What are Arbroath Smokies?

There is an Arbroath smokies easy recipe further down the page if you already have a couple of smokies on the kitchen table and what to do with them is starting to bother you. You cannot travel through the coastal Angus town of Arbroath without noticing Arbroath smokies – or at least the many fish…

Border Terrier – Entertaining

Now middle-aged and chilled. (The dog, I mean…) Is there any more to say about this little chap…our idiosyncratic, lovable, affectionate, entertaining, occasionally irritating Border terrier? Wait, sorry, scrub that very last part of the description, because he is very forgivable. This is by way of another update – of a sensitive wee dog who…

Tap o Noth – mysterious hill-fort of the Picts

Away out in the bare knuckle of Buchan on the coastal plain, it’s just plain bleak and also cultivated intensely. Further up into the hinterland of Aberdeenshire, mainly towards the valley of the Rivers Dee and Don, it’s almost Highland: bigger hills, wilder woods, higher hilltops. South of the town of Huntly, it’s transitional. It…

Scottish Area Names for Tourism Marketing – Do they work?

With the other, in a tourism context, it takes a bit more marketing effort. Sometimes it involves a ‘tagline’ – a phrase stuck on to the end of the Scottish area name, by way of explanation of where in Scotland and what you might like about it. Actually, a tagline is a bit marketing-speak. It’s…

Things I wouldn’t write about Tourism in Scotland now

More than three decades ago I started to get plenty of business writing material for and about Scotland’s tourism industry. Tourist Boards, travel publishers both national and international – I did ’em all back then! (And for years afterwards.) I kept some of the stuff and this cardboard boxful of print followed me around, from…

Loch Katrine Accommodation – new perspective

A historic setting for Loch Katrine accommodation in the heart of The Trossachs, where Scottish tourism began. It’s pretty much self-evident that when you get an attraction or an area that gets lots of visitors, the ‘infrastructure’ follows on – whether that takes the form of car parks, information boards, interpretation centres, cafes or accommodation.…

How Many Towns in Scotland?

The answer to how many towns in Scotland depends on definitions. One authority says Scotland has 59 towns – this according to a 2019 report by a famous university in England. The same report also states that Scotland has three cities. As this city figure has been arrived at by deciding that a town is…

What do you want from your Scottish holiday?

So, the ghastly 2020 and the little-better 2021 is behind us and tourism and hospitality might return to a new normal. If so, then these thoughts from a year or two ago may still apply to a Scottish holiday. Consider this scenario. It used to happen most years back then, when Johanna guided private clients,…

The St Columba Brand

You know how Scottish tourism promotion is all about marketing these days? Well, it used to be about information provision. The industry used to have information experts who actually knew something about the product. That’s old hat now and tourism is all about slick promotion. (Oh, wait, except for this website, obviously.) Still with me?…

Birds of Prey Shows – performance without dignity

Here’s a faraway glimpse of a barn owl. When I saw it in the half-light of a winter afternoon in this Perthshire glen I thought for a fraction of a second I was looking at a snowy owl. No, just a barn owl – but equally inspiring. That weird specialism, all that hovering in the…

That Border Terrier in Scotland – an update

In 2014 a life-changing event occurred. We were taken on full-time by a Border terrier. I wrote a blog back then about his arrival. It’s time for an update. Rupee the dog originally arrived as a refugee from my daughter’s household – personality clash with his brother, acquired at the same time. He even answered…

The Hype of the Northern Lights in Scotland

“The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen mean home sweet home to me…the Northern Lights of Aberdeen are what I long to see…” Ah yes, dripping with nostalgia, that snatch of the song ‘The Northern Lights’ is entirely appropriate for the phenomenon itself. Why? Well, the composer, Mary Webb, was from Leamington Spa, England, and had…

Attack of the Killer Midges

OK, in the title, I exaggerate, but only slightly. If you read our midges in Scotland page, you might detect the faintest hint of ‘Och, what’s all the fuss about?’ Sure, Scottish midges never killed anyone – but, yes, they can be a bit of an irritation. However, after our experience one year during a hot…

Sunday afternoon in Glasgow

While visiting the family, resident in Glasgow, three generations of us, including small grand-child, went to try out the Platform at Argyle Street Arches in the city. This complex is housed in the arched substructures supporting the railway station above. You enter directly off the Hielandman’s Umbrella. That is the name of the bridge over…

Riverside Cottage

Cosy and comfortable cottage on Royal Deeside In the old days, the tourism promoters called the off-season ‘the shoulder months’. Maybe they still do. Anyway, when an invitation arrived for a wee break in a self-catering property, called Riverside Cottage, in the Royal Deeside town of Ballater, we hesitated for only a moment. Besides, Ballater…