I waited feverishly for word on whether my application was successful or not, checking obsessively every few minutes. I was over the moon when a confirmation email finally popped up in my inbox. 2 tickets to the field and track events at Hampden Stadium – 110 m hurdles final, Women’s 400 m final, Men’s 400 m semi-finals, hammer throw and more.
I was one of the lucky thousands to get tickets to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and for the last few months, I’ve been anxiously counting down the days till the sporting action kicks off on 23 July.
To celebrate 100 days to go to the XX Commonwealth Games, we’ve come up with 100 experiences not to be missed in Scotland this year. You can download our handy PDF here.
Having had a sneak peek, I’ve picked my top five recommendations for you. There was so much choice; it was not an easy decision to make!
1. As someone who lives in Edinburgh, I frog march everyone who comes to visit me up Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat. They are always glad I did. As one of the highest points in Scotland’s capital, you can soak up unparalleled panoramic views of the city below, the Firth of Forth, Fife, and the Pentland Hills. Make the walk a bit more special and bring a picnic.
2. Come face to face with the famous ponies on Shetland. Fivla and Vitamin, and their Fair Isle jumpers, became stars around the world in our viral video, but you see their cousins face to face in the wilds of the Shetland Isles.
If you’re not keen on the real thing, visit the Kelpies, two colossal sculptures of horse-like mythological creatures. They form part of the Helix, a new parkland between Falkirk and Grangemouth which is a focal point of this month’s anticipated John Muir Festival, which celebrates the life and legacy of Scottish naturalist John Muir.
3. I couldn’t decide between these two aerial adventures. I have put both on my own bucket list to experience some time in the near future. The first is the flight between Westray and Papa Westray on Orkney. It’s the shortest scheduled flight in the world, hopping between islands in just two minutes flat.
The other is landing at Barra Airport in the Outer Hebrides. The only scheduled flight in the world that lands on a beach, the flight timetable is dictated by the tides.
4. I’m a bit of a whisky nut but until recently hadn’t been to Speyside, Scotland’s most prolific whisky-producing region. Over half of the country’s distilleries are here. Visit a handful of them along the Malt Whisky Trail, the only one of its kind in the world, for a unique opportunity to see behind the doors on a distillery tour. Be sure to check out all the events for Whisky Month too which takes place next month, including the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
5. Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s west end is a treasure trove of fine restaurants, bars and pubs. It’s renowned in local folklore and a hot spot for both Glaswegians and visitors to the city. I spent a fantastic evening along this cobbled backstreet when my girlfriend and I came to Glasgow for a music gig at Òran Mòr just up the road.
Whether you print the list and tick them off as you go, or cherry pick a few for your ultimate bucket list, share your 100 days to go experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when you visit Scotland this year.