Roots of the Harp - A Scottish Journey with Sunita

Scottish harps & faerie tales

12 days 11 nights
3rd - 14th June, 2017

Workshops • Performances • Guided Tours • Mercedes Coach    • Meet Harpists • Traditional Music Events • Historical Sites
This tour is open for harpists and non-harpists. 

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Sunita Staneslow is a harpist with an international reputation as a teacher and performer. Her husband Fred (CEO of Green Olive Tours) was born in Edinburgh, and in 2015 they toured Scotland on a tandem bicycle with a harp on a trailer, while raising money for charity.

Join Sunita and Fred for a trip down memory lane and meet some of the wonderful harpists, musicians and family on a deeply personal tour. Sunita's first real folk harp was made by Jack Yule of Penicuik, Scotland.

Scotland is one of the homes of the Celtic harp and on this trip you’ll explore the instrument and its place in today's dynamic Scottish society. There will be performance and learning opportunities, and you’ll meet local harp players and other musicians.

A broad swath of the country will be covered by air-conditioned coach and there will be four ferry voyages. There will be opportunities to play the harp (or be photographed with one) in exotic places--castles, by the loch, ancient standing stones, etc.

In addition to harp activities, visits to historical sites, and meetings with locals, you’ll learn about the fluid politics of the country.  Why did the Scots vote to remain in the European Union, while the rest of the UK voted to exit? Why did the Scots narrowly turn down a referendum for independence? What does the future hold?

In order to provide a quality experience this tour will be limited to 12 people, so please make a reservation as soon as you decide. The tour will fill up quickly. You don't need to bring a harp, but can do so if you want. Sunita will bring a harp, and there should be room on the bus for several more harps. Indicate on the registration form if you are bringing a harp.

Linlithgow Loch and Palace
Saturday 3rd June
You'll arrive at Edinburgh airport.  Transport will be provided to the West Port Hotel in Linlithgow. There will be a short tour of Linlithgow depending on arrival times. Since participants will arrive at different

Linlithgow is an ancient town and the local palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. There will be a welcome reception in the evening with a review of the entire itinerary.
Dinner and overnight, West Port Hotel,  Linlithgow

Sunita & Fred take a selfie
in front of Edinburgh Castle
Sunday 4th June
The group will be driven to Edinburgh and tour the Medieval Castle and Old Town. We'll take a harp into the castle for some photo opportunities. You’ll love the narrow winding streets and ancient stone buildings, many dating back to the early middle ages and beyond.

There will be a lunch with local harpists in the heart of the city. The city has a vibrant harp community and every year they organise the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, which attracts hundreds of harpists for a week-long event that attracts the finest teachers and performers.

Dinner will be with Fred’s sister Helen who lives in Linlithgow. There will be a garden party and Ceilidh at Helen’s home with invited local guests and musicians. A Ceilidh is a traditional Scottish music gathering where all attendees are invited to play, sing or dance - so come prepared.
Overnight in West Port Hotel, Linlithgow

Sunita jamming with Ken and Linsey
at their home on Loch Lomond
Monday 5th June
Drive & tour through the Carron Valley to Loch Lomond, visiting some of the classic sites around this beautiful body of water.

We’ll lunch by the Loch then visit with our musician friends Ken & Linsey who have a house on the shore of Loch Lomond near the village of Gartocharn. There will be a short music session of traditional music.

Fred pouring tea at Mar Hall
Then we’ll drive southwest, passing over the river Clyde for a brief stop for tea at ‘Mar Hall’, a 19th century mansion, now a hotel.

Finally to the small port of Ardrossan for the ferry to the port of Brodick on the isle of Arran.  We'll meet Sunita's harpist colleague, Heather, who will join us for dinner.
Dinner & overnight in Dunvegan House, Brodick
Sunita jams with Heather and musicians in Ar

Tuesday 6th June
Island of Arran
Today you'll visit some of the highlights of the island including the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

The colours of Arran are subtle and enchanting. Whenever the sun pokes out, the island and the water change dramatically as if a veil has been lifted.

A thousand shades of green cover the landscape, and the shimmering evening water looks like the artist of the Universe used the entire colour palette, and then photoshopped the result into an impossible interplay of visual splendour.

Evening musical event
Dinner & overnight in Dunvegan House, Brodick

Starfish Harps
Wednesday 7th June 
Today we'll take the ferry from the northern port of Lochranza to the village of Claonaig on the mainland. From there well drive through Glencoe - one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland, and seeped in history.

We'll visit the Ben Nevis distillery,  Fort William and Loch Ness, and maybe if we're lucky we'll catch sight of the famous Loch Ness Monster.

Starfish Designs make some of the finest harps (clarsach)
The Scottish landscape is full of purple heather
in Scotland and we'll stop by and take a look at these fine instruments and the team that makes them.
Dinner & Overnight CluneBeg Lodge, Loch Ness

Thursday 8th June
The drive from Loch Ness to Gills Bay for the ferry to Orkney Island takes us through some of the most rugged Scottish landscape. You'll visit John O'Groats, the
most northern point on the Scottish mainland.
Evening Ferry from Gills Bay to St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney
Dinner & Overnight Standing Stones Hotel, Orkney

Friday 9th June 
You'll spend the day touring Orkney and learning about its unique history which dates back at least 8,000 years, so the archeologists tell us. The Vikings settled there over 1,000 years ago and the subsequent history was dominated by them until the early Middle Ages when the archipelago
Kirkwall, Orkney
was incorporated into the Kingdom of Scotland and subsequently the UK.
Performance opportunity and meeting with local harpists
Dinner & Overnight Standing Stones Hotel, Orkney

Saturday 10th June
You'll spend the morning touring more sites then after lunch you'll be turned free in Kirkwall. You can walk the old town, find a nice spot for a view or a nap, or indulge yourself with shopping for some fine traditional crafts from the many small shops.

Lerwick Port (Shetland)
You'll be on your own for dinner, then meet the group again for the overnight boat to the Shetland Islands. You'll have a cabin and breakfast in the boat.
Overnight on the Ferry

Sunday 11th June
We'll be met off the ferry by our local guide and take a coach tour of the main Island, and the islands of Yell and Unst. There are very short
Sunita plays harp on the beach at Bigton, Shetland
twenty-minute ferry rides between islands.
We’ll visit a number of sites including the mighty cliffs to the far West, towering above the waters, facing the unending Atlantic Ocean.

We’ll drive along the Ona Firth leading to the village of Vow and view the Mussel farms in the water. Apparently the baby mussels are naturally born and attach themselves to the
Muckle Flugga - the furthest north 
point in the British Isles
cages that the fishermen anchor along the firth.

The day will end in the far northern island of Unst where we'll stay at the Saxa Vord Guest House.
Dinner & overnight Saxa Vord Guest House

Monday 12th June
Optional 3 hour light hike/walk to Muckle Flugga - the most northern point in Scotland. The name comes from Old Norse, Mikla Flugey, meaning "large steep-sided island".
In the afternoon there will be a Harp Master Class with invited Scottish harpists
Evening performance by Sunita and guests
Dinner & overnight Saxa Vord Guest House

Tuesday 13th June
Morning Harp Master Class
Afternoon tour of the main island of Shetland.
Evening boat to Aberdeen
Dinner and overnight on the Ferry

Tuesday 14th June
Tour from Aberdeen through the mountains and glens to Edinburgh. You'll visit Crathes Castle near Banchory, formerly associated with King Robert the Bruce.

The Cairngorms National Park is a huge mountainous wilderness region with some of the highest peaks in Scotland - You are now in 'The Highlands.'

On arrival in Edinburgh you'll be dropped off according to your instructions, either at a hotel if you are spending the night, or at the airport. You may want to spend a day or two exploring on your own in Edinburgh before returning home.

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