If you are intrigued by what you read about Mendelssohn’s Scottish journey and would like follow in his footsteps 194 years later, or if you love Mendelssohn’s music and particularly his Hebrides Overture or Scottish Symphony and want to learn more about what inspired him, or if you have a fascination with Scottish history including the life of Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century or the Jacobite up-risings of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, or if you simply want to enjoy some of the UK’s most beautiful sights and scenery, then join the “Spirit of Scotland” holiday in September 2023.
About the Holiday
The "Spirit of Scotland" holiday will take place from 20 to 30 September 2023. It will be led jointly by Stephen Carpenter and Kayleen Asbo. Stephen has had a career in managing orchestras in Scotland and England since the 1980s. He has undertaken a close study of Mendelssohn, in particular the sketches and letters that throw such a vivid light on the composer's Scottish journey in 1829, and which form the inspiration for this holiday which will start and end in Edinburgh, and visit Abbotsford (the home of Sir Walter Scott), Melrose Abbey, Dunkeld, the Pass of Killiecrankie, Oban, the island of Mull, and the extraordinary Fingal’s Cave on the island of Staffa. To express interest in joining the holidays, contact Stephen Carpenter. . Kayleen is a passionate scholar: a cultural historian, musician, writer and teacher who weaves myth, music, psychology, history and art with experiential learning.
A summary of the holiday is given below and further details can be found here.
Spirit of Scotland
Wednesday 20 September 2023 – Edinburgh. Independent arrival and check-in at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel from 3.00pm. Welcome dinner at the Hotel at 7.00pm
Thursday 21 September – 10.30am departure from the Hotel for the short walk to St Ceclia's Hall in Edinburgh where we will have a private guided tour of the instrument collection followed by a recital by Kayleen and musical guests. In the afternoon, we will visit the National Museum of Scotland. Buffet dinner at the hotel.
Friday 22 September – a visit to Holy Island and Abbotsford.
Saturday 23 September – Mansfield Traquair and Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sunday 24 September – Blair Atholl Castle and check-in at the Dunkeld House Hotel where we have dinner together, and a concert.
Monday 25 September – the Falls of Braan at the Hermitage, the Rumbling Bridge, Bruar Falls, and Killiecrankie.
Tuesday 26 September – Dunkeld to Oban acriss the breath-taking central Highlands and from Oban to the Isle of Mull and Iona where we check in for a three night stay.
Wednesday 27 September – Morning visit to Iona Abbey where we will share in a musical circle in the sanctuary. In the afternoon we will take the boat to Staffa and Fingal’s Cave.
Thursday 28 September – a day to explore the island of Iona.
Friday 29 September – Return to Edinburgh. Travel from Iona back across the Isle of Mull to catch the ferry back to Oban and from there continue on the final leg of our journey back to Edinburgh through passes and glens, and along the shores of beautiful lochs. We travel via Taynuilt and along the Pass of Brander which hugs the northern shore of Loch Awe, to Inveraray where we will have lunch together at the Inveraray Inn. Skirting Loch Fyne, we then head down the beautiful western shore of the Bonny, Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond, stopping at the Cameron House Hotel on the southern shore of the Loch, affording us the same views that Mendelssohn sketched in 1829. We will have tea at Cameron House and then return to Edinburgh, arriving at around 6.30pm and checking in to the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel for one night.
Saturday 30 September – Independent departure home.