Whilst Scotland is known for many things, as far as food and drink are concerned, in the drink category, its most famous export is malt whisky. Wherever you travel in Scotland, the length and breadth of the country you will find a malt whisky distillery to visit and a dram to sample.
With the addition earlier in the year of the Magnificent Adam Mansion to the Scotts Castle Holidays portfolio of self-catering holiday houses in Scotland, we have been asked a number of times – what is an Adam Mansion?
The natural larder in Scotland is bounteous with amazing seafood, beef, lamb, game, soft fruit and so much more, as well as the free-range Haggis that run wild, but today it is the turn of the humble sausage to be in the spotlight. Scotland being Scotland has chosen to offer more than a links sausage, but a square sausage as well. The “Lorne Sausage” as the square version is known as, is thought be the brainchild of Tommy Lorne, a Scottish comedian in the early 1900’s. A square sausage invented by a comedian! You couldn’t make it up! One of his catchphrases was “sausages are the boys” and that is still true today!
The difference between a Lorne sausage and a normal links sausage, apart from being square, is that it does not have a skin casing and is cut from a block in slices (or is pre-sliced). It is also known as Slice, Butcher’s Slice, Square Slice and Square Beef Sausage (when beef is used instead of pork). This type of sausage is predominantly produced and served on the western side of Scotland, and the shape certainly lends itself as a filling in a roll, but most tourists will normally find it as part of a “Full Scottish Breakfast”, and one that I can heartily recommend to start you off on your day.
So whilst you came to Scotland to enjoy for your holiday to see the lochs and glens, the castles and the wonderful scenery that is on offer – maybe you were not aware that Scotland is also the “land of the square sausage”! As such, once you have booked the large holiday house in Scotland for your self-catering holiday, you will need to find the correct ingredients for the “Full Scottish Breakfast” for your group. If you are staying at the McIntosh Inspired House near Turnberry, taking in the delights of Culzean Castle and playing a round of golf at Turnberry itself, then you and your guests could visit your local butchers in Ayr, with Tarelgin Butchers or Pollok Williamson, both offering the square slice.
However, with the growth of the web delivery service, butcher’s supplies can be delivered to your holiday home and there are so many Scottish based butchers that offer this service, including the following: Simon Howie, John Lawson, Tulloch Butchers and Murdoch Butchers. Wherever you choose to stay with Scotts Castle Holidays we hope you enjoy a “slice” of the action.
On 5th July 2015 the Forth Rail Bridge was confirmed as the latest addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the sixth* Scottish landmark to be awarded this status (*the others being New Lanark, St Kilda, the Old and New Towns in Edinburgh, Neolithic Orkney and the Antonine Wall). Built in1890 it became the world’s longest multi-span cantilever bridge at 1.5 miles and after 125 years it has certainly stood the test of time. In doing so it has become an icon and symbol of Scotland with its presence and implication on Scotland’s ability to design and build.
In 2016, Scotland will celebrate the “Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design” and the Forth Rail Bridge will be one of the best examples of all three qualities. It used to be said of a never-ending repetitive chore, that it was like painting the Forth Rail Bridge, however in recent years the modern re-painting method has scuppered this phrase. The most recent coat of paint is expected to last between 25 to 40 years, so this iconic image of Scotland should be glistening magnificently for years to come.
Visitors can view the bridge from the underneath at South Queensferry, where there is a large car park and plenty of space to admire the structure. Whilst there you may wish to eat or have a drink at the Hawes Inn, where it is alleged that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote part of the book “Kidnapped”. Alternatively, by using the Fife rail line, you can cross the bridge as a passenger on one of the trains where the views are ever-changing and you get the best close-up of the bridge itself.
Scotts Castle Holidays offers a wide range of self-catering holiday venues, from large holiday houses, magnificent mansions and charming castles in Scotland. Whichever heritage site you wish to see in Scotland, makes sure to choose a self-catering holiday house with its own fine heritage by contacting the office today at Scotts Castle Holidays for more details.
The Scottish county of Fife is universally known as the “Home of Golf” with wonderful images of the old course at St Andrews being repeatedly shown on TV screens all around the world. When the British Golf Open comes to St Andrews then every golfer wants to imagine walking across the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th to great applause. The great thing about this famous golf course is that everyone can walk across the bridge as it is common land that belongs to the citizens of St Andrews, which means that when you visit St Andrews you have access to that particular bridge for the photo opportunity without having to pay any golf fees. Very Scottish!
St Andrews itself is a fantastic old university town and well worth visiting, but Fife is so much more. Elie, Crail, Anstruther, Falkland and Dunfermline, which used to be the capital of Scotland, let alone Fife, are all wonderful places. Prior to 1437 and before Edinburgh became the nation’s capital, Dunfermline, with its Abbey at its heart took centre stage. Once you cross the Forth Bridge (admiring the Forth Rail Bridge on the way) into Fife – take a detour to visit all these places, as Dunfermline Abbey and Andrew Carnegie’s birthplace museum, to name but two are well worth visiting.
If this was not enough for you to be entertained in Fife – what about this? Here are 10 more things you can do or visit in this area; 1, Scotland’s national aquarium, Deep Sea World, at North Queensferry. 2, Falkland Palace. 3, Scottish Deer Centre. 4, St Andrews Castle. 5, Cluny Clays outdoor activity centre. 6, West Sands beach at St Andrews. 7, The East Neuk of Fife. 8, Aberdour Castle. 9, The Scottish Off road Driving Centre. 10, St Andrews Golf Museum.
With a great variety of things to do and see, the kingdom of Fife is a great location for golfing trips and for family holidays, and if you wish to find a large holiday house, like Luxury Golfer’s Lodge, which can sleep up to 10 people on a self-catering basis, then at Scotts Castle Holidays we will be delighted to assist you further. Please contact today for more information on self-catering large holiday houses in Scotland.
Gripping TV series, Outlander, has put Scotland on the map, featuring some of the country’s most dramatic castles and breath-taking landscapes – if you’re ready to immerse yourself in the land of Claire and Jamie, take a trip to Scotland and see the beauty of the country for yourself.
Here are just a few of the properties that capture the history and drama of the TV series and that are available for large group holidays:
Plan your own Outlander trip using the Visit Scotland film locations map and take in the locations featured in the TV series.
PS Talk to our team today and book your historical castle base for the duration.
Smoked fish is synonymous with Scotland, and this finesse with fish has continued for centuries and one that today is as popular as ever. Back in the 1800’s though, this method of preserving fish was a necessity as refrigeration was not possible. In Auchmithie, near Arbroath, the fishwives originally smoked the fish, which was haddock, in halved barrels with fires underneath, trapping the smoke under layers of hessian sacking, to create what is now known as the “Arbroath Smokie”.
The cooking time is usually a minimum of 30–40 minutes but only an experienced “smokie” maker, like Ian Spink, who regularly attends local shows, like this one at Portsoy, to demonstrate and sell the finished product, knows exactly when they are ready. Having watched and photographed this process myself, from start to finish – a “smokie” like this eaten straight from the stall, comes highly recommend and worth the wait.
This year, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy is being held over the weekend of the 4th and 5th July 2015, under the banner of Visit Scotland’s “The Year of Food and Drink 2015”, and offers a chance to celebrate the North East of Scotland’s fantastic natural larder and exceptional produce, with fish being high on the agenda. All the fishing villages in this area, as well as Portsoy, are wonderful evocative places to visit like Cullen, Sandend, Penan and Crovie, and makes for an excellent day’s touring. Other shows in this area, include the Turriff Show, which is being held on the 2nd and 3rd August 2015, which last year celebrated its 150th year as an agricultural show.
For accommodation in this north eastern part of Scotland, what about staying at this Impressive Fortress, with over 400 years of history, it would be like stepping back in time in a historical novel. With a Great Hall and amazing wood panelled rooms, this is a delight for up to 10 adults to stay on a self-catering basis for a week. With 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, everyone is catered for in style and even some comfort within the selection of four poster beds. As for the kitchen and dining room, the perfect place, to cook and eat the selection of smoked fish which you can buy locally at Banff or MacDuff. Feasting on fine fish at the fortress can be arranged by contacting Scotts Castle Holidays today.
Anyone staying at the Stylish Converted Church near Kelso will be aware that they have booked a historic building that has been beautifully converted into an up-market self-catering holiday house, but what they may not know are its connections to Lily Langtry and the local grain merchants! Whilst a church had been on this site since 1739, the current structure is the one that was built in 1878, with some assistance from the local landowner.
George Alexander Baird owned the land at Stichill and was also a benefactor to fund the building of the new church, along with local farmers and businessmen. As a personality, he is the unlikeliest person to be associated with a church, though his family had been very religious! The Baird family had made a fortune in mining and iron-works and had bought the nearby estate of Stichill (and the Baird crest can still be seen at the old entrance gates), which he inherited from an uncle and on the death of his father, he had an annual income of £100,000, which was a small fortune. He led most of his life elsewhere and amongst other things, was a successful gentlemen jockey, horse owner (he won the Derby in 1887) and put up money for prize fights. His London address was 36 Curzon Street, which he bought during a drunken evening with friends, and woke with a hangover the next morning in the master bedroom to be told he was now the new owner!
In 1889, he met Lily Langtry (King Edward VII’s former mistress) a renowned actress and beauty and immediately became completely infatuated with her. It is alleged that she visited Stichill and accepted many gifts from her “eccentric young bachelor” with his estates in Scotland. His “spend, spend, spend” life continued for the next few years and it was while he was in America arranging a fight between “Gentleman Jim” Corbett and John Sullivan for the world title that the party stopped. On a drunken night out in New Orleans he collapsed and died on 18th March 1893 at the age of 31. His body was embalmed, encased in lead, and returned to Stichill Parish Church, where his remains are to this day.
The church had been one of two churches in Stichill, the other one, being the Parish Church and over the years it became too much to maintain two buildings, so it was the Parish Church that continued on. From 1938 onwards the church became redundant, and only used for parish meetings. From the 1960’s onwards it became a depot for grain and potatoes, and later to a local builder. In 2001, it was bought and the renovation process began. The church external structure was retained, with all stained glass windows, timber beams and buttresses intact, but the internal features were completely altered. The main defining feature is the glass floor which allows light to the floor below and an open-plan first floor living space, which is 60 foot by 40 foot in area.
Initially re-built for residential use, it has been adapted for holiday letting and successfully lets with Scotts Castle Holidays. It is offered on a self-catering basis for up to 10 people and has proved to be very popular. Why not contact Scotts Castle Holidays today to book this Stylish Converted Church near Kelso and find out more about the fascinating history and architecture?
Cornwall-based Scotts Castle Holidays is celebrating after receiving a prestigious national award for its high levels of service.
The small company, which provides large castle holidays in Scotland, works with international company Feefo to independently gather ratings and feedback from customers and is one of just a handful of companies to be recognised as a Gold Merchant in 2015.
“We are delighted to be presented with this certificate,” said company director, Harriet Firewood. “The team works hard throughout the year to exceed the expectations of our customers but to have this recognised by an external body is amazing. We’re delighted.”
The Gold Merchant certificate is awarded by Feefo to companies who achieve an average service rating of over 95% throughout the year and is a visible reassurance of customer-generated service ratings.
“All guests who stay with Scotts Castles are contacted by Feefo following their holiday to request their feedback,” explained Mrs Filewood. “This information is forwarded to us to action and is collated annually to give us our overall rating. We appreciate the time our guests take to provide their comments and ratings as they help us to continuously improve our service.”
It is the second year running Scotts Castle Holidays has been recognised as a Gold Merchant. Find out more about Feefo on the website or contact the bookings team on 01208 821341 to discuss your ideal castle holiday in Scotland.
It was reported in the weekend papers that David Beckham is filming a whisky advert in Scotland and various grainy images of him in a green velvet smoking jacket at a lodge in the Highlands were on display. This came as no surprise to Scotts Castle Holidays as a few months ago we were involved in assisting with the search for the suitable location.
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