THE Great Outdoors of Scotland was originally invented because the umbrella industry was going into steep decline, with potential customers explaining to despairing salesmen: “I’m afraid I can’t buy any more of your cloth-covered hingmies with the spokes and curved handles. I tried using one in the shower the other day. And, yes, it was pretty nifty at preventing me getting wet. But since I only hopped in the shower in the first place to get drookit, I wasn’t overly impressed…”

And so the Scottish outdoors was hastily constructed, with hills, glens, trees, bushes… plus oodles and oodles of rain. Since that day the umbrella industry has boomed, and Scots have groaned, praying for a dust-dry day. Luckily we also have something called the Scottish summer, when the wet stuff skooshing from the clouds temporarily abates, and we can all come out to play. But what to do in such a season? Thankfully there are numerous out-door festivals and events to enjoy over the summer period. Here’s our pick of the best….

Dundee Summer (Bash) Streets Festival, July 14-24

MARVELMANIA has taken over the world, with children and adults obsessing over Iron Man, Spiderman and various other sassy Stateside superfolk. But we should remember that Scotland has a bunch of homegrown comic-book stars, including Dennis the Menace and The Bash Street Kids, who hail from Dundee. The Dundee Summer (Bash) Streets Festival brings these characters to life, with a pop-up outdoor comic museum, Dennis fun-run, street performances and more.

Kirriemuir Agricultural Show, July 16

THERE have been many famous cows throughout history. Ermintrude from The Magic Roundabout, for example. Then there’s… no, wait. Ermintrude is the only one we can recall. Which is a pity, because cows are charismatic beasts, as you’ll discover during a visit to the Kirriemuir Agricultural Show, where majestic moos are displayed in all their finery. There’s also other livestock, plus a wide range of farming machinery and equipment on display. Plenty to enjoy for those with a passion for the pastoral.

WOD on the Loch Fitness Festival, July 16-17

THE Scots are famous for their taxing fitness regime. There’s nothing we enjoy more than doing squats and stretches in Sainsbury’s. (Squat down and grab a family-size bag of Wotsits from the bottom aisle. Stretch up to reach that bar of Fruit & Nut in the top aisle.) There are even some eccentric natives of Alba who like to build muscle and tone their bodies. Such people will enjoy the WOD on the Loch Fitness Festival. WOD is parlance in the CrossFit world of training for Workout of the Day. At this energetic event on the banks of Loch Lomond you won’t spot one weaselly Wotsit, just elated grunters and groaners yelling “Feel the burn!”, or something of that ilk. There’s also food and drink (of the healthy sort), plus a bar and DJ. What more could you want? (Actually, we’d love a bag of Wotsits… will we never learn?!)

The Scottish Festival of Motoring, July 17

ONE of the best aspects of the Great Outdoors is being able to inhale whopping big lungfuls of fresh air. Though this can become a tad bland after a while, which is when you might want to add a few puffs of carbon monoxide to your oxygen intake. The Scottish Festival of Motoring, at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre, should supply plenty of the above, as classic and retro cars and motorcycles broom-broom. There’s also daring stunts to ooh and aah along with; supercar passenger experiences; and three times trial bike world champ Steve Colley showcasing his skills. If that doesn’t float your boat (or cruise your car) amble over to the children's zone or trade village, then enjoy the antics of the fire-breathing Flyin’ Fyfer drag race car, as it roars and rockets round the track.

Alexandra Park Festival Day

For details, email:, July 23

AMONGST the activities on offer at the Alexandra Park Festival Day in Glasgow's East End is a fancy dress parade, with guests encouraged to dress as their favourite fictional character. This could mean wearing a messy blond wig and a suit two sizes two small, then revealing you’re Boris Johnson, that foppish fantasy figure who claims to be the UK Prime Minister. Alternatively you could dress as Winnie the Pooh, and still wear your Boris Johnson outfit. There’s also food and a market stall, kids activities, live music and wrestling.

Merchant City Festival, July 28-31

THERE have been many legendary grudge matches throughout history. Muhammad Ali v. Joe Frazier. Tyson Fury v. Deontay Wilder. Boris Johnson v. His Comb. (Yup, we’re having a pop at BoJo, again.) Perhaps the saltiest squabble is between Glasgow’s West End and its Merchant City to decide which is the coolest district. This eclectic festival just might give the Merchant City a points victory. The long weekend of entertainment includes circus performers, dance, food, drink, craft stalls and outdoor arts, all on the streets near George Square. The event kicks off with a spectacular carnival party.

The Bridge Family Festival Day, July 30

OKAY, we claimed the Merchant City is possibly the coolest Glasgow area. Now we’re going to undermine that assertion by pointing out that Easterhouse also has a feisty open-air festival for all the family. (Though if you happen to have a pet giraffe as a family member, we’d advise not bringing it along. Giraffes get very excitable at festivals, and will invariably pester you until they can have a shot on the bungee jump.) This is a free event in The Bridge complex’s car park, and also in the building itself. There’s music, children’s activities, a swimming pool, performances and food stalls. Plus that bungee jump we mentioned… just don’t tell your pet giraffe.

Foodies Festival Aug 5-7

EVERYONE feels sluggish in the summer. If you want to feel more sluggish than usual, load up on scoff and booze. The best place to do so is the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park, where there’s nifty nibbles to nosh and drinkies to drizzle down your gullet. Top chefs will be in attendance, with cooking and baking lessons for those who manage to avoid the postprandial snooze.

Truckfest, Aug 6-7

THERE’S only one thing more impressive than a big truck. And that’s an even bigger truck. At Truckfest, in Ingliston’s Royal Highland Centre, you’ll spot mighty motor vehicles of all shapes and sizes, many of them crashing and bashing into each other. You can even take a ride on one of the mega mechanical beasts, though be prepared for a bumpy ride… This is the wheel deal, with fairground rides, too, for youngsters to enjoy.

Largs Viking Festival Aug 27-Sept 4

ANY history buff will inform you that the Vikings were a bunch of peace-loving Scandinavian folk, whose hobbies included knitting, crochet and dosing contentedly on a favourite rocking-chair. You would never know this was the case on a visit to the Largs Viking Festival, where you’ll witness axe throwing, a Viking skirmish and a fire procession. Surely this can’t be pukka? Next, the organisers of this earth-shaking shindig will be informing us that Vikings also liked pillaging… as if!