Episode 8 - Pitlochry

Episode 8 – Pitlochry

In this episode we will be telling you all about #Pitlochry, which is in Perthshire and situated almost half way between Edinburgh and Inverness and lies on the River Tummel.

We’ll hear from Graeme from Scotland’s Stories who will tell us about his visit to Pitlochry and Perthshire and its history, from Helen from Wheely Braw who talks about the accessible places she has visited in Perthshire, and from Monique from The Enchanted Forest, which is an event that takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place from the 5th of October to the 5th of November.

You can listen to Episode 8 wherever you get your podcasts, and watch on YouTube.

Pitlochry – SCOTLAND UNWRAPPED

In the Heart of Scotland – Pitlochry

Pitlochry – Wikipedia

12 Incredible Things To Do in Pitlochry | VisitScotland

Pitlochry | VisitScotland

34 Things to do in Pitlochry Scotland – Our Complete Guide

Explore Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire – Pitlochry Scotland

Gateway to the Highlands | VisitScotland

Queen’s View Visitor Centre – Forestry and Land Scotland

Perthshire – Wikipedia

Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre | Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre

Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre | Pitlochry Scotland

Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and Rannoch walks (Walkhighlands)

Accessible Holiday Accommodation Scotland

Handmade Jewellery Made In Scotland | Scottish gifts | Discover Heathergems

Moulin Hotel Pitlochry – Highland Perthshire Hotel

Home (pitlochryandmoulinheritagecentre.co.uk)

Edradour Distillery

Scotch Corner of Pitlochry Ice Cream Sweet shop

Blair Castle, Pitlochry | 5 Star Visitor Attraction in Perthshire (atholl-estates.co.uk)

www.fieldfare.org.uk

Mains of Taymouth Courtyard – Kenmore Delicatessen & Gifts

Highland Safaris & Red Deer Centre – Aberfeldy Safaris

Fishershotelpitlochry.com

File:Pitlochry Hydro-electric dam – geograph.org.uk – 2422561.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Pitlochry dam and power station (2) – geograph.org.uk – 3221568.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:The Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry – geograph.org.uk – 4721620.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Shops on Atholl Road, Pitlochry – geograph.org.uk – 5113729.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Pitlochry and Ben Vrackie – geograph.org.uk – 5184466.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:84-104 Atholl Road, Pitlochry (geograph 6570515).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Pitlochry – panoramio (4).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Welcome to Pitlochry – geograph.org.uk – 170713.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Power Station at River Tummel (49005660133).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:River Tummel, Pitlochry – geograph.org.uk – 2279092.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Footbridge over the River Tummel at Pitlochry – geograph.org.uk – 4078333.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted by Dawn

Written and Produced by Dawn Young

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon & ES_A Sound Foundation – Airae

 

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson


Episode 7 - Aberfoyle

Episode 7 – Aberfoyle

In this episode we will be telling you all about Aberfoyle, which is situated north west of Glasgow on the River Forth. We’ll hear from Paul who runs the website seelochlomond.com who will tell us all about what Aberfoyle and the surrounding area has to offer visitors, as well as from Beth from Bike Trossachs who will tell us all about Gravelfoyle and the Dukes Weekender, which is an event that takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place on the 9th and 10th of September.

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted by Dawn

Written and Produced by Dawn Young

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 7 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Aberfoyle.

[Music]

In today’s episode we will be hearing from Paul, who runs the website seelochlomond.com, who will tell us all about what Aberfoyle has to offer visitors, as well as some of his favourite eateries, and we’ll also hear from Beth from Bike Trossachs, a community interests company, who will tell us all about Gravelfoyle, one of the UK’s finest gravel and road cycling waymarked routes that start from Aberfoyle and weave around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, as well as tell us about the Dukes Weekender which is an event that takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place on the 9th and 10th of September. Aberfoyle is a place I’ve never visited or even passed through, so it was interesting finding out about it and what there is to do and see there. But first, where is Aberfoyle. The picturesque Village of Aberfoyle is about 26 miles or 42 kilometres northwest of Glasgow and, according to Wikipedia, is situated on the River Forth, which is a 29 mile or 47 kilometre major river in central Scotland which drains into the North Sea on the east coast of Scotland, at the foot of Craigmore which is a 378 metre or 1,207 foot high hill, is part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, and is known as the southern Gateway to the Trossachs. So this wee village with a population, according to Wikipedia in 2011 of 1,065, certainly packs a punch. And I’ve only just scratched the surface of what there is to do in and around Aberfoyle, and with the Trossachs National Park, Loch Lomond and Loch Ard being nearby where, according to lochlomond-trossachs.org, you can enjoy magnificent scenery and see some amazing wildlife, enjoy cycling, walking, water activities, golf, loch cruises and hike or climb up a Munro Mountain, Aberfoyle is a perfect place to base yourself. And while that all does sound absolutely amazing and a lot of fun, there was something else I found that I personally would love to try first, as I do love a bit of adrenaline sometimes, and it’s called Go Ape, which is located about 0.8 miles or 1.3 kilometres outside of Aberfoyle.  If you guessed that this would include zipping along over trees and waterfalls while being afforded some amazing views of the Scottish Highlands, then you’d be right. According to goape.co.uk Go Ape Aberfoyle is home to two of the longest zips in the UK. And so you can expect to experience some fantastic views, as well as be absolutely exhilarated, as you fly along either a 323 metre zip or a 45 metre high 426 metre long zip. My only bit of advice would be don’t look down. Okay, so if zip lining is not your thing and you prefer something a wee bit more sedate, never fear, Aberfoyle has something for everyone. Located just off Main Street is the Scottish Wool Centre, and it is well signposted. According to Visit Scotland, the Scottish Wool Centre aims to tell the story of wool, from sheep to shops, by putting on daily live shows during the season, such as the dog and duck show which features Collie dogs herding Indian ducks through an obstacle course, as well as demonstrations of spinning. Now, no place in Scotland is complete without a fairy lore story and Aberfoyle is no different. According to atlasobscura.com, Doon Hill and Fairy Knowle, located a mile or 1.6 kilometres from Aberfoyle, held a particular fascination for a Reverend Robert Kirk, who in 1961 published his book called The Secret Commonwealth of Elves and Fairies. A year later his body was mysteriously found on Doon Hill. Many believed they knew what had happened to Reverend Robert Kirk, but I’ll let Paul from See Loch Lomond tell you what the belief was, as well as tell you more about Aberfoyle and the surrounding area, as well as some of his favourite places to eat and what activities he likes to do in the area.

[Music]

Paul – Aberfoyle is Gateway to the Trossachs, with lochs, forests and beautiful villages like this one. You can explore this part of Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, by bike, boat and boot. But before you set off on your adventures take a stroll up Aberfoyle’s Main Street, it’s bright and colourful with lots of hand-painted signs on the interesting shops and cafes. I highly recommend the Station Coffee Shop with locally roasted coffee and an amazing haggis toasty. And next door is Maggie’s which is full of treats. On my See Loch Lomond website we have a stack of guides to help you explore Aberfoyle and the area around it. And Visit Scotland has an information centre just opposite the Station Coffee Shop. Pick up in there a leaflet for the Trossachs trail, which will give you a map and guide to help you navigate the area, and there is also a website for what was Scotland’s first geographical trail. With the Gravelfoyle tracks and NCN7 there are excellent cycling routes, plus a stack of walking trails. And keep going straight on through the village to get to Loch Ard, and then Loch Chon, which are ideal for stand-up paddle boards, kayaking and canoeing. It’s my favourite place in the National Park to do this. Altskeith House on Loch Ard does amazing food for B&B guests, and it is also a popular wedding venue. Back to Aberfoyle and you must take a two hour circular walk, sign for the large free car park in the village. And you’ll be following the footsteps of former Minister for Aberfoyle the Reverend Robert Kirk. Hopefully you’ll get on better than he did because in 1692 he was doing this walk, but was punished at Doon Hill for revealing the secrets of the fairies in a book that he published. And they are said to have taken his spirit and placed it in a pine tree at the top of the hill. And by that tree you’ll find lots of charms, ribbons and other items placed around it. Moving on from the village go across the steep climb of Duke’s pass to get to Loch Katrine, home of the 123 year old steamship Sir Walter Scott, which has recently completed a £750,000 restoration and is back sailing. It was the public reaction to Sir Walter Scott’s 1810 poem Lady of the Lake, a blockbuster publication in the day, that brought visitors to the area, and they wanted to see the landscapes described so vividly by Scott for themselves. And this resulted in the Trossachs being considered as the birthplace of Scottish tourism. Now, the steamship Sir Walter Scott sails three times a day, and there is a new exhibition about the history of steamships at Loch Katrine on the pier. The steamship is wheelchair friendly.  And, alternatively, if you want to take a climb to get a good view of Loch Katrine go up Ben A’an, which is one of Scotland’s most popular hill climbs. There is so much to do in and around Aberfoyle, and just enjoy the amazing scenery on two wheels, on foot or by water. And if you follow any of the guides on the See Loch Lomond website, which is seelochlomond.co.uk, do leave me a message letting me know about how you got on, what you saw and what you enjoyed.

Dawn – So, what did you think about the Doon Hill mystery, and of the reason many people believed Robert, Reverend Kirk, had died? According to lochlomond-trossachs.org Doon Hill is thought to be a doorway to an underground fairy queen palace, and that this is where Robert Kirk’s soul is still being held captive. An interesting story for sure. Now, like Paul said, you can find so much more about Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and the villages, lochs, islands and activities within, by visiting his website seelochlomond.co.uk.

[music]

I mentioned earlier that one of the many activities that can be enjoyed in and around Aberfoyle was cycling, and that Gravelfoyle had the UK’s finest gravel and road cycling waymarked routes, with many of the routes starting from Aberfoyle and taking you deep into the National Park. Well, here’s Beth to tell you more about that, as well as tell you so much more about the Dukes Weekender, which takes place every year in Aberfoyle.

[music]

Hello. I’m Beth from Bike Trossachs, a local community interest company based in Aberfoyle. We’re the people behind the newly established waymarked cycle trails which start in the village, and our annual gravel racing event the Dukes Weekender. This year on Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th of September Aberfoyle will come alive for the Dukes Weekender. This is a family-orientated off-road cycling festival set in the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The cycling festival has a kids gravel enduro, a gravel hill climb and a signature gravel enduro event which takes place over the two days. Saturday morning sees the event village open in the heart of Aberfoyle, the vibrant race village will be hosting a fully sized, free to use pump track, demo bikes, brands and local community enterprises, and entertainment open to all. Our first event on Saturday morning is the children’s mini enduro. This is a hugely popular part of the Dukes Weekender, and a great chance for kids to sample the gravel enduro racing and get in amongst the action. It’s aimed at children aged 8 to 14 years old but they have to be accompanied by an adult. We have prioritised the tickets for this as pre-entries and we have a few left on the website, so please check it out for details. Saturday afternoon comes alive with cowbells and crowds as competitors take on the gravel hill climb. If you want to visit as a spectator only, Saturday from 2pm you want to be at the waterfall by the David Marshall Lodge above Aberfoyle. The gravel hill climb is stage one of the full Dukes Weekender, but it’s also available as a standalone event too. This is a unique opportunity for riders to ride up the gravel trails beside the Dukes pass in a vibrant and fun atmosphere. The climb itself is 1.3 kilometres, climbing up to 150 meters in height, and is achievable for both occasional riders through to the pros. So you can take in the scenery or chew on the bars, it’s up to you. The route is lined with people, local schools, we have live Taiko drumming, a wee bar and ice creams for sale. It’s an incredible experience for all competitors and we can’t wait for it. Back in the village that evening we’re hoping to run our adventure film night as well. Sunday sees our 75 kilometre gravel enduro. This is a social format of an event where riders can ride in groups at a relaxed pace for most of the route. This is with the exception of six short timed stages where they race individually against the clock. The incredible route weaves around the stunning lochs and glens of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The format of the race allows competitors to stop for lunch, coffee and snacks in Aberfoyle and Stronachlachar in the selection of local businesses. The Dukes adaptive riders also ride on Sunday, and the village festivities and event village entertainment continue throughout. The competitors are supported by marshals and full signposting along the route. Our competitors come from a fully diverse range, with some people participating in their first ever cycling event alongside world and Olympic level champions. Inclusivity is really important to us at Bike Trossachs. Last year we had a 25% female representation which was nearly double that of the previous year, and we’re currently sitting at a 30% female sign up for 2023, so our best representation ever. We’re also one of the first gravel events in the country to include an adaptive and recumbent cycle category. Last year saw the event handed over to Bike Trossachs CIC, which means all profits now go directly back into the local community. The gravel enduro-only tickets are sold out, with entries filling fast for the kids and adaptive cycle categories. We have very limited full weekend tickets left so please go to dukesweekender.com to find out more. It’s worth making the trip to visit Gravelfoyle at any time of the year though. Whether on our waymarked routes or exploring further, Aberfoyle village and the surrounding area offers one of the UK’s most extensive arrays of gravel trails and roads. Within just a 12 kilometre radius of the village there are over 200 kilometres of gravel roads, trails and paths to explore, taking you deep into the National Park and exploring incredible scenery from lochsides to mountain tops. In addition to this there is our three waymarked routes of 10 kilometres, 20 kilometres and 30 kilometres that give riders of all abilities the opportunity to take part and explore the beautiful surroundings of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. If you want to find out more about gravel riding in the Trossachs, please go to gravelfoyle.com or search for Gravelfoyle on the socials. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Gravelfoyle.

Dawn – Gravelfoyle and the Dukes Weekender sound like such fantastic experiences. Let me know if you plan to attend, or do attend, and what you loved about the Dukes Weekender or Gravelfoyle the most. If you’d like more information or to register for an event you can visit dukesweekender.com or gravelfoyle.com. All links mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and on our website cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest. That’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottishdigest.

So, that’s the end of today’s episode, we hope you have enjoyed finding out about Aberfoyle and just what it has to offer as much as I did. Join us next time for another wee slice of Bonnie Scotland.

[Music]

Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Episode 6 - Dunoon

Episode 6 – Dunoon

In this episode we will be telling you all Dunoon, which is the main town on the Cowal peninsula in the south of Argyll and Bute. We’ll hear from Colin from Dunoon Presents and from Ciorsdan who both tell us what Dunoon has to offer visitors, as well as from Malcolm from Cowal Gathering who will tell us all about the Cowal Gathering which takes place in August every year, and in 2023 will take place from the 24th to the 26th of August.  

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Produced by Dawn Young

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 6 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Dunoon.

[Music]

In today’s episode we will hear from Ciorsdan, who lives and works in Dunoon, who will tell us a little bit about what visitors can expect, from Colin from Dunoon Presents who will tell us more about what you can do and see while visiting Dunoon, and also from Malcolm who will tell us all about the Cowal Gathering event that takes place every year in Dunoon, and in 2023 will be taking place from the 24th to the 26th of August. While I apparently visited Dunoon regularly when I was young, visiting family members and for days out when we lived in Lochgilphead and Oban, I don’t actually remember these visits, so I’ll be finding out about Dunoon along with you. First off where is Dunoon? Well, according to Wikipedia, Dunoon is the main town on the Cowal Peninsula in the south of Argyll and Bute, and is located on the western shore of the upper Firth of Clyde, to the south of the Holy Loch and to the north of Innellan, and is also the gateway to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It is about an hour and 52 minute drive north west of Glasgow.  But, while lovely that drive is, as I’ve driven on that route to and from Glasgow many times, it’s not the most direct route. This would be via ferry, and you have a couple of choices. If you have a car you can travel by Western Ferries from McInroy’s Point in Gourock to Hunters Quay, which is located about a four minute drive from Dunoon centre, and ideal if you were planning on staying at the Hunters Quay Holiday Village, and this crossing takes 20 minutes.  Or there’s a passenger ferry ran by Caledonian MacBrayne which departs from Gourock Ferry Terminal, where you will also find Gourock train station, and lands at Dunoon Ferry Terminal located right at the heart of Dunoon. This crossing takes about 25 minutes. So a wee bit shorter than driving around the road to Dunoon, and you get to relax and enjoy the crossing. However, if you’re like me and enjoy driving and decide to take the road to Dunoon well, just before you reach Dunoon, about 13 minutes outside of it, you will come across Benmore Botanic Garden, which is home to a world famous collection of plants from regions ranging from the Himalayas, China and Japan, to North and South America, with over 300 species of rhododendrons, which sounds very much like something which my gran would enjoy visiting, and she told me that she did frequently when she visited Dunoon. But, I’ve said a few times now, I much prefer visiting castles, and the Castle House Museum is a mere six minute walk from the Dunoon Ferry Terminal. According to castlehousemuseum.org.uk,  Castle House is a beautiful building with its own rich history, such as the flag post marking the original site of a 13th century stone castle. Castle House later became Dunoon’s public library, but now hosts the museum, where you can discover the history of the Dunoon, such as Highland clan battles, wartime Cowal and the Clyde Steamers in their heyday. A short walk from Castle House you will find a statue of Mary Campbell, also known as Highland Mary, who had an affair with the famous poet, Robert Burns, located on Castle Hill overlooking the water and Dunoon Pier. Speaking of the pier, Dunoon Pier is a fabulous Victorian Pier, which, according to Visit Scotland, is one of the finest and rarest examples of a category A listed Victorian Pier, which was completed in 1898, although its earliest parts date to 1835. The areas surrounding Dunoon are, according to Wikipedia, fast becoming recognised as a destination for outdoor pursuits, so let’s hear more about this from Colin from Dunoon Presents.

[Music]

Colin – Dunoon is a small town on the west coast of Scotland just across the water from Greenock, indeed just a 15-20 minute sailing by ferry. Dunoon in the last 30 years has somewhat fallen by the wayside due to changing consumer trends, but that’s all changing. Dunoon is a town

very much on the up, there’s a multi-million pound private sector investment going into the town now, which will make the town one of the foremost mountain biking locations, not only in Scotland but across the UK. That project is at an advanced stage. Our project, we are called Dunoon Presents and we have honed a series of high-end events over the last five to eight years bringing new visitors to the town. There’s regular events on in the town all through the year, from markets selling high-end food and non-food, outdoor markets. There are many sporting events, we run a 10K in August,  we run an ultra marathon in October, which is an off road race for a distance in excess of 26 miles, in this case 33 miles. We host a round of the Scottish rally championship, Dunoon is one of the rounds of seven on that. Indeed the town is on one night of that event turned into a, effectively, a Scalextric track, for one of a better term, and one of the rounds is raced round the streets of the town. It’s a fantastic spectacle. We have had, and will have back again, a round of UK powerboat championships, hopefully in 2024. The last one we did was 2022, which was highly successful. So, you can see that we’re using the natural resources of the town, which are the land and the sea, to bring new visitors to the town. And if you check us out either on Dunoon Presents Facebook page or our website, which has regular updates with event information, is www.dunoonpresents.co.uk. And if you’ve got any inquiries at all please email us on info@pa23.org.uk, that’s info@pa23.org.uk. We look forward to seeing you in Dunoon very soon.

Dawn – dunoonpresents.co.uk is full of information about Dunoon, including accommodation, places to eat, places to visit, and events that take place there throughout the year.

[Music]

In my gran’s day when she would visit Dunoon, she told me that during the two-week Glasgow Fair holiday in July, where everything in Glasgow closed down, Dunoon, amongst other places on the west coast of Scotland, was inundated with visitors arriving by paddle steamer from Glasgow. So I hope the regeneration that Colin talks about will bring back the ‘Doon the Watter’ era, which refers to Glaswegians visiting the Clyde Coast en-mass for the holidays. Speaking about Dunoon being inundated with visitors, during the Cowal Gathering, around 23,000 people visit Dunoon each year to experience the festival of Scottish culture. Here’s Malcolm to tell you more.

[Music]

Malcolm – Cowal Gathering has taken place at the end of August in Dunoon on the West Coast of Scotland since 1894. The event has grown since those early days to become a three-day extravaganza of traditional Scottish culture. We are delighted to host several of the most important Highland Dancing championships in the Highland Dancing calendar, including the World Highland Dancing championships, which brings Highland Dancers from across the world, including Canada, America, South Africa and New Zealand. Cowal Gathering also hosts the Cowal Pipe Band Championship, which is the oldest pipe band championship in the world, having first been held at Cowal in 1906. Unbelievably, the Argyll Shield is also the oldest Pipe Band trophy in the world, and was donated to the competition in 1906 by Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter. We also boast a juvenile solo piping competition. There is also international backhold wrestling with competitors from France and Germany and across the UK. And also an international heavy athletics championship, which this year will see teams from Austria and Germany and Scotland battle it out for the incredible Sutherland trophy. So the Cowal Gathering really is an excellent display of traditional Scottish culture, featuring some of the top competitors in all the fields from around the world. But it’s more than that. On the Saturday of the Cowal Gathering we also have a fantastic array of free family entertainment in what we call the top field area.   This includes the Cowal live music tent, which this year is headlined by Trail West, but also has fantastic bands like Torridon, Cala and Trávee playing. There’s also a live Ceilidh dancing tent, where you can take your partners and learn to do traditional Ceilidh dancing to the live band the Inverhooley Ceilidh Band. There’s also plenty for the kids to do though, with Artie’s Singing Kettle entertaining the very youngest kids, there’s a mountain bike track for the  middle-aged kids, there’s arts and crafts workshop for children. There is also, we are delighted this year to have The Clan, Scotland’s mountain bike stunt team are back, wowing everyone with their high jumps. There’s also Punch and Judy shows, clowns, balloon modelling, axe throwing. All kinds of amazing things for the family to do, that are all included in the actual admission ticket price. So, you can come to the Cowal Gathering and you can have a fantastic day out and it doesn’t need to break the bank, most of the entertainment that’s there is included in your actual admission ticket.

Dawn – If you’d like to find out more about the Cowal Gathering visit cowalgathering.com.

[Music]

Finally, here’s a bit more information from Ciorsdan Faga, who lives in Dunoon and works as a product development agent for the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative.

[Music]

Ciorsdan – Dunoon is the main town on the Cowal Peninsula.  It’s situated on the Firth of the River Clyde and is only about 90 minutes away from Glasgow, but it’s a world of difference away from it. It’s the gateway to the Highlands and it has an island like feel but with the benefit of both road and ferry access. There’s a beautiful wide stretch of promenade along the east and west bays, where you can walk along the seafront enjoying the surrounding sea and mountain views, and many of the locals will greet you as you pass them on the prom. There’s lots of great things to see and do in Dunoon. Dunoon has one of Scotland’s few remaining Victorian Piers, it has the Castle House Museum, the Burgh Hall, there’s the Benmore Botanical Gardens that’s close by, which is home to a world famous collection of plants. Dunoon is also the marine gateway to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, and a section of the park is actually located just down the road. There’s a host of cycling, walking and running opportunities in the hills and forest tracks that surround Dunoon, and if you’re a keen mountain biker in particular you should look up the Dunoon Project who have focused on developing the mountain bike trails on the hills just behind Dunoon. Also there’s great amenities in the town, such as a local swimming pool, a cinema, two supermarkets and there are great shops. There’s a whole host of events held in the town all year round, from local markets, music events, running and cycling events, artist open studios, a walking festival, the Argyll Rally, and of course the Cowal Highland Gathering, which actually hosts the Highland Dancing World Championships every year. You can find out more information about the events on the Dunoon Presents website and What’s On Dunoon website. Wildlife is also a big feature here, if you’re a bird lover it’s a dream; with Eider ducks, Cormorants, a variety of Waders and Birds of Prey. You can also see Porpoise, Dolphins, Red Squirrels, Pine Martens, the list goes on. There’s plenty of choice for foodies in Dunoon too, with a host of cafes and restaurants, and self-cater holiday makers can get excellent locally sourced produce in the local butchers. You can find out more on the Wild About Argyll website under the Dunoon and Cowal Section, and you can also find local accommodation through this site.  Dunoonhas something for everyone; culture, the outdoors, wildlife, adventure, events, family activities and local products. What more could you ask for?

Dawn – All links mentioned in today’s episode you can find on our website cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest, that’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottishdigest. So that’s the end of today’s episode. We hope you have enjoyed finding out more about Dunoon. Join us next time for another wee slice of Bonnie Scotland

[Music]

Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Episode 5 - Orkney

Episode 5 – Orkney

In this episode we will be telling you all about Orkney, which is located off the north coast of Great Britain.

We’ll hear from Kathi, host of the Wild for Scotland podcast, and from Howie, who will tell us all about the Orkney International Science Festival which takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place from the 7th to the 13th of September.

Watch Me See – A Scotland Travel Blog by for Happy Planners

HOME – Orkney International Science Festival

Work With Me! – Scotland Travel Blog – Scotland’s Stories

Wild for Scotland Podcast | Podcast on Spotify

Scotland’s Stories – Graeme Johncock & Molly (@scotlands_stories) • Instagram photos and videos

 

 

Orkney Folk Festival | Orkney.com

North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival | Orkney.com

19 Must-Do Festivals on Scotland’s Islands | VisitScotland

Podcast – Watch Me See

Orkney – Wikipedia

Orkney.com | This is Orkney

Lorraine Kelly’s guide to visiting Orkney | Orkney.com

Pentland Ferries – The Journey North to the Orkney Islands

Home – Sands Hotel Orkney

History | Orkney.com

The Orkney Museum | History | Orkney.com

Unstan Chambered Cairn | History | Orkney.com

The North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival | History | Orkney.com

Our Routes to Orkney and Shetland | NorthLink Ferries

A Guide to Orkney | Orkney Island Holidays | NorthLink Ferries

John O’ Groats Ferry – Ferry Timetable

John O’Groats Ferry – passenger service & day trips to the Orkneys

South Ronaldsay – Wikipedia

St Margaret’s Hope – Wikipedia

Home – Sands Hotel Orkney

Orkney Folk Festival – 25-28 May, 2023

Frontiers 2021 Archives – Frontiers Magazine

Roads and shores of the West – Frontiers Magazine

The Italian Chapel | Orkney.com

Italian Chapel – Wikipedia

The Ness of Brodgar Excavation – Investigating a prehistoric complex in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney

Maeshowe Chambered Cairn | Orkney.com

20 Must-Do Festivals on Scotland’s Islands | VisitScotland

Skara Brae | Business Directory | Orkney.com

Visiting Orkney In Winter – Scotland’s Stories

Scotland’s Stories: A Scotland Travel Blog With Great Stories

The Italian Chapel | Business Directory | Orkney.com

Ring of Brodgar – Wikipedia

The Ferry Inn | Home

Heart of Neolithic Orkney – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Orkney Ferries | Bookings, timetables and information

Westray Community – Queen o’ the Isles

Westraak Guided Tours of Westray: Bookings Calendar

Facebook

The Murray Arms Hotel – Orkney

Welcome to St Magnus Cathedral, Britain’s most northerly Cathedral. – St Magnus Cathedral Kirkwall Orkney

Orkneyjar – The Dwarfie Stane, Hoy

Dwarfie Stane – Wikipedia

St Magnus Cathedral – Orkney Museums

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Produced by Dawn Young

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 5 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Orkney.

[Music]

In today’s episode we will hear from Kathi from the amazing and immersive Wild for Scotland podcast, who will tell us all about her time visiting parts of Orkney, what she loved about it and her recommendations of places to eat, as well as hear from Howie, who will tell us all about the Orkney International Science Festival which takes place in September every year, and in 2023 will take place from the 7th to the 13th of September. But first a wee bit about my trip to parts of Orkney, and where Orkney is. According to Wikipedia, Orkney is a cluster of about 70 islands located off the North Coast of Great Britain, but only 20 of those islands are inhabited. You can reach Orkney by plane or ferry, with flights from Scottish airports; Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, with the flight from Inverness being a mere 30 minutes. However, when we visited Orkney we travelled by ferry. Again, there are a few different routes to Orkney from the mainland. According to northlinkferries.co.uk you can get a Northlink Ferry from Aberdeen to Hatston, which is just outside of Kirkwall in the Orkney islands, or from Scrabster, which is located at the very top north of mainland Scotland, to Stromness  in the Orkney islands. This journey takes about 90 minutes and sails past The Old Man of Hoy. You can also take a passenger ferry from John ‘O’Groats  to Orkney, which, according to jogferry.co.uk, is a 40-minute sailing, and there is a bus at the Orkney port that will take passengers to Kirkwall. But we took another route, via Pentland Ferries, which sailed from Gills Bay in Caithness to the Village of St Margaret’s Hope, which, according to pentlandferries.co.uk, is the third largest settlement in Orkney, with, according to Wikipedia, a population of about 550, and is the island of South Ronaldsay’s main village. It is about a 1 hour and 10 minute sailing, and, once at St Margaret’s Hope, only a 20-minute car journey to Mainland Orkney, crossing the famous Churchill Barriers. It was a slightly bumpy crossing for us, but it was dry so we went up top to see as much as we could as we sailed along. And I’m glad we did as, despite it being quite eerie and quiet, as we sailed past the Orkney island of South Ronaldsay we saw large concrete boxes, which were abandoned gun towers and look out posts, and, according to pentlandferries.co.uk, these concrete boxes serve as a reminder of the importance of the Orkney Islands during the Second world War. Upon arriving at St Margaret’s Hope we made the eight minute drive to the Island of Burray where we had booked into The Sands Hotel, right by the sea, which was our base for two nights. This hotel may be small, having only six ensuite bedrooms and two luxury suites, but it was beautiful. Myself, my husband, my gran and my aunt stayed in one of their luxury suites and we couldn’t have been happier, it was really comfortable, very spacious, and we would definitely stay again. They also have a restaurant called the Watersound and this was where I had for the first time, despite growing up in Oban, the seafood capital of the world, a lobster, and it was so good. Myself, my gran and my aunt also had, for the first time, Cullen Skink at this restaurant, and again it was so tasty. So, a first of a few things for myself and my family while visiting Orkney. Before I go on to tell you about the places we visited while in Orkney, let’s hear about Kathi’s trip to Orkney. And another first, as this was Kathi’s first ever trip to Orkney, and you can hear just how excited she was to be there.

Hello there, my name is Kathi. I run the Watch Me See travel blog and the Wild for Scotland podcast, and I recently went on my very first trip to Orkney for the Orkney Folk Festival. Now, Orkney has over 70 Islands which means that every trip to Orkney will look slightly different because you may choose different islands than the next person. On our trip we spend a lot of time in Stromness, which is the main venue of the Orkney Folk Festival. There are a few pubs in town and our favourite was the Ferry Inn by the harbour, where we enjoyed some great local beers and listened to more than 30 musicians from the Edinburgh Uni Folk Society. The free pub sessions are a really big part of the festival and it’s great to bounce from pub to pub to hear a range of different players, everybody can join in and the whole town is filled with a really great atmosphere. We also attended some of the ticketed events in Kirkwall, which was a great experience. The bands we saw were really varied and showed the breadth of traditional and folk music out there. But of course we didn’t spend all of our time inside the pubs and music venues of Orkney, we also did a lot of sightseeing. Orkney is well known for its many neolithic monuments and heritage sites, and together they form the heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visited several of the places that are a part of this, including the Ring of Brodgar stone circle, the Standing Stones Of Stenness, and the neolithic settlement of Skara Brae. The only site we didn’t manage to visit is the Maeshowe Chambered Cairn. You can only visit it on a guided tour and we were unfortunately too slow to get tickets. So my top tip is to look into booking tickets for Maeshowe as early as possible, if you’d like to see it. We also did several coastal walks while we were in Orkney. On the Mainland, which is confusingly the name of the main island, we visited the Brough of Birsay,  which is a tidal Island connected to the Mainland by a narrow causeway. You can only walk across at low tide, so it’s very important to check the tidal times, the last thing you want is to get trapped on the island. On the Brough of Birsay you’ll find the remains of Pictish, Norse and Medieval settlements, so for history lovers there is a lot to explore. There’s also a lighthouse you can walk to, towering cliffs and sweeping views of Marwick Head along the coast. My highlight however was to sit still and observe nesting seabirds on the cliffs, we saw Razorbills, Guillemots, Bonxies, and even some Puffins. Speaking of which, one of the best places to see the Puffins is the Isle of Westray. We took a day trip to this island and took the inter-island ferry from Kirkwall. The journey takes about two hours, and along the way you’ll see the outlines of other Orkney Isles on the horizon. We decided to bring our bikes for this trip and cycled from the south of Westray, where the ferry arrives, to Pierowall main village on the island in the north. There we stopped at Groatie Buckies for delicious iced coffees and cakes, and visited the ruins of Noltland Castle. On our way back we did a small detour to walk to the Castle o’Burrian, which is one of the best places in Orkney to see Puffins on. Orkney castles are often not actual castles but sea stacks that tower above the sea. We sat near the sea stack for about an hour and watched countless Puffins soar through the air and sitting outside their nests. Puffins spend most of their life at sea, but when it’s time to mate and nest they gather in large colonies in remote spots on the Scottish coast. They can be seen on land from late April to late July, although the best time to see them is in June and July when the chicks have hatched and the parents frequently leave their burrows to bring back fish. If you don’t want to cycle in Westray, which admittedly was very hard with the headwind, you can also bring your car across or book a guided tour with the local company Westraak. Another amazing coastal walk, although without Puffins, is on the south coast of South Ronaldsay. The southern islands are all connected to the mainland by causeways, the so-called Churchill Barriers that were built during the Second World War. We drove all the way to Burwick for a walk along the coast there. Not only did we enjoy the views towards the Scottish mainland, but the cliff tops were also covered in blooming sea pinks, which was just spectacular. On our way back we visited the Italian Chapel, and had two of the best meals of our trip; the café Polly Kettle on Burray dishes up fantastic Egyptian food, including the best cakes we had on our trip and great vegan options, and the Murray Arms Hotel in St Margaret’s Hope specialises in phenomenal seafood and sources all of its ingredients within a 15 mile radius. One more thing before I finish, when I was researching and planning our trip I paid close attention to the schedule of cruise ships docking in Kirkwall. When there is a large ship in the harbour it means that there will be many buses touring the island, so on the days with the biggest ships we stayed away from the main sites and did more outdoorsy things, like our day trip to Westray or the coastal walk on South Ronaldsay. There is of course a lot more to see on Orkney; from countless beaches to whisky distilleries, and I can’t wait to return to see more of these beautiful islands. You can find more travel tips and itinerary suggestions for all over Scotland on my travel blog watchmesee.com or listen to my immersive travel stories on my podcast Wild for Scotland. I also plan custom itineraries, so if you need some handso on support with your trip you can get in touch with me.

Dawn – We played a trailer for Kathi’s podcast Wild for Scotland in our Oban episode, but Wild for Scotland is an immersive travel podcast about Kathi’s trips around Scotland. Kathi is a beautiful storyteller and you feel like you’re there with her on each trip. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen. Now, Kathi also mentioned the Orkney Folk Festival, which was actually one of the reasons Kathi wanted to visit Orkney and she’s already booked to go back next year for the Orkney Folk Festival, and she did say that accommodation and events book up quickly. So, if you would like to attend the Orkney Folk Festival which takes place every year, and in 2024 will be taking place from the 23rd to the 26th of May, then it’s recommended you get booking soon. You can find out more details about the Orkney Folk Festival at orkneyfolkfestival.com. Another festival that takes place in Orkney every year is the Orkney International Science Festival, which in 2023 is taking place from the 7th to the 13th of September. Here’s Howie to tell you all about it.

Howie – When you’re visiting Orkney you want a sight of the Sun, and this year’s Orkney International Science Festival is providing seven days of it from 7th to the 13th of September. The sun we’re featuring is a huge model sphere with an ingenious projection system that brings the surface to life, with time lapse photography of the actual sun from NASA spacecraft. So, you can see the surface blazing with light, seething with solar storms. It was developed by an artist and a solar physicist in collaboration. And there’s music too. And it’s in the spectacular setting of St Magnus Cathedral. Around it we’re building a range of events at various venues including, in the cathedral, a concert combining ethereal, electronic music with choral singing, several instruments, and the cathedral organ. At other venues there are talks on topics like the northern lights and stories of arctic journeys in search of them, and there are also astronomy workshops about observing sun and stars.  Indeed, that a traveling planetarium among our wonderfully varied mix of activities for the family day. Every one of the seven days is packed with events from morning to late evening, including talks on a range of frontier areas. These include energy from wave and tide and offshore wind, as well as robotics with several friendly robots coming to visit. We’ll hear about the science of photonics and about tracing viruses that integrate into genomes, and will feature AI and satellite data for rural areas, and the story of great Ice Age glaciers that shape the Orkney landscape. There are opportunities to go outdoors, including; walks with archaeologists on ancient sites to learn about the neolithic landscape, and about plants and animals of five thousand years ago. We will also feature a wizard from Kansas with a world-renowned science show, accompanied by four cowboys who are legends of western music. And they’ll appear in concert, and also join us to tell the story of the town of Tombstone Arizona, with its famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and also it’s not so well-known microscopical scientific society. And we’ll hear of the amazing coincidences in tombstones history, with a remarkable year of light in art and physics. Indeed, one of our very distinctive features is the way we link science with art and music and history. We’re going to have a great day in the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, looking at the mathematical influences on some of the classic works in the permanent collection there. And we’ll be celebrating at the pier some anniversaries in a remarkably talented Scottish family from history. We’ll also celebrate the 75th birthday of a modern Scottish composer with new films, featuring all five of his astronomy influenced pieces of music. We’ll celebrate the centenary of the birth of a mathematician of Orkney descent, who, with his wife, preserved many traditional Scottish dances. We’ll also mark the 50th anniversary of the death of an Orkney born lady who preserved much knowledge of traditional Scottish food and drink, and indeed we’ll taste some samples. The lunches of Orkney fair are always something special, as are the evening sessions of music and chat. There is also time to think, in places like the cathedral with its warm red sandstone and the light shining through the stained glass windows, or walking along the shore with the sound of the waves and the light on the sea. And I haven’t yet mentioned the study of ancient cereals, or the story of a unique flock of island sheep, or an ancient Greek computer with mechanical gears, or a look back to an epic journey in a hurricane, or the science and practice of ultra running. There’s digital fashion, a wildlife photography workshop, and a look into Orkney’s genetic past and present, and we’ll meet the people who unearthed a mammoth graveyard, and much much more. And to find out about it go to our website, where we have some details now and the full program from the 8th of June, the address is www.oisf.org. That’s www.oisf.org. Tickets will be on sale in late June. The website also gives links to our social media pages, and to our rich and varied online magazine called Frontier. Ahead of your visit you can sample online some of our events from last year, with no charge. And if you can’t come, well we’ll have some of this year’s events online, again free. But if you can come, we would love to see you.

Dawn – Like Howie said, there’s so much taking place during the week of the festival; from talks, music, walks, workshops, family and evening events, fantastic lunches, exhibitions, and even online events if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to attend this year. It will be the 33rd International Orkney Science Festival, and you can find out more information and see the full schedule of what is on every day and where at oisf.org. Tickets will go on sale towards the end of July. And if you’d like to sign up to the newsletter or read the online magazine then visit frontiersmagazine.org.

[Music]

Now as Kathi mentioned previously, as there are so many islands that make up Orkney and so many things to do and see while you’re there, there really is no one size fits all and everyone’s visit to Orkney could be completely different to the next persons. But there’s one person I have recently started following whose videos of him and his dog Molly’s trips around Scotland I have been enjoying, who has also recently visited Orkney, and so I thought you might like to have a look at his videos too. But first, here’s a wee bit more about our trip to Orkney and what we saw. Once we had decided to visit Orkney, we all were in agreement that we definitely wanted to visit the Italian Chapel, which is why we decided to stay where we did as the Italian Chapel is only a seven minute drive away from The Sands Hotel, again over the Churchill Barriers. We’d all seen the Italian Chapel in pictures but it was something special actually standing in front of it, and it was just as beautiful inside. If you’d like to find out more about the Italian Chapel and the history of it then visit orkney.com, but in brief; over a thousand of the thousands of Italian soldiers that had been captured in North Africa were transported to Orkney, where 550 of them were initially tasked with constructing barriers that would close off entrances and make the home fleet base more secure, known as the Churchill Barriers. However, when the camp’s priest requested that a chapel be built, it was agreed that two Nissen huts would be joined together, and Domenico Chiocchetti, one of the Italian prisoners captured and shipped to Orkney who was an artist, as well as other tradesmen, were tasked with making this transformation happen. And, according to Wikipedia, despite Domenico’s fellow prisoners being released shortly before the end of the war, Domenico stayed on to finish decorating the chapel. According to orkney.com the Italian Chapel is one of Orkney’s most loved attractions. We then drove 15 minutes north to Kirkwall, which is the largest town in Orkney, where we parked at the harbour and had a wee wander about. But it was wet and cold as it was off season, so we didn’t spend too long here. There definitely was lots we didn’t get to see and appreciate in Kirkwall, including St Magnus Cathedral, which, according to orkneymuseums.co.uk, was founded in 1137 and built from local red and yellow sandstone. We then drove for about 90 minutes to west Mainland where we stopped at the Ness of Brodgar, which, according to nessofbrodgar.co.uk, is an archaeological site that covers 2.5 hectares and sits between the Ring Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness. The site has been under excavation since 2004 and has revealed a massive complex of monumental neolithic buildings that date from around 3000BC, which makes it one of the most important archaeological excavations in the world. To say it was quite impressive would be an understatement. We next visited the Ring of Brodgar, which is a neolithic stone circle, and, according to Wikipedia, it is the only major henge and stone circle in Britain which is an almost perfect circle. We then drove a further eight minutes west we visited the Unstan Chambered Cairn, which, according to orkney.com, is a 5,000 year old burial tomb and is just one of hundreds throughout Orkney, one of which being the larger Maeshowe  Chambered Cairn that Kathi mentioned she had visited. The Unstan Chambered Cairn’s main chamber has separate compartments, as well as what orkney.com calls small individual cells, which shows both kinds of traditional burial chambers found in Orkney. For our final journey, before heading back to the hotel, we drove a further 14 minutes northwest to Skara Brae Prehistoric Village, situated right on the beach. According to orkney.com the site was uncovered by a storm in 1850, and it shows what life would have been like in Orkney around 5000 years ago. You can walk around this site looking down from above to really appreciate the size of the site and get a feel for the individual ancient homes. And you can easily imagine what life would have been like when you see such things as stone bed enclosures, dressers and seats, and there’s actually a replica home that you can go into which is fitted with these things so you can vividly get a feel of how people lived in these ancient homes. It was pretty special walking around the site looking down on the way people used to live, giving a real glimpse into the past. By the time we got here the day had brightened up so we were able to really enjoy the experience. After this we headed back to the hotel to enjoy more wonderful food, before heading back to mainland UK the next day, departing from St Margaret’s Hope. We really enjoyed visiting Orkney and would love to go back one day, this time it would be good to see the Puffins as it was out of season when we visited.

As I mentioned before, another person who visited Orkney, also out of season when he visited for three days in January 2023, was Graeme and his faithful Labrador Molly, and he packed so much into the three days. I recently came across Graeme from Scotland’s Stories on Instagram. I don’t know how I hadn’t found him before because he’s not only very popular but a fantastic storyteller and his videos of his trips visiting places in Scotland are a delight to watch and listen to, especially when Molly gets involved too, and you can clearly tell just how much he loves Scotland. Not only can you find Graeme’s video about Orkney, but also so many other places in Scotland he has visited, on his Instagram @scotlands_stories and on Facebook and Twitter @storyscotland, but you can also find his blog posts about the places he has visited too, including Orkney, on his website scotlands-stories.com. I’d highly recommend any and all of Graeme’s video posts and his blog, and his Orkney video is no exception. He visited places on Orkney that neither I or Kathi had, including St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. He also took a ferry to the Island of Hoy where he visited the Dwarfie Stane, which is a giant stone that had been carved out to make a tomb, and it’s really eerie seeing Graeme emerge from inside this massive stone. In Graeme’s Orkney blog post he also tells you of some places he stopped off to eat at while he was in Orkney. I will put a link to Graeme’s blog post about his trip to Orkney in the show notes, along with links to Kathi’s website watchmesee.com, where you can find all manner of helpful travel tips as well as itineraries to help you get the most from your visit to Scotland. If you enjoy Graeme’s videos as much as I do, then I’m pleased to announce that he will be featuring on a future episode of Scottish Digest when we will be covering Pitlochry, which is a town in Perthshire, and I’m really looking forward to hearing all about Graeme’s trip there.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode all about Orkney, and I hope you do give the immersive and brilliant podcast by Kathi, Wild for Scotland, a listen, as well as follow Graeme and Molly on social media and get watching all of his brilliant and engaging videos of his trips around beautiful Scotland. You can find the links from today’s episode in the show notes as well as at cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest. That’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottish digest. We hope you join us next time for another slice of Bonnie Scotland.

[Music]

Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Episode 4 - Campbeltown

Episode 4 – Campbeltown

In this episode we will be telling you all about Campbeltown, located on the Kintyre peninsula, and is the westernmost town in the Island of Great Britain.

In this episode we will hear from Scottish Author Denzil Meyrick who is from Campbeltown, and we’ll hear all about the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival, which in 2023 will take place from the 9th to the 13 of August.

Bestselling Scottish Crime Fiction Author Denzil Meyrick

Iain from the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival

Denzil Meyrick | Official Site

Home – Mull of Kintyre Music Festival

Explorekintyre.com

Mull of Kintyre Music Festival | Facebook

Mull of Kintyre Music and Arts Festival, Campbeltown – Celtic, Folk and Traditional | VisitScotland

Campbeltown Malts Festival 2023: Dates, events and festival bottlings from Glen Scotia and Springbank | Scotsman Food and Drink

Campbeltown Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

Campbeltown – Wikipedia

The Kintyre 66 | Visit Campbeltown & Kintyre | Argyll

Is Kintyre’s ‘Route 66’ the next road to recovery? – BBC News

Scotland’s K66 driving route | loveexploring.com

Visit Campbeltown and Kintyre | Argyll and the Isles

Ferries to Scotland & Scottish Isles | Caledonian MacBrayne | CalMac Ferries

e-ticketing rollout | CalMac Ferries

Campbeltown Heritage Centre – Wikipedia

Visit | Discover the Social History of the West of Scotland | Campbeltown Heritage Centre

Memorial Garden

Linda McCartney Memorial Garden – Campbeltown, Scotland – Atlas Obscura

Campbeltown Harbour | Discover the Social History of the West of Scotland | Campbeltown Heritage Centre

Springbank Single Malt, The Whisky Drinker’s Whisky

Glen Scotia | Campbeltown Whisky | Single Malt Scotch Distillery

Number Forty Two

Muneroy Restaurant and Stores

Ardshiel Hotel Campbeltown, Accommodation, Restaurant, Whisky Bar

Kilkerran Single Malt – The newest, old distillery in Campbeltown

Home – Beinn An Tuirc Distillers, Kintyre Gin

SKARA | SKARA CEILIDH BAND

About Fiona | Fiona Hunter

Welcome to Skipinnish – Scottish Highland and Contemporary Musicians

About | ceol-an-aire (ceolanaire.com)

Home – Mairi Campbell

Find tickets for ‘campbeltown’ at TicketWeb

Caravan and Camping Holidays | Machrihanish Holiday Park (campkintyre.com)

 

Images from commons.wikimedia.org/

Map from openstreetmap.org

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 4 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Campbeltown.

[Music]

In today’s episode we will hear from Scottish crime fiction writer, Denzil Meyrick, about his favourite places to eat in Kintyre, as well as hear from Ian, who will tell us all about the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival which takes place every year in Campbeltown, and in 2023 it will be taking place from Wednesday the 9th to Sunday the 13th of August. Ian will also tell us more about the Kintyre Route 66, which is a guide to not only what is happening in Campbeltown but wider Kintyre, well as tell us about his favourite places to visit, eat and stay in Campbeltown. But we’ll get to that. Let me first tell you a wee bit about Campbeltown and where it is. Campbeltown, according to Wikipedia, is located on the Kintyre peninsula, lies by Campbeltown loch, and is the westernmost town in the island of Great Britain. As the crow flies it is a mere 60 miles or 96 kilometres west of Glasgow, however, due to the fact you have to travel over hills and around lochs, the journey by car, despite being beautiful, will take you about three hours. You can of course travel to Campbeltown via Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, as well as fly. In 2018 there was an estimated population of 4,600, making Campbeltown, according to visitscotland.com, one of the largest towns in Argyll. If you enjoy your whisky then you’ll be pleased to know there are three active distilleries in Campbeltown, and Campbeltown is one of five areas in Scotland that is categorised as being a distinct malt whisky producing region. However, according to wildaboutargyll.co.uk, there used to be more than 30 distilleries at one point, and Campbeltown was once known as “The Whisky Capital of the World.” As well as being known for whisky distilling, Campbeltown used to also be a busy fishing port, and there is an exhibit at the Campbeltown Heritage Centre, located on Big Kiln Street, which shows the different types of fishing vessels that operated from the harbour. There are also a wide range of other exhibits and collections to see at the Heritage Centre, such as coal mining, farming, fishing and shipbuilding, with some of the objects dating back from around 1700 up to the present day. Now we’re going to hear a bit more about the Kintyre Route 66 from Iain, but, if you enjoy walking, taking in this route is a must, along which you’ll come across ruined castles, beautiful beaches and some amazing food stops.

[Music]

Iain – Kintyre 66 is a new route which was launched by Explore Kintyre and Gigha two years ago. It’s got a map and an itinerary planner. So, if you want to come along to Kintyre there’s six  different areas that you can visit in Kintyre,  six ferries come to the area, there’s six islands off the area, and, you know come for three days, six days. You can go visit Skipness, Tarbert. You can visit Gigha, Campbeltown, Southend, Machrihanish, East Kintyre, West Kintyre. The itinerary planner tells you all the places you can visit. We’ve actually got an Anthony Gormley sculpture, the only one in Scotland, and it’s up at Saddell where the Mull of Kintyre music video was created by Paul McCartney. There’s loads of wee quirky things of interesting in Kintyre. It lists all the events and festivals, because there’s lots of other events and festivals, lots of sporting events on in Kintyre as well. And it gives you an overall view and what all you can do and places you can stay when you’re here, places you can eat when you’re here. And if you go to explorekintyre.com you can download the map and itinerary planner there, and then take your time, time just dawdle round the route. If you’ve got a motorhome you can go to the local hire companies and they will hire out a car for you if you’ve got a motorhome as well, because one of the roads is a B road so you’ve got to be very careful when you’re driving around that with a motorhome. For accommodation if you go to explorekintyre.com that’s got lots of accommodation, places to stay.

Dawn – One other thing to mention about Campbeltown is its distinctive and sheltered harbour. We’re going to hear from Scottish author, Denzil Meyrick, in this episode where he will tell you some of his recommendations about Campbeltown, as not only is this where Denzil is from but the distinctive harbour features heavily in his DCI Daley books. And if you’re a fan of Denzil’s books or if you have listened to the interview I did with Denzil recently on my other podcast, Scottish Murders, you will know that his DCI Daley books are going to be made into a major television series starring Rory McCann from Game of Thrones, and the series will be filmed in Campbeltown and will of course feature the very distinctive harbour. So it’s definitely worth visiting the harbour at Campbeltown, which, according to campbeltownheritagecentre.co.uk, was essential to many industries from whisky to wind turbines, as well as being a key element in the naval defences during the first and second world wars.

[Music]

Denzil – Campbeltown is on the Kintyre peninsula. It used to be a much bigger town than it is now. During the second world war there was about 20,000 to 30,000 people in Campbeltown because of the the naval base then and the ships in Campbeltown loch, which was a major port during the second world war. Nowadays it’s very much centred around farming, and the whiskey distilleries are making a new… there’s whiskey distilleries being built there as we speak, and Springbank and Glen Scotia are fine whiskies that have won awards around the world. The town itself is bustling and really interesting with a great history. Friendly people. Lots of places to go, lots of places to eat and have a drink and enjoy yourself. And good hotels. And I thoroughly recommend it to anybody. Do you have a favourite place you eat at when you go there? Number 42 is very good, it’s on the main street, it’s owned by a friend of mine, so it’s very nice. But I love Southend, which is right down the bottom of the peninsula, a village right down the end. And Frances at Muneroy, has wonderful cakes and teas and things like that, so I commend her to you. If you’re in Kintyre at all go to Number 42 restaurant or the Ardshiel Hotel, which has a great stock of whisky, or Muneroy down at Southend, which, you know, if there’s a better cake maker in the world than in Frances, I’ve yet to meet her.

Dawn – Now, while we’re going to hear about the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival in today’s episode, there are many other events that take place in Campbeltown throughout the year; such as the Campbeltown Malts Festival, which usually takes place for four days in late May. At this festival you can expect such things as tasting, live music and talks. Another festival that takes place every year is the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival. Here’s Iain, one of the organisers of the festival, to tell you all about it.

Iain – Mull of Kintyre Music Festival is held in Campbeltown in Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland. This year’s dates are August 9th to the 13th. It’s a five-day event, although we do have lots of other things going on around about it. The week and the run up to the event we have heritage trail walks around Campbeltown, we’ve got distillery tours from Glen Scotia, Kilkerran and Beinn An Tuirc  gin distillery. On the Wednesday the 9th first thing is a children’s show, it’s the McDougalls which is held in the Town Hall in Campbeltown. The first concert for the music festival is on Wednesday the 9th, it’s the Beinn An Tuirc festival Gaelic Night, and that is held in the Argyll Arms Hotel in Campbeltown. The headline act for this is Kathleen MacInnes and Mike Vass. And this is actually quite a rare choice to catch Kathleen, she doesn’t play that many live events. It’s a good old-fashioned Gaelic night with lots of stories, various different artists and musicians from around Campbeltown and Argyll going up beforehand, and then we finish it all off with Kathleen’s performance. That’s £12 a ticket for that concert. It starts at seven o’clock. The Thursday night is the Young Folk Night. Now that’s the 10th, and that’s held in the Campbeltown Heritage Centre. Now that’s a concert which celebrates the sort of the young musicians around Kintyre. A very popular night with families, but it’s great for visitors as well as it’s got lots… You can get a good chance to see some of the young and up and coming musicians and singers that are coming through. Got pipe bands on it, we’ve got brass bands on it, we’ve got Highland dancers on it, so it’s a right good mix of things. And that’s £8 a ticket and it starts at seven o’clock as well. On the Friday night we have the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band do a performance at the head of the old quay. That’s at half past seven. They then march into the Victoria Hall for the first of the concerts in the big hall. Now the Victoria Hall is right beside the roundabout, and basically that’s where the main concerts are held. This is the Festival Ceilidh night and it’s a big big family event, we’ve got  people of all ages and stages go to it. It starts off with the Pipe Band playing on the floor, and it’s quite a thing to see actually. That’s followed by  The Dalriada Connections Band. This is a band which is comprised of students and tutors from Campbeltown Grammar School and interspersed with musicians from across Argyll and Northern Ireland who come on stage. I think the biggest band we ever had was a 27 piece band, which is a bit of a nightmare for the sound crew but it was a great sound, and it’s a great start to the concert cause they’re on the stage. Next we have the Wee Toon Tellers, which are a local band who have been about for about 30-40 years. Great band with lots of songs and tunes and quite a bit of craic with the audience at that one. And then we’re into the Ceilidh Band which is the Skara Ceilidh Band. This is their first time in Campbelltown. A really good Ceilidh dance band, and the whole night is like an old-fashioned ceilidh, where everyone gets up and ceilidh dances. Tables and chairs at this event, but a huge big dance floor. Tickets for this concert are £18 for an adult and it’s £9 if you’re under 12. So it’s just trying to encourage whole families to come along to this event. That starts at 7.30, doors are at 7.30 for that event. On the Saturday, the 12th, we start off the festival parade. That kicks off around 12.30 at the Esplanade. That’s led by the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band. They march through the streets of Campbeltown and they’re followed by floats with local businesses on it,  community groups on it, we’ve got children’s entertainers walking on it, walking groups. It’s a very colourful event. That goes right round the town, finishes at Kinloch Green, where the Pipe Band then march on to open up the afternoon event, which is Doon the Green. That’s what we call it. That’s a huge big community event with lots of community stalls, it’s got live bands on the stage, it’s got Highland dancers, we’ve got Taekwondo exhibition on it, we’ve got children’s entertainment. The fair is right beside it as well, so it’s great for the adults because the children can go across to the fair and the adults can sit and enjoy the afternoon. We’ve got a big bar area and a big children’s field as well. It’s an all round family event. That’s free to go to. Of course donations are welcome. But it’s a nice big way for the whole community to come together. The first of the evening concerts is the traditional concert which is held in Campbeltown Heritage Centre. It’s the second concert in this event. And this year it’s headlining with the Fiona Hunter Trio. And we have an opening act which is the Argyll Ceilidh Trail, who are doing two performances that Saturday night; the first one is an acoustic set and the second one will be in the next concert which I’ll tell you about shortly. Tickets for this concert are £15 and this concert starts at seven o’clock, doors at 6 30. This concert normally finishes around about 9, and that’s when the West Coast Rocks concert starts. This is the Glen Scotia West Coast Rocks concert, and this is the second concert in the Victoria Hall. This is like a three bands all playing good festival sets, headlining with Skipinnish, who are one of the main attractions in Scotland at the moment. We also have Ceòl an Aire, a band from Oban, a five piece band from Oban.  Opening will be the Argyll Ceilidh Trail doing their second performance, and this is a good festival ceilidh  set they’re going to do. This is a big lively event. There’s some tables and chairs, not all seated by any means, a huge big dance floor and very popular. Tickets for this concert are £28. And,  just to point out, tickets are going very fast for concerts so if you want to go to events don’t waste too much time before getting them, if you want to guarantee you want to go. The next event is on the Sunday, we have the Dalriada Connections concert. Now this is actually an event which has been going now for about 15 years. It to celebrate the links between Northern Ireland and in Kintyre and the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada, which basically we’ve got the strapline for the music festival is Cradle of the Nation, and basically if you go back in history the Scots went to Ireland for the Ice Age, they then came back and they landed in Kintyre cause it defrosted first, waited there for a few hundred years, moved north, caused  all sorts of wars and all this sort of stuff. So we say it’s Cradle of the Nation because we have a footstep at Southend which is called the […..] footstep where the first kings of Scotland were crowned. So the Dalriada Connections concert is a celebration of the links. We’ve got a double headline for this, we’ve got Mairi Campbell coming through and she’s going to do the opening set. And then we have a duo which is Archie McAllister and Sileas Sinclair who are doing a fiddle and piano set. And various other artists from across Argyll, from Northern Ireland, they’re all playing. And we all finish up with the Dalriada Connections band again.  This is a collection of all the artists, the musicians who played during the whole Sunday afternoon, and they all finish it all off. Bonus for this one is you also get a Kilkerran Distillery miniature to take away with you. The tickets for this concert are £14. Doors are 1.30, starts at 2, finishes around about five o’clock. You get a short break and then at 7.30 the doors to the Victoria Hall open for the last concert. This is the Kilkerran  Survivors Night. This is a great event,  sells out in no time at all. A few tickets left for this course at the moment. And what we have at this is we headline with a band called Slainte Davaar Allstars. It’s a mixture of all the sort of musicians  from Campbelltown, and they’re joined by various different musicians from around the area each year. They did 22 new tracks every year, tracks from the 60s, 70s, 80s, right through to the naughties, and you’ll hear everyone from Tina Turner to, you know, right to the chic.  You can hear anything. We also then have the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band, they’re going to play up on the stage, and they actually hook up with lots of other musicians so they’ve got a full drum kit behind them, and it’s something special when they play. It’s their first performance at the Kilkerran Survivors Night for seven years. So, we’re really looking forward to that. Before that we have a band called we.R.soul, got to watch how I say that. And this is a band of musicians who play a set of swing. They do a bit of funk. They’ve got a brass section with it as well. I love the big band, a 12 piece band. So you get a bit of brass, a bit of funk. It’s a great band.  Tickets for this concert are £22. This concert starts at 7.30, door 7.30, starts at eight o’clock, runs on until one o’clock/two o’clock, a big long concert. It’s a great night out. Most of the concerts are licensed, the ones in the Heritage Centre are not, the rest are all licensed. Lots of fringe events around the event as well, there’s lots of stuff in the pubs and the bars and the hotels, their social clubs, they’ve all got live music on. The open air events are across the town, so you can just pick and choose, you can go to a free event, you can go to a concert. The concerts are all ticketed individually, basically because very few people can actually manage to go to all seven concerts, but it’s only about £150 to go to every single concert. But you can pick and choose which concerts you want to go to,  which venues you like. We get people coming from all over the world to this event. I’ve had a quick check with ticketweb, and this year we’ve got people from across Europe; Sweden, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, France. We’ve got a lot of people from USA coming across, Canada, South America. We’ve got ones coming across from China this year. So it’s quite a global event. One of the reasons we started the event was actually Campbeltown in the early 90s, it wasn’t really doing that well, there wasn’t a lot of tourists. We started the event up actually to help extend the tourist season. So, it was always usually held at the second last Saturday of August, we’re a week earlier this year because of the pipe band championships. But basically the festival was started just to sort of get people to come to the area and, as I say, extend the tourist season. It’s now the busiest weekend in the whole of Kintyre. It’s very difficult to get beds. So what we’ve done is we’ve worked in with Machrihanish holiday park so you can come along with camper vans, you can camp. So it’s different ways of coming to the festival, different types of accommodation at the festival. If you’re coming make sure you book early. And, as I say, it’s lots of stuff across the whole event; from children’s entertainment to big live concerts. The Saturday night in particular is like a festival within a festival, that’s the way we look at it. But we’ve also got workshops at the event as well, we’ve got tours around the harbour on the Saturday morning. So all in all it’s a fun event to come along to, and you can pick and choose what you want to go to. You can find out more at the music festival website which is www.mokfest.com, you can buy tickets directly from it. And you can email me, I’m Iain Johnston at mokfest@hotmail.co.uk. And you can visit our Facebook page, so it Mull of Kintyre Music Festival, there’s lots of individual posters about each concert telling you much more about the event. And we’re really looking forward to it and we’d love for you to come along to it.

Dawn – I absolutely love the sound of the Mull of Kinytre Music Festival. If you’ve been to a previous festival or are planning on going to this one, please let us know what you enjoyed about it the most. Like Iain said, if you plan to go this year, from the 9th to the 13th of August 2023 and want to attend a concert, then get your tickets now while they’re still available, by visiting mokfest.com. You can find out more about the Kintyre Route 66 by visiting wildaboutargyll.co.uk and search for Kintyre Route 66. Now, of one final thing to tell you about Campbeltown. In the heart of Campbeltown there’s a beautiful peaceful wee garden which is called Linda’s Memorial Garden, after Sir Paul McCartney late wife Linda. According to atlasobscura.com, upon Sir Paul and Linda getting married in 1969, they lived in a farmhouse about an 11 minute drive outside of Campbeltown and the couple were very fond of Kintyre and felt so at home there, with Linda’s ashes actually being scattered across the Kintyre area. The Campbeltown residents were also very fond of Linda and Sir Paul and, so, as a tribute to Linda, the Lady Linda McCartney Memorial Garden was created, with Sir Paul, according to lindasgarden.co.uk, generously donating a bronze sculpture as the centrepiece for the garden. The garden is a quiet haven for rest and contemplation and is located on Shore Street near the Campbeltown Museum.

And that’s the end. A big thank you to Iain for telling us all about the Mull of Kintyre Music festival and Kintyre Route 66, which you can find more about from mokfest.com and wildaboutargyll.co.uk. And also a big thank you to Denzil Meyrick for giving his personal Kintyre food recommendations. If you’d like to find out more about Denzil’s books you can visit denzilmeyrick.com. All links will be in the show notes or under this episode at cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest, that’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottish digest. We hope you enjoyed this episode. Join us next time for another wee slice of Bonnie Scotland.

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Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Episode 3 - Portsoy

Episode 3 – Portsoy

In this episode we will be telling you all about Portsoy, located in Aberdeenshire. We’ll hear from Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland who will tell you about her visits to Portsoy, and from Lauren, who will tell you all about The ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival which takes place every year, and in 2023 will take place from 30th June to the 2 July 2023.

Adventures Around Scotland – A Scotland Travel Blog

ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

Portsoy – Wikipedia

Portsoy Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

portsoy | OpenStreetMap

Award Winning Ice Cream & Sorbets at Portsoy Ice Cream

Portsoy, Aberdeenshire – Visitor Guide

Portsoy, Moray: Things to Do | Out About Scotland

Walk Report – Hidden gems of Portsoy: Boyne Castle • Walkhighlands

Boyne Castle, a true hidden gem near Portsoy

PORTSOY LINKS BAY – 2023 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Dexys Midnight Runners – Wikipedia

Overview – Portsoy – Aberdeenshire Harbours

Portsoy, Moray: Things to Do | Out About Scotland

THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Portsoy – 2023 (with Photos)

File:Portsoy Old Harbor – Portsoy Marble and Warehouse.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy Old Harbour – geograph.org.uk – 434379.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Wheat, Portsoy – geograph.org.uk – 3225361.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy harbor (43077737375).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:The Old Harbour from Shore Street – geograph.org.uk – 2254530.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

File:Portsoy Harbours – geograph.org.uk – 3534612.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Portsoy Marble – Portsoy and Whitehills

Portsoy Salmon Bothy

Wooden Boat Building @ The Portsoy Boat Shed

Facebook – The Portsoy Gift Box

Brandon Lodge Bed and Breakfast – Located three miles from the historic harbour town of Portsoy

Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail | VisitScotland

CONTACT – SKERRYVORE

Facebook – Fair Trickit

Facebook – Skip 2 The Beat

Rhythmnreel

Reaper returns to Portsoy ahead of Scottish Traditional Boat Festival – History Scotland

Scottish Fisheries Museum – Home Page

Wood fuel products including wood pellets, briquettes, firewood

Contact Us – Hamlyn’s Of Scotland

Macduff Group | Shipyards, Crane Hire, Profilers & Precision Engineering

Facebook – The Portsoy Thrift Shop

Twice Buried Rum

 

Images from commons.wikimedia.org/

Map from openstreetmap.org

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Images courtesty of commons.wikimedia.org/

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Host Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 3 of Scottish Digest, where we will be telling you all about Portsoy.

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Later in this episode, we will hear about an event that takes place in Portsoy every year, where you can enjoy music and dancing, Scottish food and drink, as well as see demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving and knotting, and where you can also buy unique handmade gifts. But we’ll hear more about that later. We’ll also hear some personal recommendations from Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland about her visit to Portsoy. But first let me tell you a wee bit about Portsoy, where it is and what it’s known for. The charming port village of Portsoy is in Aberdeenshire and located, according to Wikipedia, on the Moray Firth coast of North East Scotland. It is 50 miles or 80 kilometres north west of Aberdeen, and 65 miles or 105 kilometres east of Inverness. According to the 2011 census, it had a population of 1,752. However, for two days each summer, when the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival takes place, Portsoy is visited by, according to outaboutscotland.com, up to 16,000 people, who come to enjoy the festivities. According to Visit Scotland, Portsoy has an attractive uphill town centre, and its fascinating, winding streets lead down to one of the things Portsoy is famous for, its distinctive 17th century harbour, which, according to Wikipedia, is the oldest on the Moray Firth, and it has featured in TV dramas such as Peaky Blinders. According to outaboutscotland.com, the harbour is distinctive due to the wall being built with horizontal rather than vertical stones, as it was assumed that this would better stand up to the fierce waves that would crash against it. And, as it still there today, they must have assumed correctly. A new larger more exposed harbour was built in 1825, and, according to aberdeenshireharbours.co.uk, it berths up to 30 boats. While visiting the harbours you might spot pods of dolphins swimming along the shore. However, even if you don’t spot the dolphins at sea, you can find a sculpture of a dolphin overlooking Portsoy. Portsoy is also famous for its jewellery, which is made from polished red and green Serpentine marble, which has been shipped and used all over the world. But you don’t have to go far to be able to see this beautiful Portsoy marble, as you’ll find it on view in a warehouse that overlooks the harbour. If you would like to find out about the history of salmon fishing, boat building and see artifacts from Portsoy’s harbour, you can visit The Salmon Bothy Museum for free. Another gem of Portsoy that you might want to sample while you’re there is the award-winning Portsoy ice cream, with so many flavours such as strawberry cheesecake, salted caramel, and even mojito sorbet, plus there are even gluten and dairy-free options available. To find out more you can visit portsoyicecream.co.uk.  If you’d like to do a little exploring, according to outaboutscotland.com, there are good walks in both directions along the coastline, and just a couple of minutes walk from the harbour is Links Bay, which offers picnic benches and amazing views over the North Sea, and you can watch the seabirds perched on the rocks. So, I hope that has given you a bit of an idea about Portsoy and what you can do and see there. Now let’s hear more about Portsoy and what it has to offer from Susanne, who has actually visited Portsoy.

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Hi, I’m Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland, and in this episode I’m going to give you my tips for things to do in the coastal village of Portsoy, which is an Aberdeenshire. Like lots of visitors to Portsoy I gravitate towards the harbour. There’s actually two harbours; one of them dates back to the 17th century and it’s particularly characterful and photogenic. There’s some nice walks round it and there’s also a viewpoint just above it where you can look out to the North Sea, and you can look across the original harbour, the 17th century harbour, and also the newer harbour, which I think dates to the early 19th century, so it’s still quite old as well. And also round about the harbour area there is the Boatshed, which is a workshop area where volunteers keep alive the skills of traditional boat making, so you can actually pop in and speak to them, find out more about the craft, and if you’re lucky, they’re very welcoming to visitors, and if you’re lucky they’ll even offer you a wee cup of tea, which is what they did when I popped in. And if you can’t make the Boat Festival, it’s a great place to find out more about the traditional boat building history in the Portsoy area. And there is a little gift shop where you can pick up some Portsoy marble. Now, it’s actually polished Serpentine and it’s famous for being exported around the world from Portsoy, but particularly being used in the Palace of Versailles. So, I think that’s quite amazing, that rock quarried near to the harbour in Portsoy is part of the fabrication of the Palace of Versailles. But that’s not the only thing that Portsoy is famous for, it’s also famous for its ice cream, and up on the Main Street is the Portsoy ice cream shop, and you’ll know it on a sunny day because it always has like a queue winding down the street. It’s award-winning ice cream and it has over a hundred, I think they have, flavours of ice cream and sorbets and some really unusual concoctions.  So, if you grab an ice cream, or even one of the fish and chip shops nearby, and head down to the harbour, that’s like the perfect day in Portsoy for me. And the last time I visited Portsoy I actually stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast called Brandon Lodge, which is in the countryside just a few miles outside of the village. So it’s like the best of both worlds, you’re staying in the country in a lovely quiet rural setting, but you’re also just a short drive away from the sea and the coast. But I’m giving it a special shout out because I think it’s one of the great things about staying at a bed and breakfast is the personal touch, and when I arrived at, I’m glutton free, so when I arrived the owner, Lorna, had actually baked me fresh home-baked pancakes, they were still warm and they were absolutely delicious. And I think it’s a lovely accommodation its own right, but Lorna also went above and beyond in many ways whilst I stayed with her, so I just think that she deserves a special mention in this podcast. And once you’re finished in Portsoy there is so much more to see along this part of the Aberdeenshire coast.  There’s actually a road route that runs round the coast called the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, and I’ve written a blog post about it so you can find that on my website. And there’s so many beautiful scenic and kind of under the radar places in this part of Scotland, so it’s definitely worth going not only to Portsoy but also exploring a bit more around the coast. So, if you want to find out more about the Aberdeenshire coast, Portsoy or other places to stay and things to do in Scotland, then you can check out my travel blog at www.adventuresaroundscotland.com, and also my social media channels, I’m adventuresaroundscotland on both Facebook and Instagram.

Dawn – Okay, so I mentioned before about the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival that takes place each year in Portsoy, so now here’s Lauren to tell you more about it.

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Lauren Ahoy Portsoy! Probably the best way to start. The ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival is returning on Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of July in the historic harbour of Portsoy in Aberdeenshire. Now it’s famous, everybody loves it, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and we have loads on. So, we’ve got traditional sailing vessels, we’ve got music and dance, we’ve got food and drink, you’ve got age-old crafts, you’ve got unique handmade items and gifts. We’ve got loads and loads on across the weekend. So get yourself down here, it’s going to be really really fun. Now let me just tell you a little bit background on the festival. The festival was first held in 1993, it was a bit of a one-off, and then people loved it, and that’s it. Since then it’s been firmly anchored in the town’s calendar, and it takes place annually, attracting thousands of visitors across Scotland, and further afield to be honest, it’s one of them isn’t it, people just love it at the Portsoy harbour and the Boat Festival. In terms of music then, Skerryvore  is going to kick off the Festival as they headline the Big Gig on the Back Green on Friday the 30th of June. Now, this is a band that has been touring globally and they are going to be performing their new tracks from their new album Tempus, which is exciting. There’s going to be a host of local groups, artists and performers that are going to take to the stage during the weekend. We have Cullen based Duo Fair Trickit, they are absolutely brilliant, they were there last year and they are just great. We’ve got Festival favourites Skip 2 The Beat as well, they’re going to return for another fast-paced skipping stunt, which was really interesting to watch last year. On Saturday night renowned Highland rock band Rhythmnreel, they’re going to be bringing their upbeat, foot stomping tunes, and they’re going to be headlining the Big Gig on the Back Green as well, so that’s going to be exciting. There’s lots and lots of music across the weekend. Other things to look out for obviously boats, the main thing, the main attraction, and the Reaper, the iconic Reaper is making a comeback. A 19th century Fife sailing herring drifter, it’s going to be returning to the festival, so it’s a rare survivor of the golden age of sail. And it’s had a bit of, well it’s been restored, so it’ll be something new to look at. It’s owned by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther in Fife, and it is one of the few vessels in the UK’s National Historic Fleet which is actually still in condition to be in the sea.  Skipper, Eric Lauritsen, he is making his way with his eight crew, they’re going to be making an 18 to 20 hour journey to Portsoy for the festival. And obviously you can get on board the Reaper and have a little look on, and experience the life, what it was like at sea over 100 years ago, which is going to be fantastic. It’s going to be amazing. And the other thing to look out for is the food fair. So if you’re hungry, definitely the place to be for the weekend. You’ll get the best Scottish produce on the menu, it’s going to be all locally sourced, Aberdeen Angus beef, handmade pies, pickled onions, locally produced gin, we’ve got rum, whiskey, we’ve got sweet treats including fudge and toffee, Belgian chocolate, and of course so we cannot forget the famous Portsoy ice cream. Man, I’m just so hungry thinking about it. We’ll also have the craft demonstrations, so they’re going to be on display in the craft fair. We’ve got handmade ceramics there, jewellery, prints, paintings, all available to browse and buy. Now this is perfect if it’s someone’s birthday coming up or Christmas you’re thinking ahead to, then definitely something to get along to. Other thing as well if you’re thinking about bringing the kids or anything, then we do have a kids zone. So we’ve got trampolining, bouncy castles, segways, teacups, we’ve got glitter tattoos, we’ve got loads and loads on to keep your little ones entertained, so you can bring them. We’ve also got the onboard Tam O Shunter land train, that’s going to be amazing, so that’s going to be running throughout the weekend, you can have a wee shot on that. We’ve got the raft race, that’s the ever so popular raft race, it’s always a laugh to watch, and and that will take place on Saturday afternoon. You can see teams of three compete to make it across the harbour, and they’re in their homemade rafts and paddles, so it’s gonna be interesting. And the one thing is is that they’re not allowed to fall in. So, yeah, definitely something fun to watch. Now, we want to say a massive thank you to all the festival sponsors; we’ve got ACE Winches, we’ve got Puffin Wood Fuels, Hamlyns of Scotland Oatmeal, MacDuff Shipyards, Portsoy Thrift Shop, Twice Buried Rum, Moray West, we’ve got loads and loads of sponsors, so thank you to you, because without you we wouldn’t be able to do this at all of course. Now, if you would like to come along to the Portsoy Boat Festival, you’re thinking this is right up my street, this is brilliant, then head to www.stbfportsoy.org, that’s where you can purchase some tickets, that’s www.stbfportsoy.org. And if you fancy going on social media as well, give us a wee follow at stbfportsoy, or you can #ahoyportsoy. Anyway, I really hope to see you there. That is the 1st of July and also the 2nd of July, Saturday and Sunday, at the Portsoy Boat Festival. We can’t wait to see you. Ahoy Portsoy!

Dawn – If you like the sound of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and would like to attend, you can find all information and get your tickets at stbfportsoy.org.

[Music]

Before we go just another we interesting fact about Portsoy. According to Wikipedia, Jim Patterson, who was the trombonist with the late 70s early 80s band Dexys Midnight Runners, one of their songs being Come On Eileen, was born and raised in Portsoy. And that’s it for this week. We hope today’s episode has given you an insight into Portsoy and what is available to do and see there; from the distinctive 17th century harbour, the award-winning ice cream and the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, it really does sound like an interesting place to visit. You can find all links to what I’ve talked about today in the show notes or from cluarantonn.com/scottishdigest, that’s c-l-u-a-r-a-n-t-o-n-n.com/scottishdigest. If you have plans to visit a specific place in Scotland, or if you would like help or advice in planning your trip to Scotland, then please visit adventuresaroundscotland.com where you will find a host of information about where Susanne has visited and what she has experienced, as well as Susanne’s contact details if you would like further advice or information. We really hope you have enjoyed this episode of Scottish Digest, and we would love for you to join us next time, where we will focus on another beautiful part of Bonnie Scotland.

[Music]

Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Episode 2 - Oban

Episode 2 – Oban

In this episode we will tell you all about the town of Oban.

Adventures Around Scotland – A Scotland Travel Blog

West Highland Yachting Week

Wild for Scotland Podcast – An Immersive Travel Podcast

Piazza Restaurant In Oban Scotland | Italian Restaurant | Where To Eat (piazzaoban.com)

Cuan Mor Restaurant Oban | Best Restaurants Oban

Nories Fish & Chips | Oban (facebook.com)

Oban Fish and Chip Shop :: Home

Barriemore Oban, Room only accommodation on the West Coast of Scotland

Ferries to Scotland & Scottish Isles | Caledonian MacBrayne | CalMac Ferries

Oban (warmemorialsonline.org.uk)

Oban War & Peace Museum :: Home (obanmuseum.org.uk)

History| MacDougall | Things to do in Oban | Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds

Ganavan Sands, Oban – Beaches | VisitScotland

OBAN Single Malt Scotch Whisky | Official Site (obanwhisky.com)

McCaig’s Tower – Wikipedia

Jacob’s Ladder, Oban [6 photos] in NM86023012 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland

MOSSFIELD STADIUM | OBAN LIVE

Oban Lorn Shinty Club – Ladies Team (facebook.com)

Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel | Historic Environment Scotland

Oban Seafood Hut.. (Green Shack) – Seafood Restaurant in Oban (business.site)

Handmade Chocolates from Oban, Argyll, Scotland (obanchocolate.co.uk)

Markie Dans :: Home

The View Oban | Restaurant, Bars and Live Music in Oban (obanview.com)

Now Playing (obanphoenix.com)

Home | Friends of Kilbride

Isle of Mull – Wikipedia

Isle of Iona – Home (welcometoiona.com)

Isle Of Staffa Visitor Guide – Accommodation, Things To Do & More | VisitScotland

Home | IKDT – Isle of Kerrera Development Trust

Home :: Isle of Lismore

Explore the Isle of Lismore – Hebridean Land Rover Tours (explorelismore.co.uk)

Oban Lesbian Weekend

Oban – Wikipedia

About Oban | Love Oban

Mccaig’s Tower, Oban – Historic Buildings & Homes | VisitScotland

This Coastal Town Is Scotland’s Best-kept Secret — With Award-winning Whisky, Breathtaking Landscapes, and Outdoor Adventures

 

Map from openstreetmap.org

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and written by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

Map courtesy of openstreetmap

Music:

Epidemic by ES_The Celtic Flavour – Alysha Sheldon

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson

Hosted by Dawn Young

Welcome to Episode 2 of Scottish Digest.

[Music]

In episode one we told you all about Girvan as this is where Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland is from, and so this week we’ll be telling you all about Oban, as this is where I grew up. I’ll be giving you my personal stories from living in Oban, places I enjoyed visiting and eating at, and we’ll hear later in the episode from Susanne about her time visiting Oban, and about a couple of events that take place in Oban each year [Music] Okay, first up, where is Oban? Oban is a seaside town on the west coast of Scotland, about a two hour and 22 minute drive northwest of Glasgow and a two hour and 40 minute drive southwest of Inverness. And it has a population, according to oban.org.uk,  of about 8,500, one of which is my cousin, although in the tourist season this grows to over 24,000. Oban is a Gaelic word which means Little Bay, and it’s known as the Gateway to the Isles, and when my husband and I visited Oban last year to see family, we travelled by Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, where we stayed for a couple of nights, and Mull is one of the many islands that can be reached from Oban. Over the recent years, Oban has also become known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland, as there are now so many places that offer fresh seafood. When I was growing up there the best place to get fresh seafood was from a seafood van on the South Pier, right where the fishing boats docked. Nowadays Oban has many restaurants where you can enjoy the best quality seafood, while gazing over the water. If seafood is not your thing then there’s Piazza, an Italian restaurant situated on the North Pier, which was a particular favourite of my Aunt’s until she sadly passed away, and my husband, Peter, and I have also enjoyed eating here when we visited Oban. If however you are like my cousin and prefer steak or venison, then there’s always the Cuan Mor restaurant. While there is still seafood on the menu here, there’s also homemade steak pies, which is my cousin’s go-to, venison lasagne, and they also cater for vegetarians and vegans with such food as the ultimate vegan burger.  And then there’s the puddings, with sticky toffee pudding, my cousin’s favourite, double chocolate fudge ice cream sundaes, and even vegan waffles, which was my husband’s favourite, with so much to choose from there’s bound to be something on the menu for everyone. But you might not want to have a sit-down meal, you might want to grab a bag of fish and chips and have a walk along the seafront, well there’s plenty of fish and chip shops to choose from too. My cousin’s absolute favourite is Nories, a long time family-run chip shop, and from when we were young my two cousins would always get their fish and chips from Nories without fail. Me on the other hand always got, and still do when I visit Oban, my fish and chips from the award-winning Oban Fish and Chip shop, and Rick Stein also agrees with me with him saying it was the “best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted”. Both chip shops are located at the top of George Street, which is the main street through Oban. But there are so many other places you can eat in Oban, clearly everyone has a favourite, and Susanne will tell you about her’s later in the episode. Okay, so after eating all that delicious food you might fancy a wee walk, and what better place to walk than along the seafront, which is just beautiful. If you carry on walking on the pavement along the waterfront it will take your past hotels and the youth hostel on your right hand side sitting back from the main road. If you keep walking round to your left you’ll then be on the Corran Esplanade. You will begin walking past larger hotels, St. Columba’s Cathedral, and if you keep going you will then start to see smaller hotels and guest houses. Right at the end of the Esplanade, and the guest houses, you will come across the Barriemore guest house, and this is where my sister and I stayed the last time we visited Oban together a few years ago, and it was a lovely stay. We stayed in the room on the first floor just to the left of the doorway, and we would sit on the comfy chairs by the window and just watch the Caledonian MacBrayne boats traveling back and forwards. We’d highly recommend this accommodation, it was comfy, clean, had beautiful views, and the owners were so friendly. But we did have a car and it is quite a walk, but there are many other places to stay in and around Oban town centre. So, I hope that gives you a few ideas of where you can eat and stay if you visit Oban. So, back at the Barriemore guest house, just across the road from it is the Oban War Memorial, which June 2023 marks 100 years since the memorial was unveiled. From this viewpoint you can look back and see Oban laid out before you. From this point onwards there is no longer a pavement and the roads are narrower, but locals are used to people walking on this road, we’ve been doing it since I was a wee girl when me, my mum, aunt and cousins at weekends used to walk all the way to the end, as this is where Ganavan Sands is, where we played on the beach and on an old wooden boat that had been abandoned there. I also got to drive a car for the first time at Ganavan in the car park when I was about nine. It was supposed to be my aunt learning to drive in the car park but she wasn’t confident so I had a shot instead. My gran also used to take me out here and let me practice driving in the huge car park before I passed my test. It’s changed a bit now as massive houses have been built there, but it is still a great place to go. If walking on the beach or having an ice cream is not for you there’s also paths over wee hills that you can take, if you’re looking for a bit of exercise. However, before you get there, once you’ve turned the corner just after the War Memorial you’re onto Ganavan Road, and you’ll see a castle up on the hill straight ahead. This is Dunollie Castle. And you’ll see a road off to the right when you get nearer the castle, which will take you to the castle, museum and grounds, which is all very civilised as in our day when we were young we would also visit the castle up on the hill on the weekends we walked out to Ganavan, however, there was no museum or road, we all had to sprackle, which means climb, up through the woods at the side of the castle ruins. But like I said before I love old castles, ruins or otherwise, so it was worth it for me, and the views over to the Isle of Kerrera are magnificent. And also a fun fact, my sister is in a line to inherit this castle, if a certain number of people were to die before she did. If you continue along this road it will eventually take you out at Ganavan Sands. It is a bit of a walk but lovely once you get there. So, that’s me told you a wee bit about what I did when I was young, but there’s more to Oban than castles, sandy beaches and food. Oban also has its own whisky distillery, which, according to obanwhisky.com, was founded in 1794 and sits 208 steps from the sea, and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland being 46,069 square feet or 4,279 square metres, which is just larger than an acre. So, if whisky is your thing you can take a tour and have a wee sample. For all the years I was an adult living in Oban, I have never been to the distillery. Whisky isn’t my thing, but I hear the tour is great. Now, if you stand on the North Pier and look back at the town of Oban, you’ll see up on the hill above Oban a circular structure that dominates the landscape. This is called Mccaig’s Tower. It was commissioned by John Stewart Mccaig and was built between 1897 and 1902, with the aim to not only be a monument to his family but also to give work to local stonemasons during the winter months. According to Wikipedia, it has a circumference of about 200 metres or 660 feet and has two tiers of 94 lancet arches, 44 on the bottom and 50 on the top. It is quite a climb up to Mccaig’s Tower on foot, but when you get there you’ll find lovely gardens, and the views across Oban Bay to the Islands of Kerrera, Lismore and Mull are spectacular. One way of making your way up to Mccaig’s Tower is via Jacobs Ladder, which just means a lot of steps, 144 to be exact, and near the top it is quite steep. Access to Jacobs Ladder is located at the top of Tweedale Street at the side of the Congregational Church. Jacobs Ladder will take you out onto Ardconnel Road, and from here it’s just a short walk along Ardconnel Road until you come out at a kind of crossroads, and here you take the steep hill up to Mccaig’s Tower. But if you look up at this point you will see it looming over you. Again, me, my mum, aunt and cousins used to regularly walk up to Mccaig’s Tower on a weekend and play in the gardens and look at the views . It was worth doing that climb again and again. When we weren’t walking out to Ganavan Sands or climbing up to Mccaig’s Tower, we would also attend Mossfield Park regularly, where a lot of the events taking place in Oban were held, such as all our school sports events and our bonfire nights, as well as shinty matches, which is a huge sport in Oban, for men and women, and my cousin was not only a founding member of the Oban Ladies Team, now called Oban Lorn, but the Oban Ladies Shinty Team was one of the first members of the Ladies Shinty League. There are plenty of other events that take place in and around open, but first here’s Susanne to tell you about her trip to Oban and what she loves about it.

[Music]

Hi, I’m Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland travel blog, and in today’s episode I’m going to be sharing some of my recommendations for one of my favourite places in Scotland, and that’s the town of Oban. I’ve visited Oban many times over the years. It’s located on a lovely part of Scotland’s West Coast and it’s known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland and the Gateway to the Isles. It’s a popular place for stopping off on the way to many of the West Coast Islands and also as a base for exploring the surrounding region of Argyll. When you first arrive in the town you can’t miss Mccaig’s Tower which dominates the skyline. It looks a bit like an unfinished coliseum and lots of people just take a photo from a distance. However, I recommend following the trail uphill and heading inside, where you can head to one of the windows and take in the sweeping views across the town and out to the islands beyond Oban Bay. I know lots of visitors to Scotland enjoy exploring castles when they’re traveling around and luckily Oban has two on the doorstep; Dunollie, which is the ancestral home of the Clan McDougall and Dunstaffnage, where Flora MacDonald was held before she was sent to the Tower of London for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after Culloden. Some of the opening times are seasonal so if you are planning to visit I recommend checking their website first, just to make sure they are open before you go. If you’re looking for the full Scottish experience of castles and whisky, Oban’s a great option because it is also home to Oban Distillery, which is one of the few whisky distilleries along the west coast, and it also happens to be a really good one, so that’s another reason for visiting. You can book on a tour and of course sample one of the local drams at the end. And while you’re in the Seafood Capital of Scotland, if you’re a seafood fan it would be rude not to try some of the local seafood, and there are lots of opportunities to do this in Oban. There are some great fish and chip shops and waterfront restaurants, but people in the know head down to a little green hut on the pier near to the ferry terminal. It’s called The Seafood Hut, and you’ll know it when you see it because there’s always a queue up the pier, and it specialises in fresh shellfish and it’s great for a little takeaway lunch by the harbour. If you’re looking for something a wee bit sweeter, then head to Oban Chocolate Company Café. They make their own handmade chocolates which are just delicious, and if the weather isn’t so nice it’s also a great place to get a nice rich hot chocolate. It’s one of the many independent shops and makers that are dotted around the town centre so make sure you do walk up the high street, and it’s a lovely place to find a nice unique souvenir to take home. In the evening, one of the things I get asked about a lot is pubs with live music, and Oban has a few of those.  Markie Dans is a popular choice. But I think anyone wanting to continue with the full-on Scottish theme, after a day of whisky and castles, should head to The View for one of their Ceilidh nights. If you’ve never been to a Scottish Ceilidh before don’t worry they talk you through the dances, and you’re guaranteed to have lots of fun. But also if you’ve been indulging on the whisky, chocolates and seafood throughout the day, it’s also a great workout and you’ll burn off a few calories. But if that sounds a little bit too strenuous then I recommend heading to the Phoenix Cinema, it’s a little gym in the town.  The historic cinema actually closed down in 2010 and was saved by the local community and it’s now an independent community-owned cinema, so it’s a nice way to have a quiet night out and support the community whilst you’re visiting. Despite going to Oban many many countless times over the years, I only recently discovered Kilbride, which is just south of Oban. You’ll find ruins of a historic church and the surrounding graveyard where the chiefs of the Clan MacDougall were laid to rest. And it’s actually been a site of Christian worship since at least the 6th century. It’s tucked away off the main road so it’s easy to miss, but if you make the effort to follow the narrow country road it’s quite a haunting atmosphere and some fantastic scenery. I only found out about it because I was staying nearby, and it just reminded me that, no matter how well you think you know an area, there’s always something new to discover. And I love just taking random turns off main roads, and it’s where I’ve discovered some of the most interesting things on my travels. So that’s something always to keep in mind, if you have the time you might want to go and investigate a little off the beaten rack.  And with so many islands accessible from Oban it would be a shame not to include a little bit of island hopping during your stay. And although many visitors head for well-known islands like Mull, Iona and Staffa, I always recommend taking the path less trodden and escaping the crowds. One of the ways to do that is by heading over in the short crossing to the isle of Kerrera. There’s some fantastic walking trails, a castle and a popular tea room that opens over the summer. Another option is to head out to the Island of Lismore, where some of my ancestors are actually from. Explore Lismore offer Land Rover and paddle boarding tours, and they also offer something which I think sounds quite unique, and that’s a shepherding experience, where you head out with a local shepherd and his Collie dogs to herd some sheep. So, that’s just some of the great things I think there are to do in Oban, but there’s plenty more to discover so definitely add it to your Scotland travel plans. And if you’re looking for more suggestions of things to do in Scotland, you can find them on my travel blog at Adventures Around Scotland and also on my Facebook and Instagram channels.

DawnI hope between Susanne and myself we’ve given you a good idea of what Oban is like and what you can do and see there. Now onto the events.

[Music]

Well there’s the Oban Lesbian Weekend, which is returning this year for its second year from the 28th to the 31st of July. If however you prefer an event that takes place on the water around Oban, then there’s the West Highland Yachting week from the 29th of July to the 4th of August 2023. Here’s Laura to tell you more.

Hi, I’m Laura from The Joint Regatta Committee who organise West Highland Yachting Week. It’s a week-long celebration of sailing and social events set in the breathtaking natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands. This will be our 75th year and we’re very excited to celebrate the sails from all over coming together to participate in this wonderful event. The Regatta is one of a kind, as it moves to different destinations throughout the week; beginning on Saturday the 29th of July, competing yachts race to Craobh in two feeder races, the first starting from Oban Bay and the other from the Isle of Gigha. After racing around the waters of Craobh on Sunday, the fleet takes part in the first of three Passage races on Monday, which takes them up to Oban. After Tuesday is spent rounding the buoys in the Lynn of Lorne, they then race to Tobermory on the Wednesday, where, after racing in the Sound of Mull, on Thursday, the fleet returns to Oban and the final Passage race on Friday the 4th of August. The event attracts sailors of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals and family crews. It offers a variety of racing classes in spinnaker and restricted sail fleets, with the option to take part in just the Passage races or even just one or two days, ensuring that everyone can participate and compete in the way that suits them. Whether you’re racing a sleek modern yacht or a classic wooden vessel, there’s plenty of options for you. But it’s not just about the races. West Highland Yachting Week is also well known for its vibrant social scene. After a day on the water, the organising committee ensure that throughout the week there are various social events, including ceilidhs, live music, beach parties, baking competition and inflatable races. We also aim to keep the kids entertained with crabbing competitions, games and quizzes, there really is something for everyone. One of the highlights of West Highland Yachting Week is the stunning scenery. The Regatta takes place in some of the most picturesque areas of Scotland, with dramatic mountains, sparkling lochs and rugged coastline providing a breath-taking backdrop for the races. If you’re not participating in the races but still want to experience the event, you can come and be a spectator. Many people line the shores to watch the yachts glide through the waters, and nothing beats seeing the entire fleet, usually around 80 boats, racing along with their spinnakers up, that’s the big bright sails at the front. It’s truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re a sailor or a spectator, West Highland Yachting Week offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself on the water and forge friendships with people who share your passion for sailing. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable sailing experience, or just want to find out where you can watch, come and visit our website www.whyw.co.uk to find out more information, and we’d love for you to join us.

Dawn – What I remember from this event is the whole of Oban Bay being absolutely packed with yachts of all sizes during this week. It was beautiful to see. If yachting, partaking or watching, is for you, then you can find out more information from whyw.co.uk. So, if you have been enchanted by the wonders of Oban and would either like more information or help in planning a trip here, you can visit adventuresaroundscotland.com and Susanne will be more than happy to help you. We hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Oban. I’m going to leave you with a trailer for the absolutely fantastic podcast Wild for Scotland hosted by Kathi. This is an immersive travel podcast that is so well written and told by Kathi that you could actually be there with her on her trips around Scotland. It’s a beautifully produced podcast. So we hope you join us next time for another slice of Bonnie Scotland. Hello there! My name is Kathi Kamleitner,  and I’m here to tell you about my podcast Wild for Scotland. If you enjoy traveling, spending time outside or simply relaxing to a good story, check out Wild for Scotland and join me for inspiring journeys, from the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to the sandy beaches of the Western Isles. This Spring we’ll explore the historic heart of five wild lands in unexpected places and up and down the West Coast. Think of it like story time for adults that inspires you to pack your bags and head out to explore. So join me on the Wild for Scotland podcast. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.

[Music]

Scottish Digest is a production of Cluarantonn.


Season 1 Episode 1 - Anthony McNeil and Steven Keogh

Season 1 Episode 1 – Anthony McNeil and Steven Keogh

Welcome to the very first episode of The Blue Way!

We’re starting off this season speaking with two former police officers; Anthony McNeil and Steven Keogh.

Anthony McNeil who was a Police Officer with City of Southfield Police Department in
Michigan, over a 20 year period from 1992 until 2013. During this time, Anthony worked in a variety of roles, including; patrol, Field Training officer, hostage negotiator and detective. Throughout Anthony’s career he was
awarded many department citations and merits, and was named “Everyday Hero” by a local TV station. Anthony sadly had health issues which forced him off the road in 2008, and into a front desk job, where he worked for five years, but he didn’t enjoy this and so he retired.

Steven Keogh was a Metropolitan Police Officer in London, with his first posting being in 1991
in South London when he was 20 years old. Steven spent half of his 30 year career as a Scotland Yard Detective, ending his career in 2021 as a Detective Inspector in the Murder Investigation Team, where he had been a murder
investigator for 12 years. Over his career, Steven helped to hunt down terrorists, when in 2002 he joined Scotland Yard’s Elite Anti-terrorist Branch, where he spent three years, and he also investigated some of London’s worst murder cases.
Steven received a commendation in 2005 from the work he carried out on the London 7/7 bombings.

Want to find out more about Anthony and Steven visit;

Anthony McNeil

Steven Keogh

 

You can find this episode on YouTube and Spotify.

Scottish Digest Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted by Dawn

Edited and Produced by Erin Ferguson

 

Music:

Epidemic by ES_Deepstar – Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen


Trailer - Talking Inspiration

Welcome to Talking Inspiration Trailer

Join host, Peter, for the first season of Talking Inspiration as he delves deeper into the thoughts of inspirational individuals, from leaders, persuaders, battlers, and achievers, and how they’ve built themselves up in order to impact others. Subscribe now so you don’t miss Peter, talking inspiration.

Talking Inspiration is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted by Peter Bull

Edited by Erin Ferguson

Music:

Epidemic by ES_Pre – Peter Sandberg

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson


Trailer - The Blue Way

Welcome to The Blue Way Trailer

Have you ever wondered what police do on a day to day basis, what differences there are between police throughout the world, how family members cope with having a police officer in their family, about the good and sometimes bad experiences people have had with the police, about officers who have killed or been killed in the line of duty, or about police that have committed crimes themselves? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then join me Dawn to discover all this and more on The Blue Way.

The Blue Way Podcast is a production of cluarantonn.com

Hosted and Narrated by Dawn Young

Edited by Erin Ferguson

Maps courtesy of openstreetmap

Music:

Epidemic by ES_Deepstar – Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen

Production Company Name by Granny Robertson