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Us Scots are keen on our sports. We may have invented one of the most pointless in golf, but we are still enthusiastic to embrace all-comers, and the court which has made a household name of Michael Jordan is now making an impression on the capital.

Now three seasons old, the Edinburgh Rocks are Scotland’s only professional basketball team, the first since the demise of Glasgow’s team in the late 805. Playing out of Meadowbank Stadium nicknamed 'The Quarry’ for match days they have taken time to find their feet.

A shaky inaugural season was topped by a semi-final appearance in the championships last year, with two players making it to the All Star Game.

The fans’ favourite player is Ted Berry a veritable Henrik Larsson of basketball he has numbered among the top scorers of the league both seasons and is a relatively diminutive 6ft 1in (small when you consider his teammates average 6ft 9in). There is a split across the league of British nationals playing beside US imports, with the Rocks roster containing four Scots players.

Numerous line-up changes including new coach Greg Lockeridge and several new players have meant the team are still settling in, a factor which cost the team their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Westfield Sharks Sheffield.

One thing that can be guaranteed: like our rugby and football supporters, Scottish basketball fans are reckoned to be the most noisy and enthusiastic in the country. Many coaches have declared Edinburgh one of the hardest places to play at away from home because of the crowd.

The fans span all ages from toddlers to teenagers to grandparents with the focus being on entertainment. The cheerleading squad, the Rockettes, provide ample distraction between quarters, as does the half-time shoot-out where the kids shoot hoops, competing for season tickets and merchandise. A sporting family day out that doesn't involve pies, Bovril or freezing on the terraces.

(Mark Robertson) Fun Factor ‘1/5

Value for money ‘1/5 Still half the price of a football match.

How do you get there Meadowbank Stadium is at the bottom of Abbeyhill on London Road. There IS free car parking available.

How much it costs £7 Adults; £5 Children. When it's on Usually Saturday evenings at 7.30pm or Sundays at 6pm. Edinburgh Rocks, Meadowbank Sports Centre, 667 5357, wwwbb/orguk


l0am—4pm. £7 (£2—£5). Edinburgh

Castle, 225 9846. Alba Adventure

Company takes you back to 1743 when

rumours of a Jacobite rising were rife.

Edinburgh Farmers‘ Market Sat 7 Oct.

9am—2pm. Castle Terrace. Fresh produce

on offer from over 30 stalls in the very

heart of Edinburgh with food ranging

from the traditional to the exotic.

| Oktober Musical Beerfest & Barbecue

. Sat 7 Oct, 1pm. £2 (Children free).

. Caledonian Brewery. 42 Slateford Road. 623 8066. A celebration with a variety of

real ales and music with a celtic flavour. Rhododendron Clearing In

Corstorphine Hill Sun 8 Oct. Free.

: Corstorphine Hill, 529 7751. For ages 14—25. Bags of energy and enthusiasm are

required for this Greert Team conservation

work to sto the spread of Rhododendron. Astronomical Journey Of Discovery Fri

13 Oct, 7.30pm. £1. Royal Observatory Visitor Centre. Blackford Hill, 668 8405. View the observable universe through the centre‘s six-inch telescope. exploring the moon. planets and stars.

Conservation Week Sat l4—Sun 22 Oct.

L 9am—5pm. £7 (£4). [Edinburgh Zoo,

Corstorphine Road. 334 9171. See photo


Orienteering For Beginners Sat 14 Oct. 1 lam. £1. (‘ammo Country Park.

(‘rammond, 445 5969. Improve your map reading skills and sense of direction at these orientccring sessions.

Leith Waterfront Festival Fri l3—Sun 15 Oct. Leith Waterfront. Info: 0900 801 4444. From 12pm Friday ‘til 4pm Sunday, Leith will be a hive of activity. with floating fire sculptures. light projections. street performers, club party nights. a food market. heritage trails, ‘Ready Steady Cook' competition and the Radio Forth Roadshow.

Edinburgh's Festival Of The Environment Until Sun 8 Oct, Various vertues. 529 3030. Based around the theme of ‘Are You Doing Your Bill", the festival ltas a packed programme of community events and activities.

A Tragic Queen Sun 8 Oct & 15 Oct. 1 lam. noon. 1pm. 2pm at 3pm. £7 (£2—£5). Edinburgh Castle. 225 9846. Heritage Fvcnts (‘ompany relive the time of Scotland‘s most famous monarch as Mary Queen Of Scots greets visitors irt her Royal Apartment. Jubilation 'I'ltu 5—Sun 8 ()cl. 9.30am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm. Free (Gala £10). St Giles' ('athedral. Royal Mile. 225 9442. The Grand Flower Festival to celebrate the millennium and the 45th anniversary of the Scottish Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.

Old Town Guard Thu 5 ck Fri 6 Oct. Thu 12 6'; Fri 13 Oct. Thu 19 ()ct.

Dusserra Sun 15 Oct, 4pm. Calton Hill. Scottish Indian Arts Forum celebrate the most famous Hindu festival by erecting three 40 foot tall cfftgies of the Ten Heads of the Demon Kings, followed by music. dance, drama and fireworks.

The Launch Of A New Creation Sun 15 Oct. 2pm. £2 (children free). Edinburgh City Chambers. High Street, 331 3234. The ancient cultures of Egypt and Scotland come together as the Egyptian Roots organisation provides taster sessions of myth and storytelling, Egyptian dancing and music, and Hieroglyph face painting.


Edinburgh Rocks Sat 7 Oct, 7.30pm. Meadowbank Sports Centre, 139 London Road, 661 5351. Edinburgh’s basketball giants take on Thames Valley Tigers. Scotland v England Sun 8 Oct. 10am—5pm. Free. Meadowbank Sports Centre, 139 London Road, 661 5351. Nail-biting tension guaranteed as Scotland defend their championship title against the auld enemy in this American Football Senior International.


Cabinet Style Local Government Wed 11 Oct. 10.30am. Open Door, 420 Morningside Road, 447 9757. Local councillor Mark Lazarowicz discusses the pros and cons of government reorganisation.

The Holyrood Archaeology Project Thu 12 Oct, 7.30pm. South Morningside School, Comiston Road. 445 3272. Colm Moloney of Headland Archaeology leads an illustrated talk describing recent excavations in the Old Town.

Sir John Drummond Fri 13 Oct. 1pm. £3. Festival Theatre. [3—29 Nicolson Street, 529 6000. The former director of the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms, discusses his autobiography, Tainted By Experience: A Life In The Arts.

Media Manipulation Wed 18 Oct, 10.30am. Open Door, 420 Morningside Road, 447 9757. Dora Elliot leads a discussion on the implications of the media on society.


Dynamic Earth

Holyrood Road. Edinburgh. 550 7800. Mon—Sun I0am—6pm. £5.95 (£3.50—4.40); family ticket £16.50. Edinburgh’s latest visitor attraction uses stunning new developments in interactive technology to piece together the history of the planet, creating a thoroughly modern way to step back in time.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, 225 9846. Daily 9.30am—6pm. £7 (£2—£5). Although much of the castle‘s medieval character was lost when it was converted into barracks in the 19th century, continuing excavations aim to redress this. Other attractions include James lV's famous cannon, Mons Meg, the One O'Clock

Gun and, of course, The Stone Of Destiny, used to crown Scottish kings since time began.

Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour

Meet at The Beehive Inn, 18—20 Grassmarket. Edinburgh, 226 6665. £7 (£5). Pre-booking required for parties of ten or more. An excellent way to imbibe culture by visiting the favourite watering holes of Scotland’s literary heroes, including Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Irvine Welsh.

Edinburgh Zoo

Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, 334 9171. Daily 9am—5pm. £6.80 (£3.80—£4.80); family ticket £19-£23.50. Widely accepted as one of the finest zoos in Britain, there’s plenty here to while away an afternoon, or even a whole day if you take your time.

Palace Of Holyroodhouse

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 556 1096. Daily 9.30am—6pm. £5.50 (£2.70—£4); family ticket £13.50. Starting life as a 13th century abbey, the palace has evolved into a sumptuous regal residence crammed full of paintings and artefacts dating back primarily to the 17th century.

Royal Botanic Garden

Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, 552 7171. Daily 9.30am—5pm. Free. A sea of tranquillity in the hubbub of the city, the Botanic Garden is home to a wealth of flora from all over the world. The site also hosts art exhibitions, horticultural courses and various countryside events.

Royal Museum

2 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, 247 4219. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun noon—5pm; Tue 10am—8pm. £3 (£1.50); children under 18 free. A 19th century museum housing international collections of natural history, geology, science, technology and the decorative arts.


Country Market Sat 7 Oct, 9.30am—3pm. 50p (30p). Haddington Corn Exchange, Court Street, Haddington, 01620 824161. The best of country wares on offer at this rustic market in aid of Save the Children. Alfred Dunhill Cup Thu I2—Sun 15 Oct, St Andrews Links, Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, 01334 466666. International professional event.

The Aberdeen Alternative Festival Fri l3—Sat 21 Oct, various venues, Aberdeen. 01224 641 122. The line-up includes comedians Lee Hurst. Mark Little and Peter Kay and music from Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Placebo, David Helfgott with an extensive family programme and a singalonga Sound Of Music. See Frontlines.

Kelso Races Sat 14 Oct, 2.05pm. £7—£15 (Free; OAPs £1). Kelso Racecourse, Kelso. 01573 224767. A great day featuring National Hunt horseracing at the Kelso races.

CONSERVATION WEEK Sat 14-Sun 22 Oct, 9am-5pm. £7 (£4). Edinburgh Zoo, Corstorphine Road, 334 9171. Putting the spotlight on wildlife conservation with a week of activities and events, plus a conservation trail around the 200. Mon 16 Oct also sees the opening of a brand new, bands on 'Lifelinks’ centre.

5—19 Oct 2000 THE IJST 93