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What's On Around Stirling

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What's on around Stirling in July


The Battle for Polmaise 1904-1985

The Battle for Polmaise - photograph copyright Alan Rae

March 1985 saw the end of the Miners’ Strike, the longest mass strike in European history. It ended without a negotiated settlement, but it had not been about wages, better conditions or material gain. It was about a principle – the right to work.

With the help of Daniel Tetstall, owner of the Polmaise Colliery FaceBook Page and Twitter account, the Smith has put together an exhibition to commemorate the titanic struggle of the Stirlingshire Miners to keep their jobs, their colliery open and their community alive. The village of Fallin was created in 1904 to house the miners brought to work in Polmaise 3&4 Colliery, one of the most productive deep mines in Scotland.

Through social media, interesting material has been brought to light. A photograph, showing a group of Fallin people, young and old, posing with their copies of the Workers' Weekly probably dates to 1923, when the paper was first published by the Communist Party of Great Britain. Fallin built a formidable reputation for strong unionisation; no picket was ever needed at Polmaise Collieries, as the work force was always in agreement when strike action was taken. Polmaise was on strike three weeks before the rest of Britain in 1984, and returned to work a week later than everyone else in 1985.

Polmaise 3&4 was also an award winning, record breaking pit, and a National Coal Board plan with an underground link to feed coal straight into Longannet Power Station, to be built in 1991, will be in the exhibition. Polmaise was closed, flooded and capped in 1987. Television clips, mainly from STV News, solely about Polmaise in 1984 -5 is an important part of the exhibition.

The Polmaise Banner of 1984, prominent in all of the major demonstrations during the Strike, is part of the Smith collections. Smaller items include colliery checks, triangular when going down the pit and circular when coming up, given to the miners so that missing bodies could be accounted for. The total death toll of the colliery, 1904 - 1987 was 55, as a commemorative plate shows. Miners' lamps, pit towels, laundry bags, a piece box and various portraits of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will also be in the exhibition, which will be opened by Dennis Canavan at 11am on Friday 6 March.

Find out more at Whats On at the Smith in Stirling

Until 12 July 2015
Stirling Smith
open 10.30-5
Tuesday to Saturday and 2-5 on Sundays
Admission and parking free.



Stirling Farmers Market

The Farmers’ Market gives you, the consumer, the opportunity to buy top quality fare directly from the producer. Producers from all over Scotland have worked hard over the last ten years to make Farmers’ Markets a household name. Working closely with rural crafts and other food producers, farmers have brought fresh, local produce into city, towns and villages, offering consumers an alternative shopping experience. Farmers’ Markets are now a major attraction on the High Street.

Many of the producers are delighted to have won special taste awards over the years for their delicious products. All are passionate about the quality and provenance of what they bring to the market stall, and want you the customer, to enjoy some of the very best local and regional Scottish produce. Buying local/regional produce at the market means lower food miles, and benefits the local economy in terms of employment and growth.

Up to 25 stalls offering an outstanding range of superb produce. And where else can you talk to the farmer/producer to find out how the food is grown/reared/made?

Highland beef, pork and bacon, venison and wild game, wild boar, fresh, smoked fish and shellfish, great bread in variety – continental and traditional recipes including sourdoughs, scones, cakes and puddings, gluten-free baking, jams, chutneys & preserves, Scottish cheeses and butter, free-range hen/duck eggs, organic vegetables, cold-pressed oilseed-rape products and dressings, fudge and tablet, savoury pies, country fruit wines, hand-made jewelry, wood crafts for the dining table, knitted baby clothes, garden plants.

Dates for 2015
August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12

Stirling Farmers' Market is a member of the Scottish Association of Farmers' Markets (SAFM) www.scottishfarmersmarkets.co.uk

Saturday July 11
10am – 4pm
Port Street, Stirling City Centre outside Marks and Spencer.


Stuart Townend and Band

Allan Park South Church are hosting a concert by Stuart Townend and Band on Saturday 18th July. Stuart is known and respected around the world as one of the leading worship songwriters of his generation. From "How deep the fathers love" to "Christ alone", songs are sung in churches around the world.The 2015 tour will bring together Stuart, family and friends to perform some of Stuart's classics and his new material. The concert will be a mixture of worship and performance with Stuart talking about the songs and how they came to be written. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and you'll have a warm welcome at Allan Park South church. All ages are very welcome.

Saturday 18th July at 7.30pm
Allan Park South Church
Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for under 18’s, and they can be purchased online at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stuart-townend-band-family-friends-tour-2015-stirling-tickets-16842478306?aff=es2
Or by email to jim@dataspacescotland.co.uk or
by telephone to 01786 479919


Stirling Castle Celebrates French Connection

Art and history lovers in for a treat at Stirling Castle’s French Connection weekend.

the mystic hunt of the unicorn Unveiled at stirling castle

Stirling Castle is set to explore its French Connections this weekend (18th and 19th July) with a series of special events and exhibitions. In the 500th year since the birth of one of the castle’s most influential queens, Mary of Guise, the castle will be filled with art and events celebrating her life and times.

The Chapel Royal will be transformed by art exhibitions from Iona Leishman and Douai Artists International, whilst in the Nether Bailey visitors can explore a fascinating exhibition all about "The Other Mary", wife of James V and mother of Mary Queen of Scots. Meanwhile, in the Royal Palace families can see fine examples of French Craftsmanship and even make their own Fleur de Lis, the Great Hall will host a talk on the influence of 16th Century French Cuisine on what was eaten in Scotland, and "Auld Alliance" themed tours will explore the castle’s many historical connections with France.

Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experience Manager at Stirling Castle said, "The French influence on life at Stirling Castle was enormous. Visitors see this on a daily basis when they step inside the Royal Palace, recreated to look like it did in the 1540s when it was built for James V’s French queen, Mary of Guise – but in the 500th year since Mary’s birth we’re keen to bring these influences to life even more vividly. As visitors explore the castle during our French Connection weekend, they will be able to learn about its many French ties, from court customs to interior decoration and eating habits. We’ve also got some fantastic art on display, craft activities for children, and our fascinating exhibition telling the unknown story behind ‘The Other Mary’. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or trying out the liqueurs on offer in the shop there’s something for everyone this weekend."

"And Yet It Stands" is an exhibition of new work by former Stirling Castle artist in residence, Iona Leishman, inspired by Mary of Guise. Iona said, "My fascination with Mary of Guise began during my residency at Stirling Castle from 2011-12. Her courage was formidable, her story by turns tragic and inspiring. The title of the exhibition, "And yet it stands", comes from Mary’s personal emblem which is, most poignantly, a crown set above a rock beaten by winds and waves."

"And Yet It Stands" is on display in the Chapel Royal from 18th July until 31st August.

Douai Artists International are visiting Stirling as part of a cultural exchange sponsored by the French Institute, and will showcase a range of work in glass and ceramics in the Chapel Royal as part of the castle’s French Connection celebrations. The French town of Douai was once a centre of refuge for Catholics who fled during the reformation, and Mary Queen of Scots gifted them a painting of herself as a thank you for their services to her religion.

Most people will have heard of Mary Queen of Scots, but fewer know about her mother, "The Other Mary" – the subject of a fascinating exhibition running at the castle until the 30th of November. Born five hundred years ago in a French chateau, Mary of Guise grew up to rule the kingdom of Scotland.

And to mark Scotland’s Year of Food And Drink, visitors can hear all about Renaissance cuisine with talks in the castle’s Great Hall, whilst over in the Clan and Craft gift shop there will be the opportunity to taste Bruadar and Columba Cream Liqueurs.

Entry to the French Connection is included in the admission to Stirling Castle. The event is free to Historic Scotland members.

Read more about Stirling Castle


Gothic Night - Stirling Darkness

Stirling Darkness is a one-off Gothic Night in the Settle Inn in Stirling, so don't miss it if you want to enjoy or dance to the more continental gothic stuff.

Dutch DJ JP will be playing EBM, Electro, Aggrotech, Industrial, Synthpop, Darkwave and Goth Rock.

Program 8-9pm - Medieval folk and Neofolk
9-10pm - New Wave and Synthpop
10-12.30am - EBM, Electro, Darkwave and Aggrotech
12.30-1am - Industrial Rock and Goth Rock

Saturday 18 July 2015
from 8pm
The Settle Inn, Stirling
Telephone 01786 463403
More information at facebook.com/StirlingDarkness


What's on around Stirling in August


Bridge of Allan Highland Games

Imagine the scene - Colourful pipe bands, elegant highland dancers, huge strongmen tossing the caber. A multitude of other events, stalls and entertainments spread out in a picturesque and historic setting.

Bridge of Allan is one of Scotland’s premier Highland Games, attracting crowds of between 8,000 and 10,000 people. The games field nestles between Stirling Castle – Scotland’s grandest historic attraction, the beautiful Ochil Hills and the National Wallace Monument, made famous by the blockbuster movie, Braveheart.

The games themselves offer a packed programme of traditional cultural and sporting events. Crowd-pleasing heavyweight competitions, almost two hundred highland dancers and more than a thousand pipers are just some of the highlights of the day.

Highland Dancing
Enjoy the spectacle as hundreds of highland dancers display their graceful art.

Heavyweights
Marvel at amazing feats of power and skill shown by top international strongmen.

Piping
It’s the battle of the bands, as more than a thousand pipers thrill the crowds.


You can also enjoy running, cycling and wrestling, browse among trade stands and craft stalls and enjoy a wee refreshment or two as you go. For the young ones there’s more thrills to enjoy in the popular funfair, adjoining the Games field.

Whether you live in Scotland and you’re looking for a fascinating day out or you’re visiting on holiday, you can’t fail to be impressed by such a concentration of traditional Scottish events and entertainment. The climax of the day – the massed pipe bands – is one of the most inspiring and emotional sights of Scotland.

There can be few more wonderful settings for a traditional Highland Games and a great family day out. Set in the former spa town of Bridge of Allan, the field is beautifully level – a blessing for spectators and competitors alike. The field itself is overlooked by the lower slope of Dumyat, at the western end of the beautiful Ochil Hills.

Visit the website at Bridge of Allan Games

Sunday August 2nd 2015
Bridge of Allan Games Park
Telephone 07437 329827
email info@bofagames.com

photograph copyright Bridge of Allan Highland Games
© Bridge of Allan Highland Games


Stirling Farmers Market

The Farmers’ Market gives you, the consumer, the opportunity to buy top quality fare directly from the producer. Producers from all over Scotland have worked hard over the last ten years to make Farmers’ Markets a household name. Working closely with rural crafts and other food producers, farmers have brought fresh, local produce into city, towns and villages, offering consumers an alternative shopping experience. Farmers’ Markets are now a major attraction on the High Street.

Many of the producers are delighted to have won special taste awards over the years for their delicious products. All are passionate about the quality and provenance of what they bring to the market stall, and want you the customer, to enjoy some of the very best local and regional Scottish produce. Buying local/regional produce at the market means lower food miles, and benefits the local economy in terms of employment and growth.

Up to 25 stalls offering an outstanding range of superb produce. And where else can you talk to the farmer/producer to find out how the food is grown/reared/made?

Highland beef, pork and bacon, venison and wild game, wild boar, fresh, smoked fish and shellfish, great bread in variety – continental and traditional recipes including sourdoughs, scones, cakes and puddings, gluten-free baking, jams, chutneys & preserves, Scottish cheeses and butter, free-range hen/duck eggs, organic vegetables, cold-pressed oilseed-rape products and dressings, fudge and tablet, savoury pies, country fruit wines, hand-made jewelry, wood crafts for the dining table, knitted baby clothes, garden plants.

Dates for 2015
September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12

Stirling Farmers' Market is a member of the Scottish Association of Farmers' Markets (SAFM) www.scottishfarmersmarkets.co.uk

Saturday August 8
10am – 4pm
Port Street, Stirling City Centre outside Marks and Spencer.


Stirling Highland Games

The Highland Games is one of the areas most visited annual events with 5000 locals and visitors enjoying an affordable day out in central Scotland.

Stirling Highland Games is located behind Stirling Sports Village with spectacular views over to the Wallace Monument, Cambuskenneth Abbey and Stirling Castle.

We have a full programme of traditional Highland games competitions on offer including Running, Youth Running, Cycling, Highland Dancing, Heavyweights, Light Field, and Tug o War. We will also showcase several Piping Performances throughout the day.

Stirling Highland Games looks forward to welcoming you on the 15th August 2015 and we have made sure there is plenty to do in our traders village with a delicious range of food and coffee servers, craft and whisky stalls and activities to take part in. We also have an onsite bar so you can enjoy refreshments throughout the day whilst enjoying Games Weekend with friends. Tickets can be bought at the gate on the day or at a discount in advance through our online shop.

Events at Stirling Highland Games
Scotland in the early days was ever a warlike nation. If the Scots were not fighting someone else, they were fighting amongst themselves. Indeed, some of the bloodiest parts of Caledonian history recalls the feuds between clans.

Clan chiefs had to be ever alert to the threat from others and the need to keep his men sharp and battle practised. Presumably to stop them knocking lumps out of each other, games or competitions were organised to allow these warriors to test their strength and fitness against each other.

Over time these events were gathered together, forming the first Highland Games where clans could eventually compete in marginally less warlike situations.

Today's Highland Games are much more civilised, of course, although the echoes of history remain, particularly in the heavyweight events.

Visit the website at Stirling Highland Games

Saturday August 15 2015
Stirling Highland Games is located behind Stirling Sports Village
Ticket Prices at the gates - Adults £8 / U16's, OAP and Students £5
There are good transport links to the Games with Stirling Train and Bus Station less than 2 miles away and if travelling by car you will find parking at various locations around the grounds coming from the A91 by-pass.


What's on around Stirling in September


Stirling Farmers Market

The Farmers’ Market gives you, the consumer, the opportunity to buy top quality fare directly from the producer. Producers from all over Scotland have worked hard over the last ten years to make Farmers’ Markets a household name. Working closely with rural crafts and other food producers, farmers have brought fresh, local produce into city, towns and villages, offering consumers an alternative shopping experience. Farmers’ Markets are now a major attraction on the High Street.

Many of the producers are delighted to have won special taste awards over the years for their delicious products. All are passionate about the quality and provenance of what they bring to the market stall, and want you the customer, to enjoy some of the very best local and regional Scottish produce. Buying local/regional produce at the market means lower food miles, and benefits the local economy in terms of employment and growth.

Up to 25 stalls offering an outstanding range of superb produce. And where else can you talk to the farmer/producer to find out how the food is grown/reared/made?

Highland beef, pork and bacon, venison and wild game, wild boar, fresh, smoked fish and shellfish, great bread in variety – continental and traditional recipes including sourdoughs, scones, cakes and puddings, gluten-free baking, jams, chutneys & preserves, Scottish cheeses and butter, free-range hen/duck eggs, organic vegetables, cold-pressed oilseed-rape products and dressings, fudge and tablet, savoury pies, country fruit wines, hand-made jewelry, wood crafts for the dining table, knitted baby clothes, garden plants.

Dates for 2015
October 10, November 14, December 12

Stirling Farmers' Market is a member of the Scottish Association of Farmers' Markets (SAFM) www.scottishfarmersmarkets.co.uk

Saturday September 12
10am – 4pm
Port Street, Stirling City Centre outside Marks and Spencer.


Bloody Scotland Festival 2015

photograph copyright Bloody SCotland 2015

As the literary world celebrates Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Bloody Scotland festival pays homage to crime writing past, present and future. Martina Cole, Linwood Barclay, Ian Rankin, Arne Dahl, Val McDermid, Lindsey Davis and Ann Cleeves are amongst the major names confirmed to attend the most star-studded edition of the Stirling-based crime writing festival to date.

The festival, which showcases the best of Scottish and international crime writing in the historic and ancient town centre of Stirling, will run from 11 – 13 September this year. Some of the most famous crime authors in the world are coming to Stirling to talk about their books, events celebrate Scotland as the perfect location for crime writing and the scientific aspects of crime fiction, and the festival joins in the Agatha Christie celebrations with an extra special event.

In a huge coup for the festival, Martina Cole, one of the biggest names in international crime fiction, whose books have sold over ten million copies in the UK alone, will offer Bloody Scotland audiences an exclusive sneak preview of her soon-to-be-published novel Get Even, in conversation with Guardian columnist Erwin James. Speaking about the festival, Ms Cole said, "I’m a big fan of Scotland, I’ve always had a great reception there and I love the rugged beauty of the country as the views are so different from the flat rolling countryside of England. I’m very excited about coming to Bloody Scotland with a sneak peak of my new book and looking forward to discussing it with Erwin James, he’s a good friend."

Linwood Barclay, author of thirteen novels including the international best-sellers Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window and No Time for Goodbye, comes over from Canada for a UK exclusive event, to close the festival in style. Lindsey Davis, the phenomenally popular creator of Roman detective Falco, is guaranteed to fill Stirling’s Albert Halls as she introduces her new novel Deadly Election. Arne Dahl, possibly Sweden’s most famous crime fiction export, returns to Bloody Scotland following the huge success of his series about the Intercrime Unit on BBC4. Ian Rankin teams up with Philip Kerr, author of the Bernie Gunther novels, to discuss what happens when your lead detective becomes even more popular than you are. Ann Cleeves will not only be appearing at the festival, but will be taking a group of readers on a trip to Shetland immediately after the festival proper finishes for a tour of the landscapes that inspired her Jimmy Perez novels and the hugely-acclaimed BBC TV series. Denise Mina teams up with award-winning South African-based novelist Belinda Bauer to discuss the creations of intelligent, character-driven fiction.

The science of crime comes under the microscope this year. The festival celebrates Agatha Christie’s anniversary with an exciting event looking at the grande dame of crime fiction’s obsession with poisons. Dr Kathryn Harkup, author of the book A is for Arsenic, and Christie expert Ragnar Jonasson, who has been Christie’s Icelandic translator since he was seventeen, will discuss the art of chemistry Christie used to kill the vast majority of her "victims". Leading authors Val McDermid and Lin Anderson discuss the science of forensic evidence: Anderson’s Rhona MacLeod novels show her years of research into forensic and scientific detection, while McDermid has recently published a fascinating non-fiction work, Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime.

As ever, Bloody Scotland includes lots of events that don’t quite conform to the standard book festival template. After its huge popularity in 2014, the festival restages its Scotland vs. England all-crime-writers football match, with team captain Ian Rankin and star strikers Chris Brookmyre and Doug Johnstone already confirmed for the Scotland squad. Whose Crime Is It Anyway? sees comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli and a live audience force authors Caro Ramsay, Kevin Wignall and Brookmyre to improvise the plot of a novel live onstage. The festival will also be taking over Stirling’s famous Curly Coo pub for a night of song and comedy hosted by a number of authors.

Scottish crime writers including William McIlvanney, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson and Neil Broadfoot look at what make Glasgow and Edinburgh such distinctive settings for noir fiction, while a special true crime event looks sees Tom Wood, one of the leading officers in Edinburgh’s notorious World’s End Murders case, in conversation with journalist Bob Smyth, who covered the case extensively.

There are also a number of events celebrating crime fiction’s next generation. Bestselling author Alex Gray presents her choice of the best new crime books around (and their authors). Highly acclaimed debut novelists Lucy Ribchester (The Hourglass Factory) and Not The Booker Prize-winner Simon Sylvester (The Visitors) make first-time appearances with their alternative takes on the genre, and the Pitch Perfect event offers new writers the chance to pitch their novels and get advice from a panel of publishing experts. The festival also teams up with other established crime writing organisations, including Nordic Noir, Brighton’s Dark & Stormy Festival and the authors’ collective Killer Women.

Finally, the festival will also include the fourth annual Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award – a gala dinner in the company of major crime writers. Last year’s winner, Peter May, will be opening the festival in conversation with Val McDermid.

Dom Hastings, Festival Manager, said, "I think we’ve put together a really strong programme this year. We’re delighted to have so many major, internationally successful names visiting Bloody Scotland. The breadth of writers in this programme shows what a diverse genre crime writing is – there really is something for everybody. This festival is created for people who are passionate about crime writing, and I think that’s something to be celebrated – it’s an open, accessible weekend, and above everything else, it’s a lot of serious fun."

11 – 13 September
The festival uses a number of atmospheric, historic venues in Stirling’s Old Town.
Tickets, priced at £9.50 (£8.50) for events at the Albert Halls and £7.50 (£6.50) for all others on sale from 2pm on Wednesday 3 June, from www.bloodyscotland.com or at the Box Office in the Tolbooth, Stirling, from Tuesday – Saturday (10-6am) on 01786 27 4000.
Free standby tickets are available to the unemployed or those on a low income, on the day of the event if there is good availability. Proof of eligibility is required and tickets are limited to one per person.

Full information at www.bloodyscotland.com


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