The Welcome Mat is Out for Homecoming Scotland 2009
THATCHED COTTAGE on the site of the National Trust for Scotland's Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. The 1746 Battle of Culloden is a hugely significant part of Scots history.
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a year-long program of spectacular events taking place throughout Scotland.
The event will highlight Scotland's great contributions to the world: Robert Burns (the 250th anniversary of his birth is in 2009), golf, whisky, great minds and innovations and Scotland's rich ancestry and culture.
Visitors are also invited to join clan members from around the world to witness Scotland's largest ever Clan Gathering. On July 25 and 26, 2009, Edinburgh will witness one of the largest clan gatherings in history.
Holyrood Park will host a magnificent Highland Games over the two days, then on the Saturday evening Clan members will parade up the historic Royal Mile and take their seats on the castle esplanade for a spectacular Clan Pageant.
As part of a major fundraising programme for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, the National Trust for Scotland is reaching out across the Atlantic to strengthen its ties with the United States and Canada.
THE MULTI-AWARD winning Glencoe Visitor Centre is one of the historic sites maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. Established in 1931, at the initiative of rural Scotland, the Trust acts as guardian of the nation's magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures.
Trust Chairman Shonaig Macpherson recently visited Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto, where she met with a number of influential business people, politicians and supporters of Scotland to spread the word about its vital work in protecting and preserving Scotland's natural and cultural heritage.
Speaking to The Celtic Connection by telephone on her visit, Shonaig Macpherson said,"On my visit to Toronto I'm hoping to meet people who we hope will help to support the National Trust for Scotland in establishing a new Canadian fundraising foundation and will help raise the charity's profile amongst the many Canadians with connections to or affection for Scotland."
The main theme of her trip was to raise awareness of the plans for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which is planned for completion in 2010.
Robert Burns has international appeal and Macpherson said, "this trip is an important step for the National Trust for Scotland as we take forward our plans for a brand new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. It will appeal to Scots and Burns' lovers world-wide."
Scotland's Homecoming 2009 is also seen as a great opportunity to promote the National Trust for Scotland to an international audience which identifies strongly with Scotland, its history and heritage.
Macpherson said, "given how popular Burns is here, I am sure many people will be interested in our ambitious plans to create a fitting legacy for this iconic Scotsman who is deeply appreciated on both sides of the Atlantic."
Speaking about the work of the National Trust for Scotland the Chairman said, "The National Trust for Scotland cares for some of the most important places and collections for Scottish culture and heritage.
"We look after 129 different properties, that's a diverse range of properties such as Glencoe Visitor Centre and Culloden. These properties are national and cultural treasures and are significant to Scotland's history and also for the future generations."
Shonaig Macpherson, Chairman of the National Trust of Scotland, recently visited Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto. She spoke to The Celtic Connection about plans for Scotland's Homecoming 2009.
Many Canadians have strong links with Scotland and are very interested in the culture, history and environment there.
Macpherson said, "This is a great opportunity for the Trust to connect with an audience that cares about Scotland and who could support the Trust's vital role in preserving and conserving Scotland's natural and cultural treasures for future generations.
"Because it is also the 250th birthday of Robert Burns, the Scottish government and all the different people involved in heritage and culture in Scotland, thought this would be an ideal year to celebrate Scotland's heritage and culture and to encourage Scots wherever they are in the world to come home and celebrate their culture.
"There will be a series of events that start in January and continue throughout the full year with lots of activities in lots of areas of Scotland.
"The welcome mat is out in Scotland for the homecoming and whether you're a Scot, of Scottish descent or simply love Scotland, you're all invited to the celebrations - for auld lang syne."
To make donations to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum send your donation to: The Appeals Department, The National Trust for Scotland, Wemyss House, 28 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4ET Scotland.
For more information about the year long planned activities for Homecoming Scotland 2009, visit: www.homecomingscotland2009.com.