Wear Scotland's colours with pride

ST Andrew's day revellers are set to make a big splash tomorrow at some ceilidhs with a difference.

While the biggest crowds may be expected at the official celebrations in the city centre, Edinburgh Leisure is set to host the Capital's first aqua-ceilidhs.

Organisers said dancers can join in the "Splashing White Sergeant" or "Drip the Willow" at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, Drumbrae Leisure Centre and Portobello Swim Centre.

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Edinburgh Leisure spokesman Michael Pinkerton said: "Drumbrae has already enlisted 40 dancers, ranging from local school children new to our national dances, right through to the rather more experienced regulars from the 60-plus aqua-fit classes."

A selection of traditional drinks and snacks will be available after the 45-minute dances, with complimentary blue or white swim caps for souvenir hunters.

For more traditional celebrations, head to Princes Street Gardens, where two purpose-built marquees will host a programme of dance, music and family fun.

In the Scottish Pavilion, Dance Base will offer workshops including Bollywood, salsa, jive and belly dancing. A second tent will feature input from the Scottish Storytelling Centre, along with face painters, colouring books and giant garden games. The Chiller Tent will provide music from the Colin Steele Quartet, featuring Cathie Rae, the Andy May Trio and DJs Barney Strachan and Aki.

Passers-by may have noticed the Greyfriars Bobby statue dressed in a dashing tartan tammy yesterday, which was today being flown to Brussels to be worn by the famous Mannekin Pis statue.

The tammy's special "Scotland in Europe" tartan was designed by Heriot-Watt University textiles and design student Nicola Moffat, 20, and forms part of an unusual challenge set by Alyn Smith MEP for people to come up with ways to celebrate Scotland's national day and links with Europe. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre will also be joining in the patriotic spirit, staging a dramatic evening performance exploring Scottish identity.

Our Scotland includes an international selection of music, dance, poetry and song, with performers from across the globe, ranging from Ghanian musicians to Chinese dancers. The performance begins at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, Musselburgh Racecourse is to wrap itself in blue and white with a host of patriotic themes running throughout its race day. First Minister Alex Salmond will present the trophy to the winner of the feature race, the 15,000 St Andrew's Day Chase.

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Saltire face painters will be available to add Braveheart-style face art and the course will be decorated in blue and white bunting, banners, flowers and flags.

Nick Fiddes, governor of the Scottish Tartans Authority, has called on Scots to show their patriotism and don a kilt to celebrate tomorrow's landmark day.

He said: "So many other countries - Ireland, America, Australia - celebrate their national day with pride. It's about time we did the same here in Scotland."

Celebrations will continue throughout the weekend with a range of activities in Princes Street Gardens.


Edinburgh Leisure Aqua Ceilidhs

Royal Commonwealth Pool, 09:15-10am (0131 667 7211)

Drumbrae Leisure Centre, 10-11am (0131 312 7957)

Portobello Swim Centre, 10:30-11:15am (0131 669 6888)

Free entry. Phone to book a place.

Jig in the Gardens

West Princes Street Gardens, 1pm-late. Free entry.

Edinburgh International Conference Centre 'Our Scotland' 7:30pm,Tickets 4 / 2.50

Phone the Lyceum Box Office on 0131 248 4848.