Love Scotland is a podcast series from the National Trust for Scotland.
From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, the National Trust for Scotland cares for and protects some of Scotland's most significant places and spaces, allowing them to be enjoyed today while protecting them for future generations.
Hosted by TV star and expert broadcaster Jackie Bird, and featuring experts and enthusiasts from all walks of life, each episode delves deep into the detail of Scotland’s history, its wildlife and its landscapes.
Scottish Christmas traditions: authentic festive displays at Castle Fraser
In this week’s episode of Love Scotland, Jackie is getting ready to deck the halls with boughs of holly. As people across Scotland prepare for their own festive celebrations, we take a look at how the National Trust for Scotland creates authentic Christmas displays in its properties.
Dr Jo Riley from Castle Fraser has been leading a research project into traditional decorations and how they have changed over time. From garlands to gifts, candles to clementines, Jo has examined exactly how previous residents in homes like Castle Fraser would have celebrated.
To mark the end of the current series of Love Scotland, Jackie and Jo discuss the pagan roots of the festive season, why mistletoe didn’t always mean romance, and who it was that first brough yule logs to Scottish shores.
Find out more about Dr Jo Riley’s research by clicking here.
You can also get the latest visitor information on Castle Fraser, and all of our properties, on the National Trust for Scotland website.
Love Scotland will return in the New Year. Please remember to follow, rate and review the podcast on your podcast platform of choice.
Scotland’s coasts with Cal Major: advocacy and conservation on Scottish coastlines
In this week’s episode, Jackie is joined by adventurer, film-maker and campaigner Cal Major to discuss Scotland’s coasts and the challenges facing them. Cal has built a reputation as one of the UK’s top stand-up paddleboarders (SUP), completing the first ever SUP from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2018.
In 2021, she paddled 800 miles of Scotland’s coastline. As someone who has spent so long at sea, Cal knows only too well the real-world implications of the climate and biodiversity crises. She is now a keen campaigner and advocate for action that will help protect Scotland’s coasts, including the Our Seas campaign of which the National Trust for Scotland is a member.
To find out more about Our Seas, click here.
To find out more about Cal Major, click here.
Check the latest visitor information for some of the Trust’s coastline properties: St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, Inverewe, Balmacara Estate, Rockcliffe, and more.
Alan Cumming’s Scotland: the Hollywood actor on Robbie Burns, life in Scotland, and his love of history
This week, Jackie is joined by actor and presenter Alan Cumming to discuss his life, career, and love of Scotland. Fresh from the critically acclaimed run of Burn – a dance-theatre piece that re-examines Robert Burns using his own words – Alan discuss where his passion for Scottish history and culture comes from.
As a long-standing supporter of the National Trust for Scotland and as one half of Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond, Alan has seen many of the nation’s most beautiful and fascinating places. He reveals all about his recent stay at the House of Dun and Fyvie Castle, and what he learned about Robert Burns through his letters.
For more information on the House of Dun, click here.
For more information on Fyvie Castle, click here.
For more information on Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, click here.
Vikings in Scotland: how raids on Iona introduced a new age
The Vikings may be most closely associated with Norway, but the fearsome warriors made their mark on Scotland, too. Throughout the 1st century, they sailed the choppy seas to raid monasteries, including on Iona, pillaging and plundering wherever they went.
In this week’s episode of the podcast, Jackie discovers what brought the invaders from the north to Scotland, and what encouraged them to stay. Joined by Dr Adrián Maldonado, the Glenmorangie Research Fellow at National Museums Scotland and an expert in the Scottish Viking Age, Jackie looks at how the pillagers interacted with the Picts, how they knew which islands to attack, and what happened to the last of the Vikings.
Iona and Fair Isle both have connections to the Vikings, and you can find out more about the places here and here.
If you enjoyed this episode, you might enjoy previous Love Scotland instalments too. For more island history, try the July 2022 episode called Inside Canna House. Or, if you’d like some sea-faring adventure, try the September 2021 episode called The Smugglers’ Caves of Culzean.
Scotland in the First World War: the homes that became hospitals to support the war effort
In this week’s episode, released on Armistice Day 2022, Jackie is looking at a small but crucial part of the First World War effort: the stately homes that were requisitioned to become hospitals. In particular, she’s keen to find out how the National Trust for Scotland’s Pollok House was used at this time.
The property in the south of Glasgow became an auxiliary hospital and helped to treat wounded soldiers throughout the conflict. Harriet Richardson Blakeman, an architectural historian with a special interest in hospitals, joins Jackie to discuss how Pollok and properties like it were converted into make-shift hospitals.
Jackie discovers who benefitted from the hospitals, what steps were taken to ensure the best healthcare possible was being provided, and what happened to these new hospitals at the end of the war.
Sam Heughan’s Scotland: The Outlander actor and Waypoints author meets Jackie Bird
What does Sam Heughan love about Scotland? The Outlander star and author of new book Waypoints joins Jackie in the studio to discuss some of his recent adventures. Together, they chat about some of Scotland’s most important historical sites, the value of spending time in the great outdoors, and how Outlander has helped to rejuvenate interest in the nation’s past.
Having filmed in several National Trust for Scotland locations, Sam has become well-acquainted with some of the most beautiful places the nation has to offer. He reveals some of his favourite places to film, how the experience of Outlander has affected him personally, and what drives his passion for Scottish history. Plus, he reads a short extract from Waypoints.