Visit Scotland recently launched a new global campaign to raise the spirit and profile of Scotland with a new interactive website and using their social media hashtag #ScotSpirit .
As part of this new initiaitive Visit Scotland invited us for a number of unique and special experiences to show us a taste of Scot Spirit.
Arriving in Glasgow airport on a bright sunny day we were whisked off to Galloway Forest Park for a night of truly amazing experiences and treats and for full immersion into the unique Scottish spirit. Keep reading for our 7 #ScotSpirit experiences.
Getting there is easy!
Hop on a flight from Belfast and you are in Glasgow quicker than you can get your headphones out and listen to some Scottish tunes on your portable player. One minute you’re flying out of Belfast and ascending in to the skies, and the next you are descending and getting ready to start experiencing #ScotSpirit
Galloway Forest Park – Home of the UK’s first Dark Sky Park
From Glasgow airport, a group of journalists and bloggers where whisked off to the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in the heart of Galloway Forest Park. Miles from a mobile phone signal and from civilisation, we arrived to a breath-taking view overlooking Loch Riecawr as the sun began to set and we enjoyed canapés and champagne before meeting a Dark Sky Ranger and being shown some photography tips to get the most out of our view. The Dark Sky Park is named because of the outstanding sky visibility at night with no ambient light coming from street/city lights.
Mhor to your door brought their totally awesome foodie experience to us in the heart of the Dark Sky Park. These guys run a family based food business with their own accommodation and of course Mhor to your door. On our night of #ScotSpirit they brought fine dining to us in the middle (and top) of the park in a converted shipping container and served us the most amazing Scottish foodie experience you could ask for. With meat from their own farm, and everything else sourced from the local area, our fine dining meal under the evening sky was a tremendous experience as we watched the snow capped hills all around us darken and the snow slowly lit up with magical moonlight.
Essentially the same sunset you get all over the world, but when you’re sitting in a shipping container enjoying the best of fine dining food and the sun is slowly setting behind the Dumfries mountainous countryside. Well, it doesn’t really get much better than that!
Yes, the park has their own Dark Sky Rangers who are experts in the Dark Sky Park area. We walked down the hill to find a campfire lit, and a telescope set up to view that stunning night sky. Something we rarely see properly living in urban areas, but that’s the special aspect of the Dark Sky park, the vertical visibility is astounding as you look up in to the galaxies and learn to appreciate how small our little planet is. Stargazing is something I fell in love with in secondary school, and learnt more about when I was under the South Atlantic skies in the Falkland Islands 20 years ago. You cant beat a clear sky at night and to stargaze and wonder about the universe up there beyond the earth’s atmosphere is mind blowing.
On the hunt for wildlife with night vision goggles
Britain’s only Nocturnal Wildlife Company met us in another area of the park, kitted us out with night vision goggles and we headed out into the park in the search for wildlife. In the pitch black, our landscape turned green through the goggles and we searched the area for wildlife. A fascinating and very enjoyable experience currently unique to the area and worth trying out.
Our Dark Sky experience was coming to an end after a night of food and activities and we set off to check in and enjoy the luxury of Dumfries House. Built in the mid 1700’s, Dumfries House was taken over by Prince’s Charles’ in 2007 after he secured a deal to save the house and build a sustainable business.
We stayed in one of the gate lodge developments within the grounds. I had the pleasure of staying in a beautifully appointed attic room in one of the out houses feeling like a VIP surrounded by luxury and splendour.
The main house is a stunning building and worth a visit if you’re in the Ayrshire area.
For more information about the #ScotSpirit campaign check out the Visit Scotland website and start booking either your return flights or a ferry crossing to this wonderful country.
And thanks to Trespass for my new winter coat and Hunter for the wellies. Both being put to good use already when out dog walking !!