The Scotsman


The Scotsman – A taste of the high life

With a roll-call of legendary characters and creatures that include dashing Jacobite warrior princes and elusive submerged prehistoric monsters, it is no surprise that the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are regarded as a hotbed of myth and folklore. However, in the not so distant past, the sad fact was that many visitors found that their appreciation of the area’s be- guiling blend of stunning landscapes and history was tempered by a far more off-putting perennial in the log of regional traditions – namely the curse of the Highland hotel. Now, while it is important to clarify that not all accommodation north of the Highland boundary was party to the horror, the steady stream of trauma- tised tourists returning from a break up north with tartan-tinged tales of dank and dark hovel-like rooms, inhospitable owners, and food fit only for a gulag, would tend to suggest that the curse was not confined to isolated outposts. Thankfully, there has been a huge sea change over the past 20 years or so with an influx of insightful entrepreneurs ei- ther replacing existing…


The Scotsman – A Different Angle

IF you had said thirty years ago that by 2006 Scotland would be one of Europe’s most vibrantly homosexual-friendly countries, you would probably have been looked at with the kind of incredulity normally reserved for the likes of David Icke. At that time, Scotland’s gay community, like most others in the UK with the exception perhaps of London, was still very much forced to live in the shadows – organising their own discos and evenings in dingy council halls and in their own homes without really being able to break free from the shackles imposed by long-stand- ing prejudice. Added to that, the regressive legislation of the time meant that sexual activity between males (consensual or not) was against the law and could still be punishable, absurd as it may now sound, with life imprisonment. Fast forward to the present, however, and this monochrome half-life has been superseded by a climate that is tolerant and welcoming and in possession of every- thing from effective LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) support networks to cultural events and clubs that celebrate sexual diversity…


The Scotsman – A Sporting Enthusiasm

WITH its riot of colors and atmosphere of evocative mellow beauty, it is no surprise that so many many wax poetic about autumn. And no region in Scotland is more deserving of sonnets inspired by the season’s unique quali-ties than Perthshire. Sitting astride the Highland Bound- ary Fault, the natural phenomena which fused the Highlands and Lowlands together many moons ago, Perthshire possesses a unique variety of terrain that has earned it the undisputed title of Scotland’s adventure capital. The range of activities on offer is mind-boggling. Rivers such as the Tay, the Earn and the Isla are often whispered about in quiet awe by anglers, golf- courses such as Blairgowrie, Crieff,Pitlochry and Murrayshall all present intriguing challenges in breathtaking surrounds, while walkers, mountain climbers and cyclists will all find plenty of routes – from lofty treks high among the peaks, to more sedate waymarked trails through forests and along river valleys – to keep themselves occupied. So far, so run of the mill you might think, but mainstream activities are just one side of Perthshire’s adventure coin. The region…