Next Wednesday is the longest day of the year with approximately 17 hours of daylight. Here are our top suggestions for things to do to make the most of all these long daylight hours. Traditional, spiritual, sporting or relaxing, there is something for everyone on holiday in Scotland this midsummer.
Music, revelry and especially bonfires have in the past played an important part of midsummer celebrations in Scotland. All will be in evidence at the Scottish Crannog Centre this year for a unique one off event. Fill your senses with a night of traditional music around a crackling log fire, the gentle sound of the water and the atmosphere and ambience of the Crannog roundhouse. Strathlyon Cottage is just a few miles away, an easy bike ride or a 10 minute drive. Perthshire is an area bursting with historical sites to visit and the cottage is in a great central location for exploring them all, from sacred glens to mountains and standing stones.
For those who wish to celebrate with something a bit more contemporary then the Solas Festival this midsummer is just the ticket. Billed as an inclusive, family friendly, festival this year sees big names such as Ricky Ross and Emma Pollock headline the main stage. Contrasting attractions such as Booker prize winning author James Kelman and Mrs Mash, the Storytelling Cook, are on hand to make sure that all the family will find something to interest them. The festival takes place just outside of Perth, a great central location that is easily accessed from the central belt. If you want to stay local and check out all the other attractions of the area then Mill Cottage is just a short drive north and is a cosy retreat, but also handy for Dunkeld and the Trossachs.
The centre of Callanish standing stones is possibly the most evocative place in the country to spend midsummer. An eclectic crowd of curious locals, historians, pagans and archaeologists gather every year to savour the unique atmosphere as the sun sets and rises again a few hours later. The stones mean different things to different people but one thing all attendees agree upon is the special, almost spiritual, connection you have here to ancestors past. Staying at Tigh Bhisa Blackhouse gives you a similar connection to the past. This traditional cottage is a short drive away and has all the modern comforts you would expect from an LHH property but has that special kind of Hebridean hygge that only comes with stone walls, a tin roof and a peat fire. It’s an experience not to be missed.
A more modern midsummer event is the Midsummer Beer Happening and cycle sportive in Aberdeenshire. It might seem like an unlikely combination but this annual event has firmly established itself amongst both the local cycling fraternity and among Scottish craft ale aficionados. Cyclists can tackle three different routes to accommodate all abilities of rider whilst providing all with a rewarding challenge, and at the finish you can look forward to one of the biggest selection of beers in the north east. Glen Cruick is located in one of the Angus Glens and is a fantastic, secluded, spot to recover from any festival excesses. It is brilliant for exploring the area but also for just relaxing at home, big glass doors lead to a patio where you can take in the view late into the evening and maybe savour a few takeaways from the festival as the sun goes down.
Scotland’s Midsummer Walking Festival takes place in Moray over the course of the week and it offers a huge number of events for walkers of all ages. With the Dava way and Speyside way both easily accessible then there is no excuse for not getting out there and making the most of all the extra daylight. In addition the friendly vibe of the festival means that guided walks to see some of the areas more unusual sights and attractions are sociable as well as educational. Willowvale is a fabulous family home in Nairn that is equally handy for the hills and the beach. A great retreat after a big day out in the hills or the focal point for a big family get together, the choice is yours.