The hidden gems, pop-ups and top tips in Scotland this week...

1. A SPECTACULAR opening ceremony is set to kick off An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Royal National Mod on Friday in Glasgow. The Mod is Scotland’s premier Gaelic festival and provides opportunities for people of all ages to perform across a range of competitive disciplines including Gaelic music and song, Highland dancing, instrumental, drama, sport and literature. It is 29 years since the Mod was held in the city. Events will centre on the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and culminate on the morning of Saturday October 19 with the traditional mass gathering of the Gaelic choirs.

2. HALLOWE’EN is coming and to get in the mood why not pay a trip to Faskally Wood in Perthshire, which has been transformed into an Enchanted Forest? The stunning sounds and light show opened on Thursday and runs until November 3. The dazzling visuals and innovative design set against an original music score is Scotland’s top sound and light event and has clocked up many accolades including the UK’s Best Cultural Event, Best Outdoor Festival and Scotland’s Best Large Event.

3. WITCHES crop up in an exhibition in Edinburgh but sadly as part of the story of mental health in Scotland. From witchcraft and home remedies to straitjackets and electroconvulsive therapy, the illustrations, books and objects displayed at the Royal College of Physicians in Queen Street show the changing understanding of mental health over the past 500 years. The free exhibition is on until spring next year and aims to show how, even now, many older stereotypes and ideas about these conditions remain unchanged.

4. PUT on your dancing shoes and head north for the “traditional rave” that is the climax of the Shetland Fiddle and Accordion Festival which begins on Thursday and runs until October 14. Musicians from all over the world perform at the event, although emphasis is on Scottish dance music. It culminates in one of the biggest traditional dances to take place anywhere in the UK with around a dozen different dance bands taking it in turn to perform to 1500 enthusiasts.

5. MUSIC of a different kind features at the Callander Jazz and Blues Festival which ends today. First held in 2006, the festival has grown every year and is now the largest rural jazz and blues festival in Scotland. This year’s event has more than 50 gigs across 12 venues, performing live jazz, blues, soul and boogie over the three days. The total number of musicians is over 150, with some making their debut and others invited back by popular demand.

6. ALL that singing and dancing is thirsty work and those with a penchant for Scotland’s national drink could try out the first Whisky Colours Festival in Dufftown, the malt whisky capital of the world. Starting on Thursday and running until October 14, it will give visitors access to some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Cardhu, Glen Moray and Glenfarclas distilleries. There will be dining and tasting experiences as well as masterclasses in a part of Scotland ablaze with autumn colours.

7. AFTER a successful first year, Comic Con Scotland is back at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, this weekend. A star-studded guest list includes Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and Christopher Lloyd, who made his screen debut in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and gained widespread recognition as Jim Ignatowski in the comedy series Taxi (1978–1983). Canadian actor Kim Coates, best known for his role as Tig Trager in the amazing Sons of Anarchy, is also on the guest list.