Art Walks: Spring in the UK and Ireland


Mural on the Clutha Pub, Bridgegate Street, Glasgow Scotland Summer 2016 J. Canning

I have always enjoyed a good street art walk. Murals and sidewalk art have become extensive, massive canvases to showcase local artists and get up close and personal with art. This summer I will be hitting more mural walks. I was reading one of the people I follow on Twitter, Travels With a Kilt Blog, and a recent article caught my eye. It’s a great art walk in Glasgow and I will be following it this summer and adding some of my own discoveries.

Got one of those super saver early flight arrivals like I always get? It’s one of the best things to do when you just get to a city, especially if you are walking off the jet lag. Get a taste for the city you are exploring, grab coffee or tea on the way, walk a few hours, then have a meal. Great way to meet people.

Since I won’t be going until summer this year, I thought I would link you up with this article so if you happen to be going to Glasgow this spring, you should read this:

Glasgow’s Street Art Article

Planning on going to a city or two this spring summer that may have street art? Seek it out and take your own shots of this amazing public art form. Share them on Instagram or try a street art app that you can share with the world.

Just a tip: You will find many official street art tours. They cost money. You can find maps for free online and also some walking tours with local historians, a bit less money. If you have a budget, small tours with locals can be a blast as you can meet with others traveling and have great convo. But sometimes creating your own tour is great on the budget, look for Street Art Tour Maps online. There are apps online and phone apps for tours as well. Remember this will eat up your power and many places are charging money now in cafes to recharge your phone.


Apps for Street Art Worldwide Directory

For great walks and place in Scotland to take your snaps, check out

More at these cities:








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Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh Interview With Malcolm MacCallum

Phrenology Cabinet 19th century

Phrenology Cabinet 19th c.

One of the things Edinburgh is famous for is it’s surgeons and contribution to medicine. I was very fortunate in my trip to Edinburgh last summer to make it to the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh. Miles of specimens or curious body parts and displays. After walking some of the kirk yards and grave sites in Edinburgh, this was a fun theme to follow up on after the Under Edinburgh Tour. Sadly, I found that there was another museum based on the human body, Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh, that is open only during certain months and hours. To let you know about this wee gem of a place, I contacted the curator, Malcolm MacCallum and asked him about this specialized museum.

This museum specializes in anatomy and is a great treasure trove opening a world of mystery and fun to a visitor. This museum has some famous inhabitants you will want to see, the infamous Burke and Hare are just some. If you are lucky to be touring Edinburgh during the school months, and the last weekend of the month, give it a whorl.

The museum sadly only have the skeleton of Burke and not Hare in the museum –Hare was taken to England and subsequently disappeared from the historical record. There are about five or six theories about where he ended up and what he did next.

burke (1)



Last Saturday of the month 10 am to 4 pm, museum is closed June and July.

corrosion cast of foot



The following is an interview with Malcolm

How did your museum get it’s start, and how have you seen it grow in the last five years?

The museum dates back to 1798 when the Professor of Anatomy at the University donated a large collection of specimens and preparations to form a museum. This formed the nucleus of the collection which was added to over the following years. Over the last five years the museum has grown from a resource for medical students only, to now having limited public openings. Over the last five years professional museum staff have been employed for the first time (a curator and collections assistant), an inventory of the 12,000 collection objects has taken place and the museum was also last year awarded Accredited Status.

Has there been anything surprising that happened that you just ran with in an opportunity to create an exhibit?

We have been working with the Forensic Art MSc students at the University of Dundee who have been analysing some of our historic skulls and casts from our phrenology collection. This has resulted in a collaborative project where we ended up telling the story of a pirate called Alexander Tardy. Unexpectedly this meant we displayed a full sized reconstruction of Tardy in the museum.

What do you consider the most challenging part of running a museum of your kind?

By law we are required to have a licensed anatomist (one of the senior professors or technical staff) in the building anytime we open to the public. This heavily restricts when we can open to the public (currently the last Saturday of the month during University semesters only).

What is the planning process for creating new exhibits? Do you have any behind the scenes video or articles that future visitors can look at?

Ideas for new exhibitions can come from a dedicated student internship, an academic, or within the museum curatorial team.  We have an ‘Anatomical Museum’ app which gives a fly-through of the whole medical school, including the museum and includes 360 degree photos of the displays and some of the key objects.

Is there a committee that decides to feature something or a finding that becomes available and you build around that? Or does the planning involve a specific structure?

The Anatomical Museum collections are part of the general University of Edinburgh collections, so any exhibits we create would have to be presented to an exhibition planning committee for approval. In general the University exhibition planning process works on 2-3 year cycles. Within the Anatomical Museum itself we have more flexibility to change exhibits in the shorter term and often a short notice, this is something that happens on a small scale only .

Due to a current lack of substantial funding the exhibits do not regularly change. As an accredited museum we will in future be eligible to apply for funding for exhibition development.

It’s the 2017 season coming and what are your plans for exhibits this coming year?

We have been awarded a small grant to look at interpretation in the museum. Traditionally the labelling in the museum is for medical students so is quite complex for anyone not with medical knowledge to understand. By the end of 2017 we hope to introduce a secondary level of interpretation for families and more general audiences. We are also working with the City of Edinburgh Council to host a small display relating to a facial reconstruction project using one of our notorious 19th century skeletons (John Howison – ‘The Cramond Murderer’.

So you only have the skeleton of Burke ?

There was only a life mask made of Hare which we have on display.

 Burke would have gone to his death without ever knowing that Hare had given evidence against him. It is thought that Hare was given a disguise and escorted to Newington in Edinburgh as ‘Mr Black’. It is believed that he then headed to Dumfries and tried to take the mail coach to Portpatrick (possibly with an aim of getting back home to Ireland at some point) but that crowds recognised him and he had to change his plans. He was last seen two miles south of Carlisle and from there he disappears from the records.Burke brain cast

You can see a virtual tour of the museum here.


Burke and Hare 

Faces in the Cupboard 

Images copyright © The University of Edinburgh 2017.

Inverness; Touristination Place


Inverness has seen a huge upturn in visitation these last two years due to the Outlander Effect and renewed interest in the Battle of Culloden and the Jacobite trail. When I was in Inverness in the summer of 2016, the streets were swarming with many tourists from all over the world. I had wanted to visit the area because I had an interest in seeing where the Battle of Culloden had taken place, and of course the famous Loch Ness area, but also the trip to Inverness through the Highland via train was breathtaking. If you are lucky enough to be able to drive the winding road to visit this amazing seaside town, do. There are plenty of places to stop off for a picnic and gazing at large imposing, majestic Monros.


Inverness (Inbhir Nis) is situated on the mouth of the river Ness at the Moray Firth, it was home to the Pictish people. The city is near where the King MacBeth murdered King Duncan in the 11-Century. Many clans battled over lands in the area including the MacDonalds, Monro and Macintosh. And even Oliver Cromwell paid a visit with troops and occupied it. It is close to the famous Culloden Moor where the last battle of the Jacobites was in 1745.

Things to Do

Castles there are, Inverness Castle is imposing, but is a recent fixture build in 1836 by William Burn that was built on the site of a previous defensive structure. This castle is not open to the public, but you can view from the grounds. Castle Urquhart is at Loch Ness and is a great clamoring ruin that can be viewed. It’s been featured in films and series. I love ruined castles just as much as the “tour” castles, I like to climb the grounds and imagine what they must have been like ages ago and what the people were doing there.

Another must see and experienced is Culloden Moor is where the famed battle took place in 1745 and the visitor center is one of the best historic sites I have been to. The chilling interactive display that takes you through the history of the battle and allows you to wander through each side of the combatants as you walk the story wall is very moving. When you get to the battlefield you will feel the presence of those lost with stone markers and spirits. Many bring flowers and place them by identified clan sites, or there is the stone for the rest of the clans that joined without official envoy. I visited on a true Scots day filled with dreich and was soaked through with wet and memory. Whatever your flavor of emotion, it is one of the sites where you will be humbled.

The Food

There are many great seaside and riverside restaurants. I tried my first Cullen Skink soup in Inverness. What is that? Well, it’s not lizard soup which well, with skink that came to mind. It’s a delicious fish soup common in the coastal towns. I tried a few restaurants on the river during my stay, there were so many. Good thing I was hiking to the Clava Cairns the next day. Don’t forget that  one of the most popular edibles in Scotland is Mac and Cheese, and some places deep fry it.

Top Ten Reviews

The Loch

Oh, yeah. The main reason for going back this time is to actually get a tour around the lake. On my last visit the time got swallowed up by Culloden and Clava Cairns explorations and I did not make the full hike to the lake up the river Ness. This visit I hope to get around the lake a bit and do some hiking, and maybe crawl over that castle. Of course, the famous attraction at the Loch, Nessie, is what most tourists seek. Science girl here. While it’s possible that there are  some huge fish in a lake like this, I doubt a monster really exists. But everyone can have  their fun with it, it’s great for the kids. Fun theories I have read over the years include prehistoric plesiosaurs. If you like having fun with legends like this, there are plenty of tourist trinkets to be found in the shops and taking a cruise on the loch is a must.

And on To Skye and Lewis

If you’re in the neighborhood, you should check out the isla around the area. One of my reasons for heading back to Inverness is to make it to Skye and Lewis. Last season i was only able to view the Hebrides from shore and boat, I did not step on any islands. This year I plan on visiting these two and exploring their shores and inland wonders. I recommend Travel’s With a Kilt Blog article on Skye for some pointers on hiking and other amazing sites on this island. Lewis is home to the Standing Stones of Callanish, and amazing collection of standing stones sure to inspire your dreams. Getting to Lewis is a bit of a trek, and you may find tours from Inverness that cover Skye and Lewis that will take up a whole day. 


Weekend Things to do on the Isle of Skye

Travels With a Kilt

Hike Around Inverness

10 Scottish Castles That Inspired Outlander

Best Places to Get Cullen Skink

Inverness Restaurants

Loch Ness Activities

Other Useful Links

Visit Inverness

National Trust Culloden

Culloden House

Inverness Botanics

Loch Ness Centre

Learn Gaelic

Castle Urquhart


The Bonnie Prince Comeback


Charles Edward Louis Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart, The Bonnie Prince 1730 to 1788


Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart

Well, as far as inbreeding goes, I guess celebrating a particular Bonnie Prince, recently made famous again by a popular Scottish series, is a thing to get excited about. Scotland is so happy about the Outlander Effect, where multitudes of watchers of the series have flocked to her shores, that a new exhibit and trail celebrating the well intentioned and misguided prince has set to open this spring. If you are traveling to Scotland, follow this trail and see this exhibit to understand how the national rebellion came into being, and it’s tragic aftermath.

Yes, I have read the Diana Gabaldon Outlander Novels. Yes, I have actually read some Scottish history. I have to say, he was truly bonnie, but misguided in his efforts? How to understand a world where the rulers of Great Britain were Hanoverian, yes they had to shop outside the country for German Kings and Queens due to succession routing the Stuarts, Catholic, and a little Act of Settlement, The Protestant kings remained on the throne until 1837. Remember the George we Americans had a bit of a problem with? He was one of them.

The Stuarts lived in exile for many years, and several attempts were made to take the country of Scotland back over the years. Sadly, they all ended badly, with the defeat at the Battle of Culloden 1745, and subsequent smashing of the rebellion by the British and Clearances of the Highlands. Yes, the Brits really get angry when you oppose them as we learned. It’s a sadly romantic tale and one that following the Bonnie Prince Charlie Trail can give you a glimpse of a past and the end of the Highlander culture. If you would like to see when many of our Scottish immigrants came from and why, I suggest going on this trail and checking out the exhibit at the National Museums Scotland, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites this summer and fall 2017.

To follow the full trail, it covers Britain and Scotland, check out this new site:

Jacobite Trail Website

Download the PDF map if you plan to visit so you can book.



Now tourists can explore the Bonnie Prince Charlie Trail thanks to Outlander


10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites