The Secret Scotland
Scotland is the home of inventors and poets, heroes and whisky, bold clans and highlands, lochs and wild islands, and majestic cities that have survived and thrived throughout time. But, listen . . . There are also deep underground pools and caves. Standing stones left by the illusive Picts. 50,000 puffins tucked in one place. Wild cattle with shaggy red fur that dare you to spot them. Secret castle gardens and botanical amazements. Brilliant lighthouses rising up from a sea, rippling with the current of whales. Imagine that, and feel the wonder.
Scotland’s Fire Festivals
Scotland invites you to her winter festivals. They are ancient celebrations involving the power of fire. From civilized Edinburgh, to the Highlands, to Shetland’s wild side, fire-dancing, drumming, and processions dramatize the battle between seasons. They begin on Samhuinn, or Halloween, and continue through the end of January. All banish bad spirits and call forth the light.
Imagine villagers in the Southern Highlands carrying fiery birch poles, wrapped in burlap, parading the outskirts of their village and chasing off evil. In Stonehaven, near Aberdeen, a big parade of brave souls walk the darkening streets, waving giant fireballs above their heads—this is followed by fireworks and partying in the streets. Be there! On the last Tuesday in January, a thousand people in the Shetlands carry torches in a procession that culminates with the burning of a Viking Longship replica. Oh, the magic of Scotland.