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'Her clay pigeon expertise won silver at the Delhi Games in 2010.'
2014 is an extraordinary year for Scotland.
So much is happening across the length and breadth of the country.
And it's not all about politics and sport.
We're here with a brand-new series,
a journey to discover the events worth celebrating.
And the stories behind them.
Everything from theatre to comedy.
Great music, and festivals!
Activities we can all get involved in.
We're exploring what's happening inside our buildings.
And what's going on in your street.
We'll tell you about the quirky...
..and the exciting.
We'll delve into Scotland's tastiest food and drink.
And meet the people creating these incredible experiences
for all of us. So plan your summer with us.
Join us as we head On The Road 2014.
Our route tonight -
Martel heads to the UK's biggest cycling festival
and learns to perfect the action photo.
We're joined by actor David Hayman,
who seeks out performances in the unlikeliest of places.
It did have a nickname of Sugaropolis.
'And, in preparation for the Ryder Cup, I get the chance of a lifetime
'to play the championship course with my all-time golfing hero.'
That wasn't a good shot.
When is a sport not a sport?
Bang! Do you see what you get?
When it's something myself and good mate comedian Ed Byrne
can actually excel at.
I nicked it. If that was actually a pheasant or something,
you'd have to go and break its neck.
With the Commonwealth Games coming this summer,
Scots are embracing activities they never would have considered before.
And clay pigeons is one of them.
I got it twice! Another bite of the cherry there.
Today, I'm in Auchterhouse, near Dundee,
to prove everyone from elite athletes to complete novices
can enjoy this great pastime.
The thing is, as soon as you fire that first shot...
as soon as hit your first clay...
you're absolutely hooked.
To prove my point, I've enlisted total first-timer
'and committed slacker Paula McGuire.'
Are you excited, you nervous?
I think more nervous than excited at the minute.
I'm really clumsy and someone's handing me a gun
and standing me near you. Always keep it pointing away from me. OK.
'Paula's a woman who recently decided to get off the couch and try
'all 17 Commonwealth sports.'
Boxing, I was not so good at.
I was likened to a Muppet because I have no strength in my arms.
'Incredibly, she's so far ticked 14 sports off the list.
'And to help Paula to also become a crack shot,
'I've roped in Commonwealth Games champion Shona Marshall.'
How are the guns?
Pretty good. Are they? Not bad!
'Her clay pigeon expertise won silver at the Delhi Games in 2010.'
how can you help?
'First, you have to hone your hand-eye co-ordination.
'And yes, colouring in really does help.'
Oh, you're just doing the one colour, Paula?
Are we getting competitive? How very one-dimensional of you!
Then, it's a must to identify your dominant eye.
If you just point your right hand,
right finger at my right eye.
It's this one you line up the target with.
You've got a right master eye. OK.
The trick is letting your eyes lead, and your gun follow.
Put the gun up on your shoulder.
Hand on the stock. And down onto the back of the trap house. OK.
'It's a near miss, but not bad for a first attempt.'
What did I do wrong?
Don't need to know what you did wrong.
Think about what you're doing right!
I think I shut my eyes that time!
Though believe me, success comes
when you don't over-think the process.
Just give your eyes time to see target.
Lock on to it, then you move up and just shoot the target. OK. OK?
'And after lots of practice
'your brain will settle into a more quiet-eyed period,
'impervious to distraction, what we call being in the zone.'
Perfect! Well done!
'What did I tell you? In the space of just over an hour,
'Paula's gone from complete novice to crack shot.'
Thank you! Hurray! Well done, Paula. I got something.
'She's a convert, and if you are too,
'there are more than 80 clay pigeon shooting clubs up and down the country.'
And who knows, you might even bump into me and Ed.
There you go!
As for the pros, this Commonwealth Games you'll find them
defending their titles at the Barry Buddon shooting range in Carnoustie.
In October 2013, the Queen's Baton began a monumental journey.
70 nations, 118,000 miles,
and on June 14th it arrives in Scotland...
..where more than 140 different choirs
will in turn sing a specially composed song
as the baton makes its way through our towns and villages
en route to Glasgow.
It's called the Big Song Relay.
One of its first stops is Langholm near Dumfries.
'And I've been asked to join their choir
'for the very first rehearsal of Here's To All Our Common Wealth.'
Most of my singing practice these days comes from hogging the karaoke
in the pub, I'll be honest, though I will have you know
I did play Laurie in Oklahoma in my school musical.
But how hard is it to pick up a song for the first time
as part of a choir? And can a novice like me do it?
'While the short answer might actually be "no",
'let's talk about what it takes to create
'such an important piece of music.'
'In this case,
'renowned Scottish composer and folk musician Phil Cunningham.'
We were getting close to the deadline,
so I was feeling a degree of panic.
I was getting letters every day, "Have you finished yet?"
And very late one night
I was just sitting messing with this old Cajun accordion,
and I was just thinking about simplicity
and something that would be memorable.
'Once the music took shape,
'it was then the job of Alison Burns, one of Scotland's top choirmasters,
'to help write the lyrics.
'And a few weeks from now it will be performed on this street.'
Right here in Langholm is the point
where the baton runner is going to come down, pass over the baton
and four choirs will be waiting to sing the song that you penned.
That's pretty exciting. It is pretty exciting, yeah.
'For this historic event, four local choirs are joining forces,
'so Alison has the challenge of training them - and yours truly -
'to perform as one cohesive group.'
So we're going to go...
CHOIR MIMICS THE NOTE
'What's more, there's not a lot of time to practise.
'Tonight's session is only two hours,
'so Alison has to make every second count.'
Alison's asked everyone to get into place, so you've got your sopranos,
altos, tenors, basses. I've no idea where I sit.
'So I'm going to try sopranos and hope for the best.'
So let's put a harmony in here with the...
# Ours the sun and ours the land... #
ALL: # Ours the sun and ours the land. #
'And before long...'
One, two, three, four...
'..all four choirs really are singing as one.'
# For each and every hand to hold
# And every tongue to sing. #
WHISPERS: I got it that time!
That was fantastic.
I could really hear that starting to come together.
# And every tongue to sing. #
'Not bad for a first rehearsal.'
'But how does Alison feel about performing this song for real?'
There's never quite time enough to kind of polish it enough,
but I think at the end of the day
it is about having a great time together
and building a community together that are going to sing.
'Though what I really want to know is...'
What did you think of my singing? I thought you did really well.
Really? I thought you entered into the spirit of the whole thing
and you gave it your best shot, and it was not too hard to listen to.
"Entered into the spirit", "gave it my best shot",
that's your nice way of saying, "but you were no good".
I'm telling you, it wasn't too hard to listen to. It was good.
If you'd like to hear the choir perform
and cheer the baton's arrival in Langholm,
it's all happening on June 19th.
You can also find out more about its 40-day journey to the Glasgow Games,
and what else is happening in Scotland, on our website...
Stay with us as Martel gets competitive with her camera
at the TweedLove Bike Festival.
And BBC Radio One DJ Ally McCrae gauges the reactions to
a controversial Turner-Prize-winning artist's work in Thurso.
But first, there's no denying, Scotland has a sweet tooth,
though sugar's arrival on our shores didn't just change our diet.
MUSIC: "Sugar" by Garbage
It made us wealthy beyond belief.
Creating a rich heritage in more ways than one,
as actor David Hayman is about to discover.
In the 18th century,
we became a hub for this new industry,
shipping in sugar from the Caribbean
and refining it here.
We certainly were one of the hubs of the empire.
And at the very centre of this booming business was Greenock,
a small town on the Clyde,
though while the industry we used to call white gold is no more,
its impact can still be felt -
both on the people who live here,
and the sugar sheds themselves, once bustling with activity.
But these sugar sheds may actually have a very exciting future,
albeit a temporary one. It's going to be turned into a theatre,
where the memories and stories of the people of Greenock
will be brought alive,
so that once more White Gold will fill the sugar sheds.
And that's because it's both the inspiration and the name
of this unusual production,
which will see the audience being led through different parts
of the building in order to view eight different stories.
What's more, many of the 80-strong volunteer cast and crew
are actually ordinary folk who live here -
most with little or no experience of working in the theatre.
When I came yesterday, I thought,
when I joined, "I'll sell programmes or I'll sell cups of tea and coffee,"
and then when I came, she said, "You're in the cast."
Pretty daunting, but the real challenge for the performers
is the fact the people whose stories are being told
may well be part of the audience.
It's just all the kind of stories that we got brought up with,
and I think a lot of them are getting forgotten about,
and this is going to bring it all back.
Each story has been refined from oral recordings of Greenock locals,
then brought to life by the White Gold team.
Joseph Traynor is one of the production's directors.
Most of the ones that we got were kind of tales of humanity,
about falling in love, about death in the family,
about losing people,
there were a few about addiction.
Such as this piece,
which tells one person's experiences of alcoholism.
This guy walked through the pub door when he was 17,
and ever since then, for the next 30 years,
he described his life as living in Dante's Inferno.
He became an alcoholic.
So you're trying to recreate Dante's Inferno. The Inferno,
with the pub life going around him
and he's left in this perpetual loop that he can't get out of.
While the stories in this performance explore
the town's more recent past,
local history curator Vincent Gillen can go a lot further back.
It must have been a real powerhouse of the Scottish economy.
It did have a nickname of Sugaropolis.
One shipload of sugar come in would set you up for...almost life.
After all, at its peak, Greenock had 14 refineries,
requiring 400 shiploads of sugar a year.
We do tend to get subsumed by Glasgow.
I always try to tell people, we were competing with Glasgow at one point.
Even so, the sugar sheds face a very uncertain future,
but locals like Paul Bristow
hope projects such as White Gold can revitalise this important building.
Do you think the theatre production of White Gold
will make a difference?
Definitely, because what it does is bring people over here.
It gives people the opportunity
to get involved in making something happen here
because there's no point saving old buildings
just for the sake of saving them. They need to have life and purpose,
and things like this production, that's what they do.
I couldn't agree more.
And, if you'd like to see this exciting production,
it runs from this Wednesday June 4th through to Saturday the 7th.
And, if the enthusiasm of the performers is anything to go by,
it's going to be a very special event indeed,
and I wish them all the very best.
Cycling - we have the landscape, we have the terrain
and we have the action.
Welcome to Britain's biggest cycling festival.
This is TweedLove.
Running from the 24th of May to the 8th of June, the festival boasts
over 40 events in 16 days,
and attracts world-class competitors.
The focus for some of the mountain biking events is
here in the stunning Glentress Forest near Peebles.
And the first race of 2014 is about to kick off.
If you love cycling, this festival has it all,
with events for road racers, for speed freaks, for families.
But TweedLove's not just about the peddling.
The festival also hosts a photography competition,
and it's got me excited, too.
Like lots of people, I take hundreds of pictures on my phone and tablet.
They're not always very good, lots of family,
but I'd love to learn the art of taking a great action shot.
So I've asked adventure photographer Daniel Wildey for three basic tips
to get me started.
And joining our impromptu class is Lucy Grant,
a local cycling champion who took up photography
while recovering from an injury.
The first tip I wanted to talk about was the rule of thirds.
Rather than framing your subject right in the centre,
just try and look for lines of thirds.
What you notice about the subject's face or head is that it's
right on this intersection of thirds.
It's just more pleasing to the eye, more engaging to the human brain.
The second tip is that you need a really fast shutter speed to
be able to freeze the action.
If you're using something like a smartphone or an iPad,
you're kind of at the mercy of how the camera itself decides to take the shot.
So a really easy way to make the shutter speed
as fast as possible is to just look for the light.
The brighter a scene, the faster the shutter speed will be.
Finally, it really helps to know
what the key moments of the sport are.
In this case it was someone who's just about to land a jump.
Just think about those few basic things,
and you will see an instant improvement in your shots.
As if it wasn't tricky enough, Daniel's set us a challenge.
We have to take a better picture than him!
We'll exhibit our best photos for the crowds at the end of the day,
and let them decide which photo best captures the spirit of the race.
Was that the rule of thirds?
The light conditions are a bit challenging,
but, yeah, it's a fantastic location. CYCLIST: Hello!
Mainly at races people go to the bit where
they think there's going to be the most crashes and accidents.
And there's Daniel's cyclist, bathed in light.
And somehow I've managed to obey the rule of thirds.
Oh! and there's the magic moment shot right there -
though maybe not quite so magic for the rider.
They're great, really good. I'm very impressed, well done.
Thank you. Did you use the flash to take this one? Yeah, I cheated.
We had trouble getting a fast shutter speed like I was talking about earlier
because it was quite dark in the trees.
What Martel did is flipped what I was saying about shutter speed
and used it to a creative advantage to create this really blurry,
slow shutter speed effect, which looks as professional as all of them.
Time for the ultimate test. The public must decide their favourite shot.
I actually like the blurry one,
I think that kind of sums up the speed - someone just really pinning it and going for it.
Obviously this one, because someone's crashed.
And we always like to see someone crash in the pictures. That's what it's all about.
I just think it's a brilliant action shot.
The public have voted, and they put Lucy number one,
they really liked the action shot that was so dramatic.
She got ten votes, I got eight, which I'm super chuffed at,
that people thought this was arty and creative, where it was just a bit blurred,
and Daniel got a good few votes, but, yeah, Lucy is our winner.
We certainly rose to the challenge,
thanks to a good helping of beginner's luck.
The great thing about the techniques that we've learned is they don't just have to be used on action shots,
so you could use them to take pictures of your dog, your family.
And remember, the TweedLove Festival is on until the 8th June,
so why not go down and take part, or take pictures?
For more information go to our website:
Go almost as far north as it's possible to go, and you could be asking yourself
what does a remote Highland town
and one of Scotland's most controversial Turner Prize winning artists have in common?
Possibly the most unusual exhibition
the good folks of Thurso have ever seen.
Which is why we've asked Radio 1 DJ Ally McCrae
to gauge the local reactions to it.
This town is about to take its place on the great map of contemporary art
thanks to an exhibition of Douglas Gordon's work at the Caithness Horizons Gallery.
In fact, he is just one of more than 100 artists
exhibiting across the country as part of the Generation Project,
celebrating 25 years of Scottish contemporary art.
And Douglas Gordon's pieces are bound to stir up lively debate.
after all, this is the man
who slowed down Hitchcock's classic film Psycho over 24 hours.
But that's not nearly as dark as this exhibit.
I find all of this a bit kind of...
A bit weird, a bit kind of creepy.
Though enough about me, let's find out what the locals think.
Meet Bob and Colin, two dedicated members of the Thurso Camera Club.
This - I don't know about you guys - is going to be a culture shock for me. Contemporary art.
I think it will be for me, as well.
So, to understand the pieces a little better,
I've invited Keith Hartley from the National Galleries to explain.
After all - what does THIS actually mean?
That's sick. That is a fly glued to a desk, dying.
There's this wonderful quote in King Lear:
"As flies to wanton boys Are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport."
Yep, there is no denying it - Douglas Gordon likes to be provocative.
Our next case in point - this work entitled "A Divided Self, I and II."
It was asking questions. Yeah.
I didn't know what the answers were, but it was interesting.
Maybe we can get an explanation. That's the whole point, there is no one explanation,
And the richness of a work really lies in its ambiguity.
So while some see it as being sexual,
and others the conflict of good versus evil,
what most people don't know is both arms actually belong to the artist himself.
Outside we said we didn't really know what to expect.
I thought the images and the portrayal were very powerful.
It stimulates thought, and in that way I was pleasantly surprised.
Douglas Gordon's work is in Thurso until the 11th of October.
But if that's a wee bit far to travel, the Generation project
has more than 60 exhibitions across Scotland
that you that you can check out for yourself.
If you're a bit like me, and you think...
HE SCOFFS: "What is this?",
it is worth getting out and checking out some of the amazing projects
just like the Generation one that are going on across Scotland right now.
It's nice to expand your mind a little bit.
And you never know, you might enjoy it.
In September, the Ryder Cup returns to Scotland.
24 premier golfers, 45,000 spectators a day...
and the chance to thrash the Americans again.
The venue where the European team will take on the USA -
Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire.
But this championship won't be easy,
the course has been redesigned to up the ante.
And I've got exclusive access to meet
the people behind the changes, plus... I'll take that. Great shot.
..I'll be testing them out with Ryder Cup legend Sandy Lyle.
This Ryder Cup has been about 13 years in the planning,
but what you might not know about Gleneagles is that this is
where transatlantic golf tournaments began.
It was here in 1921 the
International Challenge took place.
The first time British and American professional golfers ever faced off,
and this eventually inspired the Ryder Cup.
And at this year's competition
this course will boast 250 of the most manicured acres in Scotland,
requiring a 91-man team to cut the grass twice a day,
and as head greenkeeper Steve Chapel is ably demonstrating,
tend those bunkers.
How many bunkers have you got to rake? 79.
OK, I think I've been in 74 of them.
Redesigning the course has involved bringing in
40,000 square metres of turf.
Now it's up to Steve
and his team to make sure every blade of grass on the fairway
is exactly 10mm.
And in the rough, it's five times that.
50ml, that's going to be a pretty difficult shot, isn't it?
Yeah, it's going to be pretty thick and juicy.
So, it's going to be a challenge for a player to get through there,
but you're talking about the best 24 golfers in the world.
The course redesign is an ambitious project which golf courses
and estate manager Scott Fenwick began on the ninth hole.
The last time I played this course, there was a huge bunker
but that's now all water.
We decided to extend the pond out into the hole
and make it more of a feature.
Then that changed the whole strategy of the way the golf hole played.
Before you could reach the green in as little as two shots.
Now there's not only a massive water hazard to avoid
but three new bunkers as groomed by yours truly.
But it's the 18th hole that's seen the biggest changes.
Not only was the green rotated 90 degrees,
it's now 2m lower.
We wanted to give the golf hole a flatter feel,
so we took off 50,000 tons of soil away from here.
So it was moved up on these mountains up the left-hand side here.
The end result has been the creation of a amphitheatre,
ensuring a perfect vantage point for the spectators.
And while I'd love to be one of them,
right now I'm going to put these transformations to the test
with the help of Sandy Lyle.
Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you as well.
Whose Ryder Cup credentials include the first-ever European
victory on American soil.
What kind of challenges are there for me, a 13 handicapper?
You're going to have to hit 200 yard plus to even reach the fairway.
Shall I go first? By all means.
And then you can tell me what I did wrong.
That was a good shot.
Not a bad start, though this is how the pros do it.
I didn't see that finish, Sandy. It's too far for your eyes.
But now things really get complicated.
There are three bunkers to navigate, all designed to trick the eye.
Then there's another even more deceptive one.
From the middle of the fairway there,
that bunker really makes the green look a lot closer.
And is that a trick the course designers deliberately do?
All the time.
Whether it's a tree or a bunker, just to catch you out now and then.
So the ninth's a bit of a struggle... Oh, dear.
..but the 18th is even trickier.
Oh, you're trying for that cut path again.
The entire hole appears flatter and there's a lot of run-off
on the green which can lead to one of five bunkers.
That wasn't a good shot.
This new and improved course really will put the world's best golfers
to the test. Do you think they've done well?
I think they've done very well.
I think the 18th looks tremendously different.
The ninth hole has come a long way now with water on the right more
and the water with the second shot.
And visibility-wise for a player, it looks really good.
Sandy, thanks very much for spending time with me. You're welcome.
Enjoyed it. Can I buy you a cup of tea or a coffee?
A bacon butty.
Now you're talking.
Tickets for the practice days of the Ryder Cup are still available.
You can also catch highlights of the competition itself on the BBC.
And if you fancy giving the game a go Scotland has more than
550 golf courses to choose from.
Though before I go... Just check.
It's 11mm, it's too long. I'm away to get the lawn mower.
we're at the Happyness Festival in Inverness where Fred meets
Jason Byrne and other comics as they reveal the secret to making it.
When I was younger I would go, "Is that funny?"
"I'll try it." And it wouldn't be.
I'd go, "Oh, my God." So we tend to die less now.
Reporter Cat Cubie reveals the tipple that might just become
Scotland's other national drink.
Mmm. That is really nice.
And weather favourite Carol Kirkwood discovers why there's more to
the Forth and Clyde Canal than just The Kelpies.
Some fine sailing ahead.
Hello, I'm Ellie Crisell with your 90 second update.
Reports of alleged abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile now
total more than 500. NSPCC research found most victims were
aged between 13 and 15, but the youngest was just two.
Details in Panorama at 8:30.