A former Scottish rugby international has put his weight behind a new campaign to attract Northern Ireland visitors to his homeland.
The retired flying wing was at Carrickfergus Castle in Co Antrim to help launch a three-month season of cultural events staged as part of the tourist initiative: Year of Creative Scotland 2012.
The schedule will centre on three quintessentially Scottish celebrations - St Andrew's Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night - with plenty more promised in between.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of tourist promotion organisation VisitScotland, said winter was a particularly exciting time for Scotland.
"Starting with St Andrew's Day celebrations, Scotland has planned a three-month extravaganza which includes some wonderful Christmas treats, our lavish and internationally renowned Hogmanay celebrations as well as a mass of events in tribute and celebration of Scotland's national poet - Robert Burns," he said.
"From sparkling Christmas fun, street theatre and legendary street parties to torchlight processions, fireworks and live music, Scotland is ready to give a very warm welcome to visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond to enjoy the very best of Scotland's culture."
Visit www.visitscotland.com/surprise for more information.