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Issue 46 - In the news

Scotland Magazine Issue 46
August 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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In the news

Stories in stone
A new art site in Scotland has uncovered stories of migration and Scottish heritage.

The series of striding stone arches, at Cairnhead Forest in Dumfries and Galloway, have been created by environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy. The 37 tonne arches, made from blocks of local red sandstone, tell the story of the surrounding landscape, its geology and its human history, as well as tales of migration by the Scots across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World.

Other arches made of Dumfriesshire sandstone by Goldsworthy stand in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, echoing the travels of emigrating Scots during the last 200 years or so, and of the sandstone carried as ballast by timber ships making the return voyage to North America.

“The stone is a potent symbol of the Scots who went abroad,” said Goldsworthy. “Of the tremendous upheaval they made, or were forced to make, when they left. I would hope that collectively these arches are a celebration and monument to the Scottish people and the travels they have made, and that they will act as a connection between those who have left and those who have stayed here.” Rare exhibits Aunique exhibition of portraits from The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh will be on show in London this autumn. More than 40 paintings and photographs from the Gallery’s permanent collection, many of which have never been on show in London before, will go on show at the Fleming Collection from 15 September to 19 December 2009.

Web database needs you
A national online database on Scotland’s built heritage is opening its files so that members of the public can add their own knowledge directly to its archives.

The web-based archive, called Canmore and owned by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, will hold information on and images of more than 280,000 sites, ranging from ancient archaeological sites to the latest architectural ventures.

Members of the public can add detail to any of Canmore’s places of interest and upload copies of their own site photos to share with other users.

Wolves return to Edinburgh
Edinburgh Zoo is celebrating the return of wolves after a 16-year absence from the animal collection. Three male European wolves, named Dalls, Puika and Ilknis have been transferred from the Highland Wildlife Park and have settled into their new enclosure in the Zoo. The remaining male at the Highland Wildlife Park has been joined by a female in the hope that they will form a breeding pair.

Plant hunter honoured
The intrepid Victorian plant hunter David Douglas has been honoured at Scone Palace, Perth, with a striking new pavilion.

The pavilion is the latest in a series of interpretative elements to be installed at sites across Perthshire, as part of the £1.8 million Big Tree Country Heritage & Access Project.

And they Gathered
The Gathering, which took place at the end of July in Edinburgh, has been hailed as a success by VisitScotland.

The celebrations in Holyrood Park united more than 47,000 people from at least 40 countries around the world, with an additional 20,000 lining the Royal Mile to watch 8,000 people marching with their clan and the pipes and drums.

Features included the Deuchars World Highland Games Heavy Events Championship, piping, Highland dancing and clan village, live music, whisky tastings, food and crafts fairs, children’s activities, and a large genealogy area.

More than 125 clans and families were said to be represented in what was described as the largest Highland Games in Scotland’s history. A clan convention also took place, which was the largest such meeting of chiefs in recorded history.

It was also attended by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, together with the Duchess of Rothesay.

The event, however, was not a sell out as hoped. According to VisitScotland, tourism in Scotland had dropped off eight percent last year, about one million people.

Heads up
A hand-carved replica set of the Stirling Heads – 16th century masterpieces of Scottish Renaissance art – has been unveiled at Stirling Castle.

Thirty-seven oak medallions, each a metre wide, will decorate the ceiling of the King’s Inner Hall. Each is carved with vivid depictions of Medieval kings and queens, Roman emperors and mythological heroes In brief...

Auld Reekie, Edinburgh providers of ghost tours, has launched a free walking tour in the Capital.

The free tour departs at 12:30, 13:30 and 15:30 from outside the Radisson Hotel on the Royal Mile. The duration is two to two and half hours and the free tour covers Edinburgh’s Historic Old Town and the Royal Mile.

For more details tel: +44 (0)131 557 4700

Orkney tour group Five Senses, which specilises in eco-Holidays and tours, and survival skills, has launched a new course designed to give you the skills and confidence to be safe, free and independent outdoors. The Independence Outdoors Course teaches you essential skills to better understand your surroundings, like our ancient ancestors did. You'll learn survival skills appropriate to your experience, including: fire, shelter, campcraft, water, wild foods and navigation. Each two day course costs £150 including food and accommodation.

Visitors to Edinburgh now have the option of touring the city with their own personal GPS walking tour.

This is the first of its kind in Scotland, and follows in the footsteps of Paris, Seville and Buenos Aires, meaning that as well as guiding tourists around the city, will also ensure that visitors never get lost.

The lightweight, hand held Digi-Guide provides a cheaper alternative to walking tours, giving anything from one day to one week’s access whilst allowing users the freedom to stop and start when they like.

One day hire costs around £15, and an extra £5 for delivery to your hotel anywhere in the city.

Home grown trail With the ever-increasing demand for seasonal and local produce, a new tourist trail has been launched to allow visitors to find and stay in establishments that serve up produce direct from their own gardens.

The Kitchen Garden trail is the first of its kind in Scotland, and is the ultimate in promoting low food miles.

Stretching the length and breadth of Scotland, the trail includes hotels in Dumfries & Galloway in the far south of the country to a small café-croft in Shetland. Island-lovers may also enjoy the hotel based on the tiny island of Iona or the self-catering cottage on the scenic island of Mull.

Twenty establishments and eateries make up the trail, ranging from luxury hotels and prestigious castles to cafes, B&Bs and youth hostels. These include The Victorian Kitchen Restaurant at Glamis Castle, Old Manse Bed and Breakfast in Caithness, Pool House luxury hotel, and Fraoch Lodge youth hostel.


The latest in luxury Fraser Suites Edinburgh is a sumptuous new property, with 75 luxurious and contemporary apartments, just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Dating back to the 1800s, the property boasts excellent views over Princes Street Gardens, and features 24 hour concierge, kitchenettes, living areas, broadband internet, satellite television and a gymnasium. In brief...

The Old Loans Inn, just outside Troon, has reopened after a major redevelopment project. It has taken nine months and nearly two million pounds to transform the inn at the heart at the village of Loans.

Renowned for its warm friendly service and excellent fare, The Old Loans Inn has kept its traditional values of a country pub, but in moving with the times, the redeveloped property introduces a brand new bar and restaurant, plus 20 uniquelydesigned bedrooms. The Retreat Spa at Hilton Craigendarroch Hotel has also undergone major refurbishment works, renewing the spa in harmony with the values of the Hilton brand and in tune with the natural beauty of its stunning surroundings in Royal Deesside. The treatments and therapies have been redesigned to offer an holistic experience that will leave guests refreshed and reinvigorated and will ensure that guests will return to visit the Spa time and time again.

The Saint, in St. Stephen Street, is the newest bar in the Capital. It offers some interesting draught and bottled beers from across the globe and an extensive wine list, sourced from several different suppliers. They aim to bring customers a traditional local pub, but with a twist. A textiles student from Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels, has won the competition to design the first official Scottish Parliament tartan to mark the 10th anniversary since devolution.

The tartan, inspired by the Year of Homecoming, was woven by Perth-based Kiltmakers and Weavers, Macnaughton Holdings Limited.

Teri Scott said she was “incredibly proud” that her design had been chosen with its collection of “heather tones and vibrant thistle colours.”