There are plenty of traditional kilt-makers throughout Scotland, but Howie Nicolsby of 21st Century Kilts puts a contemporary spin on Scottish dress (and currently dresses the doormen at the G&V Hotel in Edinburgh’s Old Town). You can get measured up in his tiny shop down Thistle Street, a narrow cobbled lane in the New Town, for a custom-made kilt or check out his ready to wear range in luxury Harris Tweed or contemporary denim.
Nothing says Highland romance like a castle. And you can bed down in your own on the far-flung Kintyre peninsula. The Landmark Trust’s property Saddell Castle dates back to the 16th century and has history seeping out of the stonework. The property is available for exclusive use and sleeps 8 for room for all generations of the family. Clamber up to the battlements, relax in front of the 16th-century fireplace, explore the ruined abbey and build a bonfire on the beach spotting seals and otters on the shore.
Award-winning wildlife and landscape photographer Neil McIntyre offers photographic safaris in the Cairngorms National Park, stalking ospreys, otters, red squirrels and, of course, the most iconic Scottish mammal, the red deer – with a camera. Scramble across heather-sprung hillsides, tramp through pungent pine forests on a private one-day tour to get the perfect shot of a magnificent stag framed against majestic mountains and glittering lochs.
The family-owned Majestic Line has converted two jaunty fishing trawlers into luxurious small passenger cruisers with just six cabins each. This year they’re also adding a third bespoke vessel. You can charter one of the boats for your own private cruise around the western isles. Lie wrapped in a tartan rug on the old-style wooden loungers on the deck as you chug across the waves, curl up with a book in the cosy galley and tuck into slap-up gourmet dinners.
One of the most innovative chefs in Scotland, Craig Grozier offers bespoke private dining experiences using seasonal and wild ingredients from the country’s natural larder. He also works with Uniquely Scotland Culinary Adventures tailor-making gourmet events organising everything from the venue to the tailor-made menu.
Mitchell Partridge is Skye Ghillie (ghillie is Gaelic for man-servant) and can tailor-make sea, loch and river fishing trips on the island. Do you want to learn how to cast a fly, stalk brown trout along the riverbank or land a salmon? After which a Michelin-starred chef will cook your catch on the shore. Marcello Tully is the head chef at Kinloch Lodge, a traditional Scottish hunting lodge turned hotel, owned by renowned cookery book author, Lady Claire Macdonald.
The gin industry in Scotland is currently booming with new distilleries opening all the time. The craze for gin has reached Scotland’s shores and gin distilleries are springing up all over the country from the Isle of Harris (Isle of Harris Distillery) in the Outer Hebrides to the far north coast (Dunnet Bay Distillery/Rock Rose Gin). You can even learn how to make your own gin beneath Edinburgh’s pavements. The Edinburgh Gin Distillery in the city centre offers half-day gin-making classes using mini-stills and including a tutored tasting.