Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

We’re just home from a short stay in Wigtown in ‘The Machars’ in the west of the south of Scotland. I’m pleased that we’d arranged some accommodation and were able to spend  time just looking round and taking in the atmosphere because it’s a strangely remote  point of land which gives you a feeling of being disjointed from the rest of Scotland or even from the rest of the world.  We were at the Book Festival meeting authors and buying books.  Maybe it was through listening to Roddy Martine speaking about the book he has just written entitled – Hunted Scotland – that I experienced the strange isolation of the area.  Then again maybe it is just auto suggestion! The scenery is richly green just now and with the stormy rain and striking mountainous backdrop we had some glowery sky above us at times!  We drove to Whithorn  the birthplace of Scottish Christianity and the site of the earliest Christian Church founded here in in the early 5th century by the now sainted St. Ninian.  The the identity of  Ninian is in some doubt but the settlement he established there is extensive.

St Ninians Chapel

The ruins of St. Ninians Chapel - Whithorn

The festival was great fun and the streets of Wigtown were alive with people then emptied when we all went in to see our chosen authors. Came home with new reading material having listened to lots of thought provoking conversation – and eaten some good food into the bargain.

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The idea of putting ‘genealogy’ into a group tour itinerary seemed difficult but we have cracked it! We have come up with an entirely new concept of using an actor to portray a fictional character to illustrate how his life is recorded through his major life events.

While enjoying a tour of central and southern Scotland you get an occasional chance to ‘meet’ our character who tells you personally of what has been happening to him and how these events are recorded in the Scottish records stored in Edinburgh.

You see the tour on page 19 of their spring brouchure. http://www.brightwaterholidays.com/docs/AUTUMN-SPRING-2010.pdf

For more information contact Brightwater Holidays. http://www.brightwaterholidays.com

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I enjoyed attending a reception hosted by the American Scottish Foundation held in Edinburgh last night and it was great to see so many people interested in promoting and maintaining the links between our two countries.  The fabulous building where the reception was held was originally Edinburgh’s oldest Victorian public baths. It has since been re-invented and is now a huge light and colourful space and it made a lovely venue for our gathering.  Alan Bain the President of the Foundation spoke interestingly about the Foundation’s work and the committment of those working alongside him.

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Throughout the evolution of Scotland’s history her people have moved in search of work and prosperity. Sometimes they moved through choice and sometimes they were moved by the owner on whose land they lived. It is often thought that what is know as the ‘Clearances’ occurred only in the Highlands when in fact the land in the south of Scotland actually lost more people than the north.

I am doing homework on this period in Scotland’s history.

On Sunday morning a BBC Radio 4 programme mentioned the ‘Clearances’ in the north and you can listen to it here.  The relevant piece comes in after 1 hour 10 minutes if you want to fast forward!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t5ybg

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This news is just in ……..

Homecoming Scotland results published
Independent research published today sets out the positive impact of Scotland’s first ever year of celebration, with Homecoming delivering a string of benefits to the country and bolstering Scottish tourism during one of the toughest economic downturns.The key findings in the report from EKOS, a leading economic and social development consultancy, include that:

  • £53.7 million of additional tourism revenue was generated for Scotland, representing a return on investment of nearly 1:10 and 22% above the target set for the year.
  • 95,000 visitors to Scotland were influenced to travel to Scotland as a result of Homecoming.  72,000 were exclusively drawn by the celebrations, with a further 23,000 citing the year as a factor in making their decision to visit in 2009.
  • £154 million of positive global media coverage for Homecoming and Scotland was generated by the multi-award winning PR campaign.

The First Minister also announced today that Scotland will build on the outstanding success of the Year of Homecoming by staging a second formal celebration in 2014.

Click here Scotland Tours to link to Scottish Ancestral Trail

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In the UK we have a new Prime Minster and for the first time in 70 years a ‘peace time’ coalition government.  (Of course there was a coalition government during the 2nd world war.)  Today the new Prime Minister, David Cameron is in Edinburgh talking to our Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.  Scotland defends her partial independence fiercely and Alex Salmond is a Scottish Nationalist who would like to see Scotland as a fully  independent nation once again.

The  subjects to avoid are religion, sex and politics so I think that will do for now!

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Our first quiz question is going to be an easy one!

When was the Battle of Bannockburn fought and between whom?

Answers, left here or on our Facebook page.  No prize this time just the glory of getting the answer right!

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