An Enduring Landscape
Renowned documentary film-maker John Griersontook an overall view of
T IGHNA S GIATH C OUNTRY H OUSE H OTEL
nr Grantown on Spey, Inverness-shire
Special Spring Breaks From £55 per person, per night, dinner, bed and breakfast
Recently featured in Country Living's Best Rural Escapes this elegant, Romantic Country House Hotel is set in 2.5 acres of mature wooded grounds and gardens in the heart of Speyside. Excellent Scottish Cuisine using local and organic produce. Seafood and Highland Game feature daily. Vegetarian/gluten free diets catered for.
Warm, unobtrusive, professional service. Romantic open log fires, all bedrooms individually appointed with many many extras.
Recently awarded “Commended Small Scottish Country House Hotel of the Year 2007”
For further details Tel: 01479 851 345
Resident Proprietors: Iain & ElaineMacDonald-Coulter
Inverness Airport - 40 mins• Aviemore Rail Station - 15 mins •A9 Trunk Road - 10 mins• Central Belt 2hrs drive
Scotland is an old country as Western European nations go and carries the evidence on its landscape of Roman battles,medieval towers and the courtly graces of the Renaissance. You will find,if you look hard enough,reminders of our centuries-old relationships with France, the Low Countries and the Baltic: but the odd thing is that nowhere do you feel you are in museum territory. In the likes of Linlithgow,the Lothians and the ancient Kingdom of Fife, with their visual memories of Scottish kings,you are at the same time in the immediate presence of agriculture in its most modern array and of Aberdeen Angus that are splendid to any international eye. You can look down from castle walls to the mineheads and the futurist skylines of distilleries and strip mills. At Kincardine and Queensferry,where the once ever-questing Scottish captains mustered their fleets,the bridges swing across the Forth with the widest stretches of steel in Europe. Where once the courtiers of the Stuarts kept their ornate apartments,you are likely to find,close by some architectural reminder,new houses and gardens laid out in some style and with the same bright colours, the old centuries being paraded and the later more Covenanting ones dimmed. You will find yourself discovering the road to Glencoe and the Isles and the spectacular fastnesses of the northern glens by highways that sweep you along at high speeds. This is the first and most notable paradox of seeing Scotland. You begin by asking an old question but are soon asking a new one. It is a little and old country,clearly making itself over yet again,swallowing some of its ancient pride but for anyone to see hard at work forging new paths ahead. You are bound to look on Scotland as a lucky country,for it has the bones in its face,as a carver or painter might say. It is photogenic,as the cameras know. Travelling in the Highlands,the seasons,the light and the blooms on the peaks will give you colourings quite fantastic;and I once heard a bewildered Frenchman say the effect was so far past ordinary imaginings that it was “grotesque et ridicule!” The Highland melodrama is matched for sea- going eyes by the Atlantic sweeping in towards the high cliffs,with stormy waters sometimes reaching up to five hundred feet and more. I have seen expansive flotillas scatter in both the Pentland Firth,one of the wildest stretches of water in the world, and the Sumburgh Roost, that fierce tidal current sweeping round the Shetland headlands. In the whole of Scotland you are nowhere far from either the high country Floodlit Stirling Castle.
his native land as it was fifty years ago. How much has changed?
or the sea. This you feel with complete immediacy and all the time. The infinite variety is round every bend and over every hill,by the rich fields and the bright gardens of the valleys,by the orderly forests of the foothills. The innate tidiness of a skilful and respectful people is written especially large on the land which was once hardest to win. In Scotland everyone feels this immediate presence of their countryside in its infinite variety;so they are not just an out-and-about people but,for all the private properties,they act and play with a genuine experience of the fact that their land belongs to them. They are accordingly less conscious than their neighbours to the south of social distinctions. They are Scots in common,a feat to which the English do not even pretend. Many things contribute to and affirm this difference in Scottish attitudes. There is one long tradition of skilled craftsmanship in industry and an enduring pride in it. There is another long heritage of equal educational opportunities;and yet another of progressive action in many vital aspects of political and civic interest. The roll-call of pioneers in Scotland is impressively various. The Scots are not a forgetting people and all this is written on their faces. Do not be surprised,therefore,if they make something of a fetish of their right to individual judgement on everything from ball control to higher mathematics. Rich evidence of this you will find in every public house,every busy marketplace and every communal gathering whatsoever. For one thing,the shops are none the worse for being peopled by a nation of customers who indulge warmly in the illusion of having the right to be experts on everything. The best fishmongers in Britain quite certainly and probably the best butchers are in Scotland. Yet the fundamental thing to see and enjoy is the friendliness of its folk in general,the neighbourliness of its every community,however new. They say that English wives,whose men of some necessity come to work in Scotland, may be loath to trek northwards but after a year are even more reluctant to leave. This sums up much. It is a country of the people and for the people. With the exception of that other very Scottish country, New Zealand (populated by emigrating Scots), it is more widely and expansively free to everyone than any in the English speaking world. Our image abroad is bedevilled by high hills and Highlanders in kilts,whisky and Bonnie Prince Charlie:but that,as the Hollywood producer Jesse Lasky once said of the silent movie ‘The Sheik’two decades after it was made,can prove “a great disillusionment.” continued over