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Fascinating History at the Ullapool Museum

Located in a superbly preserved stone building in West Argyle Street, the Ullapool Museum and Visitor Centre offers visitors the opportunity to discover the history and culture of this picturesque town in Wester-Ross by means of a series of displays and collections of documents, photographs and other items. Built in 1829 as a church, the museum is a Thomas Telford design typical of many churches across the Highlands of Scotland and has been the home of the museum since 1990.

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The Great Scottish Castle Trail - Part Three

--A Battlemaster's Guide to Doing Scotland Right--

(Continued from Part Two)

A number of other castles owned by the Trust are a short drive away, including Drum, Fraser and Craigievar, all exhibiting unique styles from early medieval to 17th century baronial. Trekking west from Aberdeenshire towards Scotland’s world-famous Western Isles takes you through some of the best Highland scenery that Scotland has to offer. Along the way, it is well worth a stop at Castle Urquhart on the shores of Loch Ness (HS, All Year). Nessie spotting aside, this is one of Scotland’s most atmospheric ruins.

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The Great Scottish Castle Trail - Part Two

--A Battlemaster's Guide to Doing Scotland Right--

(Continued from Part One)

A short jaunt east of Edinburgh near the coastal retreat of North Berwick sits Tantallon Castle. Its towering walls rise to over 100 feet and provide picture-perfect views out to Bass Rock and the Firth of Forth (HS, All Year). The castle's dovecot, which held pigeons for winter feasts, is of especially fine quality, its hundreds of tiny chambers creating an optical feast reminiscent of a labyrinth or ziggurat. If, however, you arrive in Glasgow, Bothwell Castle is a must-see (HS, All Year). A stronghold of the mighty Moray and Douglas families, Bothwell was the site of one of the most terrific sieges in Scottish history. When King Edward I of England, known as 'the Hammer of the Scots', invaded Scotland in 1301, he had to build a special siege tower specifically to tackle Bothwell's massive keep. It stands a ruin today, but look out for special features such as an engraved Douglas heart emblem and graffiti carved into the keep's bottom floor stonework carved by a young David Livingstone.

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The Great Scottish Castle Trail - Part One

--A Battlemaster's Guide to Doing Scotland Right--

Scotland is the land of castles. With arguably the greatest concentration of them in Europe there is something to appeal to everyone - windswept and desolate Highland strongholds, magnificent royal fortresses on city-topping rocky crags, fancy baronial tower houses, and everything in between. 2013 saw a record number of visitors flock to these living pieces of history; with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and the Scottish independence referendum both coming our way this summer that trend is set to flourish even further. Best of all, Scotland's castles are accessible. For anyone accustomed to driving for half a day through countries such as France, Germany, Canada or the United States to see a single sight, the intimate smallness of Scotland is completely refreshing. Many castles are within a short strike of major cities and towns, and those that aren't are a very reasonable car, bus or cycle journey away through unforgettable scenery. Having been to over 60 of these gems myself, I've assembled my very own 'Castle Trail' for you to follow, taking in the most awe inspiring, historically rich and downright exciting locations that Scotland has to offer.

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History and Culture at Mull Museum

Visitors to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides will not want to miss a visit to the Mull Museum. Run by volunteers and dependent on donations for financial support, the museum started out in the 1970s as a temporary exhibition in the summer months before moving to its current home on Main Street in 1986. Since then the museum's collection of memorabilia related to the Isle of Mull has continued to grow and the museum has become a treasure trove of history, culture, geology and geography relating to the island and its people.

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Celebrate the Arts in Perth

Set to take place on 22nd May to 1st June 2014, the Perth Festival of the Arts has grown from the proverbial humble beginnings in 1972 into an international celebration of a wide range of art-forms, attracting artists, performers and audiences from near and far. This year's program includes Van Morrison, Sir James Galway, Jools Holland, Admiral Fallow, Dougie MacLean, Marc Almond, Melanie C, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Primavera Chamber Ensemble and more.

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Epic Migration of Shetland Island Birds

Advances in modern technology are helping researchers track migration patterns of birds and other animals in a way that has never before been possible – with some mind-boggling results. It was recently discovered that red-necked phalaropes from the island of Fetlar in Shetland migrate all the way to the coast of Peru and Ecuador in South America for the winter. Whereas previously experts thought these small waders were medium-distance migrants, they are now known to be long-distance migrants in the same league as Arctic terns and swallows.

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The Kelpies – Monuments to the Past and Future

Standing alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal as a tribute to the significant role played by horses in the development of Scotland's industry, The Kelpies are two 30m tall horse-head sculptures created by renowned Scottish sculptor, Andy Scott. The sculptures were completed in October 2013 and it is anticipated that they will attract visitors to the area. A visitor center is planned as part of the project, scheduled to be opened in April 2014. A canal extension beside The Kelpies and visitor center will reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, thereby improving access between the west and east of Scotland.

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The Great Scottish Castle Trail - Part Three

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The Great Scottish Castle Trail - Part Two

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