Setting the itinerary for adventure!

Setting the itinerary for adventure!

SETTING THE ITINERARY FOR ADVENTURE!

From the highlands of Scotland, to the beaches of Bali and the game reserves of South Africa, The Divine Destination Collection manages to create the perfect blend of luxury and adventure – along with a unique touch of the spiritual – with every trip.

SO HOW DO THEY DO IT?

The secret sauce turns out to be a whole lot of experience, blended with a generous sprinkling of trusted colleagues around the world, and topped off by a big helping of curiosity and imagination.

“It all starts off with a decision from our Travel Advisory Board on where our next adventure is going to take place,” says Allison Frame, co-founder of The Divine Destination Collection with friend and business partner Deb Niven.

“Creating the Divine-by-Design Travel Advisory Board was one of those Aha! moments,” says Allison. “We thought – why not include the traveller before the travelling actually takes place!”

Deb and Allison present about eight options to the Travel Advisory Board, which is made up of like-minded travellers, ensuring each selection fits in with their signature style – five-star luxury along with a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual dimension.

“Spirituality and hotels are our two anchors,” says Allison. “We do a lot of research on destinations that have a sacred or spiritual pull. Then we make sure the accommodations are outstanding.”

PUTTING THE DIVINE INTO THE DETAILS

With the Travel Advisory Board’s help, an amazing destination is selected – and Deb and Allison start putting the itinerary together for an unforgettable trip.

Since both women have been involved in the corporate meetings & incentive travel business for years, they have a lot of experience to draw on – as well as a large Rolodex (do we still use that word?) full of valuable contacts from around the world!

It always helps to have someone on the ground with local knowledge of how to get around, what to see, and where the best restaurants and hotels are.

That’s why Allison & Deb bring a local Destination Management Company or DMC onboard. They help find unique accommodations and experiences that are impossible to find without a local connection.

“Yes – there are actually DMCs in almost every country around the world! And the great thing is, once they find out how different we are, they are really inspired to dig even further to find more unique & spiritual elements in and around their destination.

“We tell them what we are looking for, but we also ask them for ideas. That’s because we always want to add in a few surprises to delight our guests on every trip,” says Allison.

THE REALITY CHECK

Of course, when something looks great in a photo or on paper, it may not always turn out to be as good in real life. So, Allison and Deb actually take a trip ahead of time to test out all the luxury accommodations, fabulous restaurants, and incredible adventures they are considering for the itinerary.

“It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it,” laughs Allison.

And this reconnaissance mission (aka site inspection) always pays off. For example, for their trip to South Africa, Allison were intrigued by the idea of enjoying a gourmet meal while travelling through the countryside and game reserve on a beautiful antique train from the 1920s.

But when she showed up for the train it was late, and then, instead of a delightful meal accompanied by spectacular scenery, the train stopped on the track and dinner was served onboard a stationary train beside a busy road.

Not exactly the elegant, historical adventure they were hoping for!

To make sure all the food, amenities, and service add up to a truly luxurious and outstanding experience, Deb and Allison stay a night at each hotel – and visit the list of exceptional venues they have lined up for the trip.

“We want to try out all the new and up and coming restaurants & venues – the places that are really generating a buzz,” says Allison. “That’s another reason a good DMC comes in handy – they can often use a connection when it’s hard to get in.”

One of the highlights of the trip to Ireland a few years ago was the opportunity to dine with a local family, and the group is going to feature this experience again when they go to Scotland.

“We use our contacts to meet really interesting, fun people to host a meal. It ends up being a night full of great local food and wonderful conversation – a real window into how people live – and an experience you couldn’t get by travelling on your own.”

Local contacts also help the group navigate through the sometimes confusing travel and customs procedures in different parts of the world.

“In Zambia, as soon as our plane touched down, our DMC was there to collect everyone’s passports and quickly move us through customs & immigration. As a matter of fact, we were at the hotel relaxing and having drinks on the lawn when our fellow passengers on the plane finally arrived,” laughs Allison.

NEXT STOP – THE SACRED SOUTH OF FRANCE AND THE MYSTERY OF MARY MAGDALENE

Allison has already completed the site inspection for next spring’s South of France adventure.

An important part of the trip was speaking to experts in the legend and lore of Mary Magdalene, who is believed to have come to France after the crucifixion of Christ.

“I learned about places she was said to have been, preached, and where she has said to have healed many,” says Allison. “It was like the Da Vinci Code. It was fascinating!

“We also learned a lot about the excellent food and wine in the South of France. I never really cared for Rosés before – but now I’m a convert!”

Stay tuned for the exciting itinerary to be revealed in September. This is a trip you won’t want to miss!

TIPS FROM ALLISON FOR CREATING YOUR OWN ITINERARY

Do your research

– Whether you are looking for the high-end travel of Condé Nast Traveller magazine, or the rough and ready adventures in the Lonely Planet guides, learn as much as you can about your travel destination.

“That also includes checking out travel blogs, reading reviews on Trip Advisor, and talking to anyone you know who has been there.”

But most important, have an open mind

– “Say yes to it all!. That way you will always be surprised and pleased.”

“And if you are up for a great adventure, but just don’t have the time to plan – think about booking a private group trip with us. “We’ll reveal the magic of the destination in a way you never thought possible,” promises Allison.

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Home From The Camino

Home From The Camino

HOME FROM THE CAMINO

Last year we spoke to three travellers who were journeying to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with The Divine Destination Collection to ask how they were preparing for the trip, and what their expectations were. As promised, we have caught up with them after the May 2019 trip to find out what they experienced.

A SPIRITUAL PORTAL

Jenny Grajpel has always been attracted to exploring the spiritual side of life, so it was the spiritual aspect of the Camino that had really called to her – and it didn’t disappoint.

“I was aware that the Camino was a spiritual portal, or area of high energy concentration – so I knew what to expect and I was open to connecting to it,” says Jenny. “I experienced beautiful insights, transformation, and clarity.”

Jenny also loved the group experience. “I didn’t have to think about things. Everything was taken care of from the moment I was picked up – meals, hotel, transportation. And the standards were very high. I loved being pampered with such outstanding food and wine.

“I remember backpacking in my 20s and spending so much time looking for a place to stay and figuring out where to eat. So I fully understand and appreciate the effort put into all the arrangements.”

The highlight of the trip for Jenny was travelling by horse on the last day of the Camino. “It was wonderful to connect with the horse and see things from a different perspective. After we dismounted, we had a superb lunch in a meadow with wine, rice, seafood and Serrano ham – then we walked the last leg of the journey into Santiago.”

WALKING WITH OTHERS

Kathy Zurla had an idea of what the Camino was going to be like from books and films, “but until you physically experience the Camino, it is completely different,” she says.

“The beautiful Galician countryside, architecture, historical pilgrim stories, and all the different weather elements. It was continually magical.”

A big part of the magic came from the diverse group of people she travelled with on the adventure, says Kathy. “Many had insights into the spiritual side of the journey, pointing out how to allow your heart to stay open to the adventures and signs that can occur along the path.

“I don’t normally have these opportunities in my everyday life, so it allowed for new personal learning and self awareness experiences.”

Although Kathy trained for the trip by walking five to seven miles a day, she says the 100-kilometre trail wasn’t incredibly strenuous. “It’s very doable, even without training.”

A yoga instructor was also on hand to lead the group through stretches first thing in the morning and at the end of the day’s walking to help avoid sore muscles.

Kathy says the trip was extra special for her because she was joined by some lifelong friends from school in Tokyo. “We were like kids again. We relived those Tokyo days and what that meant to us going through life now. Our friendships were made even stronger after walking and experiencing the Camino together. The trip also allowed for making new friends as the group all got along so well together.

“I’m happy that I didn’t go into this trip with a lot of expectations. I allowed myself to experience each day as it happened. The Divine Destination Collection also added the luxury element, which was an extra layer of wonderfulness! This trip truly exceeded any hope I may have had – it was fabulous!”

OVERWHELMED BY HISTORY

The physical challenge of walking 100 kilometres is what led Victoria Worley to the Camino – but she ended up finding it less taxing than she expected, even when carrying a 10-pound backpack. “It was peaceful walking each day,” she says. “You had the whole day to get to your destination. There was no rushing.”

Leaving the world behind and focusing on herself is what Victoria found she enjoyed the most. “You wake up, eat breakfast, and walk. You don’t worry about anything but your own happiness, and how you chose to live your day.

“I never used my phone except to take photos. I never checked my email. It was like being a child again.”

Victoria admits the first day was a bit overwhelming because of the unknown journey ahead, but connecting with the group made all the difference. “I walked with a different person each day. They were all ages and from all walks of life. Whether they knew it or not, everyone had so much to offer me.

“All you had to do was walk and be with yourself, or listen to someone. It makes you so self-aware. I felt I could be who I really am.”

Victoria felt overwhelmed again at the end, when the group made the final walk to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

“Three hundred years ago someone was walking this route. People have been walking this for so long. I was overcome with emotion at the significance of getting to this spot.

“It was a great 10 days. I’d go again in a heartbeat.”

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Scotland Fun Facts

20 FUN FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT SCOTLAND

1: SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL ANIMAL IS A UNICORN

Because mythical creatures can be national animals too, you know.

2: SCOTLAND HAS THE HIGHEST PROPORTION OF REDHEADS IN THE WORLD

Around 13 per cent of the population has red hair.

3: SCOTS ARE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE BLUE EYES THAN PEOPLE IN THE REST OF THE UK

The South East of Scotland has the highest proportion of blue-eyed residents at 57 per cent.

4: IMPORTS OF HAGGIS TO THE US HAVE BEEN BANNED SINCE THE 70S

All the more for us!

5: SCOTLAND IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S TALLEST HEDGE

It is located near Meikleour on the A93 Perth-Blairgowrie road. The hedge is over 1,700 feet in length and 100 foot high.

6: AS WELL AS A GIANT HEDGE, SCOTLAND IS HOME TO ONE OF EUROPE'S OLDEST TREES, FORTINGALL YEW

7: THE SCOTS INVENTED GOLF WITH ST ANDREWS CONSIDERED AS THE ‘HOME OF GOLF’

The sport has been played there since the 15th century.

8: YOU'VE HEARD OF NESSIE, NOW MEET MORAG, THE MONSTER OF LOCH MORAR

This large and elusive female is said to have attacked two fishermen in August 1969. They saw a creature described as around 30ft long with rough brown skin, three large humps and a snake-like head. Loch Morar is even deeper than Loch Ness, more than 1000ft in places.

9: THE SHORTEST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT IN THE WORLD IS IN SCOTLAND

The journey from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes just 47 seconds.

10: SCOTLAND HAS APPROXIMATELY 790 ISLANDS

660 are uninhabited.

11: THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL GAME WAS PLAYED IN PARTICK

The match was between Scotland and England in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland Cricket ground in Partick.

12: BUT FOOTBALL WAS ORIGINALLY BANNED BY KING JAMES I

He decreed that Na man play at the fut ball, in the Football Act of 1424. Luckily, it fell into disuse and Scotland became home to one of the most heated rivalries in world football – the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic.

13: THE LONGEST ECHO INSIDE A MAN-MADE STRUCTURE WAS RECORDED IN INCHINDOWN TUNNELS, A WWII FUEL-STORAGE FACILITY NEAR INVERGORDON IN ROSS-SHIRE

Researchers from Salford University fired a gun down the tunnels, recording a record-breaking 112-second echo.

14: THERE ARE AS MANY PEOPLE WITH SCOTS HERITAGE LIVING IN THE US AS IN SCOTLAND

15: 'BRAVEHEART' WAS ACTUALLY THE NICKNAME OF ROBERT THE BRUCE AND NOT WILLIAM WALLACE

Despite this, Mel Gibson used the name for Wallace in his Hollywood blockbuster.

16: SCOTLAND HAS THREE OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED LANGUAGES: ENGLISH, SCOTS AND SCOTTISH GAELIC

Just one per cent of the population use the last.

17: EDINBURGH WAS THE FIRST CITY IN THE WORLD TO HAVE ITS OWN FIRE BRIGADE

18: THE DEEPEST LOCH IN SCOTLAND IS NOT LOCH NESS

It is, Loch Morar, which reaches 1,077ft (328m) down and is ranked the seventeenth deepest lake in the world.

19: THE SMALL SCOTS TOWN OF BONNYBRIDGE HAS BECOME THE UFO CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

The town has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

20: THE SCOTS INVENTED THE MODERN WORLD

John Logie Baird created the world’s first TV picture on October 2, 1925 while Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Boston in February 1876. Where would we be today without this technology?

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Scotland Fun Facts

There are so many reasons to visit and love Scotland. From the gorgeous scenery and rich history to the culture and the personalities of the people who live here, the unique aspects of the nation are appealing to so many around the world. But delve a little deeper into all things Scottish and you will find a host of interesting facts that will leave you stunned…

Scottish Cuisine

Whether navigating the urban haunts of major cities, enjoying genteel market towns or experiencing remote island hideaways, exploratory food-lovers in Scotland will find a culinary scene that majors on bountiful wild harvests and top-notch meats underpinned by a strong cultural identity.

Scottish Phrases

The wit, expressive depth and wisdom of the Scottish people is something to be cherished. They know a thing or two about stoicism in the face of poor fortune, and there’s a clear knack for cutting through airs and graces too…

Scotland Movies

Scotland is famous for its breathtaking scenery and, not surprisingly, has been used as the location for many well-known movies. A land full of culture, mystery (I’m looking at you, Nessie) and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Scotland is always at the front of location scouts’ minds.

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Scotland Fun Facts

Scotland Fun Facts

Scotland Fun Facts

20 FUN FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT SCOTLAND
1: SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL ANIMAL IS A UNICORN

Because mythical creatures can be national animals too, you know.

2: SCOTLAND HAS THE HIGHEST PROPORTION OF REDHEADS IN THE WORLD

Around 13 per cent of the population has red hair.

3: SCOTS ARE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE BLUE EYES THAN PEOPLE IN THE REST OF THE UK

The South East of Scotland has the highest proportion of blue-eyed residents at 57 per cent.

4: IMPORTS OF HAGGIS TO THE US HAVE BEEN BANNED SINCE THE 70S

All the more for us!

5: SCOTLAND IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S TALLEST HEDGE

It is located near Meikleour on the A93 Perth-Blairgowrie road. The hedge is over 1,700 feet in length and 100 foot high.

6: AS WELL AS A GIANT HEDGE, SCOTLAND IS HOME TO ONE OF EUROPE'S OLDEST TREES, FORTINGALL YEW

7: THE SCOTS INVENTED GOLF WITH ST ANDREWS CONSIDERED AS THE ‘HOME OF GOLF’

The sport has been played there since the 15th century.

8: YOU'VE HEARD OF NESSIE, NOW MEET MORAG, THE MONSTER OF LOCH MORAR

This large and elusive female is said to have attacked two fishermen in August 1969. They saw a creature described as around 30ft long with rough brown skin, three large humps and a snake-like head. Loch Morar is even deeper than Loch Ness, more than 1000ft in places.

9: THE SHORTEST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT IN THE WORLD IS IN SCOTLAND

The journey from Westray to Papa Westray in Orkney is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes just 47 seconds.

10: SCOTLAND HAS APPROXIMATELY 790 ISLANDS

660 are uninhabited.

11: THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL GAME WAS PLAYED IN PARTICK

The match was between Scotland and England in 1872 and was played at the West of Scotland Cricket ground in Partick.

12: BUT FOOTBALL WAS ORIGINALLY BANNED BY KING JAMES I

He decreed that Na man play at the fut ball, in the Football Act of 1424. Luckily, it fell into disuse and Scotland became home to one of the most heated rivalries in world football – the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic.

13: THE LONGEST ECHO INSIDE A MAN-MADE STRUCTURE WAS RECORDED IN INCHINDOWN TUNNELS, A WWII FUEL-STORAGE FACILITY NEAR INVERGORDON IN ROSS-SHIRE

Researchers from Salford University fired a gun down the tunnels, recording a record-breaking 112-second echo.

14: THERE ARE AS MANY PEOPLE WITH SCOTS HERITAGE LIVING IN THE US AS IN SCOTLAND

15: 'BRAVEHEART' WAS ACTUALLY THE NICKNAME OF ROBERT THE BRUCE AND NOT WILLIAM WALLACE

Despite this, Mel Gibson used the name for Wallace in his Hollywood blockbuster.

16: SCOTLAND HAS THREE OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED LANGUAGES: ENGLISH, SCOTS AND SCOTTISH GAELIC

Just one per cent of the population use the last.

17: EDINBURGH WAS THE FIRST CITY IN THE WORLD TO HAVE ITS OWN FIRE BRIGADE

18: THE DEEPEST LOCH IN SCOTLAND IS NOT LOCH NESS

It is, Loch Morar, which reaches 1,077ft (328m) down and is ranked the seventeenth deepest lake in the world.

19: THE SMALL SCOTS TOWN OF BONNYBRIDGE HAS BECOME THE UFO CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

The town has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

20: THE SCOTS INVENTED THE MODERN WORLD

John Logie Baird created the world’s first TV picture on October 2, 1925 while Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Boston in February 1876. Where would we be today without this technology?

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Scotland Fun Facts

There are so many reasons to visit and love Scotland. From the gorgeous scenery and rich history to the culture and the personalities of the people who live here, the unique aspects of the nation are appealing to so many around the world. But delve a little deeper into all things Scottish and you will find a host of interesting facts that will leave you stunned…

Scottish Cuisine

Whether navigating the urban haunts of major cities, enjoying genteel market towns or experiencing remote island hideaways, exploratory food-lovers in Scotland will find a culinary scene that majors on bountiful wild harvests and top-notch meats underpinned by a strong cultural identity.

Scottish Phrases

The wit, expressive depth and wisdom of the Scottish people is something to be cherished. They know a thing or two about stoicism in the face of poor fortune, and there’s a clear knack for cutting through airs and graces too…

Scotland Movies

Scotland is famous for its breathtaking scenery and, not surprisingly, has been used as the location for many well-known movies. A land full of culture, mystery (I’m looking at you, Nessie) and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Scotland is always at the front of location scouts’ minds.

Unique travel experiences... where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet!

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Scottish Music

Scottish Music

Music of Scotland

TRADITIONAL MUSIC

Scotland’s traditional music in many ways forms the foundation of the country’s national identity and a key element of its culture. Large scale emigration from Scotland over several centuries, resulting in the presence of many more Scots outside the country than within its borders, means that echoes of Scottish traditional music can be found in many different parts of the world.

The origins of traditional Scottish folk music are lost in the mists of time. There are close links between the roots of much of Scotland’s music and the Gaelic tradition that came from Ireland: and in some ways Scottish and Irish folk music are similar. However, in other ways they have retained identities that are quite distinct, in part because of the influence in Scotland of other traditions, notably those associated with the Old Norse and Scots languages.

It is thought that the music of the Picts was based on the harp, but like their language, all further information has been lost. As a result, the oldest music to which any form can be given was probably the singing and harp playing of the Gaels. Traditional folk ballads probably also date back to the dawn of antiquity, sung in all the various languages once in use across what is now Scotland.

The harp was replaced as the most popular instrument by the Great Highland Bagpipe or A’ Phìob Mhòr during the 1400s. This gained a hold, especially, across the clans of the Highlands and Islands before later being taken up with enthusiasm by the Scottish Regiments of the British Army, and spread by them to all parts of the British Empire.

Traditional Scottish music diminished in popularity during the middle decades of the 1900s: but the 1960s saw a radical roots revival in which young musicians rediscovered and made popular many of the traditional elements of Scottish music. The musicians of the 1970s, and since, built on the renaissance of the 60s and traditional music in Scotland is arguably now more popular than it has ever been.

TRADITIONAL PLAYLIST

A country that is renowned the world over for its traditional music, Scotland’s traditional scene is diverse and full of surprises. From folk music to Celtic fusion, the 21st century has brought forth a whole new wave of musicians and bands that are experimenting with the very idea of what Scottish traditional music is and spoiler; it’s not all about the bagpipes. While guitar bands and indie groups seem to have become the most popular musical exports in the past few decades, the traditional scene is fighting back and thriving in the process as artists continue to push the boundaries of what has come to be expected.

GOLD COLLECTION: FOLK BANDS PLAYLIST
GOLD COLLECTION: PIPE BANDS PLAYLIST
GOLD COLLECTION: CEILIDH PLAYLIST

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RACHEL NEWTON is a highly skilled multi-instrumentalist whose talents at writing and arranging music have won her many accolades over the years, including Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017. As well being a singer and harpist, Newton also plays the fiddle and the viola and is a founding member of The Shee and The Furrow Collective. Her third solo album, Here’s My Heart Come Take It, was recently chosen for the 2017 SAY Award longlist alongside 19 other albums, making it one of the top releases of the year. It’s a beautifully atmospheric record which draws attention to the powerful combination of harp and voice, with ballads in both English and Gaelic.
NITEWORKS are arguably one of the most interesting bands to come out of the trad music scene in Scotland in recent years, thanks to their combination of electronic music with Gaelic and traditional sounds. Formed on the Isle of Skye, the band, made up of Ruairidh Graham, Allan MacDonald, Christopher Nicolson and Innes Strachan, have quickly made their mark on the scene since the release of their debut EP in 2011, going on to win the Up and Coming Artist of the Year award at the 2012 Scottish Trad Awards. The quartet is known for their exhilarating live performances, where ceilidh and club culture combine to form something great.
TALISK from Glasgow, were winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, going on to pick up a number of other nominations and awards following their big win. Most recently, concertina player Mohsen Amini won the title of 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, following in the footsteps of 2015 winner and singer-songwriter Claire Hastings. The trio, consisting of Amini alongside fiddle player Hayley Keenan and guitarist Craig Irving, play fast-paced, crisp and fiery traditional music that highlights each musician’s technical ability and individual expression.
15 FAMOUS SONGS EVERY SCOT WILL KNOW
FLOWER OF SCOTLAND
The song which every passionate Scot will know. Scotland’s adopted – yet unofficial – national anthem, it was written by Roy Williamson of the Corries back in the 1960s and speaks of Robert the Bruce’s victory over England’s Edward II at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn. Scottish rugby winger is credited with popularising the song for use at sporting events when he encouraged his teammates to sing it during a victorious Lions tour of South Africa in 1974. But Flower of Scotland’s status as the favoured national anthem was cemented at the start of the 1990 Five Nations game between Scotland and England. A spirited rendition was sung by players and fans alike as Scotland went on to win 13-7 to win the Grand Slam. Most people in Scotland will be able to recite at least two verses of Flower of Scotland without hesitation.
I LOVE A LASSIE
Written by music hall great Sir Harry Lauder in 1905, I Love A Lassie is a perennial favourite in Scotland.

Inspired by Lauder’s love for his wife Nancy, the song became a worldwide hit in English speaking countries during the early 1900s. Worth a mention is the corrupted version of this tune, commonly sung by fans of Partick Thisle FC – although the jury is out on whether or not Sir Harry would have approved… I’m thinking not, but there are few who won’t recognize the original song’s catchy chorus:

I love a lassie, a bonnie bonnie lassie,
She’s as pure as a lily in the dell,
She’s sweet as the heather, the bonnie bloomin’ heather,
Mary, my Scots bluebell.

AULD LANG SYNE
Probably the most famous Scottish song ever, due to it being sung traditionally at New Year around the globe. Auld Lang Syne started life as a poem “borrowed” by Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, who confessed that the bulk of the words were passed on to him from an old man.

The song is thought to have gained worldwide prominence thanks to band leader Guy Lombardo, who instructed his band to play a rendition of the song live at New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel on New Year’s Eve 1929. The performance was broadcast live over the radio that night to millions of homes, resulting in a tradition which has stood the test of time.

THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND
A party tune to end all parties. Commonly referred to as simply “Loch Lomond”, the song was first written during the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 and has gradually become one of the country’s best-known tunes. The lyrics make mention of a longing to be reunited with a departed love on the “bonnie, bonnie” banks of Scotland’s largest loch. One theory, however, suggests that the song is sung from the perspective of a woman whose Jacobite lover has been captured and is facing execution in London. Loch Lomond is traditionally played as the last song of the night at Scottish parties. The best-known version of the song is by the Celtic rock group Runrig, who have recorded it several times.
I'M GONNA BE (500 MILES)
As Scottish as Irn Bru and deep fried pizzas. There can’t be too many souls in Scotland who don’t know all the words to this one. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) was released by Auchtermuchty duo The Proclaimers in 1988, and went on to score hits around the world. The song has appeared in countless movies and TV shows since it was written and has even been parodied by Family Guy and The Simpsons.
ALLY's TARTAN ARMY
Released by Andy Cameron as a novelty record to mark the country’s appearance at Argentina 1978, the song references manager Ally MacLeod and makes grand claims predicting that Scotland will ‘really shake them up’ to win the World Cup. Sadly, they couldn’t even hurdle the group stage.

The lyrics ‘we’re representing Britain and we’ve got to do or die, for England cannae dae it cos’ they didnae qualify’ were quite amusing at the time, as Scotland was the only home nation to make it to Argentina that year. Oh, how the tables have turned…

The footage of Andy Cameron performing this on Top Of The Pops decked out in tartan scarf, tammy and Scotland fitba’ shirt is well worth a watch.

DIGNITY
Pretty much essential listening at Scottish parties, particularly towards the end of the night when everyone’s positively sozzled. Written and recorded by Glasgow band Deacon Blue, the song has been released as a single three times. It has managed to achieve legendary status in Scotland despite having never charted higher than No.31 in the UK. Deacon Blue performed Dignity live at the closing ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.
DONALD WHERE'S YOUR TROOSERS?
Proof, as if any were ever needed, that the Scots don’t take themselves too seriously. Unleashed in 1960 by comic performer Andy Stewart, the song speaks of a kilt-wearing man from Skye who ventures down south and is hassled relentlessly for his lack of trousers. Donald Where’s Your Troosers? managed to claim a No.1 hit in Canada when it was first released and, even more incredible, a No.4 in the UK when it was re-issued in 1989.
SCOTLAND THE BRAVE
Touted by many as an alternative to Flower of Scotland as the country’s unofficial national anthem, Scotland the Brave is thought to have originated in the early 1900s, with the first lyrics to the song written around 1950 by the journalist Cliff Hanley. Before the Corries’ Flower of Scotland took over, Scotland the Brave was used as the national anthem by the Scottish football team for the 1982, 1986 and 1990 World Cups. Very few Scots know the lyrics to Scotland the Brave, as it’s most commonly played without words by pipe bands. The tune is recognized the world over.
THE JEELY PIECE SONG
A real classic little tune. Written and performed by Scottish folk singer Adam MacNaughton, the Jeely Piece Song discusses the challenges of high rise living in 1960s Glasgow. The most famous version of the song was recorded by songwriter and poet, Matt McGinn. The chorus goes as follows:

Oh ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty storey flat,
Seven hundred hungry weans’ll testify, to that.
If it’s butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is plain or pan,
The odds against it reaching earth are ninety-nine tae wan.

SHANG-A-LANG
You don’t need to have been a teenage girl in the 1970s to appreciate this one, though that, or copious amounts of alcohol, will definitely help. Written and produced for the Bay City Rollers by songwriters Phil Coulter and Bill Martin, Shang-A-Lang is one of those songs guaranteed to fill any social club dance-floor. The song was a massive hit, reaching No.2 in the UK charts at the height of Rollermania in 1974. Shang-A-Lang is said to have come about as a result of Bill Martin attempting to write a song which evoked the distinct “clang” of the Glasgow shipyards.
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME
Also known as Will Ye Go Lassie Go, the lyrics and melody from Wild Mountain Thyme are a variation of The Braes of Balquhidder, written in the late 18th century by Scots poet Robert Tannahill. Attributed to folk singer Francis McPeake, the song has been covered countless times by musicians of all genres, including Bob Dylan, The Clancy Brothers, Thin Lizzy, and The Corries. The chorus is enough to make you hairs stand on end…

And we’ll all go together to pick wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather.
Will ye go, lassie, will ye go?

CALEDONIA
A song to be proud of. Considered one of the most beautiful and heart rending Scottish ballads ever recorded, Caledonia was penned by Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean in 1977. It rose to prominence in 1991 when it was sang and recorded by Frankie Miller for use in what become an iconic television advert for Tennent’s Lager. The song proved so popular that Miller re-recorded it and released it as a single later that year, with the song reaching No.45 in the charts. Caledonia was also used heavily during VisitScotland’s campaign to promote Homecoming Scotland 2009. MacLean claims that it took him no longer than 10 minutes to write.
IN A BIG COUNTRY
Largely forgotten about outside of Scotland, In a Big Country became a huge worldwide hit for Fife rockers Big Country in 1983. In a Big Country’s accompanying music video received considerable airplay on MTV, resulting in the song flying up to No.17 on the US Billboard charts – the group’s biggest stateside success. The song was released at a time when Scotland was beginning to rediscover itself as a music-producing nation, with acts such as Annie Lennox, Altered Images, Simple Minds and Midge Ure filling the charts.
ALLY BALLY BEE
Let’s end with probably the first song most Scots ever heard. Also known as Coulter’s Candy, Ally Bally Bee can trace its routes back to Galashiels in the mid nineteenth century where it was written by weaver Robert Coltard. Despite the fact that practically every child in Scotland will have been lulled to the sleep at some point with his tune, Coltard died a penniless man and was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Ally bally, ally bally bee,
Sittin’ on yer mammy’s knee,
Greetin’ for a wee bawbee,
Tae buy some Coulter’s candy.

SCOTTISH BANDS FROM THE 1980’s  
SCOTTISH BANDS 2000 – NOW  

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Scotland Fun Facts

There are so many reasons to visit and love Scotland. From the gorgeous scenery and rich history to the culture and the personalities of the people who live here, the unique aspects of the nation are appealing to so many around the world. But delve a little deeper into all things Scottish and you will find a host of interesting facts that will leave you stunned…

Scottish Cuisine

Whether navigating the urban haunts of major cities, enjoying genteel market towns or experiencing remote island hideaways, exploratory food-lovers in Scotland will find a culinary scene that majors on bountiful wild harvests and top-notch meats underpinned by a strong cultural identity.

Scottish Phrases

The wit, expressive depth and wisdom of the Scottish people is something to be cherished. They know a thing or two about stoicism in the face of poor fortune, and there’s a clear knack for cutting through airs and graces too…

Scotland Movies

Scotland is famous for its breathtaking scenery and, not surprisingly, has been used as the location for many well-known movies. A land full of culture, mystery (I’m looking at you, Nessie) and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Scotland is always at the front of location scouts’ minds.

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