Scotland’s weather is a whole other topic of conversation that typically comes up in everyday chat at least once or twice. Our weather can be unpredictable and changes so often that you may well experience all four seasons in one day, but it’s unlikely. The best advice we can give you is: be prepared!
Scottish weather is often mild, with a moderate chance of rain, but that never stops us from making the most of the day, no matter what the weather throws at us. From windy walks on the beach or sunny bike rides on woodland trails, to gorge walking in the drizzle or skiing and snowboarding on real snow – there’s plenty you can do come rain or shine (or even snow!).
There are a few things to remember to bring with you to make sure your time in Scotland is enjoyable and memorable:
The right clothing! There’s nothing worse than being stuck outdoors without the right jacket or pair of shoes for the terrain or landscape you’re on.
An umbrella always comes in handy for those unexpected showers.
Sunglasses may be needed for those glorious days of sunshine… yes, we do see the sun in Scotland!
Remember to layer up. Bring plenty of t-shirts and a snug jumper, or why not buy a knitted jumper made of Scottish wool while you’re here?
Scotland’s varied weather benefits a lot outdoor pursuits, activities and sightseeing opportunities across the country. Our long summer days mean you have more daylight to explore Scotland’s landscape and the further north you go the more daylight you get, so this is a great time to explore the Highlands and northern corners of Scotland. With the strong, steady currents, the Atlantic and North seas can produce some of the best surfing conditions in Europe. There are miles of picturesque coastline that provide the perfect location to try your hand at surfing, or a range of other watersports too.
Series in which Paul Murton uncovers the history of Scotland’s most famous clans. He begins his journey by exploring his own MacGregor ancestry. In the 17th century this Highland clan reached such heights of infamy that it was outlawed by the State and the name MacGregor became punishable by death.
For almost 400 years the MacDonalds dominated the Highlands and Islands of Scotland but at the end of the 15th century this mighty clan was ripped apart by a bitter family feud. The struggle between father and son had disastrous consequences from which the MacDonalds never recovered.
During the 16th century terrible atrocities were committed as rival Highland clans battled for supremacy. The Age of Feuds and Forays was a high point for Gaelic culture but one stained with blood. One clan in particular flourished during this violent chapter in Scottish history and its name was MacLeod.
There can be few Highland Clans more mired in bloodshed than Clan Campbell. The Campbells combined an understanding of the law with formidable might to become the most powerful and influential clan in the country. But in the middle of the 17th century Scotland was ravaged by a bloody civil war that gave the Campbell’s bitter rivals, the MacDonalds an opportunity to exact revenge. Thousands died as these two mighty Highland Clans battled for supremacy.
This year’s event marks the 63rd annual Song Contest, where countries from across the continent – and a select few others – battle it out at the campest event in the musical calendar.
The 43 participating delegations have taken to the Blue Carpet at the MAAT museum complex in Lisbon. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and will host the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2018! Get ready as Eurovision is just around the corner
When is Eurovision 2018?
This year’s grand finale takes place on Saturday 12 May, airing on BBC One from 8pm. The live semi-finals will be held on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the final and broadcast on BBC Four.
Participants in 2018
The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see 42 countries take to the stage in Lisbon. The 2018 edition will be a special year for Sweden which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its first appearance in 1958. Russia is also returning to the contest after a year’s absence.
That’s not to say it’s completely po-faced and fun-free. And thanks to the viral potential of, shall we say, a quirky song, there are still some tunes making the final that sound like the rantings of a fever dream, but it all adds to the occasion. Here’s what to expect, and how to survive, your very first Eurovision season.
Eurovision is progressive
Eurovision was woke way before you started your first hashtag on Twitter. Trans singer Dana International won the competition for Israel in 1998 and a bearded drag queen called Conchita Wurst took it home for Austria in 2014. Eurovision has a huge LGBTQ fan base and it’s safe to say many participating acts will have gay credentials of some kind. There are objections, of course, from less forward-thinking countries – Russia tends to cause trouble about this one a lot – but when it comes to diversity, Eurovision is charging ahead.
The Eurovision songs
First of all, around ten of the songs will sound pretty much the same. Eurovision is like a cultural microcosm with a fast turnover of pop trends and songwriting quirks. Quite often, they’re in line with last year’s winner – or the year before for some countries and usually ten years before for Britain – or will mimic a huge hit from the past 12 months.
Don’t ask. Honestly. Nobody knows. Over the past couple of years, Eurovision has experimented with changes to the scoring to involve more audience and country participation but also build excitement as the result is announced. In the olden days, often the winner would become clear early on, so to increase tension results are announced in a certain order to keep you guessing. The points system is honestly wild and combines the scores of just about everyone except next door’s cats. Do not ask a Eurovision fan about this; it’s been a long night. Just keep the drinks flowing and pretend you know what’s going on.
Who has made the final?
France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain automatically qualify, regardless of their positions last year, as they are the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Portugal also qualify as the host nation and current champions.
1. Portugal: Cláudia Pascoal – ‘O Jardim’
2. France: Madame Monsieur – ‘Mercy’
3. Germany: Michael Schulte – ‘You Let Me Walk Alone’
4. Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’
5. Spain: Alfred & Amaia – ‘Tu canción’
6. United Kingdom: SuRie – ‘Storm’
Who’s tipped to win?
The current favourite is Israel’s Netta, with her chicken-noise-filled song ‘Toy’. Yes, we said chicken-noise:
Estonia is the second favourite with this opera number:
As for the UK, our odds are pretty slim at 100/1 as of mid-March. Oh dear!
And the Czech Republic are the third favourites with this insanely catchy tune:
Diageo has announced it will invest £150 million over three years to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences in the biggest concerted programme ever seen in Scotland’s whisky tourism sector.
Whisky from Diageo’s distilleries all over Scotland contribute to the Johnnie Walker blend, but four distilleries, Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish, will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker venue in Edinburgh, representing the ‘four corners of Scotland’ and the regional flavour variations of Lowland (Glenkinchie), Speyside (Cardhu), Island (Caol Ila) and Highland (Clynelish) crucial to the art of whisky blending.
Watch this video to find out more about the new Johnnie Walker global brand attraction & distillery upgrades designed to grow the appeal of Scotch.
Ever wondered who Diageo is and what they do?
Watch this short video to find out, or go to www.diageo.com for more information.
French is the international language of dance, architecture, the visual arts, theatre, fashion and haute cuisine. It’s spoken by over 200 million people, making it the ninth most spoken language in the world. Right now, approximately 750,000 people are learning it. If you can read it, you’ll be able to dip into the original works of such luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Molière and Michel Foucault, and admire the words of Edith Piaf’s belting choruses. It’s a language of diplomacy and sophistication, and an official language of multiple institutions, from the United Nations to the European Union and the International Red Cross. If you’re looking to learn a language, French is a great choice. Here are 10 of the top reasons for learning French
1. A world language
More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.
French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close on a million learners.
2. A language for the job market
The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and third-ranking destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
3. The language of culture
French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
4. A language for travel
France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
5. Because it’s not that difficult
We anglophones don’t have the greatest reputation for speaking foreign languages, but French is the one language in which many of us can at least utter a few words. This is due not only to the aforementioned similarities, but also to the fact that it’s taught widely in schools, French-speaking countries continue to be popular tourist destinations, and French words tend to pop up sporadically in high brow texts that are trying to be a little more high brow. Admittedly there are a few finicky grammar rules to learn, but generally speaking, English grammar corresponds relatively closely to French grammar.
6. The other language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
7. A language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
8. A language that is fun to learn
French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.
9. A language for learning other languages
French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
10. Parce que je t’aime
First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.
The accent is arguably the most difficult part of starting to learn French. Consonants toward the end of words have an unsettling tendency to disappear. Once you’ve tuned into the language, however, you can turn knees to jelly with the mere utterance of a simple sentence; is there anything more romantic than the soft, whispered sound of “Je t’aime”?
Ready to get started?
We offer evening French courses, duo lessons and private tuition to suit all levels. Whether you are a complete beginner interested in learning a new language, or an experienced speaker looking to brush up on your existing skills, we offer a range of French classes to suit you.
Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. We have a long history of working with local businesses and are happy to hold lessons in your office or at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.
Now it’s THE TIME to book your place! Our new term for evening courses will begin from 23rd April 2018.