Wonders of Scotland

Wonders of Scotland

Scotland has been renowned worldwide for being a hub of natural beauty. The country is perfect for those scenic-loving tourists and from its rolling glens to its towering mountains, there’s something truly magnificent about the country and its beautiful landscape. Scotland has something that appeals to anyone once they take in the sights. The summer is the perfect season to explore and discover Scotland in all of its natural form. Before heading to this beautiful country, ensure that you have an EHIC card which can be applied for on this EHIC website.  With that covering any of your medical expenses, you are free to experience a new side of Scotland. The next time you pull on your walking boots and go for an amble through some of the most scenic landscapes in the country, here is what is on offer:

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

This mystical looking whirlpool is a product of the geological structure of the sea bed, which has an underground mountain! Yes, it sounds like something you will get out of Game Of Thrones, but the tides from the east and west of the north tip of Jura collide and an underwater basalt pillar, known as ‘The Old Hag’. This then forces the tidal water upwards, with the water pushed back together from the banks to create a swirling Whirlpool.

Ben Nevis 

Known by the locals as ‘The Ben’, this mountain that stands at 4,411ft (1345m) is close to the small town of Fort William in Lochaber. It is the UK’S tallest mountain and it is pretty likely that you will come across some snow on your way up there, even in the hotter seasons.  It is thought that the best time of the year to visit this wonder is between June-October, but it’s still as beautiful no matter what time you go.

Coire Gabhail

Famous for its atmospheric peaks, bloody history and being featured in the iconic film franchise James Bond, this location is a gateway to a myriad of stunning walks. Coire Gabhail is known as the Lost Valley due to its two to three hour rough and ready hike through 2.5 miles of stunning mountain scenery. Other than being easy on the eye, it has a vibrant history and is known to be where the Macdonald clan used to hide the cattle that they had rustled from their neighbours.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

Aside from Loch Ness, this is by far one of Scotland’s most scenic and famous lochs. If you want to know why the banks of Loch Lomdon are out of this world, simply take a trip there and go for a wander in the Troassachs and you’ll soon understand what pure beauty is.

West Highland Way

The seven mile 11.km stretch from Inversnaid to Ardlui and Inverarnan in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park takes roughly seven hours to complete and is considered a hard challenge to complete. After completing this walk, you’ll need a well-deserved rest because the West Highland Way spans 96 miles between Millngavie and Fort William.


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Night Life in Inverness

Inverness is a beautiful city by the River Ness that offers so much more than you might expect. There’s beautiful scenery, rich history, fascinating culture and the nightlife is incredible. You’ll find music festivals, clubs, bars and hidden gems dotted around the city just waiting to be discovered:

Eden Court

Eden Court is Inverness’s largest venue and you’ll find an incredible range of events to please the culture lovers. Eden Court has been attracting visitors from all over the region since the 1970s that all come to see the plays, ballets, live music performances, film screenings and so much more. Every year the performances get more impressive, so grab yourself some tickets and come see the art of Inverness.

The Ironworks

In the heart of Inverness you’ll find great live music at a venue called ‘The Ironworks’. You’d be amazed to know that this venue has been the host for some incredible acts, including Biffy Clyro, Van Morison, Babyshambles, The Wombats and Kasabian. They also play host for some amazing up and coming artists as well as some classics, and every now and then they also host comedy nights. If you manage to book a ticket, a night out here is a lot of fun.

One4 Fun Casino

For those that like games there’s the one4 Fun Casino in Inverness. This little game parlour in the city centre has a great range of games to help you and your friends wind down after a long day. If you’re looking to have a party away from the clubs you can also hire one4 Fun Casino to host your event and have a Las Vegas themed bash. For those that like a bit of laid back gaming there’s the slot machines and roulette wheel, but if you’re into high stakes and want to test out some of the latest blackjack betting strategies they have blackjack, too along with a few poker tables for the especially adventurous.

Barbazza

Barbazza is the best place to give you a great, well rounded evening. During the day they serve some delicious food, so grab a bit of dinner to get your energy up. After that you’ll find everything from karaoke to live rock music. You’ll find all kinds of live music and entertainment here from Thursday to Sunday. Every now and then you might be asked to contribute some spare change, but most of the nights are normally free and everyone is welcome to join in, pick up a few cocktails and sing their heart out.

Hootananny

This particular establishment is certainly unique. This Scottish café/bar has three venues in one building. On the first floor you have the café bar itself; on the second floor you have the Mad Hatters Bar, where you can sample real, local ales; and on the top floor is the Bothy Sofa Bar where you’ll find a more intimate atmosphere. Local singers, musicians and comedians find themselves at Hootananny every now and then and showcase their talents while on other days you’ll find the bars filled with more traditional music. This is a great place to meet anyone’s needs. Start with an evening coffee, move on to rich ale and then end the night with a nice nap on a sofa. Be warned, though, that the live music can get a bit loud and so can the bars.

 

 

 


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Top 10 Music Festivals in Scotland for 2017

With the absence of two of Scotland’s largest music festivals, T in the Park and the Wickerman Festival in 2017, music fans will need to look elsewhere to get their fix. Thankfully, Scotland has an enormous range of festivals on the horizon, with interests as diverse as folk, jazz, rock and pop comfortably catered for. Read on for our run-down of the top 10 festivals north of the border in 2017.

1. Montrose Music Festival

When: 26th – 28th May 2017
Where: Montrose, Angus

Held in a variety of venues across the small town of Montrose in Angus, the Montrose Music Festival, or ‘MoFest’ as it is affectionately known, has been home to perhaps the largest musical diversity in this list since its inception in 2008. The lineup this year features West Coast old timers The Beach Boys.

2. Shetland Folk Festival

When: 27th – 30th April 2017
Where: Shetland, Northern Isles

Though by no means the only festival on the list to feature folk, Shetland Folk Festival is the most prestigious venue on the Scottish folk calendar. The journey itself will be an adventure but when you arrive you’ll be richly rewarded with some of the biggest names in both British and International folk music. Membership of the Shetland Folk Festival Society is a must to make the most of your trip.

3. Doune the Rabbit Hole

When: 18th – 20th August 2017
Where: Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire

A small, independent affair, Doune the Rabbit Hole has been a must visit for anyone who likes their music with a side of the arts since it began in 2010. Theatre, DIY arts and spoken word are all well represented.

4. Party at the Palace

When: 12th – 13th August 2017
Where: Linlithgow, West Lothian

Looking down over the stunning Linlithgow Loch and its namesake palace, Party at the Palace attracts some big names in rock and pop. 2016 saw The Proclaimers headline, with Erasure and Big Country also playing.

5. Solas Festival

When: 23rd – 25th June 2017
Where: The Bield, Perthshire

One of Scotland’s most open and inclusive festivals, Solas has something for everyone, particular those with an open mind – spoken word events include poetry, philosophy and politics. Why not hire a yurt to take your festival experience to the next level?

6. Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

When: 14th – 23rd July 2017
Where: Edinburgh

Of the multiple jazz festivals that have arrived on the Scottish music scene in recent years, Edinburgh is still by far the biggest. Held across the city and featuring some of the world’s finest it really is not to be missed.

7. Hebridean Celtic Festival

When: 19th – 22nd July 2017
Where: Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

The biggest event of the year in the Hebrides never fails to disappoint. Held on the island of Lewis, ‘HebCelt’ is in touch with the essence of what it means to be Scottish, and their diverse array of rock, indie-folk and world music clearly show that.

8. Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

When: 3rd – 5th August 2017
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire

Proud to be Scottish to their core, Tartan Heart is a unique experience in the wilds of the Highlands. The 3-day festival is surrounded by two weeks of fringe events that provide a truly immersive experience into Scottish culture.

9. Eden Festival

When: 8th – 11th June 2017
Where: Raehills meadows, Dumfries and Calloway

Once named as one of the top 10 festivals in Europe by Lonely Planet, Eden have carved out a unique, boutique niche in the Scottish festival scene. The Kids Arena and Drive-In Cinema offer experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

10. Kelburn Garden Party

When: 30th June – 3rd July 2017
Where: Kelburn Castle and Estate, North Ayrshire

If you want to do something different this summer – go to the Kelburn Garden Party. Hosted in and around the spectacularly painted Kelburn Castle, something different hides in every nook. A fantastic blend of local acts and bigger names lets you mix it up.

Accommodation for these events can be booked here on the Inverness Guest House Association website for accommodation in the Highlands and Private House Stays for all other Scotland accommodation.


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The Holiday Gift Guide for Office Staff

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to think about how you’ll show your appreciation to your hardworking staff. In addition to planning special events, such as game days during which your staff can play things like office Christmas bingo, what gifts are the best options for your office employees? Keep reading for a few helpful ideas that can steer you in the right direction.

Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Gift cards are a fantastic gift idea for your office staff because they can use the money to treat themselves to something really nice. Whether you purchase them gift cards to classy restaurants, to Amazon, or to a specific store, they will definitely appreciate this gift. You can even purchase them a gift card that they can use anywhere they wish, which means they can use the money for whatever it is that they want to purchase.

In addition to gift cards, you can also get your staff gift certificates to activities that they can enjoy, such as a few yoga classes that they can use to relax. You can even go ahead and buy them a gift certificate to a spa so they can unwind and be pampered for a little while at the end of a year of hard work.

Gift Basket

A gift basket is yet another great way to show your appreciation to your office staff at the holidays. There are a variety of gift baskets that you can choose from, including those that have coffee and chocolate and those that include bottles of wine. You could even go with something simpler by purchasing a basket or case filled with fresh fruit and nuts that your gift recipient can enjoy.

Technology

Gadgets are a popular gift for everyone from teens to office employees, so if you have it in your budget, you can get your office staff new tablets or portable music players. Another great option is the Amazon Fire Stick, which is hugely popular because it lets users sync apps like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix to their TV. These gifts are sure to please, and they are gifts that your staff will be happy to use because they will be able to upgrade their existing technology.

Delicious Wine

Finally, a simple gift that is also sure to please is a high quality bottle of wine. You can even give your employees a gift basket consisting of wine, cheese, and crackers. Just consider what flavour wine every gift recipient would prefer so that the gift can be perfect. After all, what’s better than relaxing with a delicious glass of wine at home at the end of the workday, and at the end of the year?

When you start to think about your staff and what they are like on an everyday basis, you can determine what the perfect Christmas gift will be for them. Regardless of what you end up going with, they are sure to really appreciate the thoughtful gift and your effort to thank them for their hard work.


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Santa’s Grottos – Inverness

Santa is going to be very busy in Inverness for the next few weeks as he has set up a few grottos where he can meet with the children. Here are a couple of his venues:

Simpson’s Garden Centre – Wednesday 7th to Saturday 24th December 2016

Enjoy a magical visit to see Santa in his fabulous grotto at Simpsons, where you can have fun with his elf, colour in, then visit Santa for a good old festive blather.

4.30pm -6pm: Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th, Friday 9th
11am-4.30pm: Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th
4.30pm-6pm: Wednesday 14th, Thursday 15th, Friday 16th
11am-4.30pm: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th
11am-4.30pm Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd
11am-2pm Saturday 24th

 

Eastgate Shopping Centre – Sunday 20th November – Friday 23rd December 2016

Visit Santa in his Magical Dick Whittington Grotto in Eastgate located by Next

Grotto will be open every Friday to Sunday, 11am-5pm, from 20th November * – 23rd December. (Grotto opens at 1pm on the 20th November)

All proceeds will go towards our chosen charity, The Archie Foundation Highlands which supports sick children and their families across the whole of the North of Scotland.


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