During a week in the Scottish Highlands it has rained for a good part of every day. Yet I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this part of the world for any holiday, at any time of the year, even when the midges are biting.
I’ve got the bike with me, and have done a few decent rides, had a couple of ok runs and joined in with a few of Fiona’s very long walks. Those on twitter may have seen some of the scenery twitpix I clicked on the blackberry to try to share some of those breath-taking moments, like when a pair of ospreys suddenly appeared above us yesterday. As a big scenery fan, I can think of few parts of the world that get close to here for beauty.
One of the walks included a beach where the locals were keen to remind us that Local Hero was filmed. I vaguely remembered the film, though I think I may confuse it with Gregory’s Girl. But what was interesting was the extent to which the filming of a popular film at a particular location had embedded itself in the saleability of the place.
The thought returned on seeing this morning’s Times newspaper and a story which I suspect only appears in the Scottish edition. ‘New Hollywood film is as important for Scots as the railway, claims tourism boss.’ The film in question, called Brave, is a Disney fairytale set not far from where I am sitting. It is a Pixar movie, which I think means hi-tech cartoon, and stars the voices of Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson and Robbie Coltrane.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of Visit Scotland, is very excited about it. He feels it will do better for Scottish tourism than did Braveheart, whose anti-English sentiment limited the broader marketing opportunities. The expected boost from Brave comes with tourism already Scotland’s biggest industry, employing 270,000 people. What Burns already does for Ayrshire, what Shakespeare does for Stratford – on a bigger scale than ever in the year ahead thanks to the Olympics cultural programme – new films can do for different regions of Britain.
I know times are hard, but perhaps the government needs to look once more at tax breaks for the film industry to do more of their work in Britain, one of the most culturally alive and scenically beautiful countries on earth.
Finally, if the producers of Brave need any pipers, I got a new set of pipes for Christmas, and have been practising every day.
Ps, Sky Arts have announced Feb 21 as the day they will show the film on my re-learning the pipes sufficiently well to play in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, as part of their First Love series.