October 2013

Trad Music at Sandy Bell's Pub in Edinburgh

My Best of Scotland series continues to roll with today’s post, in which I focus on a handful of places to reliably find excellent traditional Scottish folk music. My early trips to Scotland invariably centered on finding those places where local musicians united in darkened pubs, as if drawn together by Hendrix’s All Along the Watch Tower*, to play traditional Scottish tunes. I had my share of successes, and those nights at Sandy Bell’s or the Port Charlotte Hotel quaffing pints to the wildly talented strains of local folk music are some of my favorite memories.

Trad music isn’t hard to find in Scotland. Musicians gather in pubs and community centers all across the country to weave their melodies and rhythms. The trick, for visitors, is to be in the right place at the right time. Read more...

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Dalwhinnie Distillery

A new week brings a new best of Scotland collection! I’ve already provided the building blocks of a great visit to Scotland for nature lovers and history buffs.

Today is for whisky enthusiasts.

This list was ridiculously difficult to cobble together. I opted against listing whisky regions, meccas like Islay and Speyside, because that level of detail would leave you wanting more granular recommendations. This decision propelled me to look back through 40 posts I’ve written about whisky here on Traveling Savage. Read more...

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The Broch of Gurness, Orkney, Scotland

Last week I kicked off a new series on Traveling Savage highlighting the best Scotland has to offer visitors. I started with five destinations for nature lovers, and I’m continuing today with five destinations for history buffs.

This was a tough list to put together since Scotland is a country with a deep sense of history that spans many eras. From neolithic hunter-gatherers pre-dating the Great Pyramids, through the Iron Age and Dark Ages fraught with battles between Picts and Romans, into the medieval splendor of castles and fortified tower houses, and right on past the Scottish Enlightenment and pre-Industrial era, Scotland has it all. Read more...

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The Hills of Perthshire

I get loads of questions every month from readers seeking my input on their itineraries and asking for recommendations for how they should spend their time in Scotland. I’m honored and happy to help, and it’s a task I take seriously. For many people, it will be their only trip to Scotland, the one they scrimped and saved to make a reality, the one they might’ve dreamed about for years.

I realized after my first consultation that I couldn’t just serve up my top five Scottish destinations to every inquirer. It wasn’t targeted, so it wasn’t very helpful. And when I pondered the situation, it didn’t feel right.

Looking at my notes… Read more...

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