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Issue 91 - Editor's View

Scotland Magazine Issue 91
February 2017


This article is 22 months 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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Editor's View

Christopher Coates on touring Scotland

It is a well-known fact that Edinburgh is the nation’s tourism hub. Each year, a total of just over four million visitors from both the UK and abroad come to Scotland’s capital in order to see a whole host of attractions. These include the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Edinburgh Old & New Towns and the Forth Bridge), the spectacular galleries and museums, the impressive Royal Yacht Britannia, the ever-popular Scotch Whisky Experience, and, of course, that modest little structure sitting atop Castle Rock.

Indeed, an impressive 11 out of the 20 most visited tourist attractions in the country can be found within the city limits and, as a result, the average annual hotel occupancy sits at around 80%. These impressive credentials mean the capital can more than hold its own as one of Europe’s leading holiday destinations. While this enduring success story is of course one to celebrate, what’s evident from the latest tourism figures is that persuading visitors to leave Edinburgh and explore the rest of Scotland is a bit more of a challenge. Although the city does act as a gateway to the rest of the country, the proportion of visitors moving from the urban environment into the rural is surprisingly low.

Helping to combat this trend are a whole host of superb Scottish tour and cruise operators that have teamed up with a raft of hotels, guesthouses, campsites and self-catering accommodation providers. All are working hard to entice hesitant visitors out into Scotland’s rugged rural landscape. To help with planning your next journey around this great nation, we’ve highlighted some of the best in our Travel & Tours guide on p.60.

In this issue we will discover the varied delights of Perthshire. Arguably the most accessible Highland landscape, the region is replete with breathtaking vistas, historic houses and abundant wildlife. Once again, the venerable Charles Douglas will lead our tour of the region and stop off at Pitlochry’s Fonab Castle before handing over to Keith Fergus, who will take us on a paddle down the River Tay.

Keeping to the Perthshire theme, James Irvine Robertson has tracked the history of the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army, and I've taken the opportunity to learn about country sports in the region. Further afield, John Hannavy has gone for a jaunt along Fife’s south shore and Mary Gladstone has related the story of her uncle, who was tragically lost at sea during WWII. It's also worth noting that, as promised, we have now begun to print a selection of reader letters, which you can find on p.10.

Finally, I’d like to invite all you budding photographers to enter our 2017 Photographic Challenge — further information can be found on p.51. I can't wait to see the entries, which I'm sure will be superb. Good luck!

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