It’s going to be a busy year and as Paul Trainer and Lorraine Wilson reveal, Scots will be spoiled for choice in the months ahead with a plethora of special attractions and events taking place across the country...



There’s reason to remember Scotland’s place in the story of international football as part of a year-long calendar of events from the Scottish FA. The latest chapter in the oldest rivalry in world football will be written at Hampden as Scotland play England in a 150th Anniversary Heritage Match to mark the first meeting between the two sides in 1872.

The Herald:

The first ever international football match was played at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow. The programme of commemorations will feature a celebratory kick-off at the same location on St Andrew’s Day, featuring two of the great-grandchildren of Joseph Taylor, one of Scotland’s players in the original match.

The friendly at Hampden to mark the anniversary takes place on Tuesday 12 September. The game fits into a schedule for the national team dominated by modern aspirations as Scotland play European qualifiers against Cyprus, Spain, Georgia, and Norway. PT



Housed in the Old Laigh Kirk, Paisley Arts Centre is being modernised to continue as a home for local comedy, theatre, music, and family events when it reopens this year. Modern seating and a more welcoming foyer extension will be the most obvious changes alongside a new studio space for rehearsals.

The Herald:

The transformation is part of a programme to build on the work during Paisley’s bid to be the UK City of Culture with a continuing £100 million investment in venues and outdoor spaces. This includes a reimagining of the Paisley Museum with a focus on industrial heritage and the history of the Paisley Pattern. PT


National Museums of Scotland, until April 23

This beautiful exhibition might have been slightly overshadowed in the presence of Daleks and Cybermen at the Dr Who exhibition, but to shake off the late winter blues enjoy the pop of colour offered by Bernat Klein: Design in Colour.

The Herald:

The designer from Yugoslavia (Serbia on a modern map) settled in the Borders with his family after the Second World War. He set up a business that supplied Europe’s fashion houses. The exhibition is not only wonderfully sweet eye candy to anyone who loves bold and interesting textile design, but for those who drool over Modernist houses there is an extensive section on High Sunderland, the 1957 house built for Klein near Selkirk. The exterior was designed by Peter Womersley and the interior by Klein himself. It’s a slice of modernist, mid-century heaven. LW


February 16-19,

February can offer some decent weather for snow sports enthusiasts, but the option to have a break from the slopes and enjoy the outdoors while staying toastier indoors can be extremely appealing.

The Fort William Mountain Festival has been attracting outdoors enthusiasts for many years. The event, hosted by the UK’s outdoor capital has grown to incorporate events that look at not only enjoying what we have in the present, but how we protect an environment that’s more fragile than it looks, for future generations.

The Herald:

There are opportunities to try new outdoor pursuits, such as stand-up paddleboarding, practical sessions like bike maintenance, but also moments to sit back and watch beautiful walking and climbing films. There is also a programme of talks and exhibitions. There’s live music and a proper Highland ceilidh.

If money is tight there are some free events to try if getting into the outdoors more is a 2023 resolution. LW


Glasgow Dreamers: The songs of Ivor Cutler
Summerhall, Edinburgh, Saturday, March 11

Scotland always celebrates its great humourists – and the more surreal the better, from Billy Connolly to Chic Murray to Ivor Cutler. He might not have the mass market appeal of Connolly and the music hall pedigree of Murray but Cutler stands alone as Scotland’s great undefinable talent.

The Herald:

From his days as a teacher to making albums, writing poetry and prose and making inroads into radio as early as the 1950s, he was cast as Buster Bloodvessel in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery. Paul McCartney had seen him performing a song called I’m Going in a Field on Late Night Line Up. The lyrics appealed to the band’s tendency for the psychedelic, so Cutler became a favourite.

An album in 1967, Ludo, was produced by George Martin and he also became a favourite of late-night Radio 1 listeners as John Peel championed him with multiple sessions over the decades. Examine the record collection of your favourite Scottish indie musician and Ivor will be in there.

The Herald:

There have already been events to celebrate the centenary of the man who was born in Govan on January 15, 2023, and gently dissected the idea of Scottish identity.

Among the events coming up this year is Glasgow Dreamers: The songs of Ivor Cutler ft. Emma Pollock and Rick Redbeard.

The Glasgow Dreams are Citizen Bravo, Malcolm Benzie and Raymond MacDonald, plus guests.

The guests are Emma Pollock (The Delgados) and Rick Anthony (Rick Redbeard, The Phantom Band) joining the Dreamers to perform selections from Cutler’s musical output, backed by a band featuring members of eagleowl, Withered Hand and LT Leif.

The first biography of Cutler has also just been published. Look out for event around A Life Outside The Sitting Room by Bruce Findlay. LW



A global hit exhibition, The Art of Banksy, will arrive in Glasgow this year. The blockbuster collection, previously shown from Melbourne to San Francisco, includes 145 pieces from private collections, assembled to create the world’s largest touring display of authenticated Banksy artworks.

The Herald:

It provides an overview of work from 2002-2017. Notable pieces include Girl with Balloon and Flower Thrower that have become touchstones of modern pop culture, presented with video interviews with associated artists. The date and venue have yet to be announced with Glasgow confirmed as a location for the 2023 tour. PT



A maritime marvel sets sail for Lerwick in Shetland, the final host port for the 2023 Tall Ships Races. A family-friendly festival will welcome the return of a fleet of vessels after they compete across European waters, crewed by thousands of young sail trainees.

The Herald:

Folk act The Peatbog Faeries and Shetland musicians Fiddlers’ Bid are among the eclectic music line-up for the festival. The colourful visit will see a showcase for the island’s culture and history taking place from 26-29 July. PT



When e-readers appeared, there was a panic around the death of the paperback. So many years on and the virtual versions sit alongside.

It seems that readers want that tangible connection to the stories they’re told. They also want the chance to get up close and personal with the storytellers, the historians, the poets and the biographers who create those paper escapes.

The Herald: Darren McGarveyDarren McGarvey (Image: Best of Scotland)

The big cities have their own book festivals of course, but step outside those and we find equally impressive events that allow authors to introduce their books to us and sell them with their squiggles.

This month Pitlochry Festival Theatre welcomes Winter Words from Thursday, February 9 to Sunday 12. In the warmth of the auditorium and newly opened Studio performance space, the Pitlochry programme ranges from Ricky Ross talking with the theatre’s artistic director about his Walking Back Home memoir, to Denise Mina telling David Greig about her new novel Confidence.

Also in February, from 16 to 19 authors will descend on venues across Paisley, including Darren McGarvey, Hebridean baker Coinneach MacLeod, Lowborn author Kerry Hudson and Don Paterson on Toy Fights: A Boyhood, a memoir of his childhood in Dundee (see his Personal Best on page 34).

This year OneRen, the leisure, culture and sport organisation is offering a price structure for events to make it more accessible to all. Pay what you can, no questions asked.

In May it’s the turn of the Boswell Book Festival, from May 12 to 14. Usually held in the grounds of Dumfries House, this is the gathering place for those who prefer to lose themselves in biography and memoir. The final line-up is yet to be announced but non-fiction fans should put it in the diary.

The Herald: Denise MinaDenise Mina (Image: Best of Scotland)

In June there’s the prestigious Borders Book Festival. Under the creative directorship of Alistair Moffat, the event that takes over Harmony House and Gardens in Melrose around midsummer, making the most of that beautiful stretch into the evening.

This year’s programme is yet to be published but you can be sure that it will follow the quality of 2022, which offered the eclecticism of Joanna Lumley, Andrew Marr, Fintan O’Toole and Jack Dee, as well as a huge children’s programme.

Much later in the year there’s the Stirling Festival that will already be in the diary of every lover of dastardly deeds and murder mysteries. Bloody Scotland returns from September 15 to 17 – every year a who’s who of the best in crime writing. LW


Glasgow, opening this summer

The R&A is the highest authority in golf, but its link to St Andrews and the Old Course does make it seem like “it’s not for the likes of us”.

That will change this year as the R&A opens a new indoor and outdoor golfing facility on Cumbernauld Road, aiming to make the game more inclusive.

The Herald:

Golf It! Is being built on the south bank of Hogganfield Loch and includes the redevelopment of Lethamhill golf course.

It will be about fun rather than serious competition and is a new way to introduce people of all ages to the game – in an affordable way.

It’s about golf as entertainment, with a twist on pitch and putt, adventure golf and community putting greens. There will be a double decker floodlit driving range and a new look family nine-hole course. LW


August 3-13,

The world’s best cyclists will experience some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery for the UCI Cycling Worlds, the first time 13 existing World Championship events will take place together. The men’s and women’s road races follow a route around Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat in the capital before taking in The Kelpies, the Wallace Monument and Loch Lomond, then the Crow Road en route to the finish line at Glasgow’s George Square.

The Herald:

Neah Evans who became the first Scottish woman to win three medals at the same Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last summer, including silver in the road race said: “When I started cycling, I trained on the roads around Balloch. I’m so excited for the best riders in the world to compete in some of the most scenic surroundings of Scotland. It will be an honour for the Elite Women’s Road Race to draw the largest cycling event in history to a close.”

The competition will take place across 11 days from 3 to 13 August in venues and locations in Glasgow and across Scotland. More than a million spectators are anticipated as well as a global television audience in more than 160 markets, making it one of the most significant events in the country this summer. PT



Basking in the reflected glow of being declared Scotland’s newest city last year, Dunfermline will welcome new visitors in 2023. Start in the medieval Heritage Quarter with the pink hued Abbot House, renovated as a local craft gift shop, and nearby Dunfermline Palace with its links to Scotland’s royal history.

The Herald:

The city’s Carnegie Library and Gallery houses a selection of rare manuscripts. A first edition of Robert Burns poems, saved by a collector in the late 1800s as it was being ripped up by a barber to clean razors, is on display in the library reading room until February 5th. PT



Glasgow Film Festival will celebrate its 19th edition from 1-12 March. Highlights include a tenth anniversary screening of Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin with a live performance of the score by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as a sleek alien stalking the raucous streets of Glasgow, providing an unusual look at familiar Scottish locations.

The Herald:

This summer you will also have the chance to see Glasgow double as 1960s Manhattan in the fifth instalment of the Indiana Jones movie franchise which was partially filmed in the city. New television and movie studio facilities at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall and Leith Docks in Edinburgh will ensure Scotland continues to have a starring role in future productions. PT



Ambitious plans to transform the Scottish National Gallery will be completed this summer. The creation of new gallery space involved excavation underneath the existing building and its setting on the Mound.

The Herald:

A large-scale landscaping project will provide better access from Princes Street Gardens while daylit galleries will show work by pioneering Scottish artists like Phoebe Anna Traquair, William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Sir Henry Raeburn and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Scottish colourist paintings will be displayed among major works from the first half of the twentieth century and early photographs of Scotland’s cities. Street life sketches by David Allen will provide a glimpse of Edinburgh in the late eighteenth century. PT


Kenmore PH15 2HY,

The fire at the Crannog Centre on Loch Tay in June 2021 was devastating for everyone who worked at the museum. The wooden construction was destroyed in under 10 minutes.

It has operated for a visitor centre for almost 20 years and become a valuable part of the Kenmore landscape.

The Herald:

It has picked itself up and a new museum is under construction the Scottish Crannog Centre is currently building a new museum. It’s relocating to the north side of Loch Tay located at Dalerb, and is planned to be the most sustainable museum in Scotland.

It’s due to open this spring and will continue in its work to bring the Iron Age in Scotland to life for all visitors. LW



From sea buckthorn to oyster mushrooms, Scotland’s countryside is a larder of wildflowers and edible treats to forage if you know where to look.

The Herald:

Mark Williams at Galloway Wild Foods is part of a growing movement to reconnect with nature through learning about the plants, fungi, seaweed, and shellfish that grow all around us. Guided spring forest and hedgerow foraging walks are a great way to start, exploring the identification and culinary uses of different plants.

Setting off from the Gatehouse of Fleet in Galloway, the 1.5 miles forage along country paths ends with a tasting picnic. PT


Brechin, July 14-16

The last place we might expect to see crowds of bikers taking their Harley Davidsons out for a mass ride is Brechin.

For those who don’t know the link, the Davidson part comes from Alexander (Sandy) Davidson, a wright at Netherton Smiddy. The family lived at Aberlemno near Brechin and the family cottage was bought and preserved by local enthusiasts. The family moved to Wisconsin, but it’s still regarded as a place of pilgrimage by dedicated Harley riders.

The Herald:

The Harley Davidson In The City event is a few days where Brechin becomes the hub of the Harley world. The events are for more than just dedicated bikers. There are markets, including food and drink stalls. There is live music including an outside stage and bar. There’s a funfair and of course, this being bike heaven, there’s a bike show, a fashion show (expect a lot of leather) and a tattoo competition. There’s a campsite too to accommodate the numbers. LW



Inspired by the popularity of crime fiction and the contribution Scottish writers make to the genre, the festival from 23-26 February has Aberdeen as an atmospheric backdrop. Venues will include The Anatomy Rooms amidst the Gothic architecture of Marischal College, St Nicholas Kirk, the Lemon Tree and Aberdeen Music Hall.

The Herald:

Kirkcaldy-born author Val McDermid will discuss her novel, 1989, the second in the Allie Burns series. On the opening night, she will join other Scottish authors Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone and Luca Veste as the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a literary supergroup that covers favourite tunes in a quirky live show. PT