Sunday, June 29, 2014

Come home to Scotland!

How lucky we are in Scotland to have a colourful and vibrant clan culture to underpin our tourism industry! But are we looking after our Diaspora?...making it easy for folk to find and enjoy the experiences that they seek?

Yesterday I was at the very successful 'Bannockburn Live'. An effective 'battle performance', great music and good local food were marred only by some rain and a wee problem with traffic management. The clan tents were busy, especially when Robert the Bruce himself was doing the rounds.

Tomorrow I am at a meeting to discuss how to 'develop the potential of clan tourism in Scotland'. So, as I mow the grass, my mind inevitably turns to what can be learned from 'Bannockburn Live' and how we can build on it...

Correcting my un-straight lines, I conclude that Highland Games elsewhere are in many cases grander affairs than here in Scotland, but an event such as 'Bannockburn Live' or a Scottish Highland Games offers a 'Rooted Authenticity'. This may come from some or all of the following...
  • A historic setting - castle, battlefield, iconic venue such as Holyrood Park, or somewhere that resonates in clan history.
  • Clan events before or afterwards, and/or the opportunity to tour remote clan lands, seek out family heritage - or visit popular attractions.
  • What surrounds the event - people, architecture, whisky, music. An American friend who was at the event yesterday evening has uploaded a video of a music session in a local pub commenting " Just another reason I love Scotland!!!"
  • Meeting native Scots of the same name. This may seem trivial to us in Scotland, but after 12 years of running tours with an ancestral theme, I know it is not.
  • Our funny Scottish ways: local people with impenetrable accents enthusing about ...something, the Atholl Highlanders, Lonach Highlanders, nobility, Royalty.
Atholl Highlanders
There's a bit to think on there - and I'd be very grateful for any feedback, especially from those in far off places. Have I got this more or less right? 

If so, the way we get the message out and make all this more accessible is a longer discussion.

Maybe we should be doing more events like 'Bannockburn Live'? There are Highland Games and Gatherings all over north and central Scotland and this year the Highland Tattoo at Fort George. What about something to celebrate Border clans and families during the Common Riding season with participation by cornets/callants? Bannockburn again perhaps? Or a massive 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath in 2020?

Finally, I was chatting to this man in the beer tent yesterday. Clearly a passionate Scot.
Where does he come from?


Food for thought...
maybe another beer...