Corona/ Covet 19 virus in Scotland

I spent two days away from the news though we did bring some regular clients to the airport for the last time, which was very sad. Worse still the deaths in Scotland have gone up from 2 to 6 in only three days. There is quite an increase in comfirmed cases but reassuringly the test have also almost doubled. If you look at the table below you really wish you lived in the Highland ( source:

Figures for the UK are as follows:

As of 9am on 20 March 2020, 66,976 people have been tested in the UK, of which 62,993 were confirmed negative and 3,983 were confirmed positive.

As of 1pm, 177 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.


Scottish test numbers: 20 March 2020

A total of 7550 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 7228 tests were confirmed negative
  • 322 tests were positive
  • 6 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died
Health boardPositive cases
Ayrshire and Arran16
Dumfries and Galloway10
Forth Valley23
Greater Glasgow and Clyde91

*Please note some cases from Grampian have been reassigned to Shetland as more information on cases became available.

Last updated on 20 March 2020. The latest numbers will publish at 2pm each day.

Stay positive, look after yourselves physically and mentally!

Second update 17/03/2020 Scotland has now 2 deaths and 195 recorded Coronavirus cases.

17/03/2020 A total of 4,895 tests have taken place of which 171 were tested positive in Scotland. Everybody is avised to not socialise and self isolate if you have any symptoms persistent cough and/or a fever. Stay safe, stay positive!

15/03/2020 Today’s Covet 19 figures for Scotland are 153 confirmed cases of which seven are in Fife. For the rest of the UK the deaths have climbed to 35 and 1140 confirmed cases. It appears that many flights are cancelled, a number of shops are or will be closed and fewer people are out on the street.

Starfish Travel and Starfish Taxis remain open for as long as we all remain healthy.

Stay healthy!!!

14/03/2020 If we felt some impact till now it is really impacting all aspects of life as of today. Shops announce closures, the elderly in nursing homes and sick in hospitals may not be visited. Thankfully the number of deaths (1) and recorded cases (121) have not drastically increased in Scotland though a newborn was diagnosed.

For up to date info:

13/03/2020 Today we had the first death caused by Covet 19/Corona virus in Scotland. I am not sure if the number of recorded cases are still reported. Unconfirmed I have heard that St Andrews has one to three cases.

Yesterday we only had 36 confirmed cases. Sadly today (12/03/2020) cases have almost doubled and stand at 60. UK-wide we have 590 cases. There is a travel ban for EU countries to to the US starting at the weekend lasting a month. UK & Ireland are excluded from this.

Stay healthy!!!

Update on 9th of March 2020 Scotland has now 23 cases all of which can be traced to travel into affected areas. We are still in containment for now.

Today, 8th of March 2020 the UK has 206 people suffereing from the Corona virus. In Scotland the number of cases are 16. So, generally speaking still quite low.

As of today 4th of March 2020 there are 6 known cases of the virus in Scotland. The United Kingdom has 90 in total. As the virus is expected to spread there are likely to be more cases in future.

We do understand that people are worried about travelling in the face of this virus and we would strongly advise against travelling should you feel unwell or if you had know contact with people who are infected. However, there is no epidemic in Scotland or the UK for this moment.

We will update when further information emerges.

Fife, Scotland


Whisky is one of the things Scotland is famous for. If you have never tried it do it here.

Mostly Scottish whiskies are divided by six regions:



Lowland and Speyside whiskies are usually quite smooth the further north you go the smokier the palette will become and westwards you get ‘peatiness’, especially on Islay. Islay being an island of only 25 miles length but with eight whisky distilleries: true whisky lovers heaven!

We have divided our whisky tours by whisky region and added on a Fife Tour due to the fact that Starfish Travel is based in St Andrews, Fife- the Kingdom of Fife to be precise.


Fife traditionally had a high number of distilleries, most of them did not survive. Currently, there are a number of new distilleries, some of which I would like to specially name:

Daftmill Distillery close to Cupar, founded by two farming brothers and so exquisite that so far it has been almost impossible to buy their first proper Whisky.

Lindores Distillery only started whisky production in 2017 but after a break of 523 years. The first record of distilling was in 1494!!!


There is also Kingsbarns Distillery founded in 2014 and now owned by the Wemyss family but brain child of of a local caddie Douglas Clement. The Wemyss also moved the production of their famous “Darnley’s View” gin from London to Kingsbarns. The name referring to the second husband of Queen Mary of the Scots. She allegedly laid eyes on him for the first time at the family’s home in Wemyss.

Aberlour Distillery

Balvenie Distillery

BenRiach Distillery

Benromach Distillery

Cardhu Distillery

Cragganmore Distillery

Dallas Dhu Distillery

Glen Grant Distillery

Glen Moray Disitillery

Glenfarclas Distillery

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenlivet Distillery

Macallan Distillery

Speyside Cooperage

Strathisla Distillery



Winter Tour

With the shorter days in winter taking lengthy drives into the heartland of the highlands become less joyful. Whereas in summer the sky literally is your limit (17.30 hrs daylight) by end of October we have 9 hour day demonising to only 7 hours in December.

However, that should not stop you from visiting the amazing landscapes and people of Scotland.

We have therefore created some examples of a winter tour which will allow you to enjoy sunrise and sunset at equally amazing locations:

Castle Tour

Enjoy sunrise in the beautiful village of Falkland which was depicted in Outlander as Inverness.

Guided tours, bespoke tours, sightseeing tours scotland, Falkland Palace, Day Tours, Historic buildings, Outlander
Falkland Village

Take an hours drive within stunning settings to Glamis Castle and explore the Royal family links to this impressive castle. Have lunch here or somewhere on the way (your driver can advise on locations and book tables accordingly).

Glamis Castle, bespoke winter sightseeing tours, Starfish Taxis Tours
Glamis Castle

Arrive for sunset at the unique setting of Dunnottar castle ruin

Winter tours, sunset at duntottar castle, individual tours, guided tours
Dunnottar Castle

Take the joyful dawn atmosphere on a comfortable drive of an hour and a half back to St Andrews

View in google maps:

List of other attractions:


Meigle pictish stones

Castles, Churches, historic buildings & attractions:

Dunkeld Cathedral
House of Dun


Edinburgh Christmas Market Tour:

Visit Holyrood Abbey with Starfish Travel
Holyrood Abbey

Enjoy a scenic drive along the costal route to Edinburgh centre and visit the Christmas Market, take a leisurely walk across the city centre, exploring
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh CastleThe Royal Mile and New Town.
Enjoy a delightful lunch or dinner in one of Edinburgh’s many exquisite restaurants and return comfortably to St Andrews.

James V, Queen Mary of the Scots, Queen Elisabeth, David I
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh,
Bespoke sightseeing tours, groups from 2 to 8
Holyrood Park & King Arthur’s Seat
Tailormade sightseeing tours throughout Scotland with Starfish Taxis
Royal Mile Edinburgh
Visit Edinburgh Castle with Starfish Travel
Edinburgh Castle


NTS End of Season Meeting at Hopetoun House

Hopetoun House on the Firth of Forth
Hopetoun House

Some of you will remember this estate as Sandringham’s home in the series Outlander (and indeed it was this film location). In real life however this amazing house containing in the excess of 100 rooms -47 of them bedrooms- is still the family home of the Hope family who back in their heydays owned pretty much anything from Cupar to Haddington.

I volunteer once a week for a few hours at Kellie Castle which is owned and maintained by the National Trust Scotland. Once a year all volunteers are invited to a day out at another property, which this year was Hopetoun House .

Hopetoun House ready for Christmas

Hopetoun House is open to the public during the summer and because it is run by a private trust it prospers on many other activities, such as weddings, carriage driving or as film location. When we arrived it was just getting ready for the filming of a winter scene:

Winter scene at Hopetoun House

In summer you can follow the foot steps of Jamie and Claire from the series of Outlander when visiting the property.

We as NTS volunteers had the amazing opportunity of an extended tour through the house and some very educational insights into restoring tapestries.

The original Hopetoun House (which is still there but has been extended excessively) was build by an architect of the name Sir William Bruce, who also built Holyrood Palace (one of the current Queen’s residencies in Scotland). The construction took two years and was concluded in 1701. Only twenty years later William Adam was assigned to extend the house to what is now. It took him until he dies in 1748.

So let me share some of the less common knowledge items of Hopetoun:

Wedding at Hopetoun
The Riding House

Above you see the ballroom of today’s Hopetoun House which is frequently used for weddings and business functions. However its original purpose was a covered area for training Hopetoun horses. Opposite you can still see the stables which now serve as tea room – amidst those building is a water tower. The horses had running water before the humans did. Hopetoun also was one of the first properties to have electricity back in 1890

Marble selecting table

The above table was originally intended to give you a flavour of different types of marble you could choose from. However they were so much liked that they ended up being furniture in their own right.

Marquis of Hopetoun House

If you look at crowns in a property you can count balls, five and the owner is a Marquis, three if it is an Earl and a Duke did not have any balls

Does Hopetoun House have the oldest dictionary?

If you love books you could possible spend days if not weeks here.

A Dutch Clock with a mind of its own
Original paintings rediscovered

The above paintings were covered with several coats of white paint for many, many years. Meanwhile in the 1960ties another artist repainting the tower of which these are a ceiling and not knowing of the ceiling paintings he did keep the style…and theme

The most uncomfortable bed

This bed was created in case the king decided to visit. Unfortunately it dates back to a time when people slept in a seated position because they feared the devil would snap up their soul should the lie down…


Finally a picture of one of the many tapestries of Hopetoun House.

Apart from the house, the amazing grounds and views the estate also contains Midhope Castle which is a ruin and was in Outlander Lallybroch.