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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 on 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...
I'm in the Inner Hebrides, celebrating 100 years
since the birth of author and wildlife hero Gavin Maxwell.
There was a man who had a visceral connection to what
I call the real world.
Journalist Cat Cubie joins the cast of Perch -
a daring performance spanning two hemispheres.
And Martel meets the man behind some of the biggest names in music,
as we count down to Edinburgh Castle's live concert.
It's exciting, but terrifying at the same time.
..Scotland's National Airshow...
..promising iconic planes
and daredevil stunts.
For some it's THE event of the season.
And this year it's a biggie,
because, as well as the Lancasters, Spitfires and Hurricanes,
the Red Arrows will be here too, marking a very special anniversary.
Yes, they've been wowing crowds with their dramatic formations
for an unbelievable 50 years.
But this is just one of the many events taking place
at East Fortune Airfield near North Berwick a week on Saturday.
So I'm going to show you some of the highlights,
kicking off with the airfield itself, which played a major role
in protecting Scotland's shores during both world wars.
After being decommissioned by the RAF
it became home to the National Museum of Flight.
And look at all these fantastic aircraft.
And, if you wondered where Concorde was, here she is.
Or how about something slightly less supersonic?
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter,
the first British aircraft to feature a synchronised machine gun.
Though, of the 6,000 originally built, today very few remain,
which is why the Aviation Preservation Society of Scotland
are currently building one from scratch.
There's one in New Zealand, there's one in Canada.
And the French have one, it's very nice,
but I think ours will be better.
-Of course it will. It will be newer as well, won't it?
-And it will fly.
But not just yet.
So, while the build continues, John and his fellow aviation buffs
will use this year's airshow to open their workshop to the public,
and demonstrate the craftsmanship of a bygone era.
We're a group of pensioners, as you can see,
but we're trying to encourage younger people in
so we can pass on some of our skills to them.
It looks to me like we're still a long way
from it being ready for flight.
Next year I hope it's flying, I hope it would be ready for 2016.
But, while the Strutter is still a work in progress, this stunning
1941 Tiger Moth has definitely been cleared for take-off.
She's a little beauty, isn't she?
They say it's magnificent men and magnificent flying machines.
I've got to agree.
This one belongs to David Cyster,
who's flown everything from RAF fighters to commercial airliners.
Though now he's in his 70s, he prefers to spend his days
performing stunts - like this - at airshows across the country.
David, lovely to meet you.
-Well, it's very nice to meet you, my goodness.
-She's a beaut.
-How long have you had her?
-41 years I've had the old girl now.
But how does flying this compare to other aircraft?
Well, it's a joy to fly. It's draughty, very docile.
If you're following a motorway, the fast cars overtake you.
But it's got its own charm.
'Although in modern terms the Tiger Moth is a little on the slow side,
'there's no denying its agility.'
-I saw that spiralling down. Is that...
Everything I do is quite gentle.
I do loops, spins, barrel rolls, just the basic manoeuvres.
Do you fancy a shot?
'You know me. Only if I get to wear the hat.'
-Wonderful, looks the part.
While it's chocks away for me...
Scotland's National Airshow takes to the skies Saturday 26th July
right here over East Fortune Airfield.
So, if you fancy learning more about our proud aviation history,
and catching the Red Arrows' 50th flying season, then come along.
Meanwhile, the National Museum of Flight, which is also based here,
is open year-round.
And, by the way, a Tiger Moth is the only way to fly.
I can't imagine anything more graceful.
And that is why you should get yourself down to the airshow
and see magnificent old machines like this.
Just as the Commonwealth Games will bring the best athletes to Glasgow,
its companion arts programme, Festival 2014,
will also bring some of the most talented performers
in music, dance, theatre and comedy.
Journalist Cat Cubie is in Glasgow to find out more about one of
its most ambitious productions, a spectacular show called Perch.
Some of Scotland's leading street artist and circus performers
will join together with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland
in what promises to be an unforgettable event.
Developed over two years in three continents
and involving more than 500 performers...
..Perch is all about our dreams - and fears - of flying and falling.
If what's going on behind me is anything to go by, this event will
be anything but your average night at the theatre.
For a start, this show will be both in and outdoors, on the ground
and on rooftops, forcing the audience from place to place
to keep up with the action, and even interact with the performers.
And the man responsible for it all running smoothly
is director Patrick Nolan.
It's all about our dreams of flight
and we actually use the architecture of the space
to put people in the air,
and it involves a lot of rigging,
it involves a lot of ropes, it involves a lot of wires.
It's all done with the utmost of safety
so when people fall it's because they're meant to fall.
Though if co-ordinating physical feats,
multiple types of dance and music doesn't sound challenging enough,
a video link also means the Glasgow performers will interact
with the same show happening at the same time in Brazil.
What can the audience expect?
I think the audience are going to be excited, they're going to encounter
things that they've never seen before, they'll probably be
on the edge of their seats at times...
even though there are no seats.
But they're certainly going to experience and see things
they'll have never seen before.
The Glasgow cast boasts more than 200 people,
involving a mix of community players, emerging talent
and professional dancers like Emma and David.
My role is I'm actually the leader of the Fashionistas,
and the Fashionistas are a character in the show.
We use a lot of the vocabulary from my specialist style, waacking.
Which, by the way, is inspired by LA's disco era
and, simply put,
is all about moving your arms - rather dramatically - to the beat.
And we're going to add my specialism as well, which is parkour.
Inspired by military obstacle course training,
the idea is to propel the body without hurting yourself on impact.
Though guess what - Emma and David want to combine the two styles
and teach me how it's done.
Um, did I mention my two left feet?
Taking place July 19th and 20th at Rottenrow Gardens, Glasgow,
tickets to Perch are still available
and it's just one of a host of arts events at Festival 2014,
though don't expect to ever see my dance moves again.
For more info, see our website.
Stay with us as award-winning chef Tony Singh
looks for culinary inspiration in Scotland's gardens.
How awesome would it be if your garden was like...this?
And Martel explores the arts festival
that's hosted in locals' living rooms.
The cakes helped a lot to pull people in initially.
Though right now...
With just nine days to go till the Commonwealth Games,
you'd think Glasgow had it all sewn up in the excitement stakes.
But not so.
# Let's skip to the good bit... #
Edinburgh is in on the act too,
with a star-studded concert this Saturday night.
Featuring the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs,
Rizzle Kicks, Paloma Faith, Jessie J...
# ..Dancing in the moonlight... #
..even Bill Bailey, as well as Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe,
and for the smoothies, the King of Motown, Smokey Robinson...
# If you feel like loving me, if you've got the notion... #
..all going out live on BBC One.
But there's someone else who's crucial to keeping the whole
shebang together, someone many of us may not know much about,
and without him, you wouldn't hear a peep from that stage.
It's the musical director - in this case, Mike Stevens,
who's worked with Take That, Annie Lennox and Will Young.
He's also directed landmark events like the Diamond Jubilee concert,
though on this occasion, he only has ten days to rehearse
with a 12-piece house band
and he's got the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
to think about too.
I met him in his London studio, looking remarkably calm!
Every song we go to is a new problem.
People don't just walk on and it happens.
Each song has been worked out beforehand.
What do you want to get out of the Edinburgh concert?
Our goal is to make the songs sound better than the record.
To give them an energy in a live performance.
As well as managing over 200 musicians on the night,
Mike has to oversee another 220 people behind the scenes.
It is fully live. So we don't have any second chances
if anything goes wrong.
We have to know how to get out of it or get round it.
It is exciting, but terrifying at the same time.
And to add to the drama, Mike will have to co-ordinate
the musicians as the Queen's Baton Relay comes into the arena.
We've got a baton exchange, which we've done
some music for - a very famous piece of Scottish music,
-which you may know.
The Proclaimers - 500 Miles.
It's really important to get great music for that moment.
We'd like to get to this bit here...
SONG REACHES THE CHORUS ..at the baton change.
But, you see, you can't be sure it's going to happen that way.
-Seat of the pants stuff!
-Yeah, it can be.
Increasing the pressure just a little,
none of the house band use sheet music,
so that they're in total sync with the stars on stage.
Chorus! Two, three, four...
That means learning 19 different songs,
and their arrangements, by heart!
When Smokey hears it, it's going to be perfection.
The sound kind of gets you right there,
and this is them just getting off the starting block!
Who are you excited about particularly this time?
I think, for me, Smokey Robinson.
I've played that stuff for years,
so you get to hear it from the horse's mouth,
so I'm pretty excited about that.
If there's anything that I'm worried about,
it's how the weather's going to be when we get there!
I can't promise clear skies,
but what I can say is, on July 19th, this space will be transformed.
And tickets are still available.
To find out more about this and our other stories,
go to our website:
Though if you can't make the concert,
you can watch "Live at Edinburgh Castle" on BBC One at 8:30pm.
And if Mike and everyone involved in this huge event can
pull it off, it's going to be a really memorable show.
Seeing them at work, I've every confidence in them!
The rugged scenery of Scotland's West Coast
is nothing short of breathtaking.
It's also a crucial habitat
to much of this country's natural wildlife.
But for those of us who haven't yet discovered what's on offer here,
there's a fascinating way to find out.
And that's through the inspirational story of one man
and his love affair with this part of the world.
His name - Gavin Maxwell.
An acclaimed naturalist and author who's helped give millions
worldwide an interest in Scottish wildlife, thanks to his book,
"Ring of Bright Water", subsequently made into a much-loved
film which tells the story of his time living with otters.
So, as this week is the 100th anniversary of Maxwell's birth,
I'm visiting his former home, the island of Eilean Ban,
which sits between Skye and the mainland.
In fact, it's right under the bridge.
The book became hugely successful when it was
published in 1960, even giving "Lady Chatterley's Lover"
a run for its money in the bestseller lists.
While "Ring of Bright Water" is set 20 miles down the coast at Sandaig,
in later years, Maxwell lived here, and today his house contains
a museum dedicated to his unusual life.
So, why do you think it was that he loved otters so much?
He liked the idea that an animal which is innately wild would
actually communicate with him.
He used to take them out on his fishing boat and let them
swim around and then come back, and they demanded nothing of him,
except that he be there.
Maxwell's ultimate aim was to turn all of Eilean Ban's six acres
into a private zoo, and although he died before he had
the chance, today it's definitely a haven for wildlife.
I can understand how he felt at home here,
you really are at one with nature.
It is one of the best places on the West Coast to see wildlife,
so I thought, since I was here, I might try and spot some myself.
But I'm going to need some expert advice.
So I've arranged to meet wildlife cameraman, presenter
and director Simon King, who's won awards for the likes of
the ground-breaking "Planet Earth".
He's also, as it happens, a big fan of Gavin Maxwell.
There was a man who had a visceral connection to what I call
the real world - everything you see here, as opposed to the human
world, which is all artifice, and that echoed through his books.
And here in his former stomping ground, you can have
the opportunity to spot more types of natural wildlife
than I can shake a camera at.
Though naturally, I'm on the outlook for - you guessed it - an otter.
The first step is establishing if you're in the right spot.
This is the definitive sign, otter poop.
Referred to as spraint, which I rather like - I still want
to make an aftershave called Spraint.
I think it it's lovely. It has a certain sweet smell.
This is a very old, dry spraint, so there's not a lot of scent.
No, I can get it.
'Though I am thinking Simon's probably
'much better at wildlife photography than he is
'at designing men's aftershave.'
'Because if you know this wee trick of the trade,
'even your average camera phone can take an amazing photo.'
If you've got a pair of binoculars,
you can use them as a telephoto lens - bingo! Look at that.
-I never knew that, that's astounding!
-Not bad, is it?
Why am I carrying this around? I'm going to leave it.
'Though before he does, Simon has three other quick tips
'for amateurs like you and me.'
You've got to think of your scent as though it was a really noisy
brass band, but only in the direction that the wind travels.
So, the wind is behind you and blowing that brass band
down onto the water - nothing. You are going to see nothing.
'Next, don't make any sudden movements.'
Otters haven't got brilliant eyesight, I'll be honest with you,
but if you do this, they'll see you, so just move gently.
It is a bit like t'ai chi, you spend your entire day gently moving.
'And most important of all, you have to be extremely patient,
'as apparently, this could take hours.'
Wildlife photography is just an excuse
for being in beautiful places like this.
-It's not a bad way to spend your days.
-No, I totally get it.
'If you'd like to learn more about Gavin Maxwell,
'or see the wildlife here on Eilean Ban first-hand,
'the island is open to the public weekdays until October.'
All I need to do now is find one of these elusive otters,
but on a day like this in Scotland, outdoors,
I'm going to be happy even if I don't.
There is something exciting happening in our
herbaceous borders over the summer.
600 private gardens are throwing open their doors to the public.
So, we sent award-winning chef Tony Singh to a garden with a culinary
connection in Kirriemuir, Angus, to get his creative juices flowing.
I love pottering about in my garden shed.
But how more awesome would it be if your garden was like this?
While some of the gardens are on a grand scale,
the charity Scotland's Gardens, who organise open days,
encourage gardens of all shapes and sizes to take part,
from the Borders to the Highlands and beyond.
Everything from Pat and David Onions, and their garden in Braehead...
..to the stately 10-acre pad owned by Captain David Barnes in Biggar...
..to my choice, the fragrant herbal walled garden, here at Logie.
I've come along to this exceptional garden here in Angus to see
how preparations are getting on for the grand open day.
Like most of the gardens, Logie will be open on a fixed day.
Others are open by appointment only,
and the small entrance fee for all of them goes to charity.
'For a chef like me, the wonderful organic fruit and vegetables
'and the 150 herbs grown here make this a paradise.
'Owner Terrill Dobson is the woman with the green fingers.'
How do you find people rummaging around in the garden
and just being inquisitive?
No, I love people in the garden,
so I have signs everywhere to help you and prompt you and teach you.
I think it is a nice opportunity to share your garden with people
and to open your gardens for charity,
so, I like everyone rummaging in my garden.
Good, well, I was rummaging as well and I saw you have cardamom.
I can't believe it, grown in Angus! It's great.
There are lots of different culinary herbs - rosemary, borage...
Oh, see, I like borage, because it's got a lovely flower.
-See, I like my colours, it's blue.
You like the taste of it?
-It's a bit cucumbery.
-I do quite like the taste, yeah.
'With all this talk of flavour,
'I can't go without sampling some of Terrill's fabulous produce.'
The borage, I think we should do something really nice with it.
Cucumber, summery... I saw you had radishes as well.
-So, I think radish, cucumber and some chargrilled mackerel on top.
What do you think? Will you give me
-Sounds delicious. I'd love to.
'So, off to collect my ingredients.
'..and borage, that you can grow yourself or buy at a garden centre.
'So with my inspirational surroundings,
'a handy barbecue
'and a willing helper,
'and some fresh mackerel bought from the fishmonger this morning,
'I'm going to try out a new summer dish.
'Begin by adding sliced cucumber, some radish leaves
'and chives to a large bowl.
'Then add a splash of dressing
'made from white wine vinegar and rapeseed oil.
'Sprinkle in some chopped radishes and borage flowers.
'Season the mackerel, drizzle over some more oil
'and barbecue the fish for three minutes on each side.
'Plate the salad and place the grilled mackerel on top,
'for a tasty and healthy meal.'
-Tell me what you think.
-How does it work for you?
What do you think of the borage, working with the cucumber?
I love it, you really can sort of get that cucumbery
taste of the borage, and yet it's so beautiful.
It just reinforces it, and the pepperiness of the radishes, great.
The walled garden at Logie will be open to the public on 20 July.
To find out when all the other gardens are open,
and to see Tony's recipe,
visit our website:
The East Neuk of Fife is renowned for its fishing tradition,
but one of its villages has a reputation for something
As what's really put Pittenweem on the map
is its summer arts festival.
With more than 120 artists, 89 venues
and an estimated 1,800 artworks.
But how does a small village
like Pittenweem find room for all this art?
Well, the answer is anywhere and everywhere.
Behind these old house fronts, residents are busily preparing
their homes for visitors.
And they're doing more than just hoovering.
55 of the locals' homes, 10 garages
and even the fishing sheds, along with every other space
they can find, will be transformed into makeshift art galleries,
displaying everything from photography to sculpture.
Come August, every nook and cranny of these streets will be
full to the brim with artwork, but it hasn't always been this way.
'It all started more than 30 years ago...'
-Thank you very much.
'..when Joyce Laing was asked to fundraise for charity,
'but couldn't get past her acute fear of baking.'
I think they expected me to bake cakes and scones
for their coffee mornings,
and I'm not very good at that.
So instead, Joyce organised an exhibition,
asking her fellow locals for their old photos of Pittenweem.
To my amazement, 400 photographs turned up.
-That was a new ball game.
This was exciting, I could then make an exhibition.
Even more surprising for Joyce,
the exhibition was a runaway success,
and soon there was talk of launching a festival.
Two other artists lived here at the time, we thought,
well, if Edinburgh can do it, Pittenweem can do it.
-And it has grown from there?
-It was busy even in the first year.
Not only did we have art exhibitions, we had music, we had theatre.
We even had a little opera in the cave at one point.
The festival has run continuously ever since,
now attracting more than 25,000 visitors through its nine-day run.
It also provides 18 jobs
and adds £1.4 million to the local economy.
In fact, one local fisherman - a Mr James More Horsborough -
now has his paintings displayed in the National Collection.
Throughout this village are weavers, potters and painters,
working to the last minute to get their artworks
and their houses ready in time.
Mind you, in Amy Page's case,
creating 250 pieces of pottery is almost the easy bit.
'The tricky part is turning her living room into a gallery.'
I get nervous when a couple of pals come into mine,
I'm cleaning frantically. How do you handle hundreds of people coming in?
Handbags are the worst, people with rucksacks
and handbags are the most vulnerable. We've had the odd
person come in with a handbag
and they swing round and you lose a pot, maybe.
And Amy's not the only one under pressure.
The townsfolk also have to feed 25,000 people.
Fortunately, according to painter Sheila Mitchell,
who's exhibited here for the past 15 years,
the best way to attract an art lover
really is through their stomach.
My friend used to bake
fabulous meringue pies, people used to book them from the day before.
The cakes helped a lot to pull people in initially.
People would be going, "Excuse me!" You know,
this sort of thing, when they weren't being served fast enough.
Then again, that's the price you pay for success.
The Pittenweem Arts Festival runs from August 2nd to the 10th
across the 89 different venues.
There's also a series of workshops and events for the kids.
And if you're lucky, you might even get treated to a cup of tea
and a slice of cake - all part of the local hospitality.
Join us same time next Monday
as Fred hits rehearsals for the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
It's all about timing.
Author and broadcaster Muriel Gray investigates
the National Theatre of Scotland's latest
cutting edge performance piece.
And comedian Phill Jupitus reveals why his upcoming
Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is all about his artistic side.
Through the drawing it, you just look at the art differently.