Linlithgow Scotch Hop, Scottish Dancing for All, with kilts swirling round the historic fountain in the Palace courtyard has inspired visitors since 1989. Many join in the dancing in this unique setting as the enthusiasm of the regulars is infectious. The programme includes old time couple dances, Scottish Country set dances and other Scottish dances, with some familiar to regulars at ceilidhs.
John Carswell, original organiser of Linlithgow Scotch Hop, is rumoured to have said the idea for dancing in the courtyard came from The Queen, when she visited the Palace that year. The Palace courtyard was paved prior to the Queen’s visit in 1989, having previously been covered in gravel and there had occasionally been dancing in the Great Hall on the first floor prior to this. In olden times, there would often have been festivals for local people, with music and dance held in such historic and significant buildings. Linlithgow Scotch Hop is really just continuing that tradition in Linlithgow Palace courtyard.
Linlithgow Scotch Hop was set up in 1989 by John Carswell who ran it successfully until 2013. After 24 years as Lord of the Dance, John Carswell helped set up a new group so he could take a step back from all the work involved. Under his expert guidance a new committee took over the planning for the 25th year of dancing at Linlithgow Palace and future years. At the start of the 2014 season, John handed over the microphone used to call the dances to Sheila McCutcheon. The enormous amount of good will generated by John Carswell, his wife Janet, and countless other volunteers over the years, has created a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere for dancers and visitors of all ages including many regulars from overseas.
The new committee is also most grateful to Allan and Janette Scott, the previous Treasurer and Secretary, for their continuing support, as well as many of the volunteers from previous years. Over the years, Linlithgow Scotch Hop has become such an inspiring and uplifting event for so many dancers from Linlithgow and beyond, with many regular visitors from overseas. Many have come back every summer since 1989. The unique venue and great friendly atmosphere make Linlithgow Scotch Hop a really special event every year and the organisation has now been given charitable status as Linlithgow Scotch Hop SCIO, No SCO46165.
This five-week Scotch Hop season starts on Wednesday July 13th at 7:30pm in the Palace, and every subsequent Wednesday until August 10th 2016. Tickets can be purchased at the door at £8.50 for adults and £6.50 for concessions, including tea and shortbread. Under 12s go free when accompanied by an adult. Season tickets are £26 for adults and £20 for concessions. The Low Port Centre will be used in adverse weather, check Facebook for update by 6pm on the day.