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Ullapool Shops to Visit

Great Shops To Visit In Ullapool

UllapoolUllapool is a small village in located in the Highlands of Scotland. A perfect holiday centre, Ullapool is also a major tourist destination as it serves as a great focal point to explore the beautiful and romantic landscapes of the Highlands. Along with your travels, shopping is always part of the itinerary as bringing souvenirs to loved ones at home shows that you remember them while you are away. Or you simply just want to give yourself a gift or two. Here are 5 Ullapool shops to visit:

 The West Coast Delicatessen

Offering authentic Scottish produce for locals and tourists, The West Coast Delicatessen is a family-run business that brings the bounty of Ullapool to you. Sourced from local artisan suppliers and growers, the store offers smoked salmon, black pudding, farmhouse cheeses and freshly baked bread. They also offer continental goods such as Italian cured hams, Mediterranean olive oils, Spanish chorizo and fine wines from all over the world. If you plan on grabbing coffee and a bite to eat, the Deli also offers salads, pies, sandwiches and party platters. If you’re about to go on a picnic or explore the Highlands, grab your snacks at the West Coast Delicatessen.

The Highland Stoneware

Established in 1974, the Highland Stoneware has an international reputation for their handmade and unique pottery. With great quality and innovation, they offer stoneware, tableware, giftware, cookware and other items that are individually hand painted and signed by the artists. You can even visit the studio and watch the making process of the pottery.

The Ullapool Bookshop

Ullapool BeachLocated right in the hart of the village, the Ullapool Bookshop offers a wide selection of titles specializing in the Scottish heritage, the Highlands, the Great Outdoors, history, geology and general fiction. This charming and intimate bookshop is a short walking distance from cafes and hotels, making it a convenient and definite stop to your Ullapool visit.

Captain’s Cabin Gift Shop

The building where the gift shop is located at was originally built to be a fishing store and salt warehouse. However, in 1946, it became what is now know at the Captain’s Cabin Gift Shop. For many decades, the store has provided customers with authentic Scottish goods and works from toys to gifts, food and even clothes. They have unique and unusual items for sale from Scottish manufacturers – the perfect place to shop for your souvenirs.

The Saturday Craft and Food Market

During the summer season, Ullapool holds weekly Saturday outdoor markets of crafts and local produce from the area. Here, you can find all kinds of good for sale such as organic fruits and vegetables, seafood, locally made cheese, baked goods and many other interesting things for sale.

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Piper On Parade – The Scottish Wedding Awards 2014

Piper On Parade is Regional Winner of the Scottish Wedding Awards 2014

Congratulations to our friend and colleague, Dougie Watson, aka the Piper On Parade, who is the Regional Winner of the Scottish Wedding Awards 2014. A well deserved award for someone so devoted to the pipes and here our Inverness piper tells his story about that special day.

Piper On Parade - Regional Winner of The Scottish Wedding Awards 2014Well of course I was aware of such awards and followed them closely last year, my first full year in the Wedding Piper /Event business.

Then this year as they came around I wondered would I be nominated, but honestly felt that although some of my brides may have some positive things to say about me, I felt it was a long shot to be in with “a shout” as we say in the Highlands, and there were people in the business who had a lot more weddings under their belts than I.

Then some three weeks after the date when nominations for awards may be received, I answered a call from the awards organisers to say that I, Piper on Parade had been short listed as a finalist in the North West Region (Highland) for the Entertainment category.

To say I was surprised was an understatement. How did that happen? I  was invited to attend a black tie Gala Dinner at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow on Tuesday 25 February 2014 where presentations to Regional and ultimately National winners would be made, that said I felt a winner already, being a finalist felt good, and that was enough for me, a pleasant surprise. I was also very grateful to those happy couples who must have taken the time to write in and favourably comment on my performance, dress and musicality when taking part in their Big Day.

Piper On Parade with Award at the Scottish Wedding AwardsI contacted Creative Oceanic the event organisers and confirmed my attendance and that I would be accompanied by my eldest daughter Megan. It would have been really lovely if my wife Linda could have attended, as she is an integral part of Piper on Parade, but unfortunately family commitments clashed.

I travelled down from the Highlands that morning on the train having met up with Mel and June from Wedding Belles,  Annie from Tiger Lilly Flowers,  Eileen Solan, from Eileen Solan Makeup, and Lyndsey Macgregor form Lark and Lilly Designs. To say it was a “Hoot” is not an exaggeration, my face was sore from laughing long before we reached Glasgow, everyone was on a high and all finalists in various categories.

Having arrived in Glasgow and transferred to the Crown Plaza I met up with Megan who had flown in from Bristol for the evening, it was great to see her and we had a leisurely lunch where I introduced her to all the Girls from the North.

Following lunch we all agreed to meet up again at 6.30 pm in readiness for the event to begin at 7.30 pm. We all arrived in our finery, with all the ladies looking lovely, make up complete. Yours truly was dressed in a Prince Charlie jacket and Guards bow tie, wearing Black Stewart tartan kilt. We all looked the part.

As it turned out the organisers had spread all the attendees across some 40 tables no doubt ensuring we all mixed and mingled, although I felt really lucky when I realised I was at the same table as Mel and June, the craic was like  the train times 10, absolutely brilliant!!

The night started with a singer and straight into the presentation of the first award, before I knew it the third award was being presented i.e. the Entertainment award. The finalists in the North West Region were called out and our names appeared on large screens behind the stage. It seemed to happen all so quickly but I was called out as the Winner!!! Yes me Piper on Parade, again the same thought, how did that happen? Needless to say it was a late night, and the train journey North the following day a lot calmer, but satisfying.

If you are looking for a wedding piper, event piper, memorial piper or funeral piper you can contact the Piper On Parade via email or telephone on 01463 870 244 or 07515 263 716.

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Travel Back In Time In Edinburgh’s Castles

Scotland’s capital welcomes over 1 million tourists a year, which goes to show that Edinburgh is a major tourist destination not only in the country but in the entire United Kingdom. In fact, it’s the 2nd most visited city in Britain. With so many natural wonders, fantastic culture and a rich association with history, many tourists flock to this capital city to enjoy the holidays. If you’re intrigued by Scottish history, there’s no better place to explore than Edinburgh – it has countless museums and most especially, perfectly preserved castles to give you an essence of what it’s like in the country several hundreds of years ago. Here are 5 must-visit Edinburgh castles:

Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle

The mot iconic symbol of the city, the Edinburgh Castle towers over the capital dominating the skyline. Perched on a volcanic rock at the top of the Royal Mile, it is still being used today as a military barracks. The former favoured residence of Scottish queens and kings, it now hosts several museums and gift and book shops that you can explore inside. The National War Museum Scotland and the Prisoners of War exhibition are the main highlights of the museum.

Blackness Castle

Built by one of Scotland’s most powerful families in the 15th century, the Crichtons, the Blackness Castle is often called “the ship that never sailed” because of how it looks – which is a long and narrow shape that resembles a ship. Used mostly as a prison in its time, this medieval castle has been used in many films such as 1990’s Hamlet and 2008’s Doomsday. A great castle to visit as it sits perfectly in the Firth of Forth, providing spectacular views of the area.

Craigmillar Castle

Built in the 1400’s, the Craigmillar Castle was a popular retreat for Mary Queen of Scots during difficult times. One of the country’s most perfectly preserved castles, it offers stunning views of the city and the countryside. Its tower house is one of the oldest in Scotland and has a courtyard and garden for visitors to explore. This is where Mary Queen of Scots stayed in 1566 when her private secretary was murdered.

Dirleton Castle

Holding a Guinness World Record for the longest herbaceous border in its garden, the Dirleton Castle is situated east of Edinburgh, offering a charming and pretty aesthetic – very much different from the gloomy and eerie castles that abound around the city. Entering this medieval castle from its glorious gardens, you’ll immediately feel the different air of this beautiful castle. Some of the building was ruined during the war but has been rebuilt several times over the years by the acquisition of several owners.

Hollyrood HousePalace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen’s royal residence in Scotland the Palace of Holyroodhouse was founded as a monarchy in 1128. It is located right at the end of Royal Mile and is the setting for official entertaining and state ceremonies. For a week in the summer, from the end on June to the start of July, Her Majesty stays in the Palace to carry out a wide range of engagements that brings about crowds to the city. During regular months, you can take guided tours inside the Palace, where you can visit State and Historic Apartments, the Abbey, explore the 4-hectare gardens, eat at the café or buy some souvenirs at the Palace of Holyroodhouse shop.

There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs in and around Edinburgh but to get the best deals on accommodation in Edinburgh we recommend Private House Stays who are a leading Scottish accommodation website.

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