Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
Social Life in Scotland
The Gateway of Scotland (New Book)
Robert Burns Lives!
The Social and Economic Condition of the Highlands of Scotland Since
1800 (New Book)
Paeroa Highland Games and Tattoo
Fallbrook Farm Heritage Site
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
We have a new advertiser joining us which is actually a group of 40
businesses in the tourism industry which is based on the south side
of Loch Ness. This means that as well as accommodation you can also
find good restaurants and pubs, loch cruises, and many other
facilities to make your holiday a great one.
This is actually the first time we've attracted a general tourism
group to advertise with us so I hope you'll all take the chance to
visit their site to see all they have to offer.
They set the scene by saying...
Welcome to South Loch Ness, Scotland, a world class tourism
destination and an area of great diversity and outstanding natural
beauty that covers an area from Inverness in the north, and follows
the entire length of the wild and rugged south eastern shoreline of
Loch Ness all the way to Fort Augustus in the south, and eastwards
to Daviot through fertile farmland and the scattered communities in
The area has been referred to as the Scottish "Lake District" so
numerous are the Lochs in this part of the Highlands. An
undiscovered, unspoilt land of craggy hills, lochs, tumbling waters
and heather moors will delight and inspire all who value true
wilderness, yet so close the Highland capital city of Inverness.
Almost all outdoor activities are available here, the very best Loch
Ness cruises and tours, climbing, Deer Spotting, walking and
wildlife guides as well as several first class golf courses and
water sports facilities within easy reach. We have pet friendly
accommodation including holiday inn, hotels, guesthouses, bed and
breakfasts, and self catering cottages, lodges, and chalets, to suit
all budgets. Visit the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition and shopping
complex, whisky shop, restaurant, heraldry, gift shops at the
The locals and businesses alike, proudly call this part of Scotland
"special" and work hard to preserve and protect the local
environment. We actively encourage environmentally friendly, green
tourism business, in a determined effort to preserve this unspoilt
corner of the Scottish Highlands for generations to come, hence our
"walk on the wildside" image, which is widely acknowledged
throughout the Inverness and Loch Ness region as a sign of the
environmentally aware communities of South Loch Ness.
I should be getting a larger write up about them for next weeks
newsletter so something to look forward to :-)
On a downside
note I was asked about the vbulletin service by many of you this
week. In fact I think I got some 30 or so emails. I'm
sorry to say that Steve still hasn't managed to get this up and to
be frank I now have absolutely no idea when he's going to manage it.
I am starting to consider paying the software company to get it
installed. I really don't know what is happening to Steve as
he just seems incapable of doing anything on the site other than
keep it running (which is not unimportant). I had hoped that
with his move to Michigan and getting together with family and
friends again that he'd be motivated to do some work for us. And so
I've given up making excuses for him and will need to look for other
solutions to getting these technical issues dealt with. And so
if you know someone with good technical knowledge about dealing with
installing scripts, php, sql, and on a windows server platform do
let me know.
We now have information on the Tartan Day event in Toronto...
Tuesday April 7, 2009, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at...
The St. Andrews Club, 27th Floor, 150 King Street West, Toronto, ON
Also I got some emails in asking about the Knights Templar
International event in Toronto in 2010. I'm told the dates for that
are from September 22 to the 26th. The likely main hotel will be the
King Edward but that has still to be confirmed.
As I understand it the welcome dinner is on the 22nd and the
farewell breakfast is on the 26th.
Am still working on helping with the target of getting the USA to
recognize April as Scots, Scots-Irish Month. James has sent me in a
list of all members of the Scottish Caucus and their phone numbers.
You can learn more about this at
And when it comes to Canada...
National Recognition of Tartan Day and Maple Leaf Tartan in Canada.
Dear Scottish organization:
As many of us know, Canada has a long rich history of Scots
immigrating to this Country from our early days to the present. Many
of our institutions throughout our country can be attributed to
these Scots ancestors and their contributions to our education,
banking, government, and legal systems.
That is why I am writing you, on behalf of The United Council of
Scots of Atlantic Canada, a council of representatives of Scottish
societies, in the four Atlantic Provinces.
We are asking Scottish groups across Canada to come together, for
the first time in history, to ask the Canadian government to
proclaim, through legislation, April 6 as Tartan Day. We are, at the
same time urging that the Maple Leaf Tartan be officially proclaimed
as our nations national tartan.
As you are aware, Tartan Day began 22 years ago by the Federation of
Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia to commemorate the contributions Scots
have made to our country. They chose, in 1986, April 6 the date
the Treaty of Arbroath was signed seven centuries ago. Since Tartan
Day was first proclaimed in Nova Scotia, that date has been adopted
by Scots world-wide as a day to commemorate and celebrate their
heritage. Tartan Day has been proclaimed as an official date of
commemoration by nations around the world, including the United
States but, even though it is recognized by all Canadian provinces,
it is not yet recognized by our Canadian government and our Maple
Tartan has never been officially recognized as Canadas Tartan.
We know we cannot do this alone and therefore we need support from
Scottish groups from coast to coast. We are asking your group to
contact us if you are interested in taking part in this historic
movement. I would also ask that you contact any group or provide us
with their contact information for a group you may think might be
interested in joining the campaign. Once we make contact we will
begin the process of implementing our plan of action.
If someone from your group could reply by March 31, 2009, I would be
While on the whole I've stopped doing my Canadian Journal I have
kept it going just as a wee jog to my own memory on a few things I'm
doing. It's now quite short but if you are interested you can see
the last entry at
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 Richard Thomson. In this issue he is
exploring the economics of Nuclear Energy and also discussing the
In Peter's cultural section we get...
Regular visitors will have seen that I intended to return to my
cauf-kintra, the Granite City of Aberdeen, on 7 February 2009 for
the Aberdeen-East Fife Homecoming Scottish Cup tie. Unfortunately
the game was postponed owing to snow, not on the Pittrodrie surface,
but on the roads around the city, however the East Fife team bus
finally made it this week (Tuesday) and, apart from the result, The
Fifes supporters enjoyed their day out against a big team. After
taking in the East Fife kit, I enjoyed the game from the comfort of
a hospitality box (including a steak pie and coffee at half-time)
with my Dons scarf in my pocket! For the benefit of the Australian-
based East Fife supporters who visited Bayview last season, you can
http://www.eastfife.org/match_report_detail.php?id=137 for a
match report courtesy of Alan Henderson and James Corstorphine.
I will be making a swift return to Aberdeen to take in a touring
exhibition celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth and life
of Robert Burns. From now until Sunday 11 April 2009, ZIG-ZAG: The
Paths of Robert Burns will be on show at Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Zig-Zag has already been on show at the National Library of Scotland
in Edinburgh and will following the Aberdeen dates move on to
Dumfries from Wednesday 1 July to Monday 31 August 2009 (venue TBC),
and finally Glaswegians can enjoy it at the Hunterian Museum from
Monday 21 September to St Andrews Day 30 November 2009.
The title of the exhibition comes from Burns famous
autobiographical letter of 1787. In it Burns explores the course of
his life, insightfully observing that keen sensibility and riotous
passion may still make him zig-zag in his future path of life. The
exhibition examines all the contrasts in Burns life and shows in
his own words, how he travelled through it. Visit
for full details of this major tribute to our National Bard, which
is part of Homecoming Scotland 2009.
Prior to Tuesdays game I enjoyed a mammoth haddock which inspires
this weeks recipe Smoked Haddock with Chive, Pea and Potato
Smoked Haddock with Chive, Pea and Potato Crust
Ingredients: 300g small salad potatoes , halved; 2 handfuls frozen
peas; 50g butter; 2 smoked haddock fillets, about 150g each; a
splash white wine or chicken stock; ½ small bunch chives, chopped
Method: Cook the potatoes until tender, then add the frozen peas for
the last 2 minutes of cooking. Gently crush with half the butter.
Heat the rest of the butter in a pan and cook the haddock for 3
minutes on each side. Remove the haddock then add a splash of wine
or chicken stock and reduce a little. Stir in the chives. Put the
potato on 2 plates, top with the haddock and the chive butter.
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added chapter 2 of a three chapter story of...
Here is how it starts...
It happened on an evening about the close of the following spring,
when the oat braird was flourishing, and the barley shot its sharp
green spikes above the clod, carrying the dew on the third morning,
that Ezra Peden was returning from a wedding at Buckletiller. When
he left the bridal chamber it was about ten oclock. His presence
had suppressed for a time the natural ardour for dancing and mirth
which characterises the Scotch; but no sooner was he mounted, and
the dilatory and departing clatter of his horses hoofs heard, than
musicians and musical instruments appeared from their hiding-places.
The floor was disencumbered of the bridal dinner-tables, the maids
bound up their long hair, and the hinds threw aside their mantles,
and, taking their places and their partners, the restrained mirth
broke out like a whirlwind. Old men looked on with a sigh, and
uttered a feeble and faint remonstrance, which they were not
unwilling should be drowned in the abounding and augmenting
The pastor had reached the entrance of a little wild and seldom
frequented glen, along which a grassy and scarce visible road winded
to an ancient burial-ground. Here the graceless and ungodly
merriment first reached his ears, and made the woody hollow ring and
resound. Horse and rider seemed possessed of the same spiritthe
former made a full halt when he heard the fiddle note, while the
latter, uttering a very audible groan, and laying the bridle on his
horses neck, pondered on the wisest and most effectual way of
repressing this unseemly' merriment-of cleansing the parish of this
ancient abomination. It was a beautiful night ; the unrisen moon had
yet a full hour of travel before she could reach the tops of the
eastern hills; the wind was mute, and no sound was abroad save the
chaiing of a small runnel, and the bridal mirth.
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
By George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (1850)
Have now completed this book by adding the following chapters...
The Orkney and Zetland Islands
Part 2d. The Zetland Islands
Note to Sections VI. and VIII. and Errata, and Addenda as to the
Directions for visiting the Lowlands
I. The Tweed, The Border Country, and Clysesdale
Edinburgh to the Tweed
Kelso to Jedburgh and Hawick
Hawick to Melrose and Selkirk
Moffat to Selkirk, by the Yarrow
Selkirkto Peebles and Lanark
Lanark to Hamilton
Hamilton to Glasgow
II. Edinburgh to Glasgow and Ayr and the Land of Burns, the Coasts
of Galloway and Dumfries
Edinburgh to Glasgow
Glasgow to Ayr
The Galloway Coast
III. Main Railway Lines through Scotland
1. Berwick to Edinburgh
2. Caledonian Railway
3. The Edinburgh and Northern Railway to Dundee and Perth
4. The Scottish Central Railway, Greenhill Junction, to Perth,
Castle Campbell, and the Scenery of the Devon
5. The Dundee and Perth, Dundee and Arbroath, Scottish Midland
Junction, and Arbroath and Forfar Railway
6. The Aberdeen Railway
Note to Section II.Erratum as to Roads on the West Coast of Ross
and Sutherland shires
Table of Distances
This is mainly to do with visiting the Lowlands of Scotland and here
is what is included in this section...
I. THE TWEED; THE BORDER COUNTRY; THE FOREST (SELKIRK and ETTRICK),
and CLYDESDALEGeneral Features, 2.Outline of Tour to these
Districts, 3.Edinburgh to Melrose: Dalkeith; Lasswade;.Hawthornden
and Roslin, footnote; Borthwick and Crichton Castles; Currie Wood;
The Gala Water, 4.Galashiels; Bridge-end; Darnick; Skirmish between
Bucclench and Angus, 5.Melrose Abbey, 6.General Character of the
Tweed, 7.Old Melrose; The Cowdenknowes; Earlstoun, 8.Dryburgh; St.
Boswell's; Littledean Tower; Smailholme Tower, 2.Kelso and Abbey;
Roxburgh Castle; Fleurs; Home Castle; Ednam Kelso to Berwick:
Flodden; Hollywell Haugh; Norham Castle; Halidon Hill; Berwick,
footnote, 10.Kelso to Jedburgh: Penielheugh; Vale of the Jed;
Bonjedward; Jedburgh Abbey; Ferniehurst., 11.Jedburgh to Hawick:
Minto House; Monteviot; Denholm; Battle of Ancrum Moor, 12Hawick;
Bransholm; Goldieland Tower; Harden Castle; The Cheviot Hills;
Langholm; Gilnockie Tower; The Esk; Netherby Hall; Longtown;
Liddesdale; Hermitage Castle; Hawick to Melrose: Mangerton Tower,
footnote, 13.Melrose Abbotsford and Selkirk: Abbotsford, 14;
Selkirk; Ettrick Forest; Philipbaugh; Oakwood Tower; Tushielaw;
Thirlstane Castle; Ettrick Churchyard and Village, 15.Moffat WellsMoffat
to Selkirk, by Yarrow: Loch Skene; The Grey Mare's Tail, 16.The
Covenanters; St. Mary's Loch; Henderland Tower; Dryhope Tower; The
Yarrow; Altrive; Mount Benger; Blackhouse Tower; Upright Stones near
Manse of Yarrow; Newark Castle; Sweet Bowhill; Carterhaugh, 17.
Selkirk to Peebles: Ashiestiel; Elibank Tower; Inverleithen;
Traguair; Horsburgh Castle; Border Peels along the Tweed; Peebles,
18.Peebles to Lanark; Nidpath Castle; Drummelzier; Biggar; Carnwath;
Cowdaily Castle; Wilsontown Iron-Works; Edinburgh and Glasgow Forks
of Caledonian Railway, 19.-Lanark; Falls of Clyde; Cartland
Crags-Lanark to Hamilton: Craigncthan Castle; Battle of Drumclog;
Cad-cow Castle; Wild Cattle, 20.-Hamilton Palace-Hamilton to
Glasgow: Battle of Bothwell Brig; Bothwell Castle; Blantyre Priory;
Rnthcrglen; Battle of Langside, 21.
II - EDINBURGH TO GLASGOW AND AYR, AND THE LAND OF BURNS, THE COASTS
of GALLOWAY AND DUMFRIES. - Most Striking Points on Glasgow Railway
Line; Viaduct over the Almond; Niddry Castle, 22.-Linlithgow Palace
and Church, 23.-Falkirk; Diverging Railway Lines, 24.-Country from
Glasgow to Ayr; Lochwinnoch and Ailbirnie Loch; Crookston Castle;
Paisley; Elderslie; Branch to Kilmarnock; Kilwinning; Ardrossan;
Eglintoun Castle, 25.-Ayr; Burns' Monument and Birthplace, and other
Localities connected with his Name and Works, 26.-The Carrick Shore;
Colzgn and Turnberry Castles; Maybole Parish, 27.-Coasts of
Galloway: Dundrennan Abbey; Balcarry Shore; Colvend; Sweetheart
Abbey, 28.-Dumfries: Lincluden Abbey; Caerlaverock Castle; Lochmaben
and Castle; Dumfriesshire, 29.
III - MAIN RAILWAY LINES THROUGH SCOTLAND.--(1.) Berwick to
Edinburgh: General Features of the Country; Spots of Interest;
Battles of Preston-pans and Pinkie; Conference at Carberry Hill,
3O.-Dunbar and Castle; Church; Works on the Line; Holly Hedges at
Tyningham ; Coldin-ham Priory; Fast Castle, 31.-North Berwick;
Tantallan Castle; The Bass Tock; Haddington; Abbey, 32.-(2.)
Caledonian Railway, 33.--(3.) The Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee
Railway-Grange House; Kirkcaldy; Falkland Palace; Wilkie's
Birth-Place, 34.-St. Andrews; Cathedral; Tower and Chapel of St.
Regulus, 33.-Perth Branch-Lindores Abbey; Round Tower at Abernethy;
Moncrieffe Hill, 36.-(4.) The Scottish Central Railway-General
Course, 37. The adjoining Scenery of the Devon; Alva Glen; Dollar;
Castle Campbell; The Caldron Linn; The Rumbling Bridge, and the
Devil's Mill, 38.-Dunfermline; Malcolm's Tower; Abbey Church;
Palace; Clackmannan and Alloa Towers, 39.-Bridge of Allan;
Kipperness Sycamore Tree; Dunblane; Cathedral; Archbishop Leighton's
Walk and Library; Battle of Sheriffmuir; Forteviot; Tunnel at
Moncrieffe Hill, 40.-(6.) The Perth and Dundee; Dundee and Arbroath;
Scottish Midland Junction, and Arbroath and Forfar Railways: Carse
of Gourie; Dundee; Glammis Castle; Arbroath; Abbey of Aberbrothock,
41.- (6.) The Aberdeen Railway: Montrose; Brechin; Church and Round
Tower; Dunnotar Castle, 42.
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
By R. Angus Smith (1885)
Have now concluded this book by adding the Appendix which actually
contains some interesting on Vitrified Forts.
Here is one letter on the subject...
THE first observer of vitrified forts was Mr. John Williams, who
described them in a small book entitled "On Highland Ruins,"
published in Edinburgh in 1877. It contains the following letter:-
Letter from DR. JOSEPH BLACK, Professor of Chymistry in the
University of Edinburgh.
"SIR,I am much obliged to you for the sight of your letters
concerning the vitrified fortresses in the 'North. I had got
formerly from some of my friends, some accounts of extraordinary
vitrified walls which they had seen in the Highlands; and Mr. James
Wyatt, who spent some time in surveying a part of that country,
communicated a number of particular observations which he had made
upon one of these ruins; but we were not enabled to judge with any
certainty, for what purposes, or in what manner, these hitherto
unheard-of buildings had been erected. It is very probable that they
were executed in some such manner as you have imagined. There are,
in most parts of Scotland, different kinds of stone, which can,
without much difficulty, be melted or softened by fire, to such a
degree, as to make them cohere together. Such is the grey stone,
called whin-stone, which, for some time past, has been carried to
London to pave the streets. Such also is the granite, or moor-stone,
which is applied to the same use, and pieces of which are plainly
visible in some specimens of these vitrified walls, which I received
from my friends. There are also many lime-stones, which, in
consequence of their containing certain proportions of sand and
clay, are very fusible: and there is no doubt that sand-stone and
pudden-stone when they happen to contain certain proportions of iron
mixed with the sand and gravel of which they are composed, must have
the same quality. A pudden-stone composed of pieces of granite must
necessarily have it.
"There is abundance of one or other of these kinds of stone in many
parts of Scotland; and as the whole country was anciently a forest,
and the greater part of it overgrown with wood, it is easy to
understand how those who erected these works, got the materials
necessary for their purposes.I am, SIR, your obedient humble
Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's
A Book for Bairns and Big Folk by Robert Ford (1904).
The pages we have up this week are...
The Emperor Napoleon
A' the Birdies i the Air
Through the Needle-e'e, Boys
The Blue Bird
When I was a Young Thing
Here is "When I was a Young Thing" for you to read here...
"When I was a young thing," of simple though pretty action, has had
a wide vogue. Its rhyme goes:
When I was a young thing,
A young thing, a young thing;
When I was a young thing,
How happy was I.
'Twas this way. and that way,
And this way, and that way
When I was a young thing.
Oh, this way went I.
When I was a school-girl, etc.
When I was a teacher, etc.
When I had a sweetheart, etc.
When I had a husband, etc.
When I had a baby, etc.
When I had a donkey, etc.
When I took in washing, etc.
When my baby died, oh died. etc.
When my husband died, etc.
The players, joining hands, form a ring, and dance or walk round
singing the words, and keeping the ring form until the end of the
fourth line in each successive verse, when they unclasp, and stand
still. Each child then takes hold of her skirt and dances
individually to the right and left, making two or three steps. Then
all walk round singly, singing the second four lines, and masking
suitable action to the words as they sing and go: the same form
being continued throughout.
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
by James M. Mackinlay (1893)
Added more chapters to this book...
Chapter IX - Witness of Water
Chapter X - Water Spirits
Chapter XI - More Water Spirits
Chapter XII - Offerings at Lochs and Springs
Chapter XIII - Weather and Wells
Chapter XIV - Trees and Springs
Chapter XV - Charm Stones in and out of Water
Here is how the chapter on Trees and Springs starts...
TREES were at one time worshipped as well as fountains. Ygdrasil,
the world-tree of Scandinavian mythology, had three roots, and
underneath each, was a fountain of wonderful virtues. This
represents the connection between tree and well in the domain of
mythology. But the same superstition was connected with ordinary
trees and wells. Glancing back over the history of civilisation, we
reach a period, when vegetation was endowed with personality. As
plants manifested the phenomena of life and death like man and the
lower animals, they had a similar kind of existence attributed to
them. Among some savages to-day, the fragrance of a flower is
thought to be its soul. As there was thus no hard and fast line
between man and the vegetable kingdom, the one could be derived from
the other; in other words, men could have trees as their ancestors.
Curious survivals of such a belief lie both revealed and concealed
in the language of to-,day. Though we are far separated from such a
phase of archaic religion, we speak of the branches of a family. At
one time such an expression represented a literal fact, and not a
mere metaphor. In like manner, we call a son, who resembles his
father, "a chip of the old block." But how few when using the phrase
are alive to its real force! Mr. Keary, in his "Outlines of
Primitive Belief," observes, "Even when the literal notion of the
descent from a tree had been lost sight of, the close connection
between the prosperity of the tribe and the life of its fetish was
often strictly held. The village tree of the German races was
originally a tribal tree with whose existence the life of the
village was involved."
The picturesque ceremony known as the "Wassailing of Apple-trees,"
kept up till lately in Devon and Cornwall, carries our thoughts back
to the time when tree-worship was a thriving cult in our land. It
was celebrated on the evening before Epiphany (January 6th). The
farmer, accompanied by his labourers, carried a pail of cider with
roasted apples in it into the orchard. The pail was placed on the
ground, and each one of the company took from it a cupful of the
liquid. They then stood before the trees and repeated the following
"Health to thee, good apple tree,
Well to bear pocket-fulls, hat-fulls,
Peck-fulls, bushel bag-fulls."
Part of the contents of the cup was then drunk, and the remainder,
was thrown at the tree amid shouts from the by-standers. Relics of
the same cult can be traced in the superstitious regard for such
trees as the rowan, the elder, &c., and in the decoration of the
May-pole and the Christmas Tree. According to an ancient Irish
legend, a certain spring in Erin, called Connla's Well, had growing
over it nine mystical hazel trees. Year by year these trees produced
their flowers and fruit simultaneously. The nuts were of a brilliant
crimson colour and contained in some mysterious way the knowledge of
all that was best in poetry and art. Professor O'Curry, in his "Lectvcres
on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish," refers to this
legend, and says, "No sooner were the beautiful nuts produced on the
trees than they always dropped into the well, raising by their fall
a succession of shining red bubbles. Now, during this time the water
was always full of salmon, and no sooner did the bubbles appear than
these salmon darted to the surface and ate the nuts, after which
they made their way to the river. The eating of the nuts produced
brilliant crimson spots on the bellies of these salmon, and to catch
and eat these salmon became an object of more than mere gastronomic
interest among those who were anxious to become distinguished in the
arts and in literature without being at the pains and delay of long
study, for the fish was supposed to have become filled with the
knowledge which was contained in the nuts, which, it was believed,
would be transferred in full to those who had the good fortune to
catch and eat them."
Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers in 3 volumes
I now have up...
Domestic and Social Usages
Here is how Chapter II starts...
In the Loch of the Clans in the county of Nairn, out of which the
water has been drained, appears an oval chamber, enclosed by a stone
wall; this seems to have been lined with wood. The roof and floor
were of undressed oak. The crannog had begun to merge into the
The structure in the Loch of the Clans presents a wall twenty feet
in extreme width, while the interior chamber is eighteen feet long,
sixteen broad, and ten high. These measurements point to its
existence at or before the Roman period. But the Celts reared forts
of timber long afterwards. If we except the burghs and caers,
latterly built of stone, the chief strongholds were up to the tenth
century formed of logs. Forts and great houses of timber existed in
Morayshire till the thirteenth century. Mansions and strongholds of
stone began to prevail in the eleventh century. Prior to the war of
independence, the state of architecture in Scotland and England was
In an interesting publication, the Marquess of Bute has described
the manor-house of the thirteenth century as "a tower of massive
strength, about three or four storeys high, with one room on each
storey; the ground floor a vaulted cellar, the first floor a sort of
general kitchen and living-room, with stone vaulting between or
above them; then the single private chamber, appropriated to the
lady of the house and her family; the whole crowned with a
high-pitched roof, covered with shingle, through which the shaft or
shafts of the chimneys pierced up into the air. The hall," adds the
Marquess, "was the main feature of houses of this period; and
indeed, besides the ordinary offices of stables, byres,
store-houses, and such like, and a larder or pantrydoubtless near
the kitchen, there seem to have been only two domestic apartments of
any importancethe kitchen and the private chamberfor the use of
the family." ("The Early Days of Sir William Wallace," by John,
Marquess of Bute, Paisley, 1876, 4to, p. 31.)
The Gateway of Scotland
East Lothian, Lammermoor and the Merse
By A. G. Bradley (1912)
A new book we've started and here is what the Preface has to say...
THAT the south-eastern corner of Scotland, or, in broad terms, the
country between Berwick and Edinburgh, is as a whole the most
historically interesting region in the northern kingdom, no one, I
presume, will deny. Its geographical situation has virtually
entailed upon it this distinction since recorded history began. Nor,
having regard to the past as well as to the present, can any
objection be urged against the title of this book. But it is not
mainly for this reason that after some summers of rambling on the
English Marches to the south of it, I have ventured to cross the
Tweed, a liberty which I trust will be forgiven an Englishman by my
readers in the north. For this little enterprise might with truth be
designated a re-visitation rather than a fresh departure. Indeed the
reminiscent note so frequently sounded in these pages might almost
call for some apology if it were not for the hope that occasional
glimpses into another and widely different day might peradventure
prove of some interest to a younger generation, even of Scotsmen.
Moreover, it is at least noteworthy that so far as I know no
appreciation by pen or pencil in book form of this distinguished and
inspiring regioncertainly no recent or accessible oneexists from
which those who care to may gather something of it. My attempt to
supply one may perhaps move some of those who race through this
country so often by mail train to at least an armchair exploration
of its features, which at the best are noble and at the worst never
This is not a guide-hook, though it may be incidentally noted that
the standard guide-books treat these counties with scant
consideration, not being a tourist country, a fact that may perhaps
be accounted to its advantage. Nor have I any designs on the summer
campaigns of the southern tourist. He goes, and probably always will
go, with the crowds, protesting not seldom that these annoy him;
though often, I suspect, impelled by the hallucination that all the
delectable portions of his own country are thus invaded. Judging by
the comparative paucity of physical and kindred attractions in some
that are, he might well think so. As a matter of fact, Edinburgh
folk almost alone among those outside it know anything of the old
Eastern March of Scotland. The alien golfing contingent on the coast
might be accounted an exception, if one did not know the not
unnatural tenacity with which a visiting golfer clings to a
first-class sand course that takes some getting to. But these things
do not matter, for the motives that prompted this book have already
been alluded to. It remains for me only to hope that it may be
received not less kindly in the north than was its predecessor upon
the neighbouring county of Northumberland,
I have up the following chapters...
Chapter I. Berwick-on-Tweed
Chapter II. Coldinghamshire
Chapter III. The Sea Front of the Lammermoors
Chapter IV. Tweedside
Chapter V. From Coldstream to Hume Castle
Chapter VI. On the Whiteadder
Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw
Joy is a word reserved for few speakers and writers, but Billy Kay
stands tall in this select group. His life and his work could be
summed up as a song of joy. To say he is one of Scotlands great
chroniclers of its language and culture is not an exaggeration. This
eloquent performer and broadcaster continues to dazzle his audiences
year after year. He is an accomplished writer and author as well as
an extraordinaire wordsmith.
Born in Ayrshire, Billy possesses an MA degree with Honours in
English Language and Literature. He speaks French, German and
Portuguese, and I would wager that somewhere there is also a wee bit
of Scots and Spanish. At BBC he created the acclaimed Odyssey series
of documentaries recording the oral history of the Scottish working
class. Billy has written two plays for radio and one for the stage,
as well as recently producing an average of ten new features per
year for Radio Scotland. He has interviewed nearly 2,000 people from
different walks of life and, like Robert Burns, he always brings out
mans humanity. His list of accomplishments and awards would take up
several pages, so I will conclude by saying that our readers are in
for a special treat.
Now I offer a heads-up to all who can take advantage of it. Next
week, February 24-25, 2009, Billy will speak at the Symposium,
Robert Burns at 250: Poetry, Politics & Performance at the Library
of Congress in Washington, D.C. My wife Susan and I will be in
attendance and look forward to seeing and talking with Billy Kay.
For more information on him and his work, please visit
The Social and Economic Condition of the Highlands of Scotland Since
By A. J. Beaton (1906)
I found this to be a very interesting wee book and here is what the
Forward has to say about it...
IN issuing from the press, at this time, in book j form, his
excellent essay on the Highlands and Western Islands of Scotland, I
am of opinion that Mr. Beaton is conferring a distinct benefit on
his countrymen. His little treatise is undoubtedly one of the wisest
and best ever written on the subject. The author of the essay now
lives in South Africa, where he discharges the duties of an
important and responsible situation; and it says a good deal for him
that, in the midst of all his toils and anxieties in that part of
the world, he can still find time to plan out schemes for the
improvement of his dear old native land, and for the amelioration of
the material and social condition of its inhabitants. Mr. Beaton is
no mere theorist or day-dreamer. On the contrary, as a successful
engineer, with an extensive and varied experience, he knows
thoroughly what he is writing about; and he clearly demonstrates
that the suggestions he makes, if carried into effect, would not
only be of present benefit to the Highland people, but would
actually pay, and in most cases be a source of future enrichment to
the nation at large. I am fully persuaded that in his book Mr.
Beaton gives voice to the demands of all reasonable and common-sense
people in our Highlands and Islands; and I trust that our
legislators will "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" his modest
and moderate proposals, which, I feel perfectly sure, will be
helpful to them in their deliberations on the subject.
On account of the great distance between Johannesburg and Stirling,
Mr. Beaton requested me to revise the proofs of his volume, a task
which I readily agreed to undertake; and I accordingly endeavoured,
so far as possible, to correct those small errors in spelling which
have such a tendency to creep into a printed book. Of course, Mr.
Beaton himself is to be held responsible for the final revision of
JOHN SINCLAIR, B.D.,
Parish Minister of Kinloch-Rannoch.
THE MANSE, KINLOCH-RANNOCH,
PERTHSHIRE, 20th March, 1906.
He had great ideas on how to improve the Highlands of Scotland and
some of his thoughts, I think, are still relevant today.
Fallbrook Farm Heritage Site
Got in another update from this Heritage project in Ontario. It
includes a letter in support of the project from Dr Graeme Morton,
Chair of the Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.
The letter includes some interesting information about the Scots in
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