Edinburgh and celebrating all things Scottish ~ Day three

We had such a fun time hiking Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh yesterday. After a much needed sleep, it was an early 6.30am rise to get ready.

Hurrah, it was Scotcon day! I was excited to meet everyone, especially the cast from Outlander. We booked a taxi for 8.15am to take us to the Corn Exchange near Edinburgh City Centre.

It was a beautiful sunny Scottish morning, for a change. We were dressed in our red tartan and ready to go to our first very Scottish Outlander event.

Two girls taking a selfie
Sisters are ready to go!

Scotcon event

When we reached the Corn Exchange there was already a queue, which was great to see as I wasn’t sure how many people were going. We met some lovely people from Ohio who were Outlander fans. The girls have read all the Outlander books as well as watching the TV series. I need to get reading the books too!

Then a fellow peaker from My Peak Challenge recognised me and said hello too. She was really complimentary about my blog and I really appreciated her lovely feedback. Sometimes I doubt myself, then a compliment like that makes me think I’m doing something right and it is enjoyed by others.

Thank you so much Diane for your kindness!

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Meeting new Outlander fans and peakers

The start of the day was an introduction to Scotcon by the wonderfully funny Scottish Gaelic consultant Àdhamh Ó Broin. He sang some songs in Gaelic, my favourite being Caledonia. Then it was time for the guys from Outlander to come on to stage for the question and answer session.

Mr Steven Cree, originally from my home town Kilmarnock, asked if anyone in the audience was from Kilmarnock. Of course my sister and I jumped off our seats excitedly and shouted out.

The next stop for me was a meet and greet with the cast. I abandoned my sister and queued for the event. This was going to be a professional photo and chat with the cast. Exciting!

The room was pretty small and crowded but we made the most of it. I met another fellow peaker, Karen, who was visiting from the USA. She was travelling alone and exploring Scotland, which was one of her peak challenges. Most of us either had our peaker t-shirts on or our pin so we could recognise each other at events. A brave achievement Karen!

Here was my five second photo with all the handsome Outlander guys. Left to right:

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Photo with the Outlander guys

The actors circulated all the tables for autographs and a chat, except Stephen Walters as he had to leave early sadly. They were all really lovely guys.

The table layout wasn’t ideal and I couldn’t hear what the guys were saying. The noise in the small room carried so badly. I did manage to briefly say a few words to Clive, Steven and Graham.

I mentioned to Clive I was at the Dean Castle in Kilmarnock when they were filming there.

Steven mostly talked about Kilmarnock when I mentioned it was both myself and my sister in the audience earlier.

When Graham sat at the table I mentioned that I’d visited Finnich Glen, The Devil’s Pulpit and how challenging it must have been for them to get down those steps with cameras and gear! He said they used a drone to capture the shot from above. It’s such a beautiful place.

Karen from the USA was sitting beside me and asked lots of good questions so I listened in to what I could hear.

I was really sad to hear that Karen passed away. Even though we only spent a very short time with each other, at that moment in time we both shared the excitement of being there and the love of Scotland. She would send some of us Peakers magazines from the USA with articles about Outlander, myself included, and kept in touch with many she met that day. Rest in peace Karen.

Karen with Coach Valbo

 

Peakers meet

After the meet and greet (I didn’t cry, honest) I caught up with my sister and new peaker friends. We had a group photo taken with our online My Peak Challenge (MPC) coach from the Glasgow gym Every Day Athlete Gym.

As usual I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone. The day was passing too quickly already.

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Peakers achieving

Most of the peakers took part in a Muay Thai session with Coach Valbo that day. A brilliant £400 was raised for Blood Cancer UK!

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The red tartan sisters

One of the vendors at the event was Micaela who is also a fellow peaker. Painting is part of her own peak challenge and this masterpiece of the ‘Lads of Leoch’, including the actors’ signatures, was auctioned for the charity Blood Cancer UK. Micaela raised an amazing £1470 for the charity!

What a talented artist she is. Visit Micaela’s Etsy shop to see more of her beautiful work.

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Micaela and the Lads of Leoch

I also didn’t get a chance to go round and see all the other vendors and missed some of the events. Time was moving too fast …

My sister and I met up with two other peakers Karen and Lianne, who travelled together from England for the event. We all popped out to Asda to buy some lunch and came back to the venue to eat. We sat outside in the sun which was perfect.

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Lovely outdoor space
Two girls sitting at a table in the sun
New peaker friend and my sister

I had to quickly go to the other lounge though as the actors were drawing a raffle for the Lallybroch Lounge attendees (full price ticket payers). I didn’t win anything, but that doesn’t matter. It was nice to see the guys again and they were funny.

Clanadonia

Clanadonia, drums and pipe band, played outside and they were amazing. I’d never heard them before. I loved the sound of the drums and pipes together.

Watch a short video clip of Clanadonia below:

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Rolling drones

The Rolling Drones were next to play us some fantastic Scottish music. Just beautiful and the dancers were brilliant!

Watch a short video clip of the Rolling Drones below:

Learning to dance ceilidh style

My sister and I really wanted to go to a Ceilidh for a while now but we didn’t know all the moves. The last time I tried traditional Scottish dancing was at primary school when we had to do it and hated it … This was because we had to pick boy partners and vice versa. Some of us, myself included, were left sitting with no one to dance with. This really didn’t help my confidence in those days.

So here at Scotcon was our opportunity to try some dancing for fun. When we eventually found out where to go for the lessons we had a laugh. Twists, turns, wrong way … you get the idea.

Dinner time

After the lessons we realised it was almost dinner time. There was a formal Gala dinner at the venue but we didn’t have tickets for this.

As there wasn’t anywhere in the venue for us to eat we had to go outside and find somewhere. Karen, Lianne my sister and I got together and looked around the area for a nice place to eat. Lianne eventually had to drive to an area of town with more places to eat. We found somewhere at last where we could all eat. Good food and glass of wine, perfect. Then we headed back to the venue to get ready for the real Ceilidh!

The real ceilidh

Only thing was we weren’t allowed back in until the Ceilidh started at 9pm. We had about an hour and a half to wait. This wasn’t ideal, but we waited patiently. When we were eventually allowed in, the room looked lovely and the actors were still there mingling with the guests. Everyone was sitting at round tables where you could actually see everyone, whereas in the meet and greet earlier they were long rectangular tables that were not the best set up to talk.

We had a few glasses of free wine and watch the dancing. Guess what, we didn’t even go up to dance! I think I was more nervous I got the moves wrong and we were hoping for a dance that we’d practised earlier. It looked fun though. We hope to go to another one nearer Christmas.

Watch a short video clip of the Ceilidh:

We left the Ceilidh early, feeling tired. The lovely Lianne gave us a lift back to the Travel Lodge. Thank you Lianne! It was great fun meeting you and Karen.

Home time

We checked out the Travel Lodge on Monday morning and it was homeward bound. We had such a great time exploring Edinburgh and met lots of friendly people at the event. Celebrating all things Scottish has certainly made me more proud of our music, culture and country.

There’s a whole Scotland out there waiting to be explored 💙

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Edinburgh Park Station

Thanks for reading.

Love, Dawn-Marie x

Edinburgh: Days one and two

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