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Issue 44 - News

Scotland Magazine Issue 44
April 2009


This article is 9 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Harris to become new national park
The Island of Harris could become Scotland’s third national park in as little as two years, if the Scottish Government approves a new proposal.

Only 1,800 people live on Harris, almost 70 per cent of whom were in favour of receiving the National Park status already afforded to The Trossachs and Cairngorms.

Supporters believe it will create jobs and attract new residents to the island.

Harris has lost a quarter of its population in the last 20 years, and 35 per cent of the island’s residents are above the age of 60. In 2007 there were just five children born on Harris.

The Gaelic-speaking island, which has stunning white sand beaches, forms the southern part of the main Western Isles landmass made up of Harris and Lewis.

Alasdair Allan, the Western Isles MSP, said the residents had sent out a clear signal that they wanted new life and prosperity for one of Scotland’s most fragile island communities.

Avalance reports via text A new text message service has been launched to warn hill climbers and skiers of potential avalanches.

The Avalanche Report Service is the brainchild of Sportscotland, and comes in the wake of January’s tragedy when three men died on a mountain in Glencoe.

The service, which until now has only been available via the internet, can now be accessed by subscribing via mobile phones.

The service will operate for the five most popular Scottish mountain areas: North Cairngorms, South Cairngorms, Lochaber, Glencoe and Creag Meagaidh.

For only £1 per message, a person can subscribe to the service by sending a text to the number 88020.

Rare findings go on show
A new exhibition of archaeological finds has gone on display at Smailholm Tower.

The finds, which include bone buttons, buckles, spurs and half a cannon ball, were made in the 1980s during an excavation.

The discovery of some early clay pipes suggest that the owners of the tower were among Scotland’s first smokers.

It is hoped that the artefacts will give visitors an insight into what life was like in an isolated Borders castle during the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods.

Museums vie for art prize
Two Scottish museums are in the running to receive the UK’s largest single arts prize, and will go head-to-head to compete for the £100,000 cheque.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, and the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh sit alongside eight other museums from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete for the prize.

The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries recognises and stimulates originality and excellence in museums and galleries and aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.

Ghoulish discovery
A spring clean at Inveraray Jail has uncovered the forgotten faces of two of the world’s most infamous serial killers.

The casts of Burke and Hare were found lurking in an old store room sparking a mystery as to how they got there.

Neither of the infamous murderers, whose reign of terror came to an end 180 years ago, was ever held at Inveraray.

Contrary to popular belief, the two Irish Labourers were not grave robbers. Although they supplied bodies to the anatomist Dr Robert Knox for dissection, the pair found it easier to kill rather than dig up their victims and it is believed they killed up to 30 people before they were discovered.

A life mask is known to have been made of Hare during the trial and Burke’s shaven head was cast after his very public execution in 1829. Hare escaped the hangman.

At the time, a ‘science’ called phrenology was popular which suggested that the shape and contours of a person’s head could dictate their personality. Numerous casts of the heads of criminals were made to illustrate this point.

Although a handful of these masks are known to still exist, they are very rare.

Five star centre
The Lochcarron of Scotland Visitor Centre in Selkirk has been awarded a prestigous five-star rating as a visitor attraction by VisitScotland.

Lochcarron of Scotland is renowned for producing tartan fabrics and designing new family and corporate tartans, and stocks the world’s largest range of authentic Scottish tartans, amounting to more than 700.

In brief...

The first nationally co-ordinated attempt to save the red squirrel is has been launched, uniting several smaller projects across the country.

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) is a three-year project to protect existing red squirrel populations.

Members of the public are urged to show their support for the endangered squirrel by pledging online at Natural Beauty Scotland is a newlylaunched online shop showcasing the best of natural skincare made in Scotland.

Products from small suppliers include malt whisky and honey lip balm, and a skin cream with a natural midge deterrent. A new quotation is to be added to the Canongate Wall at Holyrood to mark a decade of devolution.

Twenty four inscriptions are already in place on the wall, which forms part of the boundary of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh.
Members of the public are asked to suggest a piece of writing by a living, deceased or even anonymous writer that highlights ideas or values relevant to Scotland. Submissions of no more than 50 words should be entered by 31st August.

A panel will shortlist and select a quotation by the end of October and the winning quotation will be unveiled on a new stone on St Andrew’s Day (30th November).

Suggestions for writing in English, Gaelic or Scots are welcome. Scots from across the world are being asked to share their family photographs and memories to create a global family tree in the year of the Homecoming.

Spearheaded by VisitScotland and Forestry Commission Scotland, the photographs will form a Family Tree which will be displayed at the David Marshall Lodge Visitor Centre, in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park at Aberfoyle.

Fun for foodies
Culinary breaks are becoming more popular among visitors to Scotland, and several new cookery schools and tours have been unveiled for 2009.

Edinburgh hotel The Bonham is to host a series of ‘Meet the Chef’ events in which head chef Michel Bouyer will share his secrets.

Braehead Foods, an established supplier of game and venison to chefs across the UK, has opened a new cook school in Kilmarnock.

The school will offer 18 masterclasses in the state of the art kitchen, comprising a demo area and cook stations for up to 20 people.

Or for those with more of a sweet tooth, there is the new Cocoa Black chocolate school in Peebles. This school also provides tuition at all levels – from those looking to while away a lazy afternoon tasting chocolate, through to the creation of luxury cakes and desserts.

For longer indulgences, specialist travel company Wild Green Travel has announced new tours including a three-day Skye & Seafood and seven-day Wild Green Foodie tours, taking in the Highlands & Islands.

Gettingwed in the palace
Scone Palace has cemented its position as Scotland’s dream wedding venue with the opening of a luxury new suite.

The Murray Suite provides a magnificent setting for more intimate ceremonies and receptions for up to 40 guests.

The Palace is also the perfect venue for larger events. Ceremonies for more than 100 guests can be held beneath the ornate vaulted ceiling of the Long Gallery.

In brief...

The latest Edinburgh restaurant about to open its doors at No 3 Royal Terrace is causing a bit of a stir among food lovers in the capital.

The cryptically named Restaurant 21212 was set to open at the beginning of May and belongs to Michelin-starred chef Paul Kitching, one of Britain’s most exciting chefs and known for his eccentric dishes.

The restaurant will be located on the ground floor of this vast Georgian townhouse and will be able to accommodate up to 38 covers. On the first floor there will be a bar and private dining area while on the second floor there will be three double bedrooms.

Orient Express Trains & Cruises will launch two new tours for this year.

The Northern Belle Inverness Weekend, departs on 8th August and will take in Inverness Castle, St Andrew’s Cathedral and Culloden Battlefield.

The second tour to be launched is The Royal Scotsman Country Homes & Gardens of Scotland Tour. Departing on 5th June, this tour includes a four night exploration of Scotland’s most fascinating and scenic country homes and gardens, combined with a luxury all inclusive trip on The Royal Scotsman train.

For details, tel: +44 (0)845 077 2222 Highland Park whisky has just completed an impressive refurbishment of its five star visitor centre at its Orkney distillery.

The revamped visitor centre brings to life the distillery, established in 1798, and its integral relationship with Orkney.

Visitors can take a guided tour around this working distillery, and enjoy a dram at the bespoke tasting bar made from Orkney dry-stone walling and traditional oak previously used for the fermentation stage of making the single malt.

A new cask education area highlights the vital role of the exceptional sherry oak casks used to develop the distinctive richness and multi-dimensional complexity of the whisky.