Thursday, 18 October 2012

Castle Stuart - A Must Play Highland Masterpiece

If you are planning a visit to Scotland or in particular the Highlands in the next year you absolutely must play the magnificent Castle Stuart Links between Inverness and Nairn. Granted it's not cheap but it is arguably worth a lot more than the simple cost of the green fee.

Designed by Mark Parsinen who cut his teeth in Scotland at Kingsbarns in Fife has exceeded even that masterpiece with a simply flawless layout. Okay maybe escalators at the twelfth would be nice!

Wonderful views, superb rolling fairways, wonderfully tricky and equally massive greens guarded with every potential natural hazard imaginable.

I had the good fortune to play the course at the beginning of September as part of the 54 Hole Tomatin Pro Am which also included Royal Dornoch and Nairn. It really is worth considering entering a team for what was a wonderful event.

The event was a great fun experience over three of the finest golf courses you could play and while yours truly  managed to three putt every second green to drop us out of the prizes we were all delighted when our Pro, Jonathon Lomas, decided to nail his tee shot at the short eleventh for a hole in one.

At Scotland's For Me we are delighted to be working with Go-Golf TV to feature some of their videos and thought we'd start with this one of Castle Stuart which gives an excellent idea of what to expect.

Downloads and Links

You can find out more about the above by clicking the links

Thursday, 20 September 2012

According to The Scotsman on Thursday 20 September 2012 The Scottish Open will return to Castle Stuart next year before moving to a new venue – Royal Aberdeen Golf Club – in 2014.

Making the announcement last night, the European Tour also confirmed a 20 per cent increase in prize money for 2013 and 2014 for the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored event. The fund will rise from £2.5million to £3m with the champion receiving £500,000.

Castle Stuart, near Inverness, will stage the event from 11-14 July next year and, in 2014, Royal Aberdeen will host the first-ever European Tour event over the Balgownie links from 10-13 July.

Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the world’s sixth oldest golf club and the course was originally designed by Carnoustie’s Simpson brothers, Archie and Robert. It was re-bunkered and lengthened by James Braid and Hawtree and Company have now been engaged as course architects to ensure it keeps pace with the modern game. Royal Aberdeen will be the eighth venue to host the Scottish Open since 1972, having previously staged the 2005 Senior Open, which was won by Tom Watson, and the 2011 Walker Cup, won by Great Britain and Ireland.

European Tour chief executive George O’Grady said: “We are delighted to announce details of the outstanding venues for the next two editions of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and to confirm a 20 per cent rise in the prize fund to £3m for 2013 and 2014.

“Castle Stuart has been popular with the players and public alike and we are pleased to return there in July before moving to Royal Aberdeen. I had the privilege of watching the 2005 Senior Open and the Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen, a classic and challenging links course, which will continue in the tradition of great Scottish Open venues.”

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We were immensely impressed with how Castle 
Stuart staged the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and we are delighted to 
be returning there in 2013 to enjoy a similarly successful tournament.

“I am also sure that Royal Aberdeen Golf Club will provide a challenging and picturesque setting in 2014 as it displays the best of links golf and is a fitting host for this great tournament.”

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Loch Lomond Short Break Offer

We've been sent a great offer from The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha on Loch Lomondside this week and as Christmas is already in the online air it's maybe also an opportunity to start your Christmas shopping as the package makes an ideal gift.

The deal is for
  • 2 nights B&B from £69.00 per room (based on 2 people sharing a standard room)
  • 20% off all food purchased in bar or restaurant during stay (not applicable to takeaway menu)
  • 50% off room upgrades (excluding family rooms) - £15.00 for superior room, £25.00 for deluxe room
  • Family rooms available at a supplement of £15.00 each child ages 3-12 years (includes a main course each night from childrens' menu) - please phone to book a family room
  • Available 19th September 2012 - 27th March 2013 (excluding 22nd December - 3rd January and 12th - 16th February)
Anyone who has stayed at the Oak Tree Inn will know that the standard of accommodation and food quality is excellent and you will not be disappointed! They have added some new rooms this year in the cottages which gives even more choice.

You can Book the Offer Direct on the Oak Tree's Own booking's page saving you money and use oak1213 if asked as your Promo Code

Offer subject to availability and is not applicable for bookings already made

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Nairn Arts Festival

We are going to have to try and identify bloggers across Scotland to pick up on all of these things! Local information is best provided by local people after all!

Anyway, it's apparently the mid point of the Nairn Arts Festival but tehre's still plenty to take advantage of this week if you're at a lose end with events all the way through to the 9th of September.

Straight from the official website:

"There are exciting developments in our music programme.  We have several traditional events; a concert from the Rua Mc Millan Trio in the Community and Arts Centre and a grande finale from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in the Newton Hotel.  In between, Friday night is jazz night with the legendary Temperance Seven at the Community and Arts Centre.  On Saturday, comedy stand-up Dr Phil Hammond, arrives to amuse and provoke.

Our range of poetry, fiction, history, gardening, cookery and the unclassifiable is wider than ever this year.  Iain Banks is back in Nairn.  Professor Susan Black forensic anthropologist is here. Trevor Royle is here. From Norway, comes Thomas Enger, a crime novelist.  And on our closing afternoon, we have writer and cook, Lady Claire Macdonald, known to all who live in the Highlands and beyond.

There is now a Nairn Fringe, growing year by year: Nairn Drama Club, The Pen and I, Nairn Ceilidh Group, Cinema Nairn, local writers and historians and a local poet and stand up. This year we have several free events; at the library and the Little Theatre. The community is more involved than ever.

Throughout the festival, there will be a wonderful contemporary art exhibition with works in different media at the Court House. Art workshops will complement the exhibition by offering specialist tuition in various techniques, from oil paint to digital media.

Accommodation in Nairn.

If you're looknig for accommodation in the town you could do worse than heading for either The Clubhouse or the delightful Inveran Guest House

You can always check availabilty and BOOK DIRECT with the checker above right.

Islay Jazz Festival September 2012

Was driving home listening to the Jazz programme on Radio Scotland last night (before my daughter took control of the dial to search for another Katy Perry track!) and heard a great interview about the forthcoming Islay Jazz Festival taking place on that wonderful island between the 15th and 17th of September.

It just sounded such a great event and even the quirkiness of the descriptions made it all the more potent; the car ferries are full already but you can still take the passenger ferry over and hire a car; there is now a campsite available and someone has posted some availability in an old eighties style caravan!

Having spent the afternoon in the Su Casa music tent at Troon Live last weekend I am so in the mood to enjoy more and more small live music events and maybe there's a book in there somewhere for 2013! Events such as these provide a reason for visiting a destination and savouring all else that it has to offer.

A visit to the Jazz Festival on Islay is going to expose you to whiskies you've never dreamt of or possibly even a round of golf on one of Scotland's most impressive hidden courses. You're going to witness the stunning scenery of a drive up Loch Lomond or Loch Fyne or down the west caost and the Argyll hills and mountains.

The same weekend there's also the Best of the West Fest at Inverary - how good a weekend would that be if you could do abit of both!

Anyway more information on both music based events on the links above. Go immerse yourself.

Great Wee Music Events...That's Why Scotland's For Me!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Winton House Christmas Party in East Lothian

Looking for Christmas party ideas? Well here's a nice wee exclusive one

Why not host your Christmas Party this year with Winton House and get the magical keys to your very own Winton Wonderland. Enjoy exclusive use of this enchanting private home & stately Christmas Castle.

As the email goes on:

"Whether your group fancy a traditional sumptuous three course banquet, or prefer to kick up your heels husky dog racing around the lawn before warming up with a wee hot chocolate in front of one of our log fires, we have packages to suit all pockets and purses.

Rest assured the house will be looking spectacular in all its festive finery. After all, we've had over five hundred years to perfect the Christmas decorations for our seven public rooms, from our atmospheric medieval cellar with private dining, to our grand and luxurious 16th century drawing room, perfect for pre dinner drinks. See more...

Accommodating numbers from ten to two hundred, with prices starting from £25 per head, feel free to contact them in order to arrange your own bespoke package. Please email Winton House directly or call 01875 340 222 for further information.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Askernish Open becomes biggest golf tournament in North of Scotland

Askernish Golf Club on South Uist hosted the Askernish Open Weekend on August 24th, 25th and 26th. The three day event saw competitors play over 253 rounds of golf, with over 120 competitors entered into the Saturday competition alone.

The Askernish Open is now the largest Open Golf Competition in the North of Scotland, as well as being one of the remotest. With many competitors already booking their spaces for 2013, the competition will continue to generate a significant boost to the local economy, as well as be one of the most enjoyable events in the golfing calendar.

Players came from all across the UK, as well as North America and Finland to play in the weekend, with many returning after entering the competition in previous years and the Finnish team being particularly keen to defend their 2011 win in the Sunday competition.

The continued growth in participation demonstrates the high regard in which the course is held and the great loyalty many international golfers have to the course.

Ralph Thompson, Club Chairman, said, ‘This was the fifth competition held on the restored Askernish course and the renown of the both course and the hospitality of South Uist continues to grow. We are fortunate to receive ongoing sponsorship from around the world to help fund continual improvement of this world class course and we are also hosting players from an ever expanding list of countries. Many competitors have already booked their place for next year and we expect the competition to be at full capacity in 2013.’

On Saturday 25th August the first Uist Shopping Experience took place alongside the Askernish Open, organised by Stòras Uibhist. This proved to be a very successful event with 22 local arts, crafts, growers, bakers and makers taking up tables to sell their goods to golfers and other visitors.

The restored Askernish Golf Course is now making a significant contribution to the economy of South Uist and the Askernish Open is a major event both for South Uist and the Scottish Golfing calendar.

Published on Tuesday 28 August 2012 by The Stornoway Gazette

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

AC/DC Return To Scotland! (Well Malcolm Anyway!)

Malcolm Young and Classic Rock reporter Eric Mackinnin
Great things that you find in Classic Rock Magazine's website - hopefully they don't mind me pulling the copy from their website (I am a subscriber to Rock's best monthly magazine!!).

Anyway this is about Scottish born AC/DC frontman Malcolm Young but also acts as a nice wee travelogue to the Western Isles!

"AC/DC mainman Malcolm Young discovered he’s less famous than his folk musician relative when he took his family to explore their roots on a remote Scottish Island.

He and brother Angus were born in Glasgow and remain proud of their Scottish ancestry.

The rhythm guitarist, wife Linda and son Ross travelled to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides to find out more about her past, where he discussed plans for AC/DC’s future.

He confirmed they’re working on a potential follow-up to 2008′s Black Ice. But he warned fans are in for a longer wait than expected, after singer Brian Johnson suggested there would be new material next year.

Young explained: “You know what Brian’s like. He just says things and then walks away. It’ll be a little while – a year or two anyway.

“I’ve been doing some jamming on some song ideas but I do that all the time, as do the rest of the band. We are still working. But we had a long rest between Stiff Upper Lip and Black Ice, so I think we need a couple of years to recuperate and work on it a bit more.”

He added it’s unlikely any world tour in support of a future release will grow to the scale of the AC/DC Black Ice trek, which lasted almost two years and sold nearly five million tickets.

His son Ross pitched in: “It would probably be a bit less, a year or 18 months. That was very long last time.”

The family met with Linda’s long-lost relatives in Stornoway and its surrounding villages. They enjoyed a visit to a lifeboat launch and relaxed in the town’s only hotel, the three-room Scarista House, overlooking some of the island’s most picturesque beaches.

Young said: “I still feel very Scottish. I love coming back to Scotland. We’ve never been to the Western Isles before but it’s been really good – it’s lovely up here.”

Stornoway resident Sandi MacIver, a cousin of Linda, is also a well-known local musician. She said: “We were having dinner in the motel with Malcolm and his family. A friend of my aunt came in and joined us. He looked at Malcolm then whispered: ‘Is that the one in the band?’

“Then he saw me and said loudly, ‘Oh – is that Sandie MacIver?’

“Poor Malcolm Young… I was recognised before him! It could only happen in Harris.”

Monday, 9 July 2012

Seniors Open Qualifying on Scotland's West Coast Links

Of course the thing about Scotland's West Coast Golf Links is that it provides so much more than just three Open Championship venues and that has been shown this year with the number of clubs involved in providing venues for big events.

2012 has seen The Amateur Championship being held over Royal Troon and Glasgow's Gailes Links, The Scottish Amateaur at Barassie Links and the Seniors Open is on its way to Turnberry's Ailsa course - however three other great west coast links courses are involved in the Qualifying for the Seniors Open.

Dundonald Links, Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club and Turnberry’s Kintyre Course will be hosting an estimated 300 hopefuls hoping to seal a spot in the Championship on the Ailsa course at Turnberry.

The 18-hole qualifier will be played across the three courses on Monday July 23 ahead of the star-studded Senior Open Championship starting three days later and it will give non-exempt players the chance to join some of golf’s great names in the Championship with the hope of reproducing the performance of Pete Oakley in 2004, who came through qualifying before going on to win the Championship at Royal Portrush.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, R&A Assistant Director of Championships, said on behalf of the Championship: “We are delighted to bring this most prestigious tournament back to the wonderful Ailsa course at Turnberry, which has produced so many historic and memorable moments in the past. The quality of golf courses on display for the qualification stage of the Senior Open Championship, as well as the main event at Turnberry, only serves to highlight the plentiful golfing assets in the region of South Ayrshire.

The 2012 staging will be third time since the turn of the century that the Championship has been held at Turnberry and if the previous two occasions are anything to go by, it is sure to produce some drama.

We think the drama will start on the three qualifying courses and if you get the chance why not pop along - it's free admission at all three clubs.

Seniors Open Returns to Scotland's West Coast Links

If you're looking to generate interest in a golf event the press release often needs embellishments and facts and figures and lots of pictures and price incentives.

This blog has none of these; here is our content to promote to Seniors Open Championship at Turnberry from 26th - 29th of July 2012. You decide whether more words are required...

Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Tony Jacklin, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin, Sam Torrance...

Monday, 25 June 2012

Norman Returns To Ayrshire

Greg Norman will make a sentimental return to the scene of his career-defining first Major Championship victory after confirming he will play in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry from July 26-29.

The Australian finished five shots clear of English Ryder Cup player Gordon J Brand over the famous Ailsa Course to win The 1986 Open Championship, sealing his place in golfing history.

And I remember it well.

I was staying in Maidens at my mum's chalet and I can't remember whether the week started off dry and sunny or not but I'll never forget sitting in the stands to the right of the eighteenth green on the Saturday as the rain was blown off the sea horizontally. It was horrendous. It was also the first time I'd followed Norman around a golf course doing it again at Troon some years later when he lost the play off after birdieing the first six holes, finishing with a 64 and then thundering a ball into a previously unreachable fairway bunker on the eighteenth to lose the play off.

After his Turnberry victory, Norman went on to spend 331 weeks as World Number One and claim a second Claret Jug at Royal St George’s in 1993, but Turnberry will always hold a special place in his heart and he is relishing the opportunity to return to the renowned Scottish links next month when he will join fellow Turnberry champion Tom Watson in the field for the 26th Senior Open Championship

Discounted advance tickets to see Norman, Watson and a world class field including new US Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman of England at The 2012 Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry can now be purchased online, with season passes now available at £60 and any one day tickets at £18 if booked before July 1. They can be booked online at  or call 0800 023 2557 where other discounts and offers can also be found.

Hospitality packages for each of the four Championship days are also now available at £95 per person inc VAT, which includes admittance to the course along with a three-course lunch and glass of champagne in Turnberry’s signature restaurant, 1906, reserved parking, a Championship programme and a draw sheet.

Downloads and Links

Book your Room DIRECT in Ayrshire for the Seniors Open
Find out more about golfing in and around Turnberry

Westerwood Hotel Summer Offer - Book Direct!

On the basis that our existence is aimed at increasing the number of people booking DIRECT with hotels, golf courses and attractions rather than paying inflated booking charges and commissions we're delighted to promote Q-Hotels Summer offer to Westerwood Hotel outside Cumbernauld.

Even before it was part of Grant Sword's Morton hotels group a decade and more back we always had a wee soft spot for Westerwood Hotel and golf course and still often use it for meetings and training in Central Scotland - it remain possibly one of the most centrally located hotels for both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and for tourism Scotland and offers really high quality accommodation, wining, dining and leisure facilities at great value for money.

So here's the offer - click on the image to book direct with the hotel and see the range of Summer rates at Westerwood.

Why Book Direct?

It is our belief that we should be, wherever possible, highlighting the value of Booking Your Room Direct with Scottish accommodation providers.

In the current market place it is all too easy for the visitor to stick to their preferred booking site - you know them all! - and just make that booking. Well we believe that there are a whole host of reasons for going direct and cutting out the middle man.

That's not to say you should spend more on your trip but we do encourage you to have a look at the hotel's own website and check whether you are being offered the best available rate.

If you Book Your Room Direct the accommodation provider can save up to 25% on the booking cost (even more if you're booking from a coupon site) and that can make the difference between investing in the hotel and not.

We will continue to promote the Book Your Room Direct message wherever and whenever we can.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Carrbridge Tomatin Distillery Scottish Nine Hole Open

Sorry for the non golfers out there we're a wee bit on a roll with some great Scottish golf ideas today
Carrbridge Golf Club Tuesday 10 July 2012.

This was flagged up by Golf Tourism Scotland on their Facebook pages earlier and we thought we should publicise it a little bit more, just to highlight the variations and choices in Scottish Golf.

We used to run a four day 72 hole stableford event in the Speyside area and know this course and the area - just love Landmark - really well from living up there for a while and this is just such a great idea.

When some courses are taking more than five hours to play the ability to play a nine hole open in less than a couple of hours from check in to first beer is brilliant.

They also have Tomatin Distillery as the main sponsors of the 2012 event and the competition will be held on Tuesday 10 July with quite a healthy list of prizes too - although it's not about winning is it?

They ask "Why play a nine-hole open?" and answer, "After last year’s event many competitors commented that it was amazing how only playing nine holes concentrated the mind as you can’t afford to have a bad hole."

Tee times will be available all day from 7.30 am, allowing everyone to find a suitable time but please be aware that late afternoon/early evening slots are filling up fast. Catering will be available all day and there will be a beer tent for consolation or celebration after your round.

And as they quite rightly point out if you're travelling north on your way to watch the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart it's a great wee bonus.

If you're on holiday in the area or play locally but haven’t yet entered you're asked to telephone the clubhouse on 01479841623 or download and complete an application form to enter.

We genuinely hope this competition and others like it will go from strength to strength with bigger prizes and over the coming years.

For info, The Scottish Open will again be held at Castle Stuart from 12 - 15 July 2012 and Carrbridge Golf Club will host the next "Tomatin Distillery Scottish Nine Hole Open" on Tuesday 10 July to coincide with this event.

This makes us think that it would be great to run the Scottish Golf Classics again. All we need now is someone to replace Drambuie as our lead sponsors...

"Away and Take a Run and Jump Into The Clyde"

I seem to remember that phrase being used frequently as a kid (usually with some suffix like "Ya balloon". So what about modifying it slightly by tying a big elastic band around your waist and not actually hitting the water? Well actually not a hope in hell for me but if jumping off a 150 foot crane appeals to you then try it from the crane at Clydebank in Glasgow.

You can Bungee from the Titan from 23 June 2012 13:05 til 30 September 2012

Apparently it was the day the Battle of Bannockburn began and the Olympic Committee was formed but 23rd June, this year, will be the day bungee jumping reached the Clyde.

Thrill seekers from all over the UK will turn out for the launch of Scotland's second official bungee venue - the Titan Crane, Clydebank, on 23rd and 24th June. Celebrity guest jumpers and adventure seekers will take the 150 ft leap towards the River Clyde from the cantilever of the famous A-Listed crane. The first public jumpers will receive discounts to mark the occasion and tourism chiefs have hailed the innovation which is expected to net millions for the economy.


The development is a partnership between Highland Fling Bungee, who opened the UK's first permanent bungee jump last year at Killiecrankie, and Titan Crane Clydebank. Jumpers at the Titan site will hurl themselves on an elastic bungee cord from a movable platform fixed to the end of the cantilever. The participants will get a stunning view over Glasgow to the east and the Erskine Bridge to the west before plummeting from the crane at 50mph. "People in this part of Scotland are renowned for their have-a-go attitude to life and this is going to add something totally different to the adventure sport mix in the west of Scotland," said Highland Fling Bungee Managing Director, Murray Trail.

Fellow Director John Mason-Strang added: "Everyone knows how famous the site is and we've been amazed already at the amount of inquiries we've had from people wanting to be a part of history." Tourism chiefs have welcomed the new development and believe it will enhance Scotland's burgeoning international reputation for adventure sport. Since opening at Killiecrankie in Perthshire last May, Highland Fling Bungee has attracted over 5500 jumpers, a significant percentage from overseas.

VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay said: "I'd like to congratulate Highland Fling Bungee on this new venture in Greater Glasgow. Scotland is the Adventure Capital of Europe and it is fantastic to have an activity provider within a city environment offering visitors a further chance to get active." In the initial months of the Titan Crane project, jumps will take place on the first weekend of every month but will be gradually increase through the season. As well as jumping, participants and their friends will be able to visit the exhibits at the crane summit or use the ground floor café and visitor centre.

Titan Crane Clydebank Operations Manager Claire McGinley said: "This puts Clydebank on the UK map for bungee jumping and we look forward to welcoming experienced and novice jumpers. "The people of Clydebank want to see more activity like this on the riverside and we are certain this new activity will do much to showcase what we do here to promote the town's proud shipbuilding heritage." Special discounted jumps at £60 are available for the month of June.

Those wanting to book for the launch weekend of June 23/24 can do so via or by calling 0845 366 5844.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Golf in Scotland? Yes But Where?

The choices facing the golfer to Scotland! Well there's a great selection of options open to you across the length and breadth of the country and loads of advice on which ones you should play.

The Scotland's For Me blog is constantly highlighting some of the best offers and events taking place across the country and throughout 2012 we'll be featuring some of the best courses to play and the best accommodation to stay in.

Anyone as a starter for ten we thought we'd collate some of the VisitScotland gold guides into the one blog - you can read them on line or download them. They don't cover all of the regions of Scotland as some areas didn't produce some - The Highlands is an obvious miss but we'll cover the others with private brochures and destination websites in future pages.

Anyway even if you just flick through the pictures it is sure to whet your appetite on what is another Major week with the US Open

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Steamin' in Speyside!

It is not every day, as a hotelier, that you'll get a telephone call asking if five steam lorries can pop by for a spot of lunch!

The wonderful Knockomie Hotel, an Inn just south of Forres on the Moray coast, found it self in the privileged position recently!

The answer from host Gavin Ellis was a resounding YES which shouldn't come as a great surprise for those who know a little about his family history with steam.

You see, Gavin's father Graham founded The Mull and West Highland Narrow Gauge Railway Company in 1984 to take tourists from the ferry terminal at Craignure to the castle gardens.

It became quite possibly one of Mull's greatest attractions and as honours go it couldn't get much bigger when the BBC filmed an episode of Balamory featuring characters such as PC Plum on the train!

The railway was forced to be mothballed a couple of years back now but it was no surprise when SteamBoat Ellis (as he will be forthwith known to his friends) invited these steam powered vehicles into his car park.

For those with a knowledge of these things there were four Sentinels – a trio of twin cylinder double-acting chain-driven machines and one S Type four-cylinder single-acting shaft-driven unit – ans they were accompanied by a 1928 Foden.

Over the years Knockomie - a hotel in name but an Inn in welcome - has been the stop off point for many Classic, vintage and veteran cars and this just added to the collection of motorised visitors (and their owners) taking advantage of the superb facilities and just-off-the-road location.

In the coming weeks and months Knockomie will be welcoming a collection of motor bikes from Germany touring Scotland, visiting castles and Distilleries.

The Drivers and supporters had a hearty lunch, the wagons where replenished with water and from Forees they made their way to Grantown on Spey for an overnight stop before proceeding back to Elgin via Aberlour. A 90 mile journey of steamin' Moray and Speyside Magic!

And did anyone mention whisky in Speyside?

Well there's a lovely little book called Distinguising Distilleries in there somewhere by a certain Mrs Penny Ellis but that's for another blog...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Get on Yer Bike...

EventScotland has this week announced details of plans to work with British Cycling and UK Sport to develop a proposal to host the opening stages of the 2017 Tour de France. The proposal builds on work carried out by EventScotland over the last few years and aims to engage with as many partners as possible and make a significant contribution to the ongoing story of the Tour, while delivering the maximum possible impact for the UK.

The Tour de France is one of the World’s largest annual sporting events, and the benefits to its host are paramount to a UK bid. The Tour is watched by around two billion people every year, with around two million lining the streets for the opening stage. Contested by around 200 cyclists including the greatest road-riders in the world, the Tour de France offers a great opportunity to host a truly global sporting spectacle.

The proposal has the full backing of the Scottish Government, with First Minister the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP saying: “Scotland has a strong relationship with the international cycling community, and I am delighted that a proposal is being developed for the opening stages of the Tour de France. To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting major international events, and I have no doubt that the combined expertise of the UK partners would lead to a first-class opening stage of the Tour.”

Scotland has strong track record in the delivery of major cycling events, including the Tour of Britain - pictured above, which has been supported by EventScotland since 2005. Scotland is the perfect stage for major cycling events, with spectacular scenery and challenging terrains providing the ideal backdrop to the action. Since its inception in 2003, EventScotland has invested over £1.5m in cycling events including the ToB, UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the Halfords Tour Series.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

£99 Malmaison Offer in Scotland

Fancy a wee special treat in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Malmaison are offering a £99 offer on their own website. Click on the image to BOOK DIRECT.

Live it up at the Mal. It's true. You've been a workhorse by day. A slave to the 9 to 5. At last the night time has arrived. And from now on night time at the Mal is all about wining and dining. You deserve it. Treat yourself, go on, we dare you. That's Mal life.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Art Exhibition for Curtis Cup Golf

There's free entry to an art's exhibition taking place before the Curtis Cup in Nairn next month between the 6th and 11th of June at The Court House on High Street Nairn.

The Curtis Cup is the bi-annual golf competition between teams of amateur lady golfers representing the United States of America and Great Britain & Ireland.
This prestigious event will bring golfing enthusiasts from all over the world to the Scottish Highlands and to add to their enjoyment an exhibition including some of the best professional artists from the area will be showing, and selling, their work in the historic Nairn Court House.

The Festival is also delighted to be featuring original work from Lucy Tormey, Curtis Cup Event Artist at this exhibition.

FInd out more on the Nairn Book and Arts Festival Site

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mar Hall added to EuroPro Tour line-up

The Earl of Mar Golf Course at Mar Hall in Renfrewshire is the latest venue to be added to the 2012 line-up on the PGA EuroPro Tour.

The course, near Glasgow, boasts spectacular views of the River Clyde and the Kilpatrick Hills and will host the Tour on August 8-10.

The Earl of Mar course was designed by respected golf course architect Dave Thomas, who is best known for his work at The Belfry, as well as at San Roque and La Manga in Spain.

Mar Hall is another exciting addition to the EuroPro Tour and joins fellow five-star venues Concra Wood (July 11-13), Frilford Heath (July 18-20) and Rowallan Castle (August 1-3) in the line-up for 2012.

“We are delighted to be hosting an EuroPro Tour event here at Mar Hall in 2012,” said Jamie Darling, Golf Operation Manager and PGA Professional at Mar Hall.

“The EuroPro Tour is a great platform for up-and-coming professionals to gain great experience and we have been very impressed with the tour and their vision and are thrilled to be a venue.

“We are sure that our fantastic championship course and hotel will prove both a challenge and a first-class facility for sponsors and players alike.”

Danny Nickless, operations manager for the PGA EuroPro Tour said: “We are delighted to welcome Mar Hall to the most exciting line-up of venues in the Tour’s history.

“We look forward to arriving at this stunning new course which will provide a stern challenge for the golfers.”

The PGA EuroPro Tour gets underway with the Motocaddy Masters at Wensum Valley on Wednesday, April 25.

You can book your golf break direct with Mar Hall at the best available rates

Monday, 23 April 2012

Proclaimers New Video, Single and Album

We do love our music on SFM and delighted to have picked up the link to the new single from the Proclaimers via Facebook. The single is called "Spinning Around In The Air" and apparently the video is now in the can having been directed by Matt Lucas .

The video is a satire on a Golden Wedding party set in a bungalow in Glasgow. The video will be unveiled on 30th April coinciding with the UK release when Spinning Around In The Air will then be available for download and it's taken from the album "Like Comedy".

Great track and sure that the album's going to be another big plus. We are maybe taking liberties here with the paraphrasing but we're pretty sure that if asked the big SFM question they'd reply,

"Watching the mighty Hibees parading the Scottish Cup down Leith Walk, That's Why Scotland's For Me..."  


Friday, 20 April 2012

Hunter's Tweed for Royal Dornoch

Royal Dornoch Golf Club, the renowned Championship course in the Scottish Highlands, is proud to introduce a bespoke new Royal Dornoch tweed fabric, designed and produced exclusively for the club by illustrious Scottish fabric brand, Hunter’s Tweed.

Being launched today (20th April) at Royal Dornoch Golf Club, by Gavin Hastings, Former Scottish International Rugby Player and keen golfer, he was delighted to be involved in the launch of Royal Dornoch Tweed, a combining of two iconic Scottish companies.

Inspired by a traditional tweed design that dates back to the early 20th Century, the 700 gram fabric features a broad check in the club’s house colours of emerald green and golden yellow, with a touch of cerulean. The tweed is available for a new ready-to-wear selection of apparel and accessories for men and women.

Neil Hampton, Royal Dornoch Golf Club General Manager, comments on the club’s new venture: “The Hunters of Brora roots of Hunter’s Tweed can be traced back almost as far as our own distinguished history, and both names boast exceptional international reputations. There is a distinct synergy between these Highland brands and collaborating seemed like a perfectly natural move. The Royal Dornoch name is synonymous with exacting standards and warm hospitality, and our new tweed is a beautiful quality fabric that represents the proud, gracious heritage of our club. Our unique fabric will enable the club’s admirers to take a piece of Royal Dornoch and Scottish history with them wherever they go.”

Royal Dornoch tweed is only available through the Pro Shop at Royal Dornoch Golf Club and its website, which receives orders from all around the globe. The Pro Shop is stocks a range of men’s and women’s headwear, club and putter covers in the new tweed, to name but a few items.

Hunter’s Tweed Managing Director, Tamara Inness, says: “We are as delighted with the opportunity to be associated with such an eminent Scottish institution as with the design and finish of the Royal Dornoch tweed. It is a connection that can only serve to further strengthen each brand, both at home and abroad.”

Founded in 1877, Royal Dornoch Golf Club presents exceptional standards that extend beyond the courses and greens to the restaurant, bar and lounge and other facilities. The course is currently ranked 12th in the world’s top 100 courses and has previously been awarded Golf Tourism Scotland’s “Course of the Year”.

About Royal Dornoch Golf Club
Royal Dornoch Golf Club was founded in the late 19th Century as a private members club, and was given the Royal title by King Edward VII in 1906. The club boasts a Championship course as well as a second 18-hole course, the Struie. Over the years, the club has played host to the Northern Open, the Scottish Ladies, and the Scottish Professional Championships. The club is situated in the town of Dornoch, 45 miles from the gateway to the Highlands, Inverness and its airport.

About Hunter’s Tweed
Hunter’s Tweed is a family run business that produces 100% pure new wool tweed in traditional dark colours and light, natural hues. The fabric is exclusively manufactured in the Highlands and the collection boasts original Hunters of Brora patterns which date back more than 100 years. The tweed is produced at a renowned mill in the Highlands, capitalising on the skills of local artisans who have been making this indigenous fabric for generations. Hunter’s Tweed is one of the only companies in the UK to offer 700 gram tweed, a fabric of such high quality that it can be applied to everything from upholstery to robust outdoor wear. Hunter’s Tweed is available at Calluna Country, the brand’s retail outlet in Brora, Sutherland, and online at

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Free Golf at Machrihanish Dunes

Looking for a great golf break? You could do an awful lot worse than this one in our inbox today! How about free golf? Great location in the Kintyre Peninsula? Two newly refurbished hotels?
And a great price to boot right through to the end of June!

Another reason why Scotland's For Me!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

What's in a Title...

Surprise Yourself - well I'm sure this did anyway! Ach it's only a name but it's funny all the same but Lord Glasgow needs to be told that he's sold up and moved on!

Doing some work for Golf Tourism Scotland and found the following little nugget in The South West Scotland section. Of course Kelburn is a wonderful place to visit and the Brazilian Mural graffiti on the tower is quite eye catching even if it was only meant to be up for a year (five or six years ago!)

Anyway the point is that Lord Bath is a much bearded chap we think who has something to do with Longleat but is not the owner of Kelburn! Kelburn Castle as far as we can still determine is still in the hands of Lord (Patrick) Glasgow.

Head there over the Easter holidays with the family to this great visitor attraction just to check will you?

There is also a Facebook campaign going on signed by about 4000 people to Save Kelburn's Brazilian...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bon Scott Festival - Highway to Kirriemuir!

AC/DC fans all over the world are well aware that the connections with the band and Scotland are close. The Young brothers were born in Cranhill in Glasgow and the late great Bon Scott was born in Kirriemuir in Angus on the eastern side of Scotland.

So we’re delighted to be able to help promote Bon Fest 2012 in the Angus village on the 4th and 5th of May 2012.

The image below captures most of the information and we’re sure it will be a great event. For more information visit the official BonFest website – tickets are on sale at and from Kirriemuir Art Gallery on Reforms Street priced at £12.50 a night or £20 for a two night ticket.

Angus Young Canvas

And if you fancy a little collectors item for your wall how about an Angus canvas? Scotland’s For Me commissioned these on T-shirts for the Hampden gig in 2009 and sold them out in three hours – we decided to put them on canvas and they can be purchased through the Scotland’s For Me Online Store.

Further Bon Scott reading...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Crail Food Festival in Fife

Crail Food Festival, which had a highly successful debut last summer, is to take place in the middle of June. Crail, which is located on the East Neuk of Fife just south of St Andrews, provides a great venue for such an event and can easily be reached from Edinburgh and Edinburgh Aiprort should you be looking for a short break ahead of the summer holidays.

The event, which brings together local and regional exhibitors, chefs, and musicians, pulled in over 2000 visitors in 2011.

The festival had an opening supper concert followed by two days of food tasting, sampling, cookery demonstrations, music and family fun.

Dedicated to showcasing local produce and promoting local Companies, the event received around £5,000 in grants from Fife Council , Comic Relief , and the Scottish Community Foundation.

It also had support from Scotland Food & Drink, which contributed towards the creation of a “Taste Of Fife “ food hall and a harbour Seafood Café.

The organisers said that the event generated local and national press coverage, up to 20% of visitors were from outlying areas, and visitor spend exceeded £15,000.

This year’s festival will take place from June 15th to 17th and you can find out more on the Crail Food Festival Website

Short Breaks in Fife

If you're looking for some accommodation how about booking online and DIRECT at the following four hotels all within striking distance of the Food Festival?

Cairngorms Photo Competition

Great photo competition from Aviemore and Cairngorms partnership - seems like a good idea maybe we should have a Scotland's For Me one?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Knockomie Plough to Palate Tour

Great to see some creative thinking going on up in the Speyside area as part of the wonderful Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. The Festival is themed on Whisky, Food, Music and the Heritage & Culture of Speyside, the 2012 Festival will offer a wide array of quality events between the 2nd and the 9th of May.

Our old friends Penny and Gavin Ellis at the wonderful Knockomie Hotel are producing a Speyside ‘Plough to Palate’ Tour on Sunday 6th May 2012 bringing together Moray's beautifully natural landscape with generation-spanning family tradition.

The tour begins at Newlands Farm, Rafford, where father and son work over 400 hectares of prime Moray countryside, pushing the boundaries in developing excellent new beef production techniques.

Guest will then travel in luxury to Benromach Distillery, Forres. Operated by Gordon & Macphail, the whisky from this small distillery incorporates the crystal clear water that runs from the Romach Hills into Sanquhar Loch.

Next to Knockomie Hotel, Forres, with local produce on the menu at this highly reputable venue. Lunch inclues a welcoming whisky cocktail & wine.

And what tour would be complete without sampling the alternative 'Spirit of Speyside' in the tranquil atmosphere of Pluscarden Abbey?

This ‘Plough to Palate' prestige tour runs from 10am - 5pm, Sunday 6th May.

Throughout the tour your expert guide will skilfully illustrate how his family history is interwoven with Speyside's food and drink heritage. For you, this tour will be a worthwhile investment; ensuring that your memories of Moray and Speyside are treasured forever.

This tour is priced @ £90.00 per person inclusive of all travel, tours and lunch and it is bookable through the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Website.

And of course if you're looking to tie in some accommodation you can stay over at the Knockomie Hotel and book direct for best available rates.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Second Annual Dundonald Games Kilted Golf Classic!

We've been sent information on a great fun golf event and this year it has even more reason to play as it's going to help a young Ayrshire girl get the treatment she needs in The States.

The 2012 Dundonald Games Kilted Golf Classic in Ayrshire is unique eighteen hole handicap stableford event has become a little more special this year as all proceeds from the event will go towards The Vanessa Riddle Appeal.

All of us living and working in Ayrshire - and indeed beyond - will be well aware of the magnificent community support given to raising funds to help give Vanessa Riddle receive the treatment she needs.

We ourselves have been taken aback by the work put in by so many of all ages and we are therefore delighted that Dundonald Links have been so generous in hosting this event which this year will see all proceeds go to the appeal.

The event itself will again be played over the quite magnificent Dundonald Links golf course in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland just 24 hours ahead of the annual Dundonald Games - the only difference between this and any other stabelford event is that Kilts are Compulsory!

The day is about enjoyment and added to the golf you will have access to the practice area and free range balls as well as Nearest the Pin, Longest Drive and the handicap stableford event - the four man team is a better ball stableford so you can even carry the odd non handicapper.

Find Out More and Reserve your Place Now

Golfing in Scotland Away From The Crowds

We often get carried away in Scotland with the presence of our big name courses and occasionally dredge up that awful phrase the Hidden Gems when talking to visitors.

But if we can avoid cliches there really is so many wonderful places top play golf with names that you've never heard of. In Argyll you could play Dunaverty; or Dragon's Tooth near Fort William; Tain or Golspie in the North Highlands or you could hit one of my favourite places The Isle of Arran and play one of seven great courses featured on the Golf Arran website.

I've only played Brodick and Shiskine but my neighbour plays every year in a company outing and swears by it. It is simply different and if experiences are what travel is about then golfing in Arran has to be on the bucket list.

Find out more about the golf on Arran and then investigate the produce, the Island Beers and Whiskies and maybe discover some live music along the way. Oh yeah and there's some great Ice Cream too!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

World's Largest Kilt Race

At first glance I thought this was a race featuring the World's Largest Kilt (which would have had limited appeal I admit) but clearly it was a call to action to gather together large numbers of kilted runners.

The event, The Perth Kilt Run, takes place on 2 June 2012 in an attempt to break the record for the World's Largest Kilt Race.

The Perth Kilt Run will be an 8km/5M run through town using both North and South Inches.

Event Details
Date: Saturday 2nd June 2012; Time: 2pm

Price: Entry is £10. You can add your kilt hire for our exclusive price of £34 (£24 + £10). Please note that your entry fee helps us bring the event to you and does not go to our partner Charities

Route: Flat. The distance will be 8km/5 miles on a route covering Perth's North and South Inches and alongside the River Tay on Tay Street. Please note that the route may be adjusted for the safety of all runners.

Kilts: Every runner is required to wear a kilt. We have a kilt hire facility through our entry system although runners are welcome to wear their own kilt or we can recommend the fantastic selection of Kilt Shops in Perth. Please note that you need to book your kilt very quickly to avoid disappointment.

Race Numbers: Race numbers and safety pins will be available for collection at our registration within Perth Concert Hall on the morning of the race. Race Numbers will not be sent in the post.Charity: Fundraising is entirely optional, although we hope as many people as possible will take the chance to support our affiliate charities.

Visit the official Kilt Race website for more info and entries

It's quite co-incidental as we're looking at getting the final arrangements in place for the Dundonald Kilted Golf Classic 2012.

What we need is more Kilted Events...

Monday, 13 February 2012

St Andrews Golf Trip Auction

Fancy some world class golf in Scotland? Well how about bidding for it in the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation Auction?

The winners will play Golf in St Andrews and Carnoustie, Scotland in the footsteps of Open Champions between the 2nd and 8th July 2012 giving an exceptional opportunity to experience Golfing Heaven!

The auction prize includes 6 nights in the home of golf  and a once in a lifetime chance for 4 golfers to walk in the footsteps of Open Champions and enjoy special, exclusive privileges that money cannot buy

Golf Package Details
Best Western Scores Hotel is the nearest hotel to the 1st tee of the Old Course. It has spectacular views over the West Sands and St Andrews Bay. The hotel is adding 6 new Junior suites in 2012.

  • The auction prize will be for 2 sea view twins for 6 nights bed and breakfast. 
  • Guaranteed tee time for 4 on the famous St Andrews Old Course in the home of golf
  • Guaranteed tee time for 4 on the challenging links of the Championship Course Carnoustie
  • Guaranteed tee time for 4 at the fabulous Kingsbarns Links, hailed as a natural golf wonder
  • Guaranteed tee time for 4 at the Jubilee and the New on the St Andrews Links
  • Guaranteed tee time for 4 at both Craighead & Balcomie Crail Golfing Society, the world's 7th oldest golf club instituted in 1786. Designed by Old Tom Morris
  • Private visit to the R&A Clubhouse with conducted tour
  • Surface transport from Glasgow/Edinburgh airport and throughout the 6 day stay
  • Whisky tasting and a lot of warm Scottish hospitality
NB: Proof of golf handicap will be necessary. A complete day-by day itinerary will be issued to the successful bidder.You can bid online here with the current bid standing at £7100 (13th of February).

Good luck to the lucky bidders!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

2 for 1 Offers for Simpsinns

SimpsInns in Ayrshire have asked us to remind their Loyalty Card holders not to forget to book their 2 for 1 offer at The Waterside through the month of February. It's an exclusive promotion for all SimpsInns Loyalty Card holders. Booking is essential; simply call 01294 824414 and quote LOYFEB12. Usual T&Cs apply. If you haven't already got a loyalty card, sign up now to take advantage of this and many other great offers from SimpsInns.

Valentine's Dinner in The Scottish Borders

Super Valentine's Day treat at The Wheatsheaf at Swinton.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Trouble Boys at Backstage Kinross

Just announced by Mundell Music for Backstage at The Green Hotel in Kinross is an interesting band The Trouble Boys who will be appearing live on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th March.

The Trouble Boys are the brainchild of world-renowned songwriter/singer, session player & ex-Rockpile and Pretenders guitarist Billy Bremner, Ducks Deluxe and Tyla Gang frontman & writer, Sean Tyla and saxophonist and founder of Sweden's premier rock & roll band, The Refreshments - Micke Finell. They needed Sweden's No.1 power house rhythm section, Nordic drumming legend, Ingemar Dunker and ex-Roxette bass maestro, Tommy Cassemar to make the outfit swing like a donkey's doo-dah. This isn't a fanciful, 'one-off' diversion but a driven, full-blown, long-term venture to which all members are totally committed. The evidence is clearly defined in their live performances.

With a veritable haul of silver and gold studio albums, & tours of the world between them, they are a class act by any standards & a whole lot of trouble when it come to rocking your socks off! Get checked out by your doctor before you go to see them.

They are loud and nasty and they rock like a crab boat in a force ten gale.

Fri 2nd & Sat 3rd March Buy Tkts Fri Buy Tkts Sat

Segway in The Scottish Highlands

I was touring around the west Highlands seeing some clients old and new and the great thing about doing this is you just learn so much more about what's available to the Scottish visitor. So whilst I know that old friend Laurence Young was doing plenty up near Ballachulish with the wonderful Dragon's Tooth Golf Course I wasn't aware of his involvement in developing Glencoe Activities.

We'll blog a lot more about Glencoe Activities over the next couple of months and keep you up to speed with all the things you can get up to in the area but after I left him I had a wee look onine at some of the activities available and I am now desperate to get my hands (and feet) onto one of his Segways. A Segway? Have a look at the video...

Laurence advised that it takes about five minutes to get over the strange sensation and balance but after that you're off and running. Well off and something if not quite running.

It looks awesome. So there you go a wee family break at The Balluchulish Hotel, a couple of nines on The Dragon's Tooth spectacularly located golf course and a session on a Segway.

Nothing to do in Scotland? Yeah right

Forth Bridge to Be Knighted Shocker

It's been announced today by the BBC that one of Scotland's most famous landmarks the Forth Bridge is to be knighted.

It is understood to be the first time a structure has been given such an honour, usually reserved for famous faces and extraordinary youngsters. The government said it was in recognition of the outstanding history of the 121-year-old rail bridge.

In an entirely unrelated announcement we understand from a BBC insider that former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin has today had his Blue Peter badge removed. Mr Goodwin who was awarded the badge, ironically for painting a very pretty picture of another famous Scottish landmark, had it removed when it was discovered that the paint he'd used was not his after all.

The removal of a Blue Peter Badge is a highly unusual occurence and means that the holder will no longer have free access to a large number of Blue Peter Attractions.

The BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston was, most unusually, unavailable for comment

Romantic Evening in the West Highlands

Valentine's Treats in Ayrshire

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Why Whisky is SO Important to Scotland

Another Wee Dram  from Victor...
This article is one of an occasional series of thoughts brought to you by Victor "Bagging" Brierley of Glasgow Whisky Tours. The opinions herein are his and only his and all writs, suits and death threats should be sent to Victor on his own Facebook page or via his own Glasgow Whisky Tours website.

Imagine travelling 5.000 miles across the globe to drink the drink that you love, on its home patch. Imagine then finding out that this same iconic drink is ignored in most of the bars you visit and the majority of the people you speak to don't know much about it. This, dear friends, is the story of Scotch Whisky.

We're a wee country in the Northern and chilly parts of Europe but our National Drink is revered and there's a bottle of it in just about every bar in the World. So, how on earth did this come to be? It's a very good question and if you come looking for an answer to this in the majority of bars and licensed premises in Scotland, you'll not be finding an answer.

Sure, in the 'Aficionado' circuit which is 99% dominated by men of a certain age, you get LOADS of knowledge, lots of it a bit too anally retentive and some of it focusing on box-ticking and cataloguing. The sort of thing that only 50-something year old men are really good at. You'll also get 'Industry' knowledge but when this is combined with in-house fighting and a scenario where you can visit certain distilleries and be shown a map featuring only their portfolio of distilleries, ignoring all the rest in Scotland, it's easy to paint a pretty bland and depressing picture of Whisky on its home turf.

Of course, there are exemplars and people who do a marvellous job selling and preaching about The World's most iconic spirit drink but I know that when you go drinking in a Glasgow Whisky bar and the member of staff doesn't know the difference between a Single Malt and a Blend, you'd have to say, there's got to be room for improvement.

Whisky generates £109 per second for the British economy but over 90% of the whisky produced in Scotland is exported. You could argue that is most of it is consumed abroad, does it really matter about the piddly wee market of Scotland? After all, if you were a big brand with ever tightening budgets, would you really be anything other than mad to dedicate time at home, when there's billions of Chinese and Indians who simply love our National Drink and want to buy rather a lot of it?

Well yes, the domestic market is tiny, probably even shrinking at a time when exports rose 23% in 2010, so surely we're over emphasising its importance? The simple answer is it's IMPOSSIBLE to over emphasise the importance of Whisky in Scotland. For instance, imagine if the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker, the worlds bigging selling Scotch Whisky was in USA, or China or Dubai? They would have Johnnie Walker World, a theme park, probably open all year round and packed with pampered tourists spending lots of tourism dosh.

What do we have at the ACTUAL home of Johnnie Walker, which is in Speyside? Erm, it's not quite this. If you were being kind, you'd call it 'twee'. It's not designed to extract tourism dollars, it's sort of seen as a bit of an afterthought.

And this is where we need to change. There are nearly 100 distilleries in Scotland, owned by various Global entities and tiny independents but they don't talk and they don't tell you about the other distilleries. Some of the visitor centres are good, some a top drawer. Others are closed and incredibly, for some Iconic brands, they don't even exist.

If you combine this with thousands of bars in Scotland who know next to nothing about our National Drink but could tell you the provenance of every bottle of imported lager in their fridge, it's clear we need to change.

So, how do we do this? It's actually really simple. Training. I'll now declare my interest here as I have set up a Limited Company called The Whisky Ambassador which is going to try and do lots of things. It's a big 'ask' as a football pundit might say but we're simply looking at the Mantra: Drink Less, Drink Better. Instead of fobbing customers off with a generic 'malt of the month', we're wanting to get Scotland to upsell in the bars here. Give customers a reason to drink something better. For bar staff to do this, they need power, they need buy-in from management and they need unity and support from the dynamic but divided Scotch whisky producers. Above all, they need training.

If's easier to simply pour another vodka or direct a customer to their 'usual' blend which depressingly clog up the optics eyline of the majority of bars in Scotland. It's a bit tougher to enthuse and be proactive about our National drink and offer alternatives, because in the majority of bars, there ins't an alternative/ "Nobody drinks 18 year old malts, so we don't have them' is the stock (or should that be lack of stock) answer. Yeah yeah, I know Catch 22, chicken and egg...

I've run out of space in this blog but I'll be telling you more about The Whisky Ambassador and Drink Less, Drink Better. It's a great idea as our email in boxes are telling us but it's not really something we can do alone. Knowlege is power. We want to supply the knowledge, we need unity and forward thinking for people to invest in training, be a bit cleverer in marketing and really just talk to each other. Hopefully, as an Independent, not linked to any trade body or distillery owner, we'll be able to do this. We'll be rolling out The Whisky Ambassador brand in the next few weeks, so watch this space. Imagine a sort of star grading system. like Michelin has, where you can select the best places to enjoy a luxury dram and I'm not just talking about the handful of luxury hotels who do it well.

We want people to find the real gems and get a proper whisky experience here, not the apologetic, pathetic excuse for one that's generally on offer in Scotland, the home of Whisky. As any football pundit worth his salt might cliche, it's a bit of a no-brainer, Motty.

Monday, 23 January 2012

St Andrews Festival of Golf 28th March to 1st April

The St. Andrews Golf Festival, golf’s first-ever organised celebration, will take place between 28 March and 1 April in this historic town where golf has been played for over 600 years.

The creative Festival, which hopes to attract international visitors, has an impressive schedule of events, exhibitions, tours, lectures, films and skills competitions planned for the launch of this five-day extravaganza.

Over the coming days and weeks the Hotels will be updating offers and availability for events throughout the festival and we'll feature a few of the highlights in the blog and Facebook pages. You can check availability around Fife and book online using the checker on the right.

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, affirmed his support of the endeavour by stating: “St. Andrews is celebrated worldwide as the Home of Golf and it is apt the world’s first-ever Festival of Golf is happening in this ancient sporting town. The St. Andrews Golf Festival aims to not only raise the profile of St. Andrews andScotlandworldwide but also improve tourism and business revenue regionally, nationally and internationally.

“With a rich itinerary of events, the St. Andrews Golf Festival will hopefully grow in stature to become a well received fixture inScotland’s calendar. I offer my warm support and all the very best for a successful Festival.”

Exhibitions to showcase the history of the game and some of golf’s most distinguished champions will be held at the St Andrews Golf Hotel and the Best Western Scores Hotel in St. Andrewsand will include tributes to:
  • Old Tom Morris
  • Bobby Jones
  • Seve Ballesteros
  • The History of Golf in St. Andrews
  • Keepers of the Green
  • The Ryder Cup
  • Women’s Golf and much more.
Richard Wax, Chairman of the Festival, said: “We are very grateful to the First Minister for his support. The Festival is a world first and I am delighted that First Minister has been able to show his support for our initiative in this way. We are also very grateful to the town’s associations including the St Andrews Partnership, the Hotel and Guest House Association, the Links Trust and the many other businesses involved with the Festival.

“The advice, support and direction of the regional and national bodies including Fife Council, EventScotland and VisitScotland have been simply superb. Our aim is to encourage tourists toSt Andrewsearlier in the season and to raise revenue for local businesses. To date our story has reached over 24 million people and we hope that the global appetite for our story will see the Festival grow year after year.”

Speakers at the Festival include the following and you can find out a lot more about these and a lot more aabout St Andrews Golf Festival Talks on the official website
  • David Joy (on Old Tom Morris and the golfers of his era)
  • David Hamilton (on artisan golf)
  • Lewine Mair (on the History of Women’s Golf)
  • Kyle Phillips on his design of Kingsbarns Links
  • MungoPark(on Willie Park Snr)
  • Steven Reid (on Bobby Jones)
There will be arange of book signings by authors Ivan Morris, John Hagen, David Hurdie, and Henry Lord. There are also art galleries by Graeme Baxter, Richard Chorley, Harold Riley, Joe Austen, Hugh Dodd and David Joy.

There will be golf films played at venues across St Andrews including at the exhibitions plus an exclusive viewing of unseen footage from the outtakes of the BBC film on Seve Ballesteros, which will be introduced by the producer and director of the programme, Jo McCusker.

Daily activities during the festival include a golf tour around St Andrews golf spots accompanied by Mr Jimmy Bone (aka Old Tom’s caddy in the theatre production of Old Tom Morris), charity putting competitions on the Links Trust green, hickory golf events, guided walks around the historic sites of St Andrews, golf simulators and charity fundraising for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation.

On Saturday evening, the St. Andrews Golf Festival Awards will be held in St. Andrews University’s historic Younger Hall, where Bobby Jones, Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and other icons of the game received honorary degrees from the ancient university.

All exhibitions, exclusive talks, book signings and gala night events are free for everyone.

The Festival line up is constantly growing and further ideas include “Street Golf” in the historic lanes of St. Andrews to re-enact the game of Sillybodkins that was played during Old Tom’s day with sticks and old corks.

For a listing of Festival events, visit The schedule is continually updated with additional activities that will interest golfers and non-golfers of all ages.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Be Creative in Scotland in 2012?

Another great promotional video highlighting some great places in Scotland.

The Brig o Doon Hotel in Alloway sits right on that famous bridge and is one of the true hidden gems of Scottish Hospitality. Great value online booking direct with the hotel.

A BabyMoon Break in St Andrews...

Whatever Next! Mums and Dads-to-be enjoy an exclusive BabyMoon break at Fairmont St Andrews!

Many pregnant women are taking advantage of their last baby-free days to hit the road on a getaway built for two. Spas are often a key vacation activity, and Fairmont St Andrews have created a package designed to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect mommies and dads to be at this joyful, but sometimes stressful, time of their lives.

Fairmont St Andrews Baby-moon Break includes:
  • Two nights’ accommodation in a Sea View Suite
  • Selection of Chocolates on arrival
  • A full Scottish Breakfast in bed on both mornings (healthy continental option available)
  • Unlimited use of our Signature Spa and Relaxation Room
  • A 60 minute therapeutic maternity treatment
  • A three course dinner in any of our stunning restaurants
  • A 15% discount at Baby Farmore, St Andrews
  • Complimentary Bath Butler by candlelight
  • Unlimited Films for one night
  • £10 Cravings Card for the mum to be (available 24 hours a day)
This package is based on two adults sharing. Available from £399 per person, based on a two night stay.

Expectant parents will be treated to opulent accommodation in a stunning sea-view guest room overlooking the medieval St Andrews, perfect for enjoying a full night’s sleep. In addition, the five bubble-awarded signature spa is the perfect place to reconnect. Enjoy a fabulous maternity treatment specifically tailored to improve circulation, assist lower back pain, relive edema and create an overall sense of well-being, while being gentle and safe for both mother and child, all in the comfort of the couple’s suite! Sit by the 16 metre pool, Jacuzzi and steam room or spend some quality time in one of the private relaxation rooms.

Enjoy a laid back morning with a “healthy start” breakfast in bed and top it off with a scrumptious three course dinner in any of our fabulous restaurants including the magnificent Squire restaurant or stunning Clubhouse.

Take advantage of a sumptuous evening together with a fabulous bath butler service where luxurious skin nourishing oils and candlelight set the mood, complete with handmade chocolates and unlimited films in your room.

The historic town of St Andrews is the perfect place to soak up some history and take in the stunning views! Take a pleasant stroll on the beach or around the town and visit Baby Faremore, a delightful baby shop, where you can receive an exclusive 15% discount!

In case of cravings mum-to-be is provided with a £10 cravings card to order any item to the room, available 24 hours a day.

Make the most of the last few months alone together and spend an indulgent few days at this five star luxury resort.