Friday, March 31, 2023
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Scottish spaceports “months away from liftoff”

According to the Scottish Government, two Scottish spaceports will not launch into orbit for several months.

To provide ministers and businesses with guidance on how to maximise potential for the industry, a new expert group has been established.

Scots with ties to the global space industry make for the Scotland International Space Advisory Committee (Sisac).

From the A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland, a company by the name of Orbex wants to launch commercial satellites using its Prime rocket.

The Shetland Islands’ SaxaVord spaceport will be utilised by a number of businesses, including Edinburgh-based Skyrora.

The Scottish Government said the first orbital launches from both sites are expected in 2023.

Business minister Ivan McKee said: “Space brings great opportunity for Scotland in terms of the economic development it delivers, its relevance for the climate change agenda and the power it has to inspire the next generation.

“That is why the Scottish Government has identified it as a priority in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

“The space sector is a key opportunity for the future and we will continue to build on our strengths.

“The expertise and insight offered by the members of Sisac will be hugely beneficial to our progress.

“I am grateful to the members of this new committee for volunteering to come together to help Scotland live up to its full potential in growing the space sector.”

In 2021, ministers made it a goal for the Scottish space industry to achieve a £4bn in share of the global market and create 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Joanna Peters, chief executive of StratConGlobal in Colorado, is Sisac’s chairwoman.

She said: “It is the intent of the Sisac to help fuel and ignite a national passion toward a space-based economy by capitalising on its strong heritage of exploration, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Working with the GlobalScot organisation and our network of national and international leaders, we aim to develop strategic recommendations, building upon precise and transparent advocacy, influence, consultation and development.”

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Three people and a pet killed in early morning hotel blaze


Emergency services were called to the scene at the New County Hotel, Perth, at around 5.02am on Monday.

On Monday morning, a fire broke out at a hotel in Perth, killing three people and a dog.

On December 2, at around 5.02 am, emergency personnel were called to the scene at the New County Hotel in County Place.

The Scottish Incident and Rescue Service (SFRS) confirmed to STV News that the fire claimed the lives of at least three humans and a dog.

The Scottish Ambulance Services treated a number of individuals for minor wounds.

Crews are still on the scene after the fire has been put out to conduct safety checks.

Police Scotland confirmed a “number of guests” had been evacuated from the building, alongside two people from a neighbouring block of flats.

Chief superintendent Phil Davison said: “Our thoughts are very much with the families and loved ones of those who have died at what is a very difficult time for everyone.

“Our enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of what has happened and officers are conducting a joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the fatalities as “heart breaking news”.

Mr Swinney, the MSP for Perthshire North, tweeted: “My sympathies with all affected by this tragedy.”

Deputy leader of Perth & Kinross Council, councillor Eric Drysdale, warned members of the public that it was a “very serious incident”.

He added: “All announcements regarding any confirmed casualties will be made by the emergency services.

“Roads around the scene, specifically County Place, Leonard Street, New Row and Hospital Street, are closed. Please avoid the area today.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are currently in attendance alongside emergency service partners at a commercial building fire at County Place in Perth.

“Operations Control mobilised nine fire appliances to the scene after the alarm was raised at 5.02am on Monday, January 2.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson “We received a call from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service of a fire at the New County Hotel in Fife at 5.05am.

“We responded with 21 resources including our Special Operation Resource Team, with our first resource on scene at 5.12am.”

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7 Amazing Accommodation Ideas in East Lothian


East Lothian is ideal for a short break or weekend trip near Edinburgh. Catch the train or arrive by electric car and enjoy peace, seclusion, good food, and long walks on the beach.

Activities such as golf, surfing, wakeboarding and forest walks are readily available. You could also visit a castle or a museum. And the holiday accommodation in East Lothian is second to none.

Here are some great places to stay:

The Bus Stop, Gifford 

The Bus Stop

Looking for unique self-catering accommodation in East Lothian? Try staying in a converted bus! The Bus Stop offers a lovely quirky getaway on a working farm with bespoke interior and a touch of luxury. Enjoy a large deck with a log fired hot tub, BBQ and fire pit, all set on a spacious grassed area with uninterrupted views of the Lammermuir Hills. Pets are welcome too.

Find out more about The Bus Stop, including contact details and how to get there:

The Bus Stop

The Secret Cabin, Seacliff, North Berwick 

Switch off at The Secret Cabin, a hideaway for two, nestled behind woodland and only a short walk to stunning Seacliff Beach. The perfect place for a digital detox, this intimate cabin would suit couples looking to enjoy some rural peace and quiet. Nearby North Berwick offers a taste of life in East Lothian, with independent shops, cafes and restaurants complemented by seaside views.

Find out more about The Secret Cabin, including contact details and how to get there:

The Secret Cabin

Archerfield House, Dirleton 

There’s so much to see and do at Archerfield, which offers a variety of private luxury accommodation for couples or larger groups. Book a spa treatment, a round of golf or just relax and enjoy a walk along the East Lothian coastline. The historic 17th century mansion house offers exclusive accommodation, or you could take a luxury short break in Marine Villa or The Boat House.

Find out more about Archerfield House, including contact details and how to get there:

Archerfield House

Whitekirk Hill, Whitekirk

East Lothian is famous for its beautiful beaches and sea views. Make the most of these amazing land and seascapes at Whitekirk Hill, a collection of contemporary and stylish lodges which sleep up to 10 people. Guests have access to a Leisure Club with a gym, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. These well-appointed lodges would be perfect for couples, families or groups of friends.

Find out more about Whitekirk Hill, including contact details and how to get there:

Whitekirk Hill

Carberry Tower Mansion House & Estate, Musselburgh

Book a stay at Carberry Tower and experience one of Scotland’s great mansion houses. Once a childhood holiday home for the late Queen Elizabeth II, it is now a unique hotel and exclusive use venue for weddings and other events. The rooms here epitomise elegance, including the luxurious Grande and Royal Suites. Carberry Tower is also famous for its afternoon tea.

Find out more about Carberry Tower, including contact details and how to get there:

Carberry Tower Mansion House & Estate

The Goblin Ha’, Gifford

The Goblin Ha’

The Goblin Ha’ is a family-run country inn set in the pretty village of Gifford. The inn has seven en-suite bedrooms, a cosy lounge bar with a real fire, conservatory restaurant and a fantastic beer garden. Surrounded by golf courses, this is the perfect place to base yourself for a golf holiday. Pets are welcome too and it is only a short drive from Edinburgh.

Find out more about The Goblin Ha’, including contact details and how to get there:

The Goblin Ha’

Duck’s Inn, Aberlady

This coastal restaurant with rooms styles itself as the perfect accommodation for golfers, bird watchers and walkers who love food. Nearby, Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve offers beautiful walks through different habitats. At Duck’s Inn, guests will enjoy two AA Rosette fine dining as well as excellent bar bistro food – always made with fresh local produce.

Find out more about Duck’s Inn, including contact details and how to get there:

Duck’s Inn at Aberlady

Book a room in East Lothian and take advantage of the amazing accommodation in this part of Scotland. You can find out more, search for accommodation, and plan your perfect trip at VisitEastLothian.

Other Articles You Might Like 

Stunning Walks in The Lothians
Awesome Days Out in East Scotland
Places to Visit in Scotland in 2023


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15 Sea-View Coastal & Beach Cottages in Scotland


Pennan, Aberdeenshire

Whether you’re dreaming of a remote beach holiday or a historic little fishing village full of charm, there are so many luxurious coastal cottages fully equipped for a comfortable self-catering getaway in Scotland. Scotland’s stunningly beautiful coastline is enchanting – it’s full of golden sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and rock features, curious marine life, watersport activities, as well as bags of history and heritage.

Nothing will blow out those cobwebs better than some fresh sea air and beautiful coastal walks. Here are just some of the wonderful options available to choose from. Most of our accommodation picks below are pet-friendly, so you can plan a much needed break away in a dog friendly coastal cottage without leaving your beloved pooch behind. Check out our top pet-friendly recommendations for more inspiration.

1. Sanderling Coastal Cottages

Location: Port O’ Warren, Dumfries & Galloway

Just a two-minute walk from the beach, Sanderling’s charm will enchant you. This delightful two-bedroom cottage (sleeps four) offers an idyllic coastal self-catering retreat in a peaceful haven, with luxurious bedrooms and a cosy lounge where you can curl up in front of an open fire. Port O’Warren beach is right on the doorstep, with several other beaches also very close by. Sanderling is also a pet-friendly coastal cottage, so don’t forget to bring your pooch!

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2. The Old Lobster House

Location: Lower Burnmouth, Scottish Borders

The Old Lobster House (sleeps three) sits in a picturesque setting right on the seafront in the fishing village of Lower Burnmouth. Just 3 miles from the seaside town of Eyemouth, this quaint cottage was converted from an old lobster holding pen and has stunning views out to sea. There’s a spacious dining kitchen and cosy sitting room with comfortable seating around the wood-burning stove. Upstairs is a double and a single bedroom, both of which have large windows from which to further admire the captivating sea views. Dogs are also welcome.

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Explore the Scottish Borders


3. Shore Cottage 

Location: Ballantrae, South Ayrshire

Shore Cottage (sleeps four) is one of three whitewashed stone beach houses right on the sea front, tucked away in a peaceful location at the edge of the village of Ballantrae. It’s situated next to the picturesque old harbour within a conservation area. The well-equipped cottages have homely interiors and offer spectacular sea views across the bay to Ailsa Craig, Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre. High Mains Cottage sleeps six. Dogs are also welcome.

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Explore South Ayrshire


4. Crosple Cottage

Location: Kilmelford near Oban, Argyll

Crosple Cottage is a secluded shoreline hideaway (sleeps two) which is beautifully furnished with a lovely interior. In a stunning rural setting near the harbour town of Oban and with stunning views over Fearnach Bay, it’s perfect for a romantic coastal getaway. ⁠French doors open out onto a sheltered suntrap of a garden offering a terraced patio, BBQ area, garden furniture and a hard-to-beat vista. You’ll even get his and hers mountain bikes and wellington boots included!

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5. Weavers Cottage

LocationApplecross, Highlands

Weavers Cottage (sleeps four) is equipped with everything you’ll need for a comfortable self-catering stay. It has a double bedroom on the mezzanine above the lounge and there’s a double sofa bed in the sea-facing sunroom for additional guests. You might find yourself gazing out to sea for hours from the sunroom and spotting seals on the rocks. Outside, the cottage has an area for BBQs and watching the sun go down. The local sheep might come and say hello! Dogs are also welcome.

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6. Burrastow Cottage

Location: Mainland Shetland

Burrastow Cottage (sleeps five) is located on the Burrastow peninsula on the west side of Shetland. Here you can find spectacular scenery and peace for the perfect tranquil retreat! The cottage is a 19th century grade C listed building with three bedrooms, providing self-catering accommodation on a weekly or nightly basis. Right on the epic Shetland shoreline, you’ll even have access to a private pier.

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7. The Beach Bothy

Location: Durness, Sutherland

At Balnakeil Beach Bothy (sleeps two) you can step out of the door onto the beach and walk a mile and a half along the amazing white sands past some of the most spectacular dunes. It is well known as a bird watchers’ paradise. On the estate of Balnakeil House in Durness, the inside is finished to a high standard and there’s a window where you can gaze across the bay whilst enjoying your meals. This is a perfect place for solitude or romance for those who love the best of undisturbed coastal scenery and surroundings. However, it’s just a mile walk to the village pub, local shop or chocolatier, and you can play golf, fish, go bird watching – or just enjoy the incredible walks! Dogs are also welcome.

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8. Fuchsia Cottage

Location: Fortrose, Black Isle

Fuchsia Cottage (sleeps five) is situated right on the shorefront in the charming village of Fortrose beside its beach, small harbour and sailing club. This listed 1800s cottage is comfortable inside, with two bedrooms and all conveniences required for an enjoyable self-catering stay by the sea. It’s ideal for observing the wildlife and Moray Firth dolphins as well as exploring the Highlands. Restaurants, shops and pubs are within very easy walking distance, you could enjoy walks around the Black Isle Villages, and Inverness is 12 miles away with a regular bus service.

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Explore the Black Isle


9. Sailmaker’s Cottage

Location: Portknockie, Moray Speyside

The newly refurbished Sailmaker’s Cottage (sleeps five) has incredible views over a cliff-side onto the Moray Firth, situated in the old fishing village of Portknockie. The two-storey cottage has two bedrooms and uninterrupted sea views from within the first row of houses on the shore. Located just a few minutes’ walk from the famous Bow Fiddle Rock, it’s ideally located for watching dolphins and exploring this beautiful stretch of coastline, full of cliff-side walks and deserted golden beaches.

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Explore Moray Speyside


10. Mill of Nethermill

Location: Mill of Nethermill by Pennan, Aberdeenshire

At Mill of Nethermill you’ll find three stand-alone cottages (all sleep four) which are well-equipped for a comfortable self-catering stay with homely interiors. Situated near the picturesque historic fishing village of Pennan which featured in the film Local Hero, the cottages are located in a secluded bay where you can watch the waves crash on the beach, look out for dolphins and seals, or explore the boot-leggers caves! There is also Millshore Pottery and Collectables onsite which has local art, pottery, and antiques to peruse. Dogs are also welcome.

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11. Dram Cottage

Location: Sandend, Aberdeenshire

Dram Cottage is a quaint little fisherman’s cottage (sleeps four) which has recently been completely renovated to provide a comfortable self-catering stay right on the historic harbour of Sandend. It has a double bedroom and a sofa bed. Sandend is located just 3 miles from the coastal village of Portsoy or 7 miles from Cullen. There are many beaches, coastal related attractions and natural features to discover in this beautiful area, as well as Glenglassaugh Distillery and a pleasant walk between Sandend and Portsoy. Dogs are also welcome.

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Explore Aberdeenshire


12. Pew with a View Seafront Cottage

Location: Sandhaven, Aberdeenshire

Pew with a View Seafront Cottage is a 1600s fisherman’s cottage (sleeps four) which has a double bedroom and a sofa bed. It boasts a lovely modern interior, is situated just 5 metres from the sea and even has a boathouse. It offers direct access to a boat ramp which leads into Sandhaven’s small harbour, allowing easy access for boats, kayaks and divers. Wake up to the sight and sound of the sea and enjoy the spectacular sunrises through the floor to ceiling windows or while breakfasting on the deck in the garden, which also has a small burn running through it. It’s a perfect spot to birdwatch or to enjoy the many dolphins, minke whales and seals which frequently pass by! Dogs are also welcome.

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13. Harbour View

Location: Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Harbour View (sleeps four) is a charming self-catering cottage sitting right on the historic harbour of Stonehaven. This 18th century grade C listed building is situated over three floors with one double and one twin bedroom, both with sea views. There’s also a luxury bathroom with a roll-top bath. With stunning harbour and sea views, restaurants on the doorstep and a wealth of attractions to explore including Dunnottar Castle nearby, it’s the perfect luxury coastal cottage for a peaceful getaway! Dogs are also welcome.

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Explore Aberdeenshire


14. Cardy Cottage

Location: Lower Largo, Fife

Cardy Cottage (sleeps four) is a traditional cottage with two bedrooms, located on the shorefront of the historic seaside village of Lower Largo in the picturesque East Neuk of Fife. Sitting right on the Fife Coastal Path and only 10 miles from St Andrews, it has been lovingly restored in a modern contemporary style with everything you need for a relaxing self-catering holiday. Literally a stone’s throw from the expansive sandy beach, it has open views across the Firth of Forth to the Lothians and Bass Rock. Largo Cottages have three other self-catering cottages available in the area to choose from. Dogs are also welcome.

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Explore Fife


15. The Barn

Location: North Berwick, East Lothian

The Barn (sleeps six) is set in beautiful farmland on the edge of the well-loved seaside town of North Berwick and is in easy walking distance of sandy beaches or restaurants. The Barn has been beautifully restored while retaining all the character of this grade B listed building. The gorgeous lounge area has a large vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, stone walls and a mezzanine level with a double sofa bed. Downstairs there are two bedrooms and upstairs has a master bedroom, all with the option of super-king or twin bed setup. Dogs are also welcome.

Explore The Barn

Explore East Lothian


Other Things You Might Like

Self-catering cottages
Coastal breaks and escapes by the water
Scenic coastal spots


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100s of households are still without electricity as snow warning issued


A yellow weather warning for snow is to remain in place until 9pm on Sunday across the country.

This weekend, Scotland is expected to experience further icy conditions due to the widespread issuance of weather warnings.

While a yellow weather advisory for ice is in effect on Saturday morning in Western and central areas, snow is predicted to fall on Sunday in most places.

It follows a week in which extreme cold and a tonne of snow disrupted travel plans and momentarily cut power to thousands of households due to severely damaged supply lines.

Despite the best efforts of more than 150 experts attempting to repair the isles’ grid, about 700 properties on Shetland remain without energy.

The A85 remained blocked at Dalmally on Saturday morning after cars slid off the road in heavy snow, with several buses to and from Glasgow turned back to their respective departure points before 6pm on Friday evening.

Traffic Scotland advised that gritter trucks will be working around the clock to treat as many roads as possible.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said that as of 9:30pm on Friday, homes in the Brae, Voe and Tresta areas of Shetland were still without power.

Engineers expect to have supplies fully restored by Sunday evening as long as further disruption does not hamper progress.

Helicopters were deployed to locate power lines downed by heavy snowfall after blizzards battered the islands on Monday.

Mark Macdonald, the firm’s head of region, said: “Our 150-strong team of engineers and contract partners will continue to work this evening and be joined at first light tomorrow by more crews, with everyone focused on working together to restore power as quickly as we can.

“Thanks to the huge effort on Friday, we’re confident we’ll reconnect the vast majority, if not all, homes by Sunday, with a chance some small clusters will be restored on Monday.”

He added: “We recognise that being without power for a prolonged period of time can be challenging, particularly for those most vulnerable. We’d like to thank Shetland Islands Council, our resilience partners and local Shetland communities for supporting those who need it most and pulling together to keep spirits up.

“If anyone has any concerns for themselves or others, please call us immediately on 105.”

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for parts of Scotland from 7am on Saturday until 9pm on Sunday, with snow and icy conditions expected to cause traffic delays – and with the potential for power supplies and mobile phone coverage to be affected in other parts of the country.

Sunday’s snow warning highlighted an “area of concern” in the North, but cautioned that treacherous conditions were likely across most other regions.

The forecast read: “A band of snow is expected to move northeast across the UK on Sunday, in most places lasting two to four hours before turning to rain.

“Temporary accumulations of 1-3 cm are likely at low levels, with 5-10 cm more typical across upland areas and isolated 10-15 cm on high ground north of the Central Belt.

“Once rain becomes established, all lying snow will melt rapidly. In addition to the snow and ice, strong winds are expected across all parts, with gales or severe gales mainly across high ground. This will lead to blizzard conditions in some areas for a time. 

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Am I eligible to get the upcoming £324 cost of living payment?


Age Scotland urges pensioners to check if they qualify for £324 Pension Credit payment.

Low-income retirees must submit a Pension Credit claim to the Department of Work and Pensions by Sunday, December 18, in order to be eligible for the £324 payment to aid with growing living expenses.

If your weekly income is less than £182.60 for a single person or £278.70 for a couple, you may be eligible for Pension Credit.

While online applications may be submitted up to Sunday, December 18, the charity has also made clear that the Pension Credit Claims Enquiry line closed on Friday, December 16 at 6 p.m.

This means that those without access to the internet were given a shorter window to ensure they do not miss out.

Age Scotland’s interim chief executive, Michelle Supple, said: “It is vital that older people on the lowest incomes receive everything they are entitled to in order to help them cope with the rising cost of living.

“We’re now in the coldest months of the year and, with temperatures dropping, older people need reassurance that they can heat their homes to a comfortable level without fear of being unable to afford their bills.

“Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of pounds in social security payments go unclaimed by older people in Scotland every year due to a lack of awareness, difficultly in accessing them, stigma surrounding benefits or just not knowing where to turn for help.

“Receiving Pension Credit entitles you to additional support including help with rent and council tax reduction, help with winter heating costs, health costs including free dental treatment, and a free TV licence if you are over 75.”

Ms Supple urged anyone who thinks they may be eligible to “act quickly” and submit an application before Sunday.

Applications for Pension Credit can be made by calling the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 99 1234, or online by clicking here.

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Heartwarming clip shows Scots cops dancing with elderly women at loneliness event

Two male police officers were captured on camera last week at Glasgow’s Swamp Media Center holding hands and swaying with the pleased women.

The cops were more than glad to participate in the event, which was designed to support older people who are lonely.

It Must Be Love by Madness is playing in the background while a video of the uniformed couple is shown holding hands in a circle with two women.

At one point the cops take off their hats and place them onto their respective partners before forming into couples while the ladies do synchronised twirls.

The camera then pans to the two officers dancing with only one of the women as the rest of the crowd sit at their tables and enjoy the show.

The woman is then applauded by both the officers and the audience.

The video was posted on Twitter on Wednesday where it has attracted over 20,000 views.

Social media users left comments after enjoying that the officers were happy to get involved.

One said: “Strawberry blonde guy has all the moves.”

Another wrote: New year’s Strictly? Well done, lads.”

A third commented: “Well done, guys, keeping they auld dears happy.”

A fourth added: “So nice of them, bless them.”

Speaking today, spokesperson and emergency call handler Suzanne McGlone said: “The event was set up because it was identified that in the community, older generations were feeling isolated after Covid and regulations.

“Their anxiety was quite bad but there was nowhere for them to go. Swamp Centre, which has been around for 25 years, decided to newly open again after refurbishment.

“The managers all came together to do something for seniors in the community because they were struggling with mental health.

“We have a Fun Friday event every week and this is our sixth one. Last week, we had around 40-50 seniors and it was so good seeing them all and giving them the chance to meet new people.

“At every event, there’s food being served and the seniors get to play Bingo and listen to live music. By our first week, they were all up dancing with their wee frames!

“But our office manager, Patricia Mitchell, is so good with them- she always gets them up dancing.

“We serve them food every week because you don’t know what’s going on at home. And it’s not the same If you don’t see someone face to face, so we offered fuel help and run every service – fuel, food, health and wellbeing.

“We are now also trying to help out with Glasgow’s Spirit of Christmas, with 542 pledges already.”

Glasgow’s Spirit of Christmas is a campaign set up in 2014 with just the aim that people can pledge to become a Secret Santa for a child.

As of December 2022, the campaign has now donated a total of £3.2 million worth of gifts to children in poverty.

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Isle of Skye named as one of UK’s most peaceful places to visit


It’s official, one of the most tranquil locations in the entire United Kingdom is Scotland’s ISLE OF SKYE.

The largest island in the Inner Hebrides tops the list, according to Go Outdoors, which has teamed with the mental health charity, Mind, as a place to escape busy schedules and feel renewed and refreshed.

The Fairy Pools are the location that has received the most accolades and holds the top rank on the list.

According to Go Outdoors, the Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomena with a stunning succession of waterfalls that give amazing views and the serene sound of falling water. They are located in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye.

“You can enjoy a stunning walk from the car park up to the Fairy Pools whilst appreciating the spectacular views of the Cullin Mountain.

“This beautiful series of waterfalls run into crystal clear rock pools of mountain spring water, which some adventurers even swim in. 

However, these waters can get extremely cold, so it’s advised to take a wet suit and ensure all necessary safety precautions are followed if you are taking a dip in the pools.

“If you’re looking for a picturesque location where you can escape the hustle and bustle, the Fairy Pools is perfect; a very relaxing and mesmerising place to visit in the UK.”

Also listed in second on Go Outdoors top-five list is Barfundle Bay, located in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

“Barfundle Bay is a small bay backed by dunes and pine trees – the perfect place to unwind. The stretch of golden sands and clear blue waters is easy on the eye, whilst the sound of the tide lapping on the beach gives a sense of ultimate relaxation.

Picturesque, Isle of Skye

“This beach is only accessible via a half-mile walk from the nearest car park, making it an ideal spot if you’re wanting to escape the business of towns and roads and spend some time by the sea.”

Making up the rest of the most peaceful places to visit list are three English locations, The White Cliffs of Dover, Buttermere Lake, in the Lake District and last but not least the fishing village of Polperro located in Cornwall.

Go Outdoors have described the White Cliifs of Dover as: “These iconic and striking chalky white cliffs stretch across the English coastline in Kent, facing the Strait of Dover and France.

“‘The Straight of Dover’ is the narrow stretch of ocean between England and France and at its shortest part, measures approximately 20 miles.

“Reaching heights of 350 feet, you can walk over the clifftops to reveal stunning views of the English Channel.

“Take in the breathtaking scenery and enjoy this celebrated UK landmark, a stunning location to find tranquillity!”

Whilst Buttermere Lake, situated in the Lake District is said to: “Boasts the most impressive scenery in a calm location, making it perfect for taking some time out to relax.

“Overlooked by towering fells, the peaceful valley in which Buttermere resides is accessible only by one road running through, making it ideal for escaping busy city life.

“You can walk around Buttermere Lake, taking in the jaw-dropping views, whilst breathing in the fresh air that surrounds it. This stunning location is the perfect place to unwind.”

Finally, the fishing village of Polperro in Cornwall, located along the Polperro Heritage Coastline is said to be: “A great place for some peace.

“The streets of Polperro are so narrow that cars are banned, meaning you can explore the village on foot, traffic-free.

“With cottages that cling to the cliffs, a picturesque harbour and a turquoise blue sea, this beautiful location is the ideal spot for some time out.”

To view the Go Outdoors experts list here.

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Patient left in ambulance outside A&E for more than 15 hours


Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire had to reroute ambulances owing to excessive strain, according to a status report for Scottish hospitals published on Sunday

One patient had been holding out until 1 p.m. for 15 hours and 41 minutes.

A health board has apologised “unreservedly” after a patient was left in an ambulance outside an emergency department for more than 15 hours.

Joanne Edwards, director of acute services, said that despite staff working hard to see patients as quickly as possible, some waited “significantly longer than we would wish and we unreservedly apologise for that”.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran said it was experiencing “extremely high demand for our unscheduled care services”.

Just 61.9% of people in the week up to November 27 were dealt with inside that window – against a Scottish Government target of 95%.

At the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, just 36.8% were seen and discharged within four hours, although the figure rose from 35.1% the week before.

Ms Edwards said: “Each patient attending our Emergency Departments is triaged on arrival and clinical teams prioritise them based on clinical need.

“NHS Ayrshire & Arran work closely with colleagues across all emergency services, including our colleagues in the Scottish Ambulance Service, to anticipate and mitigate against delays wherever possible.

“Ambulances are diverted during times of pressure across our sites and yesterday (Sunday, December 11) some ambulances were diverted from University Hospital Crosshouse to University Hospital Ayr.

“We continue to focus on discharges which supports the flow of patients from our emergency departments.

“We would like to thank patients for their help and understanding as we continue to work under extremely difficult circumstances.

“If we all work together we can ensure that our Emergency Departments are there to look after those who need them most.”

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RMT employees are to go on a 48-hour strike to start the rail strikes

On Tuesday, the first 48-hour rail strike by RMT members over the holiday season is scheduled to start

According to ScotRail, a minimal service will be provided on a few lines

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Network Rail employees will strike, followed by another strike on Friday and Saturday.

It is the most recent move in a protracted fight over wages and working conditions.

The UK’s railways are maintained by Network Rail, a department of the Department for Transport.

Amid the most recent industrial action, passengers have been advised to only travel if “absolutely necessary.”

Between December 13 and December 17, ScotRail has announced that it will operate a skeleton service on a select few lines across the central region, Fife, and the Borders.

“While this is not a matter in which the Scottish Government has any locus, I urge the (UK transport secretary Mark Harper) to take a different approach and work with the trade unions to secure a railway that benefits users, staff and taxpayers,” she said.

“Scotland has embraced the concept of fair work, so it is disheartening to see our own progressive activity in this regard being put at risk by the inevitable wider consequences of the UK Government’s ill-thought out, hasty and hostile approach to industrial relations.”

Gilruth also warned against plans which she suggested could involve compulsory redundancies for Network Rail staff.

She continued: “We do not welcome UK Government plans for so-called radical rail reform agenda which have yet to be explained to Scottish ministers in any detail, but which appear to be a guise for compulsory redundancies in the Network Rail workforce, including in Scotland.

Every day throughout that time, the services will run from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm, the operator noted.

The 48-hour strike this week comes before more action is done in December that is expected to have a substantial impact throughout the holiday season.

Members of the RMT who work for Network Rail will also go on strike from Christmas Eve 6 p.m. to December 27 6 a.m.

Jenny Gilruth, Scotland’s minister for transport, asked the UK government to approach the dispute’s resolution with a “different perspective.”

“The Scottish Government remains committed to our long-standing policy of no compulsory redundancies.

“However, the last three secretaries of state for transport have failed to engage in any meaningful conversations on these matters – an approach that is quite unsatisfactory given the seriousness of this Network Rail dispute.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the trade unions in Scotland to make public ownership of Scotland’s railway a success.”

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines insisted that RMT must “stop playing politics”.

“The RMT leadership needs to think long and hard about what to do next. Further strike action will cause further misery for the rail industry and for their members who will lose pay,” said Haines.

“This news is especially frustrating given that we learnt today that colleagues represented by Unite union have accepted the very same offer put to RMT members.

“The RMT are the outliers here. They need to stop playing politics and work with us to bring this dispute to an end.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said that it had “played its part” in trying to resolve the dispute.

“The Government helped facilitate a fair and improved offer, delivering a pay increase more generous than those in the private sector and guaranteeing no compulsory redundancies,” they said.

“The significant proportion of RMT members who voted to accept this, despite being instructed not to, clearly recognised that.

“Unite members have accepted the very same offer and the TSSA leadership has also recommended its members to accept it.

“There is clearly an appetite amongst the workers themselves to strike a deal, which is what makes this result even more frustrating.

“The Government has played its part in trying to resolve this dispute and it’s time for unions to play theirs.

“That’s not only what passengers and the public want, but clearly what a lot of rail workers want as well.”

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