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Burns Celebration Procession, Alloway

Burns Celebration Procession, Alloway, Scotland

This afternoon, I attended a National Trust of Scotland (heritage organisation) Public Celebration Day of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum at Alloway, about 1 hour from Glasgow. Robert Burns (1759-1796) was born at Alloway and during his short life rose to prominence as a talented poet and subsequently become enshrined as Scotland’s national poet. Alloway has become a place of pilgrimage for Burns ‘fans’ with the key attractions comprising the birthplace cottage (now a museum) and a  modern museum nearby housing an important collection of Burns works.

Being mid-winter, the weather was cold and foggy, but fortunately dry.

Basically, the celebrations entailed a youth choir dressed in 18th century attire which gave renditions of two of Burns’ songs and in between led a procession the short distance between Burns Cottage (birthplace) and the new museum. Various dignitaries were also in attendance. continue reading…

 

Scottish Highland Dancing

Highland Dancing Scotland

This evening, my theme is Scottish Highland Dancing. This very athletic and competitive form of dance has evolved and matured in the Gaelic speaking areas of the Scottish Highlands. The dance is usually accompanied by bagpipes. Commonly features at highland Games meetings. Here is a video clip of dancing taken at the World Pipe Band Championship at Glasgow last summer.

Elsewhere today I have been preoccupied with arranging a Speyside Whisky Tour for two gents. Also helped a family arrange a one day Highlands tour from Edinburgh.

Weather here in Glasgow has been just below freezing for the last couple of days.

Today, I have been working on two new Speyside whisky tours scheduled for March. This has prompted me to focus my blog this evening on Speyside which is probably the single largest whisky production area in Scotland containing some 45 distilleries. The area is named after the River Spey which rises in the Monadhliath mountains south of Loch Ness and flows for about 100 miles before entering the Moray Firth (estuary or bay). Apart from supplying the whisky industry, the clean waters of the Spey are best known for salmon fishing.

Each year I visit Speyside maybe 5 or 6 times, usually on whisky themed tours. About half of the distilleries provide distillery tours which can range from the ‘standard’ 45 min group tour to specialised ‘Connoisseur’ Tours lasting up to 3 hours. Distilleries providing tours include: Strathisla, Glen Grant, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Macallan, Cardhu, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet. Whilst the underlying whisky making process is common to all distilleries, each as its own idiosyncrasies which generates the distinctive flavours of the malts.

Here is a stunning Speyside landscape.

Speyside Landscape

Speyside Landscape, Scotland

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