The decision over Scotland’s future was given a date yesterday with the signing of the historic ‘Edinburgh Agreement’. David Cameron and Alex Salmond met at Bute House in Edinburgh yesterday and agreed the terms of the referendum that will decide whether Scotland should become independent. Both sides are claiming victories over the terms. David Cameron is pleased that the referendum will be limited to one question while Alex Salmond is pleased that 16 year olds will be allowed to vote and that his party can decide the wording. The date is said to have been the most important date in Scottish History since 1707 and the joining of the union. The referendum is to be held in 2014 and both sides will surely now start campaigning heavily. Let battle commence!
The Queen is to visit Ballater today as part of her Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. She will be honoured by the town with a collection of 60 stones. The stones have been collected by locals and will create a cairn on the village green. Each stone marks a year in her glorious reign. The Queen will then go on to the city of Aberdeenand open the new University of Aberdeen library.
The U.S. swimmer Victoria Arlen visited St Andrews this week. The star of the U.S.swim team who won 4 medals at the recent London games visited the town to see where her grandparents were married over 40 years ago. The 17 year old swimmer has been on a miraculous journey since being paralysed at the age of 11 and spending 2 years in a vegetative state to go on to win one gold and three silver medals in the pool at the recent Paralympics. The swimmer, whose grandparents emigrated from St Andrews in 1966 said, “Although this was my first time in St Andrews, I have always had a real love for this place. When I first found out the Paralympics were in London, one of the first things that crossed my mind was fitting in the chance to come to Scotland and see St Andrews. And now I am here, it’s just beautiful. I have seen the coast and it feels so beautiful then you go into town and see all this original architecture, its amazing.”
The famous Irish poet Seamus Heaney is set to visit the Universityof Stirling on 14th September. Heaney, a Nobel Laureate and an honorary graduate of the University of Stirling will be returning to campus and will be holding a session with Alasdair Macrae. Alisdair Macrae is a retired professor of the University of Stirling and a reputable literary critic. Students at the University of Stirling can attend the talk and should ensure to RSVP to reserve a place. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get a ticket. Heaney and Macrae will be talking about the creative tensions including Irish politics which have affected Heaney’s most famous works.
Scotland opened its first marine energy park yesterday. The park was opened by Climate Change Minister; Greg Barker and is aiming to deliver a boost to the marine energy sector in Scotland. The park is in the Pentland Firth and Orkney areas. The park will also be home to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) which is already testing nine new marine energy devices and is planning to install five further devices shortly. The United Kingdom is currently testing 46 different wave and tidal power devices.
The University of Glasgow has just received full marks in the 2013 edition of ‘Gay by Degree’ a guide to the best universities for LGBT students. The University of Glasgow joins just 6 other U.K. universities in receiving full marks. Colin MacFarlane, Director of Stonewall who wrote the guide stated, “By supporting their gay students and staff so effectively, the University of Glasgow help make sure all students really do have a great start to their adult lives.” Glasgow was particularly praised for its compulsory staff training on LGBT issues, university policies that protect students from bullying and specific facilities offered to LGBT students including welfare drop in sessions and a befriending service for new LGBT students.
The Olympic flame torch relay reached the historic town of St Andrews this morning. The Olympic flame torch relay is travelling around the United Kingdom in the run up to the start of the London 2012 Olympics. St Andrews is the historic home of golf but it is also where the beginning and end scenes of the Oscar-winning film ‘Chariots of Fire’ were filmed. The iconic scene was recreated this morning as Jake Forrester, a 13-year-old promising athlete ran along the West Sands with pupils of Madras College, the local high school. Watch this morning’s amazing scenes here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18411077. The Olympic flame is set to hit Edinburgh tonight and will culminate with a concert on Castle Esplanade with local girl Émelie Sande.
The Forth Bridge, Scotland’s most iconic bridge is in contention to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. The bridge was designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. The bridge was built in 1882 using 54,000 tonnes of steel and an estimated 6.5 million rivets. It took eight years to complete and cost £3.2 million which is equivalent to £235 million in today’s money. The bridge was shortlisted earlier this year and a decision will be made in 2015 to decide whether the bridge should be awarded the honour of joining other great sites such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Scotland is already home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Antonine Wall, the island ofSt Kilda, New Lanark, the Neolithic remains on Orkney and Edinburgh’s Old and New towns.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by issuing 20 million pounds ($31 million) worth of £10 notes with four images of the queen from the 1940’s to the 21st century. Notes with special serial numbers have been donated to several charities including the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Oxfam, the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish Rugby Union, the Scottish Golf Union and a children’s help organization. The Royal Bank of Scotland was the first to issue notes bearing the monarch’s image, starting from its foundation in 1727 during the reign of George I. The Bank of England did not issue notes with the monarch’s image until 1960.
The Universityof St Andrews is celebrating its 600th birthday. The University, the oldest in Scotland and 3rd oldest in the United Kingdom has launched a spectacular programme of events to mark the occasion. Events kicked off with the Principal, Dr Louise Richardson and Sean Connery ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The University has also launched a commemorative video detailing the history of the university which you can watch here – http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/600/events/resources/trailer/. The video was directed by Murray Grigor, OBE and is narrated by Sir Sean Connery. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are also thought to be heavily involved in plans for the anniversary as both are former alumni of the university. For more details of events, see http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/600/events/signature/.