How a canny Kilmarnock grocer took whisky from the glens to the world

Walker family used latest technology and ruthless advertising to head £5bn market, new book reveals Johnnie Walker has come a long way. Two centuries ago bottles of the blended whisky were confined to the shelves of John Walker’s modest grocery store in the little town of Kilmarnock in west Scotland. Today it is the planet’s […]

Best winter adventures in the UK: readers’ travel tips

Swimming and bikepacking, walks and wildlife – and even some witchy social history – make for memorable cold-weather trips Head to Scotland’s beautiful twin islands of Mull and Iona in winter and you will have beaches and caves to yourselves. Take a warm tent, a decent wetsuit and warm clothes for exploring the cliff paths, […]

From Sudan to the Park Inn: the tragic story of a migrant’s killing

A mass stabbing in Glasgow in June revealed the plight of asylum seekers crammed into hotels during lockdown On the last Friday of June, at about midday, Badreddin Abadlla Adam left his room at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow, walked down to reception, and stabbed six people. The 28-year-old, an asylum seeker from Sudan […]

Scotland’s oldest miniature steam railway finally runs out of puff

Kerr’s half-mile line has delighted visitors to Arbroath for 85 years; with a last blast of nostalgia it has blown its last whistle “It’s a bit excessive, but if you can do it, why not?” a train driver shouts to a crowd as he shovels extra coal into the firebox of a navy blue 1930s […]

Scotland residents: how are you affected by the latest Covid restrictions?

We want to hear from people living and working in Scotland about how new coronavirus restrictions will impact them A ban on drinking indoors in pubs, bars and restaurants across Scotland for 16 days is set to take place from Friday at 6pm. Places will have to operate a food and non-alcoholic drinks only service […]

Pubs and restaurants: do scientists think Covid closures and curfews work?

While virus can spread easily in crowded indoor venues, 10pm cut-off is questionable Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland will be banned from serving alcohol to customers indoors for more than two weeks, while pubs in northern England face the possibility of tighter restrictions. But what […]

Tackling Jock’s Road: a dramatic walking adventure in the Scottish Highlands

This challenging route over the Grampians passes through history, wilderness and glorious scenery Scotland is rich in wild histories. Ruins, relics and the stories behind them are found throughout its more isolated landscapes − forgotten, overlooked and often hidden by dint of sheer geographical remoteness. There was one particular journey and historical narrative I had […]

Whisky, gin – and fruit wines: five of Edinburgh’s best local tipples

Is it the water, the ancient herbs or the heather that make Scottish spirits so distinctive? Have a fine old time making up your mind on a visit to the capital. Sláinte … Why does Edinburgh have such an eclectic array of local spirits? Ask a whisky distiller and they’ll tell you it’s in the […]

How to go skiing despite a winter of Covid restrictions

Planning a ski holiday may seem daunting but resorts are open – and if the continent seems too far, hit the slopes in Scotland When Covid-19 closed Europe’s ski season in early March – leaving thousands of skiers stranded when their resorts shut and others having to cancel trips – some assumed they would be […]

Pubs, bars and restaurants: how will new rules in England, Scotland and Wales affect you?

We’d like to hear from people employed in pubs, bars and restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales about how you feel new restrictions may impact your work Pubs, bars and restaurants in England and Wales will have to shut by 10pm from Thursday under new restrictions to halt a rise in coronavirus cases. Scotland will […]

What are the new coronavirus rules in England?

See the key points from Boris Johnson’s announcement of more robust restrictions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has announced a series of new, more robust coronavirus restrictions to come into force across England in a speech to parliament, followed by a TV address on Tuesday evening. These are the […]

Covid cases and deaths today: coronavirus UK map

Are UK coronavirus cases rising in your local area and nationally? Check week-on-week changes across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the latest figures from public health authorities Please note: these are government figures on numbers of confirmed cases – some people who report symptoms are not being tested, and are not included in […]

Boris Johnson’s in-tray: what are the key issues PM needs to address?

From coronavirus to Brexit, prime minister has several major problems to sort out Boris Johnson’s curtailed mini-holiday to Scotland could soon start to feel a distant memory, with MPs returning to parliament on Tuesday, and the prime minister facing an overflowing political in-tray. Here are some of the more immediate crises he must face in […]

Teachers and parents: share your thoughts on face coverings in UK schools

We want to hear whether you or your children will be wearing a face covering in school to reduce the spread of coronavirus Secondary school pupils in Scotland have been advised to wear face coverings if it is impossible to physically distance, from Monday. The Scottish education secretary has underlined that it is not mandatory […]

Scotland: mixed feelings about school return following coronavirus closures

Anxiety about distancing and potential second wave balanced with excitement about seeing classmates again Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Parents and children across Scotland have described a mixture of relief, anxiety, loss and celebration as pupils begin their phased return to schools across the country this week. “I can be flippant […]

How to host a safe, socially distanced barbecue this summer

With lockdown restrictions relaxed, we can safely invite people into our gardens for a slightly adapted style of barbecue. For it to be a successful night, remember it’s all in the planning … Since coronavirus has shrunk our social spheres, intimate garden parties have become something of a trend. Thanks to street-wide WhatsApp chats and […]

Why ‘stronger than ever’ union is wishful thinking from Boris Johnson

It is not only pressure over Scottish independence that is exposing cracks in No 10’s claim The Downing Street press release previewing Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland says the prime minister would be sending the message that the union was “stronger than ever”. This is, however, largely wishful thinking from No 10, with pressures being […]

‘Remember to smile with your eyes’: how to stay safe and look great in a face mask

Is it OK to tell someone else to wear one – and which style looks good on you? Over to the experts … • Twenty masks for all occasions Nearly six months after the coronavirus overturned our lives, the face mask has finally, unequivocally, arrived. Until now, it’s had an image problem, but that thinking […]

England and Scotland retailers: share your thoughts on mandatory masks

We’d like to hear from retailers on the announcement that wearing face masks will be mandatory in shops in England from 24 July After mixed messages last week regarding the UK government’s stance on face masks, prime minister Boris Johnson is today set to announce the mandatory wearing of masks in shops in England. The […]

Foreign holiday bookings playing catch up after UK government indecision

With the ‘safe list’ of countries finally announced, holiday bookings are expected to pick up, but tour operators are scrambling to make up for lost time The “safe list” for holidays was finally announced by the government today, but previous uncertainty around proposed “air bridges” and “travel corridors”, and the delay in publishing the list […]

‘We never ran out of toilet roll’: the Edinburgh eco store that’s thriving in lockdown

The husband and wife team running The Eco Larder have been stranded in different parts of Scotland in lockdown, but that’s not stopping them from keeping their zero-waste store open On 5 June, The Eco Larder co-owner Matthew Foulds had his first day off work for 90 days. Making the most of his free time, […]

Splendid isolation: in search of Scotland’s hermits

Many isolated people have struggled in lockdown, but others enjoy solitude and choose it as a way of life. Here, Elliot Caunce portrays four modern hermits who live off the grid in Scotland Williams, 70, moved into his off-grid farmhouse in the 70s, with his then wife and his daughter, Ceilidh, after falling out with […]

To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

The Cape Wrath Challenge at the northern tip of Scotland was dreamed up by a postwar cycling enthusiast who thought that bike touring clubs were turning soft At the north-western tip of Scotland, cut off from the mainland by a tidal inlet that can be treacherous to cross, is a single-track road that winds for […]

Tell us about your young child’s experiences of going back to school

Is yours experiencing fears around cleanliness or difficulties socialising with other children? We’d like to hear from you After months at home during lockdown, many toddlers or early years children have returned to school in England. In Wales, schools reopen on 29 June and in Scotland teachers can return to prepare for the start of the […]

‘Now I have a future’: how furlough helped a paddle-sports business stay afloat

With his business Beyond Adventure having to close its doors due to the coronavirus crisis, Ross Dempster was worried how his team would survive. He explains how the furlough scheme has given him hope For some people it can take decades to discover their true passion, but for Ross Dempster, managing director of Beyond Adventure, […]

‘Painter of stirring genius’: call for Joan Eardley centenary show

Critics and family say recognition of one of Scotland’s most significant artists is long overdue She is regarded as one of Scotland’s most significant and original artists, whose achievement of international recognition was unkindly stalled by her death from breast cancer at the age of 42. Now Joan Eardley’s family, friends and multitude admirers are […]

Scottish national poet Jackie Kay talks about racism she endured as a child

Scotland’s makar recalls being taunted and beaten up by older boys as an eight-year-old and reflects on a much-changed country One of Scotland’s most garlanded poets, Jackie Kay, has spoken out about the racist bullying she experienced as a child in the 1970s. Kay, who is Scotland’s makar, or national poet, said that while growing […]

Tell us: how has lockdown changed for you last week?

We’d like to hear how the government’s plan to ease the lockdown in England has affected you. What changes have you seen in Scotland and Wales? As part of the government’s plan to ease the lockdown, people in England can return to their workplace if they cannot work from home. They have been asked to […]