Deep in the Mash

Maybe it’s summer’s death rattle and autumn’s brisk arrival, but I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. The dark half of the year is upon us in the northern hemisphere and I’m stoking the flames with dreams.

I’ve always been a dreamer.

There’ve been times where this has hamstrung me, but its been a boon far more often. All good things must be envisioned first, and envisioning is half of making a thing real. It’s a kind of magic to which the universe responds, and it’s worth remembering especially in dark times. Read more...


Edinburgh's Old Town Majesty

There are so many reasons to love Scotland. The wonderful pubs, castles, history, nature, whisky — not to mention the incredibly welcoming people! But if I’m forced to provide one reason for why I keep going back to Scotland and have written about it every week for 5+ years, it has to be the constant beauty that fills the eye everywhere it turns. There’s a primal quality to Scotland’s beauty that connects one to something older and forgotten, the rediscovery of which, at least in me, requires art to be expressed. That’s why I’ve written 100+ Picture This posts.

The best way to see this beauty is to rent a car and just get out there and drive. Read more...

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The Kirkwall skyline from Highland Park distillery

Over the new few months I will be rolling out a new series of articles providing you with itinerary ideas for various regions around Scotland. I have largely focused on specific topics throughout the life of Traveling Savage as I feel that kind of specificity is often lacking in travel writing. However, just as the timing of my Best of Scotland series felt right for the past couple of months, the time is right for me to provide information at a higher level to help you in your trip-planning idea-generation phase.

These Scotland Itinerary Ideas articles will collect many of my previous articles on the selected region into one place, along with my assessment of their criticality and a bevy of useful tidbits that might’ve gotten lost along the way. Read more...

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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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