1 Loch Lomond Highland Games

1 Loch Lomond Highland Games

Balloch, Saturday

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HAVE a gander as some of Scotland's strongest men strut their stuff at one of the top three Highland Games in Scotland.

Running since 1967, the Loch Lomond Highland Games hosts a range of events such as the Scottish Highland Games Association World Heavyweight Championship as well as old favourites like the hammer throw, tossing the caber and tug of war.

Spectators will also get a chance to watch athletes run a full circuit of the main arena as they finish off Scotland's only Highland Games Triathalon.

Starting at 9.30am at Moss o' Balloch Park, the event will close with a mass pipe band march at around 5pm through the main street in Balloch. Tickets are priced from £3.


2 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

Friday onwards

THIS year's jazz and blues offering in Edinburgh begins with its usual bang this weekend.

Saturday plays host to the non-stop entertainment of the Mardi Gras, which brings swing, dixieland, boogie, blues, and New Orleans jazz to the heart of Edinburgh at the Grassmarket.

Entry is free, with a line-up including Hamish McGregor Quintet, Jensen Interceptors, Lyndon Anderson, Freddie King, Gramophone Jass Band and the Criterion Parade Band.

Another free event in the programme follows on Sunday with the Edinburgh Festival Carnival. There is a parade from The Mound to West Princes Street at 2pm, with performances at Princes Street Gardens and the Grassmarket. Prices and venues vary.


3 Highland and Moray Food and Drink Festival

Inverness, Saturday

TICKLE your tastebuds with some local flavours at this annual food and drink festival celebrating the best of Highland cuisine.

Around 50 exhibitors show off their wares with participants given the chance to taste, sample and buy a selection of food and drink.

Local restaurateurs David Barnett from The Torridon, Stuart Thomson, from Glenmoriston Townhouse, and Norman Macdonald, from Cafe 1, all demonstrate their skills in the chefs' live theatre segments.

The event takes place at Eden Court Theatre from 11am to 5pm, costs £5 and is free for children under 16.


4 Perch Carnival

Glasgow, Saturday and Sunday

THE Perch Carnival is an aerial and street theatre extravaganza on the buildings and rooftops around Rottenrow Gardens. Involving 200 performers including street, circus and aerial artists, a mass community choir, and a full symphony orchestra, there is also a live video link-up to performing partners in Brazil.

The show marks the beginning of the Merchant City's Surge Festival, an international festival of street arts, physical theatre and circus and is also part of the Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme. The show begins at 9.15pm. Tickets are available from the Arches Box Office and cost £8 for adults and £6 for concessions. Children under five go free.


5 Dalbeattie Walking Festival

Dumfries and Galloway, Friday to Sunday

FOR those who like a gentle amble to others who prefer a more strenuous hike, the seventh Dalbeattie Walking Festival has a little bit of something for everyone.

Organised by volunteers and the Dalbeattie Community Initiative, there are woodland, hill and family walks as well as a Dalbeattie Mystery Town Trail.

Walks are charged at £2 per adult (school-age children free), unless stated otherwise.

Bookings are not taken, just turn up at designated meeting points.


6 Nairn Seashore Roadshow


NAIRN Central Links will host a free, day-long celebration of all things nautical, with seashore activities, events and games from 11am to 4pm.

Children will be able to take part in a kite-making workshop, make sand sculptures, have their faces painted and help put together life-sized dolphin and whale jigsaws. Free seafood will be provided by the Moray Firth Partnership, and there will be stories and music from master storyteller Bob Pegg, as well as talks and activities from a host of conservation organisations and charities.


7 The Spokesman

Glasgow, today to Saturday

Get on your bike, or a bike at least, at Pollok Country Park for a theatre experience celebrating the great outdoors.

Bikes and helmets are provided for you to cycle through the story, which consists of five to 10-minute stints over the course of an hour. This event caters for families with children aged eight and over who are competent cyclists.

Advanced booking is recommended, with tickets costing £8.


8 Nordic Knitathon

Edinburgh, Saturday and Sunday

THIS event is for all those who know their knit from their purl, or just have an appreciation for Nordic knitwear which has graced our TV screens.

Held at the National Museum of Scotland, participants can collaborate in the making of a knitted masterpiece in the shape of a giant blanket. Wool is provided, but bring your own needles.

This free drop-in event accompanies the museum's Knit Works! exhibition, a collection of contemporary knitwear ranging from the traditional to quirky with featured designers from Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Scotland.


9 The Horse Comes First Raceday

Hamilton, this afternoon

CHILDREN can horse around at Hamilton racecourse where they can learn all about the physiology and care of horses at this family roadshow.

A special painted horse will be on hand to show off the anatomy of the racehorse and there will also be a chance to dress up like a jockey or try out the riding simulator, the Equicizer. Kieren Fallon is also booked to ride. Gates open at noon on Thursday with first race at 2.15pm.

Tickets cost £15 with under 18s going free.


10 Iron Age Gourmet

Aberfeldy, today

GO historic at the Scottish Crannog Centre by trying your hand at cooking and eating the way our ancestors would have done.

Dine out on a feast of boar bangers, stews, brews and foraged greens to show off the tastes of the Iron Age, and try your hand at butter and cheese making.

While there, take a tour of the ancient loch-dwelling and try your hand ancient crafts and Iron Age working techniques.


Don't miss

Heavy Horse Show, East Kilbride, Sunday

FROM Shetlands to Clydesdales, get up close and personal with 200 horses at one of Scotland's biggest heavy horse shows held at the National Museum of Rural Life.

Kids can take a pony ride or make a hobby horse in their children's craft sessions.

Adults £8/£7, Child £4.50 (under-fives free). www.nms.ac.uk/our_museums/museum_of_rural_life/whats_on/heavy_horse_show.aspx