Archive for January, 2009

Scottish Clans and Their Tartans

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Man in kilt
Image via Wikipedia

The Clan System

The clan system probably developed after the Romans left Britain around 410 AD and was mainly based in the Highlands and Islands of the country we now know as Scotland.

Clan in Gaelic means ‘family’ so clans differentiated themselves along ‘family’ lines. All members of a clan bore – in theory at least – the same name, often claiming descent from very ancient chiefs and kings. There were also branches of a clan known as ‘septs’ which allied themselves with a particular clan and owed allegiance to the clan chief.

The clan chief, who owned the land, was responsible for the safety and general welfare of his clansmen and women, and in return they were obliged to give him part of their crops. In addition, as well as fighting to defend their own clan, they were duty bound to fight for the chief for whichever side or cause he supported.

A clan protected not only its own people and associated septs but it could be called upon to help smaller clans being persecuted by other larger clans. (more…)

Some Facts About Whiskey Or Whisky

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

When discussing whisky the first thing that needs to be know is that there are two legitimate spellings. The Scotts and Canadians spell whisky without the “e”, while the Irish and Americans spell it with an “e” as in whiskey. This should be the first indication that the world of whisky is a very complicated one and has many regional differences in taste and production. This is part of what makes whisky such an interesting and enjoyable spirit.

Historically it is believed that the Irish were the first to make whiskey, however the Scotts have also laid claim to being the first whisky producers. The Irish used the term “uisce beatha” (“Water of Life” in Gaelic) to describe whiskey, so it must have been important. (more…)

Potted Whiskey

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Whisky Galore!
Image by foxypar4 via Flickr

It would be appropriate for a people-based profile of whisky to begin by naming the first whisky maker. Sadly, no-one knows who he was. In fact, no-one knows who the first distiller was. It is clear that from AD 4 onwards, alchemists in China, India, Arabia, Egypt and Greece were using distillation to make turpentine, medicines, makeup (al-kohl, our alcohol) and perfumes, but there is no evidence that they adapted brewing techniques to make whisky. (more…)

Learn About Whiskey

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

In meaning, whiskey translates to “water of life”. Whiskey originated from Scotland during the early 1400’s, and is very popular around the world today. Even today, whiskey tastes much like it did when it first began. Manufacturers of whiskey are strong on heritage, and therefore do all they can to capture the flavor that whiskey has always been known for.

For any occasion, whiskey is truly great. Whiskey is commonly used during weddings and ceremonies, and both the bride and groom will drink it to signify a relationship that will stand the test of time. The drink isn’t only served with weddings, as it is also popular in bars and restaurants as well. Those wishing to signify friendship can also serve whisky as a gesture of wanting to be friends. (more…)

Glasgow – So Much To See & Do!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Hampden Park, Scotland v Norway
Image by kevinmcc via Flickr

Travelling to Scotland in 2009? Why not take a trip to Glasgow? The largest city in Scotland, the greater Glasgow conurbation has a population of over 2 million people, with 620,000 living in the city area.

When it comes to top attractions, Glasgow certainly isn’t lacking. From museums and culture to famous landmarks, the city has it all.

Tourist Attractions

The Tall Ship – take a trip to Glasgow Harbour and visit the Glenlee Ship, a true testament to Glasgow’s rich shipbuilding heritage.

The Lighthouse – The Lighthouse is a stunning centre of six floors where you can learn about the architecture and design of Glasgow through fantastic exhibitions. Entry is free on Saturdays! (more…)

Facts About Scotland

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
Edinburgh Castle
Image via Wikipedia

When you are looking for facts about Scotland it is no surprise that the history of Scotland and Scotland tourism play a very strong part. Here are some facts about Scotland that you will find interesting.

1. History of Scotland

Scottish history can be traced back over 10,000 years when the first inhabitants arrived. The modern history of Scotland involves the many battles with their English neighbours in which the battle of Bannockburn was significant as Robert the Bruce and the Scots army defeated the English. Throughout the next few centuries there continued to be tensions and battles with the English but the act of union in 1707 united Scotland and England and they were governed by a shared parliament. However, Scotland remains a fiercely proud country and although still part of the United Kingdom the Scottish people have their own parliament and most would consider themself Scottish before British. (more…)

Edinburgh – Top 10 Attractions

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
{{en|Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, from Calton Hill.
Image via Wikipedia

Edinburgh’s Top 10 Attractions

The first and most obvious attraction is Edinburgh Castle – you could easily spend half a day here. (more…)

A Short Guide To Exploring Perthshire

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
Auchlinsky Hill Perthshire.
Image by BrianForbes37 via Flickr

Perthshire in Scotland is the perfect place for a short break, holiday or a day out exploring. Lying at the heart of Scotland, this beautiful county is only an hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh. From walking and hiking to ambling round historical sites, from a round of golf to loch and river fishing, Perthshire has something for everybody. It’s also the ideal place to sample some traditional highland fayre, such as local venison, fresh wild salmon, haggis, wild boar, and a wee dram of whisky.

Low Level Walking

Perthshire has always been popular with walkers because of its scenery and wildlife. Deer roam the heather-clad hills and the rare red squirrel makes its home in Scots Pine woods. There are low level walks in secluded glens and hills such as Glen Devon and the Ochils. The Cadger’s Way is one such low level walk from Auchterarder to Glen Devon that follows an old packmen’s path. The highest point is about 1500ft where the views across the Perthshire landscape are breathtaking. Then follow the path down to tranquil Glen Devon where you can enjoy a rest, a bite to eat and a welcome dram. For more walks, the Hallewell Pocket Walking Guide “Walks South Perthshire” is a good source. (more…)

Tour Scotland – Up Close And Personal

Monday, January 26th, 2009
LOch Ness
Image via Wikipedia

Mystery, myth, legend and history set amongst some of the most breathtaking scenery await you on a trip to the Scottish Highlands. There is much to see in this small and historically rich country from the haunting and tragic Glencoe to the legendary waters of Loch Ness or even the mystery laden building of Rosslyn Chapel (of the Da Vinci Code fame).

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting ways to become immersed in this rich vein of Scottish history and landscape is with a small bus tour. More and more visitors to Scotland are switching to the small bus tour option. (more…)

Scotland’s music scene

Monday, January 26th, 2009
An acoustic guitar
Image via Wikipedia

Scotland is fast becoming one of the key places for producing musical talent. Not only is it shown in the new up and coming musical talent but through the history of this cosmopolitan country. There has always been a dedication to music with many music venues and festivals all taking place in this buzzing and growing place.

New talents that have emerged over the past few years are bands like Biffy Clyro, Texas, Travis, The Fratellis, Franz Ferdinand, that have all seen worldwide fame.
There are many acoustic artists like Amy Macdonald, Leon Jaskson, and even in her twenty odd years of recording, Annie Lenox is still as popular as ever with her music being recognisable in nearly every country. Amy Macdonald is a young female artist that is renowned for her acoustic guitar gigs that have burst onto the musical scene in the past year. In Scotland, there is a free reign to experiment and play with music with the people being open minded and receptive to new sounds. With all of this talent coming out of Scotland, it is no wonder that it is now being recognised as one of the front runners for new music that is able to capture the attention and heart of the nation. (more…)