Scotland: Pipes, Glens, and Thistles

Scotland: Pipes, Glens, and Thistles The page will be used to gear up for all things Scotland. I know it seems like ages away, but it will approach faster than you think. Please check back often!!!!

Scotland: Pipes, Glens, and Thistles's cover photo
10/29/2016

Scotland: Pipes, Glens, and Thistles's cover photo

06/05/2012

What a beautiful tour this was! Many thanks to everyone who helped to make it possible...it takes a monumental effort to take almost a 100 people to Scotland for a 10 day performance tour and we certainly had such wonderful support, in so many ways. A special thanks to our Heart of Scotland and Sangstream choir friends. They allowed us to truly experience the heart of Scotland--the people.

05/24/2012

we're boarding!

And perhaps the most AMAZING castle of the tour--Blair Castle. Beyond your imaginings...
05/22/2012
Atholl Estates and Blair Castle

And perhaps the most AMAZING castle of the tour--Blair Castle. Beyond your imaginings...

www.atholl-estates.co.uk 01796 481207 Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5TL
Atholl Estates is one of Scotland’s best known Highland estates with Blair Castle at it's heart. We also have a range of accommodation and outdoor activities all year round.

Can't wait to visit this place, one week from today! Scone Palace, the Crowning Place of the Kings of the Scots!
05/22/2012
Scone Palace

Can't wait to visit this place, one week from today! Scone Palace, the Crowning Place of the Kings of the Scots!

Scone Palace - Crowning place of Scottish Kings. Visitor Attraction, Weddings, Events, Festivals, Luxury Accommodation

We will end our day with a concert at this lovely church. The performance will be recorded and hopefully turned into an ...
05/20/2012
Holy Trinity Parish Church, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

We will end our day with a concert at this lovely church. The performance will be recorded and hopefully turned into an official Scotland Choir Tour 2012 CD!

Holy Trinity Church of Scotland, St Andrews, Fife

St. Andrews, Scotland - Links and information to all things about St Andrews.
05/20/2012
St. Andrews, Scotland - Links and information to all things about St Andrews.

St. Andrews, Scotland - Links and information to all things about St Andrews.

The essential guide to St. Andrews, Scotland; the Home of Golf and Scotland's oldest university. Presented using multimedia and virtual reality, this site includes a virtual reality tour of the town centre, Old Course golf course, and major attractions.

One week from today, we will travel through beautiful Glencoe! The scene of the massacre of the McDonalds by their ungra...
05/19/2012
Massacre of Glencoe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One week from today, we will travel through beautiful Glencoe! The scene of the massacre of the McDonalds by their ungrateful overnight guests the Campbells...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Glencoe

Early in the morning of 13 February 1692, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, a massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident is referred to as the Massacre of Glencoe, or in Scottish Gaelic M...

On the way to Iona, we will have the experience to enjoy the stark, dramatic beauty that is the Isle of Mullhttp://www.i...
05/18/2012
Isle of Mull Scotland

On the way to Iona, we will have the experience to enjoy the stark, dramatic beauty that is the Isle of Mull
http://www.isle-of-mull.net/

The Isle of Mull has attractions for all the family, and the island offers a holiday where wildlife is around every corner, visitor attractions cater for all ages, and the whole family has a chance to live a lifestyle far removed from the hectic urban pressurised existence.

05/14/2012

Soooooo close. woohooo.

04/08/2012

We're also working on a packing list that we will print and handout sometime soon. Woohooo!

04/08/2012

I've been looking for info on shipping items from Scotland back home, but can't really get a direct quote. I'll continue to try, though.

03/08/2012

COUNTRY INFORMATION - SCOTLAND



OVERVIEW
Scotland is famous primarily for its spectacular scenery, but it also offers a rich historical and cultural heritage, together with a wide range of activities. The populous central belt is the focus of most economic activity, centred primarily on the major cities, Glasgow and the Scottish capital Edinburgh.
Scotland’s landscape is as varied as it is beautiful. Rugged peaks sweep down to breathtaking lochs, glistening in remote glens like Glen Affric near Inverness and Loch Trool in Galloway. A straggling coastline, with white sandy beaches, sheltered bays and rocky cliffs, looks out to the remote islands in the Atlantic. To the south, the rolling hills of the Borders, lush lowland pastures and extensive woodlands present a softer beauty.
Edinburgh is among the outstanding cities of the world, where the medieval Old Town contrasts with the elegant Georgian New Town. Other towns, notably Glasgow, display a wealth of Victorian architecture. Everywhere you can find ancient castles and houses. Prehistoric forts, stone circles and burial mounds can be explored, particularly at the Neolithic Heart of Orkney, Scotland’s latest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Scotland’s rich musical heritage has feet tapping to bagpipes, fiddles and accordions. The best Celtic music can be heard at either the Girvan Traditional Folk Festival in May or the Newcastleton Festival in July. While the Edinburgh Festival in August is of course an unmissable event on the calendar.
A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, play golf on the world’s most famous course at St Andrews; go fishing, sailing, diving or join the walkers, cyclists and climbers on the hills, in woodlands and on deserted country lanes.

Finally, at the end of the day, relax with Scotland’s greatest export, a dram of fine malt whisky.

PASSPORT, VISA & EMBASSY INFORMATION
Passports:
Passport valid for at least six months after return date of travel
Visas:
Please check with your local embassy for entry requirements
Embassy:
U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh, Scotland
3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW
Telephone: 013-1556-8315
Telephone from the United States: 011-44-13-1556-8315
Emergency after hours telephone: 020-7499-9000
Emergency after hours telephone from the United States: 011-44-20-7499-9000
Fax: 0131-557-6023
Fax from the United States: 011-44-131-557-6023
Website: http://edinburgh.usconsulate.gov/index.html

UK Embassy in Washington
British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20008
Tel: +1 202 588 6500
http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk

GENERAL INFORMATION
Population:
5.2 million (estimate 2010).
Capital:
Edinburgh. Population: 486,120 (2010).
Geography:
The country consists of the southern Lowland area, a region of moorland and pastoral scenery – where most of the population is concentrated – and the northern Highlands, dominated by the Grampian Mountains and Ben Nevis (1,344m/4,140ft), the highest peak in the British Isles. The whole of the exceedingly beautiful coastline is indented with lochs (particularly in the north and west). Off the west coast there are many islands, the largest of which are Skye and Lewis, the latter being part of the Outer Hebrides. The Orkney and Shetland Islands lie to the northeast of the Scottish mainland, across the Pentland Firth from John O’Groats.
Climate:
Scotland is generally colder than the rest of the UK, especially in the more northerly regions. The west tends to be wetter and warmer than the cool, dry east. In upland areas, snow is common in winter, and fog and mist may occur at any time of year.
Considering how far north it lies – Edinburgh is on the same latitude as Labrador in Canada – you might expect Scotland to have a colder climate, but the breezes from the Atlantic are warmed by the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current that flows from the southeast coast of the USA and bathes the western shores of the British Isles.
The east coast tends to be drier than the west – rainfall averages around 650mm – and it is often warmer in summer and colder in winter. Temperatures rarely drop below 0°C on the coast, although a wind blowing off the North Sea will make you shiver any time of year. The west coast is milder and wetter, with more than 1500mm of rain and average summer highs of 19°C. The western Highlands around Fort William are the wettest place in Britain, with annual rainfall as high as 3000mm.
Statistically, your best chances of fine weather are in May, June and September; July and August are usually warm, but may be wet too. In summer, daylight hours are long; the midsummer sun sets around 11pm in the Shetland Islands and even Edinburgh evenings seem to last forever in June and July. Conversely, in December the sun doesn’t show its face until after 9am, and it’s dark again by 4pm.
In April and May Scotland’s glorious scenery is set off by snow lingering on the mountains and colourful displays of wildflowers in the bluebell woods of southern Scotland and the machair (grass- and wildflower-covered dunes) of the Western Isles.

Language:
English. Gaelic is still spoken by some, mostly in the West and Highlands.

Head of State:
HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Head of Government:
First Minister Alex Salmond since May 2007.
Prime Minister David Cameron since May 2010.

Religion:
Predominantly Christian (Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist), sizeable Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu minorities. Around 15% of the population have no religion.

Electricity:
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are standard.
Time Zone:
GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October)

COMMUNICATIONS, EMERGENCY CONTACTS AND INSURANCE
Telephone:
Country code: 44. There are numerous public call boxes. Some boxes take coins, others phonecards or credit cards.
Mobile Telephone:
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is mostly good, but can be patchy in rural areas.
For rental please go to www.mobal.com
Internet:
There are Internet cafes and centres in most urban areas. Some multimedia phone booths, often located at main railway stations and airports, offer touch-screen access.
Post:
Stamps are available from post offices and many shops and stores. There are stamp machines outside some post offices. Post boxes are red. First-class internal mail normally reaches its destination the day after posting (except in remote areas of Scotland), and most second-class mail the day after that. International postal connections are good.
Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1730 and Sat 0900-1230, although some post offices are open much longer hours.

Emergency Contacts:
Police/fire/ambulance service 999
Casterbridge Emergency Phone: +44 7841 116 144
European emergency number: 112 (used for GSM cell phones, the operator will speak English and the native language of the country you are calling from).

CURRENCY
Pound (GBP; symbol £) = 100 pence. Notes are in denominations of £50, 20, 10 and 5. Additional bank notes issued by Scottish banks (including £1 notes) are accepted in all parts of the UK, although some smaller shops outside Scotland may prefer English banknotes. Coins are in denominations of £2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 pence.
Currency Exchange:
Money can be exchanged in banks, exchange bureaux, some post offices and many hotels. The exchange bureaux are often open outside banking hours but charge higher commission rates. All major currencies can be exchanged.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs:
American Express, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. Cash can be obtained from a multitude of ATMs available across the country.
Banking Hours:
Mon-Fri 0930-1630 (there may be some variations in closing times). Some banks are open Saturday morning; some all day Saturday.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS - 2012
1 Jan New Year's Day.
2 Jan 2nd January.
6 Apr Good Friday.
7 May Early May Bank Holiday.
4 Jun Spring Bank Holiday.
6 Aug Summer Bank Holiday.
30 Nov St Andrew's Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day*.
26 Dec Boxing Day*.
* If the date falls on the weekend the public holiday will be observed on the next working day.

FOOD AND DRINK
Scottish cuisine has a fearsome reputation for strong flavors, interesting ingredients and a burgeoning stable of celebrity chefs. Inspiration often comes from traditional Scots ingredients – oats, whisky, salmon, Aberdeen Angus beef and game. In-season pheasant, grouse and partridges make a hearty mouthful. Of course, Scottish smoked salmon has long been celebrated, but other fish are also worth trying. Fish and chip shops can be found in every town. In Scotland chips are traditionally served with ‘sauce’, a thin, brown gravy. Berries are a feature of summer dishes, try blaeberries, tayberries and most famously, raspberries. Local cheeses from artisan cheesemakers are increasingly available, try Crowdie or Bishop Kennedy.
Licensing hours vary; basic hours are 1100-2300, but many pubs have extended hours, particularly in cities. A complete smoking ban in bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and offices came into force in 2006.

Regional specialities:
• Porridge (a traditional Scottish breakfast made from locally grown oats and either milk or water).
• Haggis (chopped oatmeal and offal cooked in the stomach of a sheep), neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).
• Cullen skink (fish soup).
• Smoked salmon.
• Partan bree (crab with rice and cream).
•Scotch Broth, Scotch Pie
Regional drinks:
• Whisky.
• Beer.
• Irn Bru (carbonated soft drink said to be made from girders).

Legal drinking age: 18.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS & SHOPPING
The monarchy, though now only symbolic politically, is a powerful and often subconscious unifying force. Members of the Royal Family are the subject of unceasing fascination, with their every move avidly followed and reported by the popular press, both in the UK and abroad.
Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. Normal social courtesies should be observed when visiting someone’s home and a small present such as flowers or chocolates is appreciated. It is polite to wait until everyone has been served before eating. Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including stations, pubs and restaurants, throughout the UK.
Clothing:
Some nightclubs and restaurants do not allow jeans and trainers, otherwise casual wear is widely acceptable.
Shopping:
In the major cities, you can buy fashion from the likes of national designers Burberry or Stella McCartney. Wedgwood, Crown Derby, Royal Doulton and Royal Worcester all produce renowned china and porcelain. Luxury food and chocolates can be bought from independent shops such as the famous Harrods and Fortnum & Mason in London. Antiques are to be found in shops or markets all over the country. In major cities, Mon-Sat 0900/0930-1730; in London and other large shopping centres, shops may stay open to 2000. Most cities have at least one night a week of late night shopping until 2000, usually on Thursday. Many shops open Sun 1000/1100-1600/1700. Some towns and areas of cities may have early closing one day a week, usually Wednesday or Thursday.
Crime:
Most visits to the UK are trouble free however; please ensure the group is alert to pickpockets in places such as tourist sights and public transport.

TIPPING
In hotels, a service charge of 10 to 12% is usual, which may be added to the bill. 10 to 15% is usual for restaurants; if this has already been added to the bill, a further tip is not required.

Casterbridge Recommendations on Tipping
The industry standard most commonly quoted for tipping would be an amount of around $3 per person, per day ($4 for groups less than 20) for the tour manager/guide, and $2 per person, per day ($3 for groups less than 20) for the coach driver (provided you have been satisfied with the driving and courtesy). Restaurant staff, local guides, etc. should only be tipped at your own discretion in the case of exemplary service.

USEFUL WEBSITES

VisitScotland
Fairways Business Park, Deer Park Avenue, Livingston EH54 8AF, UK
Tel: 0845 225 5121, in the UK only, or (01506) 832 121.
Website: www.visitscotland.com
VisitBritain in the USA
551 Fifth Avenue, Suite 701, New York, NY 10176, USA
Tel: 1 800 462 2748 (general information line) or (212) 986 2266 (executive offices).
Website: www.visitbritain.com/usa
Visit the Highlands of Scotland
http://www.visithighlands.com/
The Corporate Site for Scotland`s National Tourism Organization
http://www.visitscotland.org/
http://www.scotlandtourism.com/

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Maryville, TN

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