Linlithgow – Gateway to Central Scotland

#LoveLinlithgow Blog Series

During March & April, I have been running the #LoveLinlithgow campaign on Love Linlithgow Life across FacebookInstagram and Twitter. To find out more about the series please visit #LoveLinlithgow blogs.  Or, if you want to know a bit more about what inspired the page, then head over to my welcome blog.

The final ‘Linlithgow Locals’ interview this week is with Kingsfield Golf & Leisure (including Kingsfield Events).  Situated on the edge of Linlithgow and right next to the M9 this local business offers plenty of fun activities for locals and visitors alike. 

This is our LAST blog 😦 and this week the focus is on……

Linlithgow – Gateway to Central Scotland 

Linlithgow is pretty much perfectly placed isn’t it? We are in a quiet and peaceful setting, with lots of amazing outdoor spaces and amenities on in doorstep. However, we can also get to pretty much anywhere in Central Scotland within about half an hour. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, and everywhere in between!

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We actually don’t even need to travel that far out of the town, to visit many local attractions.

House of The Binns

House of The Binns is a National Trust property at the edge of Linlithgow. You will have probably seen the tower visible from the M9, which my children refer to as Rapunzel’s Tower! Access to the house is by guided tour only but there are also lovely walks in the area. You can take a woodland walk (through thousands of snowdrops in Spring) which takes you to the tower and offers beautiful views of Central Scotland, including a good view of Blackness Castle. There are sheep, cattle and if you’re lucky  you may also be able to spot some peacocks too!

Falkirk Wheel

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The Falkirk Wheel is the world’s first and only rotating boat life, which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2002. More recently there has been the addition of a fantastic play area, water play park, activity zone and mini canal.

There are also woodland walks, canoeing and you can even hire bikes. Plenty to keep everyone entertained! You can actually walk or bike ride between the wheel and The Kelpies, and Scottish Canals are currently running the #Wheel2Kelpies selfie challenge.

On the 13th of May, the Falkirk Wheel are holding the Revolution Festival which has got lots of activities going on. Circus acts, zorbing, segway and live entertainment. Find out more here.

The Kelpies & The Helix

Just along from the road from the Wheel, are another of Falkirk’s fine offerings.

kelpiesEach of The Kelpies stand 30 metres tall and weigh over 300 tonnes. They were built on site in just 90 days, completed in November 2013.

“The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change of our landscapes, endurance of our inland waterways and the strength of our communities.” (Source http://www.helix.co.uk)

They are a favourite to visit for our family. Great for a wee walk or scoot around, and just as impressive every time you visit.

helixA short walk away and you are in the heart of the Helix. It developed from an idea in 2003, which aimed to build an ecopark as part of the Falkirk Greenscape Initiative. The space now connects 16 local communities through our extensive path networks.

There is a brilliant play park for kids and a splash zone. You can have a wee wander around the lake, which is also open for canoeing at certain times.

There is a visitor centre which has an exhibition space with information about the Kelpies. Great for the kids with a space you can build lego, colour in and a cafe too!

Blackness Castle

Just a short drive to Blackness you can see the historic Blackness Castle, featured in the Outlander TV series as Fort William. Dating from the 15th Centry, this impressive fortress is often referred to as ‘the ship that never sailed’, as it is shaped like a ship. This is easier to see from above! Part of Historic Scotland, so this is included in membership along with various events put on throughout the year.

blackness

Muiravonside Country Park

Muiravonside Country Park is a fantastic park area which has been making continual improvements in recent years. There is a mini farm with animals, which has monthly events when you can feed them. There is now also a sculpture trail,  a play area for the kids and a café at the Visitor Hub courtyard. The park is free and offers lots of lovely trails to explore.

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There are actually just too many places to even list, that we have easy access to from Linlithgow. I can’t begin to go into them all, so the ones above are just a taster. Here are links to a few more if you’re inspired to get out and explore the area.

Edinburgh

Glasgow

Image Credits:

Central Scotland Map – By User: (WT-shared) Paul. at wts wikivoyage (UK map.svg) [CC BY-SA 1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Falkirk Wheel – from http://www.scottishcanals.co.uk

Muiravonside – from http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/venues/muiravonside/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credits:

Central Scotland map –  By User: (WT-shared) Paul. at wts wikivoyage (UK map.svg) [CC BY-SA 1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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‘Linlithgow Locals’ Kingsfield Golf Leisure & Events

logoKingsfield Golf & Leisure is set on the edge of Linlithgow and also includes the Kingsfield Events business. Home to a 9 hole USGA golf course, 18 hole family putting green, short game area, 20 bay driving range, TaylorMade fitting centre, coffee shop and more!

I met the team of this family run business, Robert Arkley managing director, his sister Jane Allan who runs onsite café the ‘Tee Caddy’ and events manager Ronnie Bamberry, to find out what is on offer at Kingsfield.

What is Kingsfield Golf & Leisure?

We are a fun, friendly and welcoming family run business. We want to bring golf to more people, particularly ladies and children, and fit it in with family lifestyles. Not everyone has the time to play 18 holes of golf, but here you can play the 9 hole course or practise your driving, short game or putting.

A range of people use our facilities, from first time golfers to top players such as PGA Golf Professional Stephen Gallacher.

We work with Scottish Golf, the Lothian Golf Association the Stephen Gallacher  Foundation and the On Course Foundation, who support men following their return from conflict abroad.

What was your inspiration for the business?

Robert and Jane are the fifth generation to be based at Kingsfield. Originally a farming  business they were looking to diversity and decided to create the driving range 22 years ago. From here the business has expanded and Kingsfield Events started in 2003, we then developed the nine-hole golf course 7 years ago.

The concept was to introduce golf to non golfers and many children get to play here that wouldn’t otherwise have the chance. This was been further enhanced through the Stephen Gallacher Foundation who organise golf tuition for school pupils and young golfers.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love it all, it’s great fun. We get to meet so many people and do amazing things.

On the events side, we have grown from charging £1 for laser clay shooting at Scribblers Picnic in Stirling to organising, or being involved in, large multi activity events at top hotels like The Fairmount St. Andrews, Gleneagles, Dalmahoy and Manorview Hotels (owner of the Star and Garter) as well as at Kingsfield Golf Club.

We have been part of high profile events for Bentley Cars in the Isle of Man and Hello  Scotland DMC with Adventure Golf activities for high end incentive travel groups. Last year we were involved in Highland Games at Hopetoun House, with 9 helicopters, professional Scottish activities, piping, dancing and caber tossing!

What’s your biggest success story?

katies cupIt would be Katie’s Cup which we began 8 years ago, and has become an annual event every August. It is held in memory of Jane’s baby girl Katie, who was very sadly stillborn.

The event has raised huge sums of money each year for many charities, including Sands and the On Course Foundation, in memory or support of people who are linked to Kingsfield. So far we have raised £97,000 for charity.

This year the Cup will support My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by Scottish rugby  legend Doddie Weir who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. He is a great friend and we want to support him by raising as much money as we can to assist him promote
awareness for this disease.doddie

What do you love about Linlithgow Life?

linlithgowI love the town, the community, the spirit and camaraderie. People know people here and the town runs on volunteers. It’s definitely a town to be proud of.

We work with other businesses and groups in Linlithgow such as Alan Steel Asset Management, FPG (Fire Protection Group), Peterkinn & Kidd, Star and Garter HotelLinlithgow Rugby Club and the Boys Brigade to name a few.

At Kingsfield we just love to support the Royal Burgh in anyway we can.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

welcomeWe would love to welcome you to Kingsfield, which has been rated 4 Star by Visit Scotland.

Kingsfield Golf Club is a destination for golfers and events groups and attracts thousands of visitors every year to Linlithgow. Our 18 hole Ochils Family putting green is open to the public and is a great way to spend an hour or so in the fresh air with family or visiting friends. It’s only £2.50 to play!

We have a winter golf simulator league which you can play in a team of up to 4 and play different courses. Kingsfield Events provide environmentally friendly clay shooting, clan games, archery, falconry and football-darts. They also organise hen and stag parties, social gatherings and corporate events here in Linlithgow or anywhere in Scotland.

jane

The Tee Caddy is open Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 3pm and is open to everyone.

You will always be assured of a warm welcome.

Stay in touch with Kingsfield Golf & Leisure
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/KingsfieldGold and http://www.facebook.com/KingsfieldEvents
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/KingsfieldGolf and http://www.twitter.com/KingsfieldEvent
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/KingsfieldGolf
Website – http://www.kingsfieldgolfandleisure.co.uk

Images courtesy of Kingsfield Golf & Leisure and Kingsfield Events Facebook pages

 

Getting Outdoors & Active in Linlithgow

#LoveLinlithgow Blog Series

During March & April, I am running the #LoveLinlithgow campaign on Love Linlithgow Life across FacebookInstagram and Twitter. To find out more about the series please visit #LoveLinlithgow blogs.  Or, if you want to know a bit more about what inspired the page, then head over to my welcome blog.

The ‘Linlithgow Locals’ interviews this week are with Linlithgow Running Buddies and Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club. Both of these are great examples of opportunities in the town to get active, and outdoors too with the running buddies. The other thing they have in common is the friendships that have been made through a shared love of running and netball. 

Our blog this week is on……

Getting Outdoors & Active in Linlithgow 

We are so lucky in Linlithgow that there are abundant opportunities to feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with lots of green space to enjoy.

The stunning Linlithgow loch, Union Canal, Beecraigs Country Park and Cockleroy, to name a few, are all on our doorstep. So many choices of where to take the dogs for a walk, get out on your bike or go for a run and be active. Where’s your favourite place to get away from it all?

Benefits of Physical Activity

Getting out for a walk or cycle has lots of physical health benefits but is also great just to make you feel better and improve your general health and well-being.

Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30% (source https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx). Worryingly The Department of Health describe physical inactivity as a ‘silent killer’. Simple changes can make all the difference, such as walking more, taking the stairs and spending less time sitting down.

Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors

Being outside is good for our bodies and minds. Did you know studies show that being outdoors can result in shorter recovery times from illnesses, improve your mood and boost your immune system. There are so many benefits to being outside, find out more detail in this article http://uk.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7/#forests-also-might-boost-your-immune-system-11.

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Active Travel

Transition Linlithgow have developed an active travel map below, which helps you plan walking and cycling routes around the town.

active travel map.jpg

There are times that we all need to take the car, don’t get me wrong. We try and use the car less around town at the weekend though when we have a little more time on our hands. We love walking along the canal into town and the kids will often take their bikes or scooters.

Opportunities to be active

There are so many ways to be active in Linlithgow, both indoors and out. We are lucky to have Xcite Linlithgow  where you can swim, go to the gym or take a fitness class. They also have loads of things going on for kids.

Sports wise we have rugby, football, athletics, cycling, swim clubs, cricket, tennis, volleyball – in fact you name it, you can probably find it in Linlithgow or not too far away. william-hook-58602-unsplash.jpg

It’s also important to remember that being active isn’t just about sports or going to the gym. Walking, gardening, yoga and swimming are all lower impact activities which help keep you moving. The town has opportunities for walking sports too, I’ve heard of football and netball and I’m sure there are others too.

So now the weather seems to have got a bit nicer I hope you are feeling inspired to get outdoors and get active!

‘Linlithgow Locals’ Linlithgow Running Buddies

Linlithgow Running Buddies began in 2014 and is now a well established group within the community. Co-founder Lynne Morris shares her passionate and honest account and why she set up the group with friend Diane. 

logoHow would you describe Linlithgow Running Buddies?

Linlithgow Running Buddies is a local community group, initially set up to give confidence to non-runners and to allow them to run at their own pace, with like-minded people.

What I find fantastic about the club, is that although this is still the case and we regularly welcome newbies, many many of our original members are still with us, having naturally progressed in their fitness. So there is always going to be a running buddy for someone, whether you are just starting out, or indeed training for a marathon. We meet at Linlithgow Cross at 7pm every Thursday evening – and it’s free!

cross christmas

How did Linlithgow Running Buddies become established?

I was diagnosed with post-natal depression and anxiety following the birth of my third child in 2012, and it completely turned my life upside down.  I lost all my confidence and as a result resigned from a career that I absolutely loved. Just even going outside was a struggle. In time I did return to work but needed a goal, something to aim for, to get me outside and to feel I was achieving again.

IMG_3724So in 2014 I signed up for The Edinburgh Marathon 2015.  I always loved running but found it quite challenging and didn’t feel comfortable running alone in the evenings after work. I also felt too intimidated to join an established running group.  I was chatting to my friend (and co-founder) Diane Monaghan (who runs Linlithgow Playbugs) about this as she fancied running as well, and we both jokingly said we should start our own running group. We decided on a name and that was it, Linlithgow Running Buddies was born!

How does Linlithgow Running Buddies benefit those involved?

I can’t speak for everyone but on a personal level, I am the fittest I have ever been both mentally and physically.  I started with LRB to feel better, to keep fit and to challenge myself but in fact what I have gained through the group, which far outweighs the running for me, is friendship.  I have seen a number of firm friendship groups blossom over the years and as a collective group the support is overwhelming.  I have made friends for life and it is absolutely fantastic.

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It can be very daunting to start a new group, let alone running for the first time or getting back into fitness but even getting out the house in the fresh air for half an hour can do you the world of good and who knows where it will take you.  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

What’s your biggest success story?

As I have mentioned before, for me, the friendships made through LRB far outweigh everything else, however, from a fitness perspective…

Enthusiasm and motivation is contagious, and as a result, a large number of our club regularly challenge ourselves by entering numerous races and events throughout the year.  I have now completed 3 marathons (Edinburgh x 2 and Berlin), amongst numerous other events and as a team we always take part in Linlithgow’s very own 10k.

10k

This month myself, Kathryn and Jonny took part in Fort William’s Wee Triathlon and Karen smashed Inverness half Marathon gaining herself a new PB.  There are various events in the calendar but the next one for most of us is Stirling Half Marathon.  The nights out after the events are always a reason to enter right??

There have been so many proud moments for me but two really stand out:

When our very own Charlotte Peacock reached the summit of Kilimanjaro last year – I was blown away by her strength and sense of adventure and to see how far one of our original members, Christine Drummond, has come in terms of her fitness and personal goals – she truly is a very inspiring lady.

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A few of us now attend classes at Linlithgow Rugby Club with Stuart Jamieson Fitness Coaching to help with strength and conditioning and for me it has helped me achieve my personal goal of being able to run for longer, injury free.  He offers one to one personal training, group PT and daily bootcamp classes.  Something for everyone and I would highly recommend!!

I cannot express how supportive our wee group is and how proud I am of everyone who comes along.  Sometimes just getting your trainers on and coming along can be so difficult but there will always be someone to encourage, support or walk with you.  I honestly don’t know where I would be without LRB.

What do you love about Linlithgow life?

I have lived in Linlithgow since the age of three but really only began to appreciate the town when I started running.  I started to look at the place differently and discovered places I didn’t even know existed. Linlithgow is beautiful! The Avon Heritage Trail is just gorgeous, perfect for running or taking the dog for a walk or running out towards Falkirk over the aqueduct.  There are so many places I could talk about them all day!

One of my favourite places to wander in Linlithgow is the area around the Linlithgow Palace, the Rose Garden and Kirk Wynd.  We really are so lucky to live here.  Through LRB I have met so many amazing local people, one of whom has opened The Granary Cafe on the High Street.  I am so proud of Gillian.  She really has created a special place in the town and it is a regular place for buddies to meet, eat and chat.

My children go to Low Port Primary School and attend lots of local clubs, many of which run from the Leisure centre or the Burgh Halls.   A lifesaver for me with the kids growing up has been Playbugs softplay, owned by LRB’s very own co-founder Diane.  It is a real hub for mums, dads, carers, where we can leave the kids to play safely and have a chat over coffee or lunch – they do great kids parties too.   I feel very lucky to be bringing my children up in such a family friendly place with such a fantastic community spirit.

Anything else to tell us?

CrossLinlithgow Running Buddies meet at 7pm every Thursday at Linlithgow Cross.  It is suitable for people of all running abilities and there will always be someone to chum you.  If you are thinking about coming along but just aren’t sure, please feel free to send us a private message on our Facebook page or to me directly.  We look forward to meeting you!!

http://www.facebook.com/linlithgownewrunnersclun

Images courtesy of Linlithgow Running Buddies Facebook page

 

‘Linlithgow Locals’ Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club

logoRachel Johnston is one of the founding members of Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club. She spends a lot of her time to support the smooth running of the club and her love of netball shines through. Rachel shares how the club became established and how it has gone from strength to strength.

What is Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club?

Linlithgow Flyers is a fun and friendly club for women to come and play netball on a regular basis. We are part of Netball Scotland Bounce Back to Netball, which aims to support women to return to netball, even if they have not played since school.
bounce backHow did it become established?

LPS

It all started when I posted on the Linlithgow Community Facebook page back in September 2015 asking if there were any netball groups in the town. There wasn’t at that time but there was a huge response to my post and a big interest in getting something established. A few of us got together and met with the local Netball Scotland representative to see about establishing a group in Linlithgow.

We created a Facebook group for ourselves and we were all very keen to play but finding a venue with a netball court and posts that was also available in the evenings proved to be the biggest challenge. Due to other commitments at the time, I took a step back and Emma Pickering and Shona Mackenzie persevered with the search for a venue and launched the first night of playing on the 28th September 2016 at Linlithgow Primary School. Some of the players from that very first night still play and support the running of the club today namely Caroline Mooney, Hannah Kay, Helen Hassall and Rachel Bremner.

How does it benefit those involved?

Wow! Where do I start? Well, it has to be the friendships that have been formed. We’re more than just a netball team now; we look out for each other both on court and off the court. We’ve had many a great night out and I know there’s many more to come.

Everyone enjoys playing as team with that team spirit, and there is definitely a passion for game. It’s a chance for women to do something for themselves and rekindle their love of netball from their school days. It’s also a great way to meet new people if you’re new to the town.

When we first moved on to the full sized court, my fitness wasn’t great. I have been amazed at how quickly my fitness has improved, and unlike the treadmill, it’s not a chore! Many of us have become addicted, and are now playing 3 to 4 times a week!

In a nutshell, it’s FUN, FRIENDSHIPS AND FITNESS!

What is your biggest success story?

We have a core group of women of all different ages, who are really engaged and have so much enthusiasm and passion for the sport. We’ve also created so many friendships and there is lots of socialising off the netball court.

Our success is really the fact we have gone from one hourly session a week on a primary school sized court, to two sessions a week on full sized courts, due to demand. Women keep coming back for more!

We now also have a network of netball clubs across the area, with links to Winchburgh Warriors, Braes Netball Club, West Lothian Netters in Livingston, Bo’ness and more. In fact you can play netball somewhere not too far away every night of the week Monday – Friday!

What do you love about Linlithgow life?

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The people, my neighbours, all my netball chums and the community spirit of the town. I’m a regular volunteer with Linlithgow Link and find it really rewarding, it’s great to give something back to the community.

There’s also so much stunning scenery on our doorstep with the loch and the palace. We’re also lucky to have a fabulous high street with great local shops. I love the DIY shop, no matter what I need they either have it or will get it for me.

I also love the fact it’s so easy to get in to Edinburgh and Glasgow!

Anything else to tell us?

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Linlithgow netball is open to anyone who wants to play some netball, have fun, meet new people and get a bit fitter.

Sessions are:

Wednesday 6.30pm – 8.00pm Xcite Leisure Centre

Thursday 6.30pm – 7.30pm (soon to be 8.30pm) Linlithgow Academy

£4 per session, pay as you play!

http://www.Facebook.com/LinlithgowNetball

Images courtesy of Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club Facebook Group

Photos courtesy of Linlithgow Flyers Netball Club Facebook Group