The Daily Thistle — News From Scotland

Monday 27th March 2017

“Madainn Mhath” …Fellow Scot, I hope the day brings joy to you…. The sound of falling rain monetarily eclipsed by the clap of thunder and the streets illuminated by the intense flash of lightning that seers across the black skies, stalls my exit from the house and redirects me back towards the kitchen and the coffee pot, brewing, the aromatic smell of fresh Colombian screaming.. Drink Me! Drink Me! Drink Me! Wins over the rain exploding hard on the pavement..

MEDIEVAL SCOTS CASTLE ON THE MARKET — FOR JUST £150,000…. A HISTORIC castle once vistited by King James VI and sitting near to US president Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course has gone on the market — for £150,000. Knockhall Castle in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, dates back to the 16th century and was used as a base by James VI, but was left gutted by an accidental fire in 1734. The castle is close to the River Ythan and the famous Forvie Sands, a designated nature conservation area populated by seals. The new owners would also become a neighbour to Donald Trump, whose Balmedie golf resort is just five miles away. Sellers Savills said: “The lands of Newburgh were held by the Sinclair family from the 13th century, with a settlement established there in 1261. “The castle was probably built for Henry, Master of Sinclair, the future 6th Lord Sinclair, and it is recorded that James VI stayed with him at Knockhall on 9 July 1589. “The castle was sold in 1633 to a son of Udny of that Ilk and was damaged in 1639 when taken by the Earl Marischal for the Covenanters.” They add: “Newburgh is a popular and picturesque, sheltered coastal village, ideally situated for easy commuting to Bridge of Don, Aberdeen and Dyce as well as Aberdeen International Airport which is a mere 15 miles away and offers daily services to London, Europe and various other destinations.

NEW WEAPON IN THE FIGHT AGAINST LATE POTATO BLIGHT…. Scottish potato growers will this year have an added weapon in their fight against one of their perennial problems — late blight. The James Hutton Institute outside Dundee has produced criteria for warning growers when there is a risk of blight — the biggest husbandry problem faced by potato growers. • READ MORE: Scottish tattie set to be given protected status by European Union The institute’s Siobhán Dancey said she and her colleagues had examined relationships between reported outbreaks of blight and the traditional system of warning called a Smith Period. As a result, new standards are now contained in what is being called the Hutton Criteria. 200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland “Past records revealed that the Smith Period was not performing equally well in all parts of the country, and the Hutton Criteria has eliminated this issue,” she claimed. Working with the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board who supply information to growers, the plan is to build the Hutton Criteria and improve the reliability and reach of blight risk reporting. It will be launched in time for the 2017 blight pressure season.

BUDDHIST LEADER’S ‘MESSAGE OF HOPE’ PREMIERED AT SCOTS MONASTERY…. A film charting the life and times of the co-founder of Europe’s first Buddhist monastery yesterday received its world premiere. The feature-length documentary about Akong Tulku Rinpoche was screened at Kagyu Samye Ling, the Tibetan centre in south-west Scotland he helped established some 60 years ago. The film, ‘Akong — A Remarkable Life’ charts the former Buddhist leader’s early years in Tibet through to his murder in China in 2013. Described by its makers as a “message of hope,” the documentary was authorised by Akong Rinpoche before he was stabbed to death. Akong, who was born in 1939, was identified as the reincarnation of Dolma Lhakang, at a monastery in eastern Tibet. He was just four when he was enthroned in the monastery and began his spiritual education. After the Tibetan uprising against occupying Chinese forces in 1959, the then 19-year-old joined a freedom walk over the Himalayas to India. The gruelling trek saw the party run out of food, with many forced to boil leather shoes and bags to make soup. Out of about 200 people who took part in the walk, Akong was among just 15 survivors. He eventually made his way to Scotland, where along with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he founded Samye Ling in Langholm, 30 miles east of Dumfries. Students at the monastery, constructed around a former hunting lodge, have included the late musicians David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. Vin Harris, executive producer of the film, which features contributions from the likes of Lord Steele, said: “We feel that the film is more a message of hope, a celebration of his life.

TRAVELODGE TO CREATE 325 JOBS WITH 15 HOTEL OPENINGS…. Hotel chain Travelodge is to open 15 hotels this year, including in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling, creating 325 jobs in the process. The openings, being developed by third-party investors and with an approximate equivalent investment value of £125 million, will take the group’s portfolio to more than 570. • READ MORE: Travelodge to invest £100m on Scottish expansion Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers said the firm’s growth was being fuelled by cost-conscious businesses and a “new generation of independent leisure travellers”, but added that the UK continues to lag behind the likes of the US when it comes to “good quality, low cost hotels”. 200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland He added: “With room to grow, we have identified 250 further locations where we believe we can take Travelodge over the years ahead.” The group also announced that work has started on its largest-ever new-build hotel, a 395-room property in the City of London, expected to open next year in 2018.

BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS LAUNCH GLASGOW KILTWALK 2017…. MISS Scotland donned a kilt with Glasgow Warriors rugby stars to kick-off preparations for this year’s Kiltwalk. Warriors centre Nick Grigg and hooker James Malcolm were joined by Miss Scotland Lucy Kerr to launch the event, where Scots can raise money for a number of charities. The first of the country’s four Kiltwalk events takes place on 30 April, starting at Glasgow Green and finishing in Loch Lomond. The rugby players are encouraging the Warrior Nation to take part for Hearts & Balls, a charity which helps rugby look after its own. Miss Scotland Lucy Kerr added: “With under two months to go until the first Kiltwalk of 2017 we are issuing a rallying cry to the people of Glasgow to get active and join us on April 30 at Glasgow Green. “So many people have already signed-up but we know there are more Glaswegians out there who can take on this challenge. “The lighter evenings are coming and with spring on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to come out of hibernation and be part of something special.” Nick Grigg, who scored two tries during Glasgow’s most recent win against Newport Gwent Dragons, said: “Hearts & Balls can’t function without donations so support from people fundraising is vital.“The Kiltwalk is the perfect way to raise money as it’s a physical challenge with a real sense of achievement. A number of rugby players took part last year and they all raved about their experience.” This year, for every £1 raised, £1.10 will go to walkers’ chosen charities. This comes after Sir Tom Hunter and The Hunter Foundation generously pledged that 110% of all fundraising at each of the four 2017 Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk events will go to charity.

On that note I will say that I hope you have enjoyed the news from Scotland today,

Our look at Scotland today is of Tarbert .. Mervyn Haines, from Luxembourg, was there on Wednesday… he said it was only 6c..

A Sincere Thank You for your company and Thank You for your likes and comments I love them and always try to reply, so please keep them coming, it’s always good fun, As is my custom, I will go and get myself another mug of “Colombian” Coffee and wish you a safe Sunday 27th March 2017 from my home on the southern coast of Spain, where the blue waters of the Alboran Sea washes the coast of Africa and Europe and the smell of the night blooming Jasmine and Honeysuckle fills the air…and a crazy old guy and his dog Bella go out for a walk at 4:00 am…on the streets of Estepona…

All good stuff….But remember it’s a dangerous world we live in ….. Be safe out there…

Robert McAngus

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