As Scotland 2014 draws to a close, I have finally found myself with a little time to reflect on what has been a truly remarkable year in Scotland. But I ask myself if this has really been a year like no other or is it merely the start of things to come?
History Celebrated and Created
Scotland 2014 was historically an important year, with the 700 year anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Not only was this a huge victory for the greatly outnumbered Scottish army in defeat of the mighty English, but it was pivotal in how the country would develop to the present day. Whether you are interested in the history or not, this moment in time significantly contributed to making 2014 a very special and unique year.
Running side by side with the build up to the anniversary celebrations was the conveniently timed Scottish Independence Referendum. In the minds of many, this was in essence a two year political election campaign, but ultimately it captivated the minds of the majority of people of Scotland and the wider United Kingdom. This became far more than just politics, especially once everyday people started to question what it would mean for them if it was a ‘Yes’, or as proved to be the case, a ’No’ vote. It was impossible not to get caught up in the debate which was both divisive and uniting in how it played out. Now three months on, there is a general sense of moving forward and looking to the future.
Major Sporting Events in Scotland 2014
History and politics aside, two major sporting events would attract even more of the world’s gaze on Scotland in 2014. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games was an enormous success for both the athletes and the city itself. The feel good factor was well and truly here and the atmosphere and ‘buzz’ around the city was phenomenal. Things were literally heating up, as Scotland had been basking in glorious sunshine for most of the summer, so when the cameras and eyes of the world were upon us, we delivered in every possible way.
Autumn fell with a bang in late September and hopes of an ‘Indian Summer’ were promptly and spectacularly dashed! Our annual quota of sunshine was abruptly cast aside by what makes Scotland the stunningly beautiful country that it is. But any concerns that the downpours would wash out the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles were quickly replaced by another fix of the feel good factor once the four day event got underway, as teams’ USA and Europe battled it out on the fairways in front of a global audience of 500 million people per day. This particular dual may not have been fought in the beautiful sunshine that we were now getting used to, but the backdrop instead were the mystical and glorious glens of Perthshire. And for those watching at home who were not familiar with Scotland and what it visually has to offer, they were really in for a treat. While team Europe was victorious in the main event, it was yet another victory for Scotland in its year of self-promotion.
A stronger nation
As a minibus and coach operator, the combination of wonderful weather, global-scale events, and history in the making, it is clear that this was certainly a unique year for Scotland and for the business of passenger transport. Though as I reflect on what has gone before and make plans for the future, I am confident and excited about what lies ahead. The Scottish nation is stronger than ever both socially and politically, and 2014 was the year that returned this wonderful country to the very top of worldwide visitor destinations. And one can only hope that perhaps the indigenous population will also find a renewed passion for what they can find on their doorstep and start exploring the wonderful country we are fortunate to call home.
I know I certainly will.