crowdfunded label Last Night From Glasgow last year –
although you can still download it, along with recent single
“Fire”, in all the usual places. They promise to bring the
same sense of offbeat, danceable fun, with “a smattering
of flute and usually some slightly awkward chat in
between”, to their live show, at which they’ll be
supported by Oh Jay, Noah Noah and their pals in indie
Gig Guide
King King, Queen’s Hall,
Edinburgh, January 26. Glasgow
rockers, once labelled the “best
blues-rock band in the world”.
The Damned, Caird Hall,
Dundee, January 27. Punk
legends fronted by Dave Vanian.
Paul Carrack, Usher Hall,
January 28. English rock star and
former vocalist with Mike and
the Mechanics.
Rat Boy, Barrowland, Glasgow,
January 31. Hip hop and punk
from Jordan Cardy, voted Best
New Artist at the 2016 NME
Hayseed Dixie, 02 ABC,
February 1. Acknowledged
initiators of the genre rockgrass,
with 15 albums to their name
since 2001.
Mearsault, The Tunnels,
Aberdeen, February 2. Eightpiece Scottish indie-folk band
formed in 2007.
The Vignettes
The Skids, Pittencrieff Park,
Dunfermline, February 9. Art
punk rockers come home.
Pictures: CAPS CAPS
rock four-piece The Little Kicks.
Glam-rock Glaswegians The Vignettes play
as part of the bill headlined by disco-punk
four-piece Fauves the following Friday
(January 19). Although the band already have
one King Tut’s gig under their belt, it hasn’t
dulled their enthusiasm for their New Year’s
Revolution billing in the slightest. Indeed,
frontman Hamish Swanson tells me, “it’s
such a brilliant venue, we just can’t wait to
get back on that stage”.
King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution gets
underway on Thursday, January 4, with
Awkward Family Portraits headlining, and
continues until Saturday, January 20. No
shows on January 10, 11 and 15.
Michael Rother, The Liquid
Rooms, Edinburgh, February
9. German experimental/
electronica musician, co-founder
of Hallogallo.
Scottish Bookshelf
Hyde And Seek
In Edinburgh
Author Anthony O’Neill has breathed new
life into one of Scotland’s most famous books
The book
that’s also
a tribute
T’S fair to say that Robert Louis Stevenson has influenced more than
his fair share of writers, but none of them have ever been brave
enough to attempt a follow up to his classic novella The Strange Tale of
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – until now.
Anthony O’Neill was just seven-years-old when he read it for the first
time. The Melbourne-born author, who now lives in Edinburgh, says that
the sinister story about the duality of man, gripped him even then.
“I read Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde in my school library and I found it utterly
enthralling. I loved it so much, I asked my mum to buy me my own
copy. My sequel is dedicated to her because she walked the streets of
Melbourne looking for a copy for me! I still treasure that book.”
Set in both London and Edinburgh, Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek
captures all the gothic beauty of the original tale and is a
fitting tribute to the Robert Louis Stevenson classic that the
author fell in love with all those years ago.
The original book, which was said to have been inspired
by one of Stevenson’s fevered nightmares, ends with both Dr
Henry Jekyll and his evil alter ego Edward Hyde, dying on the
laboratory floor, making it a challenging book to follow up!
“I start my book seven years after the death of Mr Hyde. A
man shows up in London claiming to be Dr Jekyll and the
only person that knows this can’t be true is Jekyll’s faithful
lawyer and confidant Mr Utterson.
“He doesn’t know how to contradict or expose the
imposter without revealing the fact that Jekyll and Hyde were
the same person. The very idea sounds preposterous even to him, so
Utterson begins to question the original story as well as his own sanity.”
Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek is Anthony’s sixth novel, but he says his literary
success did not come easily. “I wrote my first novel when I was 11 and
as soon as I left school I pursued my writing. I was ambitious and hoped
to get published quickly, but it took 18 years! My journey is a lesson to
aspiring authors. It can take an awfully long time to master your style.”
While he perfected his craft, Anthony took a series of menial jobs that
provided the time he needed to write. In his early thirties, he decided to
go for broke, pouring his heart and soul into Scheherazade, inspired by
Arabian Nights, also known as One Thousand and One Nights.
“I left no stone unturned and researched to the last grain of sand!” ��
Scottish Bookshelf
Clockwise from above: A
poster from an early movie
Author Anthony O’Neill,
Pictures: ALAMY
Robert Louis Stevenson’s
iconic cautionary tale on
After Scheherazade, came The Lamplighter, set in
Victorian Edinburgh, also inspired by Robert Louis
Stevenson, and what brought Anthony to Edinburgh.
“It was the first time I’d been to Scotland. I remember
stepping off the airport bus on Princes Street and looking
up at the Castle. It was December so there was a very low
winter sun hanging over the city and the old town was in
silhouette. I thought it was just absolutely surreal. I went to
the National Library of Scotland and when I left at 4pm
the whole city was in darkness. There was eerie evening
fog filling the streets. As someone who loves the Victorian
era and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde it was phenomenal, like
stepping into a dream.”
Ten years later, when Anthony’s mother passed away,
he decided the time was finally right to make the move.
“I’ve been here for six years now and it’s been the best six
years of my life! I really do love Edinburgh and Scotland.”
Coming from the baking heat of Australia, Anthony’s
friends were worried about how he’d cope with dreary
Scottish weather. “They kept warning me I’d end up with
hypothermia, but I find the weather agreeable. I think
people from colder climates gravitate indoors, which is
why Edinburgh has produced an inordinate number of
world famous writers – Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis
Stevenson, Walter Scott – it’s incredible that one city can
produce so many iconic writers and literary characters.”
So how does it feel to continue the legacy with Dr
Jekyll & Mr Seek? “It’s an honour to stand on the
shoulders of such a giant,” he tells me. “I like to think that
Robert Louis Stevenson would approve!”
Anthony O’Neill is the author of six books. His fifth
novel, a science fiction book named The Dark Side,
has recently been purchased by 20th Century Fox to
be turned into a movie.
Anthony has ambitions to write a book in every
genre. So far, he has turned his hand to historical
fiction, Sci-Fi, crime, and gothic literature.
O’Neill has collected classic novels from a young
age, saving up to buy Dean’s Classics from his local
supermarket at 50 cents a book.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr
Jekyll & Mr Hyde was published in 1886 and is said
to have been inspired by the life of Deacon Brodie
who was a town councillor by day and a criminal
by night.
A Fantastically Spooky Read
l Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek is published by Black &
White Publishing and is out now – published
September 2017.
Scottish Bookshelf
Manchester City for a trial. He
amassed 200-plus appearances at
Maine Road before moving to
Liverpool in 1936.
At the end of the Second
World War, Manchester
United were looking for a
OF THE manager. Busby accepted,
MONTH and The Busby Babes.
were born.
It would be impossible to
write of his career without a
sizeable section about the day in
February, 1958 when the aircraft
carrying Busby’s young team
home after eliminating Red Star
Sir Matt Busby
Belgrade from the European Cup
crashed attempting take-off at a
By Patrick Barclay
snowy Munich-Riem airport,
killing 23 people including 11
United players and staff.
Barclay covers this tragedy with
THE facts of Sir Matt Busby’s life
sensitivity and follows up with the
and career are well known, but
long, difficult rebuilding of the
what lifts this “definitive
club. Success in the 1963 FA
biography” out of the ordinary is
Cup, beating Leicester City 3-1 in
the quality of Barclay’s writing.
the final, was the catalyst to
Assured and confident,
winning the Championship in
packed with detail and
1965 and 1967, and in 1968
perceptive insights, this is a treat
United defeated Benfica 4-1 after
for all fans of the beautiful game
extra time to win the European
as it used to be played and run,
Cup. Busby had created an allin the days before multi-million
conquering team that included,
pound transfer madness.
among others, Bobby Charlton,
The coverage of Busby’s early
George Best and Denis Law.
days in the mining communities
Busby was awarded the CBE in
of Lanarkshire, and how those
experiences shaped the man and 1958 and a knighthood in 1968.
He resigned as manager in
manager he became, is
1969, being replaced by Wilf
particularly illuminating.
McGuinness. He returned briefly
While playing for part-time
in 1970-71 after McGuinness
Denny Hibernian, Busby was
was sacked and remained a
noticed and summoned to
director until being named Club
president in 1980. He died in
January 1994 aged 84.
A fascinating insight into the
life of a truly remarkable man.
John McDiarmid
Assured and
confident, packed
with detail
White Stag Adventure
By Rennie McOwan
The second of a series of
four books by a former Scots
Magazine contributor, following
the adventures of Gavin and his
friends the Stewart children,
Clare, Michael and Mot. Here they
try to foil a gang who are trying to
capture a rare white stag.
The London Cage
By Mark Leggatt
Leggatt’s man-of-the-moment
Connor Montrose finds himself in
scrape after scrape and needs all his
ingenuity – and that of his partner, a
computer hacker called Kirsty. It’s
thrill-a-minute, cat-and-mouse stuff
and totally unputdownable!
First for fact and fiction
Whisky Inspiration For Burns’ Night
Whiskies Galore
By Iain Hector Ross
An unusual and humorous
dictionary of place names, terms,
places and whisky folklore
accompanied by delightful
illustrations by artist Ben Averis. Ross
leaves no stone unturned and has
presented a book that will delight
both aficionados and beginners.
By Ian Buxton
Buxton takes you on a fascinating
tour of Scotland’s island distilleries,
highlighting the combination of
heritage, mystique, location and
their highly distinctive flavours. He
draws on 30 years’ experience in
and around the whisky industry to
give the book a personal touch.
Scotland’s Secret
By Marc Ellington
The illicit distilling of whisky in the
17th century was seen as a “right of
man”, and this book highlights the
many ingenious attempts that were
made to avoid the excise man. It
also shows the economic benefits
illegal whisky-making could create.
A Signed Copy Of The Scots
Magazine’s Great Scottish Journeys
WE have teamed up with top outdoor photographer and regular
Scots Magazine contributor Keith Fergus to take you on a fascinating tour
of some of the best journeys in the country.
Turnberry to Portpatrick, the Crinan Canal, Inverness to Applecross…
these are just three of the 12 wonderful routes to the heart of Scotland
that Keith has included in the book. Marvellous scenery, captured the
way only Keith can, make this a must for all lovers of Scotland.
We have six copies to give away in a prize draw. Go to and you could be a lucky winner of this
photographic masterpiece.
Closing date is midnight on January 11, 2018.
Please visit our website for our full competition Ts&Cs or send
a large stamped self-addressed envelope to Scots Magazine Marketing, Copy of your
Competition Terms, DC Thomson, 2 Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ.
The Whisky Dictionary
Around Scotland
Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, January 30. Spectacular Shetland tradition that dates back to the 1880s, consisting of
torch-light parade and burning of Viking longboat.
Angus And Tayside Association Of
Young Farmers Annual Cabaret,
Webster Theatre, Arbroath,
January 13. Enjoy productions
by Brechin YFC, Forfar JAC and
Strathmore JAC in an evening
full of music, dance and laughter. For
more, email
Trumpaggedon, Theatre Royal,
Dumfries, January 15.
Sell-out Edinburgh Fringe show that
takes the mickey out of the American
Hop Scotch Polka, Gaiety Theatre,
Ayr, Jan 19-20. Showcasing dancers
aged three and over who aspire to
perform in the Dance Company at
the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, January
27-28. One of the largest events of its
kind in the UK, with over 1000 dogs
and 250 mushers. Email enquiry@
Strathpuffer, Strathpeffer, January
20-21. 24-hour gruelling mountain
bike challenge, open for solos, pairs,
quads and teams.
Kingussie Food On Film Festival,
February 2-4. A feast of local food,
celebrity chefs, short films,
documentaries and features.
February Fest, Clachaig Inn,
Glencoe, February 2-March 3.
Good craic, good music and good
food. Phone 01855 811252.
Legends Of American Country,
Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline,
January 17. Country music tribute
show featuring songs made famous
by a host of country stars.
The New Jersey Boys, Howden Park
Centre, Livingston, January 19.
Tribute show to Frankie Valli and the
Four Seasons. Tickets £16.50 and
Steven Osborne, Linlithgow
Academy, February 3. The worldrenowned pianist returns to his home
town with a programme of Brahms
and Beethoven.
Burns Ceilidh, Burn o’ Bennie,
Banchory, January 27. An evening of
fine entertainment with dancing and,
of course, haggis. £20 per person,
£50 family ticket (two adults, two
children). Phone 01330 825431.
Trophy D’Ecosse Ice Skating
Championships, Dumfries Ice
Bowl, February 9-11. Awe-inspiring
synchronised ice skating from the
world’s top skaters.
Bold Girls, Citizens Theatre,
January 24. A play about the lives of
four women living in strife-torn
Belfast during the early 1990s.
Herland: Alter Native Burns,
Glasgow Women’s Library,
January 26. An alternative Burns
Night with song and storytelling in
Gaelic and Scots from female artists.
National Whisky Festival, Studio
Warehouse, SWG3, January 20. 30
tasting stands representing the best
drams with master-classes led by
leading experts.
Bothy Culture & Beyond,
SSE Hydro, January 27. A musicvision dance and bike spectacular
featuring The Grit Orchestra &
guests with special appearance by
cyclist Danny MacAskill.
Scottish Caravan, Motorhome &
Holiday Home Show, SECC,
February 8-11. The widest selection
of caravan and motorhomes you’ll
ever see, plus a fantastic choice of
holiday homes. For first-time
caravanners, there’s expert tuition
from qualified Caravan Club
instructors while there’s kids’ activities
to keep them occupied while you’re
“having a go”! All in all, it’s the
perfect destination for every
enthusiast, beginner or expert.
Edinburgh Capitals v
Manchester Storm,
Murrayfield Ice Rink, January 14,
6pm. Enjoy an evening of top-class
Elite League ice hockey.
Burns For Beginners, Edinburgh
Castle, January 24-28. Come along
for a light-hearted introduction to the
Bard and some of his works. www.
Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival,
various venues, January 26
-February 3. World-class visual
theatre and animation produced by
Puppet Animation Scotland.
Hot Rocks, Holyrood Park, January
28. Join an expert geologist and a
ranger on a guided walk to discover
the fascinating geological history of
Holyrood Park.
Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run, Holyrood Park, January
13. Two races, one for ages 14 and over, the other for seven to
13-year-olds, set in splendid surroundings.
Mountain Film Festival, Edinburgh
University, February 3-4. Series of
adventure films, with much of th e
action filmed in Scotland.
Capital Sci-Fi Con, Corn Exchange,
February 3-4. Comic artists and
writers, guest talks, competitions and
much more.
Lunchtime Concerts, Aberdeen
Gallery & Museums, every
Thursday, 12.45. Anything from jazz
to strathspeys and reels.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,
His Majesty’s Theatre, January 21.
Programme includes Tchaikovsky’s
“Pathetique” symphony.
Craig Hill, The Lemon Tree, January
27. Camp comedy from the kilted
Spectra: Festival Of Light,
Rosemount Viaduct, February 8-11.
Celebrate the Scottish Year of History,
Heritage and Archaeology and
Aberdeen’s past. 01224 523029.
Winter Planetarium Tour, Mills
Observatory, January 19 and
February 2. Learn about
constellations, asteroids, galaxies and
much more. Adults £1, children 50p.
Booking essential.
Phone 01382 435967.
Record, CD And Music
Memorabilia Show, Marryat Hall,
February 4. Scotland’s longestrunning music fair specialising in rare
and collectable vinyl and CDs and
attracting dealers from all over the
Craft Beer Discovery, Bonar Hall,
February 10. Street food, live music
and… craft beer. What else?
Next Month…
The Nutcracker, Eden Court,
January 24-27. Scottish Ballet’s
acclaimed production, created by the
company’s founder Peter Darrell.
Box office 01463 234234.
Banff Mountain Film Festival, Eden
Court, January 31-February 1. A
selection of short films courtesy of the
world’s most prestigious film festival.
Aviemore and the
Cairngorms are the
place for winter fun
Giselle, Macrobert Arts Centre,
January 26. Ballet West present a
production of this ballet favourite,
with music by Adolph Adam.
Revel With Rabbie, Stirling Castle,
January 27-28. Celebrate the life and
work of Robert Burns, and have a
dram and some haggis in his honour.
Travelling Gallery – 40
years of taking art to
the people... in a bus!
The Ice Age In Scotland, Perth
Theatre, January 16. Professor Colin
Ballantyne explores the climate
change of the last Ice Age and the
effects of glaciation on Scotland.
Riverside Light Nights, January
27-February 14. Enjoy food and drink
as you stroll along the illuminated
Norie-Millar Walk by the River Tay.
Fast Love, Concert Hall, February 1.
A celebration of the life and music of
George Michael.
Singer Justin Currie
reflects on life on the
road as a solo star
ON SALE Jan 18, 2018
Scottish people were among the
foreign contingent that played a
major role in the Spanish Civil War
HE recent troubles in Catalonia have conjured up
When the International Brigade required to leave
both romantic and tragic memories of the Spanish
Spain in October 1938, thousands of people lined the
Civil War.
streets of Barcelona, including the Spanish Prime Minister,
Writings from Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls
to say thanks and bid them farewell.
and Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia have
La Pasionaria said to them,
“Comrades of the International Brigade!
been mentioned.
Political reasons, reasons of state, the
Reminiscences made about the
La Pasionaria
statue in Glasgow
good of that same cause for which you
International Brigade with songs from
offered your blood with limitless
Christy Moore’s La Quinta Brigada to
generosity, send some of you back to your
Woody Guthrie’s Jarama Valley.
countries and some to forced exile. You can
Less well known though is that Scots
go with pride. You are history. You are
made up just under a quarter of the British
legend. You are the heroic example of the
Battalion of the International Brigade or
solidarity and the universality of democracy.
that the song penned by Guthrie was
We will not forget you.”
based on a poem written by a Scot, Alex
Around 30,000 from 53 countries
McDade, who fought at Jarama and died
fought for the Spanish Republic against
in a subsequent battle at Brunete.
Franco’s nationalist forces. With the
Some indication of Scotland’s links
backdrop of the great depression and
with the Spanish Civil War are provided
the rise of fascism it was both the call to
by the statue to La Pasionaria standing on
arms for the radical left and the
the Broomielaw in Glasgow or through the
prelude to the Second World War.
Banner to the Scottish Contingent of the
The largest contingent were
International Brigade that hangs in the
Mexican – understandable given close political
People’s Palace.
and linguistic links – and from Europe it was
The statue to Dolores Ibarruri, the
Germans given the ascension of Hitler and
Spanish Communist, known as La
the scattering of the once most powerful
Pasionaria, famed for her phrase, “No
communist party in Europe.
Pasaran” during the defence of Madrid,
However, almost 2400 made up the
commemorates 65 men from the city
British battalion and the Scottish
who died in the conflict. The banner
contingent numbered 549. A
that hangs in the museum a few miles
considerable number given the size of
away records the battles they fought in
the country and the lack of support
not just Jarama and Brunete, but Ebro
from the Government. It was ��
and Teruel among others.
114_SMG_141217.indd 114
28/11/2017 12:30:06
Nationalist soldiers
welcomed on the
streets of Madrid
114_SMG_141217.indd 115
28/11/2017 12:30:28
A poster for the International Brigades
Scots served the cause of Catalonia in
ways – not just men, but women too
indicative of the Red Clydeside legacy and the poverty
that still blighted it.
More than half were members of the Communist Party
and Willie Gallacher who had been elected to Parliament
for West Fife in 1935 was a trenchant advocate for them
and their cause. Others came from the ILP and parties of
the left and none. Many were from Glasgow but they also
came from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, the Fife and
Ayrshire coalfields and beyond.
The first Scots served as part of the Tom Mann
Centuria which was established in August 1936.
December 1936 saw the first Scots die, with Henry
Bonnar falling at Colmenar de Oreja and Martin Messer at
Boadilla. Both were from Glasgow. That month also saw
the establishment of a British Battalion when more than
100 volunteers set out. They fought in skirmishes in
Cordoba and around Madrid in early 1937.
Reinforcements joined them along with the American
Abraham Lincoln Brigade, who included the later
Hollywood star Robert Mitchum, and the Irish Connolly
Column soon became the 15th International Brigade.
February saw them fighting at Jarama, where on one day
alone there over 250 British casualties. It was there that
Alex McDade was injured but not only fought on but
penned his poem Valley of Jarama made famous by
Guthrie’s slightly amended lines with his song.
Another Scot, Jock Cunningham from Coatbridge
came to fame in March 1937 when he commanded the
Connolly Column and rallied wounded and dispirited
114_SMG_141217.indd 116
brigadeers to hold the Madrid to Valencia road. He was
badly wounded but became a captain and is viewed as
one of the most important non-Spanish fighters.
After almost six months in the Jarama Valley the 15th
International Brigade moved to west of Madrid. It was
there that they later fought in the battle of Brunete where
McDade and nearly 300 others gave their lives.
Further battles saw numerous Scots involved, including
Peter Kerrigan from the Gorbals, who had been the
Communist Party of Great Britain’s representative to the
Comintern, and who became commissar for the Englishspeaking volunteers.
It wasn’t just men but women – Ethel McDonald from
Glasgow had been in the ILP and served helping
anarchists escape when serving in Catalonia. Other Scots
served the cause in other ways – medical aid as well as
housing refugee children in places as diverse as Montrose
and Rothesay.
The last volunteer died in 2008 but their memory lives
on with the statue and in that great Woody Guthrie song,
initially penned by a Scot.
NEXT month former Justice Minister
Kenny MacAskill brings you the
fascinating and surprising tale of the
Scots who founded the US and
Russian navies.
28/11/2017 12:30:52
Mountains around Ballachulish
from Lismore Lighthouse
Winter In
Barry Marshall contemplates
the stunning scenery and
changing seasons in the wild
country of Lochaber…
Melting snow
on gorse
Dog walkers on Loch Linnhe
118_SMG_141217.indd 118
OR almost 30 years, I travelled throughout
Scotland as a newspaper photographer,
covering stories from St Kilda via Shetland
to the Mull of Galloway and onto Berwick in
the east – not all on the same day, although
sometimes it felt like it!
When driving northward, a lot of those miles
were devoted to the A82, twisting up and along
Loch Lomond side through Tyndrum and up
onto Rannoch Moor, although sadly in those
days, with little time for scenery gazing.
At that moment, when going over the brow
of the hill onto Rannoch Moor, a vista of lochs
big and small, wooded and heathered islands,
mountains jagged, rounded bogs and big
weather-clad skies proclaims your arrival in the
vast landscape of Lochaber… plus a large road
sign on your left, in case you didn’t know!
Even while driving, this was a scene too
irresistible not to savour.
It stretches from the Small Isles in the west
through Rannoch Moor, and from Invergarry in
the north to Lochaline in Morven to the south.
Luckily, I now have a lot more time to take
this all in and admire its colours, fauna, rocks,
trees, lochs…
There’s so much to appreciate through the
changing seasons, especially around Loch
Linnhe, where I now visit regularly.
29/11/2017 14:22:41
Setting sun over Ardgour, near Kingairloch
Aonach Eagach looking west
118_SMG_141217.indd 119
Frosty ferns in Lochaline
29/11/2017 14:22:41
Snow edged oaks in
Stob Gobhar above Loch Tulla
118_SMG_141217.indd 120
29/11/2017 14:22:47
Ponies in Scaddle
View from Meall A’Bhuiridh looking north
Lochan Mathair Eite on Rannoch Moor
Ice hockey on frozen Lochan-na-Achlaise
118_SMG_141217.indd 121
Clouds in Glenshiel
29/11/2017 14:23:36
ele ating
Seasons come and go, but Scotland’s magical
beauty is timeless. The Scots Magazine Calendar 2018
includes a great spread of locations from all over the
nation from Galloway to Gardenstown.
Canadian, Australian and New Zealand key holiday
dates are included, in addition to those of the UK and
Ireland. This spectacular calendar makes a wonderful
gift for everyone who loves Scotland.
1 for £7.99 (SMC18)
2 for £13.50 (SC182) saving over 15%!
4 for £23.50 (SC184) saving over 25%!
6 for £30.00 (SC186) saving over 35%!
Check our website
for overseas prices
and more offers: Call: 0800 318 846 (Freephone UK)
+44 1382 575580 (Overseas)
Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm (GMT)
The Scots Magazine © DC Thomson & Co Ltd 2017
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21/06/2017 09:41
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Beautiful Paperweights from Caithness Glass
Hand made in Scotland, these beautiful paperweights depict the beautiful shades and moods of Scotland.
Available in blue, pink and purple these would make the perfect gift for someone who appreciates the
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Dimensions: 80mm x 80mm
More designs available online at
CALL FREEPHONE: 0800 318 846
Lines open 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat,
free from UK landlines only. Please have your
credit/debit card details to hand.
BY POST: Complete the order form and send it with payment
to: Scots Magazine Paperweight Offer, DC Thomson Shop,
P.O. Box 766, Haywards Heath, RH16 9GF
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Alternatively, please debit my Visa / MasterCard / Switch / Maestro card:
interest to you. If you’d like to hear from us by post, please tick here
Card No: .................................................................................................................................... telephone, please tick here or email, please tick here Offer open to UK readers
only and is subject to availability. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery. Offer
Switch Issue No: ................ Start Date :........ /........ Expiry Date: ........ /........
Cardholders Signature ............................................................................................................. closes 31.03.18
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24/11/2017 15:20:36
STEP BACK IN TIME with classic
pictures from Glasgow’s past
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Glasgow Memories
Brought to you by The Sunday Post, Glasgow Memories is a celebration of Glasgow’s rich and colourful
history, beautifully illustrated by fantastic archive images from throughout the decades. Join us on a
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Contains 100 pages of nostalgic photographs.
FREEPHONE: 0800 318 846
Please quote appropriate code. Lines open 8 am–6 pm Monday to
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18/10/17 09:54:05
Test your knowledge
of Scotland with our
fascinating and
fun facts!
Cornflour was invented
in Paisley. In 1854, John
Polson and William
Brown founded a
company to produce
starch for local shawl
makers, but it was their
edible starch that made
them famous.
Scots actor Kevin McKidd
unsuccessfully for a role
as a stormtrooper in
The Phantom Menace.
He bombarded his agent
with calls pleading with
her to be put up for a
Baron Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, was so
greatly impressed by a Highland display he saw at the 1889
Paris Exhibition that he introduced the hammer throw, shot put
and the tug o’ war to his competition.
Harry Potter actress,
Shirley Henderson started her
career singing in a boxing ring.
She won a talent contest at
Butlin’s holiday camp in Ayr
around 1977 and was asked by
a promoter to perform in the
ring before a local bout in Fife.
An old
tradition is to
eat porridge
standing up
You’ve heard of coals to
Newcastle? Well, Scotland
send tree snails to Tahiti!
Edinburgh zoo has a breeding
programme for four types of
Partula snails which are then
sent back to their native
habitat of South Polynesia.
In 2014, Johnny Walker Red Label collaborated with shoe designer,
Oliver Sweeney to create limited edition brogues that contained a
miniature bottle of the tipple in each heel.
128_SMG_141217.indd 128
28/11/2017 15:39:42
In 2006, a group of volunteers
doing a spring clean at the top
of Ben Nevis found the
remains of a piano!
Someone had apparently
carried it up there on their
back 35 years earlier
for charity.
The first subscription library in the
UK opened 276 years ago.
Leadhills Miner’s Library was
established for and by miners
in the South Lanarkshire village.
Legendary golfer, Tiger Woods will only stay
in room 269 at The Old Course Hotel
when he plays at St Andrews, since 269 was
the number of strokes it took him to win his
first Open Championship in St Andrews back
in 2000.
Karen Gillan went to a party in
LA and was surprised to find that
it was a Dr Who themed
fancy dress party and the
majority of the girls were dressed
as her character, Amy Pond!
The Scots have a word for the
sound your feet make in
waterlogged shoes – chork.
To maintain her
complexion, Mary
Queen of Scots
bathed in white wine
128_SMG_141217.indd 129
Jellyfish and seaweed have both managed to
shut down the nuclear reactor plant at
Torness, East Lothian. On separate occasions
in 2011 and 2013 a swarm of Jellyfish and
excessive amounts of seaweed blocked the
reactor’s water cooling system.
The first British caravan
holiday was taken by
Scottish doctor and
author, William Gordon
Stables in 1884. He set
off from his Berkshire
home with his two
daughters and a
called Hurricane and
travelled around the
Home Counties in his
purpose built touring
caravan called, The
For more stunning Scots facts visit our
Scottish sculptor Sir Eduardo
Paolozzi designed the cover
art for Paul McCartney’s Red Rose
Speedway album.
28/11/2017 15:37:48
Have Your Say
Be part of the next evolution of The Scots Magazine!
OUR favourite magazine is constantly evolving to
better suit readers, and to better showcase
Scotland’s landscapes, wildlife and culture.
We’ve had a fair few changes since our first ever issue
in 1739, top left, and always with input and direction
from our readers.
In 2012 a research panel of readers told us they loved
the detailed photography, so we sized up to better
showcase these stunning images. Last year you told us you
wanted more “stripped back”, dramatic cover shots, and
we hope you’re enjoying the atmospheric covers we’ve
been producing this year.
Now we’re looking for your input for the next stage in
your favourite magazine’s evolution, so join our research
panel to share your thoughts. As an added bonus, every
survey you complete automatically enters you into a
monthly prize draw with three chances to win £50!
More from our online pages…
From Tom’s Archives
We’re delving back into Tom Weir’s
archives and putting another of his
classic My Month columns online
for new readers to enjoy.
Year of Young People
Following the successful Year of
History, Heritage & Archaeology
2017, discover what VisitScotland’s
themed year for 2018 will entail.
Jamie McDougal stars as Sir Harry Lauder in Scottish Opera’s new tribute
to the comedian and music hall legend. Catch our interview online!
Follow us…
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