You might not be able to come to Scotland or go on an epic Scottish road trip. And you may be having affa’ big withdrawal symptoms. But don’t worry, we know how hard it can be to watch Scotland from afar but nae be able to do all the Scottish stuff ye wanna do. So, when I was sitting twiddling my toes, thinking about creating a “Things to Do during lockdown” article of dreams, I thought, “what would our followers and readers really like?” What would tick their boxes, float their boats, and booze their coos?
So I came up with the ultimate loch doon post. And because I’m Scottish, I do stuff every day that you could do to keep ye ticking over until the great Loch Doon is lifted. For the sake of this article, we call lockdown, “loch doon.” Because we are Scottish after all. Here she blows…
1. Listen to The Corries
The Corries are one of Scotland’s most cherished folk duos. The Corries comprised of two wee mannies who sang a whole heap of funny and romantic wee folk tunes. There’s only one of them left now like. The other one lives on in only memory… You might know The Corries for their unofficial Scottish anthem – Flower of Scotland. But I like some of the other classics like; Sunday Driver, The Portree Kid and Massacre of Glencoe. In fact, I’m listening to them as I write this. Doo doo doo.
2. Create Yer Own Tartan
And get the kids involved. Grab a packet of pens and some paper and get creative. I expect to see McBond and McToastie tartans, rich in mustards and swampy greens. You could be a tartan maker in the making and leave loch doon with a valid business plan. Or you could end up with the mankiest tartan on the market. Either way – get tartan it up!
3. Brush up on yer Doric
Fit’s Doric? Well, Doric is a language used in the North East of Scotland. If you know it then you could walk right into a Peterheed fash market and pick up one hell of a deal on some local huddock. And speaking of which…
4. Watch Hector Brocklebank on YouTube
He’s the master chief of the Doric language. I don’t really want to say much more than that. Other than “Peter Reed, fae Peterheed, is deed.” You’ll laugh. And if you “dinna” then you’re a poached fash.
5. Order Yerself a Dram
Aye, so maybe this isn’t one for the kids. Or maybe it is. Depending on yer persuasion. I wouldn’t recommend it though. I grew up on the stuff and look at how I’ve turned out. *Runs for the hills.* But seriously though, now is the time to teach yersel how to “dram it.” Aye 2.0 has become very good at drinking whisky during loch doon. Yep, he’s fairly taken to the bottle.
In fact, he has built up a wonderful collection of empty bottles. Empty bottles aren’t much use but he refuses to give them up. Like a badge of honour or something? His favourites, and henceforth, recommendations are; Aberlour, Auchentoschan and The Glenlivet. Not all at the same time like. Unless that’s your bag. In which case, SLANGE VAR.
6. Have a Highland Fling
Aye, the dance I mean. Go onto yon Google and teach yerself how to do a wee Highland Fling. Because when the border restrictions lift, there’s going to be a run on the Scottish men, so you’re already ahead of the game if you can display you’re well versed in the Highland Fling. I grew up Highland Flinging, and it’s taught me everything I know.
7. Make a whopping pan of Mince and Tatties
It’s nae rocket science, but it’s bloody hearty. Here’s my condensed version of the recipe… Two pans, one with boiled tatties, the other with mince, chopped carrots and onions cooked with about 24 beef stock cubes. And some gravy. And a wee bit of water to make it saucy. Fanny’s yer aunt; mince and tatties. Actual recipe here.
8. Watch Braveheart knowing they’ve taken yer freedom
Bitter pill to swallow that one. I know. Yes I know it’s for a good reason before you start having kids. This whole article is about staying at home after all. I greet (cry) every single time I watch Braveheart. I can barely walk past a piper on the street without greeting. If you took a swatch of blood from me, it would run blue and white. I’m so patriotic, it’s bloody painful. Don’t just watch Braveheart, watch Braveheart pretending you’re Scottish, and if you’re already Scottish, be Scottish-er.
9. Buy a Saltire and Erect it in your Garden so all yer Neighbours know you’re NUTS ABOUT CALEDONIA
Been meaning to do this for a while. But we get shocking winds here, and I just know that as soon as I erect my Saltire (contain yourself), it’ll get blown away and probably end up in the Outer Hebrides. I’m sure they’ll make good use of it like but I need a solid foundation.
10. Watch Season 1 of Outlander with Whisky
This is what started Aye 2.0 on the heavy stuff and he hasn’t looked back. He got so nippy with the redcoats in Season 1 that it started a lifelong obsession. I don’t mind. He’s feckin’ hilarious on the single malt. 10/10 for the banter. If ye haven’t seen Outlander, watch Season 1 at a bare minimum. It’s Jacobean and it’s just bloody beautiful. That wifey Diana Gabaldon is a fair wordsmith so she is. Following that…
11. Draw dishy portraits of Sam Heughan and share them on Twitter
Because you wouldn’t be the first. Sam Heughan has become not just a national treasure, but a muse for many budding artists. My twitter feed is quite often filled with pencilled in chiselled chins and flowing red locks. I’m nae complaining. Drawing Sam Heughan has become a creative past time for many Outlander lovers.
12. Stalk The Chaotic Scot’s Blog
If you think I’m Scottish, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Ba ba ba ba baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Kay Gillespie is a Scottish Travel Blogger who is currently in Leith lockdown. But when she’s free to roam the rolling heather, she produces some of the best Scottish travel inspo going. She is the mastermind behind The Chaotic Scot. I know her personally and can vouch for her babe-factor. I know where I’m going after lockdown for my Highland Fling.
13. Binge on The Red Hot Chilli Piper’s Videos on Youtube and Cry
It’s a thing. Man, these guys are good. I’ve never seen them live because my emotions couldn’t handle it. Perhaps after the great loch doon, when man will roam free, I will go and see them. And drink a lot of Tennents. And cry.
14. Listen to Runrig and dream of better days
Runrig has been the soundtrack of my life over the last month. Especially ‘Alba’ and ‘Every River.’ We went to see them at Stirling Castle last year for their very last tour, “The Last Dance” and it was one of the best days of my life. Man, I was drunk. But man, I was so happy. Cried then, crying now. I bloomin’ love Runrig. So basically, one of the absolute best Scottish things to do during loch doon is to make Runrig a part of your day.
15. Deep fry any chocolate bar
In Scotland, we have the deep-fried Mars Bar. But I imagine Mars Bars are probably known as Space Candy in America, so I’m nae going to send you on a wild space chase for Mars Bars. Basically a Mars Bar is a sickly sweet and crazy filling chocolate bar. As if it wasn’t calorific enough, in Scotland, we deep fry it. It sounds rank eh? But it is flipping gorgeous. I remember someone telling me when I was circa 13 years old, that you could only eat 3 in a week or you’d die. I reckon that was probably a lie. But it would probably still be worth doing 35 jumping jacks afterwards. So find some form of chocolate and knock it into the deep fat fryer. Why not? You’ve got the time.
16. Brush up on yer Burns
Aye, dinna go cambering aboot in a fire, that’s nae what I meant by “Burns.” I mean fabby-dabbie Rabbie Burns; the most famous Scottish poet of all time. I’ll be honest, I only understand 68% of his poems because even I, a Scottish person, am not well enough versed in Scottish to translate it. But it sounds affa’ lilty and bonnie so I say go for it. You might know Master Burns for “Auld Lang Syne,” a song that Scottish folk sing every new year.
17. Peek at Visit Scotland’s Website
You might not be allowed to come and see us now, but we aren’t far away. One day you’ll get to experience all of Scotland again. So for now, go and peruse Visit Scotland‘s website. Find all the stuff you’re going to do here post loch doon. As is everywhere at the moment, #ScotlandWillWait.
18. Follow The Aye Life on Instagram and Twitter
Look, just be grateful that I’ve waited this long to pitch this witch. We have relative banter and some bonnie snaps kicking around on our social media. And we are actually quite social. I’d love the opportunity to catch up, have a crack and chat pure banter. And following on from that…
19. Speak to a Scottish person
If you dinna know any, I am one – hiyaaaaaaa. If you are Scottish, speak to yer pals or yer maw. Who knows fa’s going through fit just noo. Be there, be square, check-in with folk. Just do it digitally so we can all explore Scotland again one day.
20. Make some Cullen Skink
Cullen Skink is a thick fishy Scottish soup. It sounds bogging, doesn’t it? But a lot of folk really like it. I am not one of those folk. But it is super popular. I’m not going to pretend to know how to make it because boke! But here’s a recipe for Cullen Skink. And on that note…
21. Check out Foodie Quine
Claire Jessiman is the mistress chef behind Foodie Quine, a Scottish fun foodie website. I’ve indulged in far too many of her recipes during the great loch doon. She celebrates Scottish produce amongst the best of them. What she doesn’t know about Scottish cooking, isn’t worth knowing.
22. Order a case of Irn-Bru
Just cause you canna explore Scotland, doesn’t mean ye canna taste it. If Irn-Bru is legal where you are, order a case of it online. Some folk cannae stand it, but I think it’s magic. It’s also flipping brilliant at curing a hangover. Could be psychological, could be the orange. Don’t ask me to tell you what it tastes like though, I haven’t a bloomin’ clue.
23. Watch old Youtube videos of Billy Connolly
The man. The legend. Billy Connolly is one of the best comedians to come out of Scotland. Watching him might even make you a funnier human. Our first week in loch doon? Billy Connolly videos back to back alongside a bottle of gin. And what a laugh. Pay homage to this funny bugger and get watching.
24. Brush up on Scottish quotes so you can charm the pants off folk post-loch doon
I picked up a book for a quid in a charity shop before all this kicked off. “Quotable Scots,” it’s called and I’ve read it from back to front and front to back. When all this loch doon stuff drops, I am going to be one hell of a charmer. As if I wasn’t already. Wink.
25. Watch any words Kevin Bridges says
Because he is comedy gold. National treasure actually. Should make him King.
26. Try a Fine Scottish Gin
No time like the present eh? I have worked my way through far too many Scottish gins in the last month. I feel like regardless of what booze Scotland is challenged with, we create a corker of a Scottish beverage. Gin? Nah. Scottish Gin. One of the most Scottish things to do in a time of crisis is to pour yourself a dram and put yer feet up. We recommend The Teasmith Gin. You just can’t go wrong.
27. The Big Shortbread
I received a lovely gifted package from The Tartan Blanket Co the other day. When I opened the box to keek at my new tartan blanket I seen that they had included a wee pack of shortbread. I was affa chuffed so I was. Shortbread is lush and very Scottish. It’s widely available on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and it is just cracking dipped into a wee cuppa tea. Order some or go a step further and make your own shortbread.
28. Support a small Scottish business
You dinnae have to buy anything, unless that’s your persuasion. Spoiler: it’s my persuasion, someone get me out of that bloody cart! Follow a few wee Scottish businesses, give them a wee like or share now and then. I bet they’d appreciate it.
29. Take a moment to realise how smart the Scottish are
Pfffft, never mind the big guy in the sky. Us Scots build the place. Historically (and right now), Scottish folk are known to put their cells together and create some pretty nifty bits and bobs. Check out these epic Scottish inventions that changed the world.
30. Take a virtual tour of Scotland
Mental how techy the world is these days huh? You can now take virtual tours of Scotland. We know it isn’t the same thing, but it should go some way to feeding your wanderlust. I found this virtual tour of the Black Isle near my hometown of Inverness but if you do a Google search, there are lots.
31. Watch The Grand Tour on the NC500
This will give you crazy wanderlust vibes, so maybe chain yourself to the sofa or something. Clarkson and crew take on driving on some of the most gorgeous and wild roads in Scotland. Jeremy Clarkson said, “I drove on Wednesday along the coast road north of Ullapool, and never have I gone so slowly. Sometimes the views were so spectacular, I coasted to a halt and never even noticed.”
32. Just Read Everything
There are some fabulous Scottish writers and bloggers out there. Go and have a deek (look/peek) at, well, us and some of our favourites; Adventures Around Scotland, Travels with a Kilt and last but not least, the lovely Kathi at Watch Me See.
Scottish Things to Do
We hope we’ve given you some food for thought, drinks for forgotten thoughts, and inspiration for future Scotland wander thoughts. We are sad to be missing you but must take a pinch of wisdom from one particular Scottish quote, which means more in this time than it ever has before; Haste Ye Back.