Q. My daughter and I will be in Scotland in September, and would like to attend events associated with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Please provide details.
A. An extensive program of events to mark the anniversary started in April and will continue throughout September, with some events scheduled later in the fall. You may be just in time for the actual anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which occurred on Sept. 11, 1297. Its leading figure has recently become more familiar in the United States: William Wallace, better known as Braveheart, whose exploits were dramatized in last year’s Academy Award winning movie starring Mel Gibson.
The battle was a major victory against the invading English army and was the start of Scotland’s Wars of Independence. The site of the anniversary celebrations is Stirling, 37 miles northwest of Edinburgh and 40 miles northeast of Glasgow.
A re-enactment at 8 p.m. on Sept. 12 and 13, on the Stirling Castle esplanade will tell the story of the battle through music and drama. It is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
A Braveheart convention (which includes tickets for the battle re-enactment and a visit to the exhibition) will take place Sept. 12 to 14 at the Stirling Highland Hotel and the Albert Hall. The cost is $357-$491, including accommodation. Information: (44-131) 221 1391.
For information on other events, including a Celtic Concert Celebration on Sept. 5 and a Braveheart Banquet and Ceilidh on Sept. 13, contact Ken Gill, Stirling Bridge 700, Room 34, Community Services, Stirling Council, Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET. Telephone (01786) 443122, fax (01786) 442538.
Q. I want to tour Botswana in October or November and would like information on tours to the country.
A. The landlocked southern African country of Botswana - with its teeming animal populations and vast marshlands of papyrus and palms - has become increasingly popular in recent years among the safari set. A number of companies offer tours to the country, often in combination with visits to neighboring Zimbabwe and South Africa. Here are two:
Natural Habitat Adventures, based in Boulder, Colo., has a 13-day safari with departures on Oct. 12, Nov. 2 and 23. The Okavango Delta - a vast maze of islands surrounded by flood plains - figures high on the itinerary. Participants explore the delta by mokoros, traditional dugout canoes, which allow intimate viewing of the region’s numerous birds, including wattled cranes, slaty egrets and the rare Pel’s fishing owl. In the open plains of Chobe National Park, you’re likely to see elephant, lion and Burchell’s zebra. Transportation is by charter plane and Land Rover. Accommodations are in permanent and mobile tented camps. The price for the Oct. 12 trip is $3,600 a person, double occupancy; other trips cost $3,000 and up. International air fare is not included. Information: (800) 543-8917.
Abercrombie & Kent International, in Oak Brook, Ill., has several itineraries that include Botswana. Wings Over Botswana, for example, is a 12-day program, that includes visits to the Moremi Wildlife Reserve which is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, elephants and wild dogs. Bird-watching, hiking and boating through the Okavango is also on the schedule, as is Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The tour’s departure date is Oct. 13. The cost is $4,590, double occupancy, excluding international air fare and some regional flights. Information: (800) 323-7308.
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