Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander (New Book)
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
Happy St. Andrew's Day!
I was told this week about a Doctor in the USA who is promoting Scottish
Artists and as a result has had a gallery exhibition where she brought over
a lot of their paintings. A number of the artists have their work featured
in the top art galleries in Scotland. You can see some of their work at
http://www.artscottishconnection.com where you might be able to purchase
one of them for your own home or office :-)
And seeing we are heading into the Christmas period just thought I'd feature
two possible Christmas presents to consider.
I got a note from Teresa of Thistle & Broom who was telling me of a chap in
Scotland that is selling hand made fountain pens and using old whisky
barrels to make the body of the pen. I've got a wee article up about him at
I confess to being very tempted to purchase one myself and I'm also told
that Salt and Pepper Mills are to be produced and I'm definitely getting a
set of those! I think the only reason I'm hesitating about the pen is that
my hand writing is terrible and so I'm far better typing than writing. Mind
you when I had a traditional fountain pen I had excellent quality writing
and I always say it was getting a ballpoint pen that ruined my handwriting
and so perhaps its time I got another fountain pen :-)
And I might suggest that you give a once over to the Scottish Hampers web
site if you'd like to get a nice wicker basket filled with Scottish Goodies.
You can see their web site at
Now that's Christmas sorted <grin> over to what's going on with the web
Our ScotGames.org web site will be down for a wee while this coming week as
we plan to add some new games to the site. Steve has promised to work on
this but as we have an issue with the site we need to take it down to fix
it. Essentially in the move to a new server somehow or other the site has
been flagged as a system folder meaning only Steve can do anything with it.
So we need to sort this out so I can also add content to the site. So
hopefully in the next week or two we'll have lots of new games for you to
play when you get bored having all those days off at Christmas through the
We now have the new postcard program in-house and again Steve is hopeful
that by next week that will be installed and available to you. Mind you once
it is installed and running it will likely take me lots of time to start
adding all the cards to it. I will do by best to get a decent set of cards
up as quickly as I can. One aspect of the program is that you can use it to
send out invitations to special events. So if you were planning a retirement
party or a special event you would be able to send out loads of invites with
a special card.
Steve has said he'll get both of those working within the next two weeks and
hopefully in the next week and so keep an eye out for the next newsletter...
will he manage in just one week? :-)
As to site content... I've been trying to do a decent range of material so
that there is always something for everyone. I also admit that I like to
ring the changes myself so I won't get a bit fed up with just doing one
If you've been reading the What's New page you'll notice that I've just
added the book, "Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian
Highlander" of which more below. A friend did a rough ocr'ing of this book
for me which is some 80 chapters. Some of the chapters are a good size
whereas others are quite small. I read this book myself and thoroughly
enjoyed reading it. I loved the stories of the "tinkers" and other
characters from the early chapters and I hope you'll enjoy them also.
Anyway... I am now proofing this book and I fully intend to put up a chapter
a day until it's all up. As I don't actually have the book it's a wee bit
difficult to decide on whether a word is spelled incorrectly or if it is
indeed accurate. Some words are in Gaelic so that poses a problem. So I am
steadily working through the chapters and doing my best to correct any
obvious errors. I don't actually think this will spoil your reading of it
but just thought I should mention this as if you detect a spelling error
please let me know and I'll correct it. Mind that the book is in British
English which does differ from American English :-)
As I've also had a couple of emails in this week mentioning the wee pop up
adverts that appear on the various pages of the site I thought I'd just
remind you about them. Essentially an advertising company has done a deal
with me that when a page loads on the site they'll quickly scan it for key
words. Where it finds any that match one of their advertisers they'll turn
the text green and place a double green underline under it. And so if you
rest your cursor on the link it pops up a wee advert. If you click on the
advert you'll be sent to the advertisers web site. And of course if you
don't rest your cursor over these words you won't see the advert. It is
earning me a decent amount of money each month and as my only income is from
advertising it does help to keep me eating and working on the site do
hopefully you won't mind this form of advertising.
And finally... if you are involved with any web sites I'd appreciate you
trying to get us a link on them as there are likely still millions of people
around the world that don't know we exist. My goal has always been to
provide a free resource where people can learn about the history of Scotland
and the Scots and also people and places of Scots descent around the world.
I still get many emails where folk say "I've just discovered your site" and
so if you can help spread the word I'd very much appreciate it :-)
Gosh... I see I got quite chatty this week :-)
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
Over the last 5 years stag weekends in Edinburgh and the Highlands of
Scotland in general have grown ten fold. This has lead to a big increase in
extreme sports being offered.
Self Catering Holidays
http://holiday-cottages.scotland.org.uk are also on the increase, no
longer the poor mans holiday option it now attracts more discerning holiday
maker looking for a luxury break. But be warned you will still have to
search as the cheap options are still out there!
November 30th - St Andrews Day and here at Scotland on TV were getting
ready for todays Shindig in the Square. Its a popular event in Glasgows
Winterfest programme and were going to be there filming it!
Tonight between 4 and 10pm, Glasgows George Square will play host to one
great big ceilidh which everyone is welcome to come along to. There will be
live performances from some great Gaelic/Celtic bands and plenty of
opportunity to keep warm by joining in the ceilidh dancing. Just imagine
thousands of people doing an eightsome reel in George Square! Love it! And
you can see the event for yourself, just as soon as weve managed to edit
and upload it. For more details on the Winterfest, see:
How much do you know about Saint Andrew Scotlands Patron Saint? Watch our
short video profile and learn why the saltire was adopted as the Scottish
Were also celebrating the season here at Scotland on TV with a festive
calendar. It works like an Advent calendar but no chocolate, Im afraid.
Instead, if you click on our calendar you will be able to open a door
every day during the month of December between tomorrow and Hogmanay and
view a surprise video each day.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie and I liked his wee story on
Police Concerns and wondered if this is not mirrored around the world...
I wonder how many people are beginning to worry about the role of the police
in our society.
I was prompted to this thought by the appointment of a new chief of police
in Strathclyde recently.
No sooner was he in post than he held a press conference forecasting more
terrorist attacks in Scotland in the future.
No doubt very true, but do we need the chief of police to tell us what we
all suspect anyway? Rather than helping to prepare the population, does this
not add just another dimension to the war that the terrorist is waging on
It did not surprise me to learn that the new chief came to Glasgow from the
Metropolitan Police: for a number of years, and especially since the hapless
Sir Ian Blair took over at the Met, I have been worried about what seems a
rather gung-ho attitude to policing in London and not just to policing:
the miscarriages of justice in the 70s and 80s leave me feeling very uneasy
about the law in general. (This unease is not confined to events in London -
many feel equally uneasy about the result of the conviction in the Lockerbie
Add to all this the appearance as standard of heavily armed policemen at our
airports on a routine basis, and it all adds up to an even greater feeling
of fear among our population just what the terrorists delight in.
Lots of other good political stories in this issue.
In Peter's cultural section he tells us about how at long last Scottish
History is to be taught in our schools. This is actually something that the
world should work on as having travelled to many countries I note that most
really don't cover their own history in schools. Here is a bit about this...
At long last Scottish History is to be a compulsory part of the Scottish
History Higher paper and we welcome that step forward with quotations from
two remarkable Scottish women who know what they are talking about the
actress Elaine C Smith and historian Dr Fiona Watson. Fiona Watson presented
the successful series of programmes In Search of Scotland on BBC TV and is
currently writing a biography of Macbeth, King of Scots. Her story of
Macbeth, one of Scotlands best kings, will surely rescue him from the
Shakespeare version! Let us hope that from now onwards Scottish children can
learn their own countrys history and our place in the world from a Scottish
not English position. But a lot will depend on how the teachers are taught.
Elaine C Smith
Its taken until 2007 but I am glad to see that the Government have finally
decided Scottish history is a good thing for our kids to learn about. We
will now have questions on it in the compulsory section of the Higher
History exam. Scottish history questions used to be optional, meaning like
me you could obtain a higher without ever studying any events in your own
countrys past and still end up with an A. I think that it is essential
that our children know at least a wee but about the history of this great
nation. Its ridiculous that educating new generations about our proud
heritage was neglected for so long.
(25 November 2007)
Dr Fiona Watson
Im glad Scottish history wont be a separate Higher. Its important that
its seen as part of the rest of history and that other important aspects
are given their due place. But making sure that every Scottish school pupil
gets some Scottish History will help us develop a sense of realism about our
past and ourselves without developing a little Scotlander mentality.
Scottish history has perhaps suffered from being the preserve of
nationalists but if everyone is taught some at school, then it will belong
to us all.
(Sunday Post 25 November 2007)
And for you recipe lovers out there here's a real treat for you...
A braw Andermas ti ane an aw wi the howp at ye ar enjoyan a hoaliday-swap an
takin pairt i ane o the monie ploys fir ti mairk Scotlands National Day, 30
November. St Andrews Day is a perfect date to celebrate the success by
English supermarket giant Sainsburys in marketing a Scottish recipe
Ecclefechan Tart. Some 50,000 were sold in the past month alone.
VisitScotland area director Delia Holland said that the tarts were just the
tip of culinary delights in Dumfriesshire and Galloway. She suggested that
the tart be teamed up with local Cream o Galloway ice cream to create a
dream feast for all food lovers. Sourcing the origins of the splendid food
from the region, she added, would make an excellent gourmet trail and give
an additional reason to visit this beautiful area of Scotland.
Ecclefechan is situated midway between Locherbie and Annan in Dunfriesshire
and Galloway, and as well as giving its name to a great-tasting tart, it is
famous as the birth-place of the byous 19th century writer Thomas Carlyle.
The cottage where he lived as a child stands to the west of a burn that runs
along part of the towns High Street. It is owned by the National Trust for
Scotland and houses a recreation of a 1800s cottage. Like Dumfriesshire and
Galloway in general, Carlyles cottage is well worth a visit.
To taste the splendid flavour of Ecclefechan Tart you dont have to spend
your siller in an English supermarket but can make your own for St Andrews
Day and, indeed, every other day.
1 cup all purpose flour; 3/4 cup powdered sugar; Pinch of salt; 6
tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes; 4
teaspoons chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted; 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown
sugar; 2 large eggs; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 1 teaspoon (packed)
grated lemon peel; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 2 cups dark raisins; 1 cup
walnuts, coarsely chopped; 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream; Toasted
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor 5 seconds. Add butter. Using
on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream. Using
on/off turns, process until dough comes together in moist clumps. Gather
dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least 1 hour and up to
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer dough
to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang to 1/2 inch
and fold in, forming double-thick sides. Refrigerate crust 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie
weights. Bake until sides are set and slightly brown, about 30 minutes.
Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until pale golden brown, pressing
with back of fork and piercing if crust bubbles, about 10 minutes. Cool
crust in pan on rack 30 minutes.
Blend butter and sugar in bowl. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, then lemon juice,
lemon peel, and cinnamon. Stir in raisins and 1 cup chopped nuts.
Pour filling into crust. Bake tart until filling is deep brown and set in
centre, covering crust edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 30
minutes. Cool tart. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room
Beat cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Push up pan bottom, releasing
tart. Cut tart into wedges; arrange on plates. Spoon cream alongside and
garnish with toasted nuts.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now onto the L's with Leslie, Leyden, Liddel, Lindores, Lindsay and
Leslie and Lindsay are quite large accounts and here is how the entry on
LINDSAY, an ancient surname erroneously supposed to have been derived from
the manor of Lindsai in Essex. By Sir David Lindsy of the Mount, it is
called Ane surname of renown.
The first of the name in Scotland appears to have been Walter de Lindsay, an
Anglo-Norman, who was a witness or juror in the celebrated Inquisitio, or
Inquest of David I., when prince of Strathclyde or Cumbria, into the
possessions and rights of the see of Glasgow within his territories, in
1116. After Davids accession to the throne, this Walter de Lindsay was one
of his great barons. Although the surname is territorial, it does not appear
to have been derived from the district of Lindeseye or Lindesey in
Lincolnshire, for the Lindsays had no property in or connexion with that
county till long after their settlement in Scotland. Lord Lindsay says:
There appears every reason to believe that the Scottish Lindsays are a
branch of the Norman house of Limesay, long since extinct in the direct male
line, both in Normandy and England, but which for several generations held a
distinguished station, more particularly in the latter country. The name
Lindesay and Limesay are identical, both of them implying Isle of limetrees.
(Lives of the Lindsays, vol. i. p. 3.) The old English word for limetree is
linden, and in the appendix to the first volume of his family work Lord
Lindsay gives 88 different forms in which the name has been spelled in
charters and other ancient documents. The legendary accounts of the origin
of the name are all now rejected. Wyntoun (Chron. B. 8. 7. 159), with a
prudent reserve says:
Of England came the Lyndysay,
Mair of them I can nocht say.
Families of this surname are now spread all over Scotland.
William de Lindsay, apparently the son of the above-mentioned Walter de
Lindsay, the progenitor in Scotland of the Lindsays light and gay, is also
frequently mentioned as a witness to the royal charters. He is supposed to
have had two sons, Walter and William de Lindsay. The latter, who carried on
the line of succession, had his residence at Ercildon, now Earlston, in
Roxburghshire, and was a liberal benefactor to Dryburgh abbey, as was also
his son, Walter de Lindsay. Among other grants made to it was a portion of
land at Cadeslea, on the banks of the Cadden water, near to where it joins
the Tweed, the scene of the beautiful ballad of Katherine Janfarie, from
which Sir Walter Scott took the hint of his spirited ballad of Lochinvar.
Walter de Lindsay and his son William also granted chargers to the abbey of
Kelso. The seals, says Lord Lindsay, of these two latter barons, Walter
and William, preserved in the Chapter-house of Durham cathedral, exhibit a
lively type of the character of the young Norman noble. They are represented
on horseback, riding gently along, with falcon on wrist, unhelmeted, and
with their shields hung carelessly behind them, the only variation being
that the father, Walter, rides without bridle or stirrup, and the bird rests
placidly on his hand, while the latter, William, is in the act of slipping
it on its prey,
His grandson, William de Lindsay of Ercildun, styled also of Luffness, is
witness to the charters of Malcolm IV. and William the Lion from 1161 to
1200. Between 1189 and 1199 he was high justiciary of Lothian. He was the
first of the Lindsays connected with the territory of Crawford in
Lanarkshire, which from them came afterwards to be called Crawford-Lindsay.
He married Marjory, daughter of Henry, prince of Scotland; issue, 3 sons,
Sir David, lord of Crawford; Sir Walter, ancestor of the Lindsays of
Lamberton; and William, progenitor of the Lindsays of Luffness, who
ultimately succeeded to the male representation of the Lindsays.
Sir Davie, the eldest son, succeeded his father in 1200. He was high
justiciary of Scotland, and is a frequent witness to the charters of his
uncle, David earl of Huntingdon, the Sir Kenneth of Sir Walter Scotts
chivalrous romance of The Talisman. He died in 1214. He had married an
English kinswoman of his own, Aleonora de Limesay, the coheiress ultimately
of the barons of Wolverley, to whom he had, with one daughter, Alice, four
sons, David, Gerard, William, supposed to be identical with a W. de
Lindissi, who was chancellor of Scotland in 1231, and Walter. The eldest
son, David, a minor at his fathers death, had been one of the hostages for
King William in England. On the death, in 1222, of his mothers brother, Sir
John de Limesay, the English property which devolved on him extended over no
less than seven counties. He was high justiciary of Lothian in 1238. He died
in 1241, and was succeeded by his brother, Sir Gerard, on whose death in
1249, his two younger brothers having predeceased him, the whole of his
extensive estates both in Scotland and England, devolved on his sister Alice
de Lindsay, the wife of Sir Henry Pinkeney, a great baron of
Northamptonshire, of whom mention has already been made (see CRAWFORD, earl
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are
some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
Here is the Civil History of the Parish of Tough...
Land-owners.The landed property is in the hands of four individuals ; viz.
General Byres of Tonley; Mr M'Combie of Tillyfour; Mr Farquharson of
Whitehouse; and Mr Elmslie of Tullochvenus. The valued rent is L.1670, 14s.,
Scots. The real rental, stated in the last Statistical Account at L.600, now
amounts to L.2200 Sterling.
Parochial Registers.There are entries in the parochial register as far back
as 1706, but it has since been very irregularly kept.
Antiquities.There are several of those remains, known by the title of
Druidical circles, in the parish, and among the hills adjoining it, and
generally, where one of these is found, others of smaller size are to be met
with, in its close vicinity. The largest of these lies in a very sequestered
situation, and is called the Auld Kirk of Tough (does this designation in
any degree confirm the opinion, that the original purpose of these
moss-grown remains was a religious one?). It is surrounded by numerous small
tumuli, which suggest the idea of a burying-ground connected with the place
of worship. There is one on a smaller scale, but more complete and
interesting, on the moor which divides this parish from that of Monymusk.
The tumuli around it are without number ; and the remains of ancient walls
or causeways may be traced among the heather, running out from the principal
circle, and connecting it with several lesser ones. Altogether, it seems to
deserve the inspection of an antiquarian. At Tullochvenus, in a small cairn
opened a few months ago, there was found an urn containing calcined bones,
and among them a lance head of bronze, of an elliptical form. Stone axes
have been dug up in various places. On the hill above Whitehouse, near its
summit, there stands a stone evidently monumental. It is upwards of 12 feet
in height, and bears the name of Luath's Stone, from a tradition that a son
of Macbeth's, so called, fell here, in flying from Lumphanan, where his
father was slain. Lower down the hill, are some fields, known by the name of
the Bloody Faulds, where some of Bailly's men are said to have made a stand
in their flight from the battle of Alford. Towards the end of last century,
a human skeleton, a sword, and a shilling of Queen Elizabeth, were found in
a marsh near the foot of the hill, through which Bailly's men are likely to
have passed. But the most singular relics of antiquity, of which the parish
can boast, are two stone collars, preserved among other articles of
curiosity in the mansion-house of Tonley. They are neatly cut in stone, and
bear an exact resemblance to the horse's collar now in use. They are 17
inches in length, and 12 in breadth at the broadest part, so that they might
fit the neck of a Shetland pony. These puzzling relics are said to have been
found at Glenroy.
The late James Byres, Esq. of Tonley, by whom these and many other articles
of curiosity were brought together, and who died here at a very advanced age
in 1817, was a gentleman highly distinguished for his profound knowledge of
architectural antiquities, and the fine arts in general, and no less
respected for his sterling worth, by those who were unable to estimate these
acquirements. A great part of his life was spent at Rome, where he gave
lectures, at one period, on the favourite objects of his study; and Sir
James Hall, who has occasion, in his work on Gothic architecture, frequently
to refer to his authority, bears testimony, as well as many other writers,
to "the very great success with which he contributed to form the taste of
his young countrymen." A curious and valuable work of his, on the Sepulchres
of Etruria, is likely soon to be given to the public, which will show that
he had anticipated, by half a century, many of the recent investigations of
these monuments of antiquity.
Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod
You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger
articles are continued week by week.
This week have added articles on...
The World's Debt to Christianity (Pages 204-207)
The Boy and the Captive Bird (Page 207)
Good Words for Every Day in the Year (Pages 207-208)
Alexander Von Humboldt (Pages 209-215)
Early Faith (Page 215)
Here is how the account of Alexander Von Humboldt starts...
Whoever, during the summer months of the last ten years, walked, about three
o'clock in the afternoon, up the flight of stone steps leading to old
Frederick's (the Great) charming residence of Sans Souci, near Potsdam,
might see a royal carriage rounding the castle-hill, and driving up at the
opposite side of the stone steps. The carriage, passing the famous windmill,
ascends the steep way to the castle, and stops at the large middle
glass-window door, opening on a semicircular ground, surrounded by a portico
of Ionian pillars. A servant, in the royal livery, hands out an old,
age-bent gentleman, in blue frock with red collar, as the royal chamberlains
wear it. It is adorned with a large, silvery star, that of the red eagle,
and, round his neck, the old courtier wears the Ordre pour le Merite, Peace
Class, suspended from a black and white riband. This man is Alexander von
Humboldt, coming to the royal dinner-table. He is clad in this apparel, to
enable him, according to court etiquette, to be a daily dinner-guest at the
royal table. Eighty years or more have made his crown bald, his hair snow
white, his forehead wrinkled, his features small and contracted, and even
his figure a fourth' shorter than it used to be of yore. But his lips are
still smiling kindness, and his eyes sparkle sprightly, like those of youth.
He is ushered into the large and splendid saloon, past sundry Greek deities,
and enters the drawing-room, with immense chimney and many pictures,
reminding one more of the time when Voltaire haunted these rooms than of the
present royal proprietors' taste. Here a choice company receives him with
every sign of esteem; among high military officers, ministers of state,
chamberlains, and here and there a minister of the Church, he is the one
preferred, whose attention is considered an honour, and to whom everybody
bears a sort of filial affection and respect, especially the ladies of the
courtat their head, the fair maids of honour to the queen are respectfully
courting his kindness, and receiving from him a kind of parental tuition.
There is, perhaps, a known traveller from India or Africa honoured with a
royal invitation, or a missionary from remote lands, or an artist, or a
learned man from a university, amidst the crowd respectfully waiting for the
royal pairall under Humboldt's special protection, and he has to introduce
them to the king and queen. After some talk between those present, the
folding-doors from the saloon of the deities are opened, and the serene and
kind face of Frederick William IV. hushes them to silence, only the old man
continuing his pleasant chatting with his neighbour, a young countess. On
the king's arm hangs the queen, a kind but thoughtful princess. Both are
going round the company, and separately addressing the foreigners, or those
who are not daily guests. These latter take that side of the room where
light is coming in, and where the short-sighted king cannot well recognise
faces. Now the king approaches one of the men of science or literature, and
Humboldt is at his side, and takes the part of introducer or interpreter,
though it is astonishing with what fulness of knowledge his majesty speaks
of pictures, architecture, military exploits, recondite geographical facts,
or even of Sanscrit.
Into all these regions the old nobleman is following his king, and shews
himself at home everywhere. At dinner, which is soon announced, he is placed
opposite to his sovereign, in order to be distinctly heard when he begins
telling anecdotes, or dwelling on discoveries in physical science, or on the
surface of the globe. He is inexhaustible in such talk, for his mental
powers, of the most comprehensive sort, are not in the least impaired by old
age; and he has lived in France and Italy, in Spain and England, in Russia
and Switzerland, in Central Asia and the New World. He has sojourned in
Paris during the most exciting years of revolution, of the directory, the
empire, the restoration, the kingdom of Julyhas lived at courts and in
academic circles, as well as in the splendid saloons of old and new
nobilityand his study is still like a large reservoir, whither, from all
parts of the globe, news, books, pamphlets, and draughts are pouring, like
so many rivers and rivulets into a wide lake. No person, perhaps scarcely
any public body, has such a collection of local literature from every land,
particularly from South and Central America, as that which Alexander von
Humboldt has bequeathed to his valet-de-chambre. So every royal dinner, when
he is present, becomes the most pleasant lecture, delivered in the way of
easy talk, and far from anything like methodical teaching. Occurrences of
his travels in the Andes, or in the valleys of the giant rivers of South
America, or on the heights of Ural and Altai, such as have never been
printed in his many volumes or essays, are occasionally coming forth,
besides lively sketches of Paris life, or anecdotes from the Spanish court.
Between these fragments from science or society, the praise of a new
scientific book, or of a young man of talent in the field of arts is heard
from him, and clever observations may indicate that the benevolent talker
has royal protection or assistance in view, which he will afterwards propose
at the right place. When, after dinner and coffee, their majesties have
disappeared, Humboldt is seen returning to his lonely study in the
town-castle of Potsdam, where the court is residing only some weeks in
spring and autumn, whereas summer is spent at Sans Souci, and also partly in
the large, heavy castle of Berlin, or at Charlottenburg a mile off.
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have
Plantations of the Estates of Benmore and Kilmun, Argyllshire
Marine Highland Industries
The Best Mode of Preparing Wood for Fencing with a View to its Preservation
Here is how the account of the Plantations of the Estates of Benmore and
Kilmun, Argyllshire starts...
Benmore and Kilmun estates, of which James Duncan, Esq., is proprietor, are
contiguously situated in the united parishes of Dunoon and Kilmun, in the
Cowal district and southern border of Argyllshire, and for a considerable
distance run along the Firth of Clyde.
The total area of Benmore and Kilmun estates is 12,260 acres, extending from
the Firth of Clyde to the north end of Loch Eck, while on the south it
possesses the advantage of having partially for its frontier the River
Eachaig, whose source is in Loch Eck, and, after meandering through and
fertilising an extensive plain, falls into Holy Loch, to which and Loch
Long, an opposite inlet from the Clyde, the estate has a frontage of five
About four miles in extent, running along the Holy Loch and Loch Long, has
been feued and closely built upon with superior sea-coast summer residences;
while immediately behind these there is a sloping belt of full-grown larch,
oak, and birch trees, which impart ornament and afford shelter to the houses
below. Behind this lies the arable and grazing laud, which has a gradual
ascent to the base of a wide curving range of hills, and terminating at an
elevation of 1800 feet.
The northern boundary of the estate, extending along and rising abruptly
above the western margin of Loch Eck for a distance of seven miles, is a
continuous chain of hills, the highest being Benmore, about 2500 feet high,
and anciently known as the Deer Forest of Argyll.
The soil consists chiefly of light sandy and gravelly loam, lying on slate
rock, alternating with narrow veins of quartz, the prevailing substratum
throughout the entire estate. On the surface abundant evidence is given of
the excellence of the green pasture, and but for the presence of brackens,
which abound in many parts, suppressing the grass, the soil is otherwise
admirably adapted for grass.
Benmore House is situated near the south end of Loch Eck, and head of the
extensive, undulating, and fertile valley of Eachaig, the greater part of
which until recently was in a wild state of nature, overgrown with
brushwood, heather, and rushes. On it Mr. Duncan now grazes his celebrated
West Highland cattle and blackfaced sheep, which acquired such celebrity at
the Paris International Exhibition in 1878, and continue to carry off the
first awards at the annual exhibitions of the Highland and Agricultural
Society of Scotland.
In 1870, when the proprietor obtained possession of the estate, he resolved
on effecting extensive improvements; but preparatory to commencing
operations, arrangements of a most amicable nature were entered into with a
few of the tenants to give up such portions of their hill pasture as Mr.
Duncan considered should be planted.
With three of the largest grazing farms on the estate in his own hands, Mr.
Duncan was enabled, both by tile-draining and ploughing, to bring under
cultivation all waste lands adapted for that purpose; while on moorish
wastes and portions unreclaimable he planted. And in testimony of the
extreme suitability of both soil and climate for growing wood, the following
statements may be narrated. About sixty-five years ago, on the base of the
hill immediately behind Benmore House, where previously only a surface
herbage of coarse grass, brackens, and heather existed, 55 acres or thereby
were planted with larch, Scotch fir, Norway spruce, and several species of
hardwood, chiefly with the view of contributing to the amenity and shelter
of the house,the present average value of which per acre is £70, and, since
planted, it has yielded an annual rent of over 25s. an acre.
Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson
The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896
This week we have...
The Probationer's First Sermon
by Daniel Gorrie
The Crimes of Richard Hawkins
by Thomas Aird
Here is how The Probationer's First Sermon starts...
On a cold March evening, and in the metropolis of Scotland, I received
licence as a probationer. The reverend fathers of the Presbytery were so
satisfied with my orthodoxy that they gave me most cordially the right hand
of fellowship, and warmly wished me success. I had half-anticipated a
reprimand for heretical tendencies; but as no censure was uttered, I was at
once overcome by their kindness, and charmed with their unexpected
liberality. I hastened home to receive the congratulations of my friends,
and then repaired to a clothier's for a suit of canonical blacks. My mother
had already provided a boxful of white cravats sufficient to supply the
whole bench of bishops. To err is human, and it is also human for a humble
man to feel considerably elated in certain circumstances, and at certain
I need not be ashamed to confess that a new dignity seemed to rest upon me,
like the mantle of the prophet, on that eventful evening. I saw the
reflection of my face on the bowl of a silver spoon, and wondered at the
resemblance it bore to the bold, heroic countenance of Edward Irving. High
were my hopes, and few were my fears, for I only expected to speak and
conquer. The responsibilities of the procession were great, I knew, but they
only cast their shadow before. The kind of life on which I was about to
enter possessed all the attractions of novelty. I was to exchange passivity
for actionthe quiet of the cloister for the stir of the field. Yet, while
thus I thought of the battle, and made my vows, the still picture of a rural
manse, girdled with incense-breathing flower-plots, and shaded with
murmuring trees, stole upon my slumbers ere I awoke at the dawn of the next
daya vision, alas! too often resembling the unreal beauty of the mirage in
It may be pardoned in a novitiate, standing on the threshold, if I saw only
the sunny side of preacher-life. Spring was coming, like Miriam and her
maidens, with timbrels and with dances, and the golden summer-tide was
following in her wake, and I knew that I would look on many lovely scenes,
receive kindness from strangers, enjoy the hospitality of the humble, and
haply sow some seeds of goodness and truth in receptive hearts.
The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)
This week we continue Volume II with
"The Real King of Ireland"
The Errors of Essex
The Downfall of Essex
The Turn of the Tide
A Spanish Invasion
The Siege of Kinsale
Here is how the chapter "A Spanish Invasion" starts...
The Spanish fleet, conveying an army of about 3500 men, most of them veteran
soldiers, under the command of Don Juan del Aguila, entered the harbour of
Kinsale on the 23rd of September; and the English garrison, which was less
than 100 strong, having evacuated the town on their approach and retired to
Cork, the Spaniards marched in with twenty-five colours, and taking
possession of the town proceeded to fortify themselves there, also in two
castles which defended the harbour, that of Rincorran on the east and Castle
Park on the west.
Mountjoy was at Kilkenny when he received news of the invasion, and a
council of war was hastily summoned, at which Ormonde and Wingfield urged
the Lord Deputy to return to Dublin and arrange his forces, while Carew
should make ready to prepare for supplies at Cork. But the Lord President of
Munster knew his province, and begged the Lord Deputy not to turn his back
on the scene of action. His doing so, he urged, would be fatal, for it would
be attributed to weakness, and the result would be a general revolt. The
army also, he said, would naturally hasten to the field of conflict all the
more readily when its general had preceded it.
Carew's words carried weight, and when he backed them up by announcing that
he had supplies sufficient to maintain the whole army for some months,
Mountjoy arose from his chair and embraced him (after the manner of those
days), with many hearty expressions of commendation. The following day the
Deputy and President set out with an escort of 100 horse and reached
Kiltinan, where they were entertained by Lord Dunboyne; the next night was
spent at Clonmel, and the third found the travellers the guests of Lord
Roche at his castle of Glanworth. After a day spent at Cork, Mountjoy
proceeded to reconnoitre, and, taking horse to a point from which he could
overlook Kinsale, he discovered to his astonishment that the Spanish fleet
had departed. Nothing could be done to disturb the enemy until the army
arrived from Dublin, so the Deputy had to content himself with burning the
corn for five miles round Kinsale, and issuing a proclamation warning the
inhabitants to beware of taking part with the Pope and the King of Spain.
The Spanish general, who could not understand the spirit of a national
rising, and had no sympathy for a rebellion of any kind, called on the
people to rise in the name of the Pope.
Painted by Sutton Palmer, Described by A R Hope Moncrieff (1904)
Have added another four chapters to this book...
The Kingdom of Fife
The Fair City
The Highland Line
Here is how the account of "The Highland Line" starts...
From Perth to Inverness runs the Highland Railway, that pierces through the
heart of the Grampians. Giving off a branch to Loch Tay and coach routes to
other choice nooks of the noblest northern county, this line mounts among
the wilds of Atholl, and near its highest level brings us into
Inverness-shire ; then it descends to the old Badenoch Forest, down the
upper course of the Spey, past Kingussie to Aviemore, where its main track
turns over the Findhorn, and by Culloden to the capital of the Highlands.
There is not a finer railway ride in the kingdom, as the tourist knows well
enough from his programmes, so the Highland line needs no advertisement
here. But there is an older use of this name, for the irregular line along
which the Highlands fall in a broken wave upon the richer country, a zone
pointed out by Scott and other writers as the most charming part of
Scotland. The austere spirit of mountain solitudes is not so easily caught
as the varied charms of a debateable land, where "the rivers find their way
out of the mountainous region by the wildest leaps, and through the most
romantic passes," and Nature's rugged features straggle down among good
roads and inns, the practical and the picturesque throwing each other into
alternate relief. This is the special loveliness of southern and eastern
Perthshire, across which the Grampians make an oblique border, once too
often marked with fire and sword, while its straths and lake basins repeat
in miniature the same mingling of Highland and Lowland scenery, and of homes
thus contrasted by "Ian Maclaren":
"The lowland farm stands amid its neighbours along the highway, with square
fields, trim fences, slated houses, cultivated after the most scientific
method, and to the last inch, a very type of a shrewd, thrifty, utilitarian
people. The Highland farm is half-a-dozen patches of as many shapes
scattered along the hillside, wherever there are fewest stones and deepest
soil and no bog, and those the crofter tills as best he cansometimes
getting a harvest, and sometimes seeing the first snow cover his oats in the
sheaf, sometimes building a rude dyke to keep off the big, brown, hairy
cattle that come down to have a taste of the sweet green corn, but often
finding it best to let his barefooted children be a fence by day, and at
certain seasons to sit up all night himself to guard his scanty harvest from
the forays of the red deer. Somewhere among the patches he builds his
low-roofed house, and thatches it over with straw, on which by and by, grass
with heather and wild flowers begins to grow, till it is not easy to tell
his home from the hill. His farm is but a group of tiny islands amid a sea
of heather that is ever threatening to overwhelm them with purple spray.
Anyone can understand that this man will be unpractical, dreamy,
enthusiastic, the child of the past, the hero of hopeless causes, the seer
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)
This is a new book of some 80 chapters which I mentioned in the Electric
Scotland News and I hope you'll enjoy it.
Here is how the first chapter starts...
I WAS born at Kerrumore in Glenlyon, where my father was a farmer, on the
morning of the ninth of February, 1828, when a snowstorm was raging so
fiercely that Dr Macarthur and my uncle Archibald, who had been sent for
him, had, with their horses, some difficulty in crossing Larig-an-Lochain
from Killin. My memory of local occurrences and of self-mental impressions
becomes continuous and tenacious at five years of age, when I could read the
Gospel narrative fluently in English, which to us Glen children was much
like a foreign language, and more haltingly in the Gaelic vernacular because
of its system of spelling and the many dead letters thereby entailed. At six
I could pass, after sunset and in the darkness of night, St Bran's old
church-yard near our house, without, as I often did before, using the Lord's
Prayer or bits of psalms and hymns as a protection against ghosts. I had
also long before this ceased to speculate on the possibility of reaching a
hand to the stars when they seemed to crowd down on the sharp ridge of the
opposite hill and to hide themselves behind it. Having been once taken up
the side-glen to the shealings and allowed to remain there for some time, I
widened my knowledge and got rid of much infantile awe of the wonders of my
expanding world, by wandering away to a mountain top from which I had a wide
view, and where I found the sky was as far above my head as it was down on
the banks of the Lyon. Out of the dim mists of childish recollection an
event which took place when I was about three years of age flashes out in
vivid light. At Moar farm house some miles further up the glen, died, at an
advanced age, my grandmother's aunt. The farm house was on one side of the
river and the highroad on the other. It was intended to take the coffin
across the river to the highroad, and so to get to the Bridge of Balgie,
which was then the only bridge on the thirty miles course of the Lyon, and
was quite near to the church-yard. But this could not be done as the river
was in flood and a great storm was still raging. So the funeral had to come
by a rough and scarcely perceptible footpath, through one of the best marked
self-sown remnants of the primitive Caledonian forest that still remain. My
grand-mother and I were on a bench at the end of the house waiting for it we
were generally a league of two against the world and when the funeral came
in sight a flash of lightning seemed to dance on the wet mort-cloth and to
envelope the whole procession. The thunder peal which followed caused the
echoes of the many rocks and hills to reverberate like the firing-off of a
succession of big gun batteries. No doubt it was the lightning and thunder
which permanently stamped the memory of this funeral on my mind.
As late as about 1780, a Glenlyon woman, Elgin Menzies, wife of Duncan
Macnaughton, Cashlie, who died with her infant in childbed, Avas supposed to
have been taken away by the fairies, and the story ran that she had been
seen in dreams and heard to moan in hope of rescue from the three fairy
mounds Tom-a-churain, Tom-a-chorain, and Tom-na-glaice-moire, among which
she was shifted about and kept imprisoned. But before my birth, religious
teaching had banished the poor fairies from their mounds, although many
stories concerning them and mountain hags, kelpies and brownies, were still
told round firesides and smearing tubs. Witchcraft was not much spoken of,
nor much thought of, although it had not been so outrightly denounced from
the pulpit as the fairies. Belief in ghosts was very general, and deemed,
from the religious point of view, as orthodox as belief in good and evil
spirits, and their intervention in human affairs. Nature with manifold
mystic influences keeps her hold on the rural population everywhere, but
this hold is particularly strong in mountain lands, lonely isles, and
countries which have wide deserts. Nature and God himself can be disregarded
by urban masses of people; but it is otherwise in rural districts. Even on
the plains of East Anglia and the flats of Holland, people are influenced by
forces and sensations which cannot be accounted for by visible and material
causes. Whatever be the reason, Highlanders are deeply laid under this spell
of nature influences and scenery environment. This fact is apparent enough
in their poetry and traditional stories. It takes a pathetic form in their
undying love for the place where they were born, or where in former days
their ancestors lived, which is cherished by emigrants in the colonies and
foreign lands, and by their children and children's children for "Caledonia
stern and wild." But it is just in the stern and wild countries in which
man, through contact and combat with nature in her various moods, lets his
imagination fly on wings of poetry and romance, and is inspired by a
patriotism that does not take a worldly account of the material advantages
enjoyed by the inhabitants of more fertile if more prosaic lands.
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