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The Scots Magazine October 2017

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HAUNTED SCOTLAND | IRVINE WELSH EXCLUSIVE
AMAZING ARTEFACTS!
The exciting must-see
treasures you?ll find at the
National Museum, Edinburgh
Welcome to...
The Way
Ahead
I
T might look as if I were auditioning for a Village People
tribute band in the picture above, but I was actually
visiting a building site.
And it wasn?t just any building site ? it was that of the
biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation.
The world class ? and world record breaking ?
Queensferry Crossing. With me was my Scots Magazine
colleague Katrina Patrick. We were hugely privileged to
be invited along to see the bridge first-hand the week
before it opened to the public last month, when an
astonishing 50,000 people crossed it.
Workers were just putting the finishing touches to
elegant structure and it was very much still and active
construction site ? hence our rather fetching get up.
As you?ll know, we covered the construction of the
new bridge last issue ? the one I?m holding in the photo
? but Katrina has written a fantastic piece on our recent
visit with some great pics you can see on our website.
www.facebook.com
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@ScotsMagEd
ROBERT WIGHT, Editor
mail@scotsmagazine.com
igital edition
OCTOBER 2017
contents
8 Great Scottish Journeys
Our stunning North Coast
500 roadtrip continues
54
The Black Douglas
The truth behind the legend
of Bruce's enforcer
22 Cultural Phenomenon 60 Sound Of Scotland
The Gaelic M騞 is an
international success story
Columnist Lisa-Marie Ferla?s
autumn album picks
88
National Park News
Our campaign for more
National Parks gathers pace
92
A Theatre Reborn
Perth Theatre, one of
Scotland?s oldests, re-opens
62 Scottish Bookshelf
Interview with thriller author
Robert J. Harris, plus reviews
78
26 Dumfries & Galloway
The best to see and do in
our monthly Focus On
37 A Wee Blether?
Take A Hike
A historic walk around St
Andrews on the Fife Pilgrim
Way long distance route
80
On Your Bike
Hitting some top trails on
the outskirts of Stirling
With outrageous comedian
Brian ?Limmy? Limond
98
Sl鄆nte Mhath
Whisky expert Euan Duguid
with a Capital new distillery
44
Eating To The Beat
Edinburgh?s newest
festival is a fun combination
of food and music
39
Must-see
Marvels!
The National
Museum of
Scotland is the
first in a six-part
series on the
most amazing
artefacts
96
Carina?s Kitchen
Tricks, treats and a delicious
Hallowe?en recipe...
?
Our investigations
took us down into the
102 Food Assemblies
dungeons ? we could
A fresh food network
sense we weren't
Scottish
that brings you a
The
alone.
Of
rd
Wo
different way to
Month...
Haunted Scotland
do your shopping
?
? get ready for
Hallowe?en
page
49
Stoateoner ?
something ? or
that?s brilliant!
This Month
104 Polly?s People
Polly Pullar meets a talented
family of bagpipe-makers
108
Around Scotland
The most exciting events
from across the country
112
Passing It On...
A humorous new book raids
The Sunday Post archives to
bring you quirky household
tips from yester-year!
If You Do One Thing...
Try yoga on a paddleboard ? it really is a thing! Find out
how you can give it a go in our super feature, page
69
If You Read One Thing...
It just has to be our fabulous exclusive
interview with author Irvine Welsh,
creator of Trainspotting, page
16
If You Go One Place...
Head for stunning and remote St Kilda,
one of TV presenter Paul Murton?s
Hebridean highlights, page
114 Wild About Scotland
Expert Jim Crumley on the
glories of pink-footed geese
120 Kenny
MacAskill?s
Roots And Branches
Centuries-old religious
links between Scotland and
Rome, the eternal city
Q
AYE!
The first three-piece suit for a
horse was made from Harris
Tweed. Modelled by the
racehorse Morestead earlier
this year, it took
x10 the fabric of
an equivalent
human suit.
More amazing
Scottish facts
page
128
Cover Picture:MICHAEL M. SWEENEY
83
October 2017
New series, Vol. 185,
No 10 First published
in 1739
Meet Your Writers
Dawn Geddes
Author, journalist and blogger, Dawn writes
features by day and young adult fiction by night.
Passionate about the literature and culture scene,
she loves delving into the stories of people in the
arts scene ? past and present. Dawn?s fascinated
with the darker side of Scotland?s history, as you?ll
see from her spooky feature checking out the
nation?s most haunted spots. See page 49
Rhona Taylor
WINNER
Journalist and visual artist who is fully immersed
in Scotland?s vibrant contemporary art scene.
Rhona has been an arts editor, feature writer,
news reporter and editor. She?s obsessed with the
sea and loves exploring the Scottish coastline.
This month Rhona looks at how Gaelic culture
has a firm place on the festival circuit thanks to
the Royal National M騞. See page 22
Consumer Magazine
Editor of the Year 2016
Online Presence of the
Year 2016
PPA Scotland Magazine
Awards
NOMINATED
Lifestyle Magazine of
the Year 2017
ACE Newspaper and
Magazine Awards
Paul Cockburn
The Edinburgh-born-and-bred journalist has
worked in magazine publishing for several
decades. A well-known science, arts and culture
writer, Paul loves city life, describing himself as a
?confirmed urbanite?. He regularly reviews
theatre and is an accomplished interviewer.
Indeed, his interview with Trainspotting author
Irvine Welsh is a must-read. See page 16
Best Twitter Feed 2016
The Drum Online Media
Awards
Consumer Magazine of
the Year 2016, 2015,
2014
Consumer Magazine
Editor of the Year 2015,
2014
Cameron McNeish
Online Presence of the
Year 2015, 2014
Writer, broadcaster and Scotland?s best-known
authority on outdoor topics. Cameron is a
mountaineer, backpacker, long-distance walker,
cyclist, pack-rafter? if it involves the outdoors, he
probably does it. Among his achievements is the
establishment of the 864km Scottish National
Trail. This month, Cameron adds another interest
to the list ? bikepacking. See page 72
Front Cover of the Year
2015, 2014
Feature Writer of the
Year 2015
PPA Scotland Magazine
Awards
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Great Scottish
Journeys
Join Keith Fergus for part four of our spectacular
North Coast 500 odyssey. This month, Ullapool
to Durness, through some truly wild scenery
The road to the tiny hamlet of Inchnadamph
9
?Breathtaking and savage beauty unfolds?
The A894 twists beneath the flowing
outline of the mountain Quinag
T
HE diversity of the North Coast 500 is perfectly illustrated
on the 109km (68 miles) between Ullapool and Durness.
Much of the journey runs north through Sutherland, where
the rocks are some of the oldest in the world.
After leaving Ullapool and passing Loch Kanaird, the
breathtaking and savage beauty of the landscape unfolds.
The view towards the mountains of Coigach is incredible,
particularly that of Stac Pollaidh, its translation from the
Norse language meaning the stack at the pool.
The scenery becomes ever more dramatic as the A837
runs through Inchnadamph, underneath the unique profile
of Quinag and past the remains of little Ardvreck Castle.
It is then onto the A894, which twists and turns through
more wild countryside, Scourie and the Kyle of Durness,
culminating at Durness, stunning Sango Bay and Smoo Cave.
Gorgeous Sango Bay, Durness
Words and pictures: KEITH FERGUS
Looking back to Loch Broom
from the North Coast 500
Loch Broom and Ullapool at dawn
At its entrance Smoo Cave is 40m
(130ft) wide and 15m (50ft) high
Fact File
l It is thought the name Ullapool comes from the Norse
Olaf?s Settlement or Farmstead.
l Coigach is an area of land to the north of Ullapool and
means the place of fifths, which may refer to carving up
of land in the past.
l Quinag is actually three separate mountains ? Spidean
Coinich, Sail Gorm and the highest, Sail Gharbh ? and is
pronounced koonyak, thought to come from the Gaelic word
cuinneag meaning a milking pail.
l The remains of Ardvreck Castle, which dates back to the
late 15th century, stand on a promontory on Loch Assynt.
l Durness has its origins in Old Norse and means headland
of the deer. The village is the most northwesterly on
mainland Britain.
l Smoo Cave is Britain?s biggest sea cave. The chambers
can be explored by a walkway and by boat.
11
Right:
Ardvreck Castle stands
on a small promontory
on Loch Assynt
Below:
The NC500 passes
through Sutherland and
the settlement of Elphin
Underneath:
The summit of Ben
Mor Coigach peeking
above the clouds at Loch
Kanaird, Ardmair
?
Coigach means
the place of fifths ?
referring to the
division of land
?
Next month: Keith returns with another Great Scottish Journey
#OutAndAboutScotland
We live in a fabulous country for adventures.
Share yours with our social media hashtag...
Tom McCluskie August 12
Sun setting over the
Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge
Martyn Bell
@CHUFTYPLUG August 19
@ScotsMagazine Norrie and Stevie?s
summer tour of Scotland
Paul Nevans
@weenev August 20
Glen Shiel with Forcan Ridge
looking huge in the distance.
Margaret MacGillivray August 14
Tobermory harbour last week ? the weather was amazing
The Scots Magazine Team Get Around Too!
Robert had a hiking trip to
Barcaldine, where he discovered
locals had found a highly
imaginative new use for old jeans
? they turn them into ?pantpots?!
Katrina ran, clambered and
crawled around muddy obstacles
at the 12k Lanrick Challenge near
Doune! Here she is with pal
Suzanne at the finishing line.
Garry, our office culture vulture,
found plenty of fine music at this
year?s Edinburgh International
Festival, listening to everything
from Schumann to Shostakovich.
Danny Pettigrew
@dannypettigrew48
Braemar To Glen Doll ? 14 Miles on
Jocks Road. 12/08/17
#outandaboutscotland
Scott Lackeby
@scottlackenby August 22
from the top
Looking over Edinburgh
t
of Arthur?s Sea
Jane Hack
@jane_hack August 20
Such a stunning day we spent in
Culross
John Thow August 6
Capturing nice light from
the top of Ben A?an in the Trossachs
overlooking Loch Katrine?
Derek Beattie
@derekbtimages August 16
#milkyway over Ben Loyal
#sutherland #visitscotland
#visitbritain #outandaboutscotla
nd
Outside In Scotland
@OutsideScotland August 21
Pic of the bunch from Meall Nan
Tarmachan on Sat. The usual summit
view this summer!
#mytiso #ScotSpirit
#OutAndAboutScotland #mountains
Share your #OutAndAboutScotland
pics with us on Twitter, Facebook
or Instagram for a chance to be
featured next month!
Follow us?
The Scots Magazine
@ScotsMagazine
@Scots_Magazine
1
Irvine Welsh on the joy of writing
and the cultural impact of his work
by PAUL F COCKBURN
F
RVINEWELS
Classic Tales
And New
Directions
OR a writer who has just had three shows performed at last
month?s 70th anniversary Edinburgh Festival Fringe, theatre
didn?t feature much when Leith-born Irvine Welsh was
growing up.
?Apart from panto at the King?s Theatre ? Stanley Baxter,
Ronnie Corbett and all that ? it was never a big thing for me,? he
says. ?I got into theatre more when I was a student ? you used to
get cheap tickets ? and I went through a time when I kind of
really got into Shakespeare.?
Not that Irvine has gone all soft.
?The way Shakespeare?s plays were originally performed was
to working class audiences, to the general mob of people. A lot
of theatre is a bit stiff and pompous now; I want to get back to
that kind of theatre, to get back the kind of feeling that it?s a bit
like going to a football match.?
Two of his three shows were original new works: Creatives,
described in the programme as a ?dark, comic pop-opera?, was
co-written with Don De Grazia, professor of Fiction Writing
at Columbia College, Chicago and author of cult novel
American Skin.
The play Performers is a black comedy set in 1960s
?swinging? London, on which Irvine has worked with his old
friend Dean Cavanagh.
The third show was the triumphant Edinburgh return of an
internationally acclaimed ?immersive? adaptation of his famous
debut novel, Trainspotting.
?I don?t really have to do anything with Trainspotting Live;
those guys ? theatre company In Your Face ? have got that one!?
Irvine says.
?In a sense, it?s not mine any more; it?s one of these things
that you just have no choice but to let go with good grace and
let the world take it over. ??
17
?
In a sense,
Trainspotting?s not
mine any more
?
?For me, it?s one of the most rewarding and exciting
things when you get a whole new generation taking that
material and owning it themselves.?
First published in 1993, Irvine?s debut novel
became a modern classic, and inspired Danny Boyle?s
successful film three years later. So, nearly 25 years
on, how does Irvine himself view Trainspotting ? a
unique calling card, or an albatross damning his
subsequent career?
?Calling card, definitely,? he says. ?There are a lot
of things I?ve done which I think are better than
Trainspotting ? Glue (2001) and Skagboys (2008), for
example ? but they wouldn?t be anywhere near as
well-known or well read or celebrated if it hadn?t been
for Trainspotting.?
Back in the day, the initial attention on Trainspotting
focused on Irvine writing much of the book in Scots
? and pretty rude Scots at that.
?I tried to write it in Standard English and I found it
was quite pretentious, because the characters weren?t
coming to me in that way,? he explains.
?They didn?t sound like that in my head, so I had to
come up with something that would bring them to life
for me, that would make sense of them for me. I
looked at all the ways that other writers ? Lallans
writers and Doric writers ? had resolved that issue. I
just listened to people and how we all kind of talk, and
perform stories in pubs. Stuff like that.
?I was just trying to fashion something but when I
did, I was terrified, because it looked a mess on the
page; you?re not used to seeing those words on a page
like that.
?I thought nobody?s going to be interested in this
? but the great thing is, if you have strong, interesting
characters doing kind of crazy things, people are
always going to identify with them.?
As the success of the recent film sequel T2 ? based
on the book sequel Porno ? has shown, there?s still life
in the book?s iconic characters ? anti-hero Mark
Renton, slick friend Sick Boy, fragile Spud and violent
psychopath Begbie.
?I didn?t plan to write a sequel, but with Porno ?
since republished as T2: Trainspotting ? Sick Boy?s
character just kind of gatecrashed into the whole
A scene from Creatives
proceedings,? Irvine explains. ?I?d given him a different
name, but then I realised after the first draft that it was
Sick Boy. And if I told his story, I?d have to tell the
stories of the rest of them.
?So, yeah, they do gatecrash. Begbie does a few
times too. I realised that I was still interested in this
guy, and if there was anything I could make him do
that?d take him out of his prison-and-early-death
trajectory. I?ve got interested again in Renton,
actually, which surprises me, because I thought I was
so over him.?
So does Irvine think that he was always destined to
be a writer?
?I think so; you learn about your own motivations
kind of retrospectively,? he says. ?I grew up in a
household where my father was very ill; it was
something I didn?t really want to engage with, so I
created ? as kids do when they?re under stress ?
artificial worlds where that wasn?t happening, and
where I had some kind of control.
?A lot of the genesis of writing is about wanting to
control and to imagine yourself into a different place.?
It didn?t help that Irvine had what has since been
diagnosed as mild dyslexia.
?I wasn?t quite picking up words and reading as
quickly as I should do,? he says. ?I always had a very
A scene from
Trainspotting
James McAvoy in Filth
Irvine has enjoyed huge success
quick, sharp mind, but it wasn?t coming across in my
school work because I was kind of stumbling just
enough to really knock me out of kilter, just enough to
make me a little bit slower.
?When you?re slow at school, it?s seen as some kind
of thickness; it?s equated that way, when it really
shouldn?t be.
?It probably helped me as a writer because I had to
take my time to figure things out, thinking through
sentences, it made me a bit more reflective and
contemplative about what I was actually trying to say.?
He was definitely a storyteller, though.
?As a kid, I would line up soldiers along the carpet,
and then give them different identities, and write little
bits of backstory for them on bits of paper, then I would
draw images of places they were going to go,? he says.
?It was a bit like film-making in a way.
?I didn?t see it as about me writing text. I saw it much
??
Robert Carlyle as Begbie in Trainspotting
DID YOU KNOW?
In both Trainspotting and the sequel T2, Irvine
played a drug dealer called Mikey Forrester. The
film?s producer, Andrew Macdonald, also got in
on the act by playing a buyer of a London flat
owned by Renton (Ewan McGregor).
19
Pic line in here please
?
Pictures: MARK HARRISON/CAMERA PRESS, JEFFREY DELANNAY, ALAMY
I?ll see which novel
hits critical mass first
and go with that
?
more as a staging and setting up of the environment.
I was creating stories, not necessarily writing stories; I
was creating scenarios.?
Writing stories came as he grew older, however.
?One of the things about novel writing is that you
can do it on your own,? Irvine says. ?You don?t need a
lot of other people. I love writing for film, stage and
television; you get to work with loads of people, and
you get their ideas and feedback. But to get established
in that is very, very difficult. If you?re from Muirhouse,
nobody?s going to say to you, ?Let?s put on your play?.
?So I realised, probably subconsciously from an
early age, that the way I would develop my craft as a
writer would be through writing novels, by knocking
out loads of words and having the space and time to
work on a piece myself without having anyone else to
answer to.?
Irvine currently has several projects on the go,
though he?s understandably reluctant to discuss any
of them in great detail.
?The problem with TV and film projects is that you
need about a dozen people to all say yes at the same
time, basically,? he says. ?Novel-wise, I?ve got three
different novels that I?ve been working on over the
years, and I?m just waiting to see which one hits critical
mass first ? and then I?ll go with that to the exclusion of
all the others.?
While Irvine has been based in Chicago, his wife
Elizabeth?s home-town, since 2009, he often returns to
Edinburgh. ?I?m back all the time, really. I?ve still got a
flat there. I come back to write quite a lot.
?If I?ve got a book or a movie to promote, then
people see me because there?s a visibility, but I?m back
so much of the time just visiting family and things, just
hanging out and writing. I come and go quite quietly
most of the time. I?m in Scotland for two or three
months of the year.
?I?m really, really lucky, just very fortunate. I?ve got
a kind of licence that a lot of writers don?t have.
?Most writers really struggle, basically. I struggled
before I was a writer, but I haven?t struggled at all since
I?ve been a writer. I?ve led a charmed life. That can
change ? we live in uncertain times ? but long may it
continue, basically.?
Main: The Mull Gaelic Choir with
honorary mascot Archie
Below: The massed choirs
Twins Rowan and Rebecca Morris won
under 13-duet for Gaelic learners
Cultural Phenomenon
Celebrating 125 years, the Gaelic M騞 is an international success story
by RHONA TAYLOR
Picture: ALAMY
W
HEN the first M騞 was held back in 1892, it?s
unlikely the organisers of the two-day Gaelic
festival in Oban could have envisaged how it
would flourish and develop into today?s thriving
celebration of language and culture.
Now, 125 years later, An Comunn G鄆dhealach?s
nine-day festival has been held all over Scotland, from the
Highlands and islands to the central belt, attracting many
thousands of competitors and visitors alike from all around
the world each and every year ? and generating millions
of pounds for the local host economy as well.
In recent years, in addition to the traditional
competitions and awards that have always formed the
basis of the M騞?s schedule, organisers have developed a
varied fringe programme involving gigs, visual art, poetry,
theatre and street performances that have broadened the
appeal of the festival far beyond its traditional base. It has
also opened up to an international audience, with past
competitors coming from Russia, Australia and Germany,
and an Argentinian Gaelic choir due to take part in 2018.
This year the Royal National M騞 ? Am M騞
N鄆seanta R靜ghail ? will be held in Lochaber in the
Highlands for the first time in a decade.
As happens each year, the winning area was chosen
from bids submitted to the board of An Comunn, and in
October ithe chosen areawill host approximately 200
competitions covering a range of disciplines from Gaelic
music, song and spoken word to Highland dancing, sport
and literature.
The festival will be making a welcome return to a
community that has always been popular with performers
and visitors, according to James Graham, the M騞
Manager. ?People see Lochaber as a really great venue for
the M騞,? he says. ?It?s accessible from everywhere, from
the cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, from the north
and for links to the islands. People are really looking
forward to it and probably thinking that it?s high time it?s
come back.?
Lochaber,
this year?s
location
There are huge benefits for each year?s M騞 host
community, in areas where much of the income often
comes from the seasonal tourist industry.
?The M騞?s held at a time of year that?s traditionally
quite quiet for a lot of these communities at the end of the
tourist season. It can generate anything from �3 million,
and that?s a huge boost to a place like Fort William.?
Another benefit is the legacy of increased interest in
Gaelic arts and culture, and the M騞 has been successful
in sparking a movement for Gaelic culture outside the
language?s traditional heartlands.
?The M騞 has gone to places that have raised
eyebrows, like Paisley and Falkirk, that aren?t traditionally
associated with Gaelic or Gaeldom,? James says.
?Falkirk was probably a shock for a lot of people when
it was announced but it?s really left a legacy. We saw it
with the Airdrie M騞 as well ? the new Gaelic medium
education institute came shortly afterwards. In Falkirk
they?ve got Gaelic pressure groups and there?s a push for
Gaelic medium education there too.? ??
Six Of The Best
M騞 Highlights
Torchlight Procession and Opening
Ceremony
Hundreds of people will come together for
the traditional torchlight procession through
the town before the opening ceremony
kick-starts this year?s proceedings.
Friday, October 13
Iomain Cholmcille
The international shinty-hurling competition
for Scottish Gaelic and Irish speakers comes
to the M騞 for the first time. This is in
addition to the M騞 Shinty Cup, the annual
battle between two local teams, and the
M騞 Football.
Saturday, October 14, An Aird, Fort William
(Shinty and Football Cups, venues TBC)
Gold Medal (Men and Women)
The M騞?s highest accolade for solo fluent
Gaelic speakers includes a mixture of
prescribed pieces and formal singing, and has
launched the professional career of many
former winners.
Thursday, October 19
Traditional Gold Medal
(Men and Women)
This medal was introduced in 1971, and has
gained hugely in popularity, involving
competitors singing their own choice of song
in their own style.
Thursday, October 19
Lovat and Tullibardine Shield
This fiercely contested trophy is awarded to
the top regional choir each year ? will last
year?s winners Dingwall Gaelic Choir
successfully defend their coveted title?
Friday, October 20
Massed Choirs
Up to 700 choristers from the M騞?s massed
choirs will congregate for a joyous sing-a-long
and ceremonial handover to next year?s hosts
Dunoon, in this powerful and emotional end
to the festival.
Saturday, October 21
2
One of the M騞?s biggest successes in recent years has
been to improve the image of Gaelic language and culture
among young people ? making it something they want to
be part of. This has been done partly through embracing
digital technology and finding new ways of reaching
people. In recent years this has involved new
competitions, the development of a M騞 app, and the
use of social media. There are also live broadcasts on
television and radio.
?You need to keep moving forward to keep thriving,?
James explains. ?Even within the M騞, there are the
traditional competitions but also creative competitions
such as writing a new song and creative writing. It?s about
getting a balance ? we want to celebrate our traditions
while moving on at the same time.
?The future lies with the younger generation. We?ve
got to make them want to come to the M騞 and be
involved, whether it?s through competing or through the
fringe element. With the boost in Gaelic medium
education, it?s like if you don?t have Gaelic now then
you?re not trendy. You see that in Wales ? the Welsh
young take real pride in their language. Hopefully that?s
the way we?re heading too.?
A huge part of that has been developing the diverse
fringe events that take place in local venues, hotels and
pubs each year. Last year?s events on the Western Isles
included ceilidhs, the annual torchlight procession led by
?
The M騞 brings
Gaelic culture to
young people
Gold Medal Win
?
CAROL MACLEAN, 45, lives on
Mull but is originally from Lewis,
and won the Gold Medal last year.
She has been competing in M騞s
with the Isle of Mull Gaelic Choir
since 1995 and had entered the
Gold once before, in 2009.
?I wasn?t well prepared for it back then and didn?t do
well and didn?t do competitions for a few years. Then I
picked myself up and in Oban in 2015 I won the Mull
and Iona competition. I thought, ?Well if I?m going to do
The Flying
Farmer,
Prince
Charles
meets young
singers
the Lewis pipe band, concerts, storytelling, art exhibitions
and children?s events. The fringe also opens up the festival
to people with no connection to the Gaelic language,
heritage or culture, James explains.
?The fringe is a completely non-competitive side to the
festival. There?s so much happening outwith the actual
competition. It?s a festival celebrating Gaelic language and
culture, and competitions maybe aren?t everyone?s thing
so we hope that there?s something for everybody.
?Music is a great vehicle for someone who has no
Gaelic or maybe doesn?t understand what it?s about. So
many people go to Gaelic concerts or events who don?t
have Gaelic but are drawn to the music. That?s opening
up more and more now with the M騞 because people
are thinking ?I don?t have to speak or understand Gaelic to
enjoy a concert or visual art or street entertainment?. We
don?t want the M騞 to be exclusive to Gaelic speakers ?
we want to open it up for everybody.?
The Royal National M騞 will be held in venues across
Lochaber from October 13-21.
See www.modlochabar.com for details and tickets.
the Gold Medal I have to do it now?.
?I still wonder how I managed to
compose myself on the day. I was very
nervous. It?s never easy for me to sing in
front of people.
?I also had a terrible cold and I could
hardly breathe, never mind sing. I?d
Carol couldn?t
thought about pulling out but I didn?t
believe it!
want to let anyone down.
?When I heard the results I was gobsmacked ? I
thought ?Is this really happening?? When the results came
up I didn?t want to look, I couldn?t believe that it was real.
I was running on adrenalin for the rest of the festival!?
FOCUS ON? Dumfries & Galloway
Loch Dee, Galloway Forest Park
Your fabulous 9-page guide
to one of the most beautiful corners of Scotland
The Splendour Of
The South-West
Picture: MARK MCKIE
by GARRY FRASER
FOCUS ON? Dumfries & Galloway
Stars In Your Eyes
At the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory by Loch Doon,
there?s a truly spectacular view of the heavens?
W
HEN it?s very dark, you can see as many as
7000 stars. Sadly, due to light pollution from
urban artificial lighting, up to 80% of the
world?s population can never experience this.
It needs a truly dark sky to see them clearly, and the
International Dark Sky Association has led the campaign
for designated Dark Sky Parks. Such areas give
unrestricted, unblemished views of outer space.
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is one of only two
publicly accessible
astronomical observatories to
Leave the bright lights
behind at Dalmellington
be located within a Dark Sky
Park in Europe. It has become
a well-established tourist
attraction and valuable
educational resource, with
visitor numbers increasing
every year. It is hoped that in
2017, they will reach 10,000.
David Warrington is resident astronomer at the
observatory. ?The local community is gradually realising
the potential of so-called dark sky tourism,? he says. ?The
Doon Valley is in need of regeneration and projects like
the observatory are contributing by bringing tourists and
visitors to the area for astronomy and stargazing.
?It is then hoped that they will increase business in the
Lush lowland landscapes
nearby villages too. Local B&B accommodation providers
have already seen increases in visitors related to the
observatory. Local businesses are now also tailoring their
goods to the concept, including craftsmen and women
selling Dark Sky-related crafts and wares. The first Dark
Sky Tartan was created and registered this year.?
Galloway Forest Park was awarded this distinction in
2009, the first in the UK, scoring 23.6 (out of 25) on the
IDSA?s scale of darkness. In comparison, readings in
Glasgow and Edinburgh city centres were around eight.
Mark Gibson, owner of the Craigengillan Estate, saw
potential and explored the possibilities of an astronomical
observatory on the estate. Early momentum was gained
and in 2012, the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory was
established on a hillside near Loch Doon. An onsite
planetarium and gift shop will open on October 5.
?The weather in Scotland isn?t always clear,? continues
David, ?so we have an alternative programme of activities
lined up on nights when we?re waiting for the clouds to
part. With our planetarium, we can view an artificial night
sky indoors, so people still get a good idea of what to look
out for when they do get clear skies.?
Since the SDSO was set up, the island of Coll has been
designated a Dark Sky Island. However, the two powerful
telescopes at Dalmellington give you a close-up, open-air
experience you?ll never forget. ??
Galloway Forest Park
COVERING around 780 sq km (300 square miles),
Galloway Forest Park is the largest forest park in the
UK. With visitor centres at Glen Trool, Kirroughtree
and Clatteringshaws receiving around 150,000 visitors
every year, recreation is the park?s mainstay although it
also produces 500,000 tons of timber each year.
The Galloway hills lie largely within its boundaries,
making it a popular destination for hillwalkers.
Well-developed bike tracks and forest drives also take
you into the heart of beautiful scenery. www.scotland.
forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/galloway-forest-park
The Milky Way over Murray?s
Monument, Newton Stewart
?
Galloway Forest Park
scores 23.6 out of 25 on the
scale of darkness. City
centres score around eight
?
29
FOCUS ON? Dumfries & Galloway
Thirst For Knowledge
Follow in the merry footsteps of Burns around Dumfries? hostelries
W
HEN your editor asks you to write an article on
pubs in Dumfries, you feel obliged to carry out
the task with due diligence.
I enlisted the help of Gordon McKerrow, owner of the
A-listed Globe Inn, established in 1610. This place is
revered by fans of Robert Burns for it was here that he
slept, drank, socialised and composed some of his verse.
Authentic scratchings of verse by Burns can be seen on
panes of glass ? Comin? Thru The Rye is just one ? and
the bedrooom he slept in and the chair he sat on are
testament to the pub?s affiliation to our national bard.
I was allowed to sit in the chair, on condition
I spout a line of Burns. Perhaps I was hungry,
as it was the first line of To A Haggis that
sprang to mind.
Although surrounded by buildings, the
open ground in front of the pub, or
howff (gathering place) as it would have
been called, contained hitching posts. It is
conceivable that grooms would look after
the horses while their lords and masters
supped a glass or two.
Farmers gathered there not only for refreshment
but to transact business. It was natural for Burns to come
here from his farm at Ellisland and being a man who was
happy in the company of others, would have spent many
an evening deep in conversation.
The Hole I? The Wa? is
a popular venue
The centre of Dumfries is the only place I?ve been
where you can visit four pubs without crossing a road.
With the High Street pedestrianised, the only thing I had
to negotiate were a few pints of real ale ? and it turned
out that there was a fair selection of that to choose from.
The Globe Inn isn?t the only pub with a link to Burns.
The Coach and Horses was also one of his haunts, and is
an unusually-shaped pub with a very tasty pint of Bass.
It also has more than a bit of character about it, with
white-washed walls and a flagged floor. And, if the
weather?s nice, you can enjoy an alfresco beer on the
bank of the River Nith. What Gordon had planned
was a mini-Burns night, as the next two pubs
also had a connection to Rabbie. Tam o?
Shanter is one of his longer poems and in
the pub of the same name, it made sense
to sit ?boozin? at the nappy? without
getting ?fu? an? unco happy? ? for those
of you familiar with the poem.
However, having limited ourselves to
only a half pint in each pub, there was no
way the night was going to get out of hand.
Then it was the Hole in the Wall. No, not the
cash dispenser in the nearest RBS but the Hole I? The Wa?
pub. Apparently it got its name because in the 17th
century, women weren?t allowed in the pub so were
served their beer through a hole in the wall.
Several pubs reference
Rabbie Burns
Full of history ?
the Bard?s local
?
Here you can visit
four pubs without
crossing a road
?
Ideal for footbal fans, though, with plenty large-screen
TVs to watch the match.
Burns? shadow lingers over his adopted town; of that
there is no mistake. But how do the locals feel about this?
?I would hope that they?re rather proud of the fact that
our national poet, born in Ayrshire, chose to come and
live in Dumfries,? says Gordon. ?And while some of the
connections to Burns may be somewhat tenuous
elsewhere, here in Dumfries they?re genuine enough.?
Cavens Arms
Having exhausted the Burns-themed boozers, it was
time to break into the 21st century and visit a pub that has
won awards for its real ale since it opened in 2003.
Cavens Arms is a shop-cum-pub that has five
permanent real ales and five guest ales. However, the first
thing that regales your senses isn?t beer, but superb food.
It manages to be both a gourmet pub and a real ale
paradise. Spoilt for choice, I selected Swannay Brewery
from Orkney as my tipple, and a good one it was too.
By then, however, hunger was prevailing and difficult
as it was to resist the aromas pouring out of the kitchen, I
decided to eat elsewhere. The Royal India curry house
was just up the road ? and I?ve always thought that beer
and curry is one of life?s richest combinations!
DID YOU KNOW?
Queen of the South, the Scottish
Championship side who play at Dumfries?
Palmerston Park, are the only football team
mentioned in the Bible...
?The Queen of the South will rise up at the
judgement with this generation and condemn
them!? Luke 11: 31.
1
FOCUS ON? Dumfries & Galloway
Whithorn Bay
THERE are two things that make the
Machars of Galloway unique.
First, the point of Burrow Head is
the nearest point of the UK mainland
to the Isle Of Man. Secondly, St
Ninian brought Christianity to the area
150 years before St Columba set foot
on Iona.
Geography and history apart, it?s
worth a visit, especially if you?re in
Wigtown. It?s extremely picturesque
and if you have time, a walk to St
Ninian?s Cave is a must. www.
walkhighlands.co.uk/galloway/
st-ninians-cave.shtml
You get a nice sense of tranquillity,
in what used to be a bustling
ship-building area. It was also, in the
old days, a point of departure for
emigrants as The Countess of
Galloway would sail to Liverpool, the
main departure point for voyages to
Australia or across the Atlantic.
In 1986, the Whithorn Trust was
set up to explore the history and
archaeology of the area. The Trust has
applied for funding to market the
ancient pilgrimage route from
Whithorn to Glasgow and have
created a life-size Iron Age
roundhouse, based on details found
at an archaeological dig on site.
Sitting with a coffee overlooking
the Isle of Whithorn?s charming
harbour, I had the most pleasant
feeling of time standing still.
A Literary
Treasure Trove
With a stock of 100,000, the Wigtown
Book Shop can afford to be selective!
T
HE book shop in Wigtown is a book-lover?s
paradise. It might look small on the outside but
inside is a multi-roomed goldmine of books,
pamphlets and periodicals. There is even a shelf full of
second-hand Ordnance Survey maps.
Owner Shaun Bythell, Wigtown born and bred, is
custodian of roughly 100,000 books. The categories are
endless ? cooking, humour, transport, history, religion,
music, politics? you name it, he has it. Some are
valuable, a lot are first editions and extremely desirable.
Every so often, a literary gem passes through his hands
which leaves Shaun in a ?wish I?d bought that one? mood.
?The one I would most like to have kept came from a
country house in Ayrshire. I?d gone through about 1000
books, most of which were only good for recycling when I
spotted a large f olio leaning against one of the legs of the
dining table. I asked the woman who was selling the
house if I could have a look at it.
The Isle of Whithorn
?It was a volume of Thornton?s Temple
Of Flora, and contained six stunning,
hand-coloured illustrations of lilies. I think
it?s the most beautiful book I?ve ever seen.
Sadly, it was beyond my means at the time,
but I arranged for it to be put into an
Edinburgh auction where it fetched
about �00.
?One of the most common situations is
someone coming in and asking for a book,
then telling you all about it. Inevitably the
final thing they?ll tell you is that their grandfather wrote it!?
Shaun is offered on average 100 books a day, but he
can?t accept them all. ?Normally we only want about 30%
of what comes in but often people want to get rid of the
lot, so they dump them on us,? he says. ?This is a real
headache, as they clutter up the shop. The only way is to
Roomfuls of reading!
recycle ones we can?t use. I hate doing that,
but there is no alternative.
Shaun and the Book Shop play a pivotal
role in the Wigtown Book Festival, an annual
event that has grown in size and reputation
since its inauguration in 1997.
?The festival was in its third year by the
time I bought the shop, but it was a small
affair with just a handful of events. Its growth
was slow, and it was run by volunteers until it
came under the direction of Finn McCreath.
?He had the vision and foresight to realise that it could
be a match for the Edinburgh Book Festival. He
restructured it and secured funding to grow it into the
extraordinary event it is today, with paid full-time staff and
over 200 visiting speakers.
?It transforms the town for 10 days every year, and the
economic impact it has had on Wigtown and the area has
been massive. The Book Shop helps out in a small way by
providing the Writers? Retreat ? a sanctuary in my drawing
room above the shop where visiting authors are looked
after, fed, and generally catered for.?
It?s a place not to miss if you?re in the area. It?s very
possible you?ll pick up something you?ve always been
looking for ? and equally possible you?ll pick up
something else!
l Wigtown was officially designated Scotland?s National
Book Town in 1998 and is home not just to Shaun?s shop
but to a wide range of book-related businesses. For more
information go to www.wigtown-booktown.co.uk ??
FOCUS ON? Dumfries & Galloway
PLACES TO EAT?
Carsphairn Shop & Tea Room, Carsphairn, 01644
460568. Named Best Community Tearoom in Scotland
2017. Ideal stop-over en route on the A713.
Clachan Inn, St John?s Town of Dalry, 01644 430241.
Good food in three separate areas ? lounge, bar and
Wully?s Bothy. Booking recommended for latter.
Marrbury Smokehouse, Newton Stewart, 01671
820476. High quality seafood from a supplier to top
hotels around the country.
Crumb, St Michael?s Street, Dumfries, 01387 269258.
Tex-Mex, British favourites or American standards like
southern-fried chicken. It?s all there!
Clachan Inn
Threave Castle
PLACES TO STAY?
Cairndale Hotel & Leisure Club, English
Street, Dumfries, 01387 254111. 91 rooms
and suites with access to private leisure club
free to residents. Popular for weddings,
conferences and private dining.
The Inn on the Loch, nr Crocketford,
01556 690281. Relax after your meal on the
terrace overlooking the loch before retiring to
comfy accommodation. Two-bedroom
apartment also available.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO?
Threave Castle, Castle Douglas. National Trust property built in
1369 as a stronghold for the Black Douglases.
Cream O? Galloway, Gatehouse of Fleet, 01557 814040. Working
dairy farm with amusement park, nature trails and adventure park.
Ellisland Farm, Auldgirth, Dumfries, 01387 740426. Discover
the home built by Robert Burns where Tam o? Shanter and
Ae Fond Kiss were written.
Devil?s Porridge Museum, Eastriggs, 01461 700021. Learn the
story about the munitions factory and the thousands who worked
there to support the war effort from 1914-1918.
Thomas Carlyle?s Birthplace, Ecclefechan, 01576 300666. Home
of one the 19th century?s greatest writers and social commentators.
WIN ANOVERNIGHT
STAY&A PRIVATE
REDDEERTOUR
This great competition offers the chance
of a family of four to win one night?s
accommodation in the Bruce Hotel,
Newton Stewart, plus a full day?s
personal tour with Galloway Forest Park
rangers. You will see the park?s wild
goats before being introduced to the red
deer herd. The day will include
refreshments at one of the Park?s visitor
centres. To enter this exclusive
competition, go to
www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/
deer-holiday-competition/
l For an online Follow-up Focus, go to www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/focus-on-dumfries
Pictures: ALAMY, GETTY IMAGES, KEITH FERGUS, DEREK BEATTIE PHOTOGRAPHY, PAUL TOMKINS, DAMIAN SHIELDS/VISTSCOTLAND, ISTOCKPHOTO
Steam Packet Inn, Isle of Whithorn, 01988 500334.
Family-run hotel on the harbourside of this historic village.
A Wee Blether With?
Brian ?Limmy?
Limond
The Scots comedian,
who has just finished
touring the UK with his
hilarious book, That?s
Your Lot, tells us all?
When did you discover you were funny?
That?s a matter of opinion! There?ll be some people who
will never have discovered that I?m funny! I think I realised
I liked making people laugh in secondary school. But then
everyone was like that at school ? we were all trying to
out-patter each other.
Words: DAWN GEDDES Pictures: BBC PICTURES, ALAMY
Do you still get nervous before your shows?
Above: as
Jacqueline
McCafferty and
Far left: as
Falconhoof, two
of Brian?s many
alter egos from
Limmy?s Show
Left: Appearing
as himself at the
Edinburgh Book
Festival
Do you enjoy touring?
Yeah. I really enjoy just getting about. I like doing the
same habitual things night after night ? getting on a train,
going to a new place, doing the show, having breakfast at
the hotel. Sometimes I spend the whole day in the hotel
room, just doing nothing ? it?s magic.
What?s the best book you?ve ever read?
The first time I performed, I was so nervous I was ready to
leave. I?ve never been so scared in all my life. I still get
nervous now, but it?s more like that feeling you get
when you?re at a theme park waiting to go on a
rollercoaster. You?ve got to gear yourself up and think
right, here goes.
The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger. I looked it up on
that Goodreads and they only gave it three and a half
stars. That?s what you?re facing when you write a novel
? you can write something as brilliant as The Catcher In
The Rye and people would still say they didnae like it!
Who or what inspires you?
Naw. I just sit about waiting. I?ll look at my finger nails and
have a wee peek at the audience. If I?m feeling a bit
nervous I?ll focus on my breathing to help me relax. It gets
things back into perspective.
When you?re not making people laugh,
how do you relax?
How do you feel about Glasgow as a city?
Boredom?s an inspiration. Fear?s an inspiration. Fear of not
having any work and having to get a real job ? that?s
helped me come up with a lot of my stuff!
I play Overwatch on my PS4. I play it all the time ? it?s all I
think about! If I?m not doing anything else, that?s what I?m
doing. When I should be doing other stuff ? that?s what
I?m doing!
What makes you laugh?
It?s usually something that?s happened in real life,
something that?s not meant to be funny but is actually
hilarious. Yesterday I was laughing at some cat GIF I saw
on Twitter. I showed my girlfriend, but she wasnae really
that impressed.
Do you have a pre-gig routine?
I love it. I went travelling around the world about 10 years
ago. Before I left, I couldn?t wait to get away from all the
greyness. I didn?t think I?d ever come back from all the
blue skies and gorgeous beaches. But I got fed up with it. I
couldn?t wait to come home and speak to people that
sounded like me again!
What?s next for Limmy?
I plan to start writing another book soon and I?ll be doing
a homemade show for online. There?s talk of maybe
doing more stuff for television, but That?s Your Lot for
just now!
Next month?s Wee Blether is with Ken Duncan, head of brewing at Inveralmond Brewery
Eight Museum Marvels
Our new six-part series spotlights the best of Scotland?s museums,
starting with the National Museum Of Scotland
by ANITA BHADANI
S
COTLAND?s museums are some of the best
in the world. They hold a treasure-trove of
riches from across the globe, ranging from
Egyptian artefacts to bronze age jewellery. Over
the next six months, we will visit six of the
nation?s top museums and ask their curator or
Xerxes
director of collections to name his or her top
Mazda
eight must-see exhibits.
The series starts with a visit to the National Museum of
Scotland, in Edinburgh?s Chambers Street. The building underwent
a major refurbishment and re-opened in 2011 after a three-year,
� million project. It is now one of the capital?s major attractions,
welcoming 1.81 million visitors in 2016.
?The visitor has really been at the heart of the work we?ve done
on the building, and in how we present our collections,? says
Director of Collections Xerxes Mazda. ?Improved physical access
has been a significant part of that. We want visitors to learn, be
inspired and to enjoy themselves ? and have the urge to come
back time and again.?
We asked Xerxes to list his eight favourite items and say why
they are such an important part of the museum?s collection.
Dolly The Sheep
?Dolly made international headlines
as the first mammal cloned from an
adult cell, and much of the scientific
work behind Dolly was done at the
Roslin Institute near Edinburgh.? says
Xerxes. ?It is now 21 years since
Dolly?s birth so her redisplay gave us
the opportunity to revisit the
importance of the science she
represents from what is now a
historical viewpoint. The science of
cloning has evolved significantly since,
as has a lot of the thinking around it.
Our interactive displays reflect this,
while new objects show what DNA
sampling looks like in 2017.?
??
9
Bonnie Prince Charlie?s Travelling Canteen
?This wonderful object features in
the current exhibition, Bonnie
Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.
It was made in Edinburgh and presented to Prince Charles Edward
Stuart in Rome on or around his 21st birthday. The canteen is silver
gilt, wrought with seditious symbolism. It?s also a just great object
? a travelling picnic set suitable for a young prince with an enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits. It has all the basic
princely travelling essentials; knife, fork, corkscrew, drinking vessel, wine taster, marrow scoop and nutmeg
grater! Charles valued it enough to bring it with him when he came to Scotland in 1745.?
?Ribbo?
?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?.
Iufenamun
?This mummy belongs to Iufenamun, a senior priest from
ancient Egypt. He probably lived in Thebes around 900960BC. I have chosen this above our other mummies
because it is believed that, along with his father, Iufenamun
was given the task of removing the mummified bodies of
Egyptian pharaohs from the Valley of the Kings to safeguard
them from grave robbers, an action which preserved them
until their discovery in 1881. We have extensive collections of
Ancient Egyptian material, and are looking forward to having
this on display in 2019 as we unveil two new permanent
galleries, one about Ancient Egypt, the other about East Asia.?
Jean Muir Dress
?The National Museums? fashion and textiles collection
comprises around 50,000 objects and is one of the
largest in the UK. Since the creation of our new Fashion
and Style gallery, we can bring that collection out into
the public eye for the first time, looking at developments
in the aesthetics and manufacture of different styles of
clothing. Displays range from a spectacular 18th century
court mantua, to cutting edge catwalk creations from
current designers. We hold a huge archive of Jean Muir
material in our collection. Several examples from this
archive are shown including garments, drawings and
photographs. The item I have chosen is the archetypal
?little black dress?, and was owned by Joanna Lumley.?
??
1
The Strathmore
Meteorite
?This is the Keithick fragment, so
called as it landed on the roof of the
South Lodge of the Keithick Estate in
Perthshire on December 3, 1917.
There are four fragments in all which
make the Strathmore Meteorite, the
largest known Scottish meteorite.
Meteorites from around the world
are on display in the Earth in Space
gallery, which explores what we know from the
objects that have fallen to Earth. There will be a special display
of the Strathmore meteorite this year to mark the centenary of its fall.?
Fettercairn Jewel
Pictures: PHIL WILKINSON, NATIONAL MUSEUMS OF SCOTLAND
?The collections of National Museums Scotland continue to grow.
Sometimes this is by gift or donation and sometimes this arises through
new archaeological discoveries, like the internationally important
Galloway Hoard which we are currently working to secure for the nation
by the raising of funds. Objects also come up for sale through auction.
A recent example is the Fettercairn Jewel, an exceptionally rare Renaissance
gold pendant locket, acquired earlier this year with the generous support of the
Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and National Museums Scotland Charitable
Trust. We have a lot more to learn about this object, and are conducting research
right now into its history and manufacture before we put this historically important
object on display in the early autumn.?
Hunterston Brooch
?This brooch was found at Hunterston, Ayrshire during the
1830s. Made about AD700, the body of the brooch is a
highly accomplished silver casting, richly mounted with
gold, silver and amber decoration. It is one of the iconic
objects of the Early Historic and Viking periods. It will be
shown this autumn in an exhibition called Scotland?s
Early Silver, which will show what we?re learning from
recent archaeological finds and re-examining existing
material to trace a biography of silver, with the support of
the Glenmorangie Company. For the first millenium AD,
silver was the premier precious metal in Scotland,
brought first as coin and then hacked bullion by the
Romans, then worked, reworked and recycled by local
peoples over time into objects of status and power.?
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Eating To The Beat!
Burgers, beer and the Beatles. That?s just one combination
the eclectic and exciting Meats & Beats festival can provide
by GARRY FRASER
R
ICHARD SEVRANCKX (pictured above) is a
self-confessed food fanatic. He also loves his music
so he decided to bring them both together, coming
up with the Edinburgh-based Meats & Beats Festival.
This is a weekend combining the best of both worlds
where food-lovers can mingle to the sound of their
favourite classics hits from the past 50 years.
?Edinburgh has an amazing larder of quality produce,
so I wanted to create an event that would showcase this
in a fun and different way,? he says. ?I also wanted all my
favourite music at the event to create a party atmosphere
and get people dancing.
?Meat and music go hand in hand. A nice meal with
no atmosphere is like a football game with no goals. Each
session lasts a minimum of four hours, so it gives people
the opportunity to enjoy both the meat and the music
with a feast of delicious street food, while getting into their
groove on to on the dance floor with their favourite hits.
?We?ll also have TV gameshows from the 80s and 90s
in the upstairs theatre, such as Catchphrase, Blankety
Music and
food ? a great
combination
DJs provide
a soundtrack
Culinary
delights
Blank and Blind Date. Who knows, maybe we will end
up with meat, music and a marriage!?
The festival runs in the Assembly Roxy from October
20-22, and Richard has brought together the cream of
Edinburgh?s culinary experts. Chefs include Colin Hinds
from Rib-Aye Steakhouse and there will also be tasty titbits
supplied from The Mac Shack and Fox Hole BBQ House.
Pop-up bars will feature craft beers, cocktails and
wines from Stewart Brewing, The Cocktail Kitchen and
Villeneuve Wines.
?We?re ditching knives and forks and throwing our
table manners out of the window,? continues Richard.
?This festival is all about eating with your hands, sucking
the meat off a stack of ribs and getting a sauce moustache!
?I want to see people feasting on their food, relishing in
the flavour and not be concerned with table etiquette.
Food tastes better when you eat it with your hands.?
Richard, who is originally from France, defies anyone
to go hungry as there will be a finger-licking selection of
delicious dishes to choose from such as steak burgers,
chicken wing buckets, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos
and mac & cheese with meaty toppings.
Song requests will be made by festival-goers when
ordering their tickets, and these will be spun and mixed
by DJs hand-picked from some of the capital?s top clubs.
So which musical category does Richard fit into? ?It
totally depends on my mood as each decade has its own
character. But if I had to choose just one, I will definitely
go for the 70s as I like disco and punk rock. Positive
nostalgia always makes people happy and leads to an
unforgettable night out!?
As well as the games mentioned above, there?s also a
generation game likely to unfold as the festival progresses.
You could have someone in their 70s bopping along to
Buddy Holly while 20-somethings boogie along to the
rockier sounds of Biffy Clyro.
?Since I have been living in Scotland, I am so amazed
to see how easy it is to mix generations in a same room as
music has the power to unite people. Good food and
drink helps too!? www.meatsandbeats.co.uk
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ANDROID APP ON
Haunted Scotland
As Hallowe?en approaches, two paranormal investigators tell us how
our turbulent history has resulted in many lingering, unsettled spirits
by DAWN GEDDES
W
HEN I meet Steff and Jan
Murdoch-Richards, two
of Scotland?s most
famous ghost hunters, I have to
admit I?m petrified.
The co-owners of Lanarkshire
Paranormal have invited me along
on their investigation of Dundee?s
Mains Castle ? and while I?m
grateful for the opportunity, my
inner scaredy cat is having kittens.
?Most people say they?d faint if
they ever saw a ghost, but no one
ever does,? Steff reassures me. ?It?s
a bit like karaoke. People come
along completely terrified but once
they?ve started they realise that
they?re actually really enjoying it.?
I?m not convinced, but if anyone
should know what to expect on a
paranormal investigation, it?s Steff
and Jan. Working with six other
researchers, the couple have been
visiting haunted sites throughout
Scotland for almost 20 years.
Over that time, they?ve
experienced a range of
unexplained events ? from
watching a member of the public?s
hair stand on end and having
objects thrown at them, to seeing
a full apparition appear before
their eyes.
One such event, which took
place at Cockenzie House,
Prestonpans, back in 2014, would
give even the bravest chills. During
the investigation, Steff left the 17th
century house to retrieve
something from his van when he
saw a woman crawling outside.
?Her body looked strange, like
it was twisted, but I just assumed
that she was drunk or that she?d ??
9
Lanarkshire Paranormal?s Favourite Haunts
fallen. I asked her if she wanted a
hand and she said yes, so I
reached out and pulled her up,
but there was no weight to her.
She just sprang up! I walked on a
few steps, but when I looked
back, she?d vanished.?
Leith Hall, Aberdeenshire
The events at Cockenzie House
would be enough to frighten
anyone off, but the team remain
dedicated in exploring Scotland?s
haunting reputation.
?We?ve got such a turbulent
past,? says Jan. ?From wars and
clan battles to the Vikings and
witchcraft trials, it?s no wonder
that we?re one of the most
haunted countries in the world!
So much of our history is violent,
but most of the spirits we come
across are friendly. They just want
to tell you their story.?
heard
?thisWebeautiful
singing
coming from
the hallway
?
This country house is notoriously haunted by a man wearing filthy
bandages around his head, who tries to suffocate visitors in their
sleep. However, Jan?s experiences of the building were rather
more peaceful.
?Our team were sitting quietly in the dining room of Leith Hall
when we heard this beautiful singing coming from the hallway.
I ran and looked, but there was no one there.?
Cultybraggan Camp 21, Comrie
This prisoner-of-war camp, which was used to house 4000 Nazis
during the Second World War, has a dark foreboding atmosphere,
which scares locals and visitors alike.
?We?ve experienced all sorts of creepy goings on there,?
Jan tells me. ?We?ve heard voices and growls, we?ve observed dark
shadows moving around the buildings. We?ve even seen faces
looking in at us, through the windows.?
Govanhill Baths, Glasgow
This Edwardian swimming pool was used as a morgue
during the Second World War. Full of dark corners, the
building?s spooky past is makes it especially atmospheric.
?Govanhill Baths is one of the most unpredictable
places,? Steff says. ?One time, a member of the public
became possessed there and threw a glass at our
investigator?s head. You could see that this person was
completely gone ? even their voice sounded different.?
Provan Hall, Glasgow
The former hunting lodge, which dates back to
the 15th Century, is said to be haunted by a
double murderer.
?Myself and a member of the public were in
Provan Hall when suddenly this face appeared on
the night vision camera,? Steff says. ?We described
the man to the caretaker and he told us that it
sounded like a soldier who lived there during the
1800s, who?d killed his wife and child.?
Castle Menzies, Aberfeldy
The 16th century building is reportedly haunted
by three wicked visitors who dwell in the castle?s
dark, foreboding underbelly.
?During our investigations we went down
into the dungeons and we could sense that we
weren?t alone,? Jan says. ?Steff called out and
asked if there were witches in the room, and
we all heard this horrible cackle. It made my
blood run cold.?
??
monk was right
behind me
?
Dawn?s Haunted Night
Abbot House, Dunfermline
Dunfermline?s oldest building is said to have a resident phantom,
who stalks the hallways in the dead of night.
?I was wandering through the corridors in the dark when I heard
this noise following me,? Jan says. ?I turned around and took three
photographs in quick succession. When I looked at them later, I
could see the outline of a monk. He was standing right behind me.?
By the time our interview draws to a close, I?m still
horrified at the thought of ditching my pen and paper
for a head torch and night vision googles, but I won?t
let my fear get the better of me. The Scots Magazine
wouldn?t allow it!
Before I know it, along with 10 other members of
the public, I?m being led up narrow steps to Mains
Castle?s tower, which reportedly turns the sane, quite
mad. When we arrive, we stand in a circle while Jan
talks to the room and asks if there is anyone there
who?d like to communicate.
It doesn?t take long for the activity to start. A woman
says that she can feel a presence in the room, then
moments later a man who had been resting against a
window ledge, falls, saying that he?s been pushed. I?m
sceptical at first, until I realise that one of my legs
suddenly feels much colder than the other?
As the night unfolds, further incidents occur; an
unexplained banging noise from downstairs, a sudden
dip in temperature and a strange growling noise
coming from the corner of the room, but bizarrely I no
longer feel frightened. Witnessing these ?unexplained?
incidents makes me realise that Steff was right ? I didn?t
faint. Maybe I?m not such a scaredy cat after all.
Lanarkshire Paranormal are
investigating Plane Castle on the
October 27, for Hallowe?en.
For more information about the
group, visit http://lanarkshire
paranormal.com
Pictures: ALAMY, ISTOCKPHOTO, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, LAURE PETREMANN-KERBOUCI,
MATTHEW DAVIDSON/WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/MEGALITHICMATT
the photos
?theInoutline
of a
A Force To Be
Reckoned With
Hero or anti-hero, Sir James ?The Black?
Douglas was a true brave heart
by DAVID C WEINCZOK
Hush ye, h ush ye, little pet ye,
Hush ye, h ush ye, do not fret ye,
The Black Douglas shall not get thee.
S
O, they say, mothers in the north of England would soothe their
children?s fears ? and perhaps their own ? when the Black Douglas
rode south.
One local tale recounts how a calloused hand would then fall upon the
unfortunate mother?s shoulder as a cold voice croaked, ?don?t be too sure
of that!?. Such was the dread of Sir James Douglas that he was known,
while very much alive and fighting, as being ?mair fell [fierce] than was any
devill in hell? and as any devil knows, the mind is a far deadlier weapon
than even the sharpest steel.
As one of King Robert Bruce?s most trusted captains, between 1306 to
1328 Douglas waged a campaign of psychological terror against the
interests of three successive English Kings, Edwards I, II and III.
The reiving path of Douglas was unmistakeable ? wells poisoned with
dead horses, the wholesale execution of castle garrisons, sudden and
ferocious strikes deep behind enemy lines. Even in an age not notable for
its pleasantries, the Douglas was a force that few dared reckon with.
The very name has enticingly sinister roots. The Stygian depths of the
Douglas Water, a tributary of the Clyde flowing through South Lanarkshire,
Bruce Statue, Stirling. Douglas
was the King?s trusted captain
gave the family its name. Its Gaelic roots are dubh glas, meaning ?black
stream? and indeed, though the surrounding lands are beautiful there is a
sinister steadiness to the course of the Douglas Water?s seemingly
impenetrable surface.
Douglas? rise tracks a well-worn dramatic course. His father, William,
was taken prisoner by Edward I after that king?s brutal sacking of the Scots
burgh of Berwick and died in chains. At 18, Douglas was brought before
Edward by William Lamberton, the Bishop of St Andrews, in an attempt to
secure Douglas? right to his father?s lands. Edward was worked into a fury
and Douglas, fleeing with Lamberton, forever cast off the notion of a
peaceful life.
He would carve his destiny with the sword alone.
At the age of 20 Douglas?s fate became entwined with that of Robert
Bruce, the fledgling king he met in the rugged Galloway hills in 1307.
Douglas proved himself one of Bruce?s most loyal and ferocious
lieutenants, laying waste to English interests.
Returning to his home village of Douglas after campaigning with Bruce
in the west, he found his people under the yoke of an English garrison at
Douglas Castle. While receiving oaths of loyalty from them in the village
hinterland, James got word that the garrison was due to attend a service at
St Bride?s kirk along with the locals. The latter?s resentment had festered
like an open wound, and Douglas provided the salve.
Battle-ready with full armour concealed under a cloak, Douglas led the
villagers into the kirk behind the English garrison. Before long the cry went
up ? ?Douglas! Douglas!? ? and they fell upon the troops, slaughtering 20
and capturing 10. When Douglas sent men to the castle to secure it, they
found only a cook and a porter in residence.
A feast had been prepared and, not one to waste an opportunity,
Douglas invited the peasants inside to share in the spoils. After the revelry
the 10 survivors of the garrison were executed and their bodies pitched
into the castle?s cellar, along with the some wine barrels and grain. Salt
was poured down the well in addition to the bodies of several butchered
horses. The castle was set ablaze, and stories of the ?Douglas Larder?
fanned throughout the land with the same relentlessness as the flames.
Far mightier foes fell all the same. The nigh-impregnable Roxburgh
Castle fell to Douglas? wrath in the winter of 1314. At Bannockburn, the
battle that re-forged a nation, Douglas was in co-command of one of
the hedgehogs of spear points known as schiltroms which crushed ??
Depicted in stained glass
Right: Douglas
was a master of
guerilla warfare
Pictures: ALAMY, ISTOCKPHOTO, WWW.DOUGLASHISTORY.CO.UK
Below:
Douglas Castle,
Lanarkshire
over Edward II?s powerful 20,000-strong force in the
carselands of Stirling.
The years that followed that great battle saw the Scots
renew their guerrilla campaigns in northern England. Ever
a master of psychological warfare, Douglas sometimes
released captured archers rather than slay them ? but
there was a catch.
The archer was given a choice ? to lose a hand or an
eye. This bloody ultimatum not only denied the enemy an
archer, but as the historian David R Ross wrote, it instilled
an unparalleled dread in English archers that ?made him
out to be the very Earl of Hell himself?.
If Douglas?s beginnings had all the trappings of a hero?s
? or anti-hero?s ? story, it was his end that enshrined him
as a legend.
When Robert Bruce died in 1329 he had much to
atone for, and fearing for his eternal soul he tasked his
captains with choosing one among them to take his heart
with them on crusade. Of all present, there could be but
one choice ? ?the Douglas, the Douglas!?
So it was that arguably the finest single warrior Scotland
has ever produced swung his sword for the last time upon
the sands of Andalusia, the embalmed heart of his king
held in a silver cask round his neck.
Douglas joined the crusade of Alfonso XI of Castile and
Leon and was received with some incredulity. One knight
allegedly mused to Douglas, renowned far and wide as
among the three deadliest knights in Christendom, that
surely so great a warrior would have scars to show for his
prowess ? yet this black-haired Scot bore none.
?Praise God? growled Douglas, ?I always had strong
hands with which to guard my face.? After such a
response, the challengers of Douglas must have been few
and far between!
The crusaders marched towards Granada, engaging
the Moors at Teba and the nearby Castillo della Estrella,
the Castle of the Stars; a fitting name for the place of
Douglas? last stand. Douglas and the Scots pushed the foe
so far back that they found themselves surrounded.
When the surviving Scots searched the field following
the crusader?s victory they found Douglas dead, hewed
with five deep wounds ? but with a ring of foes lying slain
around him. This ? and not the story of Wallace, proud
though it is ? is where we get the notion of a Scot with a
brave heart.
So, if you still need a costume for Halloween, you
could fare far worse than dressing up as a knight and
painting the Douglas arms on your armour and shield.
If people know their history, they?ll be running for the
hills ? where the Black Douglas will be waiting?
Mailbox
Having just spent a most enjoyable
long weekend travelling the
NC500 in all weathers, I have to
commend those involved in
maintaining this beautiful part of
the country. I was concerned about
cars and bikes using this for a
racetrack but there were no
problems. You can only go as fast,
or as slow, as the first vehicle on a
single track road, and this added to
the enjoyment. I am sure many
overseas visitors we encountered
will be singing its praises on their
return home.
Tom Mitchell, Symington
NC500?s single-track roads
On a bike with no gears, I cycled
most of the North Coast 500 in
1972. It took me three hours to
push my bike up to the Pass of the
Castle from Kishorn but I was
rewarded with a view looking over
the Cuillins with the backdrop of a
Hebridean sunset. The descent to
Applecross was very fast but from
there to Shieldaig wasn?t good, as
the new coastal road was not
complete and parts of it were only
a sheep track. I slept in a concrete
drain pipe and woke early to
experience a magnificent view of
Shieldaig Island at dawn.
Neil Kennedy, Glasgow
LETTER
OF THE
MONTH
Autograph
I was delighted to read the Dawn Geddes? article about
Christopher Grieve, known to many as Hugh MacDiarmid.
He was a particular friend of my father, the sculptor Benno Schotz,
and when he had to attend an event in Glasgow, Valda, his wife,
would often bring him to stay with us while she went shopping in
Sauchiehall Street. He wrote a piece of advice in my autograph
book, in 1944, the wisest advice I have ever been given.
?Though in the years to come you will doubtless urban a lot, and
of money and esteem thereby earn a lot, my biggest wish is that you
may always discern a chief value in the unlearned, unearned gift of
still being just Cherna.?
Cherna Crome, Isleworth, Middlesex, wins a crystal whisky glass
D閖� vu!
My wife and I are both Scottish
ex-pats and return ?home? most
years to see family and enjoy all the
things we miss, such as the
gorgeous countryside. The uncanny
thing is, when we return to New
Zealand there are articles in our
awaiting Scots Magazines on things
and places we?ve just been to For
instance, we enjoyed going ?Doon
the Watter? and there it was in the
magazine when we got back!
Ian Bisset, New Zealand
East Lothian
I enjoyed your feature on East
Lothian. It is a marvellous place but
it is also brilliant for cycling because
of the quiet country roads.
The Cycling Scot, by email
n Send us your news!
The Scots Magazine,
2 Albert Square, Dundee
DD1 9QJ or email us at
mail@scotsmagazine.com
Concorde is
worth a visit
Concorde
Following on to your article about
the Museum of Flight, I think
readers should know how
Concorde arrived there. It was
taken by barge around the coast,
then taken across fields by lorry
with its wings ?chopped off?. Trees
had to be cut down and the story
was that it was promised that eight
trees would be replanted for each
one taken down. The tracks across
the fields could be seen for some
time after its arrival. It looked a sad
old sight when it was first in the
hangar, bereft of wings and
engines, but it was magnificent in
the way that it was gradually
rebuilt.
John Dinning, Worthing
WINNER FROM OUR JULY ISSUE
Two tickets for the Scottish Drinks Festival: Lynne Cuthbert
PICTURES: � SEAN BELL. GETTY IMAGES
North Coast 500
We want to hear your stories
Sound Of Scotland
Home Comforts
Your music expert Lisa-Marie Ferla is looking forward
to cosy autumn nights in listening to the best new albums
A
Annie?s haunting vocals have a touch of the wilderness
UTUMN has always struck me as peak album
about them, leaping from sparse to a woman possessed
listening season. When the nights are long and the
over the course of a three-minute song (never has
days are dark and drizzly, there?s nothing better
than curling up at home with a book, hot drink and a new Demons seemed a more appropriate title). Annie
record. Luckily for me ? and you ? some of Scotland?s
launches the album with shows at Sneaky Pete?s,
loveliest voices have new releases this month to enjoy.
Edinburgh (19th) and The Hug and Pint, Glasgow (20th).
Smoky-voiced Aberdeenshire teen Best Girl Athlete
Glasgow?s Jack James could have been described as a
always did sound wiser than her years but her self-titled
?folk? musician once, but Third Culture Kid ? the
second album, released on October 2 on Fitlike Records,
hardworking songwriter?s seventh album in eight years,
takes her songwriting to another level.
out on October 9 ? sees him finally abandoning that label
What?s particularly stunning about the album
in favour of a Silver Jews-style indie rock musicality
? leaving aside that Katie Buchan wrote the
and fuzzbox vocals.
whole thing with her musician father Charley
Of course, this month also brings plenty of
before her 18th birthday ? is the musical
reasons to leave the house. For Glaswegians,
range covered: opening track Baby Come
September 30 is the date to circle on your
calendars, as multi-venue festival Tenement
Home pairs Katie?s sombre, soulful vocals
with a sparse rap by Jack Hughes; while
Trail takes over 10 city centre venues with
layered vocals and a heady beat turn In
more than 50 bands? worth of
Your Head into lush, radio-ready pop.
entertainment including the likes of
Liverpudlian troubadour Louis Berry,
Equally stunning, but very different, is
local legends The Temperance
An Unforgiving Light, the debut album
Movement and hotly-tipped Cromartyfrom Edinburgh indie-folk
based songwriter Tamzene, the first artist
musician Annie Booth
signed to Belladrum Festival?s fledgling music
released on October
label. Away from the action, as was always
20 through Glasgow
their way, Scottish indie label Armellodie
labels Last Night
Annie Booth
Records will be celebrating 10 years of
From Glasgow and
boundary-pushing independent releases
Scottish Fiction.
Jack James
Best Girl
Athlete
Jonnie Common
The festival is famed for its
Tazmene
friendly family atmosphere
Gig Guide
The Coronas, King Tut?s, Glasgow,
October 15. Irish Indie-rock
foursome, 10 years on after their
debut album Heroes Or Ghosts.
Lucy Spraggan, Eden Court,
Inverness, October 19. Alt-folk
from the pop singer and former
X Factor contestant.
Frankie Rose, Sneaky Pete?s,
Edinburgh, October 20.
Brooklyn-based vocalist, songwriter
and musician and one-time
member of garage rock acts Crystal
Stilts and Dum Dum Girls.
Starsailor, 02 ABC, Glasgow,
October 22. Indie/rock Chorleybased quartet formed in 2000.
Alison Moyet, Royal Concert Hall,
Glasgow, November 1. Pop diva
from the 80s whose album sales
total 23 million.
There are lots of new
releases to enjoy
?
with a birthday party at The Glad Caf� on the south side
of the city, featuring label alumni Yip Man, Bloke Music,
Cuddly Shark and Galoshins.
Electro eccentric Jonnie Common once recorded a
whole album based around the sounds of various kitchen
implements, but new single Restless ? a ?dulcet siren
issued from the trig point on a mountain of student debt?
? is a decidedly lower key affair, albeit one that?s enough
justification for him to take his bag of tricks on the road for
the first time in a while. Catch him at Edinburgh?s Voodoo
Rooms (October 5), Stirling Tolbooth (6th) and the Hug
and Pint, Glasgow (7th).
Finally, the scamps at Lost Map Records host a mystery
line-up of musicians and DJs in City of Culture
2021-shortlisted Paisley on October 22. Lost Map?s
Strange Invitation promises an afternoon and evening of
rare stripped performances drawn from the Eigg-based
label and beyond.
Pictures: ALAMY, MARIO CRUZADO, BRIAN SWEENEY
?
Scouting For Girls, The Garage,
Aberdeen, November 4. 10 years
in the business for this indie pop,
pop rock/ acoustic threesome.
Martin Simpson, Tolbooth,
Stirling, November 4. One of the
greatest acoustic guitarists of all
time. Simpson is a legend.
Van Morrison, Edinburgh
Playhouse, November 6.
Belfast-born rock and blues icon,
inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame in 1993.
Van ?the
man?
Louis Berry
1
Scottish Bookshelf
A Rollicking Adventure
Robert J Harris ?collaborates? with the late John Buchan in a new
adventure for The Thirty-Nine Steps? hero Richard Hannay?
by PAUL F COCKBURN
I
Pictures: ALAMY
T might be hindsight, but some writers appear destined
to write particular books. Take Robert J Harris and his
new novel The Thirty-One Kings, which brings together
several of Scottish author John Buchan?s characters ?
including Richard Hannay of The Thirty-Nine Steps ? in a
new adventure set during the Second World War.
?Like a lot of people, I first discovered Richard Hannay
when I was at school. The Thirty-Nine Steps was one of
the few required books I actually got around to reading
because it was quite short,? says the St Andrews-based
academic and children?s author. ?Many years later, my
wife Deborah gave me a copy of Greenmantle, the next
Hannay novel; up to then I hadn?t really thought of there
being a whole series of Buchan books.?
Eventually Robert reached Sick Heart River, which
Buchan wrote just before he died. ?Quite late in that
book Leithen, the hero, finds out about the outbreak of
the Second World War and realises that his plans of going
home and hanging out with his pals ? he mentions Hannay
and Sandy Arbuthnot, Sir Archie Roylance and some of
Buchan?s other regulars ? are not going to happen because
they?ll all be off having new adventures, ?doing their bit?.
?And I thought: if Buchan hadn?t died then, I bet he
would?ve written a story out of that. If he?d lived through
the Second World War, he probably
Robert felt there was would?ve written a book about his
unfinished characters in that conflict. That notion,
business
that kind of regret, stayed in my head.
?It was a kind of fantasy idea, because
I was writing nice,
funny books for
kids, which didn?t
involve the
research my earlier
historical novels
had done. Faced
with re-reading all
the Buchan novels
and other books
I?d bring into it, as
well as studying the whole history of the war, I knew it
would be a lot of work that I couldn?t do unless I had a
publisher interested beforehand.?
By coincidence, Robert?s younger son Jamie was on
an internship at Edinburgh publisher Birlinn, who publish
Polygon books, as part of his M.Litt. Back home in
St Andrews, the pair were discussing things they?d love to
write; Robert mentioned continuing Hannay?s adventures.
?As an author I?m very un-savvy on the business side; I
don?t even know who publishes what. Jamie said to me,
?Dad, don?t you know that Polygon publish all of Buchan?s
novels?? So I thought they?d probably be interested!?
After Robert submitted a detailed proposal ? ?I?d
written for teenagers, historical novels and funny books for
younger kids, but not a book for adults. I thought, they?re
going to need a really good outline, to see that I?ve
thought it all out? ? he was commissioned remarkably
quickly. The main challenge, he found, was finding an
approximation of Buchan?s writing style.
?It?s not pretending to be a long lost manuscript,? he
says, ?but it?s us writing in collaboration, in the sense that
I?m reading his work all the time. The Hannay books are
all written in the first person, so it?s very much getting into
his mindset, how he sees the world. I think I?ve pulled it
off; certainly before Christmas I?d done the first five
chapters and everyone was going: ?Wow, this is great. It
reads like a Buchan novel?.
?What was important to me is that in a sense it
completes the Buchan canon; it?s the book he didn?t get
to write. But it also enriches that canon by doing
something he hadn?t done, bringing characters together.
?If you?re going to write stories that pick up somebody
else?s work, you could enrich it or be trashing it; with this
book it seemed there was another story to be told, and I
had the audacity to do it, and everything seemed to come
together in time.
?I?m even the same age as Richard Hannay is in the
book,? Robert adds. ?I?m actually the right age to write
this. I?m Scottish, and I?m a writer ? so maybe I am the
person to write it!?
Robert Powell hangs on in
The Thirty-Nine Steps
Pictures: ALAMY, ANDREW CAWLEY
Buchan
was a
prolific
writer
Scottish Bookshelf
from the heart and is
laced with hard facts.
His encounter with
an ethereal narwhalshaped cloud
spreading across a
Stirlingshire sky leads to the
forging of a brilliant link to the
problems already encountered
by whales as they struggle with
diminishing ice floes and a
broken food chain.
Though overall this portrayal
of the new Scottish winter has a
positive side, there are many
issues raised that make for
uncomfortable reading. The
appearance of a humpback whale
in the Firth of Forth during the
winter turns the writer?s thoughts
back to the harrowing story of the
great whale that turned up near
Dundee in 1883 and which had
a horribly brutal end. He takes
issue with sporting estates who
?manage nature with a shotgun
in one hand and a dose of poison
in the other.?
And one can hear the deep
sadness for the continuing plight
of the glorious hen harrier, all
situations that make one
ashamed to be classified as a
human being.
Though avid followers will
love this latest addition to their
collections of Jim?s work, they are
not the ones who need to read
his poignant message on climate
change. The real trump card
would be for The Nature Of
Winter to end up on the desk of
a certain American president who
still appears to be ignoring all
nature?s worrying signs, remaining
unaccepting of just what we
stand to lose. Everything.
Polly Pullar
BOOK
OF THE
MONTH
The Nature Of Winter
By Jim Crumley
�.99
SARABAND
THIS second instalment in Jim
Crumley?s extraordinary eclectic
foray through the seasons could
equally well have the title A
Eulogy For Winter.
The winter of 2016-17 proved
elusive. Mild, wet, tempestuous
storms and temperatures rising
into double figures. While on
familiar ground among his
beloved hills, Jim talks of ?a sense
of distress in the landscape that
felt that nature itself was veering
towards a fundamental
watershed.?
Then, as if to confirm his worst
fears, catastrophic scientific
evidence is revealed relating to a
huge diminishing glacier in
Greenland, proving indeed that
things are far from well. Jim?s take
on climate change comes directly
?
Jim talks of a
sense of distress
in the landcape
?
Giants Of The Clyde
By Robert Jeffrey
�99
BLACK & WHITE
A story of the great river and the
ships that were built on it. These
range from the Cunard liners to
iconic vessels like the Cutty Sark
and Delta Queen. The author also
lists the many cargo-carrying vessels
that sailed the seven seas.
The Trials Of Lady
Jane Douglas
By Karl Sabbagh
�.00
SKYSCRAPER PUBLICATIONS
Did Lady Jane give birth to sons in
1748 or did her husband buy two
babies from French peasants?
Extensive legal proceedings yielded
no answer and the author
investigates further, unearthing new
documents that might hold the key.
First for fact and fiction
Close Quarters
Baby
Top 500 Summits
MATADOR BOOKS
CONRAD PRESS
WHERE2WALK
By Angus McAllister
�99
By Marie Campbell
�.99
The author reimagines the Glasgow
tenement lifestyle, fuelled by his
own experiences of living in flats.
There?s a touch of humour but
there?s also an element of crime,
the combination of which makes
excellent reading.
Dark and disturbing, but still an
excellent and gripping read.
Pregnant Jill Stanton?s husband goes
missing, but she doesn?t know that
his ex, Anna, wants him back ? at
any cost. As the tension rises, so do
the stakes. Who will win in the end?
By Barry Smith
�
Not a guide book, but one man?s
recollections of years of hillwalking
and climbing. Those listed are
predominantly Scottish hills, from
the south to the far north, with the
usual suspects ? Ben Nevis, Ben Lui
etc ? all included.
Books In Brief?For Kids
Ollie And The Otter
Emily Dodd & Kirsteen
Harris-Jones
A charming story about an
alliance between an osprey
and an otter. Scottish wildlife
is brought to life as Rory the
otter and Ollie join together to catch fish!
�99 Picture Kelpies
The Island And The Bear
Louise Greig & Vanya
Nastanlieva
One morning on a quiet
Hebridean island, a bear
appears from nowhere. After
a while, it realises it needs to
get home. Can the islanders help him?
�99 Picture Kelpies
Isla And Pickle
Kate McLelland
The first in a series about a
feisty little girl and a lovable
Shetland pony who live on a
remote Scottish island. Can
Isla persuade her dad that
Pickle should stay with them?
�99 Picture Kelpies
Max & Zap At The Museum
Illustrated by Natasha
Rimmington
Max is visiting a museum
with his toy robot Zap when
something amazing happens.
When he tries on some
magic armour, the whole museum comes to life ?
even Zap! �99 Picture Kelpies
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HIKE
|
BIKE
|
CLIMB
|
EXPLORE
Outdoor
Scotland
Get out there and try something new...
Turn to page 80 for our take on the many fun bike trails around Stirling
? Paddleboard Yoga p68 ? Cameron McNeish p72 ? Take A Hike p78 ? Gear Review p89
Picture: G. ANDERTON/GMBC.ORG.UK
A Fine
Balance
Yoga on water is not quite as
difficult as you might think!
by WENDY GLASS
I
T?S a dull Monday morning and I?m standing on
the edge of a tree-lined loch where I?m about to
do a yoga class. Not on the banks of the loch
? but actually on the water, balancing on a
paddleboard!
?Yoga on a loch, a lake or the sea is really
special,? says stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga
instructor, Michaella Robb of Sattva Wellness, as
she tries to persuade me that I?m going to enjoy
this experience. ?It?s a chance to connect with
your body, mind and soul ? and with nature.?
I?m not convinced. I?m at Clunie Loch near
Blairgowrie in my exercise gear, wondering how
I?m ever going to manage to keep my balance,
stay dry and put my legs behind my neck or do
any of the other yoga moves I can?t stretch to on
land! And, to top it all, there?s no life jacket.
?You?re going to be attached to an eight foot
float so there?s no way you?re going under,? says
Matt from Paddle Surf Scotland, who teams up
with Michaella for her SUP yoga classes,
providing paddleboards and expert tuition. ??
9
?
As I float among the lilies, eyes closed, water
gently lapping my toes, I mentally drift away
Following Matt?s instructions, I wade into the loch and
tentatively kneel on my paddleboard, attaching the safety
line to my ankle in case I fall off, and start paddling ? very
slowly. ?Now stand up,? shouts Matt.
Stand up? No chance. But Matt explains that all I have
to do is make sure my feet are in the middle of the board
and that I?m standing straight, with no wobbles. An
explanation which sounds easier than it proves to be.
Finally, I?m up and, with a few tips from Matt about
using the paddle for balance as well as movement, I find
myself gliding over the loch in roughly the right direction.
As my core muscles and my legs shake with the effort
of holding the correct pose, Matt and Michaella effortlessly
glide across the water, even having time to point out the
various wildlife.
As I slowly get to grips with standing and paddling,
every molecule in my brain is focused on merely keeping
my balance ? until a heron standing in the shallows
distracts me. No longer thinking about what I?m doing,
paddleboarding suddenly becomes ? relatively ? easy!
?Head for the lilies,? instructs Michaella and, as we
gently paddle into the calm centre of a nearby lily pond,
the sun comes out and it all becomes a wee bit magical?
?The lilies will anchor us to the right spot,? says
Michaella, and, as I stop paddling, the lilies wrap their
tendrils around my board, bring me to a halt.
With my board becalmed by the lilies, moving from
standing into kneeling becomes feasible and I don?t even
worry when Michaella tells me to move into my first yoga
Pictures: ANDY THOMPSON, ISTOCKPHOTO
SUP Up!
I DISCOVERED paddleboarding
in New Zealand and SUP yoga in
Cambodia,? says Michaella, who
travelled the world gaining skills
and expertise so she could
establish her yoga, massage and
reflexology business, Sattva
Wellness, in her hometown of
Forfar in Angus.
?People tend to do SUP yoga
the first time for fun and then they
?
position ? a downward dog. I follow Michaella?s moves as
closely as I can, focusing on getting every position just right
as she?s assured me this will help me stay on the board.
?If you fall in, it will be in slow motion,? laughs
Michaella, as we move into the warrior pose, followed by
a happy cat (kneeling, arched back, swishing tail!), cobra
(lying down on the board, pushing body up with
stretched-out arms) and various twists, lunges and bends.
After about 30 minutes, Michaella begins the winddown exercises, finishing with lying on the board, allowing
every muscle to relax. As I float among the lilies with my
eyes closed and water gently lapping my toes, I mentally
drift away. The combination of the soft breeze, the birds
singing, the sun warming my body and even the splash of
a very nearby fish lulls me into such a state of relaxation, I
half expect to open my eyes to the sight of a choir of frogs,
croaking out The Frog Chorus!
After taking a few minutes to appreciate this wonderful
feeling of calmness, I resume my standing pose on the
board and follow Michaella and Matt back around the
loch, chatting as we paddle.
?SUP yoga releases so many endorphins,? says
Michaella, a point highlighted by the grin on my face. ?It
takes yoga to a deeper level, mentally and physically,
while paddleboarding provides an excellent all-over work
out, especially for your core muscles.?
As we pull the boards out of the water and onto the
bank, I realise my legs feel as though I?ve done a 15-mile
hike ? as does my happy heart. And I didn?t fall in!
realise it?s also an excellent way to
relax and keep fit,? continues
Michaella, who was recently
named an ambassador for
Starboard, a world-leading
watersports company. ?SUP yoga
is about listening to your body,
benefitting from the natural
environment and, from time to
time, making a splash!?
Sattva Wellness? SUP yoga
classes are held at Clunie
Loch near Blairgowrie throughout
the summer and by
arrangement.
For more information, visit
www.facebook.com/
sattvawellness1/ or email
info@sattvawellness.co.uk.
For paddleboard hire,
purchase and tuition, visit
www.paddlesurfscotland.com
For more ideas about activities
and adventures in Scotland?s
great outdoors, visit
www.visitscotland.org
Pictures: ALAMY, HILARY LITTLE
Matt and Michaella
put Wendy through
her paces
1
Cameron McNeish, Scotland?s top outdoor writer,
On The Saddle
Where creaking knees will no longer
go, modern cycling kit can carry!
A
LMOST 40 years ago an old pal of mine, Robin
Adshead, wrote a book called Bikepacking For
Beginners. Robin, like me, was a member of the
Backpackers Club, a nationwide organisation that I?ve
been proud to chair for the past 20 years or so.
Backpacking can be described as hiking, carrying all
you need ? shelter, food, fuel and clothing ? in a
rucksack on your back. Your journey may be for six
weeks, six months or simply overnight but the crucial
element is that you are self-sufficient.
As Robin saw it all those years ago, bikepacking was
doing exactly the same thing but on a bicycle, and the
Backpackers Club, in its 45 years existence, has always
encouraged cyclists as well as walkers.
What has changed is the equipment, and where
people choose to journey. Off-road touring bikes, with
fatter tyres and stronger frames, allow today?s
bikepackers to take to high mountain tracks and trails,
journeys not contemplated 40 years ago? except by a
gang of cyclists known as the Rough Stuff Fellowship.
These hardy adventurers were legendary. They
thought nothing of riding and carrying ordinary touring
bikes over some of the toughest, roughest terrain in
Scotland, sleeping out in bothies, dosses and tents.
The bikes used were not specifically designed for
rough tracks as today?s mountain bikes are,
although it has to be said that
most contemporary
Rough Stuff Fellowship
members have happily
embraced modern ??
does the most exciting things. This month, bikepacking
Glaswegian Lee Craigie
biking in the French Alps
Cameron?s Country
technology and use bikes with disc brakes and suspension.
A few years ago various injuries made hillwalking very
difficult and I took to the bike, just as my old pal and
predecessor Tom Weir did many years ago. I wanted to
continue lightweight camping so I became a bikepacker,
in the widest sense of the word. I also managed to fit in
some decent cycling trips ? Land?s End to John O?Groats,
and the length of Ireland.
These longer trips were wonderful but what I?ve really
enjoyed has been simply loading up the bike with my
backpacking gear and taking off for one or two-night trips,
camping out in some wild and remote spot where I can
connect with the landscape as I did when backpacking.
The advantages of the bike are threefold. I don?t suffer
from the impact injuries to my knees and feet I?ve been
suffering from in recent years; I can cover much larger
areas of terrain; and I can easily carry larger loads so I can
use slightly bigger tents, carry more food and don?t have
to become obsessed with every ounce.
This last point is relative. It?s no fun trundling up a hill
with a bike that is overloaded. Occasions certainly arise
when you have to carry the loaded bike, so weight is still
pretty critical and modern panniers, designed specifically
for today?s lightweight bikepackers, are not exactly roomy.
I should emphasise at this point that my variation of
bikepacking is a pale version of the activity as carried out
by somewhat younger, fitter and leaner individuals.
Glaswegian Lee Craigie is a successful mountain bike racer
and is co-founder and co-director of The Adventure
Syndicate, a visionary group of bike riders who share the
desire to encourage more women and girls to challenge
what they think they are capable of.
?Since giving up racing I am returning to my roots and
the reason I began mountain biking in the first place. Big
adventures in the hills,? says Lee, who has enjoyed some
formidable bikepacking adventures. I?m really impressed
by her off-road traverse of the French Alps on a Fatbike.
?We followed the Grand Traverse of the Alps ? the
I?ve enjoyed simply
?loading
up my bike
and taking off
?
GR5 ? religiously from north to south. The route is 676km
(420 miles) long with 40,000m (131,233ft) of height gain.
Sometimes we got lucky and found gravel roads part way
up high passes. Other times we had to push or carry from
the valley, which only made the descents all the sweeter.?
Markus Stitz lives in Edinburgh and recently became
the first person to cycle round the world on a singlespeed bike, a fantastic achievement. Since then he?s been
developing some great bikepacking trails in Scotland,
including the Capital Trail. I asked him to describe it.
?With about 6000m (19,700ft) of climbing, the Capital
Trail is a real challenge, but offers you an amazing variety
of singletrack, Land Rover tracks, forest roads and quiet
lanes. In short, it is the very best Scotland?s South has to
offer, with most of the trails rideable in dry conditions.
?The route starts and finishes at The Tide Caf� on
Portobello Beach and features the beautiful Firth of Forth
coastline, the River Esk, Carberry Hill, the Winton Estate
and the Pencaitland Railway Path, Saltoun Big Woods, the
quiet and scenic country lanes of East Lothian, Lammer
Law, the Southern Upland Way, Thirlestane Castle,
Melrose Abbey, the River Tweed, the Borders and Abbey
Way, the Three Brethren, the 7Stanes trails at Innerleithen
and Peebles, Kirkhope Law, the Cross Borders Drove
Road, the Meldons and Pentland Hills.
?And to finish, the Capital Trail will offer you some
views on Edinburgh you may not have experienced.?
Although the route doesn?t venture far from the city,
the Capital Trail takes you through some very remote
but beautiful places. That?s my bikepacking raison d?阾re,
Sunset at my
Ardverikie camp
Peaceful Badenoch
using two wheels to take me through some truly
fantastic landscapes.
I can?t think of anywhere I?d rather live but Badenoch.
I love it with a passion and one reason is this ability to
head off in any one of a number of directions and enjoy
magnificent landscapes. I recently loaded up my bike and
set off west, roughly in the direction of the Ardverikie hills.
With the sun shining from a blue sky and a slight
headwind I trundled along the quiet road below the steep
frowning crags of Creag Dubh. I stopped at Laggan village
and adjusted my saddle. After taking well over 1600km
(1000 miles) to break in my Brooks B17 saddle I have to
get the height and tilt of it spot-on for maximum comfort,
and for some reason it tends to tilt backwards every so
often. If anyone has suffered the same problem and found
out how to fix it I?d love to hear from them.
Saddle adjusted it was over the hill, past the superb
Wolftrax mountain bike set-up and on down through
increasingly hilly countryside to the end of Loch Laggan.
This is where I was leaving the road behind ? through
the Ardverikie Estate with the sun glinting off the loch. I
paused to appreciate the Disneyesque splendour of
Ardverikie House, made famous by the television series
Monarch Of The Glen. Queen Victoria apparently
considered it for her Scottish residence but chose Balmoral.
It seems the midges were too fierce here in Badenoch.
A series of zigzags left the main track and climbed over
the ridge of Druim na Beiste. It was hard work on the fully
loaded bike but it was a bigger problem when I reached a
gate across the track. It was locked and a kissing gate at
the side would allow only pedestrians through.
By holding the bike vertically ? not easy when fully
laden ? I squeezed it through the kissing gate, damaging
the rear mudguard in the process. Cursed gates?
Once through, the cycling improved hugely. I was now
up high with some great views and the track was a tad ??
Lee Craigie off on a
biking adventure...
?
On a bike, the track
was a completely
different experience
?
I was running slightly downhill and met a couple of
lads cycling the other way, from Ben Alder Lodge and
Loch Ericht. They looked as though they?d been cycling
uphill a while, stripped to shorts and T-shirt while I was
festooned in warmwear!
I stripped off a bit when I hit the Loch Ericht track and
glimpsed the super-duper Lodge. It belongs to a Swiss
finance conglomerate and apparently cost several million
pounds to build. It looked like a direct copy of Ardverikie.
Along the lochside are a couple of other gatehouses,
like mini-castles in themselves. I was once told by some
builders that the new owners referred to these as the
?Wendy Houses.? A bit of wealth porn, methinks?
The track alongside Loch Ericht was fantastic. I?ve
walked it too many times and each time I swore it
would be the last but on a bike it was a
completely different experience.
I enjoyed the good surface, swooping down
the descents and allowing the momentum to
carry me up the ascents.
I was soon in Dalwhinnie and back on the
Tarmac ? on past the distillery and the quiet
road to Crubenmore before the Sustrans bike
path took me parallel to the A9. I was home in
Newtonmore by lunchtime, thrilled to have
been able to grab what adventure author Al
Humphreys would refer to as a ?microadventure? in
this short but magnificent window of Scottish
summer weather.
Pictures: ALAMY, CAMERON MCNEISH, FERGA PERRY
smoother, and so faster. On through the pinewoods of
Coille Doir-ath, over a flat and broad bit of moorland and
then down to the lively waters of the River Pattack.
This really felt like wild land. The track snaked along
between the wild river and pinewoods and the distant
snow-capped hills looked Alpine in the early evening sun.
I passed any number of potential campsites but I had my
night?s spot in my mind?s eye ? a flat, grassy patch beside
woods, the site of the old Pattack Bothy which burned to
the ground in the 80s. It?s never been replaced.
It was just as I remembered it, a peaceful spot close to
the river with distant hills shining. I lingered a while before
unpacking, replacing my sweat-soaked shirt with an Alpkit
down sweater, a wonderful bit of kit that comes into its
own in situations like this. It burst out of its tiny stiffsack
with unabandoned enthusiasm, and kept me warm for
the rest of the evening.
There was a frost on the tent the next morning so I
didn?t linger. Everything packed away into the various
bike bags I?d brought. I was keen to get moving, simply to
stay warm, for the day had the makings of a cracker.
The Ben Alder hills were appearing through hazy
mists and the sky was clear of cloud. It was
marvellous just being there with the calls and cries
of curlew and lapwings, the only sounds I could
hear over the orchestrations of the River Pattack.
Unfortunately things weren?t great underfoot.
The track was deeply rutted into two narrow
singletracks ? too narrow and deep to cycle in as
the pedals would clip the edges. The central part
was overgrown with long grass which made for
really heavy going.
When it all became boggy and wet I pushed
the bike for about a kilometre.
By Loch Pattack, conditions had improved.
Ben Alder shone from the haze and God was
in his heaven.
Take A Hike
Along The Pilgrim?s Way
Nick Drainey takes in historic St Andrews landmarks on this circular route
Length: 9.6km (6 miles)
Height gained: 36.5m (120ft)
Time: 3 to 4 hours.
OS Landranger 59.
Parking: There are a number
of car parks in St Andrews. If
you use one behind the R&A
clubhouse you can walk up
through the town to the start
of the walk.
Above: A scene
from Chariots
of Fire
Right:
Dunfermline
Abbey
S
T ANDREWS is now best known for golf and its
esteemed university ? and numerous caf閟 where
Prince William and Kate Middleton are said to have
drunk coffee ? but there is still a strong religious presence,
making it a popular stop for modern-day pilgrims, too.
Fife itself has a strong ecclesiastical history and a new
long-distance footpath, the 113km (70-mile) Fife Pilgrim
Way is due to open in the next couple of years.
Led by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, the project
will see the route start at either Culross Abbey or North
Queensferry and pass landmarks such as the Inverkeithing
Hospitium, Dunfermline Abbey, Markinch Church, as
well as pilgrimage paths such as the Waterless Way at
Ceres until it reaches St Andrews Cathedral.
St Andrews is a brilliant place for a walk, taking in the
religious history, as well as the university, golf and some of
the stunning coastline.
A start point at the cathedral means you can explore
the ruins and read up on their history before heading to
the coast, with views over cliffs around the town?s castle.
A delightful avenue, The Scores, is lined with grand
university buildings which make you feel intelligent just by
walking past.
Then, the views open out as the Royal and Ancient
Clubhouse and the famous Old Course, which has been
graced by golfing greats for nearly 500 years, are reached.
If all the buildings and history have been a bit of an
information overload, just to the right of the golf course is
West Sands, a two-mile stretch of beach wh ich allows you
to stride out and walk up to the estuary of the River Eden
at Out Head.
I can?t walk along the beach without sometimes
Nick?s Top Tip...
Delaying the start of the walk
may seem like a procrastinator?s
dream but if the weather is
supposed to improve, there is
little point in setting off after
breakfast and walking the whole
route in rain only for the sun to
come out when you get back.
The vast expanse of West
Sands beach, St Andrews
l
l
Grid references:
Start/Finish: NO513167
Point 2: NO513168
Point 3: NO502172
Point 4: NO499191
Pictures: ALAMY, ISTOCKPHOTO
〤ROWN COPYRIGHT 2017 ORDNANCE SURVEY. MEDIA 070/17
breaking into a wee jog and humming the theme to the
Oscar-winning 1981 film Chariots Of Fire (?Da-da da da
da-da!?). Out Head brings complete calm and nature
with ground nesting and wading birds making a much
better soundtrack.
You can then thread your way between the golf
fairways and end up following the last few holes of the
Old Course, including the famous Swilcan Bridge on
the 18th.
Just listening to the number of languages being spoken
around you as you look over the final green shows how
this place is still one of pilgrimage from across the world.
For some, however, the religion is golf rather than
Christianity.
l Something a bit more strenuous: Follow the Fife
Coastal Path to Kingsbarns and enjoy the sight of the
rugged coast. It is just over eight miles so you may want to
catch the bus back.
l Very strenuous: Continue the Fife Coastal Path all the
way to Crail, taking in Fife Ness and a number of caves
along the way. In total, this is a 32km (14.5 miles) walk
so, again, you may want to hop aboard a bus for the
return journey.
Point 5: NO494196
Point 6: NO491188
Point 7: NO500171
Point 8: NO513168
Point 9: NO513167
Next month?s walk takes in a classic route for autumn colours, including a large dose of history. The Falls of
Clyde above New Lanark are also a spectacular sight, as well as a haven for wildlife.
9
On Your Bike
A Sterling Experience
Discover Stirling?s surrounding playground with a fun
ride round Cambusbarron and the North Third
by ALEX CORLETT
A
Distance: 19.5km
(12 miles) ? I got lost!
Ascent: 491m (1610ft)
Start: Cambusbarron
Maps: OS Explorer 366
and Landranger 57 will
show you the area, but
Trailforks, a quick
internet search or locals
are the best bet for
finding everything.
RE there any trails better than local
trails? These are the paths we ride
more often than any other ? after
work or when time?s tight at the weekend.
And where there are riders, there will be
local trails.
Every Scottish city has its spots ? some
jealously guarded secrets, others common
knowledge. Glasgow has Mugdock, Perth
has Kinnoull and Deuchny, and Stirling
has Cambusbarron and the North Third.
Actually, Stirling does very well for
itself ? it also has Dumyat and the Mine
Woods to the north, but today I?m
heading to the west.
Despite its long-standing reputation as
a hotspot for Central Belt riders, I?d never
actually been before, but I was keen to fill
in the blank on the map. I was riding solo
this weekend, but in all honesty I was OK
with that. I didn?t completely know where
I was going, I wasn?t sure what to expect
Looking over the
reservoir
and this kind of exploring frustrates a lot of
my riding buddies.
Driving in to a car park busy with
bikers, and I could tell there must be a lot
going on in these woods before I?d even
pulled on the handbrake. Folk were
pulling everything from downhill bikes to
sprightly cross-country bikes off their cars
and out of vans.
The woods behind Cambusbarron itself
(Gillies Hill) are where most of the
downhill action happens, but I was
headed first round the base of the hill,
passing huge open quarry works, before a
short road section headed out and on to
trail to the wall of the North Third
reservoir. The damp banks of the northern
edge of the water are hard work even
though level, but soon enough it?s back on
the road. Mere metres along here, a track
breaks east then north along the treeline
and winds up Lewis Hill.
Conditions were autumnal
Narrow trails on
the North Third
I saw a lot more woodwork on my push on up and
round Gillies Hill ? the ground was too soft ? got more
than a little lost, but eventually found myself back in the
quarry and then on the unnamed 149 metre (488ft)
summit above the car park. Following my nose in the
wrong direction a few times, I went too hot into some
hairy corners on the way down and struggled to piece
together a smooth run down ? but I wouldn?t expect
anything less on a first visit, and there was certainly ample
reason to push up for a few more runs.
Driving out, I felt a little pang of envy for anyone who
can ride in and out of these woods from home. If these
were my local trails, I?d be a happy man.
Pictures: IAN WILSON, G ANDERTON/GMBC.ORG.UK, ALAMY
It?s from small hills like this that you understand what
people say about the Eiffel Tower. The problem with
going up it is that it?s the only place in Paris you don?t get
a view of the Eiffel Tower from. Likewise, some of the
finest views of the Highlands are from these wee hills on
the edge of them, and the vista from this cliff-top
singletrack counts amongst them, stretching north to Ben
Ledi, Ben Lomond and Argyll beyond.
A few steep ups and downs follow, before the track
plunges down into Windy Yet ? wet ? Glen and demands
a wee push back up out of. This last kilometre or two
round Sauchie Crag is my favourite section ? it hugs close
to the cliff edge in places and has a few hidden surprises.
Literally, in some instances. As it veers away eastward, you
lose the sense of vertigo but still need to keep your
concentration to stay on track.
Then it all went a bit wrong. I?d gone looking for some
old trails on the east side of Gillies Hill and found some
dilapidated wood features. I rode on to one blind, and
was a full five feet off the ground when it gave an
unnerving sideways lurch.
On the way off, three struts were missing and with
eyebrows raised high and I attacked the gap, breath held,
in the hope that my big 29er wheels would bridge it. They
did, and I swore not to be so cavalier again.
Alex?s Top Tip...
Like all spots local to a
good population base, it?s
best done on the tail of
someone who knows
what?s what. Pop on to a
forum like TrailScotland.
co.uk and see if anyone?s
organising a ride.
1
Luskintyre,
Harris
A Hebrides
Symphony
Paul Murton,
presenter of the
BBC?s Grand
Tours, explores his favourite
islands in depth in a new book
by GARRY FRASER
L
IKE many outdoor enthusiasts, Paul Murton caught
the bug at an early age. Teenage years spent exploring
the Alps and hitch-hiking all over Europe gave way to
exploring the mountains, islands and lochs of Scotland.
His exploits were eventually captured on camera in
his BBC television Grand Tours series, which made him
a household name.
There was one part of the country that had a particular
attraction. This love would eventually lead him to record
his Grand Tours Of The Scottish Islands programme, and
write his latest book, The Hebrides.
Paul grew up at his parent?s hotel in Ardentinny, Argyl l
and he seized on the chance to roam freely. ?I was out
every weekend, in rowing boats and sailing boats, usually
without a life jacket!? he says. ?I also did a lot of
swimming and hillwalking and got into rock climbing. ??
?The first hill I climbed, and I must have climbed
it dozens of times, was Stronchullin, which was right
behind the hotel. I must?ve been about 10. My first
Munro was Ben Lomond.?
His daredevil teenage years could easily have
ended in tragedy. ?When I was 17, I and my mate
Gus spent three weeks camping on two glaciers
beneath Piz Bernina in the Alps. It scared the living
daylights out of me!
?We weren?t properly equipped for it. We?d set off
in the middle of the night with head torches so we
could watch the sun rise over the Alps. Then we?d
perch on some ledge cut out with an ice-axe hoping
we wouldn?t fall off.?
Early inspiration for tackling the great outdoors
came in the form of a regular visitor to the hotel ?
Polar explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs. ?He and his wife
Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Islay
would stay for a fortnight every year and he?d regale
me with stories of the South Pole and the
extraordinary things he and his wife had done,?
continues Paul. ?They must?ve been in their 70s, but
they were still extremely fit.?
Other impetus to take to the hills came through a
book that would become Paul?s bible, WH Murray?s
classic Mountaineering In Scotland. But it was the
Hebrides to which he would be particularly drawn.
?When I was a five-year-old, my parents took
me and the family camping on the west coast
where we could enjoy the Paps of Jura against the
sunset. Views like these made me want to explore
the islands one day.
?In writing The Hebrides, I could let my mind
wander back to many of the places I was lucky
enough to explore in making the BBC series. It was
A fine, clear day on Harris
The Paps Of Jura inspired Paul
to set sail for the islands
also good to be able to have the space to say more
about these wonderful islands than was possible in
the limited time available for a television programme.
?The Hebrides are special because of their Gaelic
heritage and the extraordinary beaches that fringe
the Atlantic seaboard. Somehow ? even in the worst
of the weather ? there is a unique atmosphere,
perhaps enhanced by the smell of seaweed and peat
smoke that seems to linger long after you?ve gone.
?I have always found it astonishing that, for
thousands of years, people have lived on the
unlikeliest scraps of land yet were able to build boats
big and robust enough to sail among the islands and
to settle where they landed.
?It is sad to think that now, in the 21st century,
after several millennia of human occupation, some of
the islands are empty and that many of the
Kisimul Castle, Barra
communities that survive have a precarious future,?
he continues.
?As islands go I am very fond of Mull, partly
because my family have had connections with it for
several generations.
?One of my most favourite places on Earth is the
secluded beach of Langamull which boasts some of
the most magnificent views you can get anywhere
? Ardnamurchan, Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna and in the
far distance, the hills of South Uist.?
But island beauty can also equate to island hell ?
the dreaded midge. ?I was filming on Arran one day
and found the midges there to be the worst I?ve ever
experienced,? Paul continues. ?They are huge and
flesh-eating!
?I went to bed with the windows closed, then I
thought, ?that?s funny, there are midges in here?. ??
Mull is a favourite of Paul?s
North Rona ? remote
but once inhabited
Pictures: BBC PICTURES. ALAMY, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, GAYLE RITCHIE
Paul with
archaeologist
George
Geddes
I thought that it was just my imagination and put up with it
for about half an hour. Then I put the light on and found
there were midges everywhere. They must?ve come in
under the slates, a super breed!?
Paul?s island-hopping has taken him from Islay to Iona
and from Skye to St Kilda, but it took him three attempts
to reach one of the most remote islands in Scotland ?
North Rona.
?It?s always been a place that I have wanted to visit,?
says Paul, ?and I tried to film there twice but found it too
difficult to get to, even in summer. But I finally made it.
?It is 45 nautical miles north-east from the Butt of
Lewis, and while it?s not the most beautiful island in the
world, it?s so remote. More remote, in fact, than St Kilda.
There were people living there for thousands of years ? so
much so that they used up all the peat. There?s no peat
there now, which is quite amazing.?
But ticking North Rona off the list came at a price. Not
normally one who suffers from seasickness, Paul and his
crew spent the choppy six-hour crossing rather the worse
for wear. ?But by the time we came back, it was all
forgotten about. I still remember it, though!?
Paul?s concise and penetrating portrayal of the
Hebrides meant spending many hours on the ferries that
link them, but he has also found a way to see them from
a different angle.
?I have a friend who is also a cameraman and he has a
microlight licence. He?s taken me up on a few occasions.
St Kilda is a World
Heritage Site
I just sit at the back for balance. One flight we took started
off at minus four degrees on ground level but once up to
1370m (4500 feet) ? even with heated seats ? it was
extremely chilly. However, it was worth it as the views
were amazing.
?We could see everything from the hills of Arran to
Ben More on Mull and the Paps of Jura. On the mainland,
Ben Nevis, Ben Lawers and the Pentland Hills all came
into view. It was amazing to see Scotland?s undeniable
beauty from above.?
Paul admits that his current occupation is light years
away from his days working as a drama director in
London. ?I was living in Aberfoyle but commuting back
and forth every fortnight. It was a horrible situation and
not at all good for family life. So I decided to make the
commitment and live and work in Scotland and make a
career out of documentary-making.?
It was a decision that has reaped rewards not just
personally, but for millions who can now enjoy a personal
and thorough insight into the
thousands of magical islands
that make up the magnificent
Hebrides ? both on screen and
on paper.
The Hebrides is published
by Birlinn, priced �.99.
Grand Tours of Scotland?s
Lochs is on Mondays,
BBC1 at 7.30pm
NATIONAL PARKS
A Campaign Update
It?s 12 months since we started campaigning for more
National Parks in Scotland and support
is growing fast
by ROBERT WIGHT
Picture: PAUL TOMKINS/VISITSCOTLAND
I
T?S just a year since The Scots Magazine first
called for more National Parks in Scotland.
Significant progress has been made in that time.
We teamed up with the Scottish Campaign for
National Parks (SCNP) and the Association for the
Protection of Rural Scotland to highlight their
incredible work and we advanced what we believe
are solid arguments outlining the environmental,
economic and social benefits National Park status
can confer on an area.
In basic terms, however, we believe National
Parks to be an internationally recognised and
respected concept and the simplest, most effective
way of protecting our most cherished landscapes.
Roughly 100 countries around the world have
embraced the National Park movement. Norway,
for example, has 44 Parks. Closer to home,
England has 10 and Wales, three.
Scotland ? with arguably some of the most
stunning scenery on the planet ? has just two. It?s
time that was redressed. The SCNP and APRS have
identified seven areas that would benefit most
from NP status ? the Cheviots and Borders;
Galloway; Western Coast; Glen Coe/Ben Nevis;
Wester Ross, Glen Affric and Harris.
Our coverage has brought you the opinions of
outdoor commentators and organisations. We
lobbied Scotland?s politicians, with four of the five
main parties backing our campaign.
Throughout it all, we asked for your views,
publishing readers? opinions ? both for and against
the campaign ? over a number of months.
Ross Anderson, chairman of the SCNP, says,
?It?s been a great year for the campaign. The
support of The Scots Magazine has been wonderful
? it?s boosted our profile, stimulated debate and
has people talking about the issues.
?Highlights from the last 12 months include
securing a parliamentary reception ? sponsored by
the MSP Finlay Carson ? at Holyrood in January.
?That gave us invaluable access to decision
makers ? including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
herself. Everyone was keen to hear our arguments
and I think a lot was taken on board.
?The reception was followed by a debate in the
Scottish Parliament. It was incredibly heartening to
hear our efforts gain broad, cross-party support ?
there?s just the small matter of convincing the
government! Environment minister Roseanna
Cunningham?s stance is basically ? while full of
praise for the work of our existing Parks ? that we
can?t afford more.
?Our answer to that is, can we afford not to
have more? As we?ve seen from articles in this
magazine, there are compelling social and
economic reasons for establishing more Parks.
?The SCNP is run by volunteers and they all do
wonderful work. But we need support. I?d
encourage anyone who wants to help to become a
member ? it costs just � a year for an individual,
and � for a dual or family membership.
?For that, you get regular newsletters and the
opportunity to come to our meetings and events.
?More importantly, you?ll be helping safeguard
Scotland?s unique and precious landscapes for
future generations.?
Find out more about the Scottish Campaign for
National Parks at www.scnp.org.uk
OUTDOOR SCOTLAND
Gear Guide
We put the latest outdoor clothing
and equipment to the test
1. Corkcicle Canteen (16oz), �
Contact details: https://corkcicle.com www.paramo-clothing.com; www.topmunro.com; www.keenfootwear.com
T
HIS ?fashionable vacuum flask?, says
Corkcicle proudly, will keep your
drinks cool for 25 hours and hot for 12.
Impressive stats, and ones I can just about
verify. After 7 hours? hiking and a night in
a tent, cold juice was still impressively
Katrina
cold! I wouldn?t say my trial coffee was
Patrick
?hot? after 12 hours, but it was certainly
more than warm. The one huge downside to this
canteen, though, is that it doesn?t have a built-in cup.
That?s fine for water or juice, but you need a cup for
coffee, don?t you? A separate mug takes up valuable bag
space, and it?s strange to see a canteen without one
built in. Top marks for style... but I think I?ll stick
with my battered old Thermos for hot drinks.
1
2
2. Paramo Quito Jacket, �0
J
UST as breathable as any garment
you?d expect from Paramo ? I?ve not
tried any better on that front. Difference
is this is much lighter than other Paramo
kit. That said, it?s still warmer than other
makes. I run hot on the hill, so it?s not
Robert
always comfy for me, even with just a
Wight
baselayer. I reckon with a couple of
layers, this would do me for most winter conditions.
Side zips from elbow to waist give excellent ventilation.
However, in pouring rain I ended up soaked down my
right side. I think my rucksack belt was pinching the
side zip, or perhaps caused water to gather. Next day,
in similar rain, I left my pack?s belt open and was fine.
3. Top Bothy Trump Cards, �99
W
HEN you spend the night in one of
Scotland?s bothies, time can drag
and conversation can flag. However, a card
game compiled by Greg Hackett and Geoff
Allan could help. In Top Bothy, 32 Bothies
have been chosen but that isn?t quite
Garry
enough as the same come round in quick
Fraser
succession. Even with five categories to
choose from ? solitude, elevation, walk-in, etc ? it can
lead to some repetition. It might be okay for an hour?s
play, if that, but to spend the whole evening? There is one
plus, though. If you play it at home, it can re-kindle
memories of many happy bothy nights.
4. Keen Terradora WP Mid-Boots, �0.95
O
THER than size, I?ve always assumed
men?s feet are pretty similar to
women?s. However, according to hiking
boot experts KEEN, there are enough
differences to warrant the recent launch of
their Terradora range, boots specifically
Wendy
designed and constructed ?in response to
Glass
women?s individual biomechanics?.
Although I can?t comment on that, I can confirm that my
feet have walked for miles and miles in my red nubuck
leather Terradora WPs, without the slightest twinge or
hint of a blister. They?re also very light, were comfortable
right from the start and are remarkably waterproof, as I
discovered as I waded along a flooded path due to the
efficiency of a dam made by a family of beavers!
9
HOLIDAYS IN
SCOTLAND
A GRAND TOUR OF THE OUTER HEBRIDES
DEPARTS 15 OCTOBER 2017
Our flagship tour returns in a brand new incarnation for
October, but this ever-so-slightly shorter trip is by no means
short on the important stuff. Ocean sunsets, mysterious
standing stones, fantastical castles seemingly floating on the
waves, the unmistakable feeling of soft sand between your
toes ? it?s all present.
But a trip to the Outer Hebrides is by no means just about
the sites ? far from it. Here, the journeys themselves are just
as much of an event. Enjoy a scenic southward drive from
Lewis, punctuated by mist-cloaked hilltops, green expanses
and steely seas; a serene early morning ferry ride on the
Sound of Harris, and many more inspiring transfers besides
as we explore these fascinating islands.
ISLANDS VISITED
INCLUDE:
? Lewis
? Harris
? North Uist
? South Uist
? Benbecula
? Eriskay
? Vatersay
? Barra
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:
? Four scenic ferry crossings
? Blindingly white sandy beaches on
South Uist and Vatersay
? The unique airport at
Cockleshell Beach
? 5000 year old standing stones
? The tranquil location of the Norse
Mill at Shawbost
? Ocean sunsets at the Isle of
Barra Hotel
5 DAYS FROM
�5PP
PRICE INCLUDES
? Return coach travel available
from Glasgow, Edinburgh,
Dunfermline, Kinross, Perth or
(subject to numbers) Dundee
? 4 nights? hotel accommodation
on a dinner, bed and breakfast
basis: 2 nights at the Dark
Island Hotel on Benbecula and
2 nights at the Caberfeidh
Hotel, Stornoway - all rooms
have private facilities
? All coaching and ferry transfers
? Visits to the Castlebay Heritage
Centre, RSPB Reserve at
Balranald Cockleshell Beach, St
Clement?s Church, the Standing
Stones of Callanish, Gearannan
Black Houses and Shawbost
Norse Mill
? Services of a Tour Manager
Connecting flights, rail travel and accommodation before or after any
of these tours is available on request for those out-with any of our
departure points ? please call us for more details.
SM723
THE AUTUMN TINTS OF ARRAN
4 days from
DEPARTS 29 OCTOBER 2017
At no time are we more assured of diminutive Arran?s bijou beauty
than in the autumn months, when its wild woods and wide open
heaths are all aflame in a riot of red and gold foliage. Join us,
and see for yourself why Arran is often nicknamed ?Scotland in
miniature? on a guided tour of the island and a special visit to the
gardens of Brodick Castle.
�5 PP
SM121
UP HELLY AA WINTER FESTIVAL
7 days from
DEPARTS 29 JANUARY 2018
Fight off the lingering gloom of winter with blazing torch and
bone-rattling cry, and see warm island hospitality and unabashed
merrymaking come together in a festival unlike any other. This is
Up Helly Aa, a once-yearly invocation of flame and festivity when
Vikings take over the sleepy Shetlands ? sure to put fire in the
belly.
�5 PP
SM094
CHRISTMAS IN THE SCOTTISH BORDERS
4 days from
DEPARTS 24 DECEMBER 2017
The Southern Uplands, the Scottish Borders, or simply ?the Borders?:
whatever you call them, one thing?s for certain: they make a jolly
good setting for a festive jaunt. A Scottish staycation with us
means waking up in luxury at a grand country house hotel, bracing
frosty walks, and a warming dram by a crackling fire ? why not
join us?
�5 PP
SM677
NEW YEAR IN PERTHSHIRE
4 days from
DEPARTS 30 DECEMBER 2017
Hogmanay?s approaching ? here?s your chance to observe the
occasion in style! As 2018 arrives on the scene we?re pulling out
all the stops (and the corks). With a trip to the famous Queen?s
View, a black tie gala dinner, the toe-tapping
beats of the Ceilidh band, and a midnight toast complete with
stovies, why celebrate anywhere else?
SM847
�195 PP
CLASSIC SCOTTISH STEAM BREAK
4 days from
DEPARTS 13 OCTOBER 2017
Steam locomotion has an enduring fascination for many of
us and combined with the wonderful scenery of Scotland it
becomes utterly irresistible. The Jacobite Steam Train, from
Fort William to Mallaig, is one of the longest steam-hauled
rail journeys available in Britain. We also sail on the PS
Waverley, cruise Loch Katrine on the SS Sir Walter Scott
and take a unique boat journey on the Falkirk Wheel.
SM118
�5 PP
For brochure call 01224 338004 & quote SM code, or email
VISIT www.scotsmagazinetravel.co.uk
To book call 01334 657155 and quote
1
9
n ew buil d
r u r al
u r b an
co ast
Creation and
restoration go
hand-in-hand at
Perth Theatre
Far left:
Lu Kemp
Perth Theatre: Reaching
Out And Drawing In
New artistic director Lu Kemp aims to mix the familiar and the
surprising as the refurbished venue prepares for its reopening
by ANITA BHADANI
U
PON opening in 1901, Perth Theatre?s interior
drew awe, having been described as one of the
finest in Scotland. There has always been an
innovative spirit and a sense of wonder around this site.
Indeed, as one of Scotland?s oldest theatres, today it
continues to play an integral role in our cultural sector.
At long last, the newly transformed venue is reopening
its doors this autumn, after three tentative years spent
renovating it from the inside out ? so what can we expect
to see from this eagerly anticipated restoration?
The B-listed Edwardian auditorium will be restored to
its former glory, ensuring it can again be enjoyed for
generations to come, while a new studio theatre with a
seating capacity of 200 has also been in the works.
Increased access and facilities will likely draw new
audiences in their hordes. Indeed, it is community
engagement which is at the centre of this undertaking.
With increased workshop spaces for creative learning
and community projects ? including the flourishing Perth
Youth Theatre ? this is a space in which the people of
Perth can take a real pride of ownership.
Newly appointed artistic director Lu Kemp told us,
?The demographic of Perth is changing and we are keen
to reflect that ? making sure that wherever you live in
n ew buil d
r u r al
u r b an
co ast
An artist?s impression of the refurbished theatre
Perthshire, and whoever you are, you feel welcomed into
and engaged with the theatre. We will be programming
with this in mind, with diversity and accessibility at the
forefront of the work we make.?
What steps is she taking to achieve this admirable goal?
?Our associate artists are making work in
collaboration with Perthshire residents, to be presented
in our opening season.
?We have our rural tour ? which tours to venues near
you, and whose reach we hope to develop further every
year. And a programme of work for children and family
audiences, drawing on some of the world-class work for
young audiences, made in Scotland.?
Kemp boasts an impressive resum�. She trained in
both Paris, at the school of physical theatre L?蒫ole
Internationale de Th殁tre Jacques Lecoq, and New York,
at the esteemed Saratoga International Theater Institute.
This international scope is one she hopes to bring to Perth.
?We want to be local, national and international. We
are setting out our stall as the most exciting place for artists
to develop their practice and make new work with
audiences, in Scotland.
?We are also developing projects with national and
international companies ? looking over the sea towards
Norway, Sweden and beyond. We want to attract the
best international work to our stages.?
Exciting times ahead, then, both for the people of
Perth and the wider artistic landscape.
Hollywood A-lister Ewan McGregor has been one of
the most vocal backers of the theatre?s regeneration. He
has stated that his ?very first memories of theatre belong
to my visits to Perth Theatre?. He has described working
as a stagehand there at the start of his career an
?unforgettable experience?.
There will be plenty more similar opportunities for
creative learning now, with Kemp telling us this will be ?at
the heart of everything we do in the theatre?.
?We want to make work for and with local people ?
situating Perth Theatre as a meeting place for artists and
audiences.
?We will facilitate unprecedented access to the artistic
process for audiences through enabling artists to engage
intimately with the local area ? and those who live and
work here ? in the creation of new work.?
So what we can expect to see from the Perth Theatre
in the next couple of years?
?A bustling hub, centered around the caf� area, where
theatre, music, and debate happens. A place that
welcomes good ideas and tries to make them happen.
?A place where artists are supported, and theatre
professionals trained. A place where artists and audience
inform and stretch each other.
?A theatre programme of work that feels both familiar
and unfamiliar: where you will be entertained in ways you
hope and expect, and often surprised.?
That sounds grand to us.
9
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21/06/2017 09:41
Carina?s Kitchen
by CARINA
CONTINI
Trick
Or
Treat?
Hallowe?en is about making
memories ? and delicious food
M
Pumpkin Risotto with Taleggio
Y children love Hallowe?en. I?m not sure if it?s to
do with the scary witches, ghouls and trick or
treating ? or the fact that October 31 in our
house signals permission to start talking about Christmas.
We all need things to look forward to, but dates like
Hallowe?en and Easter are such markers for our memories.
The pressure as my children get older is to create
memories that can compete or at least stick out as an
occasion. When they were little, a scary mask and a
witch?s hat from the pound shop, with a few bags of
sweets and a makeshift bucket, was the bee?s knees.
As the teens have kicked in, it?s all a lot more ?gothic?.
I?ve been scared by my own children?s gruesome scars
and face paints, all carefully constructed with help from
YouTube videos. These are images I?d rather forget as
quickly as possible.
Serves 4 as a main course
l Butter
l Extra virgin olive oil
l 1 shallot, grated
l 400g vialone nano risotto rice
l Glug of white wine
l 200g chopped pumpkin, skin
removed
l 2 litres of hot
vegetable or chicken
stock
l 125g taleggio
l A handful of
grated Parmigiano
Reggiano
l Seasoning
This year my youngest reminded me in July that
Hallowe?en landed on a Tuesday. Disaster! How can you
arrange a sleepover on a school night? The solution is that
we?re going to double up with Bonfire Night on the
Sunday and bring a bit of ?treat? ? and less of the ugly
? back into Hallowe?en
Our kitchen garden needed some urgent maintenance
over the summer. There were some overgrown conifers
that were causing major damage to a small boundary wall.
Kevin, the tree man from Loanhead, brought down the
trees and Kevin, the builder from Dalkeith ? there are a lot
of Kevins in my life ? brought down the wall. The trees
have been cut and are ready for the winter?s log fires. The
wall, luckily, was built of beautiful bricks from The
Newbattle Brickworks, which opened in 1862, around
the time our house had one of its first Victorian alterations.
So, rather than sending the bricks to the tip, we
managed to salvage them and turn them into a lovely new
fire pit. What a treat it is: ideal for cuddling up on warm
summer nights ? we?re hoping 2018 brings lots of those ?
and perfect for a miniature Guy Fawkes bonfire.
Around our little campfire we?ll enjoy sausages and
baby meatball kebabs; followed by sweetcorn baked in
foil in the ashes. And, for the foodies looking for an extra
filler, a delicious bowl of pumpkin risotto.
Now Hallowe?en wouldn?t be Hallowe?en without
some treats. So, some baked bananas with amarena
cherries, 70% cocoa solids and a few flaked almonds to
look like zombie teeth, will also be on the menu. And
toasted marshmallow, of course ? with a bowl of hot
devil?s blood for dipping ? hot chocolate sauce to you and
me. Hopefully lots of new happy Hallowe?en memories
for my fearsome teenagers to treasure.
Method
Choose a heavy-based casserole
pot and add a knob of butter and
the same amount of olive oil. Fry the
grated shallot until soft and golden.
Add the risotto rice and toast for a
minute or so. The pan will be hot so
keep moving the rice to ensure it
doesn?t stick or burn.
Add the white wine
and cook off, then
add the pumpkin
and lower the heat.
Next, season with a
little salt and a ladle
of the hot stock.
When the stock
1
2
has cooked off, slowly add more
stock, a little at a time, ensuring the
stock is cooked off each time.
Continue to do this for about 30
minutes. The stock should be all
cooked off and the rice should be
creamy, quite sticky but as wet as
good porridge.
When the risotto is al dente and
has a slight bite, remove from
the heat. Then add the taleggio and a
handful of grated Parmigiano. The
cheese can be quite salty so check
seasoning at this stage.
Stir in a lump of unsalted butter
and allow to rest for 5 minutes
before serving.
3
4
Don?t miss Carina?s column next month for another great recipe
9
Sl鄆nte Mhath
A Capital Idea
Your whisky expert brings you news of a talented team
aiming to bring distilling back into the heart of Edinburgh
by EUAN DUGUID
I
F Scotland is the very engine room of global whisky
production, it seems a shame that our capital hasn?t
yielded a drop of single malt in almost 100 years.
Things are firing back into life in Auld Reekie,
however. And, perhaps fittingly, the uisge beatha
renaissance is happening in a place that is no stranger to
industry and innovation.
In a project reminiscent of an ambitious Grand
Designs episode, Holyrood Distillery?s home will be a
B-listed building which was built in 1835 as part of the
Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway (E&DR).
In true Grand Designs spirit, a few compelling feats of
heavy plant manoeuvring are set to unfold in the very
heart of the capital.
?We?re very excited and somewhat terrified at the
same time,? explained David Robertson, former Master
Distiller for The Macallan, referring to the overall
endeavour.
David has embarked on the joint venture with Rob
and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
?The site spans 1115 square metres (12,000 sq ft) and
is situated next to Holyrood Park,? he continued. ?What
struck me at first was that the building had the look and
feel of an old maltings ? but with three levels.
?It absolutely fits the bill but it has presented one or
two engineering challenges in terms of how we jigsaw all
the distillery plant together.
?The plans are done, and one of the next steps is to
crane in large mash tun vessels, the washbacks and,
ultimately, the copper stills. So, at some point in the not
too distant future, there will be people taking pictures of
massive copper kettles being lowered through a big hole
in the ceiling!?
The business will initially make 53,000 litres (11,660
gallons) of alcohol per year. Production is scheduled to
begin next year, resulting in around 140,000 bottles of
mature single malt in eight to 12 years? time.
These walls are no stranger to productivity.
Rob Carpenter explained, ?The E&DR was known as
The Innocent Railway, and much of the original
right-of-way still exists as a bike and pedestrian path,
including an atmospheric tunnel that runs right under
Holyrood Park.
?The line pre-dated steam locomotives and the
carriages were initially pulled by horses until they
Clockwise from
far left: The
planned tasting
room;
the team ? from
left, David
Robertson,
Bill Farrar,
Jack Mayo,
Rob Carpenter,
Laura Anderson
and Hamish
Martin;
and the perfect
location, looking
towards Holyrood
Park
Holyrood Distillery
visitor centre shop
roasted malt. All these things will give us a different
flavour ? before it gets anywhere near the cask.
?It?s a whole different way of thinking.?
Acquiring this location right in the city centre means
that Holyrood Distillery will have an extensive visitor
centre, which will undoubtedly bring in crucial traffic to
help keep the lights on for a few years while the first
whisky is maturing.
That, of course, poses another conundrum.
?If we deliver what we expect, and create a
wonderful visitor attraction, one of our challenges will be
to give folks something to drink,? said David.
?We won?t have whisky initially, so we?ll be looking
at producing special liqueurs and gin, using the team?s
collective expertise.?
That branch of the business promises to be very
different too.
A mouth-watering prospect ? and having had a
sneak glimpse into the mechanics of this operation, I
reckon that Holyrood Distillery?s lum will reek ? lang
into the future.
A Potent Past?
Edinburgh boasts a long history of whisky
production.
In the late 1700s, there were eight licensed
distilleries ? and as many as 400 illegal stills.
Urban production then fell out of fashion,
leading to the decline of whisky distilling in the
capital? until now.
Sl鄆nte mhath!
Pictures: ALAMY
reached an incline after the tunnel. Our building housed
the two 25 horsepower steam engines used to pull the
carriages the rest of the way up the incline!?
So far, however, there?s been no uphill struggle for
Holyrood.
A multi-million-pound fundraising drive was recently
launched to help finance the distillery. Rob says that the
investment aspect is now one-third of the way towards
the target, and ?going as well as could be hoped for?.
Backers have been drawn to the venture by the
expertise of the wider team. This includes Jack Mayo,
Head Distiller, who is heading from west to east after a
successful stint at Glasgow?s Makar Gin.
There?s also well-known botanicals expert Hamish
Martin, owner of Edinburgh?s Secret Herb Garden, and
former co-founder of Inverarity Vaults, once Scotland?s
largest independent wine merchants.
David points out that in a crowded whisky market,
this sort of expertise will be crucial in making their mark.
?We don?t have the safety blanket of age and
vintage,? he acknowledges. ?We need to create a new
way of doing things.
?So, with the opportunity to bring single malt distilling
back to Edinburgh after almost 100 years, we will do so
with flavour at the forefront.?
That strategy has been influenced by recent market
trends ? including the explosion of craft beers, as
recently featured on these pages.
David added, ?Most distillers use distilling malt which
makes a lager-type wash ? a heady, beery brew ? after
two days? fermentation.
?That goes forward for distillation. What we?re trying
to do is create a wash using different types of malt, just
like the craft brewing industry.
?The wash might be like a pale ale, a Guinness or a
99
Eat, Drink, Sleep...The Reviews
by ROBERT WIGHT
S
TUNNING is how
I?d describe pretty
much everything
about my stay at The
Douglas.
The building was
stunning. Our suite was
stunning. The view was
stunning. The weather
? even it was stunning.
As for the food, it
was? delicious.
I just added that to
mix it up a wee bit.
The Douglas of old
was an Arran landmark.
An imposing sandstone,
Victorian C-listed
property a couple of
hundred yards from the
ferry terminal at Brodick.
In its current form of
luxury, ?boutique? hotel,
it dates to 2011. The
renovation work has
been extensive. The
building was stripped to a
bare shell, but retains
many features, like the
beautiful original internal
sandstone staircase.
A modern ? yet
sympathetic ? extension
increased the building?s
footprint. It now houses
20 luxury bedrooms and
suites, a bar, a cosy
lounge and a restaurant.
The Douglas is
managed by Elaine
Campbell, whose brother
owns the hotel. And
while Elaine jokes that a
?boutique hotel? is simply
one in which the
The Douglas
Brodick, Arran
Tasteful luxury, supreme comfort and fine local
produce in a beautifully renovated island retreat
The best view on the island?
furniture doesn?t quite
match, evidence of her
talent ? she?s a former
designer ? is everywhere.
The d閏or and colour
scheme, furniture and
choice of artwork ? all
are down to her.
It?s a fantastically
tasteful blend of modern
and traditional. Uniting
both is a tremendous
feeling of quality.
We had the Goatfell
Suite. A short hallway
opens on a huge
bedroom, dominated by
a bay window that takes
up most of the east wall.
The expansive view
All rooms are
well-appointed
The Ship Inn
Stonehaven
Haddock fish sliders
takes in Brodick Bay and
the dramatic peak that
gives the suite its name,
as well as the jagged ridge
that runs to Cir Mhor. It
must rival any view on
the island.
Antique tripodmounted brass binoculars
were great for trying to
spot walkers labouring up
to Goatfell?s summit.
I whiled away a
pleasant pre-dinner hour
gazing at that view while
wrapped in a sumptuous
robe, reclining on a
chaise longue and sipping
at a large G&T. How
incredibly decadent!
The bathroom was
cavernous, with a tub you
could practically swim in,
and a superbly powerful
shower.
We had a look around
the rest of the hotel and
even the smallest rooms
? which were still all a
decent size and very well
appointed ? boasted
good-sized bathrooms.
Dinner and breakfast
were excellent. Food
was, where possible,
locally sourced ? as were
toiletries, a touch I like.
There?s 24-hour room
service and free parking.
It?s your surroundings
that are really special
here ? so much so we
were reluctant to leave
our suite to explore this
magical island.
I?d struggle to find
anything negative to write
about my stay. Closest I
can get is the WiFi ?
reception is very hit and
miss. But that?s an
island-wide issue, so we
can let The Douglas off
on that score.
If you fancy an island
escape, prices are
incredibly reasonable.
Deluxe doubles start at
around �9, suites are
around �9. Check
online or phone for best
deals ? especially out of
season when you?ll get
some excellent dinner,
bed and breakfast
packages from just �
per person.
thedouglashotel.co.uk
Garry Fraser savours an east-coast
eaterie?s early evening offering
FOOD: The rain stopped as my wife and I headed
towards Stonehaven harbour and a rainbow appeared.
There was no crock of gold, of course, but we did
strike gold in another way in The Ship Inn?s Captain?s
Restaurant. Some of the best food we?ve tasted.
The Inn?s popularity is clear. The bar was jammed
and most of the tables in the spacious restaurant were
either full or reserved. Our window seat boasted a
lovely view over the harbour, but the food was a
worthwhile distraction, from a well-balanced and
varied menu, with a daily specials board to boot.
There?s where the problem arose. It took a bit of
deliberation and changing of minds before we finally
decided. Sandra opted for locally-caught haddock,
lightly battered, while I couldn?t resist the boeuf
bourguignon despite the presence of mussels both as a
starter and a main course. The fish was melt-in-yourmouth stuff while my mine was, pure and simply, one
of the best beef dishes I?ve ever had.
Both mains left just enough room for dessert.
Sandra?s strawberry cheesecake was straight out of the
culinary top drawer while my delicious strawberry and
vanilla ice cream, from Guilianotti of Stonehaven, filled
any gaps the bourguignon might have missed. 9/10
SERVICE: First class. Friendly and brought with a smile.
Just on the right side of attentiveness. 9/10
AMBIENCE: Homely and relaxed, with enough space
between tables to ensure some intimacy. 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: Very good. The sharing platters
(�.95) looked particularly good value. 9/10
Sympathetically extended
FACILITIES: A separate toilet for the
restaurant would be a worthwhile
addition, but apart from that, no
complaints. 7/10
shipinnstonehaven.com
42
50
11
Collective Approach
The food assembly movement has all the ingredients for success
by JUDY VICKERS
Crofter Michelle
Anderson-Carroll
Sampling the
produce
FOOD assemblies are springing up all
over Scotland, with 10 already in operation
? at Eyemouth, Inverness, Milngavie, Glasgow
West, Drygate, Leith, Stirling, Haddington,
Edinburgh Southside and Bathgate ? and six in
the pipeline; Torphins, Dalkeith, Oban,
Edinburgh New Town, Penicuik and Paisley.
T
HERE has never been so much choice when it
comes to buying food. Giant supermarkets
proliferate, the internet means the world and its
produce is just a click away and farmers? markets have
sprung up all over the place in the last 20 years.
You would think yet another option in this crowded
market would be doomed to failure. But the food
assembly movement, which has been taking Europe by
storm since it started in France in 2011, is sweeping the
nation, with the first opening in Leith in 2015.
Food assemblies work like this: customers order food
or drink from a range of producers on one website, then
they collect all the produce from all the suppliers at a
weekly food assembly.
?It really is a win-win situation,? explains crofter
Michelle Anderson-Carroll, who set up the Inverness food
assembly in May. Key for customers, she says, is that local,
organic food is cheaper than in smart farm shops. ?People
still tend to think that buying local produce has a high
price but food assemblies are getting rid of that. We can
give customers a fair price, we don?t need to add that
elitist price tag,? she says.
?We have 21 producers, including gin, whisky, bread,
fish and vegetables, so instead of customers having to look
through 21 websites and go to 21 collection points, they
just have one if they want to buy locally.?
From the producers? point of view, the advantages are
reaching a bigger market than they could on their own,
and no waste.
Michelle, a pig farmer who has a herd of rare Oxford
Sandy and Blacks, says, ?All our orders come in, then we
have two days to prepare everything that?s already been
bought. It means there is no waste which is important for
people who are selling things like bread and cakes. At a
farmers? market, if they?ve made 200 cakes and they only
sell 20, that?s a lot of waste. And there?s the Highland
weather, standing out in the street all day in the rain or
cold, not knowing if we are going to sell or not.?
The food assembly is held weekly at the Fairways
Leisure Group in the south-west of Inverness. ?The first
weeks were nerve-wracking but by week three it was a
case of ?See you next week?, which was lovely to hear,?
says Michelle.
A new approach to selling food
1
POLLY?S PEOPLE
Pipe Perfection
When precision engineering meets a
piping dynasty, the results are magical,
as Polly Pullar
discovers?
I
N a warehouse on an in dustrial estate in Forres, on the
Moray Firth, an extraordinary business has taken flight.
Though rooted in the finest Highland traditions, one
family are making their mark on the modern music scene
both home and abroad, and gathering a following with
their unique craftsman-made pipes. Theirs is an ancient
product but with an entirely new angle.
Though it is the Scottish Highland bagpipes that are
doubtlessly the world?s best known, for hundreds of years
pipes in various sizes, constructed from a wealth of
different materials, have been played in countries
across Europe, Africa, and Asia.
When mastered, the pipes have the power to
move to tears of appreciative emotion.
However the bagpipes have a reputation as one of the
hardest instruments to learn. An apprentice piper ? and
those in close proximity ? need patience.
The tradition of bagpipe playing and the making of this
revered instrument are cloaked in historic Highland mist.
While some of the finest traditional pipe makers still
dominate the scene, changes have been taking place as
purists are surrounded by young upcoming pipers with an
eclectic mix of ideas, many brilliant and forward thinking.
Pipers come in varyin g guises from those in rock
bands, and specialists in the increasingly popular music
The River Findhorn at Forres
classified as Celtic
fusion, to
ambitious
techno-pipers, members of
pipe bands, or that lone
piper playing an evocative
Pibroch at a funeral, or a
frenetic wedding jig. It?s a
glorious, hot day as I enter
the workshop of Burgess
Bagpipes. The cool interior is
equipped with engineering machinery, and
neat rows of small and large hand tools.
It?s here that the Hay family ? Burgess, his wife Fiona
and their son Scott ? are making their mark, working
together making three types of pipes: Scottish small pipes,
Above: Scott, Fiona and Burgess.
Below: a set of small pipes with
bellows and reeds
Border
pipes and
Highland
pipes, using a mix
of materials and
techniques. Burgess is a
precision engineer with more
than 30 years? experience. I recognise
the hallmarks of a perfectionist.
?Our aim is to make the best possible instruments,
with the finest materials, tools and skills to end up with a
unique and beautiful product that sounds right and has
interchangeable parts,? he explains. ?We work closely
together as a
team ? since he
was very young,
Scott has always
helped us in our
engineering businesses.
From an early age he
understood and knew how to
work lathes and mills . He?s had the
safety aspects drummed into him too.
?We are very careful when choosing our
suppliers. Our African blackwood comes from a sawmill
in Africa, where the musical grade wood is stored for up
to five years in controlled conditions before it is s old under
special licence. We use titanium as standard due to its
lightness and strength and the fact that it doesn?t ??
1
POLLY?S PEOPLE
deteriorate. It?s absolutely perfect for pipes and it looks so
good, too. For our bags and bellows, though we could
make them ourselves, this is not our forte and we source
these from the finest suppliers.?
Burgess passes me a set of beautifully crafted, tactile
black leather bellows made in Ireland.
We are in a cosy reception area drinking tea. The walls
are covered with detailed Celtic art inked onto vellum.
?That?s Mum?s work,? says Scott. ?She?s very talented.
She also plays the fiddle.?
Fiona shrugs modestly. Scott picks up a set of small
pipes and begins to play. His notes flows like a swift
Highland burn effortlessly racing over grey rocks, bouncing
magically clear and fresh, and I am transported.
His rendition on the Borders pipes is equally
captivating; these are his own compositions. He has real,
raw, talent, a true artist. He was winning prestigious
competitions from an early age and received an
unconditional offer from the University of the Highlands
?
and Islands to study traditional music. Scott also plays
mandolin, whistles, flute and bouzouki and loves trying
something new.
He?s in demand to play at weddings and funerals and
has played alongside many of the country?s finest folk
musicians, something he finds inspiring. Many of them
now also play Burgess pipes ? in particular Ross Ainslie
and Ali Hutton ? but Scott does not feel tempted to join a
band and remains dedicated to his family business, and to
playing for pure pleasure.
?Though I am not a musician, we have piping in the
blood,? says Burgess. ?Fiona?s father was the late John
McDougall, a former world champion piper and
exponent of the Balmoral style of piping. His habit of
winning everything everywhere earned him the fond
nickname of The Hoover.
?He was renowned as an exceedingly fair judge, and
was the finest piper of his generation. He was a world
champion, and taught Scott to play. It?s really all down to
His notes flow like a swift Highland burn,
bouncing magically clear and fresh?
Pictures: ALAMY, BURGESS BAGPIPES
Fine acoustics
for Highland
pipes in the
workshop
?
All parts are
made from scratch?
?of African
blackwood
and titanium
Fiona?s father and
grandfather, John
McDougall Jr and Sr
his input that this business began. We love what we do and
are getting interest from far and wide.?
Fiona was also taught to play the pipes by her father.
?He and my grandfather were passionate pipers and
they both played on the day they died, well into their 80s.
Scott is very good indeed and he has clearly inherited the
talent,? Fiona explains.
?But we don?t like to tell him,? Burgess chips in,
laughing. ?It was clear from an early age Scott was skilled,
though some of the learning phase could be painful!
?Burgess Bagpipes really began when Scott needed a
new set of Border pipes and it was hard to find what was
required, particularly quickly. So Fiona and I thought we
would make him some. We?re thrilled with how well it?s
being received, and not only on the home market. We
pride ourselves on keeping costs down, making our
product accessible while still of the finest quality. We can
ensure delivery within 12 weeks, unusual for custommade instruments.
?Ideally we are looking to produce 50-200 sets a year,
whereas the market leaders probably make around 2000.
?Many parts of our instruments are interchangeable
including the bellows, pipes and chanters. Our
instruments are designed to be played using a constant
pressure. This helps make them more stable, and once a
piper is accustomed to our pipes, makes playing easier.
?Our Highland pipes have hybrid hide and Gore-Tex
bags so they don?t need to be treated and seasoned to
protect against moisture from the piper?s breath, unlike
the sheepskin bags on traditional pipes. We have a
moisture trap inside that is regularly emptied.?
Back in the workshop, Scott takes up a set of Highland
pipes. ?I can play them in here as the sound won?t deafen
you ? the other room was too wee.? His parents smile.
The building fills with their magnificent sound as the
notes resonate through titanium Highland pipes.
This young piper with a passion and dedication to a
new business with its foundations in past generations is
one to watch. Surely Burgess Bagpipes will soon be a
frontrunner on the world stage.
www.burgessbagpipes.com
FASCINATING FACTS
Danny Fleming, an Arbroath-born man now
living in Grimsby, owns 105 different sets of
bagpipes worth �0,000.
March 10 is International Bagpipe Day,
inaugurated by the Bagpipe Society, and is
celebrated by pipers and fans all over the world.
Bagpipes have been banned twice in Scotland,
in 1560 and 1746.
1
Around Scotland
Tiree Wave Classic, October 14-21.
Founded in 1986, this is the longest-running
professional windsurfing event in the world and
includes multiple events and functions. The event was
the idea of Steve Bisset who had learned of the island?s
ideal surfing conditions and who assembled a group of
enthusiasts to take part in the first major windsurfing
competition in Scotland in 1985. Unfortunately, bad
weather conditions forced a cancellation but there was
no similar problem the following year. Since then the
Classic has established itself as one of the sport?s
premier events, and involves contestants from all over
the world.
www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk
Fireworks Against Cancer, New
Deer, Aberdeenshire, October 21.
The north-east?s most spectacular
firework display, held every year in
aid of UCAN, the area?s urological
cancer charity. Enjoy attractions like
fairground rides, plus food, toy and
sweetie stalls.
St Andrews Golf Week, October
15-21. A chance to play a round on
five different courses, plus tuition,
activities and competitions.
www.standrewsgolfweek.com
Bigger Little Festival, October
19-29. Two weeks of top-quality
entertainment, including fireside
story-telling and belly-dancing.
www.biggarlittlefestival.com
Oktoberfest, Craft Hotel, Wigton,
October 20-22. German food, beer
and entertainment comes to Wigton.
www.craftrestaurant.co.uk
The Enchanted Forest, Faskally
Woods, by Pitlochry, until October
29. This stunning Perthshire setting
provides the background to a lighting
show that is out of this world.
www.enchantedforest.org.uk
Tweed Valley Forest Festival,
October 21-29. A chance to
celebrate the customs and cultures
of the forest with events that include
a Carvefest and conker
championships.
www.forest-festival.com
STIRLING
DUNDEE
Woodland Light Experience,
Balfron, October 25-November 12.
Beautiful lighting effects and
projections that end up with a
spectacular finale which features the
natural landscape, music and water.
www.woodlandexperiences.co.uk
Monarch Of The Glen, Pitlochry
Festival Theatre, October 26November 12. Compton
Mackenzie?s farce adapted for stage
by Peter Arnott. Box office
01796 484626.
PERTH
GLASGOW
INVERNESS
ABERDEEN
EDINBURGH
Dornoch Whisky Festival, October
27-30. Take the chill out of an
autumn weekend with distillery tours
and tastings, mixed with live music
and fine food.
Glenfiddich Piping And Fiddling
Championships, Blair Atholl,
October 28. The cream of piping
and fiddling compete in these
prestigious competitions.
Phone 0845 602 1974.
Scotfairs Antique, Vintage &
Collectors Fair, Citadel Leisure
Centre, Ayr, October 28. Antiques
for the connoisseur, hidden treasures
for the experts, specialist items for the
experienced collector and 1000s of
interesting, beautiful and affordable
items for the general public.
www.scotfairs.co.uk
Illuminator Run, Aboyne, October
28. Run or walk 15 dark miles with
600m ascent (1968 feet) through
beautiful Glen Tanar. Email
enquiries@firetrailevents.co.uk
Traquair?s Hallowe?en Fun Day,
Innerleithen, October 29. Family
fun and games, including a Spooky
Scavenger hunt and a wizard and
witch workshop.
www.traquair.co.uk/events
North Hop, Aviemore, November
10-11. A feast for the eyes as well as
the senses. Macdonald Aviemore
Resort is the venue for this festival of
food, drink and live music.
www.northhop.co.uk
Aden-een, Shell Fireworks Parade,
Mintlaw, November 3. Join
hundreds of youngsters from across
Aberdeenshire in an event that is
now in its ninth year.
Email info@modo.org.uk
Colours Of Cluny, Forres,
November 8-19. A northern light
extravaganza set on beautiful Cluny
Hill. Production of the event is led by
Derek Allan, current producer of the
Enchanted Forest at Faskally.
www.coloursofcluny.com
Sound Festival, various venues,
October 26-November 12. The
north-east?s festival of music, from
contemporary to classical, with many
innovative events in a variety of
settings. www.sound-scotland.co.uk
St Andrews Voices, various venues,
October 26-29. Celebrate the
voice in its many different guises,
including opera, jazz, lieder and
musical comedy.
www.standrewsvoices.com
Tamfest, Ayr, October 27-29. A
spooktacular Hallowe?en celebration
with a Tam o? Shanter twist. Email
info@tamfest.co.uk
24-Hour Mountain Bike Race, Nevis Range, Fort William, October
28. A gruelling 24-hour race in which the competitor who covers the
most laps in the time wins. Phone 01397 772899.
??
19
Around Scotland
GLASGOW
The Mackintosh Festival, various
venues, October 1-30. Celebrate the
life of famed architect Charles Rennie
Mackintosh th rough a series of
exhibitions, walks and tours.
www.glasgowmackintosh.com
1917 Cine-Variety Show, Britannia
Panopticon, October 14. Experience
the recreation of historic music hall
shows that date from 1917.
La Traviata, Theatre Royal, October
19-28. Scottish Opera begin their
new season with one of Verdi?s most
stunning operas.
The BBC Good Food Show, SECC,
October 20-22. A fantastic day full of
tasting, sampling, shopping and
inspiration from celebrity chefs. It?s
the ultimate day out for food lovers.
bbcgoodfoodshow.com/glasgow
Music Mile Tour, October 14, 21,
28 and November 4, 11. A
whistle-stop tour of the city?s music
venues past and present, from the
Royal Concert Hall to King Tut?s.
www.glasgowmusiccitytours.com
EDINBURGH
Absolute Bowie, SECC, October 25.
There was only one David Bowie,
and there?s only one tribute band.
Enjoy an evening of nostalgia and the
man?s unforgettable music.
Oktoberfest, Princes Street
Gardens, October 11-15. Bavaria
comes to the capital for five days of
family fun and festivities.
www.edinburgh-oktoberfest.co.uk
Festival Of Politics, Scottish
Parliament, October 19-21. This
event features many respected figures
from politics and the media. There
are also exhibitions, films, comedy
and music. Phone 0131 348 6933.
Coffee Festival, Corn Exchange,
October 14. Demonstrations,
workshops, exhibits and, of course,
coffee. More info at
www.edinburghcoffeefestival.co.uk
International Storytelling Festival,
43-45 High Street, October 20-31.
Enjoy a 12-day celebration of live
storytelling, oral traditions and cultural
diversity. Phone 0131 556 9579.
Samhuinn Fire Festival, October
21, 9pm. Torchlight procession
with wild drumming, acrobatics
and fire-dancing that celebrates
the end of summer and welcomes
the onset of winter. The procession
starts at 9pm at the top end of the
Royal Mile and ends at West
Parliament Square. The festival is
not a ticketed event, so it?s
advisable to get a good vantage
point early. Organised by the
Beltane Fire Society, a community
arts performance charity.
www.beltane.org
Tequila Festival, Barrowland
Ballroom, October 21.
Live music, DJs and over 30 different
tequilas, listed from A to Z.
www.fatsoma.com
Handmade Edinburgh, The Hub,
October 26-29. Join a gathering of
the most exciting contemporary
designers and makers from Scotland
and beyond and celebrate the best in
art and design.
Age Of Oil, National Museum of
Scotland, until November 5.
Exploring the people and places of
Scotland?s offshore energy industry
through the work of visual artist Sue
Jane Taylor.
STIRLING
DUNDEE
John Bishop, AECC, October 17-19.
Two-hours of top-class comedy from
Liverpudlian funny-man. Box office
01224 641122.
Scottish Ballet, His Majesty?s
Theatre, October 24-25. The
company present two Stravinsky
ballets, The Rite Of Spring and The
Fairy?s Kiss.
PBFA Book Fair, Hilton Treetops
Hotel, October 29, 10am.
Antiquarian and second-hand books,
maps and prints offered for sale by
dealers from all over the country.
World Wrestling Federation Live,
GE Oil and Gas Arena, November 3.
Action-packed entertainment for all
the family and fe aturing the world?s
top wrestlers. www.aecc.co.uk
DUNDEE
Big Dundee Wedding Exhibition,
Caird Hall, October 14-15. Over
100 wedding suppliers, live catwalk
shows, prosecco bar and lots of
competitions and promotions. Tickets
�include a goody-bag on arrival.
Discovery Film Festival, DCA,
October 21-November 5. Scotland?s
international film festival combines
the best of youth cinema with a series
of creative workshops and events.
INVERNESS
ABERDEEN
EDINBURGH
INVERNESS
Next Month?
Street Festival, October 12-14. Top
entertainers take over the city centre
for three days. invernessbid.co.uk
Doug Scott 40th Anniversary
Lecture, Eden Court, October 24.
Mountaineer Scott describes a
near-death experience on the 7285
Ogre. Phone 01463 234234.
Loch Ness Knit Fest, Inverness Ice
Centre, October 13-15. Everything
the dedicated knitter needs.
www.lochnessknitfest.com
Discover all that?s best
to see and do in the
beautiful Borders
STIRLING
Mad About The Musicals,
Macrobert Arts Centre, October 22.
A tour of theatre-land with Britain?s
Got Talent winner Jai McDowell.
Shappi Khorsandi, Tolbooth,
October 22. Quick-fire stand-up
comedy from TV regular.
Gin Festival, Highland Hotel,
November 3-4. Just the tonic!
www.stirlingwhiskyshop.com
Travel to Mallaig for a
fun literature festival
with a difference...
PERTH
Science Festival, various venues,
October 28-November 12. A wide
range of events for all ages, including
physics, computer science and
engineering. Phone 01382 868609.
Spirits Of Scone Twilight
Illuminations, Scone Palace,
October 26-31. Atmospheric tours of
castle grounds, including the
graveyard. Minimum age eight years.
Phone 01738 552300.
St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra,
Concert Hall, October 26. Music by
Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.
Olympic icon Dame
Katherine Grainger on
trading oars for a mic!
ON SALE Oct 19, 2017
111
Pictures: GETTY IMAGES, ALAMY, ANGUS FORBES, TOMMASO TUZJ ODRADEK RECORDS, ERIKA STEVENSON, ISTOCKPHOTO
ABERDEEN
PERTH
GLASGOW
Passing It On?
Ever had a brainwave that you wanted to share
with others? The Sunday Post was just the place!
I
N the 1950s The Sunday Post, Scotland?s favourite weekend read, didn?t just print
news and views, reports and features. It also published readers? tips on everyday
matters. Some were quirky, some were novel and some downright ingenious.
Did you ever want to get furniture dents out of a carpet, or beetroot stains out of
your best tablecloth?
Or maybe you?d never discovered the secret of how to keep veg fresh if you
didn?t have a fridge, or how to have a midgie-free walk.
These tips have lain undisturbed for decades, but in the recently-published book,
Pass It On, some of these home-spun inventions have been revealed. We?ve chosen
the best, or the most unusual, tips for your amusement.
The Sunday Post is a Scottish institution, a favourite for families from generation
to generation. Home of Oor Wullie and The Broons ? two of the world?s most
famous comic strips ? the paper was once bought by an incredible, 17 out of 20
adults in Scotland.
If a screw has worn a hole too big to hold it, fill the hole with steel wool, as
much as you can pack in. Put the screw back in and it will hold indefinitely.
Pictures: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, ISTOCKPHOTO
Mrs E Elworthy, Glasgow
If you haven?t a funnel to
fill a small-necked bottle,
use a clean egg shell. Make
a little hole with a thick
needle, then pour the
liquid through.
When buying small cakes, I take a cake box
with divisions made from pieces of
cardboard ? one down the middle and two
across slotted to make six squares. This
enables me to carry home cream cakes and
meringues whole.
Mrs J Nairn, Gordon
Mrs M Caldwell, Kilbirnie
Tie a piece of white tape round
the top of taps in kitchen and
bathroom as a reminder to all
of the water shortage.
A piece of wooden garden trellis makes an ideal
rack for kitchen gadgets. Enamel to match the
kitchen, and screw small hooks into it to hold
the articles. Attach to kitchen wall.
Mrs E McLeod, Edinburgh
Miss M Mills, Coatbridge
Next
time
you make
chips, cut an onion in
half and place it on the
plate rack above the
cooker. You?ll find it an
effective air-refresher.
Mrs I Anderson,
Bonnyrigg
A knot in string or laces which
cannot be easily loosened
should be hammered gently.
Then insert the point of a
darning needle and prise open.
Mrs E Beaton, Glasgow
To buy the book (price is �.99 inc P&P): FREEPHONE: 0800 318 846 (UK landlines only)
between 8am and 6pm, Mon ? Fri or between 9am and 5pm, Saturday.
Overseas customers please call +44 1382 575580 or www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
New clothes pegs should be popped
into cold water and brought to the boil.
Allow to cool and dry before using.
They won?t snap or break so easily.
Mrs E McKinstra, Glasgow
Miss Isa Morris, Thornton
Mrs T Wilson, Glasgow
Mrs M Hood, Largs
To clear a room of
tobacco smoke after
a party, place a basin
of water on the floor
and close the door. In
a short time the room
will be quite clear.
Mrs McComisky,
Midlothian
For a good
deodorant, dust
under the arms
with bicarbonate
of soda.
J Simpson, Fife
Miss K Imlach, Dufftown
Glue a rubber ring to the bottom of
the dog?s dish. This prevents it
sliding about the floor at meals.
To prevent grease splashes
marking kitchenette
wallpaper behind the
cooker, slit a large
polythene bag and secure
with Sellotape. It can be
washed down easily.
Guard all electric points
near the floor or within
children?s reach, as any
child could thrust a hairpin
or clip into a point with
disastrous results. Buy spare
plugs to cover the points
when not in use.
A cutlery box with partitions, set on its side in the
kitchen cupboard, makes an ideal set of shelves for
holding spice boxes, essence bottles, etc. They are seen
at a glance.
A sprinkler top on a bottle
of water makes an
excellent watering can for
pot plants and bulb
bowls.
If your washing machine is
of the moveable type and
you have difficulty with the
flex, get two white stick-on
hooks. Fix them about eight
inches apart on the opposite
side to the draining tube,
then coil the flex neatly
round them.
Mrs L Devlin, Glasgow
Mrs J H Dubrey,
Renfrewshire
A shrill whistle in the night (not
loud enough to waken other
people) sends the boldest
mouse, too wily to be trapped,
scampering away never to
return.
M P Sloane, Sanquhar
Leave a wooden box on the
doorstep for your milk
bottles, then they won?t
mark the doorstep or get
knocked over.
Mrs S Young, London
Drinking straws,
cut to size, are
excellent holders
for small flowers in
bowls. They keep
them erect and
allow the water to
get to the stems.
Mrs H Smith,
Glasgow
If a cork gets pushed into a
bottle, tie a small button on to a
piece of string and lower into
the bottle. Raise the cork to
neck of bottle with the aid of a
knitting needle. Pull up button
and string, and
the cork comes up and out
along with them.
Mrs I M Eggie, Kirtlebridge
Don?t paint a ladder as paint
hides weak, split wood and
makes rungs slippy. Preserve
with linseed oil instead.
Mrs A Baird,
Westcliffe-on-Sea
Before discarding an old garment, keep the pockets. Sew one
at each end of a piece of strong material. Slip a hand in each
when dealing with hot plates.
Miss Isa Morris, Thornton
11
Jim Crumley, Scotland?s leading wildlife author,
every
?neckSuddenly
was tall, every
head was up
?
writes exclusively for you every month...
Goose Season
In Full Flight
The return of migrating visitors takes Jim
back to magical childhood experiences
A
SINGLE pink-footed goose stands alone in an
autumn stubble field, which is almost as rare an
event as finding an ice cream seller in the
Sahara. A pink-footed goose hardly ever stands
anywhere alone.
Ten minutes ago, there was a garrulous flock of
about 2000 in this field, and given the lateness of the
hour and the proximity to sunset, some corporate
signal rustled through the flock like a cool breeze.
Suddenly every neck was tall, every head was up and
swivelling to every compass point, and then every bird
was facing in the same direction.
Then they flew, en masse and fortissimo, the air
rocked, and the noise of it all was matched only by
the spectacle.
They headed out, low and loud, in banks of wide
and shallow vees, on a course that offered the shortest
route to roosting waters. All of them, that is, except
one. Suddenly it looks as if the bird has been pinned
to the pale straw of the field by a searing, sharp-edged,
fiery blade of sunset light, and suddenly you are ??
11
Wild About Scotland
I must have been about three or four that first time I
staring at something you never thought you would see
became aware of them, standing alone in the front
? a beautiful goose.
garden. For the rest of that autumn, and throughout the
The dark brown head and upper neck looks almost
winter and early spring that followed, and ever since, the
crimson in that moment of extraordinary light, the lower
sound of geese over the house ? any house ? has sent
neck and breast are pale pink. The white lines that
me running to the window or the garden. So was
pattern the folded wings ? and that flowing white line
like the edge of an escarpment that seems to bind folded established my first and most enduring ritual of
wings to body ? glow a hotter shade of pink, and there is obeisance in thrall to nature?s cause.
I am as sure as I can be that the very first time was also
even a faint blush of pink on the white blaze beneath the
the first flight of geese over the house after their return
tail. And the bill, the legs, and of course the feet were
from Iceland that autumn when I looked up and made
pink in the first place, and now they are simply a deeper
sense of the orderly vee-shapes of their flight as they
pink than ever.
rose above the slope of the fields, the slope of our street,
This bird is aglow.
Then it lifts one leg until it is at right angles to its body up into the morning sunshine;shapes that evolved subtly
into new, wider or longer and narrower, or splintered
and stretches one wide-open wing along it and far
into smaller vee-shapes.
beyond it in a gentle curve so that the wingtip just
But then there were other voices behind me and I
caresses the ground; and in that posture, the goose
turned towards them to discover that all the
balances precisely in what is a gesture of true
way back down the sky towards the river
elegance, on one planted foot. Such
and as far as I could see, there were
moments never last. Abruptly, a cloud
more and more and more geese. The
snuffs out the sun, the goose
sound of them grew and became
withdraws its wing and
tidal, waves of birds like a sea, but
reassembles itself in a single
a sea where the sky should be.
convulsive shudder, and resumes
When the last of them had
the old order of its life as one of
arrowed away north-east, they
those tribes of nature we call
left the dying embers of their
?grey geese?. Suddenly it seems
voices trailing behind them on the
wretchedly inadequate.
air, a wavering diminuendo that fell
It thrusts forward its neck,
into an eerie quiet, and to this day I
unfurls its full wingspan, begins to
Geese in flight at
can still hear it.
run, flies, honks a pair of disconsolate
Montrose Basin
So now, when I see a pinkfeet horde
syllables, crosses the field, hurdles a low
fly from a stubble field and head for their
rise in the ground and follows in the wake of
roosting water, and then I find one standing alone in
the thousands that flew east several minutes ago.
the silence that follows, I think of my childhood self, and
So what was that all about? I wish I knew. But every
life makes sense to me.
now again, now that the goose season is in full glorious
If you are lucky enough to live near a goose roost,
flight once more, and the great pinkfeet flocks of
your autumns will begin and your springs end with the
mid-October incise their sprawling calligraphy all across
first arrival and the final departure of geese from your
our east coast skies, long after the last of the great skeins
sky, for the sight and especially the sound of them are as
has homed in on the teeming roosting waters, I turn for
emblematic of the seasons? comings and goings as first
home with roosting notions of my own.
falling leaves, first snows, and first cuckoos.
My heart goes out to such a bird. I see such a bird
Many of our visiting pinkfeet will have nested in
and I see myself. I have no memory of any kind earlier
Iceland, some have nested, moved to Greenland then
than my first memory of pink-footed geese flying over
moved back to new gatherings in Iceland, before
the garden of my childhood prefab home on the edge of
heading for Scotland and points south.
Dundee, and not two miles in a straight line from the
The autumn pattern is reliable. The vanguard ??
roosting waters of Invergowrie Bay on the Firth of Tay.
?
The sound of them grew and grew and
became tidal; waves of birds like a sea
?
??
Pictures: ALAMY, BRIAN SMITH/GABLE-END PHOTOGRAPHY, SUPERSTOCK
The quiet waters of Montrose
offer a safe haven
arrives in mid September, perhaps a thousand or two at
a time. The numbers begin to build and then to swell to
improbable numbers, and somewhere around October
18-20 they will peak. At first they gather at a small number
of watersheets, the same ones for many years now ?
Dupplin Loch, Loch Leven, Loch of Strathbeg, Aberlady
Bay and Westwater Reservoir, for example. But the
distribution seems to be changing as the population
expands. Twenty years ago, peak counts at some of these
lochs were upwards of 50,000, and Montrose Basin was
something of an also-ran in the hierarchy of pinkfeet waters.
But in the last three years it has become pre-eminent,
and the numbers are difficult to come to terms with.
In October 2014, the peak count was a staggering
78,970. But the following year it was 85,632, and last
year it topped 90,000. So sometime around the 20th of
this month, watch out for an announcement from the
RSPB. Better still, get out there at dawn when there is a
chance of the entire roosting flock taking off before
you?re disbelieving eyes and ears, or around sunset
when the vast skeins pile in over perhaps an hour.
If you are having trouble grasping what 90,000 geese
look and sound like, the only solution is to be there, to
stand and stare and to be thrilled and respectful in the
presence of one of nature?s grand gestures.
These huge gatherings only stay intact for a few days,
as if the gatherings themselves are simply a means to an
end, perhaps a reliable safe haven at journey?s end, a
post-migration rest with plenty of space on the water
and good feeding close at hand. Perhaps there is even
something akin to a symbolic gathering of the clan.
But the fact that it is so short-lived also seems to
suggest that the first priority of the assembly is to break
itself up, as if there is a consensus among the birds that a
protracted gathering of such size is unhealthy.
When they?ve gone, they leave an emptiness,
because their sheer presence for the six months of
autumn and winter have reinforced for me an essential
connection that reaches back all but the first three or
four years of my life. I couldn?t have articulated what it
was then, nor for some years later, but I recognise it now
as nothing less than the inspiration for a lifelong
fascination with the northern places of the Earth.
It takes a lot of the portents of a new spring to fill that
emptiness. But for now, as one more October dawns,
the ambassadorial legions of the far north are back in our
midst. It is the golden goose hour once more.
FASCINATING FACTS
The pink-footed goose can produce a medley of
high-pitched honking calls, particularly in flight.
Geese cover the entire alphabet, from Adler Goose
to Zhedong Goose. Probably the most strangesounding is the Synthetic Ukrainian Goose.
Pink-footed geese have a range estimated at
between 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers.
Scottish Wildlife Trust offer tours at Montrose Basin.
For more information, phone 01674 676336.
ROOTS AND BRANCHES
Connected
By Religion
Religious links between Scotland
and the Italian city of Rome go
back more than 400 years?
by KENNY MacASKILL
R
OME is referred to as the Eternal City as it was
believed its civilisation would last forever, and there?s
part of it that?s forever Old Scotia.
The Caledonian link has been around for more than
400 years and despite its location remains to this day an
integral part of Scottish life.
That link is Scots College, established by Pope Clement
VIII on December 5, 1600. Many, if not most, priests who
serve in Scotland have passed through its doors.
Pope Clement decreed ?a college under the name of
the Scottish nation, in which suitably qualified youths and
young men of the same nation are to be formed in
morality, true piety and healthy doctrine and imbued with
other virtues of the Christian name.?
Maria Clementina
Sobieska, mother
of Bonnie Prince
Charlie
Pope Clement VIII
The city is better known in Scottish history for links
with the Stewart Dynasty. The Old Pretender James VII,
his son the Young Pretender Charles Edward Stewart and
his brother Henry Cardinal Duke of York are laid to rest in
a crypt in St Peter?s Basilica.
After Culloden and his escape to France, assisted by
Flora MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Charlie settled in Rome.
Dying there in 1788, he was initially buried in Frascati
where his brother was Bishop.
His brother Henry rose to become Dean of the College
of Cardinals and remains one of the longest-serving
Cardinals to this day. When he died, Charlie was
disinterred and moved to be with both him and his father
in the family lair, though his heart remains in Frascati
cathedral. Their mother, Maria Clementina Sobieska, lies
elsewhere in the basilica.
The college came into being at a time not simply of
discrimination against Catholics but danger for those
seeking to nurture and support it.
While pivotal in many ways for education in Scotland,
the Reformation brought prejudice against the Catholic
faith, practicioners of which were excluded from teaching
in schools and universities.
When the Reformation had first occurred there
had been some hope that it would falter. Indeed,
James VI dallied with the mother church, but on his
accession to the throne of England it became clear that
wouldn?t happen.
A Scots College had been founded in France years
before with the support of Mary Queen of Scots, and
another college existed in Spain. However, the critical
need saw the establishment of the College in Rome.
It was founded ?to secure the education of Scottish
boys and young men in piety and in the Christian religion, ??
The Stewarts lie in a
crypt in St Peter?s
?
There is a part of
Rome that is forever
Old Scotia
?
121
St Peter?s Basilica
?
Pictures: ALAMY, GETTY IMAGES, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
The College is confirmation that the Vatican
has always recognised Scotland as a nation
and also to make secure their instructions in letters.?
Accordingly, it wasn?t initially restricted to training for
the priesthood but provided wider education for those
denied it at home, something that would later change.
Protestantism was in the ascendancy and Catholicism
threatened. The need for priests to sustain the faith in a
growingly hostile environment became ever greater.
History narrates, ?by sending devoted priests who
would endure privation, minister in secret and risk death
in order to keep the faith alive amongst the comparatively
few families who were ready to abandon wealth, social
standing and even intercourse with their neighbours,
rather than lose their religion.?
The Council of Trent required the separation of the
training of priests from laymen. That, allied with the
specific needs in Scotland, saw Pope Paul V in 1616
require those attending the College choose to seek to
enter the priesthood or return to Scotland.
It was the anniversary after the death of St John Ogilvie
who had been martyred the year before. A Scottish priest,
he had trained in Germany and returned to minister in his
homeland. He was eventually executed after refusing to
pledge allegiance to King James.
Though dangers decreased, the Jacobite Rebellions
saw many active in support. Some we re in the midst of
the battle at Culloden and took confessions on the field as
Highland ranks were slaughtered.
However, despite the suppression of the Highlands,
there was no decline in Catholicism, there or elsewhere.
However, active support for the Stewarts ceased.
?
The College has trained Scottish priests continuously,
other than after 1798 when Rome was invaded by the
Revolutionary French, and then during the Second World
War when it was again occupied. Initially, the training was
provided by the Jesuits. However, in 1773 Pope Clement
XIV supressed them, resulting in the arrest of college staff
in front of startled students. Since 1800 the rectors have all
been Scots.
From 1604 it was located on the Via Delle Quattro
Fontane. The original buildings were added to and in
1642 a church, St Andrew of the Scots, was built adjacent
it. The College remained on that site until 1964, when it
moved to its present location on Via Cassia.
Throughout its time young Scots Priests have passed
through, the numbe rs varying from 10 or so in the 18th
century to sometimes 50 in later years. Recently, there
had been a decline, but 20 are enrolled this year.
It?s a part of Old and New Scotia in the Eternal City
? confirmation that the Vatican has always recognised
Scotland as a distinct nation, going back not just to 1600
but to the Declaration of Arbroath ? which after all was a
letter to the Pope. But that?s another story?
NEXT month, former Justice Minister
Kenny MacAskill brings you the tale
of how the 1917 Russian Revolution
led to the Red Flag being hoisted
over Glasgow.
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Q
AYE!
Test your knowledge
of Scotland with our
fascinating and
fun facts!
Botanist, David Douglas, who gave his name to the Douglas fir, met
a rather unfortunate end. While in Hawaii in 1834, he fell into an
animal pit. Before he could manage to scramble out, a wild bull
fell into the same trap crushing him to death.
The first American to orbit the earth, John
Glenn, and the first two men on the moon, Neil
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, all had Scottish
ancestry. And Buzz?s mum Marion?s maiden
name was? wait for it? Moon.
Fleetwood Mac?s Mick
Fleetwood employs a
Scottish piper at his
restaurant in Maui, Hawaii.
He plays each evening at
a special sunset ceremony
where Mick himself often
wears a kilt to celebrate
his Scottish roots.
There are
21 towns
called
?Glasgow?
in the
United
States of
America!
Peter the Great of Russia might
not have been so great had he
not been taught by a Scotsman.
Patrick Gordon (left)
from Aberdeenshire taught the
young tsar combat strategy and
the art of warfare. The two
remained lifelong friends.
The first British cabinet meeting
held outside London took
place in Inverness in 1921.
PM Lloyd George was
holidaying in Gairloch when
events in Ireland forced an
emergency cabinet
discussion at the Town House.
There may be no English word that rhymes with
purple, but there is an old Scots one! Curple
means the hindquarters of a horse. It?s also the
name given to a strap that was fixed under a
horse?s saddle to prevent it from sliding forward.
Compass Hill on the Inner
Hebridean island of Canna has
such a high metal content in the rock
that it can often distort the compasses
of passing ships.
Robbie Coltrane was once
Martin Scorsese?s chauffeur
at Edinburgh Film Festival
The first three-piece suit for
a horse was made from
Harris Tweed. It was
commissioned earlier this
year by bookmakers William
Hill and modelled by the
racehorse Morestead. It took
a month to make, requiring
10 times the fabric of an
equivalent human suit.
Robert Louis Stevenson first encountered
Long John Silver in Edinburgh Royal
Infirmary. The character was based on author
and editor W E Henley, who lost part of his
leg due to a childhood illness. He befriended
Stevenson during a three-year stay in hospital.
Words: GAYLE ANDERSON
Pictures: ALAMY, ISTOCKPHOTO, GETTY IMAGES
The founder of the English
football league came from
Braco in Perthshire.
William McGregor was
an administrator of
Scottish association
football who became
chairman of Aston Villa
FC. Frustrated at the
number of cancelled matches,
he founded the Football League in 1888.
Actress Karen Gillan?s first meeting with
her cousin, Caitlin Blackwood, was on
the set of Doctor Who. Karen
recommended Caitlin to star as a younger
version of her own character, Amy Pond.
They saw each other for the first time at
the read-through.
The scenery in the How To Train Your Dragon series of books and
films is based on the wild terrain of Little Colonsay. Author
Cressida Cowell knows the area well. Her father, the 2nd Viscount
Blakenham, owns the island.
For more stunning Scots facts visit our
website: scotsmagazine.com/
articles/q-aye-collections
129
SCOTS MAG ONLINE
Trip The Light Fantastic
As the nights draw in, the Enchanted
Forest is back to light up the sky!
T
HE award-winning sound and light show at Faskally
Wood near Pitlochry is already one of Scotland?s top
autumn events, and this year?s Enchanted Forest
promises to be ?edgier than ever?.
With the theme of Oir an Uisge, Scots Gaelic for Edge
of the Water, this year?s event is inspired by the natural
surroundings of Faskally Wood and Loch Dunmore.
Forestry Commission Scotland has been working in the
area to change the landscape back to its native state
? removing rhododendrons and opening the area round
the loch. This is good news for Enchanted Forest fans,
who will, it?s promised, feel closer than ever to the
spectacular sound and light show.
We?ll be heading along for a preview on September
23, so look out for our review, videos and images online
at scotsmagazine.com/articles/enchanted-forest-2017
www.scotsmagazine.com
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places
culture
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Pictures: ANGUS FORBES, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
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Whether you prefer buying or making your own Christmas cards and
crafts, you can?t miss this event at Glasgow?s SEC. Check online for our
special 2-for-1 ticket offer to the event across October 26-29.
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Scotland?s Larder
Our latest mouth-watering online
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mushroom and sherry sauce,
courtesy of Puddledub, Kirkcaldy.
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erthshire, and whoever you are, you feel welcomed into
and engaged with the theatre. We will be programming
with this in mind, with diversity and accessibility at the
forefront of the work we make.?
What steps is she taking to achieve this admirable goal?
?Our associate artists are making work in
collaboration with Perthshire residents, to be presented
in our opening season.
?We have our rural tour ? which tours to venues near
you, and whose reach we hope to develop further every
year. And a programme of work for children and family
audiences, drawing on some of the world-class work for
young audiences, made in Scotland.?
Kemp boasts an impressive resum�. She trained in
both Paris, at the school of physical theatre L?蒫ole
Internationale de Th殁tre Jacques Lecoq, and New York,
at the esteemed Saratoga International Theater Institute.
This international scope is one she hopes to bring to Perth.
?We want to be local, national and international. We
are setting out our stall as the most exciting place for artists
to develop their practice and make new work with
audiences, in Scotland.
?We are also developing projects with national and
international companies ? looking over the sea towards
Norway, Sweden and beyond. We want to attract the
best international work to our stages.?
Exciting times ahead, then, both for the people of
Perth and the wider artistic landscape.
Hollywood A-lister Ewan McGregor has been one of
the most vocal backers of the theatre?s regeneration. He
has stated that his ?very first memories of theatre belong
to my visits to Perth Theatre?. He has described working
as a stagehand there at the start of his career an
?unforgettable experience?.
There will be plenty more similar opportunities for
creative learning now, with Kemp telling us this will be ?at
the heart of everything we do in the theatre?.
?We want to make work for and with local people ?
situating Perth Theatre as a meeting place for artists and
audiences.
?We will facilitate unprecedented access to the artistic
process for audiences through enabling artists to engage
intimately with the local area ? and those who live and
work here ? in the creation of new work.?
So what we can expect to see from the Perth Theatre
in the next couple of years?
?A bustling hub, centered around the caf� area, where
theatre, music, and debate happens. A place that
welcomes good ideas and tries to make them happen.
?A place where artists are supported, and theatre
professionals trained. A place where artists and audience
inform and stretch each other.
?A theatre programme of work that feels both familiar
and unfamiliar: where you will be entertained in ways you
hope and expect, and often surprised.?
That sounds grand to us.
9
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21/06/2017 09:41
Carina?s Kitchen
by CARINA
CONTINI
Trick
Or
Treat?
Hallowe?en is about making
memories ? and delicious food
M
Pumpkin Risotto with Taleggio
Y children love Hallowe?en. I?m not sure if it?s to
do with the scary witches, ghouls and trick or
treating ? or the fact that October 31 in our
house signals permission to start talking about Christmas.
We all need things to look forward to, but dates like
Hallowe?en and Easter are such markers for our memories.
The pressure as my children get older is to create
memories that can compete or at least stick out as an
occasion. When they were little, a scary mask and a
witch?s hat from the pound shop, with a few bags of
sweets and a makeshift bucket, was the bee?s knees.
As the teens have kicked in, it?s all a lot more ?gothic?.
I?ve been scared by my own children?s gruesome scars
and face paints, all carefully constructed with help from
YouTube videos. These are images I?d rather forget as
quickly as possible.
Serves 4 as a main course
l Butter
l Extra virgin olive oil
l 1 shallot, grated
l 400g vialone nano risotto rice
l Glug of white wine
l 200g chopped pumpkin, skin
removed
l 2 litres of hot
vegetable or chicken
stock
l 125g taleggio
l A handful of
grated Parmigiano
Reggiano
l Seasoning
This year my youngest reminded me in July that
Hallowe?en landed on a Tuesday. Disaster! How can you
arrange a sleepover on a school night? The solution is that
we?re going to double up with Bonfire Night on the
Sunday and bring a bit of ?treat? ? and less of the ugly
? back into Hallowe?en
Our kitchen garden needed some urgent maintenance
over the summer. There were some overgrown conifers
that were causing major damage to a small boundary wall.
Kevin, the tree man from Loanhead, brought down the
trees and Kevin, the builder from Dalkeith ? there are a lot
of Kevins in my life ? brought down the wall. The trees
have been cut and are ready for the winter?s log fires. The
wall, luckily, was built of beautiful bricks from The
Newbattle Brickworks, which opened in 1862, around
the time our house had one of its first Victorian alterations.
So, rather than sending the bricks to the tip, we
managed to salvage them and turn them into a lovely new
fire pit. What a treat it is: ideal for cuddling up on warm
summer nights ? we?re hoping 2018 brings lots of those ?
and perfect for a miniature Guy Fawkes bonfire.
Around our little campfire we?ll enjoy sausages and
baby meatball kebabs; followed by sweetcorn baked in
foil in the ashes. And, for the foodies looking for an extra
filler, a delicious bowl of pumpkin risotto.
Now Hallowe?en wouldn?t be Hallowe?en without
some treats. So, some baked bananas with amarena
cherries, 70% cocoa solids and a few flaked almonds to
look like zombie teeth, will also be on the menu. And
toasted marshmallow, of course ? with a bowl of hot
devil?s blood for dipping ? hot chocolate sauce to you and
me. Hopefully lots of new happy Hallowe?en memories
for my fearsome teenagers to treasure.
Method
Choose a heavy-based casserole
pot and add a knob of butter and
the same amount of olive oil. Fry the
grated shallot until soft and golden.
Add the risotto rice and toast for a
minute or so. The pan will be hot so
keep moving the rice to ensure it
doesn?t stick or burn.
Add the white wine
and cook off, then
add the pumpkin
and lower the heat.
Next, season with a
little salt and a ladle
of the hot stock.
When the stock
1
2
has cooked off, slowly add more
stock, a little at a time, ensuring the
stock is cooked off each time.
Continue to do this for about 30
minutes. The stock should be all
cooked off and the rice should be
creamy, quite sticky but as wet as
good porridge.
When the risotto is al dente and
has a slight bite, remove from
the heat. Then add the taleggio and a
handful of grated Parmigiano. The
cheese can be quite salty so check
seasoning at this stage.
Stir in a lump of unsalted butter
and allow to rest for 5 minutes
before serving.
3
4
Don?t miss Carina?s column next month for another great recipe
9
Sl鄆nte Mhath
A Capital Idea
Your whisky expert brings you news of a talented team
aiming to bring distilling back into the heart of Edinburgh
by EUAN DUGUID
I
F Scotland is the very engine room of global whisky
production, it seems a shame that our capital hasn?t
yielded a drop of single malt in almost 100 years.
Things are firing back into life in Auld Reekie,
however. And, perhaps fittingly, the uisge beatha
renaissance is happening in a place that is no stranger to
industry and innovation.
In a project reminiscent of an ambitious Grand
Designs episode, Holyrood Distillery?s home will be a
B-listed building which was built in 1835 as part of the
Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway (E&DR).
In true Grand Designs spirit, a few compelling feats of
heavy plant manoeuvring are set to unfold in the very
heart of the capital.
?We?re very excited and somewhat terrified at the
same time,? explained David Robertson, former Master
Distiller for The Macallan, referring to the overall
endeavour.
David has embarked on the joint venture with Rob
and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
?The site spans 1115 square metres (12,000 sq ft) and
is situated next to Holyrood Park,? he continued. ?What
struck me at first was that the building had the look and
feel of an old maltings ? but with three levels.
?It absolutely fits the bill but it has presented one or
two engineering challenges in terms of how we jigsaw all
the distillery plant together.
?The plans are done, and one of the next steps is to
crane in large mash tun vessels, the washbacks and,
ultimately, the copper stills. So, at some point in the not
too distant future, there will be people taking pictures of
massive copper kettles being lowered through a big hole
in the ceiling!?
The business will initially make 53,000 litres (11,660
gallons) of alcohol per year. Production is scheduled to
begin next year, resulting in around 140,000 bottles of
mature single malt in eight to 12 years? time.
These walls are no stranger to productivity.
Rob Carpenter explained, ?The E&DR was known as
The Innocent Railway, and much of the original
right-of-way still exists as a bike and pedestrian path,
including an atmospheric tunnel that runs right under
Holyrood Park.
?The line pre-dated steam locomotives and the
carriages were initially pulled by horses until they
Clockwise from
far left: The
planned tasting
room;
the team ? from
left, David
Robertson,
Bill Farrar,
Jack Mayo,
Rob Carpenter,
Laura Anderson
and Hamish
Martin;
and the perfect
location, looking
towards Holyrood
Park
Holyrood Distillery
visitor centre shop
roasted malt. All these things will give us a different
flavour ? before it gets anywhere near the cask.
?It?s a whole different way of thinking.?
Acquiring this location right in the city centre means
that Holyrood Distillery will have an extensive visitor
centre, which will undoubtedly bring in crucial traffic to
help keep the lights on for a few years while the first
whisky is maturing.
That, of course, poses another conundrum.
?If we deliver what we expect, and create a
wonderful visitor attraction, one of our challenges will be
to give folks something to drink,? said David.
?We won?t have whisky initially, so we?ll be looking
at producing special liqueurs and gin, using the team?s
collective expertise.?
That branch of the business promises to be very
different too.
A mouth-watering prospect ? and having had a
sneak glimpse into the mechanics of this operation, I
reckon that Holyrood Distillery?s lum will reek ? lang
into the future.
A Potent Past?
Edinburgh boasts a long history of whisky
production.
In the late 1700s, there were eight licensed
distilleries ? and as many as 400 illegal stills.
Urban production then fell out of fashion,
leading to the decline of whisky distilling in the
capital? until now.
Sl鄆nte mhath!
Pictures: ALAMY
reached an incline after the tunnel. Our building housed
the two 25 horsepower steam engines used to pull the
carriages the rest of the way up the incline!?
So far, however, there?s been no uphill struggle for
Holyrood.
A multi-million-pound fundraising drive was recently
launched to help finance the distillery. Rob says that the
investment aspect is now one-third of the way towards
the target, and ?going as well as could be hoped for?.
Backers have been drawn to the venture by the
expertise of the wider team. This includes Jack Mayo,
Head Distiller, who is heading from west to east after a
successful stint at Glasgow?s Makar Gin.
There?s also well-known botanicals expert Hamish
Martin, owner of Edinburgh?s Secret Herb Garden, and
former co-founder of Inverarity Vaults, once Scotland?s
largest independent wine merchants.
David points out that in a crowded whisky market,
this sort of expertise will be crucial in making their mark.
?We don?t have the safety blanket of age and
vintage,? he acknowledges. ?We need to create a new
way of doing things.
?So, with the opportunity to bring single malt distilling
back to Edinburgh after almost 100 years, we will do so
with flavour at the forefront.?
That strategy has been influenced by recent market
trends ? including the explosion of craft beers, as
recently featured on these pages.
David added, ?Most distillers use distilling malt which
makes a lager-type wash ? a heady, beery brew ? after
two days? fermentation.
?That goes forward for distillation. What we?re trying
to do is create a wash using different types of malt, just
like the craft brewing industry.
?The wash might be like a pale ale, a Guinness or a
99
Eat, Drink, Sleep...The Reviews
by ROBERT WIGHT
S
TUNNING is how
I?d describe pretty
much everything
about my stay at The
Douglas.
The building was
stunning. Our suite was
stunning. The view was
stunning. The weather
? even it was stunning.
As for the food, it
was? delicious.
I just added that to
mix it up a wee bit.
The Douglas of old
was an Arran landmark.
An imposing sandstone,
Victorian C-listed
property a couple of
hundred yards from the
ferry terminal at Brodick.
In its current form of
luxury, ?boutique? hotel,
it dates to 2011. The
renovation work has
been extensive. The
building was stripped to a
bare shell, but retains
many features, like the
beautiful original internal
sandstone staircase.
A modern ? yet
sympathetic ? extension
increased the building?s
footprint. It now houses
20 luxury bedrooms and
suites, a bar, a cosy
lounge and a restaurant.
The Douglas is
managed by Elaine
Campbell, whose brother
owns the hotel. And
while Elaine jokes that a
?boutique hotel? is simply
one in which the
The Douglas
Brodick, Arran
Tasteful luxury, supreme comfort and fine local
produce in a beautifully renovated island retreat
The best view on the island?
furniture doesn?t quite
match, evidence of her
talent ? she?s a former
designer ? is everywhere.
The d閏or and colour
scheme, furniture and
choice of artwork ? all
are down to her.
It?s a fantastically
tasteful blend of modern
and traditional. Uniting
both is a tremendous
feeling of quality.
We had the Goatfell
Suite. A short hallway
opens on a huge
bedroom, dominated by
a bay window that takes
up most of the east wall.
The expansive view
All rooms are
well-appointed
The Ship Inn
Stonehaven
Haddock fish sliders
takes in Brodick Bay and
the dramatic peak that
gives the suite its name,
as well as the jagged ridge
that runs to Cir Mhor. It
must rival any view on
the island.
Antique tripodmounted brass binoculars
were great for trying to
spot walkers labouring up
to Goatfell?s summit.
I whiled away a
pleasant pre-dinner hour
gazing at that view while
wrapped in a sumptuous
robe, reclining on a
chaise longue and sipping
at a large G&T. How
incredibly decadent!
The bathroom was
cavernous, with a tub you
could practically swim in,
and a superbly powerful
shower.
We had a look around
the rest of the hotel and
even the smallest rooms
? which were still all a
decent size and very well
appointed ? boasted
good-sized bathrooms.
Dinner and breakfast
were excellent. Food
was, where possible,
locally sourced ? as were
toiletries, a touch I like.
There?s 24-hour room
service and free parking.
It?s your surroundings
that are really special
here ? so much so we
were reluctant to leave
our suite to explore this
magical island.
I?d struggle to find
anything negative to write
about my stay. Closest I
can get is the WiFi ?
reception is very hit and
miss. But that?s an
island-wide issue, so we
can let The Douglas off
on that score.
If you fancy an island
escape, prices are
incredibly reasonable.
Deluxe doubles start at
around �9, suites are
around �9. Check
online or phone for best
deals ? especially out of
season when you?ll get
some excellent dinner,
bed and breakfast
packages from just �
per person.
thedouglashotel.co.uk
Garry Fraser savours an east-coast
eaterie?s early evening offering
FOOD: The rain stopped as my wife and I headed
towards Stonehaven harbour and a rainbow appeared.
There was no crock of gold, of course, but we did
strike gold in another way in The Ship Inn?s Captain?s
Restaurant. Some of the best food we?ve tasted.
The Inn?s popularity is clear. The bar was jammed
and most of the tables in the spacious restaurant were
either full or reserved. Our window seat boasted a
lovely view over the harbour, but the food was a
worthwhile distraction, from a well-balanced and
varied menu, with a daily specials board to boot.
There?s where the problem arose. It took a bit of
deliberation and changing of minds before we finally
decided. Sandra opted for locally-caught haddock,
lightly battered, while I couldn?t resist the boeuf
bourguignon despite the presence of mussels both as a
starter and a main course. The fish was melt-in-yourmouth stuff while my mine was, pure and simply, one
of the best beef dishes I?ve ever had.
Both mains left just enough room for dessert.
Sandra?s strawberry cheesecake was straight out of the
culinary top drawer while my delicious strawberry and
vanilla ice cream, from Guilianotti of Stonehaven, filled
any gaps the bourguignon might have missed. 9/10
SERVICE: First class. Friendly and brought with a smile.
Just on the right side of attentiveness. 9/10
AMBIENCE: Homely and relaxed, with enough space
between tables to ensure some intimacy. 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: Very good. The sharing platters
(�.95) looked particularly good value. 9/10
Sympathetically extended
FACILITIES: A separate toilet for the
restaurant would be a worthwhile
addition, but apart from that, no
complaints. 7/10
shipinnstonehaven.com
42
50
11
Collective Approach
The food assembly movement has all the ingredients for success
by JUDY VICKERS
Crofter Michelle
Anderson-Carroll
Sampling the
produce
FOOD assemblies are springing up all
over Scotland, with 10 already in operation
? at Eyemouth, Inverness, Milngavie, Glasgow
West, Drygate, Leith, Stirling, Haddington,
Edinburgh Southside and Bathgate ? and six in
the pipeline; Torphins, Dalkeith, Oban,
Edinburgh New Town, Penicuik and Paisley.
T
HERE has never been so much choice when it
comes to buying food. Giant supermarkets
proliferate, the internet means the world and its
produce is just a click away and farmers? markets have
sprung up all over the place in the last 20 years.
You would think yet another option in this crowded
market would be doomed to failure. But the food
assembly movement, which has been taking Europe by
storm since it started in France in 2011, is sweeping the
nation, with the first opening in Leith in 2015.
Food assemblies work like this: customers order food
or drink from a range of producers on one website, then
they collect all the produce from all the suppliers at a
weekly food assembly.
?It really is a win-win situation,? explains crofter
Michelle Anderson-Carroll, who set up the Inverness food
assembly in May. Key for customers, she says, is that local,
organic food is cheaper than in smart farm shops. ?People
still tend to think that buying local produce has a high
price but food assemblies are getting rid of that. We can
give customers a fair price, we don?t need to add that
elitist price tag,? she says.
?We have 21 producers, including gin, whisky, bread,
fish and vegetables, so instead of customers having to look
through 21 websites and go to 21 collection points, they
just have one if they want to buy locally.?
From the producers? point of view, the advantages are
reaching a bigger market than they could on their own,
and no waste.
Michelle, a pig farmer who has a herd of rare Oxford
Sandy and Blacks, says, ?All our orders come in, then we
have two days to prepare everything that?s already been
bought. It means there is no waste which is important for
people who are selling things like bread and cakes. At a
farmers? market, if they?ve made 200 cakes and they only
sell 20, that?s a lot of waste. And there?s the Highland
weather, standing out in the street all day in the rain or
cold, not knowing if we are going to sell or not.?
The food assembly is held weekly at the Fairways
Leisure Group in the south-west of Inverness. ?The first
weeks were nerve-wracking but by week three it was a
case of ?See you next week?, which was lovely to hear,?
says Michelle.
A new approach to selling food
1
POLLY?S PEOPLE
Pipe Perfection
When precision engineering meets a
piping dynasty, the results are magical,
as Polly Pullar
discovers?
I
N a warehouse on an in dustrial estate in Forres, on the
Moray Firth, an extraordinary business has taken flight.
Though rooted in the finest Highland traditions, one
family are making their mark on the modern music scene
both home and abroad, and gathering a following with
their unique craftsman-made pipes. Theirs is an ancient
product but with an entirely new angle.
Though it is the Scottish Highland bagpipes that are
doubtlessly the world?s best known, for hundreds of years
pipes in various sizes, constructed from a wealth of
different materials, have been played in countries
across Europe, Africa, and Asia.
When mastered, the pipes have the power to
move to tears of appreciative emotion.
However the bagpipes have a reputation as one of the
hardest instruments to learn. An apprentice piper ? and
those in close proximity ? need patience.
The tradition of bagpipe playing and the making of this
revered instrument are cloaked in historic Highland mist.
While some of the finest traditional pipe makers still
dominate the scene, changes have been taking place as
purists are surrounded by young upcoming pipers with an
eclectic mix of ideas, many brilliant and forward thinking.
Pipers come in varyin g guises from those in rock
bands, and specialists in the increasingly popular music
The River Findhorn at Forres
classified as Celtic
fusion, to
ambitious
techno-pipers, members of
pipe bands, or that lone
piper playing an evocative
Pibroch at a funeral, or a
frenetic wedding jig. It?s a
glorious, hot day as I enter
the workshop of Burgess
Bagpipes. The cool interior is
equipped with engineering machinery, and
neat rows of small and large hand tools.
It?s here that the Hay family ? Burgess, his wife Fiona
and their son Scott ? are making their mark, working
together making three types of pipes: Scottish small pipes,
Above: Scott, Fiona and Burgess.
Below: a set of small pipes with
bellows and reeds
Border
pipes and
Highland
pipes, using a mix
of materials and
techniques. Burgess is a
precision engineer with more
than 30 years? experience. I recognise
the hallmarks of a perfectionist.
?Our aim is to make the best possible instruments,
with the finest materials, tools and skills to end up with a
unique and beautiful product that sounds right and has
interchangeable parts,? he explains. ?We work closely
together as a
team ? since he
was very young,
Scott has always
helped us in our
engineering businesses.
From an early age he
understood and knew how to
work lathes and mills . He?s had the
safety aspects drummed into him too.
?We are very careful when choosing our
suppliers. Our African blackwood comes from a sawmill
in Africa, where the musical grade wood is stored for up
to five years in controlled conditions before it is s old under
special licence. We use titanium as standard due to its
lightness and strength and the fact that it doesn?t ??
1
POLLY?S PEOPLE
deteriorate. It?s absolutely perfect for pipes and it looks so
good, too. For our bags and bellows, though we could
make them ourselves, this is not our forte and we source
these from the finest suppliers.?
Burgess passes me a set of beautifully crafted, tactile
black leather bellows made in Ireland.
We are in a cosy reception area drinking tea. The walls
are covered with detailed Celtic art inked onto vellum.
?That?s Mum?s work,? says Scott. ?She?s very talented.
She also plays the fiddle.?
Fiona shrugs modestly. Scott picks up a set of small
pipes and begins to play. His notes flows like a swift
Highland burn effortlessly racing over grey rocks, bouncing
magically clear and fresh, and I am transported.
His rendition on the Borders pipes is equally
captivating; these are his own compositions. He has real,
raw, talent, a true artist. He was winning prestigious
competitions from an early age and received an
unconditional offer from the University of the Highlands
?
and Islands to study traditional music. Scott also plays
mandolin, whistles, flute and bouzouki and loves trying
something new.
He?s in demand to play at weddings and funerals and
has played alongside many of the country?s finest folk
musicians, something he finds inspiring. Many of them
now also play Burgess pipes ? in particular Ross Ainslie
and Ali Hutton ? but Scott does not feel tempted to join a
band and remains dedicated to his family business, and to
playing for pure pleasure.
?Though I am not a musician, we have piping in the
blood,? says Burgess. ?Fiona?s father was the late John
McDougall, a former world champion piper and
exponent of the Balmoral style of piping. His habit of
winning everything everywhere earned him the fond
nickname of The Hoover.
?He was renowned as an exceedingly fair judge, and
was the finest piper of his generation. He was a world
champion, and taught Scott to play. It?s really all down to
His notes flow like a swift Highland burn,
bouncing magically clear and fresh?
Pictures: ALAMY, BURGESS BAGPIPES
Fine acoustics
for Highland
pipes in the
workshop
?
All parts are
made from scratch?
?of African
blackwood
and titanium
Fiona?s father and
grandfather, John
McDougall Jr and Sr
his input that this business began. We love what we do and
are getting interest from far and wide.?
Fiona was also taught to play the pipes by her father.
?He and my grandfather were passionate pipers and
they both played on the day they died, well into their 80s.
Scott is very good indeed and he has clearly inherited the
talent,? Fiona explains.
?But we don?t like to tell him,? Burgess chips in,
laughing. ?It was clear from an early age Scott was skilled,
though some of the learning phase could be painful!
?Burgess Bagpipes really began when Scott needed a
new set of Border pipes and it was hard to find what was
required, particularly quickly. So Fiona and I thought we
would make him some. We?re thrilled with how well it?s
being received, and not only on the home market. We
pride ourselves on keeping costs down, making our
product accessible while still of the finest quality. We can
ensure delivery within 12 weeks, unusual for custommade instruments.
?Ideally we are looking to produce 50-200 sets a year,
whereas the market leaders probably make around 2000.
?Many parts of our instruments are interchangeable
including the bellows, pipes and chanters. Our
instruments are designed to be played using a constant
pressure. This helps make them more stable, and once a
piper is accustomed to our pipes, makes playing easier.
?Our Highland pipes have hybrid hide and Gore-Tex
bags so they don?t need to be treated and seasoned to
protect against moisture from the piper?s breath, unlike
the sheepskin bags on traditional pipes. We have a
moisture trap inside that is regularly emptied.?
Back in the workshop, Scott takes up a set of Highland
pipes. ?I can play them in here as the sound won?t deafen
you ? the other room was too wee.? His parents smile.
The building fills with their magnificent sound as the
notes resonate through titanium Highland pipes.
This young piper with a passion and dedication to a
new business with its foundations in past generations is
one to watch. Surely Burgess Bagpipes will soon be a
frontrunner on the world stage.
www.burgessbagpipes.com
FASCINATING FACTS
Danny Fleming, an Arbroath-born man now
living in Grimsby, owns 105 different sets of
bagpipes worth �0,000.
March 10 is International Bagpipe Day,
inaugurated by the Bagpipe Society, and is
celebrated by pipers and fans all over the world.
Bagpipes have been banned twice in Scotland,
in 1560 and 1746.
1
Around Scotland
Tiree Wave Classic, October 14-21.
Founded in 1986, this is the longest-running
professional windsurfing event in the world and
includes multiple events and functions. The event was
the idea of Steve Bisset who had learned of the island?s
ideal surfing conditions and who assembled a group of
enthusiasts to take part in the first major windsurfing
competition in Scotland in 1985. Unfortunately, bad
weather conditions forced a cancellation but there was
no similar problem the following year. Since then the
Classic has established itself as one of the sport?s
premier events, and involves contestants from all over
the world.
www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk
Fireworks Against Cancer, New
Deer, Aberdeenshire, October 21.
The north-east?s most spectacular
firework display, held every year in
aid of UCAN, the area?s urological
cancer charity. Enjoy attractions like
fairground rides, plus food, toy and
sweetie stalls.
St Andrews Golf Week, October
15-21. A chance to play a round on
five different courses, plus tuition,
activities and competitions.
www.standrewsgolfweek.com
Bigger Little Festival, October
19-29. Two weeks of top-quality
entertainment, including fireside
story-telling and belly-dancing.
www.biggarlittlefestival.com
Oktoberfest, Craft Hotel, Wigton,
October 20-22. German food, beer
and entertainment comes to Wigton.
www.craftrestaurant.co.uk
The Enchanted Forest, Faskally
Woods, by Pitlochry, until October
29. This stunning Perthshire setting
provides the background to a lighting
show that is out of this world.
www.enchantedforest.org.uk
Tweed Valley Forest Festival,
October 21-29. A chance to
celebrate the customs and cultures
of the forest with events that include
a Carvefest and conker
championships.
www.forest-festival.com
STIRLING
DUNDEE
Woodland Light Experience,
Balfron, October 25-November 12.
Beautiful lighting effects and
projections that end up with a
spectacular finale which features the
natural landscape, music and water.
www.woodlandexperiences.co.uk
Monarch Of The Glen, Pitlochry
Festival Theatre, October 26November 12. Compton
Mackenzie?s farce adapted for stage
by Peter Arnott. Box office
01796 484626.
PERTH
GLASGOW
INVERNESS
ABERDEEN
EDINBURGH
Dornoch Whisky Festival, October
27-30. Take the chill out of an
autumn weekend with distillery tours
and tastings, mixed with live music
and fine food.
Glenfiddich Piping And Fiddling
Championships, Blair Atholl,
October 28. The cream of piping
and fiddling compete in these
prestigious competitions.
Phone 0845 602 1974.
Scotfairs Antique, Vintage &
Collectors Fair, Citadel Leisure
Centre, Ayr, October 28. Antiques
for the connoisseur, hidden treasures
for the experts, specialist items for the
experienced collector and 1000s of
interesting, beautiful and affordable
items for the general public.
www.scotfairs.co.uk
Illuminator Run, Aboyne, October
28. Run or walk 15 dark miles with
600m ascent (1968 feet) through
beautiful Glen Tanar. Email
enquiries@firetrailevents.co.uk
Traquair?s Hallowe?en Fun Day,
Innerleithen, October 29. Family
fun and games, including a Spooky
Scavenger hunt and a wizard and
witch workshop.
www.traquair.co.uk/events
North Hop, Aviemore, November
10-11. A feast for the eyes as well as
the senses. Macdonald Aviemore
Resort is the venue for this festival of
food, drink and live music.
www.northhop.co.uk
Aden-een, Shell Fireworks Parade,
Mintlaw, November 3. Join
hundreds of youngsters from across
Aberdeenshire in an event that is
now in its ninth year.
Email info@modo.org.uk
Colours Of Cluny, Forres,
November 8-19. A northern light
extravaganza set on beautiful Cluny
Hill. Production of the event is led by
Derek Allan, current producer of the
Enchanted Forest at Faskally.
www.coloursofcluny.com
Sound Festival, various venues,
October 26-November 12. The
north-east?s festival of music, from
contemporary to classical, with many
innovative events in a variety of
settings. www.sound-scotland.co.uk
St Andrews Voices, various venues,
October 26-29. Celebrate the
voice in its many different guises,
including opera, jazz, lieder and
musical comedy.
www.standrewsvoices.com
Tamfest, Ayr, October 27-29. A
spooktacular Hallowe?en celebration
with a Tam o? Shanter twist. Email
info@tamfest.co.uk
24-Hour Mountain Bike Race, Nevis Range, Fort William, October
28. A gruelling 24-hour race in which the competitor who covers the
most laps in the time wins. Phone 01397 772899.
??
19
Around Scotland
GLASGOW
The Mackintosh Festival, various
venues, October 1-30. Celebrate the
life of famed architect Charles Rennie
Mackintosh th rough a series of
exhibitions, walks and tours.
www.glasgowmackintosh.com
1917 Cine-Variety Show, Britannia
Panopticon, October 14. Experience
the recreation of historic music hall
shows that date from 1917.
La Traviata, Theatre Royal, October
19-28. Scottish Opera begin their
new season with one of Verdi?s most
stunning operas.
The BBC Good Food Show, SECC,
October 20-22. A fantastic day full of
tasting, sampling, shopping and
inspiration from celebrity chefs. It?s
the ultimate day out for food lovers.
bbcgoodfoodshow.com/glasgow
Music Mile Tour, October 14, 21,
28 and November 4, 11. A
whistle-stop tour of the city?s music
venues past and present, from the
Royal Concert Hall to King Tut?s.
www.glasgowmusiccitytours.com
EDINBURGH
Absolute Bowie, SECC, October 25.
There was only one David Bowie,
and there?s only one tribute band.
Enjoy an evening of nostalgia and the
man?s unforgettable music.
Oktoberfest, Princes Street
Gardens, October 11-15. Bavaria
comes to the capital for five days of
family fun and festivities.
www.edinburgh-oktoberfest.co.uk
Festival Of Politics, Scottish
Parliament, October 19-21. This
event features many respected figures
from politics and the media. There
are also exhibitions, films, comedy
and music. Phone 0131 348 6933.
Coffee Festival, Corn Exchange,
October 14. Demonstrations,
workshops, exhibits and, of course,
coffee. More info at
www.edinburghcoffeefestival.co.uk
International Storytelling Festival,
43-45 High Street, October 20-31.
Enjoy a 12-day celebration of live
storytelling, oral traditions and cultural
diversity. Phone 0131 556 9579.
Samhuinn Fire Festival, October
21, 9pm. Torchlight procession
with wild drumming, acrobatics
and fire-dancing that celebrates
the end of summer and welcomes
the onset of winter. The procession
starts at 9pm at the top end of the
Royal Mile and ends at West
Parliament Square. The festival is
not a ticketed event, so it?s
advisable to get a good vantage
point early. Organised by the
Beltane Fire Society, a community
arts performance charity.
www.beltane.org
Tequila Festival, Barrowland
Ballroom, October 21.
Live music, DJs and over 30 different
tequilas, listed from A to Z.
www.fatsoma.com
Handmade Edinburgh, The Hub,
October 26-29. Join a gathering of
the most exciting contemporary
designers and makers from Scotland
and beyond and celebrate the best in
art and design.
Age Of Oil, National Museum of
Scotland, until November 5.
Exploring the people and places of
Scotland?s offshore energy industry
through the work of visual artist Sue
Jane Taylor.
STIRLING
DUNDEE
John Bishop, AECC, October 17-19.
Two-hours of top-class comedy from
Liverpudlian funny-man. Box office
01224 641122.
Scottish Ballet, His Majesty?s
Theatre, October 24-25. The
company present two Stravinsky
ballets, The Rite Of Spring and The
Fairy?s Kiss.
PBFA Book Fair, Hilton Treetops
Hotel, October 29, 10am.
Antiquarian and second-hand books,
maps and prints offered for sale by
dealers from all over the country.
World Wrestling Federation Live,
GE Oil and Gas Arena, November 3.
Action-packed entertainment for all
the family and fe aturing the world?s
top wrestlers. www.aecc.co.uk
DUNDEE
Big Dundee Wedding Exhibition,
Caird Hall, October 14-15. Over
100 wedding suppliers, live catwalk
shows, prosecco bar and lots of
competitions and promotions. Tickets
�include a goody-bag on arrival.
Discovery Film Festival, DCA,
October 21-November 5. Scotland?s
international film festival combines
the best of youth cinema with a series
of creative workshops and events.
INVERNESS
ABERDEEN
EDINBURGH
INVERNESS
Next Month?
Street Festival, October 12-14. Top
entertainers take over the city centre
for three days. invernessbid.co.uk
Doug Scott 40th Anniversary
Lecture, Eden Court, October 24.
Mountaineer Scott describes a
near-death experience on the 7285
Ogre. Phone 01463 234234.
Loch Ness Knit Fest, Inverness Ice
Centre, October 13-15. Everything
the dedicated knitter needs.
www.lochnessknitfest.com
Discover all that?s best
to see and do in the
beautiful Borders
STIRLING
Mad About The Musicals,
Macrobert Arts Centre, October 22.
A tour of theatre-land with Britain?s
Got Talent winner Jai McDowell.
Shappi Khorsandi, Tolbooth,
October 22. Quick-fire stand-up
comedy from TV regular.
Gin Festival, Highland Hotel,
November 3-4. Just the tonic!
www.stirlingwhiskyshop.com
Travel to Mallaig for a
fun literature festival
with a difference...
PERTH
Science Festival, various venues,
October 28-November 12. A wide
range of events for all ages, including
physics, computer science and
engineering. Phone 01382 868609.
Spirits Of Scone Twilight
Illuminations, Scone Palace,
October 26-31. Atmospheric tours of
castle grounds, including the
graveyard. Minimum age eight years.
Phone 01738 552300.
St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra,
Concert Hall, October 26. Music by
Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.
Olympic icon Dame
Katherine Grainger on
trading oars for a mic!
ON SALE Oct 19, 2017
111
Pictures: GETTY IMAGES, ALAMY, ANGUS FORBES, TOMMASO TUZJ ODRADEK RECORDS, ERIKA STEVENSON, ISTOCKPHOTO
ABERDEEN
PERTH
GLASGOW
Passing It On?
Ever had a brainwave that you wanted to share
with others? The Sunday Post was just the place!
I
N the 1950s The Sunday Post, Scotland?s favourite weekend read, didn?t just print
news and views, reports and features. It also published readers? tips on everyday
matters. Some were quirky, some were novel and some downright ingenious.
Did you ever want to get furniture dents out of a carpet, or beetroot stains out of
your best tablecloth?
Or maybe you?d never discovered the secret of how to keep veg fresh if you
didn?t have a fridge, or how to have a midgie-free walk.
These tips have lain undisturbed for decades, but in the recently-published book,
Pass It On, some of these home-spun inventions have been revealed. We?ve chosen
the best, or the most unusual, tips for your amusement.
The Sunday Post is a Scottish institution, a favourite for families from generation
to generation. Home of Oor Wullie and The Broons ? two of the world?s most
famous comic strips ? the paper was once bought by an incredible, 17 out of 20
adults in Scotland.
If a screw has worn a hole too big to hold it, fill the hole with steel wool, as
much as you can pack in. Put the screw back in and it will hold indefinitely.
Pictures: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, ISTOCKPHOTO
Mrs E Elworthy, Glasgow
If you haven?t a funnel to
fill a small-necked bottle,
use a clean egg shell. Make
a little hole with a thick
needle, then pour the
liquid through.
When buying small cakes, I take a cake box
with divisions made from pieces of
cardboard ? one down the middle and two
across slotted to make six squares. This
enables me to carry home cream cakes and
meringues whole.
Mrs J Nairn, Gordon
Mrs M Caldwell, Kilbirnie
Tie a piece of white tape round
the top of taps in kitchen and
bathroom as a reminder to all
of the water shortage.
A piece of wooden garden trellis makes an ideal
rack for kitchen gadgets. Enamel to match the
kitchen, and screw small hooks into it to hold
the articles. Attach to kitchen wall.
Mrs E McLeod, Edinburgh
Miss M Mills, Coatbridge
Next
time
you make
chips, cut an onion in
half and place it on the
plate rack above the
cooker. You?ll find it an
effective air-refresher.
Mrs I Anderson,
Bonnyrigg
A knot in string or laces which
cannot be easily loosened
should be hammered gently.
Then insert the point of a
darning needle and prise open.
Mrs E Beaton, Glasgow
To buy the book (price is �.99 inc P&P): FREEPHONE: 0800 318 846 (UK landlines only)
between 8am and 6pm, Mon ? Fri or between 9am and 5pm, Saturday.
Overseas customers please call +44 1382 575580 or www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk
New clothes pegs should be popped
into cold water and brought to the boil.
Allow to cool and dry before using.
They won?t snap or break so easily.
Mrs E McKinstra, Glasgow
Miss Isa Morris, Thornton
Mrs T Wilson, Glasgow
Mrs M Hood, Largs
To clear a room of
tobacco smoke after
a party, place a basin
of water on the floor
and close the door. In
a short time the room
will be quite clear.
Mrs McComisky,
Midlothian
For a good
deodorant, dust
under the arms
with bicarbonate
of soda.
J Simpson, Fife
Miss K Imlach, Dufftown
Glue a rubber ring to the bottom of
the dog?s dish. This prevents it
sliding about the floor at meals.
To prevent grease splashes
marking kitchenette
wallpaper behind the
cooker, slit a large
polythene bag and secure
with Sellotape. It can be
washed down easily.
Guard all electric points
near the floor or within
children?s reach, as any
child could thrust a hairpin
or clip into a point with
disastrous results. Buy spare
plugs to cover the points
when not in use.
A cutlery box with partitions, set on its side in the
kitchen cupboard, makes an ideal set of shelves for
holding spice boxes, essence bottles, etc. They are seen
at a glance.
A sprinkler top on a bottle
of water makes an
excellent watering can for
pot plants and bulb
bowls.
If your washing machine is
of the moveable type and
you have difficulty with the
flex, get two white stick-on
hooks. Fix them about eight
inches apart on the opposite
side to the draining tube,
then coil the flex neatly
round them.
Mrs L Devlin, Glasgow
Mrs J H Dubrey,
Renfrewshire
A shrill whistle in the night (not
loud enough to waken other
people) sends the boldest
mouse, too wily to be trapped,
scampering away never to
return.
M P Sloane, Sanquhar
Leave a wooden box on the
doorstep for your milk
bottles, then they won?t
mark the doorstep or get
knocked over.
Mrs S Young, London
Drinking straws,
cut to size, are
excellent holders
for small flowers in
bowls. They keep
them erect and
allow the water to
get to the stems.
Mrs H Smith,
Glasgow
If a cork gets pushed into a
bottle, tie a small button on to a
piece of string and lower into
the bottle. Raise the cork to
neck of bottle with the aid of a
knitting needle. Pull up button
and string, and
the cork comes up and out
along with them.
Mrs I M Eggie, Kirtlebridge
Don?t paint a ladder as paint
hides weak, split wood and
makes rungs slippy. Preserve
with linseed oil instead.
Mrs A Baird,
Westcliffe-on-Sea
Before discarding an old garment, keep the pockets. Sew one
at each end of a piece of strong material. Slip a hand in each
when dealing with hot plates.
Miss Isa Morris, Thornton
11
Jim Crumley, Scotland?s leading wildlife author,
every
?neckSuddenly
was tall, every
head was up
?
writes exclusively for you every month...
Goose Season
In Full Flight
The return of migrating visitors takes Jim
back to magical childhood experiences
A
SINGLE pink-footed goose stands alone in an
autumn stubble field, which is almost as rare an
event as finding an ice cream seller in the
Sahara. A pink-footed goose hardly ever stands
anywhere alone.
Ten minutes ago, there was a garrulous flock of
about 2000 in this field, and given the lateness of the
hour and the proximity to sunset, some corporate
signal rustled through the flock like a cool breeze.
Suddenly every neck was tall, every head was up and
swivelling to every compass point, and then every bird
was facing in the same direction.
Then they flew, en masse and fortissimo, the air
rocked, and the noise of it all was matched only by
the spectacle.
They headed out, low and loud, in banks of wide
and shallow vees, on a course that offered the shortest
route to roosting waters. All of them, that is, except
one. Suddenly it looks as if the bird has been pinned
to the pale straw of the field by a searing, sharp-edged,
fiery blade of sunset light, and suddenly you are ??
11
Wild About Scotland
I must have been about three or four that first time I
staring at something you never thought you would see
became aware of them, standing alone in the front
? a beautiful goose.
garden. For the rest of that autumn, and throughout the
The dark brown head and upper neck looks almost
winter and early spring that followed, and ever since, the
crimson in that moment of extraordinary light, the lower
sound of geese over the house ? any house ? has sent
neck and breast are pale pink. The white lines that
me running to the window or the garden. So was
pattern the folded wings ? and that flowing white line
like the edge of an escarpment that seems to bind folded established my first and most enduring ritual of
wings to body ? glow a hotter shade of pink, and there is obeisance in thrall to nature?s cause.
I am as sure as I can be that the very first time was also
even a faint blush of pink on the white blaze beneath the
the first flight of geese over the house after their return
tail. And the bill, the legs, and of course the feet were
from Iceland that autumn when I looked up and made
pink in the first place, and now they are simply a deeper
sense of the orderly vee-shapes of their flight as they
pink than ever.
rose above the slope of the fields, the slope of our street,
This bird is aglow.
Then it lifts one leg until it is at right angles to its body up into the morning sunshine;shapes that evolved subtly
into new, wider or longer and narrower, or splintered
and stretches one wide-open wing along it and far
into smaller vee-shapes.
beyond it in a gentle curve so that the wingtip just
But then there were other voices behind me and I
caresses the ground; and in that posture, the goose
turned towards them to discover that all the
balances precisely in what is a gesture of true
way back down the sky towards the river
elegance, on one planted foot. Such
and as far as I could see, there were
moments never last. Abruptly, a cloud
more and more and more geese. The
snuffs out the sun, the goose
sound of them grew and became
withdraws its wing and
tidal, waves of birds like a sea, but
reassembles itself in a single
a sea where the sky should be.
convulsive shudder, and resumes
When the last of them had
the old order of its life as one of
arrowed away north-east, they
those tribes of nature we call
left the dying embers of their
?grey geese?. Suddenly it seems
voices trailing behind them on the
wretchedly inadequate.
air, a wavering diminuendo that fell
It thrusts forward its neck,
into an eerie quiet, and to this day I
unfurls its full wingspan, begins to
Geese in flight at
can still hear it.
run, flies, honks a pair of disconsolate
Montrose Basin
So now, when I see a pinkfeet horde
syllables, crosses the field, hurdles a low
fly from a stubble field and head for their
rise in the ground and follows in the wake of
roosting water, and then I find one standing alone in
the thousands that flew east several minutes ago.
the silence that follows, I think of my childhood self, and
So what was that all about? I wish I knew. But every
life makes sense to me.
now again, now that the goose season is in full glorious
If you are lucky enough to live near a goose roost,
flight once more, and the great pinkfeet flocks of
your autumns will begin and your springs end with the
mid-October incise their sprawling calligraphy all across
first arrival and the final departure of geese from your
our east coast skies, long after the last of the great skeins
sky, for the sight and especially the sound of them are as
has homed in on the teeming roosting waters, I turn for
emblematic of the seasons? comings and goings as first
home with roosting notions of my own.
falling leaves, first snows, and first cuckoos.
My heart goes out to such a bird. I see such a bird
Many of our visiting pinkfeet will have nested in
and I see myself. I have no memory of any kind earlier
Iceland, some have nested, moved to Greenland then
than my first memory of pink-footed geese flying over
moved back to new gatherings in Iceland, before
the garden of my childhood prefab home on the edge of
heading for Scotland and points south.
Dundee, and not two miles in a straight line from the
The autumn pattern is reliable. The vanguard ??
roosting waters of Invergowrie Bay on the Firth of Tay.
?
The sound of them grew and grew and
became tidal; waves of birds like a sea
?
??
Pictures: ALAMY, BRIAN SMITH/GABLE-END PHOTOGRAPHY, SUPERSTOCK
The quiet waters of Montrose
offer a safe haven
arrives in mid September, perhaps a thousand or two at
a time. The numbers begin to build and then to swell to
improbable numbers, and somewhere around October
18-20 they will peak. At first they gather at a small number
of watersheets, the same ones for many years now ?
Dupplin Loch, Loch Leven, Loch of Strathbeg, Aberlady
Bay and Westwater Reservoir, for example. But the
distribution seems to be changing as the population
expands. Twenty years ago, peak counts at some of these
lochs were upwards of 50,000, and Montrose Basin was
something of an also-ran in the hierarchy of pinkfeet waters.
But in the last three years it has become pre-eminent,
and the numbers are difficult to come to terms with.
In October 2014, the peak count was a staggering
78,970. But the following year it was 85,632, and last
year it topped 90,000. So sometime around the 20th of
this month, watch out for an announcement from the
RSPB. Better still, get out there at dawn when there is a
chance of the entire roosting flock taking off before
you?re disbelieving eyes and ears, or around sunset
when the vast skeins pile in over perhaps an hour.
If you are having trouble grasping what 90,000 geese
look and sound like, the only solution is to be there, to
stand and stare and to be thrilled and respectful in the
presence of one of nature?s grand gestures.
These huge gatherings only stay intact for a few days,
as if the gatherings themselves are simply a means to an
end, perhaps a reliable safe haven at journey?s end, a
post-migration rest with plenty of space on the water
and good feeding close at hand. Perhaps there is even
something akin to a symbolic gathering of the clan.
But the fact that it is so short-lived also seems to
suggest that the first priority of the assembly is to break
itself up, as if there is a consensus among the birds that a
protracted gathering of such size is unhealthy.
When they?ve gone, they leave an emptiness,
because their sheer presence for the six months of
autumn and winter have reinforced for me an essential
connection that reaches back all but the first three or
four years of my life. I couldn?t have articulated what it
was then, nor for some years later, but I recognise it now
as nothing less than the inspiration for a lifelong
fascination with the northern places of the Earth.
It takes a lot of the portents of a new spring to fill that
emptiness. But for now, as one more October dawns,
the ambassadorial legions of the far north are back in our
midst. It is the golden goose hour once more.
FASCINATING FACTS
The pink-footed goose can produce a medley of
high-pitched honking calls, particularly in flight.
Geese cover the entire alphabet, from Adler Goose
to Zhedong Goose. Probably the most strangesounding is the Synthetic Ukrainian Goose.
Pink-footed geese have a range estimated at
between 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers.
Scottish Wildlife Trust offer tours at Montrose Basin.
For more information, phone 01674 676336.
ROOTS AND BRANCHES
Connected
By Religion
Religious links between Scotland
and the Italian city of Rome go
back more than 400 years?
by KENNY MacASKILL
R
OME is referred to as the Eternal City as it was
believed its civilisation would last forever, and there?s
part of it that?s forever Old Scotia.
The Caledonian link has been around for more than
400 years and despite its location remains to this day an
integral part of Scottish life.
That link is Scots College, established by Pope Clement
VIII on December 5, 1600. Many, if not most, priests who
serve in Scotland have passed through its doors.
Pope Clement decreed ?a college under the name of
the Scottish nation, in which suitably qualified youths and
young men of the same nation are to be formed in
morality, true piety and healthy doctrine and imbued with
other virtues of the Christian name.?
Maria Clementina
Sobieska, mother
of Bonnie Prince
Charlie
Pope Clement VIII
The city is better known in Scottish history for links
with the Stewart Dynasty. The Old Pretender James VII,
his son the Young Pretender Charles Edward Stewart and
his brother Henry Cardinal Duke of York are laid to rest in
a crypt in St Peter?s Basilica.
After Culloden and his escape to France, assisted by
Flora MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Charlie settled in Rome.
Dying there in 1788, he was initially buried in Frascati
where his brother was Bishop.
His brother Henry rose to become Dean of the College
of Cardinals and remains one of the longest-serving
Cardinals to this day. When he died, Charlie was
disinterred and moved to be with both him and his father
in the family lair, though his heart remains in Frascati
cathedral. Their mother, Maria Clementina Sobieska, lies
elsewhere in the basilica.
The college came into being at a time not simply of
discrimination against Catholics but danger for those
seeking to nurture and support it.
While pivotal in many ways for education in Scotland,
the Reformation brought prejudice against the Catholic
faith, practicioners of which were excluded from teaching
in schools and universities.
When the Reformation had first occurred there
had been some hope that it would falter. Indeed,
James VI dallied with the mother church, but on his
accession to the throne of England it became clear that
wouldn?t happen.
A Scots College had been founded in France years
before with the support of Mary Queen of Scots, and
another college existed in Spain. However, the critical
need saw the establishment of the College in Rome.
It was founded ?to secure the education of Scottish
boys and young men in piety and in the Christian religion, ??
The Stewarts lie in a
crypt in St Peter?s
?
There is a part of
Rome that is forever
Old Scotia
?
121
St Peter?s Basilica
?
Pictures: ALAMY, GETTY IMAGES, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
The College is confirmation that the Vatican
has always recognised Scotland as a nation
and also to make secure their instructions in letters.?
Accordingly, it wasn?t initially restricted to training for
the priesthood but provided wider education for those
denied it at home, something that would later change.
Protestantism was in the ascendancy and Catholicism
threatened. The need for priests to sustain the faith in a
growingly hostile environment became ever greater.
History narrates, ?by sending devoted priests who
would endure privation, minister in secret and risk death
in order to keep the faith alive amongst the comparatively
few families who were ready to abandon wealth, social
standing and even intercourse with their neighbours,
rather than lose their religion.?
The Council of Trent required the separation of the
training of priests from laymen. That, allied with the
specific needs in Scotland, saw Pope Paul V in 1616
require those attending the College choose to seek to
enter the priesthood or return to Scotland.
It was the anniversary after the death of St John Ogilvie
who had been martyred the year before. A Scottish priest,
he had trained in Germany and returned to minister in his
homeland. He was eventually executed after refusing to
pledge allegiance to King James.
Though dangers decreased, the Jacobite Rebellions
saw many active in support. Some we re in the midst of
the battle at Culloden and took confessions o
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