Travel

Events In Scotland And the Highlands

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Interesting events in Scotland run right through the year and no visitor need ever be short of places to visit and things to do. If you are in Scotland during the summer, do not neglect to attend one of the many Highland Game events that take place all over the country between May and September. Visitors can enjoy the spectacle of grown-up men in kilts playing at tug-of-war and tossing the “caber”, a pole as large as a small tree-trunk. In addition to the sport, pipe music and Scottish dancing entertain visitors. Perhaps the most famous event is the Braemar Games in Aberdeenshire, which the Royal Family attends.

However, the oldest event is the Ceres Games, which takes place in the village of Ceres in Fife. These games are free to attend, and they are held in response to a charter given to the village by Robert Bruce in 1314. This charter was in recognition of the support the villagers gave him during the Battle of Bannockburn. Incidentally, 2014 marks the seven hundredth anniversary of the battle, and the Ceres Games in June, 2014 promise to be truly memorable. The Edinburgh Festival is the largest festival of arts in the world and takes place during the entire month of August.

Winter Events in Scotland include Hogmanay, the ubiquitous party that rings in the New Year in every Scottish household. January 23 sees Burns Night, commemorating the life and work of poet Robert Burns. The event is marked by the Burns Night supper, at which revellers eat haggis, a traditional meal cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Visitors to the island of Shetland are in for a real treat. The Up Helly Aa events are held in ten locations to mark the middle of winter. At each event there is a torchlight procession, followed by the burning of a replica Viking ship and much feasting and dancing. These are but a few of the many, year-round events in Scotland that make it well worth a visit.

The experienced traveller knows that not all events in Scotland take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Many smaller venues host an exciting range of festivals and gatherings. There is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Known as the capital of the Highlands, the city of Inverness and nearby towns have a yearly schedule of events that delight both residents and visitors. As expected, Highland Games are at the top of the list and run at several locations throughout the summer.  Glengarry, Nairn, and Inverness all host Games that include a spectacular Mass Highland Fling, dancing and piping competitions, and plenty of excitement with the heavyweights.

A particularly fascinating event around Inverness is the Highland Archaeology Festival. This annual, two week celebration of the region’s history and heritage attracts both serious archaeologists and casual, but enthusiastic novices. There are tramps in the brisk autumn air, and indoor lectures and exhibits from Argyll to Caithness. Many of the events are suitable for children so the entire family can enjoy exploring local history.

Every September, the Highland Doors Open Days event allows behind-the-scenes public tours of buildings that might be familiar, but only from the outside. There are usually more than a dozen venues on the programme, many offering guided tours so visitors can hear interesting, little known facts and anecdotes. Typical choices include a magnificent Arts and Crafts Gothic church, a simple chapel with a unique weather vane, a 19th century theatre, and an ultramodern museum. Anyone on the tour needs to plan ahead to make the most of the time available.

There are also winter events in Scotland Highlands. The annual Inverness Fiddlers’ Rally enlivens dull February days with more than 100 musicians entertaining and inspiring. For those people who want something more active, the Glen Affric WinterFest offers a chance to do some climbing and perhaps even build an igloo. The selection of Highland activities is extensive, no matter what the season.

About the author

Brain Reid is an experienced traveller and blogger, a virtual nomad who drifts from places to place, country to country, city to city and blog to blog. To find out more about Brian and his ramblings, follow him on Twitter

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