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Stirling News
Find current news, events and up to the minute happenings around the city on the updated Stirling News pages.

Stirling News in 2013

Current Stirling news and up to the minute happenings in the city of Stirling.
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macrobert Christmas Market Sat 14 December

If you're still a few Christmas pressies short of a full sack, pop along to the macrobert's Christmas market on the 14th December (10am - 5pm) to view an array of beautiful and exclusive gifts from some fantastic local businesses.

Here's just a selection of the stalls that will be available on the day -

Bow Belles - Gorgeous bows and hand-crafted boutique bows & hairbands to accessorise any hair style and outfit, perfect for Christmas day!

JEDY - For something entirely original, how about a luxury handmade doorstopper? Using quality fabrics and creative designs, doorstoppers can be varied to suit your requirements and to match your interior! Brilliantly unique.

Bits and Baubles: Beautiful personalised Christmas ornaments.

INDI - Patriotic t-shirts! Proud, passionate and unique T-Shirts based on Scotland, created by Scots and celebrating our shared history! Some are serious, some are just classic banter, or a modern twist on old tales. Either way, you'll love them! Come down and have a peek.

The Farm Shop and Cheeses from Scotland - selling a selection of traditional Scottish farmhouse fare: bakery, fudge, tablet, macaroon, jam and cheese

Fox.Snail.Mouse - selling kids accessories and up-cycled decorations and gifts.

Ms Bubalinko's Vintage Emporium - Selling a range of vintage clothing, jewellery and Christmas jumpers.

With more still to confirm. Come along and find something totally unique to make someone's Christmas.

The Shadow in the Gallery - Mystery in the Museum at Stirling Smith

Stirling Smith - The Shadow in the Gallery

Stirling Smith unveils crowdfunded historical Novel.

5 December sees the launch of The Shadow in the Gallery, the first novel to be set in the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. Celebrating the 140th anniversary of the Stirling Smith's inaugural opening to the public, the new murder-mystery takes place in the 1870s and features many famous Stirling characters of the time including Alexander Croall, the eminent natural historian who became the building's first curator.

"The Smith has been serving Stirling for 140 years, and has always showcased art, culture and social history in an inclusive way that spans many generations," said the book's author, Dr Thomas Christie. "I felt that the anniversary presented the perfect opportunity to look back on the building's origins and celebrate all of the people who helped to lay the foundations for the organisation that we know today."

Thomas is no stranger to the Stirling Smith, having served as its administrator between 2006 and 2007 as well as presenting a Christmas lecture there every December for the past four years. His new book of literary analysis, Notional Identities, was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing last month and examines different genres of Scottish popular literature since the 1970s. It was while studying the history of Scottish crime fiction that he decided to bring a touch of cloak and dagger to his favourite museum.

The publication of The Shadow in the Gallery has been made possible by public support through an international crowd-funding strategy operated by the Stirling Smith's director, Dr Elspeth King, and administrator Michelle Cook. Thanks to dozens of individual donations being pledged over the Internet, the book is now due to be launched at a special event hosted by the Smith on Thursday 5th December at 7:30pm. The evening will feature an illustrated presentation by the author, stage magic from psychological illusionist Derek Heron and an appearance by the book's cover artist Bill Botten, the renowned artwork designer of many James Bond novels throughout the seventies and eighties.

Copies of The Shadow in the Gallery will be available to buy from the Stirling Smith from Thursday 5th December onwards, priced £4.99 each, with an eBook version available to order from Amazon in the near future. The book’s official website,, will also be launched on that date.

SEE Whats On at the Stirling Smith

Get into the Christmas spirit at Stirling Castle

Historic Scotland has a packed programme of seasonal events to keep visitors of all ages entertained over the festive period this year. At Stirling Castle, visitors can get in the Christmas spirit on 3 December from 6-9pm with a Christmas shopping fayre in the Great Hall, against the backdrop of a roaring log fire and festive music.

With local crime author Craig Robertson on hand to sign his books, Christmas-themed demonstrations, performances from Stirling-based performing arts school Stageworx and a diverse range of suppliers, there will be a tempting selection of gifts on offer, as well as mulled wine and mince pies in the Christmas Café. Tickets cost £5 including free on-site parking.

15 December will see a whole host of activities at the castle, from festive music and a Christmas puppet show in the afternoon to an evening of Christmas carols by candlelight (tickets for which cost £10-15) at 7:30pm. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn more about Christmas traditions and will get the chance to see some of the traditional festive foods which would have been served at court.

Available on selected dates throughout December, anyone looking for something extra-special this Christmas can treat themselves to a Christmas lunch at Stirling castle. From a three-course lunch in the Unicorn Cafe, there’s something for everyone with various packages to suit a range of budgets.


Commando inspired art by David Mach

Stirling Smith - Commando inspired art by David Mach

DC Thomson’s Commando books supply the ammunition for fine artist David Mach, who currently has an exhibition at the Stirling Smith. The work featured is inspired by Commando, the comics of David’s youth.

"They are not just based on them, they actually use bits of Commando books. Really it comes from doing collage – I spent many years making collage in all sorts of varieties and shapes. I started collecting the magazines, ripping them up and filing them under things like explosions, seascapes, deserts, jungles. That was the beauty of the Commando magazines, you could go from the Sahara Desert in one story to the jungles of Borneo in the next. I started filing all this stuff and made things like beach scenes out of it."

"Commando books, they were a big part of my cultural youth, along with a huge bunch of other comics, books and cartoons produced by DC Thomson, I think I was really affected by the drawing. The quality of the drawing in all of these comics and publications was really high. DC Thomson’s artists were of an exceptionally high calibre. That company went to a lot of bother to produce their comics. They were inspirational and are still inspirational now."

Working with a huge variety of mass-produced objects, including tyres, bricks, match heads and coathangers, Mach, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988, has established a reputation as one of Britain’s best-loved and iconic artists. From Polaris, a recreation of a nuclear submarine made from 6,000 car tyres outside London’s Hayward Gallery in 1983 in protest against the nuclear arms race, to his brick Train, built near Darlington. Mach’s work is bold, witty and technically accomplished.

Mach, who joined the Royal Academy of Arts as Professor of Sculpture in 2000, recently announced his most ambitious project to date. Inspired by its 400th anniversary in 2011 Mach is exploring the language, stories and legacy of the King James Bible in a variety of media.
John Freeman

Mach Goes Commando runs until 24th December.


Take Over Museums Day at Stirling Smith

It’s the ultimate in child power. A group of 7 children will seize control of one of the Scotland's most loved Museums and Art Galleries and show the adults how they should run their business. Children from two schools in Stirling district will launch an assault (with dignity and customer care in mind) on the prestigious Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum this Thursday, 28th November. Seven Primary 6 pupils from St Ninian’s, Stirling and Strathyre Primaries have won their way to the executive status of Gallery Assistants.

When they learned the news that they had been chosen the excitement was hard to contain. "They just couldn’t stop smiling when I met them," said David Smith Education Officer at The Smith Museum, "They looked as though they had won the lottery."

The 7 successful applicants will greet customers and give guidance on the gems to be found inside the galleries. "They are really lucky," explained David. "In addition they will enter the parts of the building that the public never get to see. Like most museums and galleries over 90 percent of our treasures have to be kept in stores and secure rooms. Our new "temporary" staff will see all of this."

Michelle Cook, Administrator at The Smith, explained that much more will happen. "Our curator, Michael McGinnes and intern, James Wedlake, have prepared a series of objects which need researched, identified and labelled. The children will become curators and have to work as teams to investigate some really amazing precious objects. They will also join me in the office to help organise our Twitter feed, Facebook and web operations for the day."

In St Ninian’s School the children had to write a letter saying why they should be elected for the job. The event is part of a National Takeover Day ( with different activities organised across museums in Scotland. It is supported by Museums Galleries Scotland and in Partnership with Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.

This Winter at Stirling Tolbooth

At the Tolbooth this winter,there are some fantastic performances for you to look forward to. Everything from an Australian platypus who comes to Glasgow for his holidays, to, according to Frank Sinatra "...the best kept secret of British jazz" - Carol Kidd.

Events to celebrate St Andrew's Day cover three venues and feature a talk by Lesley Riddoch on what Scotland needs to flourish, a tea dance / ceilidh at The Albert Halls, a visit from Bloody Scotland as four crime writing novelists come together to discuss, Books, Bodies and Breakthroughs and Dick Gaughan performs at the Tolbooth on St Andrew's Day night.

All this and our Christmas Ceilidhs, Skerryvore, Blues n Trouble, Foy Vance and Deacon Blue at Stirling's Hogmanay.

SEE Whats On at the tolbooth in Stirling

Thousands of tickets to Scotland’s top attractions up for grabs to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day

Free tickets available for historic sites across Central Scotland

Some of Scotland’s best-loved heritage attractions will be giving away thousands of free tickets to people who pre-register online as part of this year’s St. Andrew’s Day celebrations. Stirling Castle, Doune Castle and Castle Campbell are among the 35 participating Historic Scotland properties which will be offering the opportunity to apply for tickets to gain entry for up to two adults and three children through a pre-registration process.

A special website, is now live, offering people the chance to apply for tickets to some of Scotland’s most iconic heritage sites. It will remain open until 5pm on Friday, 29th November. People can apply for tickets for either Saturday 30th November or Sunday 1st December. In order to ensure a quality experience for visitors, the number of pre-registered tickets will be capped at each site. This includes 7,000 per day at Edinburgh Castle and 3,500 per day at Stirling Castle.

There is no limit to how many sites can be applied for, although visitors are being urged to be quick to register so they don’t miss out on the chance to visit a great historic property for free. Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland said, "The Ticket Giveaway is a fantastic way to celebrate the St. Andrew’s Day weekend. There is a huge array of different sites to visit and with visitors able to pre-register for tickets for up to two adults and three children in a single transaction, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy many of Scotland’s historic properties for free."

"The tickets won’t be around for long though, so we’d encourage people to be quick to register so they don’t miss out on the chance to visit their favourite property of choice."

The Ticket Giveaway is part of the Scottish Government’s Winter Festivals programme, which celebrates three of the country’s most distinctive festivals; St. Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said, "Scotland has some of the most diverse heritage in the world – from global icons, such as Scotland’s number one paid-for tourist attraction, Edinburgh Castle, through to island abbeys such as Iona."

"Each site has a fascinating story to tell, from Stirling Castle which was home to many of the most famous Stewart Kings and Queens through to Skara Brae in Orkney, one of the best preserved prehistoric villages in Europe. Meanwhile, our countryside – from the Blackhouse in the Western Isles to the magnificent Borders abbeys - is dotted with reminders of Scotland’s past. The Ticket Giveaway is a great opportunity for people to enjoy the heritage on their doorstep, or venture further afield, as part of the wider St. Andrew’s Day celebrations."

Stirling born film pioneer honoured in first Commemorative Plaque Scheme

Stirling born Norman McLaren, (1914 – 1987), experimental filmmaker and electronic music pioneer is one of the twelve historic figures to be celebrated in the first year of Scotland’s Commemorative Plaque Scheme. McLaren studied set design at the Glasgow School of Art. His early experiments with film and animation included scratching and painting the film stock itself, as he did not have ready access to a camera. His awards included an Oscar for the Best Documentary in 1952.

The announcement was made by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. The Commemorative Plaque scheme is designed to celebrate the life and achievements of significant historic figures, through the erection of a plaque on their home where they lived, or the building that was particularly synonymous with their achievements. The nominations were submitted by the public and the final twelve chosen by an independent panel of experts with the first year of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme celebrating the Year of Creative Scotland.

Ms Hyslop said, "The Commemorative Plaque Scheme highlights the range of incredible creativity shown by the talented people of Scotland, celebrating individuals such as Norman McLaren, a genius of the moving image. He was a world-renowned artist whose work is respected and admired by generations of animation film makers around the globe."

Mr McLaren was nominated by Iain Gardner. He said, "As an animator myself, I have a passion for the work of Norman McLaren which was ignited whilst studying at his former school, The Glasgow School of Art. I am delighted that his legacy for film, animation and synthetic music is being recognised in his birth country of Scotland by a permanent monument."

Ms Hyslop continued: "The Plaques Scheme also commemorates historic figures who have made a significant contribution to Scotland and the world including television pioneer John Logie Baird, steam pioneer James Watt and Archibald Findlay, Fife potato geneticist who produced the first blight-resistant potato, making the food safe from disease."

Planning under way for refurbishment of Wallace Monument

2014 will be an important year for Scotland - and for Stirling - with the city set to mark the 700th Anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn, one of the highlights of Scotland’s second Year of Homecoming.

At the Wallace Monument, a major redevelopment of the interior galleries will be carried out, prior to the start of the main 2014 visitor season, and interpretive exhibition design specialists Campbell & Co. from Edinburgh have been appointed to carry out the refurbishment project.

Each of the three distinctive galleries within the tower, designed by the Victorian architect J. T. Rochead, will be completely re-modelled, providing visitors with a new perspective on the life of Scotland’s national hero, and on his famous victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

The first floor of the Monument, originally known as the Hall of Arms, with its stained glass windows depicting the arms of Great Britain, of Scotland, of Wallace, and of the Burgh of Stirling, will be re-designed to provide visitors with an engaging and authoritative presentation on The Battle of Stirling Bridge. This will draw on research which has been undertaken by eminent historians with specialist knowledge of the mediaeval period.

The story of Wallace’s life - and of how he came to be recognised as Scotland’s national hero - will be told to visitors in The Hall of Heroes, on the second floor, where busts of Scottish heroes from Robert the Bruce to Robert Burns, celebrate Scotland’s contribution to science, engineering, industry and the arts. The centrepiece at this level will be one of the most symbolic artefacts housed at the Monument - the Wallace Sword, with which Scotland’s national hero struck fear into the hearts of his enemies.

On the third floor visitors will be able to learn just how significant a character Wallace was in Victorian Scotland, when the Monument was built, and how he inspired so many other memorials since the unveiling of one of the first monuments at Dryburgh in the Scottish Borders, in 1814.

The refurbishment of each gallery will involve the installation of new displays - with tablet computers making use of the latest technology, as well as the introduction of new facilities for younger visitors, an important proportion of the many thousands of visitors who come to the Monument every year.

Whilst the National Wallace Monument is a dominant landmark in Stirling’s landscape, it is also a central feature in the city’s portfolio of heritage attractions, and following the refurbishment of the Royal Palace at Stirling Castle in 2011, and the redevelopment of Bannockburn (2014), the refurbishment of the National Wallace Monument will mean that the story of Stirling, and of its place at the heart of Scotland’s history, will be presented to the city’s visitors through three outstanding venues.

From the website of the national Wallace Monument

Stirling Hogmanay full line up announced

The full line-up for this year’s Stirling Hogmanay party has been announced. The event will be headlined by Deacon Blue and will feature performances from legendary Scottish singer / songwriter Dougie MacLean, the high energy Bags of Rock and local favourites Rail Fan. The night will be hosted by Real Radio’s Steve McKenna and will include a breathtaking midnight fireworks display above the historic castle. BBC Scotland have confirmed that sections of the event will be once again be broadcast live as part of their Hogmanay Live show.

Fiona Anderson of management company Zisys Events said, "We’re hugely excited about this years line-up. We believe it’s our strongest ever and has something for everyone to enjoy. Tickets are selling fast and we’re urging people to buy early to avoid disappointment."

Many of Deacon Blue’s hits have achieved classic status and they are one of Scotland’s best-loved bands. Their latest album ‘The Hipsters’ went Top20 in the UK album charts and they spent the summer performing at a number of the UK’s biggest festivals, including main stage slots at T in the Park and V Festival. Come December they will have completed their biggest tour in over a decade, culminating in a special gig at The Hydro in Glasgow, so a Hogmanay show at Stirling Castle is the perfect way to crown off their year.

Dougie MacLean is one of Scotland's most successful, respected and popular musicians. Singer-songwriter, composer and magical performer, he is also a fine guitarist and fiddle player. He’s possibly best known for penning the classic Scottish hit "Caledonia" which is bound to go down a storm when performed at Hogmanay. Organisers have decided to bring back "Bags of Rock" due to popular demand after a blistering performance last year.

Mark Pauley of Zisys Events said, "Our Facebook page has been inundated with requests to bring back Bags of Rock after their stand-out performance last year. Their high-energy, fun-loving songs will really get the party started. And we couldn’t possibly have a Scottish Hogmanay party without bagpipes."

The band is in high-demand and has been playing events and festivals across the globe in 2013. Kicking off the night will be local band Rail Fan. Exploding on to the esplanade, Rail Fan is definitively the band of the hill, a family unit transforming the gritty realism of Stirling life through vistas of Americana and Blues. Championed by Irvine Welsh, there has never been a more local band to play Hogmanay at the castle; Rail Fan is playing in their own backyard. The bash recently won ‘Best Large Event’ at the Scottish Event Awards.

From the Stirling council website

The Games People Play

Families are being encouraged to play board games at a free community event. "The Games People Play" takes place at Common Ground Games in Stirling’s Cowane Street on Saturday 9 November. It hopes to raise awareness of social science – the term used to describe the study of society and manner in which people behave and influence the world.

Dr Alasdair Rutherford from the University of Stirling has been helping to organise the event. He said, "Board games have come a long way since Monopoly or Snakes and Ladders. You can run a power station, manage a farm or research the cures to deadly diseases to save humanity. And there’s not a computer screen in sight. Modern board games provide many examples of exactly the sort of social phenomenon studied by social scientists: cooperation, exchange, reciprocity, self-interest, fairness, inequality, status, hierarchy and many more. On 9 November local people will get the chance to try a range of popular board games with social science themes. Experience gamers and social scientists will be on hand to help."

"Whether you are new to board gaming and want to try it out, or an experienced gamer who would like to think differently about some of the games you play, come along to Common Ground Games in Stirling on Saturday 9 November, between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and join in the fun. The event is open to anyone aged eight and over, although anyone under 14 should be accompanied by an adult."

Tickets are free, but places are limited. Please sign up online to reserve your place. Just visit

The event has been organised as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science ( – organised by the Economic and Social Research Council. The Festival aims to offer a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives, both now and in the future.


Central Scotland’s lifestyle and fashion event of the year is back. Bigger and better than ever before, HERE COME THE GIRLS makes a welcome return to the Albert Halls in Stirling on Sunday November 3rd with a host of fantastic exhibitors and freebies.

The red carpet event will transform the Albert Halls for a day out to remember with exhibitions, goodie bags, master classes and exclusive offers from some of the best retailers… and all in time for Christmas! Join us from 10am until 4pm to take advantage of the exciting exclusives this high fashion and lifestyle event is bringing to Stirling. With massive Christmas savings to be made, lots of freebies and gift bags and of course the opportunity to have a fantastic day out with friends.

There’s a huge amount going on over the course of the day with master-classes from Flawless makeup on exploding the myths of permanent and semi permanent make-up, Personal Development Voodoo – Magic for Your Mojo, by Developing Nation, Yoga tasters from Indigo Flow and the make-up master class with Urban Decay.

The designer catwalk event from Nikki Taylor boutique and Ruby Tuesday shoes will deliver a prestigious, high end fashion spectacular to the Stirling audience. The fashion show will feature collections from some of the most stunning International designers with winter 2013 definitely achieving a wrap up in style award.

Exhibitors are offering a huge amount of freebies and exclusive offers to guests on the day and offering fantastic retail ideas and opportunities for Christmas. There will also be lots of opportunities to spoil yourself a little too with a chance to indulge in a mini pamper session such as tasters in Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and mini hand and arm massages. There will be nail bars, free demonstrations and lots of fun, free classes and workshops to take part in that will offer hints and tips on everything a girl needs to know.

The event is again supporting DebRA, a wonderful charity that helps people with the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) a genetic skin condition that results in blistering of the skin, and in some cases, other internal organs. For more information go to

Find out more at What's On in Stirling


Stirling born animator celebrated at University event

Norman McLaren

Norman McLaren - dubbed "Scotland's most famous animator" - is being celebrated at a free public event at the University of Stirling. The Stirling-born animator and director - best known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada - won an Oscar in 1952 for his short film "Neighbours" as well as 1969 BAFTA for Best Animated Film, "Pas de deux".

In the run-up to the centenary of his birth in 2014, Dr Nichola Dobson will present recent research on McLaren, described as a "genius in his field". The presentation will include screenings of interview clips and some of his films. The free event takes place in the Pathfoot Lecture Theatre at the University on Friday 18 October, from 1.15 p.m. to 2.15 p.m. To reserve a place, call 01786 467033 or email

Sarah Bromage from the University of Stirling's Art Collection said: "Norman McLaren was one of the most innovative animators of the 20th century and is hailed around the world for his advances in animation and experimental film. He developed new techniques for creating moving images combining a love of dance and music with a distinctive animation process. Despite his award-winning success, he is often missed out of the field of film and animation history."

At the invitation of another Stirling native, documentary film-maker John Grierson, McLaren moved to Canada in 1941 to work for the country's National Film Board. He also worked with UNESCO to teach animation techniques to people in China and India. He went on to become the most-honoured Canadian film-maker, receiving hundreds of prizes, awards and distinctions during his lifetime. One magazine described him as a "poet of animation".

Norman McLaren died in January 1987, aged 72. His works were recently added to UNESCO'S Memory of the World programme, listing the most significant documentary heritage collections in the world.

Said Sarah: "There have been very few publications dedicated to the history of the man and his work and Nichola Dobson's forthcoming book Between the Frames (Scarecrow Press), seeks to address this omission of a vital part of animation and film history".

"Her talk on 18 October will examine his legacy by focusing on the influences in McLaren's life, in terms of people, geography, politics and the arts, as well as those he influenced. With direct reference to McLaren's personal correspondence (much of which has been previously unavailable), the project will consider his life and work, largely in his own words. This will provide a unique insight into a true filmmaking pioneer. This event is open to the public - and we hope students, film fans and local people will come along."

Dr Nichola Dobson is a part time lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, a founder and editor of Animation Studies from 2006 until 2011 and the recently established new academic blog Animation Studies 2.0. She has published on both animation studies and television, and is currently working on a book on TV animation with Paul Ward for Edinburgh University Press and a book on Scottish animator Norman McLaren. She began a new role as Vice President of the Society for Animation Studies in autumn 2011.

Find out more about Norman McLaren on Wikipedia:

October Highlights at macrobert

This October sees the long-awaited return of Scottish Opera with their compelling new production of Handel's most popular opera Rodelinda (15 Oct), plus there is an enchanting evening of acrobatics and aerial hoop in Halloween Awakening (27 Oct) and Blackeyed Theatre's innovative staging of Bram Stoker's classic Dracula (30 Oct).

Coming up on the big screen, October highlights in the filmhouse include the hotly-anticipated film version of The Proclaimers musical Sunshine On Leith (18-24 Oct - extra screenings added due to phenomenal demand Monday 21 Oct 2pm matinee and Wed 23 Oct 5pm), the hilarious and poignant coming-of-age story The Way, Way Back (19 and 20 Oct) and Cate Blanchett's critically-acclaimed performance in Woody Allan's Blue Jasmine (27-31 Oct). Plus a host of very special events, including a unique look at the Royal Academy of Arts major exhibit Manet: Portraying Life (15 Oct) and a jaw-dropping adrenaline rush at the Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival (22 Oct).

SEE Whats On at the macrobert

Stirling / Bridge of Allan Green Belt in Danger

The Green Belt between Stirling and Bridge Bridge of Allan is in Danger again. Friday's Herald ran an article regarding redrawn plans for a controversial development on the green belt between Bridge Of Allan and Causewayhead. The proposal from Graham's Dairy, to build a "town" called Airthrey Green, is to be lodged by the end of the year. Local consultations are to be held in the coming weeks.

Graham's has been criticised over their development plan, with hundreds of residents having earlier written to the council to complain about the proposals that originally included the building of 800 homes.

Councillor Mark Ruskell, of the Green Party, is among those who have objected to the plan. He said, "There has been uncertainty and piecemeal erosion of this green belt for years. It is time to put the issue to rest once and for all and rule out any further development on the Airthrey Kerse. Other options for housing exist, such as the soon to be vacated Cornton Vale prison site. We do not need to compromise the very reason that people want to come to live in the area in the first place."

Read the full article from the Herald

Tolbooth Stirling Winter programme

stirling tolbooth programme

With the memory of sunny days fading fast, there are many great performances at the Tolbooth to brighten up the autumn days. None more so than the exuberant sounds of Zimbabwe's The Black Umfolosi 5 - guaranteed to make you smile. More sounds from around the world with Moishe's Bagel mixing Klezmer with eastern sounds and special guests from Argentina join Mr McFall's Chamber to bring you Argentinian Tango music, performed with exquisite grace and flourish.

The best traditional musicians coming - some for the first time include, the inspired pairing of Tim Erikson and Eliza Carthy. Our St Andrews programme really does offer something for a'body with a welcome return by the inimitable Dick Gaughan in the Tolbooth, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and a St Andrews tea dance in The Albert Halls, book events from Bloody Scotland and Lesley Riddoch in the Tolbooth and the Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

Amongst annual favourites around the festive season, Carol Kidd and Brian Kellock will be here featuring the songs of Cole Porter. Fine singer/songwriters feature too, with the incredible voice of Foy Vance, Devon Sproule and Roddy Hart and Lonesome Fire.

For wee ones, Scottish Opera are back with their Christmas show, and for grown up blues fans we bring the grungy favourites Blues 'n' Trouble.

All this and a full term of creative learning classes and workshops too.

SEE Whats On at the tolbooth in Stirling

Devon Sproule at the Tolbooth Stirling

Devon Sproule at the Tolbooth Stirling

Troubadour Devon Sproule returns with a new body of collaborative work with Mike O’ Neill of Canadian indie band, Inbreds and will be appearing at Stirling Tolbooth on Thursday 10th October.

Following on from her acclaimed talent for moulding elements of jazz and folk with an indie-pop and country pastiche, comes a self-effacing and quirky collaboration bringing with it a new found confidence that has allowed Devon Sproule and Mike O’ Neill to stretch into a new musical ground.

The duo first met when O'Neill submitted a song to Low-Key Karaoke, a project in which Sproule splices videos of herself and others singing together to create remote duets. At first too shy to video himself, Sproule encouraged O'Neill to submit more and before long, they were writing songs together, he from Halifax, Nova Scotia and she currently located in Austin, Texas.

American chanteuse Devon Sproule has four critically acclaimed albums under her Tin Angel belt including "I Love You Go Easy" and "Keep Your Silver Shined". Performances include Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Moseley Folk Festival along with sell-out performances from Union Chapel and the QEH. Tour supports include a plethora of legendary artists such as Richie Havens, Lucinda Williams and Bill Callahan.

There is a striking resemblance between Devon and Mike, though one might have to look a little closer to find it in their music. O'Neill's early work as singer/bassist/songwriter for the Inbreds paved the way for a solo career of complex, melody-driven pop. After an eight year hiatus, 2012 saw him release his follow-up solo album ‘Wild Lines’. O’Neill credentials include winning the Gemini award for his compositions on food program "French Food At Home" and is known for his portrayal of Thomas Collins in TV show Trailer Park Boys.

Their new album Colours via Tin Angel Records features an all-star Toronto band including guitar and synth wiz Thom Gill, a rhythm section borrowed from the R&B project Bernice (Robin Dann on vocals, Philip Melanson on Drums and Dan Fotin on bass) and Sandro Perri at the production helm. Considering how long these two Ontarians have been away from home, Colours is decidedly a product of Toronto. The city, the songs and the ensemble have knocked these two established artists off balance and right into their element.

spacious still-lifey art-pop - a further step from her Americana origins. Independent

never ceases to surprise and delight Financial Times

Devon Sproule could charm the birds right out of the trees Mojo

Devon Sproule and Mike O’Neill are currently touring the UK and will be appearing at Stirling Tolbooth on Thursday 10th October.

SEE Whats On at the Tolbooth in Stirling

Stirling Hogmanay voted Best Large Event in Scotland

Hogmanay 2012 at Stirling Castle has won the ' best large event' category at the Scottish Events Awards. 2012 saw Scotland's own Proclaimers opening Stirling's Hogmanay and they were a roaring success. This year's event, featuring Deacon Blue and guests will be on Tuesday 31 December 2013. Stirling Castle Esplanade. tickets cost £25 / £12.50 (15yrs and under) will be available from 10am Monday 7 October.

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival 2014 - Early Bird Tickets

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival 2013

Early Bird Tickets for 2014 are now available at £52

This small, friendly music festival with a twist takes place at Cardross Estate, near Lake of Menteith in Stirlingshire. With Live Music – DJs – Comedy – Workshops – Cinema – Kids Area – Camping – Poetry and Stories – Art and Crafts – Local Food and Drink – Stalls

With five stages full of music, a spoken word tent, children’s activities, art trail, food, drinks and lots of fun – it’s not quite like any other festival.

For more information visit


Cappella Nova presents Coronation 500

Coronation 500. a festival in Stirling to commemorate the Battle of Flodden and to celebrate the Coronation of James V of Scotland.

Cappella Nova, Scotland's premier professional vocal group, is delighted to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Coronation of James V of Scotland with a magnificent range of musical events in the historic centre of Old Stirling, the royal and political centre of the Kingdom of Scotland during the time of the Stuart Kings.

A Lecture and Lunch series offers you insights into early 16th century Scottish culture and society, which is brought to life with concerts ranging from courtly instrumental music to the pinnacle of 'musick fyne' in the person and music of Robert Carver, and from a 'hands-on' singing workshop to a cycle of music and words specially commissioned for the celebrations and performed by over 100 of the City's youngest singers.

Together with complementary events and exhibitions in The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum and in Stirling Castle, we hope you will enjoy opening a window onto this dramatic and vivid golden era of Scotland.

Rare concert performance of Robert Carver's Mass for 10 Voices and Tallis's 40-part motet Spem in Alium,
Sunday 29 September at 7.30pm

Premiere performance of Ken Johnston's Flodden 1513 (Stirling Schools and NYCoS Stirling Area Choirs)
Wednesday 25 September at 6.00pm

16th Century Choral Music workshop
Sunday 22 September at 12noon

Lecture and Lunch series
Wednesday 25 - Friday 27 September at 12noon

Instrumentalists recreate the sounds of the 16th century
Saturday afternoons 21 and 28 September

Tickets may be purchased in advance from Tolbooth, Jail Wynd, Stirling FK8 1DE
tel: 01786 274000

Programme of events at Stirling Castle mark Flodden anniversary

A month of events at Stirling Castle to mark the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden and the subsequent coronation of the infant King James V will culminate in a weekend of commemoration on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.

After Flodden – Commemoration and Coronation will transport visitors back to the sixteenth century, giving them a glimpse into royal life in the period, as costumed interpreters help to bring to life the events of 1513, its aftermath and its impact on castle life.

Visitors can witness James IV’s wife Margaret Tudor receiving word of her husband’s death, discussing her son, the new king, and reflecting on her ambitious brother Henry VIII.

They will also have the opportunity to learn more about the fashions of the period, hear about life in the royal nursery of James V and meet the castle guards and learn how they have been charged with the defence of the young king and Stirling Castle.

Visitors will also be able to witness the crowning of one of Scotland’s most celebrated monarchs, as the coronation of James V is re-enacted.

On the evening of 22 September, the Scottish Chamber Choir will perform a unique ticketed concert in the Castle’s Great Hall, a building commissioned by James IV. The choir will perform music by the 16th-century Scottish composers David Peebles, Andro Kemp and Robert Johnson, alongside the work of Scotland’s most prominent living composer, James MacMillan. Tickets are available on-site or on the Historic Scotland website.

The Battle of Flodden took place on 9 September 1513, when James IV led a Scottish army into Northumberland, where they were met by an English force. The Scots suffered a heavy defeat, and James became the last king in European history to die in battle. He was succeeded by his one-year-old son, who was crowned James V at Stirling.

Kit Reid, Interpretation Manager at Historic Scotland said, "The repercussions of the Battle of Flodden were felt throughout Scotland, particularly at Stirling, where James IV’s noblemen re-grouped after the defeat and where the King’s successor was crowned. To mark the 500th anniversary of the battle, and the subsequent coronation of James V, this weekend of informative events at Stirling Castle will allow visitors to step back in time to learn more about castle life and to reflect on the impact the events of 1513 had on the royal court."

read more about stirling castle in the sightseeing section of the website.

Between the Frames – the life and work of Norman McLaren

2014 is the centenary of the birth of Norman McLaren, Scotland's most famous animator. Norman McLaren was one of the most innovative animators of the 20th century and is hailed around the world for his advances in animation and experimental film. He developed new techniques for creating moving images combining a love of dance and music with a distinctive animation process.

Nichola Dobson presents a talk at Pathfoot Lecture Theatre on 18th October, when she will present her recent research on McLaren, giving an outline of the background of this Stirling native who went on to be described as a genius in his field, despite being less well known at home. The presentation will include screenings of interview clips and some of his films.

Where there has been a focus, it has been concentrated on his work as the founder of the animation department of the National Film Board of Canada. Though McLaren gained Canadian citizenship in 1952, it is generally forgotten that he was Scottish by birth, and indeed shared a hometown and personal connection with the celebrated documentary maker John Grierson.

The talk will examine his legacy by focusing on the influences in McLaren’s life, in terms of people, geography, politics and the arts, as well as those he influenced. With direct reference to McLaren’s personal correspondence (much of which has been previously unavailable), the project will consider his life and work, largely in his own words. This will provide a unique insight into a true filmmaking pioneer.

Dr Nichola Dobson is a part time lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, a founder and editor of Animation Studies from 2006 until 2011 and the recently established new academic blog Animation Studies 2.0. She has published on both animation studies and television, and is currently working on a book on TV animation with Paul Ward for Edinburgh University Press and a book on Scottish animator Norman McLaren. She began a new role as Vice President of the Society for Animation Studies in autumn 2011.

18th October 2013 1.15PM - 2.15PM at Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, Pathfoot building, University of Stirling. To reserve a place, call 01786 467033 or email

Bloody Scotland Book Festival in Stirling

Bloody Scotland is the country’s largest celebration of crime writing. The festival, now in its second year, will be taking place in venues across Stirling from 13 – 15 September – and promises to be a criminally good weekend.

Celebrating everything from home-grown talent to international authors, Bloody Scotland will be welcoming much-loved names including Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Jo Nesbo and Lee Child, to name but a few.

The weekend will also see the announcement of the winner of the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award at a meet the author dinner.

More information and tickets available now from

Using the code SEPTEMBER will get you 10% off the ticket price for the following events

- Friday - Bloody Minded in Bloody Scotland Friday 13 September
- Picture This - Saturday 14 September
- Good Craic - Saturday 14 September
- Fresh Blood - Saturday 14 September
- Men on a Mission - Saturday 14 September
- A Book to die for: the cook off - Sunday 15 September
- When's the next one out? - Sunday 15 September
- Robert Louis Stevenson as the split detective - sunday 15 septmber
- Masters of the dark - Sunday 15 september

From the Stirling council website


Creative Stirling and Loving Food are proud to present one of the highlights of this year's Stirling Fringe, Feast-ival on Saturday, September 14 at Stirling's Old Town Jail.

Foodies, families and friends, can look forward to an indulgent day out with the finest street food and family entertainment. Loving Food will be cooking up a storm of South American delights and bringing some exotic friends to tempt you with dishes from across the globe. Food and drink demonstrations, inventive cookery sessions and much more will take place throughout the day.

If you prefer you can relax at the bar and enjoy live music from Tom Foolery and Puff Uproar and the Shimmering Sound Affair. For the kids creative workshops and cinema screenings will ensure the whole family is entertained as well as well fed.

for Tickets and information visit

STIRLING is to host a new Fringe-style arts festival this week

In an attempt to emulate the success of Edinburgh’s mammoth Festival Fringe, Stirling is hosting 35 events from September 12-15, including art exhibitions, comedy shows, theatre, street performance and live music.

The four day festival will also feature children’s shows, poetry, spoken word performances, a mini beer festival and a spectacular Fringe ceilidh. Highlights include appearances by comedians Des Clarke, Raymond Mearns, Stu Who and Father Ted star Michael Redmond. There is also a live performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a concert by the Stirling Gaelic Choir and a special acoustic show from Pete Townshend’s little brother and fellow Who guitarist, Simon Townshend.

Founder and director of the Stirling Fringe Festival CIC, Barry McDonald, said: "We hope to put Stirling as much on Scotland’s cultural and artistic map as it is on the historical map. Stirling’s creative community is growing and we hope to showcase to the rest of the country what a rich seam of artistic talent we have, as well as attracting some of the most talented performers from across the UK and beyond. Plans for the 2014 festival are already being made and we hope to grow on the success of this year’s festival."

The festival is a non-profit making Community Interest Company and is run by a team of unpaid volunteers.

For full details visit

Doors Open Days and Scottish Archaeology Month

Stirling Council's Archaeology, Conservation and Ranger Services organise a series of free events across the year culminating in Scottish Archaeology Month in September and Doors Open Day on 14th and 15th September. Members of the public can explore many historic buildings and archaeological sites and take part in fascinating events throughout the month – all completely free of charge.

Initial events include the following

In Wallace’s Footsteps a guided walk round the Battle of Stirling Bridge 11th September 1297, from the Scottish HQ to the bloody front line! 11th September

Plean Big Dig try being an archaeologist for a day at Plean Country Park, Gate houses to World War One practice trenches. 24th September

Gowan Hill Frontier to Royal Park, tours and excavations of Gowan Hill including the vitrified hill-fort and the mysterious Roman stone! Guided walk 3rd September

Abbey Craig Big Dig better known for the Wallace Monument, the Abbey Craig was the capital of lost kingdom destroyed by fire over 1300 years ago……explore its past through excavation and tours! 6th and 7th September

Cambuskenneth Abbey and Tower one of Stirling’s most important locations featuring Picts, Scots, log boats, Bruce, Wallace, James III’s and IVth’s tomb, a 17th Sniper and much, much more! 9th and 14th September

Beechwood Roman Road Dig help rediscover the most important road in Scottish history and follow in the footsteps of General Agricola, The Emperor Septimius Severus, Picts, Scots, Britons, Angles, Edward I, Edward II, Wallace, Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie and everyone who ever marched north or south! Excavations and guided walks 16th to 21st September

Discover the Secrets of the Stirling’s Old Town join Stirling’s Archaeologist to explore the heart of Scotland’s best preserved medieval city! 28th September

A catalogue has been produced which lists the buildings which are taking part in this years event. For more information on Doors Open Days throughout the rest of Scotland visit

For more information on Scottish Archaeology Month events throughout the rest of Scotland visit

From the Stirling council website

Stirling chosen to host Armed Forces Day 2014

The city of Stirling has been chosen to host the Armed Forces Day national event on 28 June 2014.

Plans will soon be underway to create a spectacular national event in the historic city, giving the local community the opportunity to lead the nation in honouring the UK Armed Forces past and present. The announcement was made by The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence, who said "I congratulate the city of Stirling on its successful bid to host the UK Armed Forces Day event next year. I know that Stirling, with its strong historic military links with the Army and the Royal Air Force, will mount a spectacular celebration of our military and lead the rest of the United Kingdom in honouring our Armed Forces personnel past and present.

Our Armed Forces are an institution that serve and protect all of us as a United Kingdom.

Armed Forces Day in Stirling will be the sixth national event since the Historic Dockyard Chatham hosted the inaugural event in 2009. This year’s host city of Nottingham attracted 100,000 people, and was attended by The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester representing HM The Queen.

Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins, said the additional event would add to a programme already packed with plans to mark the historic Bannockburn anniversary, "We are tremendously proud to have been chosen to host next year’s National Armed Forces Day celebrations. We can now look forward to a truly spectacular set of events next June. The opening of the Bannockburn Visitor Centre will let people glimpse a medieval world of bloodshed and rivalry from 700 years ago, while National Armed Forces Day underlines how we have now come together in co-operation and unity."

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, said "I am delighted that Stirling has been chosen to host next year’s Armed Forces Day. Stirling is proud to call itself the ‘Heart of Scotland’ and I am sure there will be an array of activities planned to make it a superb focal point for the UK-wide celebrations in support of our Armed Forces in communities throughout the country."

2014 will be the second time Armed Forces Day has been held in Scotland. The first was Edinburgh in June 2011, when more than 2,500 troops from all three Services paraded down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. They were accompanied by RAF flypasts, the first aerial display in Edinburgh by the Red Arrows in over 20 years, and HMS Portland paid a visit to the city at Leith Docks. TRH The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in Scotland) attended the event, together with more than 100,000 members of the public.

Five bids made to the Ministry of Defence to host the 2014 national event, and all were assessed through careful selection against their applications. As the host city, Stirling will receive funding from the Ministry of Defence of £25,000.

From the Stirling Council website.

Stirling Macrobert Autumn season

The macrobert Autumn season opens with Maureen Beattie's astonishing performance in multi award-winning drama The List (6 Sept), London Classic Theatre's take on Harold Pinter's enthralling tale of Betrayal (11 Sept), macrobert's very own hit production Educating Ronnie (14 Sept) and comedian Mark Thomas returning to what he does best - joyously bad behaviour with a purpose - in 100 Minor Acts Of Dissent (17 Sept).

At the macrobert cinema there are lots of great movies coming up - the re-working of the popular 30s western TV series The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday, the classic coming-of-age story Clueless and a film the whole family will love, A Bugs Life.

View the new Autumn / Winter macrobert brochure

Stirling Castle to mark Flodden Anniversary

Stirling Castle will provide the focal point for a series of activities this month to mark the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. The battle took place on 9 September 1513, when James IV led a Scottish army into Northumberland, where they were met by an English force. The Scots suffered a heavy defeat, and James became the last king in European history to die in battle.

He was succeeded by his one-year-old son, who was crowned James V at Stirling and became one of Scotland’s most celebrated monarchs. Both of these events will be remembered at the castle throughout September culminating in a signature event, After Flodden – Commemoration and Coronation, on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.

The weekend will chart the events leading up to the Battle of Flodden and its immediate aftermath. It will also explore the coronation of James V. The programme will include a series of interpretative performances by costumed interpreters, bringing to life the events of 1513. Audiences can witness James IV’s wife Margaret Tudor receiving word of her husband’s death, discussing her son, the new king, and reflecting on her ambitious brother Henry VIII. There will also be an interpretation of the coronation of the infant King James V.

On the 22nd September, the Scottish Chamber Choir will be performing a unique concert in the Castle’s Great Hall – a building commissioned by James IV. The choir will perform music by the 16th-century Scottish composers David Peebles, Andro Kemp and Robert Johnson, alongside the work of Scotland’s most prominent living composer, James MacMillan.

Meanwhile, artist Iona Leishman will be unveiling an exhibition on the 8th September entitled Catastrophe to Crown which will feature artwork inspired by the battle and its aftermath, which will help tell the story to visitors. The exhibition will run until the 30th September.

From the 9th to the 22nd September (Mon-Fri only) there will also be special tours for visitors which will focus on the contribution of James IV, who commissioned much of the castle that can still be seen to this day, and his wider legacy.

Dr Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Scotland, who run Stirling Castle said, "Flodden was a key event in Scotland’s history, and Stirling played an important role in its story. It was home to King James IV; it was the place where his noblemen re-grouped in defeat and where an infant prince was crowned king. James IV was a king who established his credentials as a European monarch, firmly embracing the art and learning of the Renaissance court. He did this partly by commissioning magnificent buildings – including the Great Hall which can still be seen at the castle to this day."

"The unexpected loss of the king at Flodden had a wide-reaching impact on Scotland. Throughout much of September we will be sharing this story with visitors."

read more about stirling castle in the sightseeing section of the website.


Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival 2013

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival 2013

Doune The Rabbit Hole 2013 Opens tonight, Thursday 22nd August. The site opens at 3pm, the arena opens at 6pm and the music starts around 8pm.

The site at Cardross House is looking lovely, so pack up your tents, sleeping bags, spare socks, bin liners and midge repellent, get your best wellies on and we’ll see you at Doune The Rabbit Hole 2013.

Thursday’s headliner is Orkestra del Sol. A limited number of tickets will be available on the gate priced £95 for the whole weekend, with day tickets between £30-£35, cash only on the site please. We hope you have a wonderful time!

This small, friendly music festival with a twist takes place over the weekend 22 to 25 August 2013 at Cardross Estate, near Lake of Menteith in Stirlingshire. With Live Music – DJs – Comedy – Workshops – Cinema – Kids Area – Camping – Poetry and Stories – Art and Crafts – Local Food and Drink – Stalls

The festival has a fantastic line up that includes The Monochrome Set, Clinic, The Pastels, Robyn Hitchcock, Gallon Drunk, Trembling Bells, Miaoux Miaoux, Kenda Nagasaki, Washington Irving, the Sexual Objects, Rachel Sermanni and loads more.

With five stages full of music, a spoken word tent, children’s activities, art trail, food, drinks and lots of fun – it’s not quite like any other festival

Under 12s get free entry and there’s loads for them to do in the kids area with workshops and more. There’s a wonderful family camping zone too. Importantly, the crowd that come along are very friendly folks so, you can rest in the k

The general festival campsites are just a few minutes walk from the weekend car park.

There will be spaces for camper vans, vans/caravans and live-in vehicles and a separate area for disabled campers who will be able to park next to their tents.

For more information visit

Find out more in the What's On Around Stirling guide

Stirling Castle to enjoy the sounds of TAKE THAT, THE SCRIPT and THE STEREOPHONICS

Stirling Castle will be enjoying the sounds of Take That, The Script and The Stereophonics later this month. They are amongst a number of artists whose songs are to be given the ‘Heart of Scotland’ choir treatment, when the singers and sopranos in red take to the stage at the castle’s Great Hall later this month.

The choir, who first shot to fame on John Barrowman’s ‘Tonight’s the Night’ were formed by local singer and teacher, Annie Smart and her sister Jane Hamilton. Dressed in their distinctive red outfits, the choir, which is made up of people from across Stirling, quickly developed a strong following with their unique take on contemporary songs and classics from artists ranging from Lady Gaga to Pink. Following the success of the adult choir a junior choir also followed mastering tracks in three part harmony from Katy Perry to Little Mix.

The ‘Heart of Scotland’ choir will be performing their first castle show on Friday, 30th August. The show also marks another first for the choir – and the audience - with the adult choir and the junior choir singing together for the first time on a couple of tracks.

Annie Smart said, "We are thrilled to be performing at the castle, in the stunning surroundings of the Great Hall. We have been working on some new material for the castle concert, including a few unexpected numbers which is really exciting, but there will also be some familiar favourites that people love to hear. One of other really nice things about the castle concert is that the junior and the adult choir will be performing together for the first time. In some cases, there are three generations of the same family performing so it will be a really special night for all those that are taking part and we are really looking forward to performing at what I am sure will be a great evening."

Tickets are available now from the Historic Scotland website,, in person from the castle, or on the door on the night. Family tickets and concessions available.

Castle gates open at 6.30pm with the concert beginning at 7.30pm. The castle are also running a bar service pre-concert and during the interval.

The Moscow State Circus brings its brand new spectacular show to Stirling Kings Park

Moscow State Circus in stirling scotland

The Moscow State Circus brings its brand new spectacular show to Stirling Kings Park on Wednesday 14th to Sunday 18th August. The Moscow State Circus returns to the UK with it’s latest and greatest production to date. Park Gorkogo. Set in the mystical centre of Moscow’s cultural and artistic quarter Park Gorkogo (Gorky Park) is the perfect back drop for what is undoubtedly the greatest and most famous circus on earth.

Exclusive 2 for 1 ticket offer

Buy 2 full price adult tickets for the price of 1. To redeem simply call the on site box-office on 07721565558 and quote the promo code JUGGLER. please note that this Offer is not valid in conjunction with any other discount or against tickets already purchased.

Superstar Clowns Splendid Pavlik and Klava invite the audience to this wondrous and mysterious place, a place to romance, a place to stroll and take in Moscow at sunset and a place to see magnificent feats of human achievement. As our Loveable Buffoons reminisce about past times in one of the most famous cities on earth they are surrounded by a multitude of flying, back flipping, juggling and roller skating performers

As the park changed in accordance with the mood of the new century, it’s traditions were the basis of the new concept of Park Gorkogo, these changes are reflected in the new show as like a pendulum it swings from the Unbelievable and award winning Flying Trapeze of Alievs White Birds to the whirlwind roller skating of the Veslovskis. from 3 bathing beauties on the revolving ariel ring to the vertical pole jugglers of the 4 Yakovleys. From the most elegant hand balancing of Vladislav Khostik to the gorgeous and gracious ariel sail of Natalia Goncharova.

Ad to the mix the Kozak whip crackers and the revolving Russian swing catapulting its 10 strong troupe high into the apex of the chapito at breakneck speed. You will see an amazing awe inspiring show, created especially for its first ever European tour.

"I’m privileged to have seen these fabulous entertainers, the country should be privileged to have them here." – Coventry Evening Telegraph

"Genuinely eye-popping" – The Evening Standard.

"Thrilling" – The Times.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 3pm and 7.45pm
Saturday 3pm and 6pm
Sunday 2pm and 5pm

Prices: Rear Circle Restricted View Adult £10 Conc. £7
Side View Adult £18 Conc. £12
Grandstand £24 Conc. £18
Deluxe Grandstand Adult £28 Conc. £21
Ringside Adult £32 Conc. £25
Family Tickets Available

Ticketmaster 0844 856 5555

National Conservation Centre in Stirling gets initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Historic Scotland today announced that they have received initial backing for a 3.5 million bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a new National Conservation Centre in Stirling. The sum is part of a 6.5 million funding package which will include 3 million from the Scottish Government’s Young Scots Fund.

A world-leading centre for conservation, the purpose of the NCC is to raise standards for traditional buildings, broaden awareness of the importance of traditional materials and skills and develop those traditional skills, particularly among young people. Research and education at all levels will be key objectives. The centre will be housed in the Engine Shed, a historic building in the Forthside area of Stirling formerly part of the MOD complex.

The announcement was made by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, who today visited the Engine Shed to view plans of the proposed refurbishment and to meet a number of Historic Scotland’s traditional skills apprentices. On completion, the NCC will provide a focus for research and dissemination of good practice, delivering a new bespoke range of qualifications and informal learning, and promoting the care of traditional buildings and the ongoing importance of traditional skills and materials.

Historic Scotland have also applied to the European Regional Development Fund for a further 1.9 million grant which, if awarded, will bring the total funding package to 8.4 million. With funding now largely in place, a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process will begin to ensure that the new NCC meets the needs and expectations of the historic environment sector.

Fiona Hyslop said: "Conserving our heritage for future generations and developing the skills in our young people to do so is a key focus for Scotland. Scotland is a creative nation, and we want our young people to develop and nurture their skills and creativity."

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said, "The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to give its initial support to this visionary project which will transform the skills available to ensure the future of Scotland’s traditional buildings. The National Conservation Centre will become a centre of excellence for the hundreds of thousands of historic buildings which form part of our everyday lives as shops, banks and homes. Tradesmen and professionals will have the opportunity to learn the skills and techniques required to care for them, and to find out about the latest research and its implications, while the Centre will help the public to understand the need to maintain historic buildings. The NCC will also be a showcase for the development of new digital technologies to scan and record historic buildings, helping to raise Scotland’s international profile as a leader in digital conservation."


Antonine Wall to be digitally scanned

A team of digital scanning experts are documenting the Antonine Wall as part of the Scottish Ten project to digitally record the country’s five World Heritage Sites and five international heritage sites. The Scottish Ten ( is a joint initiative by Historic Scotland, the experts in 3D visualisation from The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio and international non-profit organisation CyArk.

The cutting edge laser technology used can survey and interpret heritage structures in 3D and provides a lasting, digital record of the country’s most important heritage sites. It also offers a new method for researching and conserving Scotland’s built and archaeological environment.

Nearly 2000 years ago, the Antonine Wall was the north west frontier of the Roman Empire. Now it will be documented using the very latest in modern technology to assist in its conservation and protection for future generations to come.

Antonine Wall, Rough Castle, Bonnybridge (Signposted at Bonnybridge. Signposted from the B816 between Bonnybridge and High Bonnybridge).

Lady Boys of Bangkok arrive in Stirling

in stirling scotland

Lady Boys of Bangkok arrive in Stirling with their new show Glamorous Amorous and are performing from 29th July to 31st July 2013 at the Macrobert Theatre.

Dripping with diamante and sizzling on stage with new songs and side splitting comedy. From J-lo to Whitney, the stars and chart topping hits just keep on coming. You can expect the usual truly glamorous and funny cabaret antics, this time complete with even more flamboyant costumes, painstakingly immaculate make up and show stopping choreography.

With an all new set list, the Lady Boys will be performing classic numbers from Saturday Night Fever to current hits from Cheryl Cole and even a bit of Gangnam Style, Glamorous Amorous is set to be the experience of a lifetime.

Book now to make sure you don’t miss out on the inspiring and captivating sight of the Lady Boys of Bangkok live on stage!

The party like no other party! ....The show like no other show!....The girls like no other girls!, The Lady Boys Of Bangkok are ready to party …. Are you.

Find out more in the What's On Around Stirling guide

To book tickets please go to or call 01786 466666. For more information about the show please go to

Stirling Castle named among 40 amazing experiences in Europe by world’s leading travel guide publisher

A visit to Stirling Castle has been included on a list of some of the top experiences in Europe in a new Lonely Planet guide. Europe: 40 Amazing Experiences names Stirling Castle alongside iconic sights and cities including the Coliseum in Rome, the Alhambra in Andalucía, Crete, Barcelona and Paris.

The eBook comes from Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, and is being published to mark the company’s 40th anniversary. It suggests that visitors Lay siege to Stirling Castle, describing its atmosphere and superb views. It states, The location, architecture and historic significance combine to make it a grand and memorable sight.

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Scotland said: "Stirling Castle is a world-class attraction which draws visitors from across the globe, so I am delighted to see it recognised as one of the 40 best experiences in Europe. From the stunning views from the ramparts to the recently-refurbished Royal Palace, the Great Hall and the Stirling Heads Gallery, a visit to Stirling Castle is indeed an unforgettable experience. It has played a key role in our history and was the centre of art, culture and celebrity in Scotland in the 16th century."

"Today, our costumed performers help to bring that history to life for visitors. I am thrilled to see it appear on this prestigious list alongside some of the most exciting destinations in Europe."

Europe: 40 Amazing Experiences is a free eBook from Lonely Planet and is available to download now from Amazon, the iBookstore and all good e-retailers.

Stirling Castle launches new online facility for children and their families

Young visitors to Stirling Castle will be able to learn more about it with a new, interactive section on the Castle’s website, Kids Castle. Fun and educational, it is designed to help children and their families discover more about the iconic landmark before, during and after their visit.

Children will be able to create their own personalised coat of arms, take part in a quiz or even paint one of the famous Stirling Heads. They will also have the opportunity to learn what life was once like for children in and around Stirling, read stories about castle life and learn quirky facts about its history. Kids Castle even allows users to upload their own images, videos and stories about their visit.

To celebrate the launch of the microsite, children are being invited to nominate their ultimate Scottish hero via written or video submissions. This can be anyone from historical figures to sportspeople, scientists, film stars or even fictional characters. Users can nominate any Scot whom they believe deserves to be recognised for their contribution or achievements.

The winner will receive a special VIP day out to Stirling Castle for them and their family which will include entry to the Castle, lunch in the Unicorn Caf? and ?100 to spend in the Castle shop. In addition, everyone who enters the competition will be put into a prize draw to win a year’s family membership for Historic Scotland.

In addition to Kids Castle there will be plenty of treats in store for young visitors to Stirling Castle this summer. Children’s tours will allow intrepid young history hunters to uncover various aspects of Scotland’s history from stories of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots to learning how to fire a cannonball or storm the Castle. Family tours start at 2.15pm in the Queen Anne Garden every day in July and August and are included in the castle admission price.

Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experience Manager at Stirling Castle said: "Children love learning about Stirling Castle so we wanted to create a section on our website that’s just for them. Kids Castle is educational, but fun and engaging at the same time and we hope that children and their families will use it before, during and after their visit to Stirling Castle to help them get the most out of the experience. From designing their own coat of arms to having a go at painting one of the Stirling Heads, the new zone on the website is designed to make learning about Stirling Castle lots of fun."

Visit for details.

Bridge of Allan Contemporary Arts Festival 2013

To celebrate the 3rd Contemporary Arts Festival we are kicking it off with a few changes. Set within the gardens of the Vecchia Bologna Restaurant in Bridge of Allan, the 2013 festival will be running for two days and will be under canvas.

Application will be taken on-line via our new website, and if youlike to sign up to receive updates on the festival, or would like to take part, find out more at

Forth Valley Open Studios Showcase Exhibition runs until 31st July

The Showcase Exhibition presents the work of over 100 artists who participated in FVOS 2013. Dr Alastair R Ross, one of the leading figurative sculptors in the UK has been invited to show his work alongside FVOS artists.

Local painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, glassware, textiles and other art forms will be on display. Admission to all the exhibitions is free and work on display will be available to buy, with prices starting from as little as £5.

Dr Alastair R Ross is a Fellow and past Vice-President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. His commissioned and exhibition works embrace a wide variety of artistic concepts, scales, media and contexts. Nonetheless, the human figure remains firmly at the core of his thinking and underpins all his sculptural output. A former lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Dundee, he has also lectured in the USA and Malta. He is represented in both public and private collections worldwide and will be exhibiting as part of Open Studios at the University of Stirling Art Collection.

Read more about Stirling University art collection. The current exhibition, showcasing the Forth Valley Open Studios Festival, runs until.

Clackmannanshire goes wild at Castle Campbell

Are you new to wildlife watching? Do you think Springwatch is a non-battery wrist ’clock’? Or are you a very experienced amateur Attenborough? Whatever your knowledge or expertise, join us in a celebration of all things wild in the Year of Natural Scotland.

Come along to Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen to see the best Bioblitz extravaganza on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July. Take part in a series of wildlife surveys to find out what flies, crawls, wiggles, swims, slithers, hops and climbs through Dollar Glen and Castle Campbell, all led by experts in their field. If this isn’t enough, you can enjoy river dipping sessions organised by Rangers from Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, as well as arts and crafts activities and interactive stalls for all the family to enjoy.

The main event is free and takes place from 11am to 3pm. Visitors can drop by Mill Green, behind Dollar Museum and at the foot of Dollar Glen, throughout the day to get further information about the activities on offer and see the stalls brimming with wildlife.

There will also be a bat walk taking place on 13th July starting from Castle Campbell. You’ll be able to listen for these amazing animals using hi-tech equipment and watch their aerobatics as they hunt in the gloaming. The bat walk begins at 9 pm and will incur a small charge – to book phone Castle Campbell on (01259) 742 408

Matt McCabe, Interpretation Ranger for Historic Scotland, said "This is a great way to get out and about to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland and find out about flora and fauna in the stunning setting of Castle Campbell and Dollar Glen."

Callum McNeill-Ritchie, Ranger Naturalist with the National Trust for Scotland, added "Dollar Glen and Castle Campbell is definitely the wee place with a very big heart. The Glen is set between two steep gorges and is the finest example of an oak-ash woodland in Clackmannanshire and this part of the Forth Valley. The many waterfalls help provide both spectacle and species; with a series of burns that roar out of the Highlands and meander through to the lowlands.

At each turn of the path you see more of the abundance of mosses and lichens, flowers, insects and the many birds and mammals. We even have a ‘disco’ fly that flashes its silver wings in the darker hollows to get a girlfriend! It is a superb setting to enjoy activities such as these and it is great to be working with Historic Scotland’s staff in making this the wildlife event of the Year of Natural Scotland. Come and join us in two days of biological and personal discovery."

Summer Fun Days at Stirling Tolbooth

This Summer from 23 July to 08 August, there is a range of Summer Fun Days at the Tolbooth. For ages 6 to 10 there will be Modelling Madness, a Monoprinting workshop. Mask Making and Drama. Ages 8 to 12, can have Fun with Felt, do an Animation Workshop, 3D Construction and a Caribbean Steelpans Workshop. Ages 14+ yrs can learn all about Studio Recording.

Find out all about Tolbooth Summer Fun Days.


Scotland, not the US, pioneered the architectural iron industry

Research from Historic Scotland finds that Scotland, not the US, pioneered the architectural iron industry. A conference on the story behind Scotland’s architectural iron industry is to highlight research which suggests that it was Scotland and not America - as previously believed – which was the originator of an important form of construction.

The Architectural Iron Industry in Scotland – A Historical Perspective will take place at Callendar House in Falkirk this Thursday (13 June) and is the first conference of its kind on the subject. For 80 years Scotland was the world’s leading manufacturer of pre-fabricated iron structures and research by Historic Scotland suggests that it was Scotland, not the US, which pioneered its use in building fa?ade construction.

James Bogardus, the famed American architect, is credited with being the originator of cast-iron architecture, and he affixed plaques to his buildings which read: "James Bogardus Originator & Patentee of Iron Buildings Pat' May 7, 1850." However research has found that Bogardus - who was married to a Scot, Margaret McClay - visited Perth Waterworks during a trip to Scotland and that that trip provided the inspiration for his designs, since the iconic cast-iron building pre-dates any of his work in the US by 15 years.

Falkirk was chosen as the location for the conference because of its links to the iconic Carron Foundry, which opened in 1759. The event comes ahead of both Metal 2013 - a triennial international conference on metal conservation to be held in Edinburgh in September – and the submission in 2014 of the nomination of the Forth Bridge for World Heritage Site status.

In addition to a talk on Perth Waterworks, the programme for the all-day event includes talks from specialists on Glasgow’s famous Saracen Foundry, the development of intricate cast-iron drinking fountains and the use of Scottish ironwork in Argentina.

Dr David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland said: "Scotland is world-famous for its architectural ironwork but the history of the industry is not particularly well appreciated here, so this is a great opportunity to promote the incredible contribution this country made in this field. Scotland was the world’s leading manufacturer of pre-fabricated iron structures for a considerable time, and objects and structures are still being traced in India, South Africa, South America and Australia. We continue to discover pioneering Scots in this field and the design and construction of Perth Waterworks ahead of Bogardus in the United States is testament to that. Our conference is sold out and I am delighted to see such growing interest in the subject".

The Architectural Iron Industry in Scotland – A Historical Perspective takes place this Thursday (13 June) from 9am-5pm at Callendar House in Falkirk. For more information visit

Artists across Central Scotland open their doors

From 8th to 16th June, over 145 artists will be taking part in this year’s Forth Valley Open Studios, a nine-day art event across Central Scotland for artists, designers, makers, art clubs and galleries. Artists open their studios and work spaces inviting all members of the community to view their work. Many offer demonstrations and provide the public with an experience, taking time to engage with the audiences and explain their ideas and inspiration for their work.

Avril Nicol, Forth Valley Open Studios Project Co-ordinator said, "This is our fourth year and we offer a special welcome to the new artists participating for the first time. You will see that we have introduced a number of innovative features this year.

Our website has been updated and re-launched to make it more inter-active. We have launched an app which will we hope make it easier for visitors to find their way around the many different studios and enhance the experience. Also new is a scheme for recent art school graduates to encourage them to participate in this event.

As a not-for-profit organisation we are committed to connecting communities through art while at the same time providing a mechanism for artists to sell work and to meet the public many of whom will never have had the opportunity before to visit an artist in his or her own studio."

The studios are organised around 4 coloured routes with numbers and maps. When visiting studios look out for the bunting and signs displaying the FVOS logo. Full details at

£100,000 funding boost for Stirling University's art collection

the red shawl by JD Ferguson

The art collection at the University of Stirling has been given a funding boost. The institution has a wealth of paintings and sculptures on public display. It also stages regular free exhibitions, mostly centred around the Pathfoot Building on its main Stirling campus. In recent months, staff have secured around £100,000 of funding to support the development of the University art collection.

Kerry Bryson, the Director of Development and External Affairs at the University, said: "We're delighted to receive these awards from the Scottish Funding Council, Museums Galleries Scotland and the Robertson Trust. They will help us raise awareness of the University's art collection and the facilities we offer to visitors - and hopefully attract even more members of the public to enjoy the wonderful works of art we have on show at Stirling. If you haven't seen the fantastic pieces we have on campus, please pay us a visit. Our main displays in our Pathfoot Building in Stirling are open seven days a week. Admission is free."

The tradition of collecting art at the University goes back to the founding of the University in 1967, when Professor Tom Cottrell was the first Principal. 40 years later, the University now has a diverse range on display - with over 300 works covering a broad spectrum of modern Scottish painting, sketches, tapestries, silver and sculpture.

Included are works by distinguished artists like John Bellany, Elizabeth Blackadder, Alan Davie, Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi and Anne Redpath. There are also regular temporary exhibitions by invited artists and of items from the University Archives. The University's policy of continuing to attain new works remains a priority and ensures that new art is continually being acquired and displayed on campus.

The Scottish Funding Council announced its support for the University's art collection on International Museum Day. The Stirling grant was part of a national award to University museums, galleries and collections in Scotland, totalling £6 million over the next five academic years.

Laurence Howells, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: "University museums, galleries and collections are an important cultural resource for the nation and the Funding Council is pleased to be able to help look after these collections for future generations. The Art Collection at Stirling deserves wider recognition and I hope more people will be encouraged to enjoy what it offers."

Joanne Orr, Chief Executive of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: "We are pleased to support the University of Stirling's ambitions to make their collection more accessible to visitors. By raising awareness of their wonderful art collection they can really inspire more people to come and enjoy this valuable amenity on their doorstep."

Read more about Stirling University art collection. The current exhibition, showcasing the Forth Valley Open Studios Festival, runs until July 31.

The Manfreds at the Albert Halls Stirling

The Manfreds, with original front man Paul Jones, will be performing many of the tracks from the highly acclaimed album The Five Faces Of Manfred Mann, which is to be re-released as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, along with a mix of their biggest hits and the jazz and blues songs for which they are famous.

Paul Jones, with his award winning harmonica sound, will be joined by Mike Hugg on keyboards, Tom McGuinness on lead guitar, Rob Townsend on drums, Marcus Cliffe on bass guitar and Simon Currie on saxophone/ flute- all excellent musicians who will provide a full evening’s entertainment with a few surprise renditions of their work.

Thursday 20th June 2013 at 7:30pm, Tickets £19.50/£17.50 at the Albert Halls, Stirling

Free Dementia conference at Stirling University

CARERS, charities and staff supporting people with dementia are being invited to a free conference at the University of Stirling. "Dementia Friendly Communities - The Stirling Standard" takes place on Monday, 24 June. The full day event is aimed at sharing ideas, information and best practice in a bid to improve services locally.

Professor June Andrews, the director of the University's Dementia Services Development Centre, said: "We want to make Stirling the most dementia-friendly city in the world. To do that we need to harness the skills, knowledge and experiences of those living with, and supporting people with dementia. That could be carers or families, or local charities or staff from public sector bodies. All will be very welcome at the conference. As well as guest speakers and discussion sessions, there will also be workshops and stalls. We have extended bookings until 12th June to allow people more time to book places."

Anyone interested in attending can find out more, and book free places, at You can also contact Lynsey Manson on 01786 467732. The event is being held in the University's Iris Murdoch Building - named after the acclaimed author who battled Alzheimer's disease.

Professor Andrews said: "The event will explore the concept of a dementia-friendly community and what that could mean for someone with dementia and their carers. We'll look at dementia friendly design and we'll also look at the roles of local voluntary organisations. We're delighted that former BBC health correspondent Pennie Taylor will lead discussions."

"Other speakers will include Peter Molyneux, a visiting fellow at our Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC); Mark Butler, Director of Development at the DSDC; and architect Niall McLaughlin. I'll also be speaking at the event as the Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre."

"In the afternoon, we'll have workshops on how the media portray people with dementia, look at housing issues and the role of schools and technology. It's a free event, so I hope people will sign up to take part."

There will also be a variety of information stands - showcasing local work to support people with dementia, from neighbourhood watch and the community fire service to food and befriending services. The conference has been supported as part of a larger Change Fund project to support people with dementia, using funding from the Scottish Government.


This month's Highlights at the Tolbooth

There are some fanastic gigs coming to the Tolbooth in the next couple of weeks including Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole on Saturday 25 May, 8pm. One of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and Zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade, Cedric Watson is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist and songwriter with seemingly unlimited potential.

On Friday 31 May at 8pm, State of the Union appear. English songwriter and lead singer of indie legends The Bible, Boo Hewerdine and slide guitar wizard, Brooks Williams have a natural writing chemistry and their album, released in April 2012 on Reveal has had great reviews in Q and The Word, Bob Harris has been singing its praises and playing tracks on his show and their tour has been attracting great audiences.

Next month, on Saturday 22 June at 8pm Scottish singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni returns to the Tolbooth. At just 20 years old, Rachel has taken the folk music scene by storm. A straight-up storyteller with a voice to blow all others clean out of the water, Rachel packs an almighty punch with her earthy melodies and astonishing acoustic guitar skills.

SEE Whats On at the Tolbooth in Stirling

Do you dare...To come out to Doune Ponds after dark?

The Rangers and volunteers from the Central Scotland Bat Group will be at Doune Ponds to introduce to some of the creatures that come out at night when you’re usually safely tucked up in your beds. Naturally they’ll be hunting for bats but will be hunting for other creatures too so make sure you wear wellies, wrap up warm, bring a torch and a sense of adventure (and maybe some midge repellent). If you’re under 16 you’ll need to persuade a parent to come along too.

Meet up at 8pm on Saturday 25th of May at Doune Ponds car park and then head off to hunt for some night creatures. Phone 08452 777 000 or e-mail to book or for further information.

From the Stirling Council website.

Forth Valley Open Studios 2013

ONE of central Scotland's biggest arts and crafts festivals in set to get underway. Forth Valley Open Studios highlights the work of nearly 150 artists at around 80 venues across Falkirk, Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Fife and West Lothian. The event kicks off with a free showcase exhibition at the University of Stirling, running from 25 May. Then the artists involved will show off their work at small-scale exhibitions - in either their own homes or commercial studios or galleries. These displays will run from 8 to 16 June, 2013.

Local painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, glassware, textiles and other art forms will be on display. Admission to all the exhibitions is free and work on display will be available to buy, with prices starting from as little as £5.

Jane Cameron, the art curator at the University of Stirling, says: "The initial showcase exhibition, in our Pathfoot Building, will give art fans a great chance to see the Open Studios participants in one central venue. You can then plan your diary to see your favourites at local exhibitions right across the Forth Valley area in June. These smaller exhibitions will allow people to see the artists, and their work, in their own studios. All the exhibitions are free and the festival is a great chance to see the wealth of artists talent locally."

She added: "From the University's perspective, we're delighted to host the showcase - which launches the Open Studios events - alongside our permanent art collection. This core exhibition opens on 25 May and runs through the summer until 31 July."

The University showcase will be complemented with a display by Dr. Alastair R. Ross, one of the UK's leading figurative sculptors ( ). He will also present a free lecture at the University between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on 1 June. There will also be a drawing workshop on the same day (costing £20 per person). Full details are online at . You can also book workshop places by emailing

Artist Lys Hansen, the honorary chair of Forth Valley Open Studios, said: "I'm proud to say that in a time of financial cuts and austerity, the support and participation in the Open Studios goes from strength or strength. More venues are open and more artists are with us. This is good, for we need to support each other and our creative abilities." She said the University was a splendid venue to host the showcase exhibition.

Avril Nicol, the Open Studios' project co-ordinator, said the 2013 festival - now in its fourth year - aims to be the "best ever. As a not-for-profit organisation we are committed to connecting communities through art, while at the same time providing a mechanism for artists to sell work and to meet the public, many of whom will never have had the opportunity before to visit an artist in his or her own studio."

Forth Valley Open Studios 2013 Showcase Exhibition, at the Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling, FK9 9LA. From 25 May to 31 July, 2013. The venue is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at weekends.

New Visitors Bible presented to STirling Castle

A new visitor’s bible was presented to Stirling Castle at the weekend. The castle was presented with a visitor’s bible and a display bible in November 2011 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Since then however, so many people had looked through the visitors Bible that it had become rather worn down and needed to be replaced

The presentation of a new bible to the castle by the Bible Society on Sunday (12th May) saw local churches and choirs join visitors for a special event in the Chapel Royal.

As part of the event, a selection of hymns were sung in the Chapel Royal, lead by the choirs, allowing visitors and guests to experience what the Chapel would have been like when it was built by James VI in 1594. Initially built for the baptism of his son Prince Henry, it was used as a place of worship for many centuries later.

Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experiences Manager for the castle said, "I’d like to thank the Bible Society and all of the local churches and choirs represented for making the event such a success. It was also a fantastic opportunity to witness the Chapel being used for its original purpose. We hold a few events throughout the year – including Christmas where we invite choirs to sing in the Chapel Royal. The acoustics alone are spectacular – and it is really wonderful to hear the choirs within this magnificent setting."

See the Stirling Castle section of

Big Laughs and Big Tunes at Stirling macrobert this May

Live highlights on macrobert stages this May, include The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, National Theatre Of Scotland's Smash Hit Show comes To Macrobert 15-18 May. Other highlights include a barnstorming concert from electrifying festival favourites Salsa Celtica on Saturday 18th and top stand-up from the UK's leading satirist and BBC Radio favourite Andy Zaltzman on Thursday 23rd.

Come see Disney's new enchanting movie The Odd Life Of Timothy Green which is being released 11 May. GI Joe Retaliation is also premiering at macrobert on 10 May. The blockbusting Iron Man 3, the picture perfect rom-com Love Is All You Need and many more great films will be playing at macrobert filmhouse this May.

Whats On at the macrobert in Stirling

Stirling Summer Honour for Dame Judi Dench

One of the UK’s best loved film stars and a key supporter of the Dementia Services Development Centre, Dame Judi Dench will collect an honorary degree from the University of Stirling this summer. The award of Doctor of the University will be conferred in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Arts, particularly to film.

Judi Dench began her career on stage and established herself as one of the most significant theatre performers in Britain playing some of Shakespeare’s iconic heroines. She moved into television in A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By, and her film roles include Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, Shakespeare in Love, Chocolat, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal. In 1995, she was cast as the first female ‘M’ in the James Bond films and starred in the latest Bond film Skyfall in 2012. Her many awards include eleven BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award (Oscar).

In addition to Judi Dench’s stellar career on stage and screen, the University recognises the important role the star has played in highlighting dementia.

Professor June Andrews, Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) in the University’s School of Applied Social Science said, "Dame Judi officially opened our Iris Murdoch Building a decade ago, giving a terrific boost to the world-wide work of the Dementia Services Development Centre which has now been at the University of Stirling for about a quarter of a century. Her moving Bafta-winning performance depicting a woman with dementia in the classic film Iris is still one of our best resources in helping everyone understand the value of every person with this condition, and the evidence base for supporting them."

John Cooper Clarke at the Tolbooth

in stirling scotland

One of the leading voices of late 70's youth culture, "The Bard of Salford" himself John Cooper Clarke is heading to Scotland for a mini-tour, starting 16th May at the Tolbooth in Stirling. Tickets going fast - DON'T MISS IT!

John will be appearing on BBC1's "Have I Got News for You" tonight, the 10th of May at 9pm.

Famous for his biting, satirical and political poetry, delivered in rapid-fire style, John has shared the stage with some of the punk movement’s biggest stars: The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks and Joy Division. A figurehead of the movement, he became one of Britain’s best loved and most important poets. With the current revival of the 70s punk phenomenon, "The Punk Poet" is as important now as he was then.

Key figures in popular culture today cite John as a major influence on their work, including The Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner (he has a John Cooper Clarke tattoo!) and Plan B, who asked John to appear in his directorial debut Ill Manors earlier this year.

Thu 16 May, 8pm

Whats On at the Tolbooth in Stirling

The Scribblers Picnic 2013

This year the Scribblers Picnic takes place on Sunday 12 May at Stirling Rugby Club, from 12 - 8pm. The Scribblers is a charity festival and family funday with something for everyone. Children's shows, food, football, stalls and 7 stages of live music. Visitors and locals are all welcome.

The Scribbler was a musician, writer and teacher called Graham Whitelaw who lived in Stirling. Graham was an inspirational and fun family man with a zest for life who sadly died after battling cancer in 2001. The Scribbler’s Picnic is a non-profit making, Stirling-based charity that holds music-related events to raise funds for five cancer charities.

Online early bird discount tickets are available from before 30 April.

On Saturday 11th May, Benny Gallagher, half of the legendary Gallagher and Lyle and one man blues band Mike Whellans, will be appearing at Stirling Rugby Club in aid of the Scribbler's Picnic. The concert will start at 7.30 and tickets are only £10 - great value.

Full details at:


Stirling lecture from one of Britain's most senior politicians

One of Britain's most senior politicians is to make the financial case for Scotland remaining part of the UK. The Rt. Hon. Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will outline his views at the annual Williamson Lecture at the University of Stirling on Thursday, 18 April. His lecture is entitled "Sterling and Albion: The financial case for a United Kingdom".

Danny Alexander is the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey. He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford.

He worked as a press officer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats before spending four years at the European Movement and then a further four years as Director of Communications for the Britain in Europe campaign.

In 2003 he was appointed the Head of Communications for the newly formed Cairngorms National Park Authority before being elected as MP for the newly created seat of Inverness, Nairn, and Badenoch and Strathspey in the 2005 election.

Mr Alexander was Chief of Staff to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and co-ordinated the Liberal Democrat election manifesto for 2010.

He was re-elected in the 2010 General Election with an increased majority of 8,765. In the days that followed, he led the Liberal Democrat team in negotiations with the Conservatives to form a new Coalition Government. He played a key role in drawing up the detailed programme for government and was initially appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. Following the resignation of David Laws, he was promoted to become Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Mr Alexander was appointed to the Privy Council in May 2010.

The Williamson Lecture was established in memory of Andrew John Williamson, a Politics student who was tragically killed in a road accident in 1981. The memorial lecture was created and funded by his parents with the aim of bringing a high profile political speaker to the University each year to speak on a theme of contemporary political interest.

This is the 29th year of lectures. Previous speakers have included Alex Salmond, Alistair Darling, Douglas Alexander, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Ann Widdecombe.

The evening event - starting at 6.30 p.m. - is being held in the Logie Lecture Theatre and is open to the public. To reserve a place, email: or call 01786 467055.

Marie Curie Charity Ladies Night at 20 Rocks

20 Rocks Stirling are hosting a charity ladies night for Marie Curie this Saturday from 9pm til late, upstairs in their stunning Sky Lounge.

First 20 guests will also receive a free goody bag packed with beauty treats from Lush, Benefit, Wet and Wild and Marc Jacobs plus rose wine, a Cosmo cocktail and treats from Ann Summers and Partylite.

Every penny raised stays within Forth Valley and helps fund the Marie Curie Nurses who care for people with cancer and other terminal illnesses in their own homes.

Find out more at
Whats On Around Stirling

Beyond the Grand Canal at the Smith in Stirling

Lesley Banks Beyond the Grand Canal Image

If you like Venice, you’ll love this exhibition. The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is delighted to welcome the latest work of Lesley Banks. Born in Denny, Stirlingshire, Lesley now has an international reputation. Her recent work is inspired by La Serenissima, the beautiful city of Venice.

Her painting, Fiona's Table 2011, was recently purchased by the Smith to add to their collection of drawings and paintings of Venice, which includes works by Thomas Stuart Smith, JW Harding and Alfred Cox.

Lesley Banks is currently one of Scotland's best known artists. Born in Denny, she studied at Glasgow School of Art and gained notice for her paintings of Glasgow interiors and of the Arlington Baths. She has since gone on to win many awards, scholarships and grants.

Her Venetian exhibition, Beyond the Grand Canal is now open in Gallery 2 of the Smith until 5th May 2013.

Inchmahome Priory opens for 2013

One of the region’s most famous historic sites is set to re-open next weekend (29th March). Inchmahome Priory in the Lake of Menteith is closed during the winter months however it opens annually each Spring to welcome visitors from around the world. The Priory, which dates from 1238 was an Augustinian Monastery and much of the 13th century church remains. Famously, it sheltered the child Mary, Queen of Scots in 1547. A great afternoon out. Take a picnic and you can easily spend a relaxing couple of hours, exploring the woods and the priory.

Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Scotland, who run the site said, "We are working hard to get the site ready to welcome visitors. Inchmahome Priory is one of a number of Historic Scotland seasonal sites across Scotland that are re-opening to the public over the Easter weekend. Spring is a great time to enjoy the sites, particularly in this the Year of Natural Scotland, and we have lots of great things going on across our estate of properties this year from nature events to costumed performances to keep visitors entertained."

Read about Inchmahome Priory at Places to visit around Stirling


John Shuttleworth Out Of Our Sheds

in stirling scotland

Moved from the lounge to the garage because his keyboard was interfering with the telly, kicked out of the garage and then to the shed, where he is now. Sony and Perrier nominee, star of Radio 4’s The Shuttleworths, TV’s 500 Bus Stops and It’s Nice up North, John Shuttleworth is venturing beyond the garden gate to tread the mean streets of Britain and will be at the Macrobert on Friday 29th March, 8pm.

Which is better: city life or country living? Supermarkets or the village shop? Or is it better to sit in your shed and count the cobwebs?

"His stand up is second to none, his timing is impeccable ,and you can practically warm your hands on his good nature" The Guardian Guide

"Wonderful, wacky, and weird" Radio Times

"Shines like a beacon of humanity" Evening Standard

Price: £15 /£13 (conc) /£11 (friends)

SEE Whats On at the macrobert in Stirling

Alvin Stardust at The Albert Halls

in stirling scotland

For one night only. Rewind to the 70s with the one and only Alvin Stardust at a charity fundraising night on behalf of the National Autistic Society at the The Albert Halls in Stirling on Thursday 28th March at 7.30pm.

Come along and join us at the Albert Halls, where the real Alvin Stardust will be accompanied on stage by two of Scotland's tribute bands. the Sensational David Bowie tribute band, and StatusNo. Step back in time to the glitz and glam of the 70s. Dig out your flares, dust off your platform boots, slap on the glitter, and transport yourself back to a time when music was fun while helping to support the National Autistic Society Scotland.

Alvin Stardust, The man in black is back and this will be a concert not to be missed. Alvin Stardust is an outstanding performer and he will perform his greatest hits from a musical career spanning the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties, plus tracks from his recently released new album. Influenced by contemporaries such as Elvis Presley, Sinatra, Eddie Cochrane, Jimmy Hendrix and The Beatles. Do not miss a fantastic evening of music from one of the Legends of the last 50 years.

Few performers have such compelling stories to tell – ranging from the day he met Buddy Holly as a young lad, unable to afford tickets for the show, who found himself by default in his hero’s dressing room and then had the honour of singing Peggy Sue with him, to the reason behind his trademark black glove (a hair dye that went wrong), to the amazing story of his prized guitar, signed by so many legends it is now reportedly worth £1 million. Tickets are great value at at £16 and are available from the The Albert Halls or call 07789830843 for more information.

"The Godfather of British Rock'n'Roll" - Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones

Please note that the venue for this event has been changed from the King Robert Hotel to the Albert Halls. The event is now bigger and better with two support bands, the Sensational David Bowie tribute band, and StatusNo (Quo tribute). Time and price is still the same, and anyone who purchased tickets from the King Robert, will have them honoured on receipt of their ticket at the Albert Halls.

Step back in time and experience Fool School at Stirling Castle this Easter

It may be the school holidays but Stirling Castle is gearing up for an education of a very different kind this Easter. Over the Easter weekend (Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st March) the castle is hosting its very own "Fool School". Following in the footsteps of the age old tradition of the court jester, visitors will meet the Queen's Fool and learn all about this very important role in the royal court. Visitors can even try their hand at entertaining the assembled court.

"Fool School" is part of a special event taking place at the castle, voted the UK’s best loved heritage attraction, over the Easter weekend. Other activities include the chance to find out more about age old court pastimes such as crossbow firing and hunting. There will also be the chance to join the Royal revelry and show off your crossbow skills to see if you have what it takes to be the Queen's champion.

From 12 noon until 4pm on the 30th and 31st there will also be a number of themed events including art activities, a special children's tour of Easter’s past and an exciting Easter Treasure Trail. Visitors can also visit the regimental museum where they can take a guided tour, whilst young visitors can complete the museum’s children’s activity sheets.

All of the activities will run at scheduled intervals throughout the 30th and 31st March and are included as part of the entrance fee to the castle.

Stirling Castle joins global landmarks in turning off lights for Earth Hour

Stirling Castle is joining global landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House later this month to help raise awareness of the issue of climate change. The castle is taking part in Earth Hour, a WWF event, which invites communities, cities and landmarks around the world to switch off their lights for an hour to show their support for action on climate change.

Stirling Castle is one of a number of Historic Scotland attractions that will be turning off their floodlights on Saturday 23rd March 2013 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. Other participating Historic Scotland sites range from Edinburgh Castle to Ruthven Barracks.

Launched in Australia back in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to be a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of people around the world participating. This year, Earth Hour is focussing on the power of nature and the way we can reduce global carbon emissions by moving away from fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy.

Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement for Historic Scotland said, "As an agency, Historic Scotland is committed to looking at ways to reduce our carbon emissions.Last year we launched our Climate Change Action Plan and reducing energy use in our buildings is a key part of this."

For further information on Earth Hour please visit

Japanese Week at the University of Stirling

The University of Stirling is hosting a public programme of events during a special week dedicated to Japanese culture from 19 to 24 March, to celebrate Scotland’s links with Japan. Japanese Week will offer members of the public the opportunity to participate in Japanese-themed sessions covering culture, art, dance, calligraphy and film.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University says: "We are delighted to be hosting this exciting programme of events on campus, to celebrate Japanese culture – past, present and future – and the connections between Scotland and Japan. The University takes great pride in its diversity and international reach. At Stirling, we are dedicated to developing our engagement with communities and cultures worldwide and enhancing our collaborative links with international partners. Japanese Week is just one manifestation of this commitment and is also representative of the University’s particularly strong relationship with Japan. The six-day celebration will contribute to the development of links between Scotland and Japan and will promote the value of intercultural engagement in an educational setting. Audiences can expect lively discussion, thought-provoking talks and inspiring entertainment."

The programme begins on Tuesday 19 March with a joint lecture by Japanese sculptor Hironori Katagiri and his wife and fellow artist Kate Thompson. The couple, who actively promote sculpture in Scotland and Japan, will discuss and exhibit the work of 22 artists who were affected by the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011. They will then talk about their public sculptures installed at the University and invite their audience on a tour of their artworks around campus.

One of the highlights of Japanese Week is a symposium on Thursday 21 March, entitled "Japan and Scotland - a Shared History and a Shared Future". Held in association with the Consulate General of Japan and the Japan Society of Scotland, this stimulating event will invite audience members to participate in a Q and A with the discussion panel - to debate the future collaborative opportunities that exist between the two countries.

Panellists include Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University; Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment; Councillor Mike Robbins, Provost of Stirling; and Reverend Professor Stuart Picken, Chair of the Japan Society of Scotland. After the symposium, audience members will be invited to a drinks reception and whisky tasting session.

Other events include a screening of the celebrated Japanese film, I Wish (2011); a calligraphy exhibition by one of Japan’s foremost calligraphers followed by a calligraphy workshop with students from Atomi and Waseda Universities in Japan; an Enso dance performance by the Edinburgh-based company LaNua, which gained critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; a music performance by renowned chamber ensemble, Edinburgh Quartet; and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

The event programme is open to everyone. Most sessions are free to attend, but some must be booked in advance visit for further details.

Celebrate World Book Day with Jackie Kay

Celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 07 March with an evening with the multi award-winning poet, novelist and playwright Jackie Kay. The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize; Fiere, her most recent collection of poems, was shortlisted for the COSTA Award; her novel Trumpet won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award; her memoir Red Dust Road won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, was shortlisted for the JR Ackerley prize and the London Book Award; her new book of short stories Reality, Reality was recently published by Picador.

Programmed in partnership with School of Arts and Humanities, at the macrobert centre University of Stirling. 18:30pm Tickets £6/£4 concession.

Whats On at the macrobert in Stirling

Stirling Changing Room closes

Stirling Council agreed its annual budget on Thursday 21 February and withdrew its funding for The Changing Room and the Visual Arts Development Officer’s post based at the Tolbooth. As a result, and after 15 years, The Changing Room will be closing its doors on Saturday 30 March 2013 for the final time.

The current show, Sense Makes No Sense by David Sherry will be the last and it will be finishing before its advertised end date of 13 April 2013. David Sherry will discuss his new work, commissioned by The Changing Room, in the gallery on 22 March at 6.30pm; everyone will be very welcome.

As well as the closure of The Changing Room, Artlink Central, an arts agency working across central Scotland, will lose its annual budget of £11,080. Other organisations losing funding include Stirling and District Arts Forum (£6,580) which distributes grants to a number of small voluntary arts groups, the Tolbooth, Stirling Writers Group and the MacRobert Arts Centre at Stirling University (£14,890).

RSNO Out and About in Stirling

From Tuesday 5 till Saturday 9 March, Scotland's National Orchestra is Out and About across Stirling. In collaboration with Stirling Council's arts team, the RSNO has devised a packed programme of concerts, workshops and music-making throughout the region.

Full details in the Whats On around Stirling section of the website

Stirling Old Town Jail Doors Shut

Prisons aren’t normally known as places of entertainment, but for the thousands of children and adults who have entered through the doors of Stirling’s Old Town Jail since it opened as a visitor attraction in 1996, their time behind bars has been an intriguing and enjoyable journey back to the Victorian age, and they have left the building with a smile on their faces.

There have been stories told by prison warders, tricks performed by conjurers and magicians, and there have even been visitors dancing to the music of a barrel organ. But now another chapter in the story of this remarkable building is coming to an end, and whilst plans are being discussed for the future of the building, Stirling’s Old Town Jail will not be opening again as a visitor attraction for the 2013 season.

To everyone who has visited the Old Town Jail, from families on holiday to schools on day trips, we’d like to say Thank You. We enjoyed seeing you in jail.

Notice from Stirling Old Town Jail website

A NEW exhibition at the University of Stirling is a real family affair

Stirling University James Hardie Image

"Skin Over Bone" celebrates the work of former Glasgow School of Art graduate and teacher James Hardie and his talented daughters - artist Gwen and film-maker Amy. It opens in the Pathfoot Building on the campus on 2 March and runs until 3 May. The exhibition title comes from the book “Stone Voices” by Neal Ascherson. Jane Cameron, the University’s Art Curator, explains: “Ascherson was investigating Scottish identity through history and landscape. The search for true identity is a theme which runs through the exhibition, showcasing the work of three very distinct artists, united by their close family connection.

"The bone under the skin of Scotland’s landscape is explored by the work of James Hardie – now in his 70s. He’s worked in film and paint since he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1959. His work includes portraits of family members and his love of flying, showing Scotland from the air."

Gwen Hardie (born 1962) is now based in New York. She became the youngest living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, she has paintings on display in major collections in Edinburgh, London, Lisbon and New York.

Jan Patience, writing in the Herald newspaper, described Gwen’s work as "jewel-like ruminations on mankind’s place on a swiftly turning planet” and the New York Sun praised her for her “ethereal, near abstract figurative paintings."

Last year Gwen Hardie was invited to show at Royal Scottish Academy’s Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh. The Times said at the time, "Hardies’s continuing exploration of the female body, not as a sexual object, but as a textured and flawed surface, contributes greatly to the show."

The final family member on show is Amy Hardie (born in 1958) and now living near Pebbles in the Scottish Borders. She expresses her ideas through film and was film-maker in residence at Strathcarron Hospice, near Denny, in 2012. "Four excerpts, shot at the hospice, are screened as part of the exhibition," says Jane. "We’re also hosting a free screening of Amy Hardie’s wonderful documentary film, "The Edge of Dreaming" for invited guests, to mark the opening of the exhibition on March 2.

"The Edge of Dreaming charts how Amy dreamt about the death of her horse, only to find her horse dead. She then dreamt that she would die aged 48. She filmed the year leading up to her 48th birthday, and the worries she had about her own mortality. Thankfully, she survived – but the film is a powerful glimpse into her family life and her search for answers about the provenance of dreams," says Jane.

"While Amy’s work bears no immediate link to that of her sister and father," said Jane, "there is, at a deeper level, the familiar Hardie concern with reality underneath everyday surfaces – of the land, of the human body and human mind."

"Skin Over Bone" – a celebration of the work of three individual artists united by their family connection – runs at the Pathfoot Building at the University of Stirling from 2 March to 3 May. Admission is free and is open to all.

SEE more at
Whats On around Stirling


Notorious event at Stirling Castle explored this weekend

This weekend (22nd – 24th February), visitors to Stirling Castle will be able to experience where one of the most notorious events in Scotland’s history took place. The castle was the setting for the infamous murder of Sir William, 8th Earl of Douglas, better know as "The Black Douglas" by King James II and his courtiers in a battle for power over Scotland.

Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of the "Douglas Room" within what is now the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum. The actual room, on the site where the murder took place is not accessible to enter but can clearly be seen from the museum.

The museum is taking part in an event that the castle is holding to mark the anniversary of The Black Douglas death, which took place at the castle in 1452. Visitors will be taken on a special Black Douglas’ themed tour by the castle guides, including a visit to the Douglas Garden, where the Earl’s body was thrown from a window. The museum is housed on the site of a former royal residence. It was there on February 22nd 1452 that Sir William Douglas met an untimely end.

During his minority rule, James II’s reign saw much bloodshed as rival factions vied to control Scotland. The death of William Douglas had far reaching consequences with Scotland spiralling into civil war thereafter.

Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experience Manager for Stirling Castle said, "In the fifteenth century, the castle was a place of celebration and splendour but it was also the centre of political intrigue. The brutality of the Douglas murder and the circumstances in which it took place, particularly with the monarch’s involvement, was highly unusual and sent shockwaves around Europe. We are pleased to be working with the museum to help reveal this fascinating part of the castle’s history to visitors."

As part of the event, visitors will also be able to access parts of the museum that are not normally open to visitors such as the Officers Ante Room. Major Robert Elliot for the museum said, "The site of the museum played an important role in the Douglas Murder story. We’ll be offering visitors the opportunity to find out more about these connections, but there will also be an opportunity to find out about the contemporary history of the site. For example, we’ll be allowing access to the Officers Ante Room which is one Her Majesty, The Queen has used on many occasions on her visit to the Headquarters so this is a great opportunity to get access to an area of the castle not normally seen by visitors."

The Douglas tours will take place at the castle from 22nd - 24th February at 12 noon and 2pm and are included in the castle admission price. The tour is not recommended for young children. Some areas visited during the tour may not be suitable for wheelchair users.

See the Stirling Castle section of

Health Walks at Plean Country Park

Spring is just around the corner and Plean Country Park Walk Group will soon start their fourth season of health walks. We will hold our first walk on Monday 8th April at 1pm in the park and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us to shake off winter and take some exercise in the outdoors.

Last year as everyone knows the weather was not kind to us and the never ending rain caused many of the paths to become very muddy and in some places a bit dangerous. In order to give them a chance to dry out we have delayed the first walk of this year to Monday 8th April at 1pm.

At the moment in the park the snowdrops are in bloom and the daffodils are well through the ground, a signal that spring is approaching. We would welcome anyone who would like to join us to shake off winter and take some exercise in the outdoors.

The walks are open to all, run by fully qualified walk leaders and aimed at improving your fitness so whether you just haven't walked for a while or don't like to walk on your own these walks are for you. Enjoy a walk in beautiful surroundings, a safe environment, whilst increasing your fitness levels and meeting new people.

We meet at the same time every week at the Miner's Statue in the car park. Wear sturdy comfortable shoes. For further information please contact Fran Barr on 01786 812723

Scotland celebrates Your Paintings

Stirling Smith Hidden Treasures 2 Image

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is pleased to be a contributor to Your Paintings. As part of the Your Paintings celebration, the Stirling Smith is showing various paintings for the first time in 20 years at the Gallery in Dumbarton Road, Stirling from 8 February to 1 July 2013. Entrance is free.

The event is part of a nationwide series of activities to celebrate the completion of Your Paintings, a website for the entire UK national collection of oil paintings created by the BBC in partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation. All 211,861 paintings are now available to view online at

Held in over 3,000 galleries, museums and other civic buildings around the country, these paintings span over 600 years of art history – arguably the greatest national collection of its kind in the world. Due to limitations of exhibition space, 80% of these works are normally held in storage and not easily visible to the people who own them – the UK public.

There are over 800 paintings in the Stirling Smith stores. Michael McGinnes, Collections Curator for the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum comments: "It has been our ambition to re-hang the collection in a refurbished Smith Gallery. The process is taking longer than planned, but in the meantime, visitors can see all of the Smith’s oil paintings online. From today, we have a special showing of the works of the founder of the Stirling Smith, the artist Thomas Stuart Smith (1814 – 1869) and his contemporaries, in the Smith’s Entrance Gallery"

The Your Paintings website features paintings from 441 museums, galleries and public buildings in Scotland. They include major attractions such as The Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Stirling Castle.

Whats On at the Smith in Stirling

Valentine's Day Treat For Bird Lovers

National Nest Box Week is launched every year on Valentine’s Day and this year Stirling Council's Land Services Countryside team is offering local people the chance to make their own bird box. The event will run from 12pm to 4pm on Thursday 14 February in the city centre at Murray Place, next to the Thistles Shopping Centre entrance.

The aim of National Nest Box Week is to encourage as many people as possible to put up nest boxes in order to help breeding birds and other wildlife. The natural nest sites, on which many of our bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are "tidied" and old houses are repaired. Since National Nest Box Week was launched in 1997 it is estimated that there are now 5 to 6 million boxes in gardens across the UK.

"Sadly, many of the natural nesting places of our favourite garden birds are disappearing as houses are renovated and trees are tidied up," said Land Services Biodiversity Coordinator Guy Harewood, "Nest boxes are an easy way to help and I would encourage everyone to put up a box in their garden, on their home, at school or at work. A nest box can give you great pleasure as you get to see wild birds set up home. If you put up a box during Nest Box Week you stand a chance of having a nesting pair of birds in your garden by spring, such as robins, blue tits, sparrows and wrens."

The Countryside team provides a wide range of events for people of all ages and abilities throughout the year. The events are a great way to discover nature, explore new areas and enjoy the health benefits of being out and about. Children are welcome to all the events but under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

To guarantee that you will be able to make a bird box at the Valentine's Day event spaces must be booked in advance. For further information about events and to book please call the Countryside team on 0845 277 7000.

From the stirling Council website.

Nicola Benedetti at the Albert Halls Stirling

Nicola Benedetti, critically acclaimed as one of the leading violinists of her generation, returns to Scotland following the success of her Fantasie Tour, with an exciting new recital programme featuring a selection of music from her chart topping album The Silver Violin. She will also be joined by her regular collaborators Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) and Alexei Grynyuk (piano) to perform the formidable Tchaikovsky Piano Trio. Nicola’s dedication to introducing new audiences to classical music is unwavering. The Silver Violin tour will be more interactive than ever, with its combination of live music interspersed with film. The audience will also have a chance to ask Nicola questions about her career and commitment to music education.

Nicola Benedetti will be at the Albert Halls, Stirling on Wednesday 13th March 2013
Tickets: Rear Balcony £25/Stalls £19.50/Side Balcony £15.00

Macrobert Live Highlights To Beat The Winter Blues

Coming up this month, the macrobert has some world-class treats to brighten your February. Highlights include Ballet West's stunning version of The Nutcracker on Sat 2 and Sun 3 Feb, blistering new drama In An Alien Landscape on Fri 8 Feb, based on the incredible true story of a jack-the-lad who awoke from a coma with the compulsion to paint and featuring one of the stars of the Paralympics opening ceremony David Toole. There is an intriguing look at bringing a legendary sleuth to life in Murder, Marple And Me (Fri 15 and Sat 16 Feb), an outrageous night of comedy with the wonderful Mr Craig Hill on Fri 22 Feb and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra featuring special guest, the Sardinian trumpet maestro Paolo Fresu celebrating the work of Miles Davis in Miles Ahead and Birth Of The Cool on Sun 24 Feb.


Celebrate Burns at Stirling Castle

Young visitors to Stirling Castle will be able to find out more about one of Scotland’s most famous poets later this month. The castle is holding its inaugural ‘Burns for Bairns’ tours which will provide young visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the famous bard, his poems and Scotland during that time, as part of its Burns celebrations at the castle.

The special tours are a spin off from the hugely successful adult Burns tours which have taken place at the castle over the past few years, and will once again be running this year. Guides will regale visitors of all ages with tales of Burns, who himself visited the castle in 1787, as well as conducting some of the tour in Scots – the language of Burns’ verse. Visitors will also be able to show off their own poetry prowess at the castle’s poetry corner which will challenge them to create a masterpiece of their own.

This year, there will also be the opportunity to find out about the origins of the Burns Supper when the castle’s Great Hall hosts a special ‘Whisky and the Haggis’ event complete with the dressing of the haggis. And for adult visitors, experts from local distillery Deaston will also be on hand to explain the whisky making process in fine detail.

The Regimental Museum of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders at the castle will also be getting into the Burns spirit with Burns themed events running over the weekend including an art exhibition and children's activities.

Burns for Bairns will run at the castle at 11.15am and 2.15pm on the 26th and 27th January. Adult Burns tours will take place at 12 noon and 2pm on the 26th and 27th January. The ‘Whisky and the Haggis’ event will run from 11-4pm on both days.

Reconstruction of Battle of Bannockburn landscape

Dr. Richard Tipping will lead the first environmental reconstruction of the entire landscape of the Battle of Bannockburn as it looked 700 years ago, when Robert the Bruce defeated the largest English army to invade Scotland. Dr. Tipping has been granted nearly £120,000 by the Leverhulme Trust to research the topography of the Carse of Stirling so that the complete landscape surrounding Bannockburn may be recreated. This will help historians to better understand what happened, and why, at the famous battle which took place seven centuries ago.

"The terrain and ground conditions of the battle remain unknown,” says Dr. Tipping. “We judge Edward II’s tactics on the battlefield by what we know of the topography now, but we may have done him a disservice. By recreating the landscape, we will assist historians to determine the ground conditions which he faced. No-one has been able to do this before, but improvements in radio carbon dating mean that we will be able to date ground conditions to within a decade. We will be using scientific techniques to solve a historical problem - the story of the battle now is to explain the landscape, which plays a more important role than in most battles."

"All sorts of environmental issues affected the battle - for example, how many trees were there, where were they positioned and was Robert the Bruce hiding among them? The terrain was crucial to Edward’s cavalry - was it peaty, a bog or well cultivated and drained farming land?"

Dr. Tipping will focus on the Carse of Stirling because that is where the English army was positioned and it is assumed that the decisive second day of the battle was fought there. Edward II’s troops are likely to have camped somewhere on the Carse to the south east of Stirling Castle, a level plain imagined to be peat bog and sticky clay. This camp is almost always assumed to have been ill-suited to English cavalry, Edward II’s strongest weapon.

This choice is seen as a major error on the part of an ill-fated king, but we have no understanding of what the Carse looked like in 1314. The second day of the battle ended in an English rout and many English deaths from drowning in the River Forth and the ‘great ditch’ of Bannock Burn, today an insignificant shallow stream.

"We will also study the great ditch of the Bannock burn, across which the English were unable to retreat,” says Dr. Tipping. “This may be because it had developed a deep ditch in the centre as a result of significant climate change which began around 1280."

Dr. Tipping starts work on 7 January and will complete his research by the end of August 2013. Thereafter, his research will be used by the National Trust for Scotland to recreate the battlefield in a new visitor centre to be opened for the 700th anniversary celebration of the famous battle.

From the University of Stirling website

New Orchard Planted In Kings Park

A native species of apple is set to bloom in the shadow of Stirling Castle as part of a newly planted orchard in the city’s Kings Park. The Stirling Castle variety is an old cooking apple introduced by the Drummonds of Stirling in the early 1800's and is one of six species of fruit trees set to blossom in the spring.

Friends of Kings Park were successful in obtaining grant funding from the Forth Valley Orchard Initiative at Forth Environment Link to plant a small orchard of 15 trees within the park. It is hoped that the newly planted orchard will encourage community food growing locally and support suitable wildlife habitats for bees, birds, butterflies and other insects within the park.

Friends of the Kings Park member Dorothy Wilson said: "Friends' volunteers hope to undertake further training in the near future, so that they can assist with in orchard maintenance and management tasks. If anyone would like to help us with this project they would be most welcome."

As part of this project wild flower seed will be sown to enhance growth in the diversity of plant species growing within the park. Friends of Kings Park also hope to provide an information panel to let people know about biodiversity enhancement work currently taking place.

Friends' volunteers were assisted by Stirling Council Land Services including two apprentice gardeners. The trees will need some time to mature and start developing fruiting buds, which should hopefully bear fruit in the next couple of years. Plants with Purpose and Appletreeman at Bankfoot supplied the six species of trees, which include heritage and crab apple.

SEE Whats On at the Smith in Stirling

Tam O Shanter at the Smith

Robert Burns' best known work, Tam O' Shanter, will be performed at the Stirling Smith on Saturday 26th January at 12 noon. Tapsalteerie Theatre, formed by David and Jackie Smith of Fintry, will tell the illustrated story of how Burns came to write this epic piece of poetry and folklore. They will then finish with an exciting and dramatic performance in full.

The 45 minute presentation is in the Theatre of the Stirling Smith and donations will be taken for the Smith Development Fund.

Heidi Talbot at Stirling Tolbooth

We are pleased to announce the rescheduled date for Heidi Talbot at at Stirling Tolbooth on Saturday 26th January at 8pm. Irish singer Heidi Talbot makes a welcome return to the Tolbooth to showcase some work from her new album and this time will be joined by John McCusker, Kris Drever and Iain Carr. Tickets for the original performance in September will remain valid.

Talbot's breakthrough solo release, 2008's In Love + Light, mixed traditional and contemporary material, reinvented classics and little known gems, winning glowing reviews accross three continents, as a US Indie Acoustic Award and best female vocalist nomination at the Irish Music Awards. Heidi's follow-up The last Star was equally successful winning critical acclaim. Compared to Bjork, Enya, Linda Ronstadt, Norah Jones and Kirsty MacColl. Don't miss this acclaimed artist in an intimate performace.

"A voice that’s both awestruck and tender" (The New York Times)

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