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See the Scottish Senior Open for free this August

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The Scottish Senior Open, one of the most enduring events on the European Senior Tour, celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer – and admission for spectators in 2017 will be free of charge.


Some of the leading names in European senior golf, including past Ryder Cup captains, are set to play at the spectacular Renaissance Club, situated between Gullane and North Berwick in the heart of Scotland’s Golf Coast.

That impressive stretch of East Lothian golfing territory will be hosting the event for the third successive year, from August 4-6, with the first 36 holes contested over the popular Alliance Pro-Am format where amateur players are paired with a professional.


The final round on Sunday, August 6 will be for pros only, with the winner taking home a cheque for £37,500 from the prize fund of £250,000.


Entrance to the only European Tour event in the Lothians region in 2017 will be free to everyone, with a nominal charge being made for car parking, situated just a short walk from the first tee and 18th at the internationally-acclaimed Tom Doak-designed course.


Cars with solo occupancy will be charged £5 per day, while vehicles with one or more passenger will pay £10. All proceeds will be donated to the official event charity, which will be determined at a later date.


Sponsorship opportunities, including information on securing a place in the Alliance Pro-Am, are currently available for this year’s Scottish Senior Open. For all enquiries, email


The impressive venue, situated between Gullane and North Berwick, is easily accessed by road and rail, with a regular train service between North Berwick and Edinburgh and bus stops outside the venue on the A198.


The Scottish Senior Open was first played at Royal Aberdeen in 1993 and has been contested every year subsequently. Tommy Horton, the inaugural winner, and Barry Lane in 2010 and 2011, are the only players to have won the title more than once. Europe’s winning Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance, will be attempting to add to his 2006 victory while England’s Paul Eales, who triumphed at close-by Archerfield Links in 2016, will defend his title.


Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events with VisitScotland said: “Scotland is the Home of Golf with a proud history of hosting the game’s biggest tournaments and we are delighted to once again be supporting the Scottish Senior Open. The stunning East Lothian coastline will provide a fitting backdrop to the event and with free entry we hope that strong crowds will turn out to support some of the biggest names in senior golf on Scotland’s Golf Coast.”

John McMillan, East Lothian Council Provost and Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “To host the Scottish Senior Open on the occasion of its 25th anniversary is a real honour for East Lothian.

“The Renaissance Club is, of course, one of the newer jewels in the crown of Scotland’s Golf Coast and has further enhanced our global reputation for having a mix of beautiful and challenging courses.

“With spectator admission being free of charge we are hopeful that an even bigger crowd will be drawn to the event. And with so much else to see and do on the venue’s doorstep, visitors can be sure of a warm welcome while sampling the delights and hospitality of East Lothian.”

David MacLaren, Head of the European Senior Tour, said: “We are delighted to offer free admission to the Scottish golfing public this August. Renaissance Club is a wonderful venue and the event promises a great inside-the-ropes experience for the amateurs taking part, while the 25th anniversary edition of the Scottish Senior Open promises great action and excitement.”


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Gardening enthusiasts up and down the country are being urged to keep their eyes open for golden tickets to Gardening Scotland 2017.

The organisers of the national outdoor living event, which takes place from 2nd-4th June 2017 at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, will plant 25 golden tickets in a number of garden centres and plant nurseries which are exhibiting at this year’s show.  The golden envelopes contain fantastic prizes such as pairs of free tickets and packets of plant seeds.

Those keen to get their hands on the prizes are being urged to monitor Gardening Scotland’s twitter feed (@gardenscotland) for clues and tips on where to find them.  The envelopes will be planted from week commencing 22 May – two weeks before the start of the show – in nurseries from Renfrewshire to Fife, the Lothians and Dumfries & Galloway.

Jimmy Gilchrist, Gardening Scotland’s chairman said:

“Gardening Scotland is just like Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers.  That’s what gave us the idea of planting golden tickets to the show.  We hope potential visitors enjoy hunting for the prizes – keep an eye on our twitter feed for more information coming soon!”

Now in its 18th year, Gardening Scotland is a celebration of all things related to the great outdoors. It is the biggest plant fair in Scotland and will take place from Friday 2nd until Sunday 4th June 2017.

Promising to provide everything from an abundance of beautiful plants to tools, equipment, garden furniture and all the inspiration you could need to make your garden grow, Gardening Scotland is a great day out.

Seabird Centre teams up with East Lothian’s Lori’s Creations for Easter photoshoot

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Conservation and education charity, the Scottish Seabird Centre, teamed up with East Lothian business, Lori’s Creations, to create dolphin-tastic and crab-alicious looks for their Easter photoshoot.

Lori’s Creations is owned and run by Longniddry resident, Lorraine Walker. The Seabird Centre put out an appeal on social media to find a high-quality facepainter and Lori was recommended.

Lori said: “I was really excited to receive the brief from the Scottish Seabird Centre, to transform some young Seabird supporters into dolphins and crabs to promote their Easter activities. Following lots of research and practice at home, I devised my own designs and I’m really pleased with the results.”

Laura Adamson, Marketing Manager for the Scottish Seabird Centre, adds: “We had a vision of how we wanted the kids to look for the shoot and Lori nailed it. The kids all loved how they looked, which gave them even more confidence while getting their photos taken.

“So, a massive thank you to Lori and also the kids who took part: Lewis and Isobel Muckett from Tranent, Caleb Watson from Prestonpans and Anna Blair from North Berwick.”

The family-friendly events at the Seabird Centre this Easter include What’s for Snack?, an interactive puppet show with new Seabird team member Craig the Crab, ideal for age 2+, and Ocean-a-rific with Dr Dolph Lingerin-aboot, ideal for age 6+. There’s also Whale and Dolphin Weekend from 14 to 17 April, with extra marine fun.


Events every day from 1 to 17 April. All included with admission. Adult £8.95, child £4.95, family tickets £25. Please request tickets on arrival at the Centre.

New services and improved timetables coming to East Lothian

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(with effect from Sunday 23rd April)

NEW Service X5 North Berwick – Edinburgh

East Coast Buses new express service running Mondays to Fridays between North Berwick and the West End (Semple Street), with 7 return journeys during the day.

NEW Service 106 Musselburgh – Haddington/Dunbar

A new service running between Musselburgh and Dunbar in the early morning and late evenings, with buses running between Musselburgh Tesco and Haddington up to every hour during the day Monday to Saturday. Service 106 is timed to connect with service 107 in Haddington, making travel between Musselburgh and Dunbar easy.

NEW Services 104 and 113

Lothian Country Buses services are joining EastCoastbuses with the transfer of services 104 and 113 to our fleet, with service 113 extended Monday to Saturday to West Granton. Lothian Country Buses Single Tickets, Day Tickets and Fares Zones will be replaced by East Coast Buses Tickets & Fares Zones with great value m-tickets, Single Tickets Day Tickets and Season Tickets available. Lothian Country Buses Ridacards for Zones C&D will continue to be valid for travel.

NightHawk now going to Edinburgh City Centre

When East Coast Buses introduced NightHawk in November, it only ran from Edinburgh to North Berwick or Dunbar. Now from April 23rd, both NightHawk N106 and N124 will include return journeys.

Service 107 route change

This service now includes additional peak-time journeys and is extended from Dunbar High Street to the ASDA superstore on Spott Road.

Other changes

There will be some minor changes to services 124/X24 and our school routes (125/126/127).

Full timetables and routes will be published in April on


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After the huge success of last year’s event, the Foxlake Outdoor Festival returns bigger and better for 2017. Head along the East Lothian coast to the beautiful surroundings of Foxlake Adventures, Dunbar, in May for an exhilarating weekend offering a world of adventures for all the family.

Following the massive success of this event in 2016, when the first ever Foxlake Outdoor Festival sold out weeks in advance, Foxlake Adventures in partnership with East Lothian Council, have decided to extend the festival to a full weekend across the 20 and 21 May 2017, offering families and individuals the opportunity to get outdoors and begin their own adventure in East Lothian. There will be tickets available for each day, weekend tickets and once again children’s tickets will be absolutely free. Tickets will start at £17 for an adult day entry and £30 for a weekend ticket, but if you purchase prior to the end of February, you will receive an early bird offer of £14 for an adult day entry and £25 for a weekend ticket. Again children’s tickets will all be free!

Many of the hugely popular elements of last year’s event will return in 2017, including the Industry Wake Parks who will once again run an Industry Pro Wakeboard Tour Event. Bringing some of the most talented wake boarders from around the world to compete, this is a further growth of Scotland’s biggest wakeboard event. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy and watch the thrills of professional wakeboarding.

Also returning is the Decades Music Stage, featuring everyone’s favourite tribute bands, celebrating the last 60 years of music, something for everyone. There will be a talented line-up of East Lothian’s finest local musicians, and joining them this year will be the Comedy Stage, with a selection of Britain’s finest comedians guaranteeing laughs throughout the weekend. To keep the children entertained we will be bringing back our popular Kids’ Zone with the inflatable village filled with every bouncy castle imaginable, they can also take on the challenge of the climbing wall and even get their faces painted.

The weekend is all about getting the family active outdoors, so you will have the chance to try out some of East Lothian’s outdoor adventures for yourself. Try out the Foxfall Course, the UK’s only rope course constructed over water, or get on your wet suit and give wakeboarding a try, or if you prefer to stay dry, hop on and master a segway!

The programme continues to expand and we will be adding activities throughout February to offer the most thrilling world of adventures at the Foxlake Outdoor Festival in May 2017.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism said: “Foxlake Adventures is Scotland’s first cable wakeboarding park along with the UK’s only ropes course constructed over water. Foxlake is located in the heart of East Lothian 25 miles east of Edinburgh, nestled in beautiful woodland on the edge of the John Muir Way. The festival is not only committed to enjoying and celebrating our fabulous landscape but we also want to protect it. So, there will be a shuttle bus service from Dunbar Train Station throughout the weekend, giving the opportunity for all of our visitors to use the excellent rail links from Edinburgh and the North of England and leave the car at home. We guarantee an exhilarating day for all the family – thrills for adults and children alike!”

About: Foxlake Adventures

Foxlake Adventures is Scotland’s first cable wakeboarding park along with the UK’s only ropes course constructed over water.

About: East Lothian Council

East Lothian’s Economic Development Strategy works with the local tourism industry to position the county as Scotland’s leading coastal, leisure and food & drink destination.


Foxlake Outdoor Festival 2017

20 – 21 May 2017



Location – Foxlake Adventures, Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland

Dates – 20 – 21 May 2017

Times – 10.00 – 18.00

Further details and a list of all the events, ticket prices and booking details are available at


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The organisers of Gardening Scotland – the country’s national outdoor living show and garden festival – have launched a brand-new, nation-wide competition to find Scotland’s best gardener, and people in East Lothian are being urged to apply.

The Gardener of the Year award is open to anyone with a passion for creating inspiring outdoor spaces, from novices to experts, young to old and amateurs to professionals. Everyone can apply, and people can also nominate friends, colleagues or relatives.

The new award has been launched in order to celebrate the skills and enthusiasm of gardeners up and down the country, from vegetable growers to chrysanthemum exhibitors to budding garden designers and primary school allotmenteers.

The winner of the award will be selected by an expert panel of judges who are looking for a gardener with infectious enthusiasm, a drive to learn and a passion for gardening. The announcement will be made at Gardening Scotland 2017, which takes place at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, from 2nd – 4th June.

The lucky winner will receive, amongst other prizes, £250 of Caulders Garden Centre vouchers to spend on transforming their own outdoor space.

Martin Dare, Gardening Scotland’s organiser said:

“Gardening Scotland is a celebration of all things related to the great outdoors. We know for a fact there are thousands of outstanding gardeners who never get recognised for their hard work and commitment to gardening – we want that to change, which is why we’re launching this new award.

“To enter, all you need to do is send a written submission of no more than 250 words explaining why you or the person you are nominating should be considered for Gardening Scotland’s Gardener of the Year Award. Please also send relevant photographs and drawings. Entries should be emailed to before the deadline of 1 May 2017.”

Now in its 18th year, Gardening Scotland is a celebration of gardens and everything related to the great outdoors, encompassing horticulture, gastronomy and family-friendly entertainment.

Original Seabird Centre architects to work on National Marine Centre project

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Conservation and education charity, the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, announces the appointment of Simpson & Brown Architects for the National Marine Centre project.

The Simpson & Brown team worked on the original, award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre building which opened to the public in May 2000. The Seabird Centre has become a very popular landmark building and has won several architectural and sustainability awards.

Photo  Phil Wilkinson


The success of the Seabird Centre led to Simpson & Brown being appointed to design other visitor attractions. Over the last 16 years they have worked on, and won awards for, a range of high profile visitor-related projects including the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the Dawyck Gateway at the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Arbroath Abbey Visitor Centre, York Art Gallery and, most recently, Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre and Museum to name but a few. They also designed the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club building at Aberlady.

With over 38 years’ experience, Simpson & Brown specialise in conservation projects, creative adaption of existing buildings and the design of environmentally-sound initiatives. The project team will be led by Partner, Andy Davey, with Partner, Susan Whittle and Associate, Jenny Phillips.

Andy Davey, Partner at Simpson & Brown Architects, said: “Our team is delighted to be involved with the National Marine Centre Project. We are immensely proud of the Seabird Centre building and believe we are ideally placed to develop and strengthen the design to make it even more inspirational as well as functional for visitors and staff.

“Our work focuses on respecting the past and responding to the challenges for the future, particularly with regards to environmentally sound, sustainable design. As these aspects will be a core focus for the National Marine Centre project we look forward to researching, consulting and developing the designs in partnership with the Seabird Centre team and key stakeholders.”

Grace Martin, Project Director for the National Marine Centre, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Simpson & Brown. Andy and his team have a very strong association with the current building and a wealth of experience in visitor attractions, sustainability and sympathetic design.

“It is still very early days with the project and we are currently in a period of public consultation. Going forward, Simpson & Brown will be keen to engage with visitors and non-visitors alike to help them identify how best to enhance the existing, iconic Seabird Centre building”.

The aim of the National Marine Centre is to help people discover more about our amazing marine environment and wildlife – life above and below the waves – including seabirds. It will present the opportunity for the Centre to achieve more of its charitable objectives by expanding and diversifying its education and conservation programmes, developing new activities and events, and enhancing the exhibition space. The National Marine Centre is the working title for this innovative project.

The public survey for the project is currently still open, closing on Monday 7 November:

East Lothian based Bidding Consultancy Wins Graduate Employer of the Year Award!

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East Lothian based Bid Specialists, AM Bid Services were thrilled to be crowned winners of the coveted ‘Best Employer for Student & Graduate Recruitment’ Award at the 2016 Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Awards.

The exciting news broke at the high profile Awards Ceremony which took place on Wednesday 26th October at The Brunton Hall, Musselburgh. Over 300 members of the Lothians business community were in attendance to hear keynote speakers Chris Stark, Director of Energy & Climate Change at the Scottish Government; Keith Barbour, President of Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce; and George Archibald, Chief Executive of Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce.

The ‘Best Employer for Student & Graduate Recruitment’ Award AM Bid Services received was sponsored by Queen Margaret University, where graduate employee Dane Thomson successfully gained his 2:1 BA (Hons) PR & Marketing degree.

Speaking of his excitement at winning the award, AM Bid Services Managing Director, Andrew Morrison said: “Winning the award is an important recognition of the journey that AM Bid Services and our graduates are on. I have been hugely encouraged by the passion and commitment Cameron Houston and Dane Thomson have shown in seizing the opportunity to begin their careers with AM Bid Services.

Whilst considerable time, effort and money has gone into their development during their first year with us, this has been more than repaid commercially as they have played an important part in the company’s second year growth. The icing on the cake has been our business growth allowing us to recruit David Gray as our new Bid Development Director. I originally recruited David at another organisation in 2005 following his graduation from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. We have a culture of positive mentoring and development opportunities for graduates.”

AM Bid Services began trading on 1st October 2014. Since then, the company has grown at an exponential rate, with turnover for 2015/16 exceeding £¼ million. As a result of this growth, the business created roles for two bright graduates – Dane Thomson from Queen Margaret University and Cameron Houston from the University of Aberdeen.

Further support is provided to Lothian graduates through the AM Bid Services sponsorship of Edinburgh Napier University graduate, Josh Quigley. Josh, The Tartan Explorer, is Cycling the World to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.


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  • Series of action plans to improve performance – including Golden Trains, Fleet Upgrades and Asset Improvement Programme
  • Performance has fallen 0.7% below expected levels in recent months to just under 90%
  • Publication comes as ScotRail Alliance steps up its ‘Ready for Autumn’ campaign

The ScotRail Alliance has published details on how they will improve train service performance.

The Performance Improvement Plan (click to open pdf) sets out actions that are being put in place to improve the reliability of trains and to ensure that the train infrastructure – including points, tracks and signals – is operating to its optimum efficiency.

The plan also covers improvements to the way train services are operated – including the identification, monitoring and protecting of ‘Golden Trains’. These are the services that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rest of the rail network.

The publication comes as the ScotRail Alliance steps up its work to prepare for Autumn – traditionally one of the most difficult periods for train operators across the UK – by rolling out its fleet of specialist trains to clean the tracks of falling vegetation.

Key points from the Performance Improvement Plan:

  • An £8m Asset Improvement Programme to replace or enhance key pieces of critical railway infrastructure in order to ensure that they are working at their absolute best
  • Specifically tailored upgrade programmes for key parts of the network such as Edinburgh and the Borders, Lanarkshire and Tayside
  • A programme of upgrades to trains to rectify the most common causes of faults
  • The identification, monitoring and protection of the ‘Golden Trains’ that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rail network
  • A programme to identify alterations to the way we operate our train timetable that will make our overall service more effective
  • Plans to improve the way we roster staff and diagram trains

ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director, David Dickson said: “We are not a just a company made up of metal boxes, wooden sleepers or concrete buildings. We have 7500 people working for us – and every single one of them is dedicated to doing the very best for our customers.

“Our railway is undergoing the biggest period of change and modernisation since the Victorian era. Over the course of the next year or so we will be completing huge projects to upgrade our infrastructure, electrifying large parts of the network and introducing new fleets of faster, longer greener and intercity trains.

“All of this work will transform rail travel in Scotland. We will have shorter journey times, better equipped trains and, crucially, a huge expansion in the number of services we run and the seats we are able to offer. When we complete this work, there will be a hundred thousand more seats available each and every weekday than there was at the start of the current Franchise.

“With this amount of change, there is inevitably some disruption. We are doing everything we can to minimise this – such as the work we did to keep people moving during the closure of the Queen Street Tunnel. However, there is no doubt that our performance in recent months, as a result of all of this work, has dipped slightly. The plan we are publishing today details how we bring it back to the level that our customers expect and that we want to deliver.”

On the plans to prepare for Autumn, David Dickson added: “Autumn is one of the most difficult periods for all rail operators across Britain. Leaves on the line has become a cliché over the years, but the problems that are caused by wet weather and vegetation are all too real.

“Leaf debris on the tracks can cause train wheels to slip – increasing breaking distances and making conditions more difficult for our drivers.

“We are committing a huge amount of time, effort and people to tackling these problems. The special trains we are deploying play a hugely important role in clearing tracks and keeping trains moving.”

Funding boost for ploughing championships in East Lothian

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The first European Reversible Ploughing Championships to be held on Scottish soil is among 21 events across the country which are receiving backing from the latest round of awards from the EventScotland National Funding Programme, as part of VisitScotland’s work to deliver the national events strategy Scotland the Perfect Stage.

The European Reversible Ploughing Championships (19-20 October) and Scottish Ploughing Championships (22-23 October) both due to take place in East Lothian have been awarded £7,000 in total funding.

Ploughers from 13 countries will compete in the 33rd European Reversible Ploughing Championships at Saltcoats, Gullane – the first time the championships have been held in Scotland. Around 1000 visitors are expected to attend the spectacle involving countries including France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Scotland.

The 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships will take place at West Fenton, North Berwick, in front of an expected 2000-strong crowd. Alongside the competition ploughing there will be machinery stands, demonstrations by modern farm machinery as well as vintage machinery and a display of vintage tractors and stationary engines on site.

The ploughing championships and the other 20 forthcoming events across 13 of Scotland’s local authority areas have received a combined total of £232,700 from Round 32 of the National Funding Programme.

The National Funding Programme – which is administered by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate – was established to enable the strategic development of events taking place outwith Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the aim of driving domestic tourism and increasing economic impact for local communities throughout Scotland.

Thanks to the funding, and in keeping with the objectives of the National Funding Programme, organisers will now be in a position to further develop by extending and enhancing its programme in order to increase attendance figures and improve the overall spectator experience.

John Tait, Chairman of the Scottish Ploughing Championships, said:

“The support from the EventScotland National Funding Programme has enabled us to promote the event to a wider audience than would otherwise have been possible.

“We are looking forward to welcoming ploughers and visitors from all over the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Europe and Russia to East Lothian to showcase the best in modern, vintage, classic and horse ploughing.

“The European event on the 19 & 20 October will be a great contest to select the Champion European Reversible plougher, followed by the 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships on 22 & 23 October with over 200 ploughers competing to be Scottish champions.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Ploughing Championships have been selected as funding recipients in the latest round of EventScotland’s National Funding Programme. I’m sure that the financial boost combined with the fantastic programme the organisers have planned will ensure they are a superb success.

“These funding awards for regional events provide invaluable support by helping them create an even more attractive proposition to attract increased attendance – not only from their local areas but also from much further afield. That promotes the venues as excellent visitor destinations and contributes greatly to the region’s economy – which is hugely important.”