The incredible town of Linlithgow in Scotland
Linlithgow is a small charming town in the Central Belt of Scotland.
The chief historic attraction of Linlithgow is the remains of Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots, and probably Scotland's finest surviving late medieval secular building. The present Palace was started (on an older site) in 1424 by James I of Scotland. It was burnt in 1746, and while unroofed is still largely complete although very few of the original furnishings survived.
The town's coat of arms features a black bitch dog against an oak tree, after a legend of a black greyhound whose master was sentenced to starve to death on an island in Linlithgow loch. She used to swim from the town every day with food for him, and managed to save his life. The townspeople took the symbol of the dog's loyalty and bravery as their own. The local pub named "The Black Bitch" is one of Scotland's oldest pubs.
Linlithgow's rich history and central location make it a popular tourist destination, while a significant proportion of the local population make the daily commute to Glasgow, Edinburgh or Stirling, made relatively easy by the town's railway station and proximity to both the M8 & M9 motorways.
The town is served by three supermarkets and a retail park situated in Linlithgow Bridge hosting a Homebase and an Argos Extra among its five units. However, the town continues to support a diverse range of local retailers in the High Street. There are controversial proposals for a new retail development to the East of the town. These are being opposed by a local lobby group.
Linlithgow is of sufficient size that facilities for most common participitation sports can be found in or around the town. Linlithgow is also host to Linlithgow Rose Football Club and Linlithgow Rugby Football Club, as well as West Lothian County Cricket Association. Linlithgow also hosts two main Scotland Supporters Clubs for the Scotish National football team, they are named Linlithgow & District Tartan Army and (LADTA) and the Young Linlithgow Tartan Army (YLTA). Both of which are registered Scotland Supporters Clubs.
A number of local parks, including play areas for children, are spread throughout the burgh, with the tract of land surrounding the palace known as The Peel being particularly popular in summer. Low Port Outdoor Education Centre is situated next to the loch and provides facilities for many outdoor activities, many based on the adjacent loch. Nearby country parks include Beecraigs and Muiravonside.
Educational establishments within the town include Linlithgow Academy, which regularly appears close to the top of the school league tables in Scotland and is one of the main reasons for the demand for housing in Linlithgow, and five primary schools; Linlithgow Primary School, St Josephs Primary School, Linlithgow Bridge Primary School, Low Port Primary School and Springfield Primary School.
Donaldson's College - Scotland's national school for the deaf - relocated from Edinburgh to a new building in Linlithgow in 2008.
The Riding of the Marches, held in one form or another since the mid-16th century and nowadays celebrated on the first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June, involve young and old in the tradition of checking the burgh's perimeter, including the town's historic port of Blackness. Although today's activities are centered more on the colourful parades through the town that involve bands and floats decorated by local groups, the more ceremonial duties of the Marches are still adhered to and a variety of local groups ensure that the traditions, old and new, are maintained.