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Scotland

The Ancient Kingdom of Scotland, only linked to England since the 17th century has its on proud and independent history and stretches from the pastoral lowlands to the dramatic and mountainous highlands and islands.

Stirling Castle
The capital Edinburgh, with its Royal Mile from Scottish parliament to its hilltop Castle is an excellent place to start your visit. Not far away is its miniature version Stirling – but with the added features of two famous Scottish battlefields Bannockburn and Stirling bridge. See Robert the Bruce and William Wallace (but don't take 'Braveheart' as gospel).


From Stirling you are within easy reach of the largest city Glasgow on the river Clyde and the start of the highlands and Scotlands largest lake Loch Lomond. Once you've ventured into the Highland region with it's remnant of Gaelic speakers , whisky distilleries and tartan outlets you can travel for miles through unspoilt landscapes to idyllic glens and rugged mountain peaks.

Many groups opt to climb Ben Nevis – pretty much a days work, but well worth it, or take a ferry to the islands - a good starting point being Oban from where you can reach the Isle of Mull and the ancient but miniature the Isle of Iona, burial place of Scottish Kings (and numerous monks that the Vikings kept massacring).

Eilean Donan Castle

From Loch Ness in the north you can trace a route through the mountains to the Isle of Skye calling in on the Eilean Doonan Castle, or stop over at the Highland capital Inverness with its music bars and nearby Culloden Battlefield Museum, or follow the charity cyclists and walkers up to the far north of Britain and reach John O'Groats - next stop the Orkneys.




10 Days in the Caledonian Sun

The heatwave that had swept England had come to an end and the birth of the Royal baby had coincided with a lightning strike on Manchester railway station. What better time to get away from it all to the sunny climes of tropical Scotland where summer had just begun and the people were happy chatting about the options for next years independence referendum. Seeking refuge in a minibus full of Czechs and not being Nigel Farage, I assumed I'd be safe.

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ROUND SCOTLAND BY MINIBUS

Scotland's a lovely country. But mainly when it isn't raining. As an intrepid group of Moravians from the Uherske Hradiste region found out when they boarded our minibus at a sunny Stansted Airport last week for the long trek Northwards which seemed to have grey clouds attached to it like barrage of party balloons from which there was no escape.

But that's Britain...more often than not...and they weren't going to let it ruin their holiday....and in response the sun eventually did come out anyway.

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ORIGINS OF BRIDGWATER CZECH LINK REMEMBERED

Twenty years ago, on June 18th 1992, Bridgwater became the first UK town to twin with a Czechoslovakian town after the Velvet Revolution.

On June 18th 2012, secretary and founder Cllr Brian Smedley, made a special visit to the Spean Bridge Commando monument in the foothills of Ben Nevis with a group of Czechs to remember why.

"In 1938 Bridgwater was in the history books following a famous by-election victory by Independent Progressive Vernon Bartlett in the town which sent a message of hope to the Czechs and Slovaks of those prewar years that not everyone in Britain agreed with the Munich Treaty which had let them down so badly in the face of Hitler's Nazi expansionism. Bridgwater people can be rightly proud of that moment. The full story can be found at our website www.vernonbartlett.co.uk."

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