Episode 4: Scotland

Filmed on location in: Scotland

In the north of Britain lies a land of epic grandeur and enduring legend. This is a place of soaring peaks shrouded in mist and snow, of rugged glens that have known war and tragedy, and eerie lakes that may conceal monsters. It’s a land of heroes, from hard rock icons like AC/DC to freedom fighters like Braveheart himself, William Wallace. Home to a people proud of their culture and determined to keep that spirit alive, this is Scotland.

A glider soars over Loch Leven, one of Scotland’s many picturesque lakes. Today the loch attracts both tourists and thrill-seekers, such as gliding enthusiast Santi Cervantes, but once it served as a prison for Scotland’s most famous monarch, Mary Queen of Scots. Less than 20 miles to the south stands Scotland’s historic capital, home to the magnificent hilltop keep of Edinburgh Castle. Every year Edinburgh’s atmospheric Old Town is the open-air venue for the world’s largest arts festival, the glorious, colorful Edinburgh Fringe. Its cobbled streets become stages for performers such as Flying High Theatre Company and Australian entertainer Corey Pickett.

Close by lies Princes Street Gardens and the dark gothic spire of the Scott Monument, built to commemorate one of the country’s greatest writers, Sir Walter Scott. Scott’s works of fiction, such as the classic Rob Roy, are as intrinsically Scottish as the kilt. But today, Scotsmen like Finlay Wilson are finding a new use for the kilt. Scotland’s renowned traditional attire, it turns out, is perfectly suited to practicing yoga. West of Edinburgh, near the town of Stirling, stands another great monument. This one is dedicated not to a writer but to a freedom fighter. One of the most revered of all Scots, he was William Wallace, of Braveheart fame. Nearby lies the site of the Battle of Stirling, where Wallace famously defeated an invading English army in 1297.

The sport of golf has its origins in Scotland, and one of the world’s most iconic golf courses is found in the university town of St Andrews. Many professional golfers, among them the greatest of all, Jack Nicklaus, have chosen to say farewell to their careers on the course’s Swilcan Bridge. St Andrews was also where a certain young man and woman, while studying at the university, met and fell in love. Prince William and Kate Middleton first met at St Salvator’s Hall student residence in 2001. Ten years later they married in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Kirriemuir may seem like an average Scottish town, but this was the birthplace of two of the most iconic figures in popular culture, one fictional and one real. It was here that writer J.M. Barrie got the inspiration for Peter Pan, the boy who never grows old. Kirriemuir was also home to the frontman of one of the world’s greatest hard rock bands – Bon Scott of AC/DC. Sweeping north to the Highlands, we explore a world-famous landscape of rugged mountains and deep lakes, and investigate if there is any truth to the tales of a creature in the depths of Loch Ness. In the Western Highlands lies the brooding, dramatic Glen Coe, backdrop to one of the bloodiest massacres in Scottish history and, more recently, the filming location for the James Bond movie Skyfall.

Larger than life, magnificent and mysterious, this is Scotland.

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