Missing the Highland Show: How to Experience Scottish Culture in 2020.
Each year the Highland Shows are a celebration of all things Scottish. The Royal Highland Show is Scotland's largest agricultural gathering. Attracting up to 190,000 visitors each year over four days in June, the show brings together displays of Scottish livestock, machinery, produce and culture. Sadly, with the global pandemic necessitating bans on large gatherings, the 2020 show was cancelled. The Peebles Highland Games has also been abandoned this year due to the Covid 19 outbreak. This event runs annually each September and it is the biggest gathering of its type in the Scottish Borders. It includes all traditional games plus highland dancing, whisky tasting, stalls, live music and fairground rides and is a perfect family day out with something for everyone to enjoy.
We must wait another year to experience the missed festivals, common ridings and events which would usually take us through to the end of the summer. So, how can we go into the long autumn and winter nights a little more comforted against the sense of a summer bereft?
Never fear. Below we rundown four alternative ways to enjoy and experience Scottish culture in 2020 before the winter nights are upon us. Only then will we shout: "Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!" ala Robert Burns in A Winter Night.
- Experience a Virtual Scotland
These days there is no need to leave the house to experience Scotland. There are many ways you can enjoy everything Scotland has to offer from the comfort of your sofa. From online videos of past common ridings and highland shows to virtual tours of Scotland's top attractions. Together with institutions across the world, Google's Art and Culture app makes places of cultural and historical significance accessible online. The app allows you to take a 360° tour of attractions such as the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle and Rosslyn Chapel.
Sorely missed this year has been the sound of bagpipes on a common riding morning and the melodies of traditional music at a summer ceilidh. However, there are still many ways that you can enjoy live performances from home. On social media, the hashtag #COVIDCeilidh will bring up many real-time performances to get you highland flinging in your living room.
- Mini Highland Games in your Garden
If it's the competitive side of the Highland Games that you've missed, why not try to rope your family into a mini highland games in the garden (if the weather is holding out). The perfect way to spend an afternoon if you are having a small family gathering or you are looking for a fun way to entertain the kids. Sure, Toss the Caber could become more like Toss the Haggis, and your tug of war team seems depleted and perhaps slightly less burly. It sounds like great fun, nevertheless, and our gift shop just might have the perfect prizes for your Highland Games champions!
- Visit the Scottish Countryside
We really do live in a beautiful country. What could be better than taking a walk in the countryside to experience Scotland's elemental charm? Right here in the Borders you can enjoy a hike up one of the many heather-clad rolling hills, explore miles and miles of forests and woodland and visit its many lochs and rivers. There are many beautiful sights to see. On our doorstep is Scott's View, a favourite of Walter Scott, overlooking the River Tweed valley and the Eildon hills with spectacular 360° views of the Borders. A walk in the Scottish countryside can also reveal much of its history with castle ruins, statues and ancient structures just waiting to be discovered and explored.
- Register for The Virtual Kiltwalk
Since 2016, the Kiltwalk has been an annual event in cities across Scotland where tartan clad participants walk together to raise money for a charity of their choice. The event has so far raised a fantastic £15.6 million for over 2000 charities. The 2020 event has been moved online due to the pandemic. However, the now Virtual Kiltwalk Weekend is a perfect opportunity to get involved and support some incredible charities. Don your tartan and take a sponsored walk, cycle, or run in your local area. The event takes place on 11th to 13th September, and you can register to join in here. Whatever funds you raise for charity, The Hunter Foundation will top up by 50%.
If you are looking to take part, you know where to come for your kilt! We will donate £10 to local charities for every kilt hired.
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