Detailed Programme

The overarching theme of the Centenary is ‘A Feast of Dunnett’. The Gathering & Conference are part of the Centenary, so this list is a menu, not a programme. No one will be able to have everything on the menu since several events will take place at the same time.  You will have to make choices…

You can see the schedule and the prices for all events on the summary programme page.

THURSDAY & FRIDAY: Centenary conference

‘Understanding diversity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries’

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel -38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ

The conference is the first event of the Gathering. It will extend over two days but must be booked and paid for as a whole event.  Registration will open at 11:30 on Thursday and the Conference will start after lunch at 13:00.  On Friday the doors open at 09:00.  The conference ends at 18:00 on Thursday and 17:30 on Friday.

The conference will focus on themes addressed by Dorothy Dunnett in her writing. Under the umbrella of  ‘diversity’ we shall hear about new insights into attitudes, beliefs and practices in the societies that provided contexts for Lymond and Nicholas and framed their fictional lives.

Two of the speakers have already been confirmed, from widely different fields of study, but most will be selected after the call for papers. If you are interested in submitting a paper please read the call for papers on  or download a MS word copy.

Thursday EVE: Ceilidh at the Kimpton

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel -38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ

In between the two days of the academic conference comes Thursday evening’s Ceilidh at the Kimpton. It’s designed purely as entertainment.  At 20:00 you’ll be greeted by a glass of Prosecco (or a bottle of beer or a soft drink if preferred) and five mouth-watering canapés.  After that there will be a cash (card) bar for the purchase of additional drinks.

Music will be provided by the accordion and violin of the Scottish band ‘Flaming Heather’.  In the early part of the evening, DDS member Justine Griffith and her sister Peta will demonstrate some thrilling traditional dances. Later on, you can choose to join in the better-known set dances, led by Justine and Peta, or sit them out and admire the energy of the fleeter-footed among us.

The music will stop at 22:00 and the event finishes at 22:30.

Friday EVE: Welcome Meal

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel -38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ

The first event of the DDS annual Dunnett Weekend. This year it will be  an informal, three-course meal, starting 19:30 for 20:00,  in the Kimpton Hotel in Charlotte Square.

SATURDAY : Lecture Day

‘A day dedicated to the celebration of Dorothy Dunnett’

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel -38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ

Diverging only a little from the pattern of the annual Dunnett Weekend, the daytime programme on Saturday will include talks, discussions and various other participatory activities. 

More details of the Saturday programme can be found on the Saturday Programme page.

Registration will begin promptly at 09:00.

Dorothy Dunnett society Annual General Meeting

The daytime programme concludes with the formal Annual General Meeting of the Dorothy Dunnett Society between 16:30 to 17:30.  The members of the Board of Trustees will report on the work of the charity over the last year and elections will be held for the next year. This session is for Dorothy Dunnett Society members only


Sheraton Grand Hotel– 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR

The most glittering, and probably the largest, event of the entire gathering will be the Gala Dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Festival Square (directly opposite the Usher Hall, on Lothian Road), starting 19:30 for 20:00.

Readers and non-readers, Dorothy Dunnett Society members and non-members, legendary figures from the Dunnett universe and honoured guests will join together in the vast Edinburgh Suite of the Sheraton Grand Hotel to celebrate the rich legacy of Dorothy Dunnett and the worldwide network of friendships that she made possible.


On Sunday there are a set of tours offered.  Attendees can book onto one of these tours. Most of the tours will also be offered on other  days during the following week – please see the summary programme page for a full overview.


Stirling Castle & Linlithgow Palace tour

Stirling Castle, Castle Wynd, Stirling FK8 1EJ

Linlithgow Palace , Kirkgate, Linlithgow EH49 7AL

This tour, departing at 09:00 prompt from Charlotte Square, near the Kimpton Hotel, will take you to two spectacular Dunnett settings that exceed all expectations and soar far above the hype that sometimes surrounds them. Seeing both in one day requires stamina, but it will be an unforgettable pairing.


Rosslyn Chapel visit & talk

Rosslyn Chapel , Chapel Loan, Roslin EH25 9PU

This is the one opportunity for a half-day (afternoon) tour to Rosslyn Chapel, where an expert guide will introduce you to the extraordinary building that so inspired Dorothy Dunnett – and others. The exact departure time for this tour will be confirmed later.


Traquair House Lunch & tour of Dunnett-linked Borders sites

Traquair House , Traquair, Innerleithen EH44 6PW

Traquair House is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. “Visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens [including Mary Queen of Scots] Traquair dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491”, says the website.  Highlights of your visit will be a guided tour of the house and a private lunch in the 18th century dining room.

Departing at 09:15 from Charlotte Square, near the Kimpton Hotel, the route for the day also takes you to St Mary’s Loch, with opportunities for photography, as well as passing the site of the ruined Boghall Castle and going through Biggar and Coulter, with views of nearby Culter Fell.


Hadrian’s Wall – dual centre tour

Hadrian’s Wall

The Dunnett connection may be tragic – Alas, Christian Stewart – but Hadrian’s Wall is, of course, fascinating in its own right. You will be visiting two separate contrasting sites, Chesters Fort and Housesteads Fort, allowing plenty of time to wander and explore as well as listen to the guides.

Departure 08:45 from Charlotte Square, near the Kimpton Hotel.


Monday allows you time to explore some more of Edinburgh and its many Dunnett connections.   You can book onto one or both organised tours, or head off on your own to explore.


The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Walking down the High Street and the Canongate is one of the most exciting things a Dunnett reader can do in Edinburgh.  This walk will be organised by Nicky Cannon, author of Edinburgh: the Dorothy Dunnett Guide and will take you down the famous Royal Mile.  Prepare to squeak at improperly frequent intervals.

Tour of St Giles’ cathedral 

St Giles Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE

The events department of  St Giles’ Cathedral has  readily agreed to tailor a tour to cater for the interests of the Dunnett reader. This will include glimpses of the building’s whole remarkable history allowing you to view key locations from the the life of Lymond.

TALK : Maps in the medieval world: The emergence of scotland

City Art Centre, 2 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE

A talk by Professor Emeritus Charles W J Withers FBA FRSE, University of Edinburgh on historic cartography with a special focus on Scotland.

Starts at 4 PM at the City Art Centre .

MONDAY EVE: Concert at St Giles’ CATHEDRAL

St Giles Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE

The concert at St Giles’, beginning at 19:30, will be a unique event, featuring pieces of music from the times of Lymond and Nicholas interspersed with readings from the novels.  We are hiring the whole cathedral for the evening and hope to be able to fill it with readers and non-readers.



Great Tapestry of Scotland & Melrose Abbey tour

Great Tapestry of Scotland, 14-20 High St, Galashiels TD1 1SD

Melrose Abbey , Abbey St, Melrose TD6 9LG

You have probably read Bel Bachmann’s recent article about the Tapestry in Whispering Gallery.  The Great Tapestry is astonishing, awe-inspiring, beautiful,  enchanting, entertaining . . . oh, yes, and educational. It honestly has something for everyone.  Your visit includes a generous amount of time to look at the Tapestry,  a talk from the leading Stitcher and a gift pack designed specially for the event. (And a sit-down lunch in the Tapestry building.)

The day will also include a visit to the poignantly beautiful ruins of Melrose Abbey where, once upon a time, Sir William Scott the Younger of Buccleuch married his aunt.

Departure times for this tour will be in the early morning, either 08:00 or 08:45, leaving from Charlotte Square.  Your specific time will be confirmed when we allocate  groups once all the bookings are complete.


Stirling Castle & Linlithgow Palace tour

(alternative date – see Sunday for details)

TUESDAY EVE: Informal evening meal & talk

Howie’s Restaurant  – 29 Waterloo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3BQ

The historic Howie’s Restaurant in Waterloo Place (near the departure point for our tours) will provide the venue for Tuesday evening’s relaxed get-together and meal, enhanced by a talk.

The timing of this meal is a little later than usual (20:30 for 20:45), so you will have a chance to wind down after the daytime excitements, which could include the Great Tapestry and Melrose Abbey, or the tour to Stirling Castle and Linlithgow Palace, or an adventure of your own.


Traquair House Lunch & tour of Dunnett-linked Borders sites

(See Sunday for details of the tour)

Tour of St Giles’ cathedral 

St Giles Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE

A second set of tours of  St Giles’ Cathedral including glimpses of the building’s whole remarkable history allowing you to view key locations from the the life of Lymond.

Wednesday EvE: Orkney-themed Evening

Scotsman Hotel– 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1TR

Our venue for this informal event (19:30 for 20:00) is the Scotsman Hotel (North Bridge), former office building of the Scotsman newspaper whose editors have included Alastair Dunnett, husband of Dorothy.

An Orcadian menu is being devised by the Chef exclusively for us. There will be a talk – maybe storytelling – and we shall also hear some of the songs of Orkney. A cash bar will be available all evening.


To give people the maximum opportunity to join the tours of their choice, three of the tours from earlier in the week will be repeated today. As the tours take place at the same time you can only chose one.

All the tours will depart from Charlotte Square, near the Kimpton Hotel.

Great Tapestry of Scotland & Melrose Abbey tour

(alternative date – see Tuesday for details of the tour)

Traquair House Lunch & tour of Dunnett-linked Borders sites

(alternative date – See Sunday for details of the tour)

Hadrian’s Wall dual centre tour

(alternative date – see Sunday for details of this tour)

THURSDAY EVE: Farewell Dinner

Ghillie-Dhu – 2 Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD

The official concluding event of the Gathering is the formal dinner on Thursday evening.  This will give you a chance to share experiences of the week, celebrate all things Dunnett and to say tìoraidh an-dràsta to your Dunnett friends.


Overflow day – There are no official events scheduled on Friday 28th, but you have the opportunity to squeeze in a last few Edinburgh attractions, or organise a small gathering with fellow Dunnetters.

You can see the schedule of all the events and the prices for each event on the summary programme page