The Broons are Scotland’s best known family, the family feature in a comic strip every week in the Sunday Post newspaper as well as having an book published every two years detailing their exploits. Maw and Paw and their eight children Hen, Joe, Maggie, Daphne, Maggie, Horace, The Twins and Bairn along with lovable old rogue Grandpaw live in a timeless way in Auchentogle and their comic strip has entertained generations of Scots so who better to produce a guidebook for days out in Scotland?
The book is written by young Horace as a school project on Scotland. He decided to ask the family about their favourite days out and add in some information he got from the library and these facts are combined with humorous anecdotes and photos to give you more information about each of the attractions.
A guidebook about the whole of Scotland can only contain so much information and the book focuses on the main tourist trail and manages to cover a huge geographic range from the Borders to the Highlands. The family go day tripping to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness as well as exploring the countryside and going to see the Loch Ness monster before hopping onto a ferry and visiting some of the islands. There are also days out for the kids included with visits to Blair Drummond safari park and a guide to Scotland’s best beaches. History lovers will love reading about castles and Grandpaw takes the reader to distilleries where his favourite tipple is produced. Nature lovers will love the guide to the Cairngorm mountains and a list of country parks and nature reserves.
My favourite section of the book is where the family climb Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, well all apart from Maw, Grandpaw and the bairn who only go halfway up. The rest of the family manage to huff and puff their way to the top in six hours with Daphne more interested in eying up fit mountain climbers are Maggie making sure her make up is intact and the lads showing off their strength. The whole family then embark on a camping trip where the midges decide to bite and the perfect camping spot ends up not being so perfect after all.
The Broons’ days out are always accompanied by a huge picnic packed by Maw and she also gives tips about how to get the most out of your travels with Maw wanting to pack everything including the kitchen sink on one occasion! The family travel by car, bike and public transport around the country including ferries to the islands and the West Highland Line on the train.
The one criticism I have of the book is that it does not go into much depth about each attraction and it also does not give any kind of critical review about anywhere visited, the Broons had a brilliant time wherever they went and we know that in real life things are not quite so perfect. The book does, however, give web links and would be a good springboard to do further research about any of the featured attractions.
The book also comes with a full sized touring road map of Scotland and money off vouchers which can be used at Historic Scotland sites, the map is a good one and if you make use of the vouchers then you will save almost as much as the book costs.
The Broons’ Days Oot! is a beautifully produced book, the pages are well laid out and full of colour and there are vintage Broons’ comic strips with the stories chosen to complement the theme of the book dotted throughout the pages. It is an ideal guide book for Scots who will discover more about the attractions on their own doorstep but it will also give the tourist an overview of what Scotland has to offer and help them to plan their stay and find places to visit.
The Broons' Days OOt (ISBN 1902407946) is available from Amazon.co.uk for £5.06