Nights out with a difference

21 June 2018


Photo: The "Harry Potter" train by IrenicRhonda via CC

Evening entertainment on holiday means different things to different people. Some seek excitement or adventure while others seek out peace and relaxation. The obvious attractions of Scotland after dark are well documented so here are a few suggestions for alternative ways to occupy yourself during the evenings, adventurous, quirky or just downright fun.

Glencoe has a special place in the heart of Harry Potter fans with many key scenes in the series filmed here including all the exteriors of Hagrid’s hut. It is fitting perhaps that this will be the location for a special outdoor screening of all the original films. On the first weekend in august Glencoe mountain resort will be converted into a drive in cinema with food and drink, fire pits for toasting marshmallows and of course popcorn. The dramatic backdrop is probably the most scenic place to watch a film anywhere in the country and is not to be missed if you are a fan. It’s just a short drive from here to stay at Mullach Ruadh which sits right next door to another iconic spot on the Harry Potter trail, the Glenfinnan viaduct which the Hogwarts Express crosses in the films.

When people think of traditional music then Gaelic or folk singing springs to mind, but for a really traditional evening of music a visit to the Scottish Crannog Centre should not be missed. On midsummers night this magical and atmospheric venue will host an evening of acoustic music around the log fire in the iconic roundhouse. In addition to local headliners there is an open mic session and a prehistoric musical instrument-making workshop. It promises to be a unique experience for those interested in both music and history. Flint Cottage is a short drive away, and is a luxurious retreat that is close to all the outdoor attractions of Perthshire as well as being convenient for night life in Dunkeld. It’s also close enough to drive to Stirling if you have tickets for the final Runrig shows in August. Known as The Last Dance the biggest concerts the band have ever played will also be an emotional farewell to their legions of fans so expect tears as well as cheers. There are still limited tickets available if you want to be involved in what promises to be one of the most talked about events of the year.

For some people a night out is not all about music, dancing and partying, if you would rather be active, as well as having an adventure, how about a night time trail run in Glen Tanar. This torchlit half marathon is one of the biggest night time sporting events in Scotland and will take you up and over the rugged pine forests of Glen Tanar starting and finishing in Aboyne. The course is clearly way-marked and there will be a hot drinks station with stunning light effects at the halfway point. It’s quite a challenge with the average finishing time for runners being 2.5 hours and 6 hours for walkers. After finishing you are going to need a bit of warmth and comfort so, fortunately, it’s not far to Inver lodge which has a woodburning stove in the ‘run your own bar’ where you can sit, relax and reward your efforts with a dram. It makes a nice contrast to running as sipping whisky beside a fire is probably as traditional an evening pastime as it’s possible to have in Scotland.

For something completely different, how about meditating with dolphins? It’s really not quite as crazy as it sounds and it’s all for a worthy cause.  Close to midsummer, Chanonry Point will be the location for the Highlands first ever 24 hour meditation marathon. Hosted by Triratna Buddhist Community this event is being held as part of Buddhist Action Month and will raise funds for Scottish homeless charity Social Bite and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Even those who do not have a spiritual side will appreciate the stunning location, the serenity and the amazing feeling of getting up close to the Black Isle’s resident dolphin community without getting wet. Dolphin House is a scenic stroll along the beach from here. Sleeping 8 it is a relaxing and comfortable spot where you are walking distance from everything you need for your holiday.