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February 10 2016

Scotland – A Spirit of its Own

A highland cow

A highland cow

VisitScotland will capture the unique spirit of Scotland in its biggest ever global campaign – showcasing the country’s heart, soul and spirit, alongside the magic and mystery of the landscapes and warmth of the people. The Spirit of Scotland campaign will herald a new era for VisitScotland, with a new brand, website and marketing campaign complete with a new television advert.

The Quiraing

The Quiraing

VisitScotland has come up with seven traits it believes can be found within the characters of the people and landscapes of the country.

They are warmth, humour, guts, spark, soul, determination and fun.

Using the hashtag #ScotSpirit the organisation hopes to encourage people across the world to share what Scotland means to them.

Although we are biased towards Edinburgh, we regularly holiday in our own magical country!

The Isle of Harris

The Isle of Harris

What is the Spirit of Scotland?

It’s in our islands.
And our waters.
It’s in our artistry.
And across our land.
It’s in our history.
And our cities.
It’s in all our stones that stand.
It’s time to come and find it.
It’s time to come and feel it.
Scotland. A spirit of its own.

New Visit Scotland campaign

New Visit Scotland campaign

Culross

Culross

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February 09 2016

The 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival

2016 brochure

2016 brochure

The Edinburgh International Science Festival have announced their 28th Festival programme – Building Better Worlds, which centres around how science, technology, engineering and design have the potential to improve the world we live in and the way we live within it.

The Festival will run throughout the Easter holidays, 26 March – 10 April 2016, in venues across the city including Festival hub Summerhall, the City Art Centre, the National Museum of Scotland and partner venues Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Zoo and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival will offer adults, children and families the opportunity to engage with science through fun events and workshops and will give everyone the chance to join the global debate of how we can build better worlds for now and the future. In 2016 there are 272 events in total.

Download a copy of the brochure (pdf, opens in new window)

FAMILY EVENT HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • Dame Evelyn Glennie performs a new composition by composer Jill Jarman in the world premiere of The Sounds of Science
  •  Science in the Spotlight features world class children’s theatre from Catherine Wheels and Borderline Theatre
  • Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is celebrated with Scotland’s first Tiny Homes Village and many other events of the Our Built Environment strand
  • ‘Artist in LEGOⓇ bricks’ Warren Elsmore will create a vision of a Mars habitat at National Museum of Scotland
  • Lee Towersey the co-creator of R2D2 from the recent global box office blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens appears at Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire
  • City Art Centre is transformed into our family hub featuring five floors of fun and exciting experiments and activities for children in 2016

ADULT EVENT HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • Lord Martin Rees, ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy and Professor Chris Rapley will share their views and experience on the big challenges facing us today
  • Meet Mars One finalist Ryan MacDonald at The Big Bang Bash, dance the night away with Peter Lovatt aka Dr Dance, and let Prof Richard Wiseman blow your mind in Experimental
  • Astronomy pioneer Kevin Govender and the International Astronomical Union are jointly awarded the 2016 Edinburgh Medal
  • Andy Robinson creator of blockbuster virtual reality game EVE:Valkyrie takes part in The Reading Experiment with author Charles Stross and researcher Emese Domahidi
  • As part of GastroFest Prof Paul Hadley will predict how chocolate may become extinct in Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Creative Director Amanda Tyndall comments: “In 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival asks: how can we all collaborate to help build a better world? It’s a huge question but I’m excited by the mix of world-leading scientists, artists, authors and innovators that will join audiences in Edinburgh to share and debate their visions of a better world.

Science and technology have the potential to help us address so many of the key challenges we face; from how we feed, heal and fuel the world to how we live happy and fulfilling lives as we do so. But they don’t work in isolation from the wider world. It is through collaboration with their creative cousins that we stand the best chance of innovating and securing our future.

This year’s Festival celebrates this with a programme focus on the fertile space where science meets the arts, with something for curious minds of all ages.”

At the Queen’s Hall on Wednesday 30 March, Dame Evelyn Glennie makes her debut Edinburgh International Science Festival appearance in a world premiere of Sounds of Science, which includes a 21 minute soundscape by composer Jill Jarman representing how humans have changed the world over the last 10,000 years through a science and engineering timeline.

With thanks to the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival has commissioned two new children’s theatre shows as part of a new project Science in the Spotlight. Uncanny Valley, written by Rob Drummond and produced by Borderline Theatre in partnership with Ayr Gaiety Theatre, and Lost at Sea produced by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company. Both will have multiple performances during the Festival at Summerhall – our hub festival venue supported by Baillie Gifford.

Uncanny Valley will focus on AI (Artificial Intelligence), examining the technology available and raising questions of ethics around developments. How natural disasters can lead to scientific discoveries will be unearthed in Lost at Sea, the play is based on the 1992 true story of a shipping container losing its freight of thousands of plastic bath toys that inadvertently helped scientists to map the currents of the sea.

Showcasing the art of science Bio and Beyond, British Art Show 8 and the Royal Photographic Society’s International Images for Science supported by Siemens, are just a few of the exhibition highlights in the Festival programme.

The strand Our Built Environment explores how science is impacting on our homes and cities is supported by EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and includes the large scale outdoor installation a Tiny Homes Village. Situated at the Mound Precinct throughout the Festival, this full scale exhibition of ten tiny housing structures examines our changing style of homes and how small buildings may provide comfortable and realistic solutions to urban, eco and emergency shelter demands.

Respected model artist Warren Elsmore will create the vision of a Mars habitat from LEGOⓇ bricks that will form the base of Mars Master Constructors, the free children’s LEGOⓇ brick building mission running throughout the Festival at the National Museum of Scotland.

On Tuesday 29 March Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, will discuss how we can survive the century and explore the risks that threaten our existence in Survival of the Century with Martin Rees, this event is supported by Siemens. European Space Agency astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, who has clocked up over 675 hours of spaceflight, will share his experiences and give us an insight into Tim Peake’s present workspace on Thursday 31 March in Updates from Space in a new partnership event by UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Delivered by Chris Rapley, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, 2071: The World We’ll Leave Our Grandchildren is a one-man play about our climate: how it has changed in the past, how and why it is changing now, and the need for humanity to act to avoid dangerous disruption in the future (Saturday 9 April).

The 2016 Edinburgh Medal is jointly awarded to Kevin Govender and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) on Wednesday 30 March to recognise their wide reaching contribution to science. It is awarded jointly for the creation and practical establishment of Astronomy for Development, which integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with social development for and with those most in need. Under the pioneering stewardship of Kevin Govender, the office of Astronomy for Development has successful harnessed astronomy in the service of education and capacity building in the developing world.

Buddhify founder and mindfulness technology expert Rohan Gunatillake joins broadcaster Madeleine Bunting and youth mindfulness advocate Michael Bready to explore the integration of meditation with technologies and how these can be used in the real and digital world in Next Generation Mindfulness on Tuesday 5 April.

Recent evidence suggests that there may be a ninth planet in our Solar System, a title that was once held by Pluto. Iwan Williams who demoted Pluto to a dwarf planet during his work with the International Astronomical Union will be joined by Robin Catchpole, a strong advocate for Pluto the planet on Thursday 31 March. Together they will talk about Pluto, the possible ninth planet and they will reveal that our whole Solar System needs redefining in The Pluto Appreciation Society.

With Dolly the sheep’s 20th birthday fast approaching, Professor Sir Ian Wilmut discusses his life with the world’s most famous sheep in Dolly and Me on Wednesday 30 March and how the cutting edge research that he led on is still influencing science developments today.

With 28 events, 2016 is the largest Reading Experiment by Edinburgh International Science Festival to date. Spanning across the adult and children’s programme, The Reading Experiment brings together the very best writers in an exciting range of events which dive into the creative nexus where science and reading meet. Andy Robinson, creator of blockbuster virtual reality game EVE:Valkyrie takes part in The Reading Experiment with author Charles Stross and researcher Emese Domahidi.

Events connected to books before they launch include; More than a game – the maths behind football with popular Scottish sports pundit Pat Nevin and author David Sumpter (Friday 8 April), American evolutionary biologist Prof Sean B Carroll looks at how life works in The Serengeti Rules (Sunday 10 April) and on Thursday 31 March Kat Arney will be discussing genetics in her new pop-sci book Herding Hemingway’s Cats.

For adults there are plenty of opportunities to stay out late and play at the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival. City Art Centre, opens up for adults only on Thursday 24 March in Science Festival Lates. Big Bang Bash, at the National Museum Scotland on Friday 1 April, will feature David Bowie’s music, short talks by Mars One finalist Ryan MacDonald and astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell as well as a make an astrolabe activity which is supported by The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre. On Friday 8 April atmospheric club night Full Spectrum sends the world into a spin at Festival hub Summerhall.

Festival favourite Prof Richard Wiseman will dazzle audiences in Experimental, his live mind-blowing psychology show based on experiments on Monday 28 March. 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival will mark Easter Sunday (27 March) with Let’s redesign the world, and dance with Big Brother’s Big Mouth advisor Peter Lovatt aka Dr Dance. At the dynamic disco event Lovatt will highlight how putting dance in the workplace could be better for business and society.

Showcasing the importance of science in the most delicious way possible, GastroFest returns in 2016 with a packed menu featuring producers, artisans, scientists and chefs. From the tempting and tantalising to the downright delicious, this smorgasbord of insightful discussions, thought-provoking presentations and out-of-this-world foodie experiences offers options to suit all tastes.

Go beyond the beyond at the unique event The Futurist Meal on Thursday 31 March and enjoy an experimental meal inspired by Marinetti’s 1930 Manifesto of Futurist Cooking. NHS dietician Catherine Collins, botanist Dr Greg Kenicer from Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and chef Paul Wedgwood will be discussing, dissecting and tasting the super-ness of popular super foods in The Medicinal Meal (Friday 1 April).

Supported by Mackie’s of Scotland the past, present and future of chocolate will be investigated in the interactive event, Chocolate: Food of the Gods (Monday 4 April) where Prof Paul Hadley will be explaining how chocolate may become extinct and how he’s working hard to prevent the death of chocolate. On Sunday 3 April at SciMart in Summerhall the science that helps produce food will be celebrated at the annual farmers market with a scientific twist, foodie fun for all the family.

Ideal for family days out are Space Day (Saturday 2 April), which is supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), includes an amazing digital planetarium and the opportunity to create a nebula or travel back in time to Dino Day (Saturday 26 March) to discover dino fossils and take part in exciting dino egg hunts and excavations.

Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire supported by Siemens is the popular day out for technology enthusiasts and families. Over 50 makers will present their inventions on Sunday 10 April in the fourth Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire at Summerhall including Lee Towersey the co-creator of R2D2 from the recent global box office blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Overall the children and family programme of the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival has 139 events taking place around Edinburgh.

The highlight of our family programme is the City Art Centre, which will be full of fun and exciting experiments and activities in 2016 for children during the Easter Holidays and is supported by Cirrus Logic. Across five floors there are 20 science workshops and drop-in sessions of experimental fun for children from 3-12 years old. A child’s day pass includes three workshops and all drop-in activities. Little Giants introduces little ones (3+) to the wonderful world of bees in a highly interactive storytelling workshop. Budding coders can explore their developing talents in Bricks and Blocks (5+), using the LEGO WeDo kit they create a goalkeeper and programme him/her how to save the game. New for 2016, 7+ children can discover what parts are required to make a car move and explore a full sized engine in Mini Mechanics or if they are a little older (8+) and fancy trying their surgical hand at brain surgery using real endoscopes, the ER Surgery workshop is the perfect workshop.

Delving further into the children and family programme for children of all ages (up to 18) Minecraft enthusiasts can design their own space within Minecraft in a special two hour workshop Explore Our World in Minecraft (26-30 March). Drawn to the Light (Sunday 27 March) brings together the world of science and art with Dr Kathryn Harkup helping participants to paint, sketch and doodle with light.

Recommended for 8+, Murderous Maths with Kjartan Poskitt includes how to make a dragon from cinema tickets and promises no nasty sums (Saturday 26 March). TV science presenter Jon Chase and author Mark Brake probe the fantastic frontier between movie magic and cutting edge science in Science of Star Wars (Friday 1 April).

The annual Edinburgh International Science Festival is produced by the Edinburgh International Science Foundation, an education charity whose mission is to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the world around them through science. In 2016 there are 73 free events across all venues as part of the programme. Highlights include; Pop-Up Science: Enigma Machine where everyone has the chance to encrypt a message on a replica model of the Enigma machine (Friday 1- Saturday 2 April) at the National Museum of Scotland, discovering what animals do to survive at The Science of Survival at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Wednesday 6 and Saturday 9 April), Cells, Microscopes and Art explores our tiny world at Our Dynamic Earth (Thursday 7 April) and find out how to fake blood, guts and gore at SFX Blood and Gore Make-Up at the Scottish Parliament (every Saturday of the Festival).

Ticket information

Tickets for all events go on sale on Tuesday 9 February at 1100hrs. Book online www.sciencefestival.co.uk, by phone 0844 557 2686 or in person at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Office, 66 High Street.

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February 08 2016

Epic Chalk Day 2 – Sunday 20th March 2016

Sunday 20th March 2016

Sunday 20th March 2016

This is a FREE ART EVENT to be held in the centre of Inverleith Park, Stockbridge hosted by local street artist Paul Togneri. The event offers a day of street chalking, painting, live music, art workshops, face painting and lots and lots of fun. All art materials will be provided, bring chalk if you can though.
The aim of the event is to give back something to the community that has embraced Paul’s pavement art and his free thinking towards art, to give the kids a day to explore art and their creativity in a beautiful open air setting.

Live music will be provided by some of the artist’s very talented friends, starting with Alicia Ukelele, other acts to be confirmed.

Paul is a local artist, originally from Dunbar, who chalks up the pavement at Bridge Place, Colonies, Stockbridge much to the pleasure of many, many people who stop and speak to him daily. The street where he lives is always covered in some kind of art. He also does art workshops and art days with the community and at festivals around Scotland with help from Katie Lyons, co-organiser(and face-painter) of EPIC CHALK DAY, who has a theatre background and brings energy, ideas and motivation.

Epic Chalk Day 1 was a roaring success

Epic Chalk Day 1 was a roaring success

All materials have been paid for from the artist’s pocket and with help from Katie. There will be a donation bucket, give if you can but, it’s not essential. Having FUN is essential. Enjoy this wonderful day.

It is the start of new business idea (Empowered Kids of Scotland, EKoS) , a not-for-profit oganisation, a touring unit which service the whole of Scotland enabling kids to create and use their imagination to build their own play environments, ie gang hut, fort or stage for performing their own show, from reclaimed and recycled materials. This will encourage initiative and working together in a group. Target areas: festivals, gala days, underprivileged communities and kids with learning difficulties.

Facebook event page

Sunday 20th March

Sunday 20th March

 

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Restaurateur’s Arctic Trek Provides Big Haul For Edinburgh Cancer Charity

Victor Contini and Chris Tiso back meet young cancer patient KiraNoble who has been supported by It's Good 2 Give

Victor Contini and Chris Tiso back meet young cancer patient KiraNoble who has been supported by It’s Good 2 Give

Victor Contini, one of Scotland’s most well known restaurateurs, who trekked in the Arctic Circle last year to raise money for the Edinburgh-based cancer charity – It’s Good 2 Give – has met a young cancer patient who benefitted from his efforts.

Victor raised a staggering £30,931 after he trekked 62 miles and endured sub-zero temperatures for three days in North Finland. He was one of 20 participants trekking to raise funds for the charity, which was founded in 2010 by Lynne McNicoll OBE and supports young people with cancer in Scotland and their extended family.

Chris Tiso, CEO of Scotland’s leading outdoor specialist, Tiso and friend of Victor, donated his equipment and offered pre-expedition training advice to the restaurateur who is the owner of Ristorante Contini, The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant and Cannonball Restaurant in the capital.

Young cancer patient Kira Noble from Craiglockhart in Edinburgh was definitely all smiles when she recently met both Victor and Chris for a sled haul at Contini Restaurant on George Street in Edinburgh.

The 12 year-old pupil of Firhill Secondary School is now in remission from the disease and one of many young people in the capital who have benefitted from the fundraising trek.

As mum Aud Noble explained, the family came into contact with the charity during Kira’s own cancer journey. “Kira was just 11 when she was diagnosed with a stage 3 Neuroblastoma solid tumour mass, which was discovered in her abdomen. This rare cancer is normally found in younger children and most commonly affects the adrenal glands but seldom affects those over the age of 10. We were all shocked and devastated to be given the cancer diagnosis.

“As a family we collectively decided to fight the illness head on and focussed on a positive outcome, no matter how long it took to get there. Kira has taken it all in her stride, enduring six cycles of chemo, major surgery, radiotherapy and a home administered drug treatment called Neuroblastoma differentiation therapy.

“It’s Good 2 Give were part of our hospital family for many months at the Edinburgh Sick Kids. Every day they offered a friendly smile, time to chat and provided things to keep all the family occupied while Kira went through treatment. Normal home life stops during treatment and hospital becomes like a second home. Yet the charity thinks of everything to make daily life a little bit easier, including offering practical support such as an ironing service.

“We were delighted when Kira reached remission last November and she has since slowly returned to her passion of netball and is enjoying sports as well as joining her brother Kyle at school.”

Chris Tiso added: “We were delighted to support Victor on his fundraising efforts with It’s Good 2 Give by providing him with expedition clothing and equipment. It’s Good 2 Give is a phenomenal force for good, which has achieved a great deal and has touched a great many lives and we share Victor’s commitment to supporting what is a very worthwhile cause and charity.

“Tiso will continue to work closely with It’s Good 2 Give and who knows, Victor and I might team up for a fundraising trek in the future.”

As well providing practical support to families in the east of Scotland, It’s Good 2 Give is building The Ripple Retreat on a loch in the Trossachs to provide much needed respite care in a natural settling. The charity has raised more than £1.2m to date and work us already underway with the retreat expected to open its doors to families of young cancer patients from all over Scotland later this summer.

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EVENT – Edinburgh’s Film in the City, 10-12 June 2016

Free outdoor films in St Andrew Square

June is officially movie month in Edinburgh with the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) taking place 15-26 June 2016.

Returning for 2016 is the Film in the City weekend in St Andrew Square.

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June sees FREE outdoor screenings return to St Andrew Square Gardens

Grab a picnic, pray for dry weather and enjoy free screenings of some classic films. We will update this article with the film schedule once it becomes available.

Film in the City 2015

Film in the City 2015

This article will be updated and posted on social media once the full line up has been confirmed (expected May 2016)

Friday 10 June
TBC

Saturday 11 June
TBC

Sunday 12 June
TBC

There will be room for 1,000 people in St Andrew Square. You can also bring your own food and drink to the event, but alcohol is prohibited in St Andrew Square. Please also refrain from bringing glass (including bottles and jars), crockery or sharp knives. Your bag may be searched on entry and unsuitable items will be confiscated.

Alternatively, you can buy food and drink on the day from the range of outlets that will be available on site, including a fully licensed bar and a coffee shop.

St Andrew Square 2015

St Andrew Square 2015

St Andrew Square will turn into an outdoor cinema venue again

St Andrew Square will turn into an outdoor cinema venue again

 

 

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February 02 2016

PHOTOS – Nacreous clouds over Edinburgh

Edinburgh was treated to a rare sighting of nacreous clouds on the morning of 2nd February 2016.

We managed to catch them from Inverleith Park.

2nd February 2016

2nd February 2016

Nacreous clouds above Edinburgh

Nacreous clouds above Edinburgh

Subtle nacreous clouds behind Edinburgh Castle

Subtle nacreous clouds behind Edinburgh Castle

Incredible colours in the sky

Incredible colours in the sky

 

And a short video clip of them.

Nacreous clouds above Edinburgh from Edinburgh Spotlight on Vimeo.

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January 25 2016

BUILD IT! Adventures with LEGO® Bricks

29th January - 17th April

29th January – 17th April

BUILD IT! Adventures with LEGO® Bricks is on at the National Museum of Scotland this spring and the events are all free.

LEGO® is more than a toy. It makes architects, sculptors and storytellers of us all. This spring, renowned brick artist, Warren Elsmore and his team display some of their most beautiful and intricate mini-buildings and models in the Grand Gallery. To add to the set, they will also be on-site, building a special three metre model of the museum.

But don’t let them have all the fun. Join in with some hands-on LEGO® brick activities from February till April. Get creative in the Builders’ Yard, help us make a special sculpture of one of our most-loved museum objects, or build your own masterpiece.

29 January – 24 March, 1000 – 1700hrs daily (where possible).  Play and Display 

3rd February – 15th April, every Wednesday and Friday 1100 – 1600 hours. Live Build. Watch Warren Elsmore’s team create a large model of the museum.

13th February – 21st February, daily 1100 – 1600 hrs. BUILD IT! at Half-Term. Lots of different activities to take part in.

15th – 17th February, 1100 – 1600 hrs, the Big Build takes place.

13th March, 1200 – 1600 hrs, Make & Innovate: Challenge Day.Test your construction skills in a series of fun, architecture based challenges.

  • Follow the #BUILDIT updates on social media. 
  • Join in with the free LEGO® brick activities from January to April.
  • Look out for more BUILD IT! activities at the museum during Edinburgh International Science Festival (26 Mar to 10 Apr).

 

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Gallery – Edinburgh Dogs in Shops

As I walk around town, I often spot dogs in the windows of Edinburgh shops and businesses. If you know of any Edinburgh dogs that hang out in shops or businesses, send a photo in and the name of the shop and I’ll put it in the gallery.

Here’s some I’ve spotted on my wanderings.

Moss the dog, Moss Green, Bruntsfield.

Moss the dog, Moss Green, Bruntsfield.

Treacle owns the Three Bridges Takeaway at the Forth Road Bridge. Ably assisted by Liam.

Treacle owns the Three Bridges Takeaway at the Forth Road Bridge. Ably assisted by Liam.

Randolph Mortimer (greeter/host) at Mama Said on the Royal Mile

Randolph Mortimer (greeter/host) at Mama Said on the Royal Mile

Randolph Mortimer

Randolph Mortimer

Maggie in the window of Cadenhead Whisky on the Royal Mile

Maggie in the window of Cadenhead Whisky on the Royal Mile

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January 21 2016

Exhibition – KEYFRAMES in St Andrew Square, 4th February – 28 March 2016

January 18 2016

The MoonWalk Scotland, Edinburgh, 11th June 2016

Moonwalk Scotland, 11th June 2016

Moonwalk Scotland, 11th June 2016

Register for the Moonwalk Scotland 2016

Starting this year from its historic new home, Holyrood Park, Scotland’s much loved challenge will see thousands of young walkers, women and men walk through the streets of Edinburgh at Midnight on Saturday 11th June. Wearing the charity’s trademark decorated bras, everyone will be uniting to raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

With four walking distances to choose from, there is a challenge for every ability:

New Moon – 6.55 miles  (ages 10 and over)
Half Moon – 13.1 miles  (ages 13 and over)
Full Moon  – 26.2 miles  (ages 13 and over)
Over The Moon  – 52.4 miles  (ages 18 and over).

You can register on the website.

Walk the Walk always needs volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Register your interest via this link.

You can like their Facebook page and follow them on twitter @WalktheWalk

MoonWalk Scotland 2016

MoonWalk Scotland 2016

 

 

 

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January 15 2016

PHOTOS – Highland Cattle in The Pentland Hills

With a recent snow fall, I headed up and into The Pentland Hills Regional Park to photograph some snowy scenes. Luckily, I ran into this fold of highland cattle just above T-Wood.

There’s no guarantee of spotting them if you visit as the roam about the whole area. You can get a bus to the Hillend Ski Centre and walk in the Pentlands from there.

It’s the first time I’ve ever captured them in the snow.

In the Pentlands

In the Pentlands

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

Coo traffic jam in the Pentlands

Pentland coo

Heading down the path

Coos on the moooooooove

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

Pentland coos

Running in the snow

Moooooooooving along

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

Pentland coo

 

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January 12 2016

FESTIVAL EVENT – Edinburgh Big Beach Busk, Saturday 27th August 2016

Emma Milligan

Emma Milligan

Back for its seventh year, the Edinburgh Big Beach Busk will take place from 12 noon on Saturday 27th August. Edinburgh’s Portobello seaside gets mixed up and musical for a day. People of all ages are encouraged to head along and entertain the public on the promenade.

The Edinburgh Big beach Busk say:

“No rules. Just Busking. You can be any kind of street entertainer you like from a one man band to an orchestra, a mime/robot, a choir, balloon modeller or magician. We’ve had brass bands and tenko drummers alongside salsa bands and some amazing singer songwriters.”

So basically, anything goes.

No need to book a place or buy tickets, just turn up and have fun!

Youngsters at the 2015 busk

Youngsters at the 2015 busk

Further information 

There is a Facebook event page

You can like the Edinburgh Big Beach Busk Facebook page

You can follow them on twitter @BigBeachBusk

Portobello Beach

Portobello Beach

Join in with buskers

Join in with buskers

Big Beach Busk 2015

Big Beach Busk

We hope that the sandcastle competition that ran at the same time in 2015 makes its return this year. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

Sandcastle competition

Sandcastle competition

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January 06 2016

PHOTOS – Winter 2015/16 in Edinburgh

January 03 2016

EVENT – Gumball 3000 in Edinburgh, Sunday 1st May 2016

December 11 2015

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s flagship branch in St Andrew Square in Edinburgh has been given a makeover

 

Royal Bank of Scotland - St Andrew Square Branch, Stuart Nicol Photography

Royal Bank of Scotland – St Andrew Square Branch, Stuart Nicol Photography

The Royal Bank of Scotland brand has been on Scottish high streets for nearly 300 years and the iconic St Andrew branch has played a unique part in the Bank’s of heritage. After initially starting life as a villa for wealthy town merchant Sir Lawrence Dundas the building became the principal office of the Excise in Scotland. It wasn’t until 1835 that the building was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland who already owned the neighbouring 35 St Andrew Square. Since then, 36 St Andrew Square has provided banking services and advice to Edinburgh residents whilst also being the Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters.

Whilst retaining many of its traditional elements, including the famous domed ceiling with 120 stars which appears in all notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the branch will also have a more modern look and feel. The ‘traditional’ bank counter will be removed so customers no longer have to queue to speak to a member of staff and will feature photographs of famous landmarks from the local Edinburgh area. Given the heritage of the 36 St Andrew Square building, the Royal Bank of Scotland worked with Historic Scotland to create a great environment for customers while ensuring the new design was sympathetic to the existing architecture and protected important historical artefacts.

The branch is fitted with new, modern technology such as upgraded ATMs and Cash and Deposit machines, similar where customers can pay-in coins free of charge without having to bundle coins into individual bags, or wait while staff count them. The branch also has free Wi-Fi for customers and iPads so customers can register and access Online Banking services, with staff on hand to provide demonstrations and help where required.

RBS investment into upgrading branches is part of an overall £1bn being spent across the UK on both branch refurbishment and state-of-the-art banking technology. The bank’s aim is to meet the needs and demands of its customers round the clock by offering options for customers to choose how they conduct their banking such as over the telephone, online, mobile banking, mobile branches, ATMs, CDMs and post offices.

Commenting on the new look branch, Tomie Cannon, Branch Manager, said, “Although an increasing number of our customers are choosing to bank with us over the phone, online or on their mobile, our branch network plays an extremely important part of the service we’re providing to customers. The investment we’ve made in RBS St Andrew Square branch shows we are committed to providing the best banking service to the local community and want to be a central part of the local communities where our branches are based. We’re looking forward to unveiling our new-look branch and new technology to customers.”

Ruth Reed, RBS Archivist commented, “36 St Andrew Square has been the home of the Royal Bank of Scotland since 1828, but the house itself dates back even further, to the 1770s. It’s one of the most significant buildings in Edinburgh’s New Town, and the loveliest bank I know of anywhere.”

The magnificent banking hall at the back of the building was completed in 1861, and the recent refurbishment has preserved its unique historical character while bringing facilities up to date with modern requirements. I’m particularly excited by the glimpse we now get of an original feature that was hidden from view for decades; a viewing window in the new floor that reveals some of the Victorian encaustic tiles below.

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December 03 2015

REVIEW – Iconic Photo Tours Night Photography Workshop (Edinburgh)

 

Greyfriars Bobby at dusk

Greyfriars Bobby at dusk

In April 2015, my friend and I took a private tour with Iconic Photo Tours and learnt a lot about how to use my camera and the history of Edinburgh. I have (hopefully) put into practise what I learned since then, but it was time for another lesson and how to shoot at night and capture light trails.

Iconic Tours runs a special Night Photography Workshop through the dark evenings until March.

My friend and I wrapped up well for our tour at dusk and were blessed with dry weather. A top tip would be to make sure you camera batteries are fully charged as they will be working harder than normal and a tripod is essential for this tour.

We met outside St Giles’ Cathedral and headed to our first stop, the much loved Greyfriars Bobby. It was dusk and I had only ever shot Edinburgh’s famous dog in daylight before.

As full darkness descended, we headed to Victoria Terrace to shoot George Heriot’s with my first ever light trails!

Victoria Terrace and the view of George Heriot's

Victoria Terrace and the view of George Heriot’s

We then headed down to The Mound and captures light trails there using exposure times of 20 and 25 seconds.

The Mound

The Mound

Looking up The Mound

Looking up The Mound

My friend and I had grins the size of cheshire cats when we saw these results of these photos and screamed to get to our next location to try it all by ourself.

Princes Street

Princes Street

The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

We finished the tour back up through Lady Stair’s Close and then to St Giles’ Cathedral. We shot the beautiful Christmas tree in front as the sky was now completely dark.

A thoroughly enjoyable lesson of how to use a tripod properly and long exposure skills which I will now try to put into practice whenever I can.

Iconic Tours also give you the history of each area/place visited.

Highly recommended.

Don’t just take our word for the quality of their tours, read the glowing reviews from other customers.

St Giles' Cathedral at night

St Giles’ Cathedral at night

Further information

Website – Iconic Photo Tours

You can like their Facebook page – Iconic Tours and follow them on twitter @iconicedintours.

Tours for smartphone users are also available.

Tours to St Andrews and other locations around Scotland can be organised. You can also do any of the tours in Japanese.

At the end of the tour, you are emailed a PDF with all the photography tips and information explained to you on the tour so you can use it for future reference.

Please note that because Will knew me from a previous tour, I could not hide my identity this time, but I am positive that any customer of theirs receives the same excellent treatment as I did.

Lady Stair's Close

Lady Stair’s Close

The photos are a mixture of my friend and I’s collection using a Canon 700D and a Panasonic Lumix mirrorless.

 

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November 30 2015

Video of Virgin Money Street of Light, Royal Mile

November 28 2015

Edinburgh Museum launches online countdown to Christmas

Museum curator Lyn Wall shows Ted Pearce age four what a traditional advent calendar looks like

Museum curator Lyn Wall shows Ted Pearce age four what a traditional advent calendar looks like

Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood has created the ultimate advent calendar for big kids – a digital door a day back in time to childhood winters.

The High Street Museum has teamed up with 26 writers and local charity It’s Good 2 Give to bring treasures from the City of Edinburgh Council’s collection to life through stories.

Online from December 1 until Boxing Day, the countdown to Christmas will reveal pictures of nostalgic objects which are on display in the Museum such as Christmas angel tree-toppers (pictured), a traditional wooden sledge and stocking filler favourites like marbles and spinning tops.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The digital advent calendar celebrates the Museum’s winter exhibition with 26 writers. Each writer was given a festive object from the collection and a simple instruction – to write 62 words about how the item stirs their own memories and feelings about Christmas and winter. Some of the stories they have written are fact and the others fiction but all of them celebrate the nostalgia of Christmas time and winters as a child.”

The Advent Calendar was launched by writers from the collective 26, so-called for the 26 letters of the alphabet, at an event in Edinburgh yesterday (26 November). It forms part of the free-to-visit 26 Children’s Winters exhibition, open until 31 March 2016. The Calendar will go live on December 1 on the 26 Stories of Christmas website.

Author Sara Sheridan has been involved in the project throughout. She commented: “Edinburgh is awash with writing talent and, though all of the writers are part of the collective 26, they come from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines and career stages, from established novelists to screenwriters, copywriters and fledgling poets.

“What they have in common is that they have each been allocated only 62 words with which to capture the spirit of their object – that feeling of winter which is such a big part of Scottish life and childhood. What’s most surprising is how different the pieces turn out. The exhibition covers a broad and exciting response to over a century’s worth of objects, chosen by the curators at what is one of Edinburgh’s most loved museums.”

The exhibition has teamed up with local charity Its Good 2 Give to heighten awareness of the work they do with sick children in the East of Scotland. The online Advent Calendar will feature a donate button to raise money for the cause.

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November 27 2015

Christmas decorations in Edinburgh 2015

We do love when Edinburgh starts sparkling for the festive season. There are some beautiful decorations around town already.

Enjoy this gallery of photos and designs of Edinburgh at Christmas time.

See the bottom of the article for how to submit your photo into the gallery. Photos submitted by others are credited, all others are ours.

Als Couzens design

Als Couzens design

Als Couzens beautiful print of Edinburgh at Christmas (many other Edinburgh designs available online).

The Christmas tree at the Old College Quad

The Christmas tree at the Old College Quad

The trees on The Mound

The trees on The Mound

The Christmas tree on The Mound

The Christmas tree on The Mound

A decorated Alva Street by @WestEndVillager

A decorated Alva Street by @WestEndVillager

Lovely trees outside independent gift shop Studio One on Stafford Street

Lovely trees outside independent gift shop Studio One on Stafford Street (submitted by them)

Tim Chalk's Nativity Scene in St Andrew Square

Tim Chalk’s Nativity Scene in St Andrew Square

The 2015 Jenners tree

The 2015 Jenners tree

The Dome

The Dome

The tree in Parliament Square with St Giles' Cathedral behind by Scott Walker

The tree in Parliament Square with St Giles’ Cathedral behind by Scott Walker

Rose Street by Andreea Negru

Rose Street by Andreea Negru

East Princes Street Gardens by Alan Pottinger

East Princes Street Gardens by Alan Pottinger

Alan Pottinger Photography website.

By Barry Henderson

By Barry Henderson

 

 

Submit your photo

Feel free to email us your photo of decorations around town. This could be a local Christmas tree, an amazing window shop display or street decorations.

Email ONE photo to info@edinburghspotlight.com

Please give the name you would like the photo to be credited by.

We reserve the right not to publish any photo submitted if it’s deemed unsuitable or if one of the same photo has already been submitted and published.

Please note we have a photo of the front of The Dome already, please do not send us any more!

And if you see a particularly sad Christmas decoration around town, send us that too! We’ll do a sad decoration gallery.

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November 24 2015

The Mound Christmas Tree 2015

The 2015 Christmas tree on The Mound

The 2015 Christmas tree on The Mound

The iconic Christmas tree on The Mound is an annual gift from the Hordaland County Council in Norway.

Their gift marks Edinburgh’s historic and cultural links with Norway since the Second World War.

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