Douglas MacQueen's blog

A promise of magic at Orkney Folk Festival 25 - 28 May 2017

Orkney Folk Festival takes place on 25 - 28 May 2017. There can be few more wonderful locations for a Festival than Orkney. Orkney (Scottish Gaelic: Arcaibh. Norse: Orkneyjar) is an archipelago situated off the north coast of Scotland. Orkney is made up of approximately 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited and the largest island is Mainland. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall. Orkney is a place of great beauty that has been inhabited since Mesolithic times.

Major street art festival under way in Aberdeen

Nuart Aberdeen is taking place this Easter weekend. Inspired by Nuart that has taken place in Stavangar, Norway since 2001, this major street art festival in Aberdeen is on from Friday 14 – Sunday 16 April. Developed in collaboration with Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, Nuart Aberdeen aims to provide a platform for local, national and international artists to showcase their work through a series of site-specific murals, installations, interventions, and temporary exhibitions. Large and small images have been appearing on city buildings in recent days.

New poll shows continued strong support for Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister is the only domestic politician with a positive approval rating in Scotland, according to a new poll. The Scottish sample found that 53% of respondents viewed Nicola Sturgeon’s performance above the rating of 50 out of 100, giving the SNP leader an +11% net approval rating. The poll by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft asked respondents to rate politicians from one-100, with zero meaning “terrible” and 100 equalling “excellent”. Respondents north of the border placed Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson well below 50 out of 100 with a rating of -21%.

Unicorn as the symbol of Scotland in heraldry

The Royal Coat of arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the King of Scots from its adoption in the 12th century. Two unicorns are featured on the coat of arms and in heraldry this legendary animal is best known as the symbol of Scotland. In Celtic mythology, the Unicorn of Scotland is said to symbolise bravery, innocence, purity, healing powers, pride, intelligence, joy and virility. 

Trust agrees deal to purchase historic Scottish headquarters of Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bannockburn House, which was built in the 17th century, has been said by some to retain the haunting presence of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788) The Young Pretender, affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie was the grandson of James VII of Scotland and had led the second Jacobite Uprising of 1745 to overthrow King George II. He spent time in Bannockburn House, near Stirling, in 1745 when gathering support for the Jacobite cause.

Scotland's First Minister signs climate agreement with California

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed a joint agreement with the governor of California, Jerry Brown committing them to work together on climate change. They met for talks in Sacramento during a five-day visit to the United States that the First Minister is undertaking. World Wildlife Fund's US senior vice president of climate change and energy, Lou Leonard, said:

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, embarks on five-day visit to the United States

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is undertaking a five-day visit to the United States. She has been invited to give a speech at Stanford University during her trip on Scotland's place in the world. The first minister also has a meeting scheduled with Governor of California Jerry Brown to discuss climate change. This has been welcomed by environmentalists.

National Museums Scotland buys Fettercairn Jewel

The Fettercairn Jewel has been described as a rare and outstanding piece of Scottish Renaissance jewellery. Now the 16th Century Scottish jewel has been bought at auction at Sotheby’s by National Museums Scotland (NMS) for more than £200,000 and its future in Scotland has been secured. David Forsyth, principal curator of the Scottish history and archaeology department at National Museums Scotland said: "The purchase of this piece will significantly enhance the national collections and present new insights into the magnificence of the Renaissance in Scotland."

Partnership formed between Orkney and Norway to look at ways to develop marine renewables

Orkney (Scottish Gaelic: Arcaibh) is an archipelago situated off the north coast of Scotland. Wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, and the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables. Renewable energy is energy collected from renewable resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. 

Scottish Parliament votes for another independence referendum

The proposal for a second independence referendum has been backed by the Scottish Parliament. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) saw the referendum motion passed by 69 votes against 59. SNP and Green MSPs voted in favour. Predictably the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems voted against the motion. Nicola Sturgeon now has the mandate of parliament to start discussions with the UK Government on the timing of such a referendum.


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