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stirling news in 2010

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Bill Wells' Black Christmas

This festive season, if you are looking for a Christmas night out that will keep you smiling well into the new year, Bill Wells' Black Christmas promises to be the highlight of the year. As well as Bill’s off-kilter take on Christmas classics with the National Jazz Trio of Scotland, there will be a whole host of guests including Aidan Moffat, Davie Scott, Robert Henderson, Aby Vulliamy, Kate Sugden, Lorna Gilfedder and Benni Hemm Hemm, bringing their own take on the season of dark merriment.

Bill played with Stefan Schneider at Le Weekend in October and the stunning set he played with Aidan Moffat at the Tolbooth was a highlight of the year in Stirling. He has put together a very special night to celebrate the Tolbooth’s third adventure into a Christmas Pop wonderland. This evening of festive musical fun follows on from King Creosote’s plunder fest of Christmas goodies last year and Davy Scott’s the year before.

Fri 17 December, 8pm

Full details at
Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth

Stirling Thistles Shopping

Christmas and New Year opening times.

Open every SUNDAY November and December: 10am - 6pm

Week commencing 13 December
Opening Times Closing Times
Monday 9am 8pm
Tuesday 9am 8pm
Wednesday 9am 8pm
Thursday 9am 9pm
Friday 9am 8pm
Saturday 9am 6pm
Sunday 10am 6pm

Week commencing 20 December
Opening Times Closing Times
Monday 9am 8pm
Tuesday 9am 8pm
Wednesday 9am 8.00pm
Thursday 9am 10.00pm
Friday 10am 5pm
Saturday CLOSED
Sunday 10am 6pm

Week Commencing 27th December
Opening Times Closing Times
Monday 9am 6pm
Tuesday 9am 6pm
Wednesday 9am 6pm
Thursday 9am 8pm
Friday 10am 5pm
Saturday CLOSED
Sunday 10am 6pm

From the Stirling Council website

St.Andrews Day Celebrations

To celebrate St Andrew's Day and to start off the Winter Festival, there is a wide range of events programmed between 25th and 30th November by the Tolbooth, with something for all ages and tastes. Supported by the Winter Festival’s fund through EventScotland - the idea is to increase events for visitors and locals over the winter period. Stirling’s events are working in partnership with the local community and take place in Killin, Brig O’Turk, Killearn, Bridge of Allan and key venues in Stirling.

Highlights include the fabulous Skipinnish in Killin’s Mclaren Hall on Fri 26th with the show that proved a huge hit in Oban’s Ceilidh House over the summer. The core duo of Angus McPhail and Andrew Stevenson will be assisted by pipes, guitar and drums and will feature the vocals of Gaelic singer Catriona Watt, a past winner of the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year. This is a rare opportunity to see this line up, and not to be missed.

Also, exclusively on Fri 27th, a gem of a gig takes place when indie favourites, Sons and Daughters from the Domino label, appear at the Tolbooth for a one-off performance.

On the literary side, there are a variety of events taking place throughout the area including Jess Smith and Sheila Stewart in Bridge of Allan Library on the 25th sharing stories and songs of Scotland’s travelling people. On the 30th in the Tolbooth, Stirling’s Makar Magi Gibson will be hosting an evening of literature and comedy.

Talks programmed in the Smith Gallery & Museum are by Dr Ian Fraser on Fri 26th and by our own esteemed Dr Elspeth King on Tues 30th. Dr Fraser is now 92 years old and this event marks the launch of his latest book. Known as a founding member of the Iona Community, Dr Fraser and his wife also are responsible for the development of the Church of Scotland centre in Dunblane.

Entry is free in both Stirling Castle and the National Wallace Monument on Sat 27th and Sun 28th Nov, and as part of their programme of events for the day there will be performances by some of our youngest stars of traditional music. This will include Bannockburn’s Craig Muirhead, fresh from his appearance in Delhi at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, and on Sunday Killin’s Siobhan Anderson and Falkirk’s Sarah MacNeill. All three are currently studying traditional music in Glasgow.

From the Stirling Council website

Christmas Light Switch On - Sunday 21 November

Santa and his reindeer come to Stirling for an afternoon of fun, music and dance, leading up to the switching on of the city centre Christmas lights at the Bottom of King Street at 5pm.

Thistles Santa and Real Reindeer Parade
Corn Exchange and King Street, Stirling
Join Santa, Rudolph and friends as they arrive at Corn Exchange and set off on the sleigh down King Street

Santa opens the Thistles Grotto
Outside HMV, The Thistles
From 12.30 pm
Santa will leave the reindeer outside Costa Coffee and lead the procession to his magical grotto outside HMV.

Meet the Real Reindeer
Outside Costa Coffee, Murray Place
12.30 pm - 2pm
A chance to see Rudolph and co before their big night. Take your camera!

Central FM Roadshow with Lazy Town Sports Club
Bottom of King Street
3 pm - 5pm
Keep warm and keep moving as Lazy Town Sports Club and the Central FM Roadshow keep everyone dancing.
Includes performances from Stageworx

Christmas Lights Switch On
Bottom of King Street
near the Christmas tree
Join the big countdown to the switch on of Stirling's Christmas lights with Provost Fergus Wood and Central FM.

From the Stirling Council website


From 1881 to 1964 Stirling Castle was at the heart of life for new recruits to The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Thousands of young men left their civilian identities at the drawbridge and entered the castle to undergo the basic training that would prepare them for life in one of Scotland’s most celebrated military units.

Historic Scotland and the museum have now created a temporary exhibition exploring this fascinating period which includes the Boer War, both world wars and the National Service era. Many of the photographs have never been on public display before.

As a special offer, members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Association can have free entry to the castle for the duration of the exhibition. They simply have to show their membership card. For all other visitors the exhibition is included in the standard ticket price for the castle.

Until January 2011 at Stirling Castle in the Nether Bailey. Entry to the museum is included in the entry cost to the castle.

SEE full details at
Whats On around Stirling

Stirling's Hogmanay party at Stirling Castle 2010

Friday 31 December, 9.30pm (gates open 9pm)
Stirling Castle Esplanade

The line up for Stirling Hogmanay Party 2010 has been announced and hosting the evening will be Real Radio's Ewen Cameron who will be getting the audience involved in some Real Radio style competitions, fun & games.

Top of the bill will be the 2010 X Factor finalist, whoever that will be. Also appearing will be the UK's premier 'Madness' tribute act Madnish, bringin their own touch of nuttiness to the evening and performing all the big hits including 'Baggy Trousers', 'House of Fun' and 'Our House.'

Also appearing will be The Floorstompers. Influenced by soul greats, this band promise an evening of exceptional musical entertainment, featuring Deacon Blue's Jim Prime, the sparkling guitar licks of Mick Lamont, Alan Scott's stunning bass lines, Stuart Morrison's delicious drumming and a good dollop of Elena Fry's vocal talents

SEE full details at
Whats On around Stirling

Bridge of Allan bonfire and fireworks display

featuring the X Factor Finalist Lloyd Daniels
also Hot Food, Novelties and side stalls
Hosted by Central FM Breakfast team Joe and Nicky

The Stirling and Bridge of Allan Round Table proudly presents the bonfire and fireworks display on the 5th of November each year as part of the Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.
(All money taken inside the grounds goes towards local charities and good causes.)

Bubbles the Clown
Ted Christopher
2009 X-Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels
Local singer / songwriter David Bateman

Timetable for 2010
5:45pm - gates open
6:15pm - entertainment begins
7:15pm - bonfire lit
7:30pm - fireworks display

Free car parking is provided in Stirling University car park.

Friday 5th November
Strathallan Games Park, Bridge of Allan

Adults £4.00
Students £3.00
Schoolkids and OAPs £2.00
Family discount tickets (2 adults plus 2 schoolkids for £10.00) are exclusively available by pre-booking on-line from The Booth).

Alternatively, pre-book standard tickets at The Albert Halls, Stirling (tel. 01786 473 544) or pay at the gate (please note that the family discount ticket is only available pre-booked from The Booth).

Forth Naturalist & Historian Symposium

Can’t see the wood for the trees? Come to the Forth Naturalist & Historian Symposium on Saturday 13 November.

Venturing into the countryside and strolling through autumnal woodland is a great way to de-stress. And, thanks to an imaginative restoration programme, Forth Valley communities are set to enjoy some of the most impressive woodland areas right on their doorstep.

Whether you’re a lover of history or you simply support the idea of nature conservation, these are exciting times for local residents who enjoy our surrounding woodlands. So says Dr Richard Tipping, senior lecturer in Environmental Science at the University of Stirling, who recently appeared on BBC TV’s Making Scotland’s Landscapes programme to talk enthusiastically about trees.

“In the last year there have been extraordinary advances in conserving our lost woodland heritage and restoring what used to be here,” he says. “Thanks to funding from BP, we are now home to Europe’s most ambitious woodland restoration programme - the Great Trossachs Forest.”

Over the next few years, the forest will spread from Aberfoyle to the shores of Loch Lomond, linking individual woods managed by all the major conservation bodies in Scotland.

To celebrate this collaboration, the Forth Naturalist & Historian is presenting a one-day conference at the University of Stirling on Saturday 13 November. It will bring together experts on woodland history and forestry, including the Historiographer Royal, Professor Chris Smout; woodland ecologists and representatives from the Woodland Trust; the RSPB and the Central Scotland Green Network.

The aim of the seminar is to provide new insights into our heritage and to look to the achievements of the next decade. It is open to anyone who cares for trees, woods and people. It will take place in Lecture Theatre A3 of the Cottrell Building, beginning at 10am, with registration on the door from 9.30am. The cost for the day, including tea and coffee, is £12 and £6 for students.

For further information, contact: Dr Richard Tipping at: r.tipping@stir.ac.uk or call 01786 466541

Free Weekend - St Andrew's Day 2010

Stirling Castle image

Historic Scotland's St Andrews Day weekend offer is a great opportunity to enjoy a FREE family day out on either Saturday 27 or Sunday 28 November.

On these days you can make a free visit to:
Castle Campbell
Doune Castle
Stirling Castle

FIND OUT MORE about these historic buildings at:
Sightseeing in Stirling

Enjoy St. Andrew’s Day with free admission to the Wallace Monument

Wallace Monument image Along with many other attractions throughout Scotland, The National Wallace Monument is offering free admission to all visitors to mark St. Andrew’s Day on 27th and 28th November.

Meet J T Rochead - the architect who designed the Monument - and hear how he was inspired to create his masterpiece on the Abbey Craig. Presentations from 11am until 3pm (27th and 28th November)

Meet a soldier from Wallace’s army - and discover how battles were fought in the Middle Ages Presentations from 11.15am until 3.30pm (27th and 28th November)

You could win a prize - if you can find where William Bear is hiding in The Monument!

How well do you know the Monument? - Find out in the Monument Mastermind Quiz

Tuesday 30 November - 20% discount on all admission charges.

FIND OUT MORE about the Wallace Monument at
Sightseeing in Stirling

E-mail: info@nationalwallacemonument.com



Young visitors to the castle can make their own version of one of the famous Stirling Heads – then show it on the internet. The Stirling Heads are impressive oak carvings, more than 450 years old, which show the faces of kings, queens, emperors, great heroes and characters from the Scottish royal court including a jester and a poet.

On the weekend of 30th and 31st October there will be fun family sessions where youngsters can create their own clay head to take home. They can then paint it and email us a photo – we’ll put a selection on the internet for other people to admire.

Kirsten Wood, Stirling Castle education officer, said: “Kids love making their own clay versions of the heads, some do copies of real ones and others let their imaginations run wild and come up with something completely original. They can then take it home and paint it once the clay has dried. We are also creating a special internet gallery where we would like to put some pictures of the finished heads.”

The Heads of Clay activity is being organised by Historic Scotland, which runs the castle, as part of the annual Big Draw campaign to promote drawing and art. Sessions are included in the normal ticket price to the castle and will be led by Kirsten. They will take place at 11am and 2pm both days.

More than 30 of the original 16th century carved heads still survive and will be put on display in a gallery at the castle for the public to see from next April. Hand-carved copies are also being used to de

Read more about Stirling Castle at
Sightseeing in Stirling

ALL THINGS MUST PASS Le Weekend Festival 1998 - 2010

stirling le weekend 14 to 17 October 2010 14 - 17 October

Tolbooth Stirling Scotland

The thirteenth and final Le Weekend festival gets underway on Thursday 14 October with performances from Johan Berthling and Paul Nilssen-Love, Sten Sandell's Hammond Organ Trio, Ben Frost and more. The festival this year will be an occasion of high drama and mighty celebrations. For thirteen years the festival has brought a mind-boggling array of musical mayhem to Stirling and this year its last breath will be drawn on Sunday night. But like most beasts of bewildering spirit it is hoped that what Le Weekend started all these years ago will transmogrify into something new in the years ahead.

Friday (15 October), sees the return of Bill Wells. His performances in past years have been highlights of Le Weekend and he can be guaranteed to create some of the most original and beautiful music that you will hear. Bill Wells is playing with Stefan Schneider, who he has previously collaborated with on the brilliant, Le Weekend commissioned release Paper and Pins. Make sure you don't miss this one at the Tolbooth Auditorium 7.30pm. Also playing will be Andreas Soderstrom Ass, Murcof and Francesco Tristano.

The festival really kicks in on the Saturday with new sound in old spaces performances in the Holy Rude Church and Cowanes Hospital, atmospheric and evocative spaces that are only minutes walk from Le Weekend's hub at the Tolbooth. Saturday evening will bring you a range of exciting, experimental music, including Berlin duo Tarwater. The festival comes to a close on Sunday night with a rare opportunity to see the legendary Faust who, along with groups like Can, Kraftwerk and Neu were instrumental in the development of Krautrock, re-inventing pop music as a European art form.

Like the music that the festival has championed the idea of stasis, of not moving, is alien to the festival’s ethos, so to bring the festival to a conclusion now and on a high point seems the right thing to do.

Le Weekend Festival
14 - 17 Oct 2010
Tolbooth Stirling Scotland
Festival Pass: £40/£30
Day Pass: £15/£10
On sale now from 01786 27 4000 | www.leweekendfestival.com

SEE the full le Weekend line up at
Whats On around Stirling

New Visitor Centre For Bannockburn 2014

A new, £5m state-of-the-art visitor centre at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn will be built in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014. The landmark project will see Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland work in partnership to deliver a world-class visitor attraction incorporating an immersive digital experience designed to transport visitors back to the fourteenth century battle.

Early estimates of the economic impact of the new centre indicate a 30% increase in visitors to the centre, taking it from 65,000 to 85,000 annually, with 100,000 expected in the first year.

This latest investment comes ahead of the completion of the ambitious £12 million Stirling Castle Palace Project expected in Spring 2011. This will see the restoration and refurbishment of the Royal Palace at Stirling and present the Royal Lodgings, as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century.

Minister for Culture Fiona Hyslop said: “This project will deliver a world class visitor attraction with a immersive digital experience that will give visitors a real flavour of the battle. We believe it will set new standards for Scotland’s tourism industry, generate significant additional income for the local economy and increase visitor numbers.

A design team of consultants are working with Historic Scotland and the Trust to develop proposals for improving visitor facilities and are currently looking at new interpretation of the Battle and the site featuring new digital media, visitor facilities, landscape and car parking improvements and conservation of the listed monuments and their setting.

The next step in the project is the approval of the interpretation plan, scheduled for January 2011.

Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland said: “Bannockburn is one of Scotland’s most significant sites and we want to ensure that everyone understands this place’s part in the development of the nation. As the conservation charity charged with its care, we have a responsibility to ensure that the legacy of the events that occurred here lives on and is recognised by future generations.

From the Stirling Council website

Commonwealth Games Week at The Peak

As the Commonwealth Games in India finally looks like going ahead, Active Stirling staff at The Peak are hoping to unearth some stars of the future during the activities for the October school holidays. The Active Kids Commonwealth Games programme (Monday 11 October – Wednesday 13 October) is hoping to capitalise on some Scottish success in Delhi by offering youngsters the opportunity to get involved in some of the key Games sports.

Aimed at youngsters in the age brackets 5-7, 8-10 and 11-13, the Peak Play, Peak Fun and Peak Fit programmes will include athletics, badminton, rugby 7s, hockey, gymnastics, table tennis and tennis and will take place at the Peak from Monday to Wednesday, before the free event at the Peak for all the family on Thursday 14 October with Stirling’s Commonwealth Games Handover Celebrations running from 12pm – 5pm.

Active Stirling’s Chief Executive, Andrew Bain said the week’s activities were an ideal way to spend the school holidays as well as join the rest of the country in officially welcoming the Commonwealth Games to Scotland on handover day.

“Our multi sport camps during the week are a great way for Stirling area youngsters to spend the school holidays and try out some of the sports they will be watching on the television over the coming weeks.

“Major events like Wimbledon, the World Cup and the Olympic and Commonwealth Games always lead to increased interest in the sports being televised and we are looking to take advantage of that through the camps and handover day.

“You never know, some of our future Commonwealth stars may get the bug as they try out something different during the week.”

Full details of the Active Kids Commonwealth Games Week leaflet available from the Peak and other venues. For more information tel:01786 432323.

From the Stirling Council website.


This festive season, choose one of Scotland’s most splendid historic venues for a truly special and unforgettable celebration lunch with family or friends. Combine outstanding dining with the fantastic surroundings of one of Scotland’s best-loved castles for a really enjoyable and memorable experience.

At Stirling Castle, Christmas Lunch is available in the lovely surroundings of the Unicorn Café from the 11th to 23rd December. Again, this offers a superb festive treat as well as excellent value, with a tempting three-course meal followed by coffee and mince pies, all for £29 per person.

The price also includes free entry to Stirling Castle to enable diners to turn their lunch visit into a great day out by exploring the attraction and doing some Christmas shopping in the castle’s gift shops.

The delicious menu features starters including Isle of Uist smoked salmon cake with herb salad, and green bean and goats cheese with a red pepper and shallot dressing. Main courses – in addition to roast turkey with all the trimmings – include slow braised Scotch beef in a claret and Arran grain mustard gravy, and sweet potato and roast red onion. The selection of desserts includes Christmas pudding, and Drambuie panacotta with caramelised organge and vanilla compote.

To book Christmas lunch at Stirling Castle, call 01786 449208 or email jhenderson@benugomail.co.uk

University lectures discuss life, the universe and everything

Stirling University lectures Do you ever sit and wonder whether there could be life on Mars? You might accept the principle of infinity, but did you know that some infinities are bigger than others? And what about the end of the world; the ancient Mayans predicted that it will come about in December 2012.

If these are the kind of unknowns you enjoy mulling over, then you shouldn't miss a series of coming lectures at the University of Stirling being delivered by Dr Kelly Cline, a visiting lecturer in the University's Department of Computing and Mathematics. He will be exploring some fascinating themes during the four lectures, which are free and open to all.

Dr Cline is on sabbatical leave from his home institution of Carroll College in Helena, Montana, USA, where he holds a post as associate professor of mathematics and astronomy. He has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his research focuses on solar magnetism and the processes which lead to the formation of sunspots. For further information, see his web page at: www.cs.stir.ac.uk/~ksc/

Thursday 30 September at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building: The Mystery of the Missing Sunspots

Thursday, 14 October at 7pm, Lecture Theatre V1, Cottrell Building: Astrobiology and the Science of Extraterrestrial Life

Thursday, 4 November at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building: Infinity and Beyond: from Mathematics to the Big Bang and Black Holes

Thursday, 18 November at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building: Ancient Maya Astronomy, Calendars, and the 2012 Prophecy

Whats On around Stirling


An art exhibition will celebrate five years of creative collaboration between Stirling Castle and a community group for people with mental health problems. Alloa-based Reachout is a self-help organisation which uses the arts to help members build their confidence and skills.

Kirsten Wood, Historic Scotland education officer, said: “The exhibition is a celebration of the close working relationship that has developed between us over the years. We hold frequent sessions where Reachout members can use the castle as the inspiration for their own artwork, whether that’s photography, painting, poetry or story-writing. There’s so much talent in the group and this will be a chance for the public to enjoy some of the fantastic artwork they have created.”

The Historic Scotland education unit makes Stirling Castle available for a wide range of projects and activities involving schools, community and other educational groups. Its setting, buildings, statues and other architectural details make superb subjects for drawing, painting, photography and other visual arts. The history of the castle and the stories of those who have lived and worked there over the centuries are an excellent source of inspiration for written work.

The exhibition is entitled Retrospect and takes place in the Nether Bailey. It runs from 1 October for the entire month and is included in the standard entry price to the castle. It will include 30 pieces of photography, paintings, print and other art forms and is part of Historic Scotland’s contribution to the annual Big Draw campaign which promotes drawing and art throughout the country.

The partnership between Reachout and Stirling Castle shows how historic buildings can play an important part in the life of the local community and allow people to get real benefits from their cultural heritage.



The secrets of medieval skeletons discovered at Stirling Castle will be revealed during an evening with renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black and leading archaeologist Gordon Ewart. The skeletons were part of a group discovered by Mr Ewart and his team when they were excavating a lost royal chapel at the castle. Two of them – a knight and a woman – attracted international headlines when they were featured in the recent BBC 2 History Cold Case documentary.

The programme followed Prof. Black, and her colleagues from the University of Dundee, as they used the latest scientific techniques to discover more about the skeletons – the sort of people they belonged to, their lives and brutal deaths. Both had suffered severe wounds from medieval weapons and may have died during the Wars of Independence with England.

The Secrets of the Skeletons talks will take place in the castle’s magnificent Great Hall on Wednesday, 22 September. Prof. Black said: “The expertise and equipment available at Dundee University allowed us to use 21st-century scientific techniques to find out much more about the skeletons than was known before. History Cold Case attracted an enormous amount of interest, so I’m really looking forward to the talk at Stirling Castle, where the skeletons were discovered.”

A facial reconstruction of the knight, and controversy over whether he might have been brought up in England, Scotland or France attracted headlines from India and Africa to North and South America. Mr Ewart, who runs Kirkdale Archaeology, will talk about the work he has done over many years to explore the past of the castle and its royal palace. Burials in a location of this kind were unusual and suggest extreme circumstances, such as a siege or plague which made it dangerous to leave the castle. It is likely that only people of high status would be buried in such a prestigious place.

Mr Ewart said: “Stirling Castle is one of the most remarkable places in Scotland. It was at the heart of the kingdom’s affairs for centuries, and since the 1970s I have been involved in a series of archaeological projects to discover more about its past. It will be a pleasure to talk about the work we have done, and the insights which archaeology has given us into the castle, the skeletons, and more recently, the royal palace.”

The investigation of the palace by Mr Ewart and his team has been of fundamental importance to Historic Scotland’s £12 million project to return the palace to how it may have looked in the 1540s. Refurbishment work is currently underway and the palace will reopen to the public, as a major new Scottish visitor attraction, next Easter.

In addition to Secrets of the Skeletons, Mr Ewart and his colleague David Murray, will make a series of presentations about their work on the palace on the weekends of the 18th and 19th and the 25th and 26th of September at 11am and 2pm in the Nether Bailey. Secrets of the Stirling Skeletons and the weekend presentations are being run to coincide with Scottish Archaeology Month.


Monty Python fans from all over the world are preparing to make a special pilgrimage to Doune Castle in September for the 35th anniversary of cult comedy film, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. Fans of the spoof movie based on the legend of King Arthur have been visiting Doune Castle since it was filmed there; it’s estimated they account for around a third of the 25,000 annual visitors to the 14th century stronghold.

On Sunday 12 September, Historic Scotland’s ‘First Farewell Monty Python Day’ will be the latest special event staged at Doune Castle for Python fans since the first in 2004.

Events manager Nick Finnigan said: “For this year’s Python day, we’re returning to the less structured, more spontaneous format of our early events, and of course, loads of fun and games. We’ve got some of the most popular comic sketches being recreated, prizes for the best costumes, a trail - ‘Monty Python and the Holy Trail’ - highlighting the various filming locations of scenes from the film, a quiz with prizes, singing, and of course, lots of coconut shells!”

Coconut shells have been a fixture at Doune since the Holy Grail film became a cult hit. Visitors use them to mimic horses’ hooves, just as King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his faithful servant, Patsy (Terry Gilliam) did in the film's opening scene.

In addition to Gilliam and Chapman, who died in 1989, five years after the Pythons made their last film, the other Pythons who starred in the film were Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese and Terry Jones. Jones made a return to Doune – at least in voice - last year when he recorded the castle’s new audio guide. The tape begins: "Welcome to Doune Castle. I'm Terry Jones, and in 1974 some friends and myself made a very silly film here called Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

The Monty Python event on 12th September takes place from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets are in great demand so - with numbers restricted to 500 due to space limitations - fans who don’t want to miss the event need to secure their tickets without delay.

Priced £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and £6 for children –with a 10% discount for Historic Scotland members – tickets can be purchased from www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shop. For further details, call 0131 668 8885.



Stirling Castle is delighted to announce a special evening of choral music by one of Scotland’s great 16th century composers. Music for King James V will take place in the magnificent surroundings of the Great Hall and is a celebration of the work of Robert Carver.

The entertainment is courtesy of the Musick Fyne choir, which has 30 years of experience of performing Carver’s work, and is directed by D James Ross, author of Robert Carver and the Art of Musick.

Taking place on 11th September, it is also a chance to commemorate William Wallace’s great victory of the English in the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge, which took place beneath the castle ramparts.

Nick Finnigan, Historic Scotland events and filming manager, said: “The Renaissance Great Hall is the perfect setting for a performance of works by Carver and the atmosphere should be very special. “This is a rare opportunity to enjoy some of Scotland’s musical heritage in the castle that Carver may well have known very well.”

Not much is known about Carver, but he entered holy orders at about 19 and became a canon of the Augustinian abbey at Scone, near Perth. In the choirbook he is also named as Robert Arnot, which has led scholars to link him with a canon of that name at Stirling’s Chapel Royal. Though Carver and Wallace did not live at the same time, their eras are linked by the publication in 1527 Hector Boece’s famous history, Historia Scotorum Gentis, which was dedicated to James V and which spoke at length about the wars.

Music for King James V is at 7.30pm, Saturday, 11th September 2010. Tickets are £10 with a special offer to Friends of Historic Scotland of £5. For more information or to book tickets in advance please call or email the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum on 01786 471917 or email museum@smithartgallery.demon.co.uk. Tickets are also available from the castle shop.

Beechwood cycle track opens to young cyclists

Generations of families have enjoyed and benefited from learning road safety at Beechwood Park Cycle Track and now more budding young cyclists can enjoy this free facility as work continues to improve facilities within the Park.

Stirling Council’s Land Services in partnership with Friends of Beechwood Park and Torbrex Community Council have removed the old chain link fence surrounding the track so the facility can be experienced any time of the day.

The team also removed the wooden fencing from the former putting green to make improvements to the appearance and appeal of the Park under the Park’s Master Plan.

Torbrex Community Council is giving over the August meeting to looking at ways of developing the mini traffic area, the BMX area and cycling in general in the park. The meeting starts at 7.15 pm in Stirling High School on Tuesday 31st August and everyone is welcome to give their views and ideas.

Stirling Council’s Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Environment Councillor Jim Thomson said: “It is great to see so many children enjoy using the cycle track, having lots of fun under the watchful eye of their parents while learning very important road safety messages. The facility is still a work in progress with new signs, benches and white lining still to be installed but I’m sure with the views and ideas of local people taken on board it will be park that everyone can be proud of.”

From the Stirling Council website.

The Chinese State Circus presents Mulan

Mulan the chinese state circus in scotland

The circus that changed Big Top entertainment forever, explodes into 2010 with the greatest family entertainment ever assembled beyond the Great Wall of China.

Direct from China, a cast of world-class acrobats, deadly martial arts exponents from the Shaolin Temple, and artistes from the internationally acclaimed Peking Opera have been specially assembled to create a lavish and thrilling all-action show.

The Chinese State Circus tour and the world premier of its brand new show Mulan is coming to Scotland. The show will not be at the King's Park in Stirling this year but there are plenty of opportunities to see the circus at performances in Lanark, St Andrews, Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, Elgin, Aberdeen and for two weeks at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Don't miss it.

Tickets available from Ticketmaster 0844 576 5506

The Chinese State Circus - MULAN

Major Roadworks on A9

Drivers are being warned to avoid the A9 Airthrey road in Stirling over the next 4 weeks due to major road improvement works being carried out. Stirling Council’s Roads Maintenance Service will be carrying out the road improvements and surfacing work to the carriageway on A9 Airthrey Road, Causewayhead, between the new Wallace High School and Causewayhead Roundabout.

This full programme of planned work will start from Sunday July 4, 2010 for up to four weeks. During this time the road will be closed to traffic 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Work being carried out includes the re-alignment of Airthrey Road between Dunster Road and Causewayhead Roundabout. This will allow for the removal of the existing inadequate pedestrian crossing point outside the former AA Components premises and its relocation to the splitter island at the roundabout. A new drainage system will be installed between Monument Court and the roundabout. The road will be structurally patched and then resurfaced between the roundabout and the access into Monument Court.

The Council apologies for the inconvenience this will cause but there is no right time to carry out these works however, research has show that traffic is least affected during the summer school holiday break.

From the Stirling Council website.


Big Beast Pictures at the Stirling Smith

New Stirling Smith exhibition celebrates City’s farming heritage

Big Beast Pictures at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is set to open a new exhibition of animal paintings and other images of life on the land, celebrating the rich heritage of agriculture in Stirlingshire. The exhibition is drawn from the collections of the Stirling Smith and the title reflects both the size of the paintings and their subjects.

The largest exhibit is “The Rebel” by A.R.W. Allan (1878-1959), measuring 9 x 9.5 feet. Painted in 1925, it features three Clydesdale horses at a time when Massey-Fergusson tractors were being introduced to farming. Art enthusiasts will have the chance to see Allan’s painting, which has been in store since 1970, cleaned and conserved in the public gallery from 9 to 13 August.

Other works include paintings by Joseph Denovan Adam (1841-1896) who ran a school of animal art at Craigmill, near Cambuskenneth, which was frequented by several of the Glasgow Boys. Adam ran his art school in Stirling as it was a major crossing place of the drove roads, which brought cattle from all over Scotland to the trysts of Falkirk. Highland cattle were once a common sight in the streets of Stirling in the autumn.

A number of events will take place alongside the exhibition, including a range of talks exploring agricultural-related topics, and activities for children throughout the summer.

Whats On at the Smith in Stirling


It’s one of the newest dances around – but harks back to the elegance of the Renaissance royal court at Stirling Castle. Primary age children are being invited to take part in special workshops to learn ‘The Dance of the Musical Head’. It was created by early music experts involved in last year’s remarkable discovery that carvings on one of the 16th-century Stirling Heads may be the earliest musical notation in Scotland.

Barnaby Brown of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and expert harpist Bill Taylor used the notation to recreate the sort of dance that courtiers might once have performed when the music of the head was played. This will be the first time that children other than school groups have had the chance to learn the dance.

Kirsten Wood, Stirling Castle education officer, said: “The dance is very special because it belongs to Stirling Castle and is inspired by the musical head. It takes us right back to the days when great lords and ladies would gather at the castle to feast and dance. Children will be able to dress up in period costumes, hear the music and learn the steps. It’s something youngsters love doing, they really get into character and go home afterwards talking about what fun they’ve had.”

The workshops will take place in the castle’s education rooms at 11am and 2pm after which the youngsters will be able to do a small public performance in the Chapel Royal. The children will also have the chance to learn a Pavan, another courtly dance of the era in which the dancers face each other in rows.

The workshops are included in the normal ticket price and it is best to book in advance by calling 01786 431321, some spaces may be available on the day.

FIND OUT MORE about Stirling Castle at
Sightseeing in Stirling

Stevenson and Song concert

As part of an international conference on the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, the University of Stirling is to host an evening of music, song and recital.

'Stevenson and Song' is a concert of folk music and classical singing based on Stevenson's writings, and will take place on Friday 9 July 2010 in the Pathfoot Building, on the university campus. It starts at 8.30 pm and is open to the public. Tickets are £15 (£12 concessions), and available from the macrobert box office, www.macrobert.org, or phone: 01786 466666.

The highlight of the concert is the live premiere of 'From a Garden of Songs', in which a group of Scottish songwriters have set their favourite poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses to music in the folk idiom.

Allan Smith, baritone, will perform a recital of 'Stevenson and Classical Song' that will give a flavour of Stevenson’s own taste in classical melody, and the various musical settings and styles his writing has inspired.

As well as other recitals, there is also a Stevenson-themed whisky tasting with Robin Laing. A contribution to the RLS Memorial Trust, a registered Scottish charity assisting children with respiratory disease, will be made from ticket proceeds.

For further information see: www.rls2010.stir.ac.uk/stevenson-and-song/ or email Dr Scott Hames on scott.hames@stir.ac.uk

Kippen Street Fayre

This Saturday (June 12th) is the date for the annual Kippen Street Fayre which promises once again to provide something for everyone with a packed day of entertainment, thrills, competitions, food and the opportunity for some retail-therapy!

The Fayre will commence at 10.45am with the Fancy Dress Parade and the Crowning of the Kippen Queen. There will be a high energy dance performance from K-Factor (Kippen’s Got Talent!) winners Kippen Junior Dance Crew as well as the ever popular Pants People who this year will bring a touch of Bollywood to the Fayre. Alex Proctor, Scotland’s foremost magical entertainer, will be amazing the crowds with street magic and three magic shows. Live Music in the form of Glasgow’s stars of the future, The Partick Monkeys, and Kippen’s home-grown rock-legends Oldplay will entertain visitors throughout the day.

The Scottish Airsports Club will be putting on a spectacular microlight and light aircraft 'fly past'. There will be a Fun Dog Show (so don’t forget to bring your dog with you!), giant bouncy slide, bouncy castle, bucking broco, ball pit, carousel, pottery bus, Fire Engine, beat-the-goalie, hook-a-duck, ‘splatt-Bart’, and Wii Tennis competition. There will also be a fantastic range of food and drink available from more than 10 different specialist food & drink venues with just about every taste catered for!

Two years ago saw the village re-establish the tradition of crowning a King of Kippen and last year a Prince of Kippen was also crowned for the first time. Both the King and Prince fought off strong competition in trials of strength, courage and skill (and cracker-eating) so once again this year the village will be eagerly waiting to see who emerges as the King and Prince of Kippen.

One of the many things that makes Street Fayre so special is the colourful market stalls that line the main street in Kippen selling a wide range of things including organic plants, jewellery, CD's, crafts, pottery, specialist bread, and much more. There is still time to book a stall at the Fayre by calling Lindsay on 01786 870609.

Saturday 12 June
commence at 10.45am
For more details on the Fayre visit the website www.kippenstreetfayre.org.

Galway in Stirling festival

An exhibition of Galway images by photographer Jane Talbot will be opened by Mayor of Galway, Declan McDonnell at 10.30am on Tuesday 8 June at The Smith. It will be followed at 11.00am by a talk from distinguished historian Simon O’Dwyer on the ‘Ancient Music of Ireland’, illustrated with examples of early instruments.

The Galway in Stirling festival is part of the Stirling & Galway Sessions 2010, a festival of Celtic Music and the Arts that facilitates the exchange of exhibitions and events between the cities of Galway and Stirling. It takes place in Stirling from 6 - 12 June and then in Galway from 13-21 June.

As part of the Stirling festival and alongside the photography exhibition, the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum will host a week-long series of special talks from 8 to 11 June. They include: ‘Hamish Henderson and the Summer Walkers’ by Timothy Neat on Wednesday 9 June at 11am; ‘The Harpers of Connellan’ by Kathleen Loughnane on Thursday 10 June at 11am; and ‘Saints and Scholars’ by Padraig MacNeil on Friday 11 June at 11am.

Musical events will also be held in the evening at the Tolbooth and elsewhere in Stirling.

Provost Fergus Wood of Stirling Council said: “Stirling and Galway share remarkable similarities with each having played a vital part in the development of their respective nations. With this exhibition and the presentations and concerts which follow, the Festival will set us on a course of shared experience for our common benefit and enjoyment.”

The photography exhibition runs until 12 September. To book a place at the talks, please contact the Smith on 01786 471917 or email museum@smithartgallery.demon.co.uk

Whats On at the Smith in Stirling

This Is Not Le Weekend

Where has Le Weekend gone?

This Is Not Le Weekend at the tolbooth stirling

Over the last 13 years Le Weekend has been championing music that some would say is marginal. Le Weekend does not believe this to be true. We see the music that has been performed over the years as vital. Vital for anyone interested in the creative and rewarding experience of exploration and eureka moment of finding something new.

Artists like Otomo Yoshihide, Peter Brotzmann, Keiji Haino, Thurston Moore, Han Bennink, Zeena Parkins, Kazuki Tomokawa, Dread Foole and Borbetomagus have all shared their astounding creative visions at Le Weekend with us and there will be a whole lot more.

Le Weekend has not ended, it has just relocated. The sunny skies of May will be replaced by the mysterious mists of October. We see this as a new beginning and hope that you will too but slowly, to let you get used to this move we thought we’d programme a one-off taster. A Le Weekend bonus prize with The Sexual Objects, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, Peter Parker, She'S Hit, The Room Improvisation project, le Weekend DJs..

SAT 29 MAY, from 8pm

Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth

Celebrate Scottish Biodiversity Week

Celebrate Scottish Biodiversity Week, by helping Stirling Council’s Countryside Ranger Service get rid of the alien invaders in Balquhidderock Wood ('Bluebell Wood') on Saturday 22 May.

"This alien is a plant called Himalayan Balsam, and is very pretty with a strong scent, but is trying to take over our beautiful, native Bluebells! Each Himalayan balsam plant can fire about 800 seeds up to 7 metres away from itself when the seedpods are touched, but humans, animals, and water also carry the seeds in mud. The plant also tolerates shade, so it can out-compete our native plants on the ground”, explained Jennifer Davidson, one of Stirling Council’s Countryside Rangers.

She added: "Come and give your arms a workout, and help us hand-pull Himalayan Balsam before it has a chance to set seed! We will also be carrying out a litter pick to tidy the woods up a bit. This is a great way to keep fit, enjoy the fresh air, and meet new folk. Refreshments are provided.”

Please wear suitable, nettle-proof clothing. Children under 16 to be supervised by an adult. Meet at the bottom of the central path, off Caltrop Place/Claymore Drive beginning at 1.30pm until 4pm. For further details please call 01786 442971.

Stirling Council Ranger’s are also holding a Meet A Newt Night at Plean Country Park on Friday 14 May from 8.30pm – 10.30pm

Kick start Scottish Biodiversity Week by joining the Stirling Council Ranger Service to Search for newts and creatures that come out at night in the ponds. Wellies and torch essential! Bring a pond net if you have one. Free family Fun!

Booking essential – Please call 01738 442971 During office hours

Heavy Load hit Scotland

Heavy Load is a band from Brighton with a growing reputation, who in the last few years have played around England, in the USA, Germany and at Glastonbury. Their music and energy embodies the original ideals of punk. They are also made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities.

On their first trip north of the Border, Heavy Load will be performing gigs with local support bands and are at the Tolbooth on Friday 21 May. The Stirling gig will feature a special screening of the bands film “Heavy Load the Movie”. Their tour has been organized by dates-n-mates – a dating and friendship agency run by and for people with a learning disability that operates as a project of Glasgow based organisation, C-Change for Inclusion.

Heavy Load initiated the ‘Stay UP Late’ campaign to challenge the practice where people with learning disabilities needed to leave events early because their support workers weren’t able to work flexible shifts and needed to be home by 10p.m. The Stay Up Late campaign has spawned various events and initiatives right across the UK as far away as Australia. The message is simple - people with disabilities have the right to be supported in a way that offers them flexibility and choice.

What people say about Heavy Load:

“The most important punk band playing in the UK today” - Sunday Times Style Magazine

"A triumph of dissfuntionalness" – Wreckless Eric

Tickets £8/£6

Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth

'ANGEL WHISPERS' New work by June Carey

Angel Whispers' new work by stirling artist June Carey stirling

Stirling artist, June Carey began her art education in the 1960s at Glasgow School of Art. In 1982, she became a member of Edinburgh Printmakers and began a lifelong love affair with printmaking. June's discovery of etching brought about a turning-point in her work and career and the process of making an etching set her imagination free. Suddenly she had found her subject, and has been exhibiting her work widely throughout Britain and abroad since.

June has had seven solo exhibitions to date and has been invited to show her work in more than fifty prestigious group exhibitions at home and abroad. The latest exhibition of her work, 'ANGEL WHISPERS' will run between 24th April and 22nd May at the Mansfield Park Gallery in Glasgow.

Some of June's work is also included in an exhibition of new paintings by a selected group of Scotland's finest figurative painters at the Fotheringham Gallery in Bridge of Allan. The exhibition, 'FIGURES IN SCOTTISH ART' opens on the 8th May.

“This new body of work was inspired by my experience in Quebec during my residency at Engramme Print Studio in 2008. Being exposed to new cultures always inspires new ideas for my work. Quebec and Canada proved to be no different. In these new pieces you will see many references to religion. You will also see the presence of a mask with ridged horns, which is used as both a headpiece and an object of love, symbolic of another being. In this new work there seems to be a strong sense of love surfacing, in all the shades that love presents itself in our lives.”
June Carey 2010

FIGURES 'ANGEL WHISPERS' New work by June Carey
24th April to 22nd May
11am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.

Mansfield Park Gallery
5 Hyndland Street
Glasgow G11 5QE

telephone: 0141 342 4124

'FIGURES IN SCOTTISH ART' opens on the 8th May at the Fotheringham Gallery in Bridge of Allan.


A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle on Thursday 3rd June at the Tolbooth, Jail Wynd, Stirling

Scotland’s most inimitable contemporary musical virtuosos Red Note Ensemble are once again going on a lyrical tour of Scotland. Dedicated to developing and performing interesting and significant contemporary music, co-directors John Harris and Robert Irvine have collaborated with multi award winning Glasgow composer Bill Sweeney to create a vibrant adaptation of Hugh MacDiarmid's epic poem ‘A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle’.

Originally written in Scots and published in 1926, it’s infamously thrawn narrator explores the state of Scotland from an emotionally and intellectually charged perspective. Its prose ranges from the comic to the serious and examines a wide range of cultural, sexual, political, scientific, existential, metaphysical and cosmic themes.

The ensemble for this tour is made of 9 players, including a jazz clarinetist and trombonist, 4 singers, and much-loved Scottish actor Crawford Logan in the title role of the famously thrawn narrator. You can expect an evening of humour, inebriation, beauty, politically-charged comment and virtuoso musical and literary invention!

Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth

Whats On around Stirling

New spring season at Stirling Tolbooth

The new spring season at the Tolbooth is underway and Alasdair Campbell, Artistic Director says: "This season we have a few familiar names doing something very new. Ex musician in residence and friend of the Tolbooth, Aidan O’Rourke, brings his wonderful commissioned work An Tobar on May 13 and Patsy Reid, fiddler from Breabach also brings us a new and exciting work, Bridging the Gap on May 20.

The Le Weekend Festival, a regular feature in May for the last 13 years, is moving to it’s new home of October but to tide us over until then we have This Is Not Le Weekend on May 29 with a fantastic line-up to celebrate the 14th festival.

It’s great to welcome back the wonderful Salsa Celtica after a while away and after our Blend Cuba day we’ll expect some very special dance moves.

With our Saturday afternoon Tea and Cake recitals and The Room improvisation workshops we hope there is something for everyone to enjoy."

Whats On at Stirling Tolbooth

‘The Perfect Ten’ Exhibition 10:10

At the macRobert, University of Stirling on 27th May at 11.30am, Julia Donaldson, author of the Gruffalo and Patron of Artlink Central, will officially launch the opening of ‘The Perfect Ten’ Exhibition 10:10, visual artwork to promote the reduction of carbon emissions by 10 percent in 2010.

This is the culmination of a project which forms part of a new initiative between Artlink Central and Stirling Council Children’s Services ‘Arts and Transition Programme’. This involved selected primary 7 pupils who, it was felt, would benefit from additional support in their transition from primary to high school, visiting their future high schools for participation in this project.

The project has focused on the theme of the promotion of the reduction of carbon emissions by 10 percent in 2010. This subject matter is relevant to the curriculum and allowed a scientific and fascinating and topical subject to approached in a fun and imaginative way that appealed to and engaged the children. During the project the children looked at the environmental issues surrounding carbon emissions and the way we can all help reduce them, with valuable additional advice and information provided by Going Carbon Neutral Stirling.

The 27th May sees Julia opening the exhibition and the coming together of all the schools and artists involved in producing the wonderful vibrant and creative artworks. It is hoped that the projects have raised the children’s and general public’s, awareness of carbon emissions and how we can all contribute to their reduction.

The 37th Dumyat Hill Race

Stirling Hill Race Tests Skill and Courage

37th dumyat hill race stirling scotland A Stirling hill race which started as a bet is under starters orders for the 37th year running. The scenic Dumyat Hill Race takes place next Wednesday (5 May) at the University of Stirling, attracting runners from all over Scotland. First created when a university psychologist laid a £1 bet claiming the return trip from the Gannochy Pavilion to the top of the Dumyat was impossible in less than an hour, the challenging route comprises a 390 metre climb (1,280 feet) over an 8km (five mile) distance.

The 37th Dumyat Hill Race starts at 7pm on Wednesday 05 May at the University of Stirling.
Entries will be taken in the University of Stirling Sports Centre from 5.45pm-6.45pm on the evening of the race.
Public entries cost £3.50 and £2.50 for students and staff.

Whats On around Stirling

Briarlands Farm and the Maize Maze opening soon

the maize maze - briarlands farm blairdrummond stirling One of the best family days out around Stirling, Briarlands Farm will reopen on 6th May. The maize maze for this year will be in the design of a Rhinoceros. The naturally grown maze covers an area of 5 acres and reaches a height of over 6 feet, creating pathways that will enthral, disorientate and infuriate. The Inglis family have invested in the latest outdoor play equipment from Speilart and are installing three new play structures: A cable ride, a play structure for the preschoolers and a larger play structure for the bigger children. The play equipment is hand-crafted in Robinia timber and combines a natural look with excellent play value.

Briarlands will reopen for the new season on Thursday 6th May 2010 and we will close on 7th September 2010. Briarland's is closing earlier this year to enable building work to start on a brand new Visitor Centre for next season.

Things to do around Stirling

An Evening with Alistair Urquhart 'The Forgotten Highlander'

The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart 'Captured by the Japanese, tortured, starved, bombed and near-drowned, Alistair Urquhart should never have survived.
You are invited to this very special evening, 'a unique opportunity to hear first hand the powerful moving story from a real hero.'

The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart
Published by Little, Brown. Price £18.99

Thursday 29 April 7.30pm at the macrobert theatre, University of Stirling
Tickets £5.00
On sale at Stirling, Thistle Marches and Macrobert box office 01786 466 666 and www.macrobert.org

Whatson around Stirling

Forth Valley Orienteers Launch Summer Series - 2010

Forth Valley Orienteers are launching their annual series of Wednesday Evening Events, kicking off at Minewoods, Bridge of Allan on 21 April. This is followed by a number of weekly orienteering events in and around the Stirling area.

Co-ordinator Alison McQuillen said that no experience is necessary in order to take part and urges competitors of all ages to come along on Wednesday evenings. She ensures that experienced club members will be on hand to give beginners some basic tuition to get started.

Starts are available between 5pm and 7pm. All you need is a pair of old trainers and suitable clothing for the outdoors, leg cover is advisable. Cost: adults £2.00, juniors and students £1.00.

For more information on Evening Events and location maps please visit www.fvo.org.uk or contact club secretary David Nicol on 01786-832123 secretary@fvo.org.uk or Co-ordinator Alison McQuillen on 01506-671483 aeahome@blueyonder.co.uk

21 April Minewoods (Bridge of Allan)
28 April Barrwood
5 May Hermitage Wood (Stirling University)
12 May Touch
19 May Abbey Craig (Stirling)
26 May Plean Country Park
2 June Queen Victoria School (Dunblane)
16 June Laigh Hills


24 August Doune Ponds
31 August Dumyat West
7 September Kinneil
14 September Dollar Bank

Whatson around Stirling

Roy Orbison and The Beatles

Roy Orbison at The Albert Halls, Stirling. When Roy Orbison died in 1988, it was left to others to bring his music to the concert stage. No easy task. But Barry Steele come with very good credentials and a genuine admiration of the Big O.

Barry Steele who portrays the Big O has toured extensively across the UK, Denmark, New Zealand, Holland, Belgium and Germany.

The Complete Beatles are one of the UK’s Premier tributes to the Fab four, and have toured across UK, Europe and the Far East in their own show and perform regularly with Gerry and the Pacemakers in theatres across the country.

With a rollicking set including Ooby Dooby, Mean Woman Blues, and Uptown, plus the soaring vocals of Barry Steele as he effortlessly performs the Classics, Only the Lonely, Crying, and Blue Angel, right through to Orbison’s later hits California blue, and You Got it.

Both Barry and The Beatles are very excited to be performing in together and they will be delivering all the classics from both the Fab Four & The Big “O” just like in 1963 when both these legends actually toured the UK together.

Friday 9 April
Tickets and information available from the Albert Halls box office.

Whatson around Stirling

Easter Eggstravaganza at Stirling Castle

One of Scotland's Most magnificent Historic Properties Gears up for a Weekend of Revelry

Looking for some Spring cheer after the long winter? Then make sure you head for Stirling Castle this Easter for a great day out. The stunning stronghold is gearing up for a superb weekend of family fun and entertainment.

‘Easter Revelry’ - on Saturday 3rd April, Sunday 4th and Monday 5th – promises a packed programme of light-hearted amusement for all ages. A colourful cast of costumed characters will be performing comedy, magic, puppetry and interactive shows. And with everything included in the normal admission price to the castle, great value, as well as great fun, is guaranteed.

Historic Scotland events manager Nick Finnigan said: “We’ve got a fantastic line-up of entertainment in store at our big ‘Easter Revelry’ event at Stirling over the three days, and a really talented cast of performers.

“There will be a jester and juggler, a puppet show based on tales from Scottish history, music and dancers, and a hilarious panto-style comedy show featuring ‘Baron Hardegg’ and ‘Squire Softboiled’ - characters who were a huge hit at our previous popular Easter events.

“And as well as all of that, we’ll have a ‘World of Owls’ interactive display, offering visitors a chance to get a close look at a range of different types of owls, and watch some of these fascinating birds of prey taking part in flying displays.”

Gillian MacDonald, Stirling Castle Visitor Services and Business Development Manager said: “Our three days of excellent entertainment offer superb value for money – plus, of course a chance to explore one of Scotland’s most outstanding historic attractions, so we hope that as many families as possible will join us here at Stirling Castle this Easter.”

‘Easter Revelry’ takes place from noon to 4pm on each of the three days over the Easter Weekend. Stirling Castle admission charges are: adults, £9.00, Concessions £7.20, Children £5.40, and entry is free for Historic Scotland Members.

37 steps

A new exhibition, ‘37 steps’ is at The Changing Room gallery until 28th March. This is the first solo exhibition of local artist Gillian Cooper who is exhibiting two connected and engaging projects which were developed whilst she was craft practitioner in residence at Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee in 2008.

37 steps has been created and inspired through a variety of both contemporary and traditional textile techniques, alongside photography and projections.

Encapsulating the speed of modern living, Cooper took photographs every 37 steps she made during one day. Recording the repetition and banality of everyday life, whilst changing the scale and materials of the images through textiles to highlight moments of everyday beauty which we often overlook.

The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am –6pm. For more details go to www.stirling.gov.uk/changingroom or call 01786 274005

Whatson at the Changing Room Stirling

Unravel Plean Country Park's History

The Friends of Plean Country Park group, in conjunction with Stirling Council's Countryside Service, would like people interested in learning about Plean Country Park's history to get involved in the Gamekeeper's Cottage Project on Saturday 20th February from 12pm to 3pm. Friends of Plean Country Park are planning to research the history of this building and its former inhabitants, and produce some interpretation for visitors to enjoy later in the year.

Stirling Council Countryside Ranger Jennifer Davidson said: “We hope people can come along for a few hours to help clear vegetation from around the foundations of the Gamekeeper’s Cottage, and help to reveal a bit of history. It’s a great way to meet new people, find out a bit more about the park and keep fit at the same time. Everyone is welcome.”

All equipment and refreshments will be provided, but bring people can bring their own lunch if they wish. Please wear stout footwear and dress appropriately for the task and weather. Places are free but limited. To book a place please telephone 01786 442 971.

Another date for the diary is Tuesday February 23, 2010 when friends of Plean Country Park will be holding a General Meeting at 7pm in Plean’s Balfour Centre. Everyone is welcome and if you cannot attend, but would like to send in your apologies, or be added to the mailing list, please call 01786 442 971.

From the Stirling Council website.

Allotment Consultation

Stirling Council has agreed to conduct a consultation on developing and enhancing the allotment provision in the Council area. Councillors agreed that there is significant interest in allotment gardening and the consultation will try and establish the scale of demand and whether the Council should be making more land available, and where.

This decision follows on from the petition to the Council in December 2009. The Council proposes to conduct a consultation with Community Councils and other stakeholders to establish the potential demand and locations for additional allotment gardens. It was also agreed to look at a best practice guide for managing them and then report back the findings to the Council.

Currently Stirling Council has no policy on Allotment sites although the Council owns the three existing allotment sites at Bridgehaugh, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane. Allocating land for further allotment sites will be challenging for the Council, as funding for any further allotment sites would require to be established and a suitable site is agreed. Council agreed that the adoption of an allotment policy offers opportunities for long-term sustainable development of identified allotments within the Council area.

From the Stirling Council website.

View the Magnificent Stirling Heads

Stirling Heads at Stirling Castle
A one-off exhibition giving a close-up view of the 37 replica Stirling Heads which will be used to recreate a lost Renaissance royal palace ceiling has been welcomed by Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs. It is also the only time when visitors will be able to see the beautifully hand-carved, metre-wide oak medallions in their natural state before they are painted in bright colours – in authentic Renaissance style.

The new heads are copies of magnificent 16th-century originals, and are a key part of Historic Scotland’s £12 million project to return the royal palace inside Stirling Castle to how it may have looked in its prime. The originals once adorned the ceiling of the King’s Inner Hall and are of such artistic importance they are sometimes called Scotland’s other crown jewels. Sadly the ceiling had collapsed by the end of the 18th century, but many of the heads were kept safe. The replicas are exquisitely detailed and beautiful copies of the survivors, and took five years to complete.

The exhibition takes place from 13 to 21 February and is the centrepiece of Stirling Castle’s Carving Month. The Carving Month also includes the chance to hear John Donaldson talk about his work, and demonstrate his craft, at 11.00 and 14.00 on the weekends of February 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. There is also an exhibition about the making of the replicas in the Nether Bailey. The talks and exhibitions are included in the standard ticket price for the castle.

Whatson around Stirling

FIND OUT MORE about Stirling Castle at
Sightseeing in Stirling

Stirling celebrates Margaret Morris with new exhibition

Photos by Fred Daniels. Copyright The International Association of Margaret Morris Movement.
Margaret Morris, 1920s and MMM dancer.
Photos by Fred Daniels. Copyright The International Association of Margaret Morris Movement.

An entrancing new photography exhibition opens this weekend at the University of Stirling to celebrate Margaret Morris Movement. One hundred years ago, Margaret Morris developed her own system of dance and movement training which she called Margaret Morris Movement (MMM). She also opened her own dance school to train dancers in MMM, which became a worldwide organisation.

While visiting France with a dance troupe in 1913 she met the Scottish artist J D Fergusson, who was studying painting in Paris. They lived together for the next 47 years encouraging each other’s creative endeavours and J D Fergusson became the Art Director of all her MMM Schools. Painting and design became an integral part of the students’ curriculum which already included acting, dance composition and improvisation, normal educational subjects and her system of Dance Notation. After J D Fergusson died in 1961 in Glasgow, Margaret Morris lived on in their flat and continued to inspire others with her creative energy.

Jane Cameron, collections curator at the University of Stirling, explained the local link: “She was known to Tom Cottrell, first Principal of Stirling University, and because of their friendship and her excitement at the founding of a new university in Scotland, she presented us with 14 of J D Fergusson’s paintings, which had been stored in their flat overlooking the River Kelvin. “These paintings were personally selected by Margaret Morris and she visited when they were delivered and hung on the walls. They are now on permanent display here in the newly ‘listed’ Pathfoot Building.”

This new exhibition to complement the Fergusson paintings has been created as the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, home to the J D Fergusson collection, has this year been given the entire Margaret Morris Archive and they are celebrating the event with an exhibition ‘Dancing as an Art - 100 years of Margaret Morris Movement’.

“Here at Stirling we are marking the event with a superb exhibition of black and white photographs of the dancers by Fred Daniels, on display in the Pathfoot Crush Hall,” Jane said. “The University of Stirling owes Margaret Morris a debt of gratitude, as staff and students continue to enjoy the work of one of the great Scottish Colourists.”

The exhibition of photographs by Fred Daniels celebrating Margaret Morris Movement is on view at the University of Stirling, Pathfoot Crush Hall, 13 February to 14 May 2010. Admission to view the exhibition, and the art collection, is free.

Dancing as an Art - 100 years of Margaret Morris Movement 1910-2010 is showing at the Fergusson Gallery, Perth, 13 February 2010 to 12 February 2011.



New research has revealed the cosmopolitan character of the Renaissance Scottish court, including what may be the first clear record of Africans at the royal palace in Stirling. Freelance historian, John Harrison, has been investigating original documents as part of Historic Scotland’s £12 million project to return the royal palace within the walls of Stirling Castle to how it may have looked in the mid-16th century.

The palace will reopen to the public in 2011 as a major new Scottish visitor experience. Among Mr Harrison’s sources is The Bread Book, an account of who received loaves from the royal kitchens throughout 1549 when the palace was the main residence of Scotland’s queen mother, and future regent, Mary de Guise. On most days a loaf was granted to the Morys – or Moors – who Mr Harrison believes were probably either black Africans or Arabs originating from North Africa.

“This is a fascinating glimpse of the diversity of the royal court at Stirling in the mid-16th century. It was quite cosmopolitan at the time, with the French Mary de Guise at its head, and surrounded not just by Scots but by people from Spain, the Rhineland and what is now Belgium." “There were a few English, but they were mostly prisoners."

“Just who the Moors were, and what they were doing, is difficult to say. They were quite low in the court hierarchy, but were part of the household and getting bread at royal expense.” Hints have survived that there may have been Africans in Scotland even earlier. There is a poetic reference by Dunbar to a woman who has been assumed to be – ‘the Lady with the Meikle Lips’.

Such references are mostly rather uncertain, and may have other explanations, and the importance of The Bread Book is its clarity at a time when record-keeping was still relatively thin.

Just as fascinating is what The Bread Book adds to our understanding of the way the court was run, and who had access to the queen. The evidence suggests that rather than acting like many of the Tudor dynasty in England and taking her main meals in private, deep within the network of royal apartments, Mary de Guise would dine in the Queen’s Outer Hall. “Quite a wide range of people had access to her, not ordinary farmers but lots of people who were fairly well-to-do, which is important as she was working hard to build and protect the interests of her young daughter – Mary, Queen of Scots. “Mary de Guise was an intelligent, decisive woman and a smart operator. In modern terms she was networking, building contacts, hearing news, being seen and generating support. Just as important is that this tells us that she was part of a tradition that allowed a queen to work in this way.”

The years around 1549 were of enormous importance in Scottish history. Government was controlled by the Earl of Arran, who was regent, and the young Mary, Queen of Scots had been sent to France for her own safety as Scotland was facing repeated military aggression from England. Mary de Guise, as widow of James V and with an important influence on access to French money and troops, was hard at work building her political strength. This is reflected in the lists of people she entertained such as Arran, the Argylls, the Gordons of Huntly and the Kennedys of Cassillis. The records studied by Mr Harrison also show that Mary de Guise would lay on the very best cuisine for honoured guests. Some were even treated to sweets such as gateaux, which were a great luxury at a time when sugar was an expensive rarity.

According to Mr Harrison there were also specific practical advantages in following the French style and eating in the outer hall of the palace. “It had the easiest access to the kitchens and was also the largest space. “And once everyone had finished eating the tables could be cleared away to make space for dancing and entertainment.”

The research has been commissioned by Historic Scotland which is gathering as much information as possible about court life in the mid 16th-century to tell this story to visitors. Peter Yeoman, Historic Scotland head of cultural resources, said: “When the palace opens to the public in 2011 there will be costumed interpreters to tell them about the people and events in each of the rooms. Research like this allows us to recapture exactly what was going on and give them a sense of life in the 1540s. It helps us make sure that visitors will have an experience that is authentic, informative and a great deal of fun.”

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