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Scotcon 2016: A Celebration of All Things Scottish In Edinburgh

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 8 September 2016
Imagine a room overflowing with a sea of kaleidoscope kilts and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie. Clans can be distinguished based on their tartan. An impressive display of weaponry adorns every corner. Stalls are set up and ready to share local homemade Scottish arts and crafts. Haggis, neeps and tatties are welcomed. Highland dancers can be seen pushing their calves to the limits through an intricate rendition of the Highland Fling. Words like aye, braw and bonnie are frequently uttered. The all-encompassing, empowering tones of bagpipes send chills up spines. Welcome to Scotcon.

On the 4th September 2016, a unique and special gathering took place in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange. Scotcon – a non-profit organization geared towards all things Scottish – were the worthy hosts of such a celebration. Heritage, honour and history go hand-in-hand with the word Scotland – so much so that many travel far and wide just to savour a snippet of it. The idea behind this momentous celebration was to have a conglomeration of all things Scottish under one roof. Consider it the ultimate toast and a way to truly raise a glass to this bonnie brave land.

© Chris Combe/Flickr
Eilean Donan in colour | © Chris Combe/Flickr

Many have a romantic view of the Scots, which undoubtedly stems from the colourful history, rich heritage and vibrant cultural traditions still practiced today. Some paint the Scots as a superhero archetype. With this in mind, it is quite surprising that such an event has not already occurred. However, Scotcon happens to be the only and very first Scottish convention of such magnitude in Scotland. This could seem ironic considering the many countries that celebrate Highland Games or feature Scottish historical reenactments at Renaissance Festivals.

A mental snapshot of the Scotcon festivities appears like a scene straight from the popular television series Outlander. This image is actually spot-on, considering the fact that certain members of the Outlander cast were in fact present. The day kicked off with a riveting panel discussion from cast members Steven Cree, Graham McTavish, Grant O’Rourke, Clive Russell and Stephen Walters. Fans were delighted to partake in the Outlander cast ‘selfie session’, autograph signings, and meet-and-greet. The Youth Theatre Arts Scotland also gave a stunning performance of re-enactments inspired by this epic show.

Kilted Scottsmen | © Kate Williams/Flickr
Kilted Scottsmen | © Kate Williams/Flickr

Multiple Scotcon-goers appeared dressed to the nines in their full Scottish finery. Those feeling left out (due to the lack of kilt) could join in the shenanigans and delight in the impressive array of tartans and tweed items for sale. The celebration really covered all bases from Outlander Herbal Lip Balm and Eau De Parfum workshops to Gaelic 101, and a Clanadonia event. Metal clanked and crowds stood awestruck at the riveting sword fight demonstration from the immensely talented members of the Glasgow Academy of Historical Arts. Feet thumped on the floor as the Highland Dance competition kicked off in full swing. Hands clapped and voices cheered over The Eightsome Reel and Gay Gordons during the ceilidh dance lessons. The list goes on.

Ultimately, Scotcon was an absolute success – it was a celebration of all things Scottish, from her heritage to history, land, culture, traditions and, of course, people. This glorious gathering was an enthralling event for all and also extremely beneficial for many local charities. The festivities ended with a ceilidh fit for all the clans and was certainly a shindig to remember.