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NEW ERA - Scottish Modern ArtNEW ERA - Scottish Modern Art
Added: 05 Dec 2017
National Galleries of Scotland are delighted to announce the opening of A New Era: Scottish Modern Art 1900-1950. This exhibition is now open at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

This major new exhibition in Modern Two reveals the remarkable yet relatively unknown response by Scottish artists of the explosion of modern art in Europe in the first half of the 20th Century. More than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper by over 50 artists are on display.

The radical new work produced in Paris around the turn of the century by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse was a catalyst for Scottish modernism. A New Era charts their influence on artists like JD Fergusson and SJ Peploe, through to Alan Davie, Doris Zinkeisen, William Gear, Margaret Mellis and Eduardo Paolozzi, who were at the forefront of European contemporary art in the 1950s.

Runs until 10 June 2018
Added: 06 Nov 2017
The Royal Yacht Britannia, announced today that, for the 12th year in a row, it has been rated as Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction by Scotland’s national tourism agency, VisitScotland.

The Queen’s former floating palace, now a popular visitor attraction in Edinburgh, takes great pride in delivering an exceptional customer experience to every visitor who steps aboard.

VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme is the official measure of quality for tourism businesses in Scotland, benchmarking visitor attractions, accommodation providers, and catering establishments across Scotland. Tourism businesses are assessed based on the welcome, attitude, knowledge and efficiency of staff, as well as audience level, interpretation, maintenance and cleanliness of the attraction.

The Royal Yacht is also celebrating its most successful year to date, since opening 19 years ago, with visitor numbers running 13% up on last year. To date, over 5 million people from across the world have visited The Queen’s former floating palace, since it opened in 1998. The iconic attraction has also featured in TripAdvisor’s UK Top 10 for the last 5 years, with over 16,500 reviews and the highest percentage of ‘Excellent’ reviews (72%).

Commenting on this outstanding success, Britannia’s Chief Executive, Bob Downie said, “To be the best in Scotland once is a fantastic achievement, but to do this for twelve consecutive years is a phenomenal tribute to our staff who go the extra mile to ensure that all our visitors have a great experience when they visit Britannia. The true test of any great organisation is consistency of performance, delivering great value for time and money, year in year out, and there is no doubt that our pioneering approach to providing great customer experiences has underpinned our success.

Lord Thurso, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “This is a remarkable achievement for The Royal Britannia. To retain the accolade of Scotland’s best attraction for the 12th year running is no mean feat and very well deserved for such an iconic attraction. We need to think bigger about Scotland as a tourism destination to ensure we fulfil our potential – every visitor must get a quality experience every single time – and Britannia is leading by example and setting the bar high for excellence.”

Image copyright - Ruth Armstrong
Wolf pups enjoying life at the Highland Wildlife ParkWolf pups enjoying life at the Highland Wildlife Park
Added: 17 Oct 2017

RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has kicked off Wolf Awareness Week by providing the eight wolf pups born at the Park earlier this year with special October themed enrichment.

The pups have been coming on in leaps and bounds since they were born on 21 May to mother Ruby and thoroughly enjoyed bobbing for apples. The young wolves are all doing very well and are extremely energetic, often playing in their 4,500 square metre enclosure.

Keepers have recently named the new arrivals to the pack, which are five females called Pollidh, Brora, Suie, Meagaidh and Sneachd and three males, Cuillin, Cairn and Torridon – all the names refer to geographical locations in the Highlands.

Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “Although bobbing or dooking for apples is not exactly a standard wolf behaviour, because of the pups natural curiosity, they were straight into the water chasing the apples. Although still smaller than their older siblings, the current pups are growing at an impressive rate. Coupling novel enrichment techniques with talks by the wolves’ keepers, we hope to highlight the intelligence of a species that once roamed the hills around the Wildlife Park this Wolf Awareness Week.”

The wolves at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park are the European form which is found throughout Scandinavia, pockets of Southern and Eastern Europe and Western Russia. The European wolf is one of the subspecies of grey wolf, a species that was once found across all of Europe, most of Asia and all of North America. Previously the world’s most widely distributed mammal – found throughout the northern hemisphere – wolf populations are now much more restricted as a result of hunting and persecution, as well as habitat loss and fragmentation. Wolves once roamed freely in Scotland but were hunted to extinction by the 1740s.

European wolf populations began to recover after the 1950s when they became less heavily persecuted, and by the 1980s small wolf populations began to grow and reoccupy parts of their historic range.

Throughout Wolf Awareness Week there will be many wolf themed activities, including drop-in sessions, touch tables and keeper talks to let visitors learn more about the species.

Images: RZSS/Siân Addison.
Creepy Crawlies invade  RZSS Edinburgh Zoo this OctoberCreepy Crawlies invade RZSS Edinburgh Zoo this October
Added: 03 Oct 2017
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo’s insect-tacular exhibition is back, bigger and better than ever. Free with Zoo admission the exhibition will run 11am-3pm daily between 7-29 October.
Visit the Budongo Trail where you can see a host of weird and wonderful creepy crawlies from around the world, take part in craft activities, meet some of our keepers and take part in handling sessions throughout the day.

Creepy Crawlies is extremely popular with children every year, as they have the opportunity to get hands on with bugs and insects you would never normally see in Scotland. It’s not for the faint hearted!

Gareth Bennett, Senior Presentations Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said:

“We are so glad the Creepy Crawlies exhibit is back for its sixth year. It’s always a very popular event and each year we try to think of ways to make it even better than before. This year we have some very special additions including our Asian forest scorplings which were born at the Zoo for the first time this year as well sunburst diving beetles. They are one of the few species that can swim, crawl and fly, and use bubbles collected from the surface to breath underwater for several minutes at a time.

“Some of the insects can be a little tricky to spot, but there are plenty of keepers and volunteers on hand to help point you in the right direction and answer any questions. It truly is a fantastic and fun event for children of all ages!

The event aims to educate visitors about the impact even the tiniest critters can have on their surrounding ecosystems and how important it is to conserve them in a hands on and interactive way.

Friday 7 to Friday 29 October, 11am-3pm
Budongo Trail Lecture Theatre, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
No booking required. Free with Zoo admission

See more at:
Prince Philip’s Flying Fifteen Keelboat Coweslip Goes on Display At BritanniaPrince Philip’s Flying Fifteen Keelboat Coweslip Goes on Display At Britannia
Added: 02 Oct 2017
The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust has announced the arrival of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’s Flying Fifteen keelboat, Coweslip. The 20-foot, two-person keelboat is on loan to the trust and went on display this week to visitors at Britannia in Edinburgh.

Designed and built by legendary sailor Uffa Fox, the Flying Fifteen was launched in June 1949 and in the words of Uffa, it was a “a sensible, safe boat, that was fun to sail as well, for the rough and tumble of tidal waters around the UK”

Coweslip is the most famous of the Flying Fifteens keelboats, having been presented to Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip as a wedding present in 1949. Prince Philip frequently sailed on Coweslip with Uffa Fox and, together, they had great success sailing competitively, including winning the Britannia Cup in 1952. In 1962 at Cowes, Coweslip nearly sank when she was hit by a gust of wind and capsized, throwing both Uffa and The Duke into the water.

Chief Executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, Bob Downie said, “We are delighted to have Coweslip on display, particularly in the 70th Anniversary year of the Flying Fifteens. We are grateful for the opportunity for this famous yacht to be viewed alongside Britannia.”
Leading the way on WeChat PayLeading the way on WeChat Pay
Added: 18 Sep 2017
The Scotch Whisky Experience has become one of a growing number of businesses in Edinburgh signing up to Chinese social media transaction system WeChat Pay, with new software installed in early September.

The software allows Chinese visitors at participating businesses to pay for products and services by scanning a QR code on their phone, which links with their WeChat profile and bank account information. Staff at the Scotch Whisky Experience have undergone training on using the system, to encourage Chinese visitors to the attraction to make purchases in the shop through this more familiar, accessible and secure application. WeChat Pay is one of the most popular methods of payment in mainland China, with the vast majority using it to carry out all daily transactions, dispensing with the need to carry cash.

The installation of WeChat Pay is an important step for the Scotch Whisky Experience, which has seen incredible growth recent years, taking China to their third largest overseas visitor market. This follows in the steps of the hugely successful China Ready campaign, run throughout 2017 and facilitated by the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group. The programme is aimed at promoting the city of Edinburgh to visitors from China, and at helping businesses to market themselves more effectively to the Chinese market.

“We’re very proud to be among the first in Edinburgh to adopt WeChat Pay as one of our key payment methods” said Tony Dick, Finance Director at the Scotch Whisky Experience. “As the Chinese tourism market goes from strength to strength, and with growing usage of China’s other transaction method, UnionPay, it’s great to be at the forefront of the technological developments that ensure those who choose to visit our amazing city feel welcomed and secure in making transactions using a method they’re familiar with.”
Extra Horsepower at the Shale MuseumExtra Horsepower at the Shale Museum
Added: 18 Sep 2017
A new museum exhibition recently received a very special visitor when Shilo the Shetland pony trotted by to learn about the horses and ponies that once worked underground in local oilshale mines.

“Underground Cuddies” is a new temporary exhibition at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in Livingston that celebrates the achievements of West Lothian’s pit ponies. Until the late 1950’s, ponies and horses were employed in many local mines, pulling wagons of shale from the pit face to underground stations from where the shale was hauled to the surface. In the later days of the industry, the ponies were well cared for and much loved by the miners, and were a favourite feature of local agricultural shows and gala day parades.

The exhibition features items of harness and tack used in the mines, some of the certificates awarded to ponies and their handlers, and many other mementos. The display also features activities for children, including brushing and plaiting pony “tails” and making rosettes to award to your favourite horse at the agricultural show.

Shilo the pony spends most of his time in the fields at Almond Valley, but was so interested by the museum that he intends to make regular return visits throughout the summer to inspect the display and to meet visitors.

The museum continues to research the history of pits ponies in the shale industry, and would very much like to hear from anyone with memories or mementos.
Almond Valley is open daily from 10am to 5pm, and the exhibition will continue until the end of the year.
Joey koala ventures out at Edinburgh ZooJoey koala ventures out at Edinburgh Zoo
Added: 24 Aug 2017
Earlier in the year, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers announced the birth of a joey in Koala Territory, and now the newest resident is starting to emerge and delight visitors who are lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Born on 31 January to mum Alinga and father Goonaroo, the new arrival to the UK’s only group of koalas was still curled up inside mum’s pouch until very recently; however, the joey is growing fast and was photographed as it ventured out of the pouch for the first time this week.

Lorna Hughes, Team Leader for koalas at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said “We are really happy that the joey has started to fully emerge. At seven months old the joey is almost too big to fit inside mother’s pouch, which means it will now be venturing outside more regularly. Soon it will begin riding on Alinga’s back until it becomes independent at around 12 months. Soon we will be able to begin weighing the new addition and determine its sex so we can name it.”

Alinga will carry the joey around on her back until it is around twelve months old and, once it reaches sexual maturity, it will go on become part of the European breeding programme. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have koalas and this new arrival is testament to the Zoo’s animal husbandry expertise.

As members of the European Breeding Programme for Queensland Koalas, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo makes regular contributions that support conservation projects in Australia that help to rehabilitate and release sick and injured koalas back into their natural habitat.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are native to eastern Australia and are currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The main threats facing koala populations are habitat loss, wildfires and climate change.

Image: RZSS
Bookspeed invests in new facilities after sales soar to £9mBookspeed invests in new facilities after sales soar to £9m
Added: 24 Aug 2017
A specialist supplier of books, toys and gifts in the UK has more than doubled its operational capacity by investing significantly in additional warehouse facilities. Bookspeed’s expansion comes after the company exceeded growth expectations by bolstering sales from around £6million in 2015 to just under £9million in 2017.

Bookspeed’s new facility on Edinburgh’s Albert Road, which is located close to the firm’s headquarters at Salamander Yards in Leith, increases operational space from around 13,500sq ft to more than 25,000sq ft. Family-owned Bookspeed, which marked its 30th anniversary last year, has carved out a niche for itself by creating bespoke ranges of books, gifts and toys to meet different retailer needs.

Lewis Dawson, commercial director at Bookspeed, said: “This new facility is integral to our plans for ongoing growth. In recent years, we have invested significantly in all parts of our business including our IT infrastructure which now allows us to operate out of the two sites concurrently.”

Bookspeed’s expansion reinforces its commitment to investing in Edinburgh and local employment. The company, which is an accredited Living Wage Employer, has evolved considerably over the past three decades since it was started in Edinburgh in 1986. Originally set up as a traditional wholesale business with sales agents out on the road, the first 15 years saw Bookspeed build its footprint across Scotland before eventually dominating the supply to the heritage and visitor market North of the border.

Despite the company’s diversification into other non-book products, the majority of its growth is still coming from sales of physical books. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in demand for the printed book which has largely been led in the gift market by many of Bookspeed’s customers who have championed curated book ranges as a key part of their retail mix.
Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855
Added: 21 Aug 2017
Haunting images that brought the stark reality of war into public consciousness for the first time have gone on display in a new exhibition Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 showing at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse. Roger Fenton (1819–1869) was the first photographer to document conflict in such a substantial way at a time when the medium of photography was still in its infancy and there was no expectation of what ’war photography’ should be.

Drawn entirely from the Royal Collection, the exhibition explores the impact and legacy of Fenton’s Crimean work, which is shown in Scotland for the first time since 1856. It also tells the story of the historically close relationship between the Royal Family and those who have served their country in battle, with contributions to the exhibition’s multimedia guide by Prince Harry, photojournalist Sir Don McCullin and exhibition curator Sophie Gordon.

One of the leading photographers of the 19th century, Roger Fenton was commissioned by the art dealer and publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to photograph the officers and other people of interest during the Crimean conflict. On 20 February 1855 Fenton set sail for the Crimea on board HMS Hecla, accompanied by 36 chests of cameras, glass plates, chemicals, a stove and other pieces of equipment, and a wine merchant’s van converted into a travelling darkroom and accommodation for the photographer and his two assistants.

Research for the exhibition has revealed that Fenton’s portraits and topographical views were principally intended as source material for the artist Thomas J Barker, who had been commissioned by Agnews to produce an oil painting of the senior officers of the allied forces. Barker used over 50 of Fenton’s images to create the monumental work The Allied Generals with the officers of their respective staffs before Sebastopol (private collection). The painting reproduces some of Fenton’s portraits directly, including those of the Scottish General Sir Colin Campbell and The Times reporter William Howard Russell, as well as his photographs of camp life, such as 8th Hussars Cooking Hut.

In the 19th century there was a thriving market for prints of popular paintings. An engraving of Barker’s work was published in 1859 with a key to help the public identify the figures. The reproduction of the painting in newspapers and exhibitions of Fenton’s photographs raised awareness of the conditions endured by soldiers at a time when the wounded began to arrive home.

Speaking about Fenton’s image Lord Balgonie, the first visual record of someone suffering from ’shell shock’, Prince Harry says in the multimedia guide: "There has always been a fascination about people returning from war, what they’ve been through and what they’ve seen. The psychological impact of being on the battlefield is something that servicemen and women have had to deal with, but have often found it hard to talk about. As a result of photographers like Roger Fenton and those who have followed him, the public have gained a better appreciation of these experiences and consequently, over the years this fascination has turned to appreciation and respect."

Runs until 26 November.

Image: Roger Fenton, Col Grant 42nd, 1855
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
Highland Wildlife Park voted the best day out in ScotlandHighland Wildlife Park voted the best day out in Scotland
Added: 21 Aug 2017
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has been named by the public as the ‘Best Day Out’ in Scotland at the 2017 Scottish Hospitality Awards.

The second Scottish Hospitality Awards were held on the evening of 26 June at the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow, with members of the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park team in attendance to receive the award. The award recognises and rewards those within the hospitality industry that work hard to give their customers the very best experience.

Daska Mackintosh, Head of Operations and Visitors Services at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “We are thrilled to have been voted the Best Day Out in Scotland by the public at the Scottish Hospitality Awards. It is another great achievement for RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, building on a very successful year.

“With many of our endangered species giving birth and a record number of visitors, there has been lots to celebrate. It’s fantastic to have our team’s hard work recognised on a national level and to highlight the Park as a wonderful day out.”

RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has been open to visitors for over 40 years, having been established in 1976. Based in the spectacular setting of the Cairngorms National Park, it is home to over 200 rare and endangered animals, some of which you cannot see anywhere else in Scotland. RZSS Highland Wildlife Park welcomed over 136,000 guests last year to view some of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals in naturalistic enclosures.
Jura trains to become the first Ski Patrol rescue dog at Nevis RangeJura trains to become the first Ski Patrol rescue dog at Nevis Range
Added: 21 Aug 2017
Jura, a Border Collie puppy, is training to become the first ski patrol search and rescue dog at Nevis Range Mountain Experience, just in time for the 2017 / 18 snow sports season. TV viewers were able to catch Jura and her owner, Will Davis, on BBC Two recently in the first episode of a new documentary series, “10 Puppies and Us” produced by RDF Television. In the series Jura hit the mid-point of her specialist training programme with the Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland (Highland).

“10 Puppies and Us”, narrated by the actor Neil Morrissey, follows young dogs and their new owners over the course of their all-important first six months together. The first episode featured Jura and owner Will as they progressed through the stringent search and rescue training process, plus three other puppies and their new owners.

Will Davis said: “Jura is a cracking pup with an awesome character. The training is going extremely well and she is picking up on the ever more demanding commands and adapting to her new life in the hills. She is well on the way to becoming a very effective search and rescue dog. I am looking forward to working with her full time this winter.

“Working with the production team for “10 Puppies and Us” has also been a great experience. Jura is a natural in front of the camera!”

Dogs are trained to use their acute sense of smell to detect human scent in the air. Together, the dog and its handler form a highly efficient team. Dogs can work in all weathers, day or night, without loss of speed and they can cover huge areas quickly.

Jeff Starkey, Head of Ski Patrol at Nevis Range, said: “Having a dog as part of the Ski Patrol team at Nevis Range is an immense asset. Rescue dogs are another valuable ‘tool in the box’ of an Avalanche rescue, alongside transceivers and Recco, especially if the casualties have no transceivers on them. Having Jura in the team will give the casualties in the Nevis Range ski area a much better chance of being found quickly.

“She is at the mid-point of her training programme with the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Scotland (Highland), who are supporting the innovation of having dogs in Scottish ski patrol teams.

“Over and above the rescue potential, Jura is good for everyone at Nevis Range and can provide a simple distraction and comfort to anyone in need of a cuddle, public or staff.”

Image: Nevis Range
Virtual visitors invited to explore Scotland’s canals on Google Street ViewVirtual visitors invited to explore Scotland’s canals on Google Street View
Added: 21 Aug 2017
Virtual visitors are now able to take a digital turn on the world’s only rotating boat lift or a desktop trek up Scotland’s longest lock flight thanks to a partnership between Scottish Canals and Google’s innovative ‘Street View’. From Beijing to Barcelona, ‘armchair explorers’ are be able to discover the many sights on Scotland’s historic waterways as the nation’s canals are added to Google’s ‘Street View’. The project allows a virtual audience to take to the towpaths of some of Scotland’s most scenic and spectacular locations, from the myths and majesty of the Caledonian Canal’s Loch Ness to the west coast wonders of the Crinan Canal.

Scottish Canals’ Asset Inspection team have been treading the towpaths capturing over 137 miles of panoramic views using Google’s latest technology, the Trekker – a four-foot, 40lbs backpack which has been fitted with a 15-angle lens camera designed to take 360 pictures every 2.5 seconds.
Swapping roads for towpaths, the Trekker is suited to the narrow towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and has captured a range of locations including:

• Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal, the longest lock flight in the country
• The world’s only rotating boat lift, The Falkirk Wheel
• The remains of a WWII “stop lock” at Stockingfield Bridge on the Forth & Clyde Canal
• Britain’s most beautiful shortcut, the Crinan Canal
• The world’s largest equine sculptures, The Kelpies
Andrew McSherry, Head of ICT at Scottish Canals, said: “Scottish Canals is delighted to team up with Google to bring our 250-year old waterways to a virtual audience. When Scotland’s canals were first carved through the heart and highlands of the nation during the Industrial Revolution, they were considered at the cutting edge of engineering and design. It’s been incredible to see every nook, cranny, and lock captured using this 21st century equipment.

“The Trekker has been ideal for the narrower towpaths and bridges of Scotland’s canals and allows us to show off some of the more hard-to-reach places along the canal network as well as the sights known the world over. We’re delighted to be able to offer virtual visitors the chance to stand in the shadow of The Kelpies or take a turn on The Falkirk Wheel on Street View alongside such sights as the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids of Giza”.
Added: 09 Aug 2017
1 August 2017 – ongoing

As Scotland’s most popular modern art gallery and one of the country’s top ten visitor attractions, the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow has opened a new display charting significant dates in the development of the site, together with important milestones in the cultural development of Glasgow.

Stones Steeped in History tells the story from 1777, when the original building was commissioned as a mansion for tobacco merchant, William Cunninghame, until the present day. The permanent show will inform visitors of the history of the building and is also part of the city’s ambition to aid a deeper understanding of the role slavery played in the narrative of Glasgow. Images of beautiful old photographs, watercolours and postcards complement nostalgic images of Glasgow throughout the years, which enhance the detailed timeline on display.

Stones Steeped in History begins with a brief account of the life of William Cunninghame and moves through times of great wealth, created by international trade. The building’s first commercial purpose was as a bank some forty years later, before becoming Glasgow’s Royal Exchange in 1827, where for over 100 years businessmen gathered to trade cotton, sugar, coal and iron. Many, like Exchange founder James Ewing of Strathleven, owned or profited from the labour of enslaved people on the sugar and tobacco plantations in the American colonies and West Indies. The display continues with innovations such as one of Glasgow’s first telephone exchanges, housed in the building from 1880 and records the iconic Duke of Wellington statue being erected outside in 1884. Glasgow Corporation purchased the building in 1954. Its first civic use was as a library, containing both the Stirling and Commercial Library collections. Stones Steeped in History then chronicles the building’s key role in Glasgow’s rise as a centre for art and culture, which began in the 1970’s.

Glasgow had a reputation as a tough city, but always running alongside this has been a history of innovation and creativity. In the 1970s, Glasgow City Council recognised how culture could be used to re-frame the city’s reputation. The first major project was the creation of a new museum to hold Sir William Burrell’s gift to the city – his collection of over 9,000 objects. The Burrell Collection opened in 1983, to international acclaim. The Garden Festival followed in 1988, attracting over 4 million visitors and in 1990 Glasgow won the title of European Capital of Culture, changing its cultural standing forever. Glasgow and the artists who have emerged from it are now acknowledged around the world and the city boasts one of the finest civic art collections in Europe.

Star Turn for Highland ChocolatierStar Turn for Highland Chocolatier
Added: 07 Aug 2017
This week Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier added yet another 7 stars to over 40 prestigious awards received for his renowned Velvet Truffles.

The Great Taste Awards judges have just announced that Master Chocolatier and truffle specialist Iain Burnett, from Grandtully in Highland Perthshire, has been awarded 4 new awards. Last year Iain Burnett’s Velvet Truffles were awarded Best Truffle in the World for the second time at the World Finals of the International Chocolate Awards. The Great Taste Awards judges include chefs, food critics, restaurateurs and buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. From thousands of entries, the judges said the Velvet Truffles were “Outstanding – above and beyond delicious”.

The judges’ comments underline Burnett’s approach to pure, natural ingredients and the refinement of highly skilled artisanal methods in his chocolate kitchen in Grandtully, Perthshire. Iain Burnett has been creating bespoke Velvet Truffles for Michelin star chefs, corporate clients and Master Distillers for over a decade and sells them online for delivery as gifts all over the world. Based in the picturesque village of Grandtully, between Aberfeldy and Pitlochry, his specialised chocolate kitchen can be seen in the Scottish Chocolate Centre which has become an award winning 4 star attraction for locals and visitors who travel far to enjoy the chocolate Exhibition, gourmet Chocolate Shop and new Chocolate Lounge. He has recently launched audio-guided Tours and Tastings of the Velvet Truffles.

The Great Taste Awards is one of the most respected food accreditation schemes for artisan and specialty food producers.
Added: 04 Jul 2017

Friday 21 July to Sunday 5 November 2017
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

Admission: FREE

Age of Oil, a new contemporary art display showcasing the work of visual artist Sue Jane Taylor will open on Friday 21 July at the National Museum of Scotland.

Featuring 17 pieces of original artwork, this display will examine the economic, social and political impact of Scotland’s oil, gas and renewable industries, with a focus on the current North Sea decommissioning programmes and their challenges.

Taylor, who has worked in some of the most remote and challenging industrial environments across Scotland, presents engineering in an intricate yet accessible way depicting the human stories behind the economic facts and figures which often surround these industries.

Complementing Taylor’s documentary style works of art will be diary extracts and film footage from the artist. These contrast the industrial artefacts collected by National Museums Scotland to represent the decommissioning of the North Sea’s Murchison platform, with personal survival equipment and objects from those whose stories are featured in the exhibition.

By using a multi-media approach to interpret this moment when energy industries are in a state of flux, Age of Oil will explore the daily realities for the people who build, operate and ultimately decommission Scotland’s energy infrastructure whilst offering reflections on the importance of the oil industry and its relation to the future of energy.

Alison Taubman, Principal Curator of Communications at National Museums Scotland said:

“Age of Oil builds on topics examined in our Science and Technology galleries, which opened last summer, raising very topical questions about the relationships between art, environment and industry. The scope of the exhibits on display will bring a human aspect to what is an alien working environment to most people.”

Sue Jane Taylor said:

“I have spent most of my artistic life focusing on the North Sea. I was born and brought up in the Black Isle and whilst growing up there in the 1970s, the oil boom hit the Highlands of Scotland; it became part of contemporary Highland Culture. As a young graduate I sailed on a cargo supply vessel out in high seas. This journey became a life changing artistic experience for me.

“Since North Sea oil was discovered fifty years ago, this industry’s public identity has been predominantly portrayed in cold, hard economic terms and its corporate image has been very tightly censored through photography and film. My own focus as a fine artist is to emphasise the importance of the workers and their working environment.”

Age of Oil will be accompanied by a book published by NMS Enterprises Ltd price £14.99.

Copyright: Sue Jane Taylor
Photographer: Ewen Weatherspoon

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Bonnie Prince Charlie and the JacobitesBonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites
Added: 05 Jun 2017
This summer National Museums Scotland will present the largest exhibition about the Jacobites to be held in over 70 years, opening 23rd June.

As well as drawing on National Museums Scotland’s own collections, the exhibition will feature spectacular loans from the United Kingdom and Europe. More than 300 paintings, costumes, documents, weapons, books and many unique objects owned by the exiled Jacobite kings will help tell the wider story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

David Forsyth, the exhibition’s lead curator, said:

“The story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites has had an enduring and generally romantic fascination for subsequent generations, from Sir Walter Scott to the current Outlander TV programme, along with many other representations in literature, TV and film. This exhibition will enable us to use the best material there is – real objects and contemporary accounts and depictions – to present the truth of a story more layered, complex and dramatic than even these fictional imaginings”

The Jacobites (from Jacobus - the Latin for James) were supporters of a movement to reinstate the Roman Catholic Stuart king, James VII & II and his heirs to the throne after his exile to France in 1688. Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites presents a detailed and dynamic, multi-faceted re-examination of this familiar yet much-contested story, showing how the Jacobite challenge for the three kingdoms was a complex civil war, which even pitched Scot against Scot. Support for the cause was drawn from Scotland, England, Ireland and Continental Europe; it was part of the broader dynastic and political rivalries of Europe’s great powers.

Friday 23 June to Sunday 12 November 2017
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh
Cutting-edge technology takes medieval Rosslyn Chapel around the worldCutting-edge technology takes medieval Rosslyn Chapel around the world
Added: 17 May 2017
Rosslyn Chapel’s renowned stonework can now be appreciated more easily all over the world thanks to a new app launched at the Chapel.
The app has been developed for Rosslyn Chapel Trust by The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV), a partnership between specialists at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and experts in 3D visualisation at The School of Simulation and Visualisation at the GSA. Since 2008, the interior and exterior of the Chapel and its grounds have been digitally documented using laser scanning technology and the results have been used to create unique features in the app such as animations showing how the medieval Chapel was constructed, a virtual tour and a 360-degree panoramic tour.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust said: ‘Rosslyn Chapel is known throughout the world for its unique architecture and ornate stonework and we hope that this app will introduce the Chapel to new audiences in an innovative way and inspire future generations of visitors.’
Alastair Rawlinson, Head of Data Acquisition in the School of Simulation and Visualisation at the GSA and Project Manager at CDDV said: ‘We have undertaken 3D laser scanning at Rosslyn Chapel over the course of several years, and our skilled team has been able to apply cutting-edge digital gaming technologies to transform these laser scans and other 3D data into a rich interactive and explorable experience.’
Dr Lyn Wilson, Digital Documentation Manager at HES and Project Manager at CDDV said: ‘This is an exciting day for us as we launch our dynamic and innovative app. It cements our longstanding relationship with Rosslyn Chapel Trust, which has been a great template for collaborative working with other partners across the country. The app is a fantastic way of giving digital access to this beautiful site, which is something we’re looking to do a lot more of at HES in the future – and of course we hope this digital glimpse of Rosslyn Chapel will encourage even more visits to the Chapel itself.’
The new app can be downloaded from the App Store for £1.99.
“Scotland sends a huge welcome to China!”“Scotland sends a huge welcome to China!”
Added: 05 May 2017
Edinburgh is Scotland’s first City to be ‘China ready’ with its new fully translated ‘Welcome to Edinburgh’ Guide.

Scotland’s capital is the most visited destination outside London for Chinese visitors. Last year 160,000 Chinese travellers visited Edinburgh. This figure is expected to double by 2020.

The new guide with a print run of 100,000 is an initiative of Landmark Press who are already heavily involved in Edinburgh tourism. They publish 1.5 million copies annually of an Edinburgh Guide with editions in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.Landmark Press general manager, Andrew Murphie said: ‘A recent survey showed that a translated guide is the 3rd most common request by Chinese hotel guests, behind free WiFi and a kettle!’

‘The Chinese edition of the Edinburgh Guide is a natural extension of the service we offer. We have been working in Edinburgh for over 30 years and have a very good distribution system with 600 attractive display stands in key locations across the City including Edinburgh Castle.’ ‘We are really proud’ he continued ‘that some of the largest and some of the smallest tourism businesses across Scotland are our customers. These include:

VisitScotland; the National Trust for Scotland; Historic Environment Scotland; the Scottish Parliament; and the Royal Botanic Gardens’.

The Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) have been heavily involved in the production of the new guide and have contributed a special four page ‘survival guide’ welcoming Chinese visitors to the City.

Rob Lang, Head of Marketing at Edinburgh Airport and Chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s China Ready Initiative said: “The continued growth of the Chinese visitor market to Edinburgh presents a great opportunity for the city’s tourism sector. The city’s first-ever Mandarin “Welcome to Edinburgh” Guide from Landmark Press is packed with information from businesses offering a warm welcome to Chinese visitors. The guide is another welcome addition to the range of media being provided to our Chinese guests as we strive to become a “must see, must visit” destination for this influential market.”

Landmark Press, managing director, Danny Fullerton said ‘It is our ongoing aim to provide an excellent national tourism information service. Our ‘Welcome’ bedroom folders are on display in 95% of the hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, and self-catering properties across Scotland.’

‘In addition to the Welcome to Edinburgh Guide we also publish and distribute a ‘Welcome to Scotland’ Guide, with 800,000
copies and editions in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.’

‘On the digital front our ‘Welcome to Scotland’ website is the country’s most comprehensive tourism gateway and the UK’s only national tourism site to be fully translated into French and German.’

‘We also operate the only national app for Scotland’s tourism industry’ he continued. ‘The app is fully translated into French and German. If the numbers of visitors from China continues to grow as expected, we may soon have to translate our website and app into Chinese a prospect we would welcome hugely!

To advertise in the Welcome to Edinburgh Guide, contact
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