Jul
01
2010
0

Is the Callanish stone circle open all the time?

Standing stone circle at CalanaisAnyone who can get to the Isle of Lewis can visit the standing stones of Callanish, and move around freely – quite different from the untouchable Stonehenge circle at the other end of the UK, which attracts about 20 visitors for every one at Callanish. The main site has a sheep-proof fence, gate, and a [&hel[more...]

Jun
07
2010
0

Can a luckenbooth brooch have a heart but no crown?

antique luckenbooth brooches - Anstruther-Duncan collectionMost luckenbooth brooches sold today are heart-shaped with a crown above. Sometimes the design is a pair of interlocking twin hearts.  But it wasn’t always so. This kind of traditional Scottish brooch could be a very simple outline heart, as you can see in some museums. So don’t take it as a rule that only [&hel[more...]

Written by | 8,589 views | Tags: , , , , , | 0 Comments
May
26
2010
2

Is Harris Tweed still made the traditional way?

harris tweed swatchesThe new Dr. Who, Matt Smith, wears a distinctive jacket made of genuine Harris Tweed. The press has called it “timeless”, “traditional”, “vintage” and even “romantic”. The Doctor’s jacket is made from cloth woven in the 1960s, the same age as the TV programme itself.  The fabric looks much like Harris Tweed woven today, and [&hel[more...]

Written by | 3,951 views | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments
Feb
27
2010
2

Why is Gretna Green famous for weddings?

gretna-greenGretna Green, a small village in Scotland just across the border from England, is renown for the many weddings celebrated there: more than 5000 each year and one in six Scottish weddings. It is especially known as a place where young couples eloped to. It all started in 1754, when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act took [&hel[more...]

Written by | 1,806 views | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments
Feb
17
2010
6

Where did Johnny Cash's Scottish ancestors come from?

Easter Cash, Fife, Scotland: Did Johnny Cash's ancestors live near here? (Photo by Iain Gillespie, CC-BY)In the 1670s a young Scotsman called William Cash sailed to the New World and set up home in Virginia.  Nine generations later his direct descendant, country music star Johnny Cash, wanted to explore his ancestry. He crossed the Atlantic in the other direction, to visit the part of Fife once known as the “lands [&hel[more...]

Written by | 5,073 views | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments
Jul
07
2009
1

Where can you see historic needlework in Scotland?

Traquair House has fine needlework from the 1600s and 1700s  (Photo by quezi.com - CC-BY)Fans of old embroidery will find plenty in Scotland. The suggestions here are a few favourites, all in reach of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Traquair is an ancient house with a unique collection of old needlework. The 16th century petit point fruit and flower “slip” motifs are well-preserved, still waiting to be sewn onto soft furnishings, [&hel[more...]

Jun
05
2009
0

Which airport has to wait for tide to go out?

Barra Airport runway and terminal buildings (photo by Kevin Walsh CC-BY)The Outer Hebrides are a collection of islands on the west coast of Scotland. Barra is the most southerly of the inhabited islands. Although a small island, Barra is famed for its scenery: beautiful beaches, machair (fertile low-lying grassy plain), its hills, and being the home of the clan MacNeill and their 15th century Kisimul [&hel[more...]

Written by | 3,102 views | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments
Jun
02
2009
0

Did Rosslyn Chapel benefit from the Da Vinci Code?

Rosslyn green man - one of the church's medieval stone carvings (Photo by TF Duesing - CC-BY)Rosslyn Chapel already had 30,000 visitors a year before Dan Brown used it in his mystical adventure novel the Da Vinci Code in 2003. Numbers rose, and then escalated massively after the 2006 movie version showed Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou searching for secrets there. The church near Edinburgh, Scotland was overflowing with tourists in [&hel[more...]

May
16
2009
1

Is Scottish money legal in England?

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (artwork by eddiedangerous - CC-BY)The pound sterling (GBP) is the legal currency throughout the United Kingdom, and the Bank of England prints banknotes for this currency. Due to a quirk of history, three Scottish banks and four Northern Ireland banks also print notes denominated in United Kingdom pounds. Before 1844-45, each bank issued their own notes. The Bank Charter [&hel[more...]

Written by | 5,356 views | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment
May
06
2009
0

How can I buy an island?

Swedish idyl (photo by visulogik - CC-BY)Even though much of the world is heavily populated, there are privately-owned islands being bought and sold every day. You don’t need to be a millionaire to “join the club”, although if you’ve got serious money it greatly increases your options. Suppose you want a genuine tropical island in the Bahamas, the Caribbean or the [&hel[more...]

Apr
23
2009
0

What is Edinburgh city profile?

Edinburgh Castle - courtesy mr mackey - CC-BYEdinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and the seventh largest city in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh’s history began in the Iron and Bronze Ages. At its formal founding it was a part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, an Anglian kingdom on the east side of Great Britain and finally became the capital of Scotland in [&hel[more...]

Apr
13
2009
0

What are rag trees, clootie wells, and raggedy bushes?

Scottish clootie well, with rags and ribbons tied on trees for good luck and healing, and water trickling nearby. (Photo by conner395 - CC-BY)Rag trees, clootie wells, and raggedy bushes are English, Scottish, and Irish names for special places with a mystical reputation. People visit in the hope of healing and good fortune and tie a piece of cloth on a particular tree or bush near a well or source of water. Often the tree is a hawthorn [&hel[more...]

Written by | 9,403 views | Tags: , , , , , , , | 0 Comments
Mar
29
2009
0

What are some Easter egg traditions from Britain?

Coloured eggs for Easter rolling or hunting (Photo by kishbee - CC-BY) An egg hunt is popular in some parts of the UK, but at one time it was as likely to be a hare hunt – either really trying to find a hare or a ritual mock hunt. The idea of the Easter hare, or a rabbit, hiding eggs for children to find may have arrived [&hel[more...]

Written by | 4,525 views | Tags: , , , , , , | 0 Comments
Feb
24
2009
4

What is black pudding made of?

Scottish full breakfast including a slice of fried black pudding (photo by mdid - CC-BY)The usual recipe for black pudding starts with the words “Take one quart of pig’s blood”, so this is not a dish for the faint-hearted. Black pudding is basically pig’s blood mixed with fat and fillers, stuffed into the intestine of a pig or ox, and boiled then fried. Take one quart of pig’s blood [&hel[more...]

Written by | 13,571 views | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
Feb
19
2009
0

Any ideas for a day trip to Glasgow?

Glasgow - looking across the River Clyde to the Science Centre  -  photo by Francois Schnell - CC-BYIf you’re in Glasgow with children, you could spend most of the day in the titanium-walled Science Centre pictured above. As well as spacious halls full of try-it-yourself exhibits appealing to different ages, there are cleverly-staged demonstrations, a café, an Imax cinema, and fine views from the impressive rotating tower. Staying near the river, visit [&hel[more...]

Feb
17
2009
0

What is meant by ‘authentic’ Celtic jewellery?

Torcs like these necklaces were worn 2000 years ago in Celtic cultures - photo by Helen Etheridge - CC-BYDictionaries say authentic means genuine, but how much does that help when browsing Celtic jewellery stores? A strict interpretation of the word would leave us nothing but ancient gold, silver, and bronze belonging to museums. Many people choosing this kind of jewellery simply want pieces influenced by Celtic traditions in tune with their beliefs and [&hel[more...]

Written by | 11,936 views | Tags: , , , , , | 0 Comments
Feb
07
2009
0

What can visitors do in the Scottish Borders?

Paxton House in Scotland looks towards the River Tweed, and the English border.  Photo by kristeenb - CC-BYIf you’re travelling between England and central Scotland, why not leave time to explore the Borders region as you pass through? There’s plenty of choice for tourists and for anyone planning a day out from Newcastle, Glasgow or Edinburgh. Amongst the wonderful scenery, there are great opportunities for hiking, biking and hill-walking. The River Tweed [&hel[more...]

Feb
02
2009
1

Is there gold in the UK?

Is there gold in this Scottish burn? (photo by crabchick CC-BY)There is certainly gold in the United Kingdom, but not in all of the UK. Gold is to be found in Cornwall and Devon, North and Mid-Wales, and Scotland. It can be mined or found in streams. For an individual who would like to try panning, the amounts will not pay off your mortgage, but [&hel[more...]

Written by | 6,786 views | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
Jan
29
2009
0

Is the law different in England and Scotland?

Court room in Edinburgh, Scotland - photo by www.theedinburghblog.co.uk - CC-BYYes, there are many differences between Scots law and English law. It’s not just a question of small details for lawyers to worry about, but of two separate legal systems. Anyone moving from one side of the border to the other should bear this in mind. Common legal issues that lead many people to consult [&hel[more...]

Written by | 8,497 views | Tags: , , , | 0 Comments
Jan
26
2009
0

Is a guided tour the best way to see Edinburgh?

Edinburgh skyline – photo by davidhc – CC-BYIf you’re on a short visit to Edinburgh, go directly to the Old Town to see the headline historic sights. This area is the traditional heart of the city, clustered round the Royal Mile: the street that leads from the Castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom. You can’t see much of  [&hel[more...]

Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements