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Issue 49 - A year awaits

Scotland Magazine Issue 49
February 2010


This article is 8 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.

Copyright Scotland Magazine © 1999-2018. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

A year awaits

We preview some of the must see and go to events in the Scottish calendar.

There is plenty to do in Scotland in the coming year from fire festivals to music festivals, Highland games to literary events, there is truly something for everyone. This is your guide to the year ahead, there are of course countless other events happening in this fair nation at both a local and national level. If you are in town then check with the tourist information board that is happening locally, then go and get involved, you can expect a hearty welcome if you do.

April 29 – May 2
Shetland Folk Festival
The UK’s most northerly folk festival is
regarded as a prestigious event for
performers, locals and visitors alike.
Concerts are organised throughout the isles,
consisting of some of the best International,
British and Shetland music that the world
has to offer. Shetland heritage and folk music
are so unique and the event is so popular
with Shetlanders as well as visiting
enthusiasts that this festival is like no other,
and an experience not to be missed.
April 29 – May 3
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
Speyside, Moray
The Whisky Festival includes tastings,
tours, maltings, whisky fair, specialist
dinners, cooking with whisky
demonstrations, walking the smugglers’
trails, crafts fairs, highland dancing, pipers,
kiltmaking competitions, ceilidhs, traditional
music, heritage railway... And all of this set in
the stunning surroundings of Speyside,
combined with the best of Scottish hospitality.
April 30
Beltane Fire Festival
Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Justifiably famous for its intensity and
colour, this event has become a much-loved
feature of the Edinburgh calendar, attracting
around 12,000 visitors. It is a unique and
wild procession of fire, drumming and
revelry, and you are invited to witness this
revival of the ancient Celtic fertility festival
in the heart of the Scottish capital.
May 01 – 08
Caithness & Sutherland
Walking Festival
Enjoy the great outdoors and the
splendour of this fabulous area of Scotland
by participating in guided walks led by the
Forestry Commission, RSPB and Highland
Council Ranger Service. Walks are graded
easy, moderate and difficult but it’s more
than just a walking festival. Other activities
include a wildlife cruise, orienteering,
natural history and photography walk, and
a visit to the Castle of Mey. The programme
includes a show by the Wick Pipe Band.
May 01 – May 31 (TBC)
Central Scotland Horse Trials
Scone Palace, Perth
Beneath the castellated walls of Scone
Palace on the banks of the River Tay,
upwards of 500 competitors take part each
year in two days of horse trials. The events
are in categories from pre-novice upwards,
and are an unforgettable experience for
participants and spectators alike. Not aimed
at tourists in particular, this is a real slice of
Scottish life.
May 19 – May 30
Perth Festival of the Arts
Perth Festival of the Arts presents a highprofile
programme of events offering
something for everyone, from music to
comedy. It covers a wide range of artforms
including classical music, opera, rock, jazz,
folk, dance and visual art. The Festival takes
place in Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre
and St John’s Kirk.
May 22 – May 30
Feis Ile – Islay Festival
of Malt and Music
Isle of Islay
Feis Ile was founded by the local
people of Islay in 1986 to celebrate the
heritage and culture of Isle of Islay. The
festival is run in conjunction with the
distilleries of Islay and Jura and Port Ellen
Maltings, all holding special events and
open days. There are concerts, ceilidhs,
children’s shows, guided walks and
sporting events – a vibrant display of local
talent and produce.
June 04 – June 06
Gardening Scotland
Royal Highland Centre,
Ingliston, Edinburgh
The biggest gardening event in Scotland,
this show brings together top plant growers
and talented designers. From the Dobbies
Floral Hall, home to the biggest plant sale in
Scotland, to The Living Garden where
experts from more than two dozen
environmental organisations come together
to give advice, the show offers something for
every gardener, from grow your own
enthusiasts to bonsai buffs.
June 18 – June 23
St Magnus Festival
The St Magnus Festival is Orkney’s
annual celebration of the arts, mainly
focusing on music but also encompassing
drama, dance, literature and the visual arts.
The festival has grown into one of Britain’s
most highly regarded and adventurous arts
events, combining world-class performance,
community participation and the magic of
Orkney at midsummer.
June 26 – June 27
Scottish Traditional Boat Festival
Portsoy, Aberdeenshire
The 2010 Festival is setting its sights on
helping bring the great traditional skills of
the past into the future for folk of all ages, the
young in particular. With special emphasis
on boat building, restoration and sailing, but
including associated crafts, music and art,
the 2010 programme includes a feast of
opportunities for all to see, take part in
and enjoy.
July 03
Haddington Show
Haddington, East Lothian
Celebrating 200 years of East Lothian
farming, the Haddington Show is a fun day
for all the family with livestock and horse
classes, vintage machinery, falconry display,
crafts and produce, and demonstrations in
sheep-sheering and cookery. If the show
isn’t as sophisticated and high-profile as
some of the other events listed here, it makes
up for it by being entertaining, authentic and
July 04 – July 09
Ceòlas Music Summer
School and Festival
South Uist, Outer Hebrides
Ceòlas is a music and dance summer
school, featuring expert tuition in piping,
fiddling, singing, Scotch reels and
Quadrilles, step dancing and the Gaelic
language. Ceòlas explores the vital
connections between Scottish traditional
music, Gaelic song and dance, and
participants can enjoy all these art forms
in cèilidhs and in private homes for the
festival period.
July 14 – July 17
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Isle of Lewis
The Hebridean Celtic Festival was
voted Event of the Year at the prestigious
MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2009.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the
Outer Hebrides, fabulous music and a
warm and welcoming atmosphere combine
to ensure this festival is an unmissable
party for 2010.
July 24
Inverness Highland Games
The Inverness Highland Games
are part of the Inverness Summer Festival.
Founded in 1822 the Games are one
of the most spectacular traditional
Gatherings staged in Scotland and are
one of the highlights of any visit to the
Highland Capital.
August 06 – August 07
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
Belladrum Estate, Beauly, Inverness
An eclectic, family-friendly two-day
festival of music and the arts. The
music covers a wide range of genres,
there is a showcase stage for young and
unsigned bands, and a dedicated
performance tent which stages anything
from cabaret and burlesque to plays and
children’s theatre, aerial displays and offbeat
The festival also features alternative
healing, stalls, various charities, kids’
entertainments, a tipi reservation and
much, much more.
August 06 – August 28
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Castle
2010 marks the Diamond Jubilee Year of
Edinburgh’s celebrated Military Tattoo.
Against the backdrop of Edinburgh
Castle, the world’s most spectacular
Tattoo will host a celebration of talent from
four continents including pipers, gymnasts,
singers, dancers and an amazing
motorcycle display team.
The emphasis is again very much on
music with the event expected to delight an
international crowd with its rich variety.
August 06 – 30
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world’s biggest celebration of
the arts, the programme features theatre,
comedy, music and musicals, dance,
events, exhibitions and children’s
shows, all attracting up-and-coming
talent and established names from around
the world to take part in this most famous
of festivals.
August 28 – September 05
Largs Viking Festival
Largs, Ayrshire
Crowds gather from near and far
to celebrate Viking heritage in Largs,
notably the Battle of Largs 1263 (the last
Viking invasion in the UK). The festival
features a whole host of Viking activities,
even including a Viking Village where
the ‘Swords of Dalriada’ live the Viking
life throughout the festival. The week
culminates in the spectacular burning
of the longship, Viking battle
re-enactment and fireworks display
at the Pencil Monument.
September (date TBC)
Black Isle Words Festival
Black Isle, Ross & Cromarty
This festival of words and writing has
authors and poets taking part in a variety of
workshops, talks and master classes in
various Black Isle venues. With a different
theme each year, the festival always attracts
an eclectic bunch of visiting writers, literary
agents and publishers. Whether you are an
aspiring writer or simply an avid consumer
of literature, the Words Festival is sure to
fascinate and inspire.
September 02 – September 08
Orkney International
Science Festival
The Orkney Science Festival is a weeklong
celebration of science related events to
engage people of all ages. It combines
science, arts and lively discussion with a
location that is unbelievably rich in history
and atmosphere. It is one of the oldest
science festivals in the world, celebrating its
20th year in 2010.
September 03 – September 11
Blas Festival
Blas is an exciting new festival for the
Highlands. Taking place across the region,
the festival has Gaelic at its heart, and
features the cream of young Highland talent,
alongside the best known professional
traditional musicians from Scotland and
overseas. The festival aims to provide
opportunities for new talent, bring Gaelic
and traditional music to new audiences, and
reinforce an authentic cultural identity.
September 04
The Braemar Gathering
The Gathering, always held on the first
Saturday in September, is world famous for
its friendship and hospitality beneath the
encircling heather clad hills. The Gathering
includes Highland dancing, piping, tossing
the caber, putting the stone, throwing the
hammer, sprinting, relay race and hill race,
long leap, tug of war and children’s sack race.
The Gathering is always attended by royalty.
September 04 – September 19
Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight
Venues across Scotland
For one fortnight in September, venues
across Scotland will celebrate the quality
and variety of Scottish food and drink. The
event showcases the best of Scottish
produce, promotes the benefits of fresh,
seasonal food, builds on Scotland’s
reputation for quality, and raises awareness
of the people who make it all happen.
September 17 – September 20
Isle of Arran Outdoor
and Walking Festival
Isle of Arran
This year the festival has a fantastic series
of outdoor activities and events on offer.
From guided walks, rock climbing and sea
kayaking, to powerboat trips, films, and
words from guest speaker Paddy Dillon.
There is also plenty on offer for the serious
outdoor activist, with extreme outdoor races
and events which can be entered
individually our as part of an “Adventure
Triathlon” taking place over the Saturday
and Sunday.
September 24 – September 25
Drams in the Field / Glenelg
Music Festival
Glenelg, Skye & Lochalsh
The Glenelg Music Festival or ‘Drams in
the Field’ is once again giving a stage to good
music on this remote peninsula in Skye &
Lochalsh. It is known for providing a
platform for local talent in breathtaking
scenery. Glenelg is a corner of the world
renowned for knowing how to have a good
time. Keep this tradition alive and join with
300 others at Drams in the Field to celebrate
good music in good company.
September 24 – October 03
Wigtown Book Festival
Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway
Scotland’s National Book Town is a book
lover’s haven. With over quarter of a million
books to choose from, old and new, it is
impossible to escape empty handed.
The festival manages to be inspirational
and hugely enjoyable while still
feeling relaxed, with an impressively wideranging
September 26
World Stone Skimming
Easdale Island, Inner Hebrides
Easdale is the smallest permanently
inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides. It
was once the centre of a thriving Scottish
slate mining industry, and one of the disused
quarries forms a perfect arena for the World
Stone Skimming Championships. Anyone
of any age and any level of skill can enter.
October 07 – November 07
Glasgay! is Scotland’s annual celebration
of gay culture, having grown over the years
from a small fortnight-long festival of about
3,000 visitors to an epic month-long
celebration at nearly 20 venues attracting up
to 25,000 visitors. The festival presents a
professional programme of top acts and new
artists from around the world with events
spanning comedy, music, film, theatre,
visual art, performance art, literature, club
nights, education events and community
arts projects.

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