The best things are Off The Map

ODD SCOTLAND is a hidden wacky world beyond Scotland's golf and whiskey trails and shortbread tin scenery. Forget that same old tourist kilt waggle from St. Andrews to Edinburgh Castle to Loch Ness.

Join travel journalist Nancy Lyon - "the Outlander" - and  Gordon Mooney, true Scot, bellows piper and musicologist, on a tour of Caledonia's quirkiest, from the renegade Scottish Borders, the Gaelic Western Isles, Viking Caithness, Orkney and the Shetland Isles.

Odd indeed that wee Scotland and its many grand names - Caledonia, Pictland, Scotia, and Alba - loom SO huge in world history and  mythology, imagination and inspiration.

What other small country has inspired so many scribes over so many centuries to write so many millions of words about it. Yet in these fast-food travel days, visitors to Scotland spin 'round and 'round  the same tired tourist circuits, worn into the Scottish landscape like grooves in an old Victrola record.  


Tourists follow the scratchy needle to the same old tunes -the  Edinburgh Festival  Stomp and Over  the  Sea  To  Skye.  This gives  even more air play to the well known Scottish "tourist  products"  that steal most of Scotland's travel media headlines. But Scotland's geographical diversity and centuries of traditions - along with its wonderful oddities - can't be squeezed into a package tour.

You certainly couldn't eat all of Scotland's odd food in one go. Everybody knows about Haggis - the national dish of Scotland, and Robert Burns' “Chieftain of the pudding race.” It's made from  sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and simmered for hours in the animal's stomach. But how about Haggamuggie made from fish entrails, or Crappit Heid or Rumbledethumps.  And deep-fried Mars bars for dessert!

As for humble oatmeal, we bring you the GOLDEN SPURTLE awards for Preposterous Porridge. A spurtle is the sacred wooden kitchen utensil used to stir the oatmeal, and this annual event takes place in Carrbridge in the Highlands. If you've heard of the Hot Chile Pipers, you might want to try some Hot Chile Porridge.  Anything goes! 


Come with us to explore a Highland Clootie well on the Black Isle, as eerie as the Blair Witch Project movie. Learn why Scotland has some of the weirdest mummies in the world. And we don't mean Mommies!

Join Nancy on her solo folding bike tour around the Shetland Islands --all the way up to Unst--and see the world's most famous bus shelter decorated like a plush turquoise Los Angeles living room of the 1960's -- black and white TV and all.

Scotland doesn't boast about its swimming holes, but like the fairies and brownies, they're there. They're called trinkies. These 19th century rock-hewn pools flowing with fresh seawater are listed historic monuments. Although the North Sea is always a shivvery 3 degrees, a Hogmanay New Year's swim is an annual cleansing ritual. Never mind the icy rain or pelting hail. As they say, there's nae bad weather in Odd Scotland - only bad clothing.

And  there  is  certainly  is  ODD NEWS.  The head of Robert Burns, or his skull rather, has been brought back to life to recite poetry again! And in case you didn't know,  Bonnybridge near Falkirk  is hailed  as  the  world's  hottest  UFO  spot with the surrounding area known as "The Falkirk Triangle."

Celebrate the eccentric heart and inventive mind of a small nation whose craze for plaids and pipes covers the world. Explore Odd Scotland past and present in photos and travel stories,  interviews, articles, and short fiction. We hope that our portal to Odd Scotland will inspire you to plan your own unique itinerary, lodgings and locomotion. AYE!
    Yer Odd Scotland hosts, Nancy Lyon and Gordon Mooney

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