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 writer Nancy Lyon and Scottish piper and musicologist Gordon Mooney 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 Mother Earth like grooves  in an old Victrola record.  

They 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 as for humble oatmeal, we bring you the GOLDEN SPURTLE awards for Preposterous Porridge.

Come with us to explore a Highland Clootie well on the Black Isle, as eerie as the Blair Witch Project. Learn why Scotland has some of the weirdest mummies in the world. (And we don't mean Mommies! ) Bicycle around the Shetland Islands 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 anecdotes, 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!
Your Odd Scotland hosts, Nancy Lyon and Gordon Mooney

Haunted Edinburgh Unearths Tunes and Tales From the Crypt
Odd-Scotland's Edinburgh poltergeists make you reel out of your skin
Hauntings Are Not All That's Odd 'n' Eerie in Odd Scotland
Odd Scotland is full of odd and eerie stuff. But hauntings are not all that's eerie in Odd Scotland.
Odd Scotland Abroad
Pining for Old Scotland has inspired crazy manifestations of Odd Scotland abroad, from battle reenactments to cultish kilts, and Haggis hangovers
Boney Tales of Old Caithness
Caithness is marked by its Neolithic peoples, and its Picts and Vikings
Inbhir Nis, Capital of the Scottish Highlands
Inbhir Nis, Capital of the Scottish Highlands, can't escape its monstrous publicity
Who Said What About Scotland?
Scotland and its many names – Caledonia, Pictland, Scotia and Alba-- have inspired thousands of writers down the ages. Who said what?
Gordon Mooney, Scottish Piper and Musicologist
Piper Gordon Mooney fired the 1980's revival in Scottish bellows-blown bagpipes and their music with his much praised album O'er the Border and his Tutor for Cauld Wind Bagpipes.
Nancy Lyon, Travel Journalist and Photographer
Nancy Lyon's travel writing has been described "as frenetic as a Galway barroom jig, or as balefully evocative as the most mournful Celtic ballad"
How We Built the Odd-Scotland Travel Website
Using Site Build It! website building tools, Nancy Lyon turned Scottish tams into Scottish navs, and had fun building the Odd-Scotland travel website

Whiskey Barrel Houses at Findhorn, Scotland's Odd Eco Eden

Whisky Barrel Houses at Findhorn, Scotland's Odd Eco Eden

Scotland's Moray coast boasts the only Malt Whisky Trail in the World, with seven distilleries a short, inebriating drive apart. But these wooden vats before me now aren't filled with 9,000 liters of that golden Speyside elixir that makes Scotsmen dream and rave...

Read all about Findhorn's Eco Village

Odd Scot abroad at Mark Twain's Funeral

Mark  Twain Funeral reenactment at Elmira, New York

A funeral reenactment? What an enterprising American idea! In Scotland, historical reenactments of battles and bloody jousting tournaments are the thing. But America has fewer battles to reenact, so we have the latest tourism product: funeral reenactments...
Read all about Mark Twain's Funeral