September 2019 (Vol. 43, Number 03)
The Banner Says…
Scotland-A land full of experiences
As we go to press with the September issue the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been named the UK’s top experience by leading travel media company, Lonely Planet, in a new ranked list of the 500 most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences to be had across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
The Fringe leads the diverse selection, which features a variety of experiences from across the UK and is one of three Scottish entries in the top 20 (the other two are at #17: Step into your own movie in Glencoe and at # 19: Catch your breath on Arthur’s Seat). A total of 67 Scottish entries made the overall top 500 ranking.
The greatest show of arts and culture on Earth
The UK’s four constituent countries and countless small islands comprise a powerhouse of history, culture and intrigue. Now for the first time, Lonely Planet’s community of travel
experts have chosen the best sights and experiences and ranked them in order of their brilliance in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist. Describing the Fringe, Lonely Planet’s travel experts said: “the Fringe floods the city with art and nowhere beats it for spectacle or scale… There is theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, opera, music and spoken word, and whatever the time of day, an acrobat, trapeze artist, contortionist or
tried-and-tested bagpiping busker will be pleased to entertain you… Simply step through the looking glass and prepare to be dazzled by the greatest show of arts and culture on Earth.”
This is of course great news for the Fringe, Edinburgh and Scotland. I have been fortunate to attend Fringe events a couple of times in the past and marvelled at what a diverse and international event it has become. The Fringe is in fact the world’s largest arts festival and transforms Scotland’s capital every August with music, drama, dance and performance.
An event of this scale is sure to deserve such accolades, however it got me thinking what other places, events or experiences Scottish Banner readers think should be included in the 500 top experiences?
First-hand Scottish experiences
I can think of few demographics than our very own readers who will have first-hand Scottish experiences, as I know so many readers return to Scotland on a regular basis. These experiences go beyond famous events or attractions and could be simply meeting everyday people or perhaps discovering your families own story. Scotland is full of great experiences, places and events and whilst some may not be world famous, sometimes it is the everyday experience that stays with you forever.
I remember being in a pub in the Highlands and chatting to an elderly man who must have been late eighties, or more. He told me stories of what life was like for him growing
up in a poor family. He was decked out in Harris Tweed and looked quite dapper. However, he had struggled in his early years and seemed nearly glad of those struggles as he appreciated everything he had and that he had earned it. I remember leaving that pub thinking what an incredible man, not for being extraordinary but for being so very ordinary and personable. He oozed Highland charm and friendliness and made a stranger in his local pub feel like a lifelong friend or family member.
That was an experience I still think about, though I suppose that was a personal one rather than one for the masses, but it surely must be one of the many stories out there of a true Scottish experience many have.
In this issue
One of the events that oddly did not make the top 500 experiences in the UK is the World Pipe Band Championships which takes place each August in Glasgow. This is often considered the pinnacle of world pipe bands and I am not sure why it was not listed as it proves each year a hit with thousands of people across the world. We do have results
of this year’s event in this issue and congratulate all the bands who attended and took part in this great event. It is also fantastic to learn that so many participants (estimated 40%) are under 25 years of age, helping the future of the pipe band movement.
Lewis is the main island of the Outer Hebrides and rich in dramatic landscape, Gaelic culture, stunning coastlines, nature and history. Whether you are after some outdoor pursuits or looking to dig up some Neolithic history the island has much to offer the visitor.
As the windiest spot in the UK, visitors will be blown away by the richness and beauty of the island. The island is also famous for its observance of the Sabbath where most things close on a Sunday.
A radical act of conservation has recently taken place in Helensburgh, west of Glasgow, erecting a gigantic box around a significant work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Hill House was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s vision of a ‘home for the future’, influenced by traditional Scottish vernacular buildings. However, the Scottish weather has not been kind to the landmark building which now has a fantastic new structure built around it for the building to dry out, a task which may take up to 15 years to complete!
Scotland is full of experiences
Scotland is full of experiences from world class events to stunning scenery and history that you simply cannot make up. What memories have you come home with after a trip to
Scotland? We would love to hear reader experiences of tales, memories and adventures as I am sure we could easily write our very own 500 most memorable experiences pertaining just to Scotland.
The Fringe is no doubt a real celebration of Edinburgh and the diverse range of people that take part. Scotland is a celebration of her people, past and present, whose bloodlines connect across the Earth, and there must be stories in that.
Have you had an incredible Scottish experience? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us