Program 363: Scottish Homecoming; A Troubadour's Scotland

Release Date: 05-03-2014

On Air Description

This is turning out to be a big year in Scotland. On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we'll hear about the Scottish "Homecoming," and get insider tips for enjoying Edinburgh and Glasgow, and exploring the Scottish borderlands, highlands and islands. 

Plus, Scottish folk singer Jim Malcolm shares some of the poetry embedded in the traditional music of Scotland, and how it reflects the history and character of the Scots.  

Join us for a generous dose of convivial banter about Scotland, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Anne Doig, Scottish tour guide based in Edinburgh
  • Colin Mairs, Scottish tour guide based in Glasgow
  • Liz Lister, Scottish tour guide based in Fife
  • Scottish singer Jim Malcolm

Related Links

  • 2014 is a "Homecoming" year for tourism to Scotland, which means lots of extra festivals and events will be held this year.
  • Major sites in Edinburgh that Rick considers "must sees" are the National Museum, the National Galleries art museum, the HMY Brittania royal yacht, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and the Scottish National War Memorial military museum at Edinburgh Castle.
  • Information about playing a round of golf at the Old Course at St Andrews.   
  • Wikipedia has information and links to major highland games festivals and clan gatherings in Scotland and around the world.   
  • Information for planning a hike on Ben Lomond.     
  • Lonely Planet talks about climbing the munros of Scotland
  • The website for Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish highlands near Aviemore.  In the summer they hold ceili dances at the Ptarmigan Restaurant where tourists can learn the steps.  In the winter it's a major ski resort.
  • The Leault Farm near Aviemore offers working sheepdog demonstrations at the designated times on its website. 
  • Wikitravel has detailed listings and photos for visiting Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands, and the island of Iona.
  • Jim Malcolm's website includes occasional blog entries, samples from his CDs, photos of Scotland, and information on his concert schedule for dates in Scotland and the USA. 
  • Jim will be playing a number of concert venues in the northeastern US in September 2014.  
  • The Visit Scotland website has listings of natural settings on rivers and in marshlands that you can visit in the Perthshire district where Jim Malcolm lives and where he enjoys fly fishing on the River Tay. 


  • "My husband and I, our daughter, and golfing son-in-law are traveling to northern Scotland this summer. As natives, what would be your 'you can't miss this' sight, away from the cities?"   (Susan in Irvine, California)
  • "I love international folk dancing, both watching it and participating. What suggestions do you have for a traveler who would like to watch or even take a class in Scottish Highland dancing?"  (Jane in New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Caller is planning a trip to Scotland that will include hiking opportunities.  (Robin in Los Angeles)   
  • "I highly recommend driving the western (southern) side of Loch Ness. Almost no one does, and the scenery is spectacular! Also, the sheep dog demo just south of Carrbridge is not to be missed!    (e-mail from Gerald in Portland, Oregon) 

Incidental Music

  • The Chieftans, "Rob Roy," Film Cuts / RCA Victor
  • Fiddlers 3, "Whisky Before Breakfast," Fiddlers 3 / (self-released)
  • Patrick King, "Flower of Edinburgh (reel)," Celtic Legends / REL
  • Capercaillie, "Finlay's," Beautiful Wasteland / Ryko - Survival Records
  • * Martyn Bennett, “Shputnik in Glenshiel,” Bothy Culture / Rkyodisc
  • The Blue Nile, "Downtown Lights," Hats / Linn Records-A&M-Virgin
  • Jock Tamson's Bairns, "Wee Hieland Laddie," May You Never Lack A Scone / Greentrax (Scotland)
  • Manawatu Scottish Society, "Rob Roy," The Calling / Greentrax Recordings (Scotland)
  • Lynne Arriale Trio, "Red is the Rose," Come Together / Motema Music
  • June De Toth, "My Sheep are Lost - Allegramente," Bartok - Solo Piano Works, vol. 2 /  Orchard
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras, cond., with John O’Conor, piano, “‘Poco Adagio’ from ‘Piano Concerto No. 2 in A-flat Major’ (John Field),”  The Emerald Isles (collection) / Telarc
  • Keltik Elektrik, with vocalist Jim Malcolm, “Wild Mountain Thyme,”  Celtic Crossroads (collection) / Putumayo
  • * Keltik Elektrik, "Flower of Scotland," Edinburgh Hogmanay Party Mix / Greentrax Records
  • Jim Malcolm's live performance includes excerpts from his songs  "Lochenside," "Parcel of Rogues," and "Battle of Killiecrankie."
  • Old Blind Dogs, "Forfar Sodger," The World's Room / Green Linnet
  • Kieran O'Hare, "Steps From the Highlands (The Girl I Left Behind Me),"  A Celtic Spectacular (collection) / Telarc
  • Instrumental bridges from Jim Malcolm, "Jock o Hazeldean" and "Queen Amang the Heather," Still / Beltane Records

Dated References

  • In his segment A open, Rick refers to several dated references in Scotland for "this year (2014)":  the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, "The Homecoming" tourism theme, and the upcoming September referendum on Scottish political independence from Britain.
  • Starting at 10:28, Rick, Colin and Anne discuss how people in Glasgow have been placing a traffic cone on the head of the Duke of Wellington's statue, with a Facebook page of supporters for keeping the cone on the statue.
  • Colin notes at 21:47  that there are over 700 golf courses in Scotland.
  • Liz notes at 23:06 that travelers in July or August are visiting Scotland at the pinnacle of the Highland games season.
  • At 40:40, Rick notes that, to date, Jim Malcolm has released more than 50 of his songs on CD.  
  • The lyric to "Lochenside," starting at 45:14, refers to winter and spring seasonal settings. 
  • In the program 363 extra, the guides caution about trying to visit Edinburgh Castle in August when it's extremely crowded.