The riverside park in our local large town of Perth was beautifully lit up, in celebration of the birthday of the great Robert Burns. Burns was Scotland’s greatest poet and songwriter, born in 1759. He is to Scotland what Shakespeare is to England, and Scots around the world celebrate him on 25th January every year, with performances of his poems and music, as well as traditional Scottish food (the Haggis).
I’ve now become a fan of this group of bagpipe players – the Red Hot Chilli Pipers:
For adults and families – why not add a weekend trip to your English language holiday with us?
Last weekend we drove north through the impressive Cairngorms National Park. You can ski there in season. We stopped off at a beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains.
Then on to Moray. It’s a beautiful open landscape, with pine forests and wonderful beaches. We saw some ancient relics left by the Picts (over 1000 years ago), and visited some pretty seaside towns, as well as Elgin with its ancient ruined cathedral.
Moray is only 3 hours from Crieff, and the whole drive is through the wild Scottish countryside. As ever in Scotland, the local people are extremely friendly. We saw a very friendly seal too – it swam right up to the beach, and looked us in the eye.
Christmas is almost here! We went to Edinburgh’s enormous Christmas market yesterday. It’s in the centre of the city, in the park under the beautifully lit up Edinburgh Castle. There are a huge number of beautiful stalls, with lots of things suitable for Christmas presents or souvenirs of your holiday.
Unlike a lot of Christmas markets, this one includes fairground rides, for young children and for teenagers and adults. Naomi chose the scariest one of all – see the photo. There’s a skating rink too.
There’s a big choice of wintery things to eat. We chose cheese fondue poured into a loaf of bread. There were pancakes, waffles, grilled salmon, German sausages, and lots more. And of course Gluhwein and British punch.
A great night out. We’ll be making another trip there soon with our New Year visitors.
We visited this 1800 style house last weekend. Next door is the First Minister’s official residence (she’s the head of the Scottish Government). You can learn about the life of a wealthy family 200 years ago, and try on clothes from that time. Of particular interest to those of us who love Jane Austen’s novels and the TV and film adaptations.
We spent an exciting day at this wonderful safari park. This is probably the closest I’ll come to an African safari. We drove past all kinds of animals – including lots of lions, monkeys (some jumped onto cars) and a huge male rhinoceros that came very close to our car.
We spent the rest of the day going to talks by the zoo-keepers, including an impressive diving and leaping display by one of the sea-lions, and flying displays by several of the birds of prey, flying so close to us that we had to duck! There were elephants, giraffes, zebras, lemurs, penguins, a tiger and lots of other favourites. There were fairground rides, a boat trip and a zip-wire across the river too. This is now our favourite local day out.
The Highlands town of Aberfeldy combines a traditional British livestock and produce show in the morning with a Highland Games in the afternoon.
There was a lot of noise – sheep, cows and horses were all competing for prizes. And all kinds of pet dogs were competing in the dog show, with categories such as “cutest dog”.
One large tent was full of flower arrangements, home-grown fruit and veg, home-made cakes, and all sorts of other things, as the locals competed for yet more prizes.
In another tent you could buy craftwork or food. I bought some delicious hot-smoked salmon and a slice of carrot cake.
In the ring, there was the impressive Strong Men competition, which is the highlight of any Highland Games. The men (usually very burly) have to throw a variety of very heavy objects as far or as high as they can.
There were running races for adults and children, Scottish dancing competitions and Tug-of-War.
The final event of the day involved picking up and carrying an incredibly heavy stone. Anyone could have a go. Plenty who tried couldn’t even lift the stone off the ground, let alone walk with it. The stone was wheeled around in a specially designed wheelbarrow – because no ordinary person could move it any other way.
It was a great day out – so much to see and do, in a town which is already one of our favourite places to visit, surrounded by beautiful Highland scenery.