It’s not every day you see a man in a kilt taking a haggis for a walk. Well, this was not an ordinary haggis, usually seen on a plate, all hot and bothered by a knife-wielding bloke breathing whisky.

This haggis was a big, hand-knitted job with horns, smartly mounted on a carriage to get it around the Visit Scotland exhibition in Glasgow, the aim being to show the many foreign visitors that in Scotland this year, you should be prepared for anything.

Like the new visitor centre at Bannockburn, where in 1314 the Scots King Robert the Bruce famously defeated the English army. Here an inter-active display will enable your scheming son to control swathes of hairy Scotsmen swinging claymores and your wild-eyed daughter to drive dragoons, and even change the result of the battle. Just don’t let Alex Salmond see them doing this.

Ah yes, the Scottish referendum vote takes place in September, which allows all summer to visit, and leave again, without worrying about the drawbridges going up.

Not surprisingly, there was no mention of the referendum at the travel exhibition, for there were more important matters to discuss, like the Commonwealth Games in July, and the Ryder Cup, also in September (23 to 28 if you include the off-course stuff).

As if that was not enough to fill every hotel room from Gretna to John o’ Groats, Scotland is celebrating a Homecoming event this year, which is likely to attract thousands from overseas who have a Scottish connection.

From Vancouver to Valencia, and India to Istan, descendants of hardy settlers will be making sentimental journeys to Scotland. Not that tartan blood is necessary; as an American travel agent told me, the country will have an extra bounce in the coming months that will attract more than the usual numbers. Read the rest of this article.

Words David Wishart – Photography Genevieve Balthazard