In my class we begin by learning a little bit about how Christianity came to Scotland and the early Christians here. Then we go on to discuss how God worked in Scotland during the First Reformation between 1528-1560. We learn about the key players and events during those times and discuss how they impact Scotland today. Names like Hamilton, Wishart, Knox, and Melville are all discussed.
Following that we move onto the Second Reformation from 1638-1688. This is the time of the Covenanters, a time when many throughout Scotland were persecuted for their faith. We learn about the likes of Henderson, Cameron, Cargill, and Renwick. Men who stood against tyranny to proclaim the Kingship of Christ. Again we discuss their lives, events, and deaths.
All of this classroom work is of course an important element, but it also sets a good background for the week long tour that the students take with us. During that week, they get to visit the locations where many of these events happened. From the place where the first martyr for the Reformation, 24 year old Patrick Hamilton, was burnt at the stake to the battlefields of the Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge, Airds Moss, and Drumclog. This is the week when history really comes alive. From crossing over windy moors to visit lonely martyr graves, to standing in mighty castles and grand cathedrals and churches where the likes of John Knox and Alexander Henderson preached. This is an experience that can be life changing. The people, places, and events that we read and discuss in the classroom spring to life as we stand where the martyrs stood, and where they gathered in the open fields for worship, often at risk of their lives. As the tour guide for Scottish Reformation Tours, we can take the students to remote locations that many do not know even exist.
As well as the Reformation and Covenanter tour, my wife Helen and I also take the students on a cultural outing every Wednesday afternoon. The places we visit on these trips vary greatly, like museums and art galleries, well known tourist locations like Edinburgh and Stirling castles, trips to the stunning Scottish Highlands where they can walk along the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond or go a bit further north to see the majestic mountains of Glencoe. We also throw in some castles, battlefields like Bannockburn, and many other places of interest too. All of these places hopefully leave memories of Scotland that the students will remember long after they have returned home.