Home» Publications» SLD Newsletter» Newsletter May 2010» Destination Scotland

Destination Scotland

Walter Scott celebrations

Trossachs & Tourists leaflet
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake. Loch Katrine, the inspiration for the poem, is one of Scotland's best loved beauty spots, where mountain scenery and the romance of Scottish history meet. The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is organising a festival, ScottsLand, in the Trossachs and across Scotland to celebrate this bicentenary. Running from June to October, the festival provides many attractions for the overseas visitor. There will be performances from the cream of Scottish musicians such as Aly Bain, Karen Matheson and Eddi Reader. Accordionist Phil Cunningham is working on a new composition for the occasion and he hopes to spend some time soaking in the atmosphere in the Churchyard at Duddingston, Edinburgh, where Sir Walter Scott himself sought the creative muse. A play on a Scott theme has been commissioned and will run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Association for Scottish Literary Studies who have been a popular presence at the Modern Languages of America conferences over the past few years are hosting an academic conference on Scott at the Trossachs entitled Sir Walter Scott, the Trossachs and the Tourists and a new edition of The Lady of the Lake will be published.

There are a number of places that the Scott enthusuiast might like to visit. The grandest is Abbotsford, the home he built for himself near Galashiels in the Scottish borders. This is a mansion in the Scottish Baronial style, of interest for its architecture and surroundings as well as for its many and varied contents including curiosities collected by Sir Walter. All around Edinburgh are reminders of the great writer, from his house in George Square to the ornate Gothic-style memorial to him in Princes Street. Those who make the strenuous climb to the top (287 steps!) will be rewarded with a splendid view of the city. There is also a lesser-known monument to him in the form of a 70ft tower, half-hidden in woodland at the top of Edinburgh's Corstorphine Hill.

The places mentioned in his novels provide a rich itinerary for the literary tourist. To mention but a few, there are the Border adventures of Redgauntlet across the Solway Firth, the adventures of the Fair Maid of Perth and, bringing us back to the Trossachs, the gripping story of Rob Roy. Scott was keen to promote Scotland and to attract visitors to these shores. He would be delighted to know that visitors are coming from all over the world to celebrate his work.