Spanish eyes are fixed on Falkirk heritage

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If you are a continental tourist eager to find out more about Scottish history where do you go - Edinburgh, perhaps, or maybe even Stirling?

Just how Falkirk can outflank these seasoned veterans of the heritage industry was shown at the town’s hugely successful 1298 Battle of Falkirk commemoration.

The team from town centre promotion group Falkirk Delivers were delighted to bump into “an energetic group of young Spanish people” - who were thrilled by the pageantry unfolding before them.

Historic commemorations of many kinds are common in Spain throughout the summer months, with festivals marking anything from New World explorers to the great battles of antiquity.

But when visiting Scotland many or even most tourists interested in heritage are arguably drawn irresistably into the maelstrom of Edinburgh’s massively lucrative history-and-culture industry.

The well-established links between hotel groups and tour firms guarantee a steady stream of visitors from across the world, even before the capital is invaded by teeming multitudes intent on visiting the Edinburgh festivals later this month.

Yet away from the tartanalia and Home Counties drama whimsy of the Royal Mile there are some events - like Falkirk 1298 - which most tourists never get to find out about.

They may queue for the pleasure of spending a lot of money to visit Edinburgh Castle and other attractions, but until recently have seldom had any realistic chance of glimpsing the full scope of Scottish history and heritage.

All that may be changing, however, ironically thanks to a global surge in interest in things Scottish fuelled by fantasy TV soap Outlander and, more recently, the digital-streaming epic Outlaw King.

These particular Spanish visitors, meanwhile, were from Ruta Inti, a non -profit organisation that takes its members on expeditions and travel adventures around the world.

They were by definition seeking to avoid the most obvious tourist hot spots in an effort to find “real” Scottish history - and struck gold when they contacted The Society of William Wallace, one of the main groups involved in Falkirk 1298.

Directed to Falkirk, the group was in nice time to see a landmark commemoration event in the very heart of Scotland - and with it plenty of pipers and all the other razzmatazz you’d expect from an event in the tourism honeypot of the capital.

They were delighted by what they found here, and will no doubt tell their friends - that Falkirk is a modern Scottish town but with a proud and ancient history, one definitely worth a visit.