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Weekly Mailing List Archives
18th July 2008


Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at http://www.electricscotland.com/rss/whatsnew.php and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/calendar_help.htm  It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

CONTENTS
--------
Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories including Poems for Kids
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
The Life of Tom Morris
The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present Condition
Soldiers of Fortune
Scottish Gardens
Orkney and Shetland
Campbell, John Gregorson
Displaying Feathers
The Highland Cottage


ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
----------------------
I've postponed adding "The History of Glasgow" for a wee bit as I'm in talks with Glasgow City Council as to whether they'd like to add some additional content as we add this book to the site. I thought that it might be nice to get some pictures and additional articles about Glasgow of today as we add this history.

----

As mentioned in last weeks newsletter I did attend the Chatham Highland Games last Saturday and took a few pictures but also did some videos. I talked to the folk at the clan tents and persuaded them to give a video talk about their clan and society. You can see these videos at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/chatham2008.htm

I might add that after I put them up several people emailed me to say they couldn't view them and have now put them up on Youtube and have already been told that they are now fine for viewing :-)

Also I got a great wee video of a "Wee Drummer Boy"... not good at ages but he looked to be around 5 years of age and what a great drummer he is already :-)

----

I always have problems remembering how to make International phone calls. Like in Canada I couldn't remember what to dial when trying to reach a UK phone number. I thus used the web to search for the number I needed to start with for an international call and by chance I found a site where you can enter the country you are calling from and then the country you are calling to and when you hit the submit button it gives you the full code to dial. I thus thought that this would make a useful reference to add to our desktop links and so you can now see this at
http://www.electricscotland.com/services

----

I've spent time this week looking through the books I have here trying to decide on what I'll be working on next. I keep trying to find new topics to further spread the type of content we have on the site and came across "The Poor Law in Scotland". I really enjoyed reading this one as it gives a fascinating insight into what life was like in the old days in Scotland and so will start working on this.

I also came across "The Life of John Duncan". The more the author inquired into John Duncan's story, the more did he perceive that, in many respects, it was remarkable, and in several, unique. It revealed a man of pronounced individuality, full of striking and admirable elements, exhibiting great natural ability, high moral character, singular independence, self-helpfulness and modesty, pure-hearted love of Science, and enthusiastic devotion to its study amidst no ordinary disabilities and hardships. During a long life of nearly ninety years, such as would add another worthy name to the long roll of honourable examples of "the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties;" all combined with circumstances of uncommon interest and picturesqueness, arising from varied experiences, rare capacity for the highest friendship, peculiar modes of study, spartan eccentricity of life, and deepest joy under most unlikely conditions. The work would have been incomplete if it had not contained sketches of his numerous friends, several of whom, as will be seen, were of uncommon clay; and also notices of the times in which he lived, in the early part of the century, in a northern, old-world region with social and other characteristics as peculiar as its native Doric.

While this is a long book of over 500 pages I thought it would make yet another new type of content where we can learn more about this person but also of what life was like in the olden days as he was growing up.


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 or on our site menu.


THE FLAG IN THE WIND
--------------------
This weeks Flag is compiled by Jennifer Dunn in which she gives some insight into the Glasgow East by-election.

In Peter's cultural section I thought it would be useful to remind you that he has many regular sections. One that is truly outstanding is his "Dates in History" section which must be the largest and best timeline of Scottish History to be found anywhere.

Another truly outstanding section is his "A KIST O FERLIES", A Keek at the Guid Scots Tung. Now a lot of you will know that Robert Burns wrote in the old Scots Language but that language was also the language of Scotland for several centuries and also the language of the Scottish Court. Not only does Peter give us a glossary of these Scotch words but every one of them is recorded in Real Audio so you can listen to them as well. Both Peter and his wife Marilyn have been recording these words but also poems and stories in the old Scots language as well. This means when it comes to understanding "Scots" that there is now no better place than this section of the site to learn the language. Peter is in fact one of only a few people that can carry on a regular conversation entirely in the Scots language.

Each week Peter and Marilyn bring you around half a dozen words with their translation and an audio recording. He also usually adds a saying, verse and poem to the collection of text and audio recordings.

This week he is telling us about his visit to the new Culloden site and brings us many pictures. He'll be continuing his visit over the next week or two... here is how his account starts...

As regular visitors to Culloden Battlefield we have been looking forward to visiting the new £9 million National Trust for Scotland Visitor and Exhibition Centre since it opened to the public on 20 December 2007. Originally planned to open in August last year the centre made it just before the end of The Highland Year of Culture 2007. Perhaps an ironic opening as the fateful day on Drummossie Moor heralded the end of the traditional Highland way of life and the Clan system.

Having missed the official opening on the 262nd anniversary of the battle on 16 April this year, due to football duties, Marilyn and I finally found the opportunity to visit the new centre during a holiday in Inverness and on Sunday 15 June took the Rapson’s bus, on an overcast morning to Culloden. Great things bus passes! Passing signage in both Gaelic and English we immediately had to make use of the new well-stocked Culloden Centre shop as the camera batteries weren’t working!

The new centre fits snugly into the landscape and with a ramp which runs towards the third Hanoverian line from which you can visit both the roof of the building and walk down to the battlefield. The old centre which stood on the Hanoverian lines is now completed cleared. Looking from the Jacobite lines the new building and ramp sit un-intrusively on the horizon.

You approach the new building on a pathway of Caithness flagstones bearing the names of those, world-wide, who donated towards the cost of the centre. Inside you pass the shop – well stocked with pleasant staff – café and toilets to reach the entrance desk. The new exhibition is very 21st century with interactive screens and off-screen noises! On the right-hand side you can follow the Jacobite story and the Hanoverian on the left. Too much information for two pensioners! Future visits are called for. The exhibition area brings you to a small cinema area where surrounded by screens on all sides a short, 4 ½ minute, film vividly brings the horror of the battle to life. Finally you reach a large, well-lit area where amongst other exhibits are the latest archaeology finds and a large table with a map of Drummossie on which the course of the battle is illustrated. Here we were in time to see a demonstration of Highland weapons by a chiel in period dress, who fairly knew his stuff. We were fortunate after a walk round the battlefield, often in rain, to catch the same cheil in Hanoverian uniform just as deftly dealing with The King’s Army in Scotland weaponry. The highlight of our first visit to the new centre but I am sure that we will gain further insight on repeat visits. However one change I did miss, in spite of the quality of the new film, was the film shown in the previous centre telling the story of The 45 and Culloden beautifully narrated by the late Findlay J MacDonald. A native Gaelic speaker his voice was just right to tell the story of that fateful day.

Outside we took the opportunity to walk along the ramp to the Leanach Cottage and back again to the environmentally-friendly roof, complete with grass, and with a splendid view over the battlefield. Rain blowing through was a reminder of the terrible weather conditions experienced by the ill-fed, tired Jacobites as they watched the well-drilled Hanoverian army line up for battle.

Forgetting that new interpretation handsets are now available, a must for the next visit, we set off back to the Leanach Cottage and started to walk round the battlefield and revisit some of our favourite spots.

More of the battlefield visit over the next two weeks, but as we leave the Hanoverian lines this week’s recipe recalls that the battle was fought between two cousins – an Italian one trying to win back the throne of his forebears and a German one fighting to keep his father’s throne safe. So German Biscuits act as reminder of the Hanoverian side.
END.

And if you go to the site you'll be able to view his pictures.

See the Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs in the Features section at
http://www.scotsindependent.org/features/food/index.htm

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at
http://www.scotsindependent.org

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for this week did not arrive.


The Scottish Nation
-------------------
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

We are onto the R's now with Rose, Rosebery, Rosehill and Ross.

A quite large account of Ross this week and here is how it starts...

ROSS, the name of a clan, called in Gaelic Clan Rosich na Gille Andras, or the offspring of the followers of St. Andrew, one of the early chiefs having devoted himself to that saint. The badge of the clan Ross was the juniper, and in former times, when its chiefs were earls of Ross, they possessed a large portion of the county of that name in the north of Scotland. Ross of Pitcalnie is the representative of the ancient earls. The clan Ross was one of the eighteen Highland clans that fought on Bruce’s side at Bannockburn. In 1427 they could muster 2,000 fighting men; in 1715 but 300, and in 1745, 500.

You can read the rest of this article at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/ross.htm

Likewise a good account of the name Rose...

ROSE, the name of a Nairnshire sept, the chief of which is Rose of Kilravock, pronounced Kilraik. The name is obviously derived from the British word Ros, a promontory. According to a tradition at one period prevalent among the clan Donald, the first of the Kilravock family came from Ireland, with one of the Macdonalds, lords of the Isles. These does not seem, however, to be any foundation for this, except, perhaps, that as vassals of the earls of Ross, the clan Rose were connected for about half a century with the lordship of the Isles. Mr. Hugh Rose, the genealogist of the Kilravock family, is of opinion that they were originally from England, and from their having three water bouggets in their coat armour, like the English family of Roos, it has been conjectured that they were of the same stock. But these figures were carried by other families than those of the name of Rose, or Roos. Four water bouggets with a cross in the middle were the arms of the Counts d’Eu in Normandy, and of the ancient earls of Essex in England of the surname of Bourchier. They were indicative of an ancestor of the respective families who bore them having been engaged in the crusades, and forced, in the deserts of Palestine, to fight for and carry water in the leathern vessels called bouggets, bugets, or buckets, which were usually slung across the horse or camel’s back.

The family of Rose of Kilravock appear to have been settled in the county of Nairn in the reign of David I., their first designation being of Geddes. In the beginning of the reign of Alexander II., that is about 1219, Hugh Rose of Geddes was witness to the foundation charter of the priory of Beauly by Sir John Bisset of Lovat. His son, also named Hugh Rose of Geddes, acquired the lands of Kilravock, which became the chief title of the family, by his marriage with Mary, daughter of Sir Andrew de Bosco, by Elizabeth, his wife, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Bisset of Lovat; which Elizabeth, designed Lady Kilravock, in her widowhood, disponed the lands of Kilravock to her son-in-law, Hugh Rose, and her daughter, Mary, his wife, and their heirs. The charter granted by her was confirmed by King John Baliol. This Hugh Rose, first of Kilravock, died about 1306.

You can read the rest of this account at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/rose.htm

You can read these entries at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/r.htm


Poetry and Stories
------------------
Another poem from John Henderson called "Pete the Pup" which you can read at
http://www.electricscotland.com/poetry/doggerel270.htm

Margo Fallis has sent in a few more of her poems for Children. See
http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/poems/index.htm

Margo is also starting a new series of stories of the very popular "Ian and Mac" series. These are two Scottish racoons and their adventures. This new series will see them travelling around the world. You can get to the index page of this series at
http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/stories/ianmacndx.htm

We also have some new poems and articles from Donna and others in our Article Service at
http://www.electricscotland.com/article/


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.

This week have added...

Parish's of Cluny and Leslie

Both of these are quite short accounts.

Cluny
Name.—The word Cluny in Gaelic signifies meadows interspersed with rising grounds. It is descriptive of the surface of this parish and district.
Boundaries, &c.— The parish is bounded on the north, by Monymusk and Kemnay; on the south, by Midmar and Echt; on the east, by Skene; on the west, by Tough. It is about 10 miles long from west to east, and about 2 broad.
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/statistical/cluny.htm
 
Leslie
Name, &c.—Tradition gives the origin of the name to the settlement of the Leslyns or Leslys in this district, which took place so early as the eleventh century.
Boundaries, &c.—The parish is bounded on the south by the parishes of Keig and Tullynessle, from which it is divided by a ridge of hills, which form part of a range beginning with Benochie on the east, and, terminating at Cabrach on the West, divide the Garioch from the Alford districts; on the west and north, by Clatt and Kennethmont; and on the east, by Insch and Premnay. Its greatest length is about 3½ miles, and breadth about 2½ miles.
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/statistical/leslie.htm

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/statistical/volume12.htm 


Book of Scottish Story
----------------------
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

The Murder Hole, An Ancient Legend of Galloway, and here is how it starts...

In a remote district of country belonging to Lord Cassilis, between Ayrshire and Galloway, about three hundred years ago, a moor of apparently boundless extent stretched several miles along the road, and wearied the eye of the traveller by the sameness and desolation of its appearance: not a tree varied the prospect-not a shrub enlivened the eye by its freshness—not a native flower bloomed to adorn this ungenial soil. One "lonesome desert” reached the horizon on every side, with nothing to mark that any mortal had ever visited the scene before, except a few rude huts that were scattered near its centre; and a road, or rather pathway, for those whom business or necessity obliged to pass in that direction. At length, deserted as this wild region had always been, it became still more gloomy.

Strange rumours arose that the path of unweary travellers had been beset on this "blasted heath,” and that treachery and murder had intercepted the solitary stranger as he traversed its dreary extent. When several persons, who were known to have passed that way, mysteriously disappeared, the inquiries of their relatives led to a strict and anxious investigation ; but though the officers of justice were sent to scour the country, and examine the inhabitants, not a trace could be obtained of the persons in question, nor of any place of concealment which could be a refuge for the lawless or desperate to horde in. Yet as inquiry became stricter, and the disappearance of individuals more frequent, the simple inhabitants of the neighbouring hamlet were agitated by the most fearful apprehensions. Some declared that the death-like stillness of the night was often interrupted by sudden and preternatural cries of more than mortal anguish, which seemed to arise in the distance; and a shepherd one evening, who had lost his way on the moor, declared he had approached three mysterious figures, who seemed struggling against each other with supernatural energy, till at length one of them, with a frightful scream, suddenly sunk into the earth.

You can read this at
http://www.electricscotland.com/books/story/story57.htm

The other stories can be read at
http://www.electricscotland.com/books/story/index.htm


The Life of Tom Morris
----------------------
By W. W. Tulloch, Member of the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews

Have added the following chapters...

Chapter XIX
Tom and Bob Kirk & the Andersons

Chapter XX
Matches of Tom and his son Jamie

Chapter XXI
Matches 1870-3

Chapter XXII
Matches with Dow

Chapter XXIII
Play 1894-9

Chapter XXIII starts...

IN May 1894 Tom was in the Isle of Man, and laid out a course on Duchess Head, Douglas Hay. In June he was in Ireland. The members of the Royal Dublin Golf Club gave him a warm welcome as he came to Dollymount, brisk and hale, from Lahinch, in the county of Clare (where he had just laid out a capital links of 18 holes), and from Killarncy Lakes. Playing on the evening of his arrival at Dollymount, with Brown, the professional, Tom went round in 88 an excellent score, and one that, with knowledge of the links, might easily have been under 80. On Wednesday the veteran golfer and Mr Kilroy (the captain of the club) played Brown and Mr Petrie. The match was halved; and on Thursday a return match was played, which ended in a win for the captain and the visitor by 1 hole. "Is there need to add," says a report, "that all the members of the Club gave a hearty welcome to the grand old champion, that we look forward to another visit from him soon, and that he departed with good wishes for his success at Sandwich during the Championship Meeting?"

In Golf, for July 3, 1891, the following letter from Tom appears on the question ought the "stymie" to be abolished? "To the Editor of Golf: In reply to yours of June 15, anent stymies, I beg to state that I have always been in favour of stymies being abolished. I think a modification could easily be made. A motion was proposed by Captain Burn at a meeting of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club that a rule as follows should be made:-'A player may, on the putting-green, remove his opponent's ball, but such act of removal should be equivalent to the opponent having played his stroke and holed.' This would do for one, but, of course, the Royal and Ancient would have many suggestions brought before them if the subject was put to them by other Clubs."

You can read the rest of this chapter at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/sport/morris23.htm

The other chapters can be read at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/sport/morrisndx.htm


The Industries of Scotland, their Rise, Progress and Present Condition
----------------------------------------------------------------------
By David Bremner (1869)

Have added a number of new chapters...

Manufacture of Paper and Paper-Hangings
Origin of Paper—The Papyrus of the Egyptians—Progress of the Art of Paper-Making—The First Paper Mills in Britain—Extent and Distribution of the Trade in Scotland—The Materials used for making Paper, Paper-Making by Hand—The Introduction of Machinery—Invention of the Paper-making Machine—The Paper Duty—Cowan's Paper Mills at Penicuik—The Manufacturing Processes Described—Invention of Paper- Hangings by the Chinese—Success of the Manufacture in France—Difficulties of the First Manufacturers in Britain—The Trade in Scotland.

Manufacture of Floorcloth
Origin of Floorcloth—Introduction of the Manufacture into Scotland— The Scottish Floorcloth Manufactory at Kirkcaldy.

Manufacture of Leather
Antiquity and importance of Leather—Progress of the Leather Trade in Britain—Curious Laws for its Regulation in Scotland—Present Condition of the Trade—Description of a Leather Manufactory.

Manufactures in India-Rubber
History of India-Rubber—Its Importance in the Arts—The North British Rubber Company—How India-Rubber Shoes and Waterproof Garments are made— The Scottish Vulcanite Company—How Vulcanite is converted into Jewellery, Combs, &c.

You can read these at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/industrial/index.htm


Soldiers of Fortune
-------------------
In Camp & Court by Alexander Innes Shand (1907)

This week we've completed this book by adding the following chapters...

Marschal Saxe
Indian Adventures

Here is how the chapter on Indian Adventures starts...

THE growth of standing armies in the eighteenth century closed Europe to the adventurous spirits who, as wandering soldiers of fortune, changed their camps and their colours on a caprice. Simultaneously a wider field was opening to daring ambitions. The East, with its fabled wealth and all its wonderful possibilities, lay before them. France and England had carried the continental wars into India, and Hindustan was in convulsions from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. Never and nowhere had there been greater opportunities. Successive invasions from the north had shaken the Empire of the Moguls to its foundation. The final shock had come from the incursions of Sivagie's "rats," as Sir John Malcolm called them, a race of predatory warriors of roving instincts, slight of frame compared to Sikhs or Rajpoots, but distinguished for craft and courage, and admirable fighting material. The representative of the Mogul Emperors had become the shadow of a mighty power, held in honourable tutelage at Delhi by the Peishwah who reigned at Poona, the head of the great loose Mahratta confederation. For the Peishwah's feudatories, the Guikwar of Baroda, Scindiah of Gwali or, Holkar of Indore, the Rajahs of Berar and Nagpore, habitually set him at defiance. The Nizam of Hyderabad ruled the largest state in India, and between the Deccan and the Carnatic Hyder Ali, as Sultan of Mysore, one of the ablest of Oriental soldiers of fortune, had set up a dynasty of his own, apparently on solid foundations. All these powers and principalities, unknitted by old relations and unconfined by ancient landmarks, were in a state of chronic collision. Moreover, every one of them was distracted by intestine feuds and broils. The palaces were the scenes of perpetual intrigue, and the death of a ruler, if he survived dagger or poison, was almost invariably the cause of a contested succession.

In all its conditions and circumstances the India of the time resembled the Italy that was the prey of the Condottieri. Afghan and Arab mercenaries flocked to the standards of chiefs who lured them by the promise of plunder. Naturally their services were most in demand in states comparatively unwarlike, where they terrorised the peaceful population. But the whole Indian peninsula was in a far more lamentable state than that of Germany in the worst of the Thirty Years' War. Law there was none and violence was right. The restless Mahrattas were always raiding their neighbours, giving no quarter where resistance was offered, and showing no pity where booty was to be got. And the ravages of the Mahrattas were surpassed by the Pindaries, who were robbers and land pirates, pure and simple. Meadows Taylor, who had studied his subjects well, gives a vivid and revolting picture of their ruthless cruelties and their enormous gains. His Thug in the "Confessions" follows the fortunes of Chefoo, one of their most notable leaders, and even the Thug was moved to compassion and revenge by the horrors he witnessed. Cities were laid under contribution as by the Condottieri, and if by policy they were spared immediate sack, the municipalities and merchants must pay enormous ransoms in specie. There was a certain rude justice among themselves ; the booty was promptly distributed, and though the leaders took the lion's share, each horseman's saddle was stuffed with coin or jewels. Sometimes the plunder was so great that there was difficulty in disposing of it. Proverbially faithless, the only instances in which the Pindaries kept their faith was when they summoned the shopkeepers or merchants to a bazaar. Then the very men who had been exploit' elsewhere might recoup themselves in a measure by buying cheaply the booty of which others had been stripped. But the speciality of the Pindaries was their stooping to the most paltry robbery and revelling in wanton mischief. The peasant, with his silver ornaments or his handful of rupees, was compelled to surrender his little savings by nameless tortures. Whether the villages resisted or no, they were burned all the same, the women were violated, the most attractive carried off, the fruit-trees were felled, and the tanks were breached. And these robber hordes were more or less in open alliance with the potentates who offered them a safe retreat in consideration of a handsome commission on their plunder.

The rest of this chapter can be read at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/scotreg/soldiers9.htm

I'll be getting started on this book tomorrow and you can read it at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/scotreg/soldiersndx.htm


Scottish Gardens
----------------
By the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell

We've now started getting up chapters on individual gardens...

Ardgowan, Renfrewshire
Whitehouse, Midlothian
Monreith, Wigtownshire
Gartincaber, Perthshire

Here is how the account starts in the first chapter on Ardgowan, Renfrewshire...

ALTHOUGH botanists cannot be got to recognise the snowdrop as a true native of Britain, no foreigner establishes itself more cordially wherever in our land it finds the combination of a moist, cool atmosphere with a free soil. Those persons who have never happened to visit the west coast of Scotland during January and February can have little idea of the profuse display made by this little bulb wherever it is given a chance, or of the rapidity with which it takes possession of the floor of a hollow wood. Probably the conditions are equally favourable and produce a similar result in Ireland and along the Welsh coast, but of this I cannot speak with assurance, never having visited those districts during the snowdrop season. Anyhow, you must not look for snowdrops in sun-baked latitudes. Some years ago, narcissus and other flowers arrived in the market from Scilly unusually early. Now the snow drop is perhaps the only spring-flowering bulb which cannot be coaxed or forced into blossom a day earlier than its natural date. If the ground happens to be iron-bound with frost in January, then the snowdrops potted and kept under glass will get a start of their brethren in the open air ; but not before the time when the latter would have flowered had it been physically possible for them to get through the hard surface-soil. Probably this is the only, it is certainly the chief, impediment to the snowdrop's punctuality, causing a considerable variation in the date of flowering. On the west coast of Scotland I have gathered the first snowdrop on 19th December in one winter; in other seasons not until 8th or 10th January.

You can read the rest of this chapter at
http://www.electricscotland.com/gardening/garden2.htm

You can read the rest of the chapters at
http://www.electricscotland.com/gardening/gardensndx.htm


Orkney and Shetland
-------------------
This is the account of Shetland from this book by T Mainland published in 1920. I also found a pdf file of this book which I've made a link available should you wish to read it all.

Essentially I put up the account of Shetland as I already have "The Book of Orkney" up on the site but nothing on Shetland.

In the account you'll read...

The county of Shetland is entirely insular, and its characteristics are varied. The coast-line is generally broken and rugged, and in many places precipitous; while the larger islands are intersected by numerous bays and voes stretching far inland, which form safe and commodious places of anchorage and easy means of communication. No point in Shetland is more than three miles from the sea. Detached rocks and stacks, some high above the water and others below the surface, present a forbidding aspect to the spectator, and increase the dangers of navigation round the coast.

To be near the sea—their chief source of food—the early settlers made their homes close to the shore, where also they generally found the soil better than further inland. Accordingly most of the houses and crofts are situated along the coast, and in particular at the heads of voes, where often townships and villages have been formed. One striking feature is the bold contrast between the green cultivated township and the dark background of moor or hill, sharply marked off from each other by the ancient "toon" dykes. Still more noticeable are the large tracts of permanent pasture, where one may still see the ruins of cottages, once the homes of crofters who were evicted to make room for sheep.

The principal fuel in the islands is peat, the cutting of which, carried on for centuries, ever since the time of Torf Einar, who is said to have taught the natives the use of "turf" for burning, has denuded the surface, and left it blacker than it otherwise would be. That, and the practice of "scalping" turf for roofing purposes, have laid bare great stretches of what might have been fairly good pasture ground.

The proportion of arable land is very small compared with the whole land surface of the islands. For this reason Shetland has never figured as an agricultural county; and other causes may be mentioned, such as divided attention between the two branches of industry. —fishing and crofting; indifferent soil; variable climate; antiquated methods of cultivation; and want of markets for agricultural produce.

You can read the rest of this account at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/shetland.htm


Campbell, John Gregorson
------------------------
A memoir of this person who was Minister of Tiree and a Folk-Lorest and it starts...

JOHN GREGORSON CAMPBELL was born at Kingairloch, in Argyllshire, in the year 1836, the second son and fourth child of Captain Campbell of the Cygnet and of Helen MacGregor, his wife. The fondness for study, the devotion to his native literature and lore, which were such marked features of his life, and which earned for him an abiding reputation as a Gaelic student, would seem to have been his by birthright. His maternal grandfather was an ardent Gael, as may be judged by the letters that passed between him and Dr. Mackintosh. On his mother's side he was descended from Duncan MacGregor, 13th in direct descent from the first MacGregor who settled at Roro, in Glenlyon, Perthshire, whilst through a paternal ancestor he traced back to a race that had had dealings with the `good people,' and on whom a bean shith had laid the spell `they shall grow like the rush and wither like the fern' (fasaidh iad mar an luachair 's crionaidh iad mar an raineach).

You can read this account at
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/campbell_john4.htm


Displaying Feathers
-------------------
By W. Neil Fraser

An interesting article about the rights and wrongs of displaying feathers with your Highland Dress.

You can read this at
http://www.electricscotland.com/heraldry/feathers.htm


The Highland Cottage
--------------------
Published between 1809 and 1821

A pleasing tale for Youth.

I came across this wee book some time ago and purchased it because I thought it would be interesting to see the kind of tale that was told in the early 19th century to the youth of the day :-)

There are also many wee illustrations and you can read this at
http://www.electricscotland.com/books/highland_cottage.htm


And that's it for now and hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)


Alastair
http://www.electricscotland.com 

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