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  • The Hymer motorhome with the Sprinter chassis drives through Scotland´s hilly landscape while dawn is approaching.
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    Road trip with the Hymer motorhome: Scotland’s vibrant nightlife.

    Adrian, Noel, Marko and Linda already fell in love with Scotland by day – now they also want to discover the nightlife. For this reason, they drive to Glasgow and to the Killin Music Festivals with their Hymer motorhome.

    Text: Aline Knobloch | Photos: Linda Ambrosius

Glasgow – the Scottish city of arts.

Dark clouds announce the arrival of the light rain the four friends can hear drizzling onto the Hymer camper van when they arrive in Glasgow in the late afternoon. But it takes more than this to stop them. They explore the inner city on foot, admire the imposing “Gallery of Modern Art” and the eccentric glass structures – all designed by world famous architects. Scotland’s largest city is even more colourful and lively than expected.


But Glasgow’s history also had to survive difficult times. In particular, the world economic crisis of the 1970s had a major impact on the city. Problematic suburbs such as Calton remain a reminder: bleak concrete buildings characterize the landscape here. However, Glasgow found a way out of the crisis: empty factory walls became galleries and museums. An impoverished industrial city became a celebrated centre of arts.


Ballerina Beth pins up her hair in front of an illuminated mirror.

Giving all for the major performance.

Bethany Kingsley-Garner has long been in love with Glasgow and its inhabitants. The ballerina originates from the English city of Devon but is full of praise for her new home. “The city is vibrant” says the young woman enthusiastically when the four friends meet her in the heart of the city after her training. The 29-year-old is still sitting in front of the mirror in her black dress, pinning up her long dark blonde hair. Nothing can distract her. The training demands total concentration. Because Beth is the prima ballerina in the Scottish Ballet – and performs the main roles in productions such as “Cinderella” or “Swan Lake”. She loves these major performances: “The feeling that you get on stage is like no other.” Beth ties her bright pink ballet shoes and enters the hall.


Perfection also means effort and pain.

Beth has been dancing since she learned to walk. Even as a young child she loved moving to the music of large orchestras. When she was three years old, she was allowed to accompany her sister to ballet lessons for the first time. Since then, nothing can stop her: Beth earned a place in the renowned “Royal Ballet School” in London and has frequently performed on stage since then. She moves the audience and impresses the critics.


When Beth begins to dance, the friends understand why: her ballet shoes fly gracefully over the floor and Beth radiates strength and poise. Every jump seems perfectly simple and effortless. Yet this appearance of effortlessness is the product of hard training, effort and pain. “I'm motivated to work towards perfection”, she reveals.


Wearing her black dress, ballerina Bethany dances in a hall in front of the mirror.

„My face was covered in tears.“

After she graduated, Beth began to dance for the Scottish Ballet. There she experienced the most emotional moment of her career: after a major performance, she was named the prima ballerina. Beth looks back: “I heard the audience clapping and my face was covered in tears. I will never forget that moment.”
Beth grabs a grey sweater and takes Linda, Noel, Adrian and Marko up onto the roof of a high-rise building to show them the city from above. It has grown dark yet the ocean of lights illuminates the streets. Glasgow remains lively even at night.


One false step could put an end to everything.

Beth closes her eyes. With ballets, she has bet everything on one card. A risky decision: Beth knows that one false step in a careless moment could put an end to everything. Once she injured her knee and ended up in a wheelchair. Dancing was unimaginable at that time. “I thought I would never get back”, admits Beth. However, she came back even stronger than before: “I continued because giving up would hurt so much more.”


Ballerina Beth stands on the roof of a high-rise building above the city Glasgow wearing her grey sweater.
  • The Hymer camper van with the Sprinter chassis drives between two cliffs, dark clouds gather.
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With the Hymer to the „Killin Music Festival“.

The friends want to see more of the Scottish nightlife. That is why they get back into the Hymer camper van and head inland. Their destination is a small village with less than 800 inhabitants. This is where the “Killin Music Festival” will take place. When the four friends arrive late in the evening they are surprised: thousands of people are flocking to the brightly lit stage, dance to the music and seem to know every verse by heart. Whether young or old, teenager or pensioner: everyone celebrates together here.


The Scottish musicians of Skerryvore perform on a brightly lit stage, one of them bagpipe player Scott Wood.
Bagpipe player Scott Wood stands on stage with his instrument.

Curtains up for the musicians of Skerryvore.

The highlight of the evening is the performance by the folk-rock band “Skerryvore”. One of the band members is a bagpipe player. The friends are sceptical: how can an old instrument like that make modern music? Yet when the band begins to play, the bagpipes blow away any doubts: Skerryvore gives Scotland an unmistakable sound.


Scott Wood – not the typical bagpipe player.

After this unforgettable performance, Linda, Marko, Noel and Adrian meet the bagpipe player backstage. Scott Wood is a little out of breath but obviously overjoyed. Music is his passion. But he does not look anything like how the friends imagined a bagpipe player: Scott is only 23 years old and wears neither tartan nor a kilt. He quickly puts down his unusual looking instrument and greets the four like old friends.

The musician tours around the entire world with Skerryvore. He also celebrates numerous successes with his own quintet, the “Scott Wood Band”. This is a career that other artists can only dream of. For Scott, his joy of music is what counts above all: “My favourite part of the job is when I can see even just one person in the crowd smiling as if they’re in their own little world of joy.”

The young bagpipe player Scott wearing a colorful shirt and standing backstage behind the brightly-lit stage of the Killin Music Festival.

„Scots never take themselves too seriously.“

Scott embodies the relaxed Scottish attitude that the friends already encountered so often on their road trip. He agrees: “We never take ourselves too seriously.” Scott is proud of his homeland and feels deeply connected with its traditions. That is why he wants to give Scotland’s national instrument a future and teaches the bagpipes at schools. This makes the four friends curious: how difficult is it to play the bagpipes? Could they also learn it? Scott hands them the instrument. They struggle to create even a single tone and all fail miserably. Scott laughs. His success is the product of years of practice, he says.


No time for envy.

Scott’s success has also created envy: “One of the harder aspects would be dealing with criticism from other musicians in the scene, as you get older, you realize that is just jealousy.” However, he does not have much time to concern himself with this criticism because Scott is already making plans to make Scottish music famous outside the country: “My next aim is to take Scottish music to some of the biggest festivals in the world!”


The sounds of the bagpipes are still ringing in the friends´ ears as they get into in the Hymer camper van and head off towards their next destination.