Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Cycling along Edinburgh’s canal: Lochrin Basin to Almond Acqueduct

See more detail here This is one of my favourite scenic routes through the leafy, pastoral and mountainous outer suburbs of Edinburgh and East Lothian heading out into the countryside. This epic shared pedestrian and cycling path goes all the way from Edinburgh to Glasgow (56km one way) alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal. With…

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Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Words and Music: The Disintegration Loops & Edinburgh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnAE5go9dI [Here is a poem about a place I've been and seen and drunk in, along with some music to match] Edinburgh City of dreams and sloping pagan peaks in a city Gigantic sea-shanty sized voices with looping arr sounds Turbulent winter snow drifts Warming whisky tumblers filled with smoky graceful ease Like a cream…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Travel: Five Brilliant Off the Beaten Track Restaurants Around Edinburgh

From writing for several years for the Edinburgh Food and Drink Guide I have gathered together some personal favourites of the Athens of the North. Here are a selection of Edinburgh restaurants that require some pounding of pavement often through beautiful scenery to get there. These eateries are worthy of recommendation because of their beautiful ambience,…

Paperholm: A delicate ever-expanding paper universe

Paperholm: A delicate ever-expanding paper universe

Paperholm is a tale of the dedication and tenacity of one very determined Scotsman named Charles Young. It all began in 2014 with 200 gsm watercolour paper and PVA glue. Young set himself the challenge of building a tiny paper model of a building every day for a year. Then 365 paper models later and…

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

I had the pleasure of meeting Michel Faber at the Auckland Writers Festival this autumn. He's a reserved, humble and softly-spoken fellow who was gobbled up by the overly bold interviewer, someone far less important, whose name escapes me. Faber brought with him onto the stage a pair of dainty red women's shoes and only…

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

William McIlvanney or Willie to his nearest and dearest was single-handedly responsible for the genre of Tartan Noir, the bleak and rainy Glaswegian streets, grisly crime screnes steeped in whisky and venomous characters that were the stomping ground of characters like Inspector Laidlaw (changed to Taggart for the famous TV show). All other Scottish crime…

The Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

The Culinary and Poetic Legacy of Robert Burns in Scotland

Robert Burns is a cult figure amongst Scottish people for his celebrated poetry and folk songs from the 18th Century. He used to write in the Scots language and also English with Scots dialect. Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns has travelled far beyond Scotland, to become a universal song for New Year's Eve. Every…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Scotland’s Momentous Decision on September 18th

In about a week's time Scotland's people will be making a momentous decision for the country's future. The decision to cleave away from their historic neighbours and become an independent country, or to stay and be a part of Britain. There have been fiery debates between Tory minister Alaisdair Darling and First Minister Alex Salmond.…