As the original James Bond, Sean Connery may well have been the most famous Scottish actor of all time. After famously spending time in the Navy, then working as a milkman, he took a number of smaller roles before landing the lead in 1962’s Dr No. In total, he played James Bond in seven films, including 1983’s ‘unofficial’ Never Say Never Again. He was born in Fountainbridge and died at his home in the Bahamas in October 2020.

October was the month in which vet Alf White was born. Brought up and trained in Scotland, he eventually found fame after moving to the Yorkshire Dales. There, he wrote a series of books under the pseudonym James Herriot, which have since been adapted three times for film and television.

The now-ruined observatory at the top of Ben Nevis was established in October 1883, the first Open Golf Championship took place in October 1860, and the Skye Bridge opened for traffic in October 1995. The Ardnamurchan lighthouse was illuminated for the first time, and Dundee residents were wowed by an early demonstration of electric lighting.

Further from home, NASA took inspiration from the Scottish parish of Glenelg when choosing names for locations on Mars. The town is now twinned with its namesake on the red planet, which was visited not once, but twice by the Mars Rover as it scouted out landing sites and resources for future missions.


Also in October…

William Brodie is hanged before 40,000 spectators 1st
A Scot puts Greenwich on the map
The City of Glasgow Bank collapses 2nd
Start Point Lighthouse is an innovator
Kirtlebridge rail crash kills 12
Edinburgh Zoo founder Thomas Gillespie is born 3rd
Vet ‘James Herriot’ is born
Death of engineer John Rennie the Elder 4th
Ardnamurchan lighthouse lit for the first time 5th
500 killed as ships collide off Islay 6th
Royal Society of Edinburgh founder is born
Death of adventurer Isabella Lucy Bird 7th
SS Rowan is rammed and sunk 8th
First warnings received in Operation Dark Harvest 9th
Nelson Mandela thanks Glasgow
Scotland carries out its last female execution 10th
Final appeal of the ‘Lockerbie bomber’ 11th
Trains collide at Glasgow Queen Street station 12th
John Muir Trust is founded
Death of SNP founder John MacCormick 13th
Hundreds drowned in the Eyemouth disaster 14th
Gaelic poet and author Iain Crichton Smith dies 15th
The Balmoral Hotel opens for business
The Skye Bridge opens to traffic 16th
Ingliston hosts its last motor race
Ben Nevis observatory is established 17th
The first Open Golf Championship takes place
Scottish queen Margaret Tudor dies 18th
The Edinburgh Seven matriculate 19th
Glenelg is twinned with Mars 20th
Shopping street explodes in Clarkston, killing more than 20 21st
First release of Grand Theft Auto
Nuclear submarine runs aground off Skye 22nd
Five killed as stalled train and express collide
Tyre inventor John Boyd Dunlop dies 23rd
Earthquakes hit Comrie
Signing of the Auld Alliance
Birth of David Stewart, heir to the Scottish throne 24th
Opera singer Anne Sharp is born
Death of the founder of the University of Aberdeen 25th
Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean is born 26th
William Little is appointed witch finder
National Library of Scotland architect dies 27th
Dundee’s electric light demonstration 28th
Biographer and travel writer James Boswell is born 29th
Tay Bridge designer dies of anxiety 30th
James Bond actor Sean Connery dies 31st