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soc.culture.scottish FAQ

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The Internet's first guide to Scotland and Scottish culture.

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the soc.culture.scottish usenet
newsgroup and Scottish information likely to be of general interest.

news:soc.culture.scottish was created on 24th May 1995. The proposer was
Brian Atkins and the group charter is located at the start of this FAQ.

The information here is copyright (c) Craig Cockburn 1994-2010,
please ask me if you want to use any material here for any purpose.
The idea for an on-line reference source for Scottish material came
to me in 1989 when I started the Scotland notesfile when working at
Digital (now Compaq/HP).

This FAQ first appeared in May 1994.

FAQ Information
The latest version of this FAQ, together with FTP sites for the FAQ and
details of how to get it by mail is at

There are details there of the FAQ in Text, HTML and Zip formats as well
as a full search engine. There is also an associated e-mail list for the

This FAQ is a living document, if there's any corrections, additions or
comments you'd like to make, please send them to me for the next edition.
The usual major updates for the archive are :-
25-Jan (Burns night)
1-May (Beltain)
1-Aug (Lammas)
30-Nov (St Andrew's day).

Thanks to all those who have contributed articles, comments and corrections
to this FAQ.

Craig Cockburn, Editor and main author.
Scotland (Alba).

Please don't e-mail me with questions which can be answered by posting them
in soc.culture.scottish or other related newsgroups or mailing lists
mentioned here. I already get too much mail to be able to answer it all.

For tourism questions, contact
tel: +44 1506 832121

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Gaelic: Ceistean Minig a Thig
Scots: Aften speirit quaistions

Some sayings:

    "Is truagh nach ta\inig Minig Nach Tig
     Leath cho minig 's a tha\inig Minig a Thig"
        <It's a pity that the things which don't come often
          don't come half as frequently as the things which do">
     (adapted from an Irish story)

"We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation" (Voltaire).

FAQ Contents
(full index follows after this summary)
1. General Information, Scottish society
2. Celtic culture and language information
3. Scots language information
4. Scottish music
5. Literature and Poetry
6. Festivals
7. Gaelic information
8. Gaelic song and music
9. Song lyrics
10. Scottish dance
11. Historical information
12. Traditions and Culture
13. Food, drink and pubs
14. Travel, Tourism and What's on
15. Areas and Places of Scotland
16. Sport and Recreation
17. Education
18. Media and Broadcasting
19. Government, Politics and Sovereignty
20. Internet and Computing information
21. Sources of Further information
22. Links in this FAQ

General Information, Scottish society
[1.1] Charter of soc.culture.scottish
[1.2] Scotland's name
[1.3] The Saltire (Scotland's flag)
[1.4] Geological Information
[1.5] Scottish saints and towns
[1.6] Scotland's population
[1.7] Currency and legal tender
[1.8] Legal questions
[1.9] Scottish books
[1.10] Business start-up information
[1.11] Scottish import shops
[1.12] Scottish exporters
[1.13] Scottish inventors
[1.14] Scottish business links
[1.15] Getting a job in Scotland
[1.16] Scottish Yellow Pages
[1.17] Scottish White Pages
[1.18] Getting Scottish addresses and phone numbers
[1.19] Buying a house, letting accommodation
[1.20] Women's issues
[1.21] Community information
[1.22] National holidays
[1.23] Sheep
[1.24] City status

Celtic culture and language information
[2.1] Celtic background
[2.2] Celtic art and font links
[2.3] The Celtic cross
[2.4] Postgraduate courses in Celtic studies
[2.5] The history of language in Scotland
[2.6] Celtic knotwork
[2.7] Pan-Celtic organisations in Scotland
[2.8] Imbas mailing list

Scots language information
[3.1] What is the Scots language. Who do I contact for more info?
[3.2] On-line Scots language info
[3.3] Scots Language Society / Scots Leid Associe
[3.4] Lowlands-L mailing list

Scottish music
[4.1] Introduction to Scottish Music
[4.2] Suggestions for a Scottish National Anthem
[4.3] Scottish Music record labels
[4.4] Folk Events Listings
[4.5] Folk and Traditional Music Record shops
[4.6] Primary folk music pubs and sessions
[4.7] Folk Clubs
[4.8] Scottish music information
[4.9] Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA)
[4.10] Scottish Groups, Folk Groups, Artists and Bands
[4.11] Fiddle styles
[4.12] Books for learning the fiddle
[4.13] Where can I get a piper?
[4.14] Where can I get bagpipes?
[4.15] Early bagpipe references
[4.16] Learning to play the harp (clarsach)
[4.17] Scottish Arts Council
[4.18] Living Tradition
[4.19] Traditional Scottish Music and Culture List
[4.20] Cape Breton music mailing list
[4.21] Reference material for Scottish music
[4.22] The Piano film music

Literature and Poetry
[5.1] Primary literary figures
[5.2] Info on Robert Burns
[5.3] Address to a Haggis - Robert Burns
[5.4] Robert Burns links
[5.5] The Celtic muse in Scott's 'Waverley'
[5.6] Scottish Poetry Library
[5.7] The Saltire Society
[5.8] Women's writing
[5.9] Scottish literature and writers
[5.10] Literature magazines and newsletters
[5.11] The Selkirk Grace
[5.12] Obituary of Sorley MacLean
[5.13] Sunset Song

[6.1] Scottish folk festivals
[6.2] Edinburgh Festival Fringe
[6.3] Edinburgh Folk Festival
[6.4] Gaelic festivals / Feisean nan Gaidheal
[6.5] Festivals in Edinburgh
[6.6] Scottish and Celtic festivals worldwide
[6.7] Hebridean Celtic Festival

Gaelic information
[7.1] How can I learn Gaelic?
[7.2] Gaelic links
[7.3] Where can I get Gaelic books?
[7.4] Scots Gaelic products and catalogue
[7.5] Where can I get Gaelic music and lyrics, info on Gaelic songs
[7.6] The National Mod and Local Mods
[7.7] How mutually intelligible are Scots and Irish Gaelic?
[7.8] Gaelic playgroups
[7.9] Gaelic newspapers
[7.10] Gaelic Arts
[7.11] Info on Scots Gaelic accents
[7.12] Scots Gaelic translation services
[7.13] Dog commands in Gaelic
[7.14] Census figures for Gaelic speakers

Gaelic song and music
[8.1] Learning Gaelic song
[8.2] Waulking songs and information
[8.3] Puirt a beul
[8.4] Gaelic psalm singing
[8.5] Piobaireachd, Pibroch and Piping
[8.6] Oldest datable Gaelic Song
[8.7] Information on Runrig
[8.8] Information on Capercaillie

Song lyrics
[9.1] Scottish songs on-line
[9.2] Scottish song books
[9.3] Frequently requested songs

Scottish dance
[10.1] Understanding Scottish Dance music
[10.2] What is a Ceilidh
[10.3] Article on Scottish Step Dancing
[10.4] What is Scottish Country Dancing?
[10.5] Scottish Highland Dancing
[10.6] Books on Scottish dancing

Historical information
[11.1] How do I trace my Scottish ancestry?
[11.2] Scottish Monarchs
[11.3] Declaration of Arbroath
[11.4] History and Archaeology information
[11.5] The Picts
[11.6] Antiquarian books
[11.7] Historical re-enactments
[11.8] Museum of Scotland project
[11.9] The story of Glasgow's emblem (fish and ring)
[11.10] Scottish historic buildings and sites
[11.11] William Wallace / Braveheart
[11.12] Clan Links
[11.13] John MacLean
[11.14] Robert Tannahill
[11.15] Robert the Bruce
[11.16] Thomas Muir
[11.17] John Paul Jones
[11.18] The Auld Alliance
[11.19] The Clearances
[11.20] Battle of Culloden
[11.21] Knights Templar
[11.22] Freemasonry
[11.23] Vikings
[11.24] Scots emigration/immigration to the US
[11.25] The fairy flag of MacLeod legend

Traditions and Culture
[12.1] Learning and studying Scottish Culture
[12.2] Cultural Newsletters and websites
[12.3] Kilts and their history
[12.4] Plaid
[12.5] Tartan and Tartan Day
[12.6] Where to buy/hire a kilt and Highland accessories
[12.7] Kirking of the tartans
[12.8] Scotch
[12.9] Scottish Wedding Information
[12.10] The Church of Scotland
[12.11] Choosing a Scottish name for your child
[12.12] Couthie on the Craigie - Hyperreal Scottish culture
[12.13] Burns night / St Andrews Day / Tartan Day
[12.14] Saint Andrew's society
[12.15] Christmas Customs
[12.16] Hogmanay Customs
[12.17] New Year Fire Festivals
[12.18] Ba' game, Orkney
[12.19] Halloween
[12.20] Use of Mc Vs Mac in Scottish Surnames
[12.21] What is worn under the kilt?

Food, drink and pubs
[13.1] Haggis information
[13.2] Scottish cooking and recipes
[13.3] Best Scottish pubs
[13.4] Whisky (whiskey)
[13.5] Ale (Beer)
[13.6] Irn-bru
[13.7] Traditional bread recipe (Gaelic and English)

Travel, Tourism and What's on
[14.1] What's on
[14.2] Scottish Guide books
[14.3] VisitScotland / Scottish Tourist Board
[14.4] Travel information
[14.5] On-line maps
[14.6] Scottish and UK Virtual Reality Map
[14.7] Arts information and events
[14.8] Mary King's Close
[14.9] Photographs of Scotland
[14.10] Gift and Tourist shops
[14.11] Scottish Youth Hostels Association
[14.12] Dynamic Earth exhibition
[14.13] Museums
[14.14] Travel companies

Areas of Scotland
[15.1] Aberdeenshire
[15.2] Bonnyrigg
[15.3] Central Scotland
[15.4] Cromarty
[15.5] Dalgety Bay
[15.6] Dunblane
[15.7] Easdale Island
[15.8] Edinburgh
[15.9] Falkirk
[15.10] Fort William and Lochaber
[15.11] Galnafanaigh
[15.12] Glasgow
[15.13] Highlands and Islands
[15.14] Kinlochleven
[15.15] Knoydart
[15.16] Loch Ness
[15.17] Melrose
[15.18] Midlothian
[15.19] Montrose
[15.20] Oban
[15.21] Queensferry and Forth Bridges
[15.22] Road to the Isles
[15.23] Shetland and Orkney
[15.24] St Andrews
[15.25] Stirling
[15.26] The Trossachs
[15.27] Linlithgow

Sport and Recreation
[16.1] Football
[16.2] Rugby
[16.3] Camanachd (shinty)
[16.4] Golf
[16.5] Highland Games
[16.6] Curling
[16.7] Fishing and Angling
[16.8] Cricket
[16.9] Cycling
[16.10] Skiing
[16.11] Walking and Rambling
[16.12] Books for hillwalkers
[16.13] What is a Munro, Corbett or Graham?
[16.14] Diving
[16.15] Horse riding holidays

[17.1] Intro to Scottish Education
[17.2] Scottish Qualifications Authority
[17.3] Books and information on studying Scottish culture
[17.4] Learning and Teaching Scotland
[17.5] SCRAN - Historical and cultural on-line resource
[17.6] League tables of Scottish schools
[17.7] Research papers

Media and Broadcasting
[18.1] Newspapers
[18.2] Radio
[18.3] Television
[18.4] Scottish and Celtic broadcasting on the Internet
[18.5] Scottish music radio programmes
[18.6] Gaelic TV and radio information
[18.7] Attitudes towards Gaelic TV in Scotland
[18.8] Scottish film industry
[18.9] Scottish film locations

Government, Politics and Sovereignty
[19.1] Scottish Government
[19.2] Sources of political information
[19.3] Scottish politics e-mail lists
[19.4] Government publications
[19.5] Scottish sovereignty
[19.6] Scottish and English oil and energy reserves
[19.7] Political Quotations
[19.8] Quangos
[19.9] Local Councils
[19.10] 1997 General Election results
[19.11] Devolution Referendum Results
[19.12] The Scottish Parliament
[19.13] How the Scottish Parliament might work
[19.14] Scottish Elections
[19.15] Understanding Parliament
[19.16] The Monarchy
[19.17] OBEs, honorific titles, "gongs" etc
[19.18] Scottish Independence information
[19.19] Article on Independence
[19.20] Contacting MPs, MSPs by E-mail
[19.21] Health and the NHS

Internet and Computing information
[20.1] Silicon Glen - Technology in Scotland
[20.2] General Internet information
[20.3] Creating a top level domain for Scotland
[20.4] Scottish usenet newsgroups
[20.5] How to get scot.* hierarchy groups
[20.6] Getting hooked up to the Internet
[20.7] Internet Cafes and Public Internet Access Points
[20.8] How can I find someone in Scotland on the Internet?
[20.9] Faxing Scotland by E-mail

Sources of Further information
[21.1] Scottish links
[21.2] Mailing lists
[21.3] Celtic information and Celtic FAQs

Links in this FAQ
[22.1] Alphabetic list of links in this FAQ
[22.2] Links to pages of this FAQ

[1.1] Charter of soc.culture.scottish

The news:soc.culture.scottish newsgroup will be open to discussion of all
subjects specifically referring to Scotland or Scottish culture. This
newsgroup will be created for reasons including, but not restricted to,
the following:

* To encourage understanding and discussion of Scotland and Scottish
culture, in the many ways people wish to define it.

* To act as a focus for the Scottish Diaspora (Scottish people, including
emigrants and their descendants) and to draw together the global
threads of the Scottish nation.

* To act as a resource for Scottish people who wish to use the Internet
and for people who wish to encourage the development of the Internet
in Scotland.

* To provide a forum for the use and support of the Scots and Scots
Gaelic languages and the Norse influenced dialects of Orkney and

The following exceptions should be noted:

* Matters referring to broader British issues should be posted to

* Matters referring to the broader Celtic issues should be posted
to news:soc.culture.celtic.

* Matters referring to Scottish Celtic folk music may have a more
appropriate forum in

Millions of people worldwide are of Scottish descent, and there is
sufficient demand for a forum to discuss specifically Scottish topics.
Many new Usenet users are at a loss when they fail to find a group with
Scottish or Scotland in the title. This group's name will act as a
signpost for these people.

Previously, many people have used either news:soc.culture.british or
news:soc.culture.celtic, but this situation is increasingly difficult.
As the Scots are a small minority amongst the British peoples, many
who would post and/or read articles on uniquely Scottish topics in
the soc.culture.british newsgroup are inhibited from doing so by the
overwhelming number of non-Scottish posts to that group. The group
soc.culture.celtic also tends to be dominated by posts about Ireland
which are not related to Celtic matters and are not of interest to the
group's traditional readers. The soc.culture.celtic newsgroup is also
not particularly suitable for discussing Scottish issues as a great many
Scots do not view themselves as Celts.

The Scottish culture is unique. The Scots are a British people who have
been influenced by a number of different cultures. The main cultural
influence has been an Anglo-Saxon one similar but distinct from that of
England. The Gaelic culture of the Highlands is indeed a part of the
wider Celtic culture. The culture of Orkney and Shetland has been deeply
influenced by Scandinavia. This unique fusion of diverse cultures means
that there is currently no newsgroup that can serve as a forum for all
Scottish people to discuss uniquely Scottish issues.

The motivation for the creation of a soc.culture.scottish newsgroup is not
separatist. The new newsgroup will serve the distinct needs of the Scottish
people in the same way as say the existing and
news:soc.culture.berber newsgroups serve the distinct needs of the Quebec
and Berber peoples.

Charter authors:  Brian Atkins, John Mack, Craig Cockburn.

Control and Summary

One line summary
The newsgroup line for soc.culture.scottish is:
"Anything regarding Scotland or things Scots."

Control Messages

[1.2] Scotland's name

Scotland gets its name from the Scots, or Scotti who first arrived
in Argyll in the late 3rd to mid 4th centuries AD. It was not until
about 500AD that they built up a sizeable colony though. The Scots
spoke Irish, not Scots. Scots is a Germanic language like English,
described later. "Scotti" is what the Romans called them. We don't
know what they called themselves!

Some info on the Romans is available at

[1.3] The Saltire (Scotland's flag)

Scotland has two flags - the Saltire or St Andrew's cross (white
on blue) and the Lion Rampant (yellow and red). The Lion Rampant
is the Royal flag and is supposed to only be used by royalty.
The Saltire is the oldest flag in Europe.

The St Andrew's Cross according to legend is that shape because
the apostle Andrew petitioned the Roman authorities who had
sentenced him to death not to crucify him on the same shape of
cross as Christ, and this was granted.

Anyway, legend has it that the saltire flag has its origins in a
battle near Athelstaneford in East Lothian, circa 832AD when Angus
mac Fergus, King of the Picts, and Eochaidh of Dalriada defeated the
army of Athelstane, King of Northumbria comprising Angles and Saxons.

There is a saltire flying there near the church with an explanation
regarding the origin of the flag. The night before the battle, the
Scots saw a cross formation of clouds in the sky resembling a St
Andrew's cross - the patron Saint. They took this sign as an omen
and indeed they were successful in battle the next day. Thus the
colours in the flag are supposed to be white to represent the clouds
and azure, the colour of the sky towards the end of the day. Sky blue
is not the right colour, it is too light. The Scottish Parliament has
debated this matter and decided on Pantone 300 as the recommended colour

If you want this colour on your PC, the RGB Value on the colour
sliders for Pantone 300 should be 0, 132, 202. The web value for fill
colours should be "#0084CA".

The saltire was later incorporated in the union flag and union jack
although the colour of blue there is different. In those flags it
is navy blue which is used. The union jack is the version of the union
flag used on the jack staff at the front of a ship. This difference of
colour between the saltire and the union flags has resulted in some
confusion over the correct colour of the Scottish flag - so insist the
you get one which is azure and white and not anything else!

William the Lyon who adopted the Lion Rampant (in 1165) to replace the
previous symbol of Scots Sovereignty, which was a Boar. This has led
to some humorous speculation as to what the present title of the
Lord Lyon King of Arms might be had the change not been adopted.
Further, it was a heraldic symbol (or a Lyon rampant gules) far
before the charge of the Earl of Galloway. I forget what bloodline
used the charge just now, but I know that it predated the adoption
of the Saltire in the 9th century. I've got the reference somewhere
and I'll have a look about for it. The most modern change to the
standard occurred in 1165 with the addition of the gules bordure
tressure fleury-counterfleury, which is entirely distinctive and to
my knowledge not emblazoned on any other arms anywhere.

Reputable places to buy flags include:

James Stevenson Flags Ltd
75 Westmoreland Street
G42 8LH
Tel: 0141 423 5757

James Stevenson Flags Ltd
16 Millgate
Cupar, Fife

The Scottish National Party
Gordon Lamb House
3 Jackson's Entry
Tel: 0800 633 5432  (on-line shop)

Scots Independent,
51 Cowane Street,
Tel: 01786 473523

Please state size (length) required - from half a yard to 5 yards.

Use of Saltire and Union Flag
It is the case of course that it is NOT permissible for the ordinary
citizen of the UK either Scottish, English, Welsh or Irish to fly the
Union Flag. It is only permissible for Government offices, Royal Navy
ships on their foretop and certain other military uses (and recently
certain royal dwellings in the absence of the monarch). It is the flag
of the Union only. The common citizens should be flying their own
national flags - the crosses of St George, St Andrew, St Patrick and
of Cornwall and the dragon of Wales, unless they are on board ship when
these flags may be flown on the foretop but the red ensign is mandatory.
Scots should not even be flying the lion rampant which is the sign
reserved to the monarch of Scotland.

The question is as to what flag should fly in front of the Parliament of
Scotland, the Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly and
over the buildings housing the official administrations of these. This
should be a matter for each body to chose for itself (for instance the
Scots should have the right to change their saltire or its background to
pink if they so wish).

Further information

There is a Heritage centre at Athelstaneford and it is open daily
between 10am and 5pm from April to September. Admission is free.

The Scottish Flag Trust, PO Box 84, Edinburgh, Scotland.

[1.4] Geological Information

The landmass known today as Scotland was once connected to the area of
the Torngat Mountain range of Labrador, Canada. This mountain range
was part of the Grenville province, named for the Grenville orogeny
during which it was created when the landmass now known as North America
collided with Gondwanaland during the late Proterozoic Period (about 2
billion years ago). At that time "Scotland" was located nearly
equidistant between the northern tip of Newfoundland and the southern
tip of Greenland, situated northeast of the former and southeast of the

The Great Glen is a strike-slip fault similar to the San Andreas fault
of California (US). Because of compressional tension along faults, the
rocks along such features are prone to developing fractures. Where such
faults and their consequent fractures meet the surface of the land,
water infiltrates the fractures. Freezing and thawing of this water,
couples with its flow down slope, contributing to the acceleration of
erosion that causes the development of the lochs of Scotland which
display the characteristic southwest to northeast relative trajectory.

This type of loch formation should not be confused with the coastal
lochs which display a predominance of glacial melt erosion features. As
the glaciers melt, the newly unburdened lithosphere uplifts due to
isostatic rebound in the dense, semifluid asthenosphere layer below. The
resulting increase in the slope of the land surface accelerates
meltwaters down slope, and the consequent saltatory transport of
sediments increases, deepening the loch seaward.

Scotland and England were originally separated by a sea known as the
Iapetus Ocean. The suture of Scotland to England occurred along the
area of Hadrian's Wall. The two "parts of Scotland" however might be
considered to be demarcated by the Lewisian (gneiss) deposits (of the
Isle of Lewis, for instance) in the Northwest Foreland (The northwestern
coast from River Donard south to encompass Coll and Tiree Islands and
down to the southwestern most tip of the Isle of Mull--including Rum,
Skye and the lesser inner Hebrides) and the landmass characterised by
the Moinian surficial deposits of the Highlands north of the Great Glen
fault. These surficial deposits converge along the Moine thrust faults -
a fault line that runs from the southeastern most boundary of Skye and
the Isle of Mull north, north east just east of Durness and the River
Donard (also listed as the River Hope according to my maps). Anyway, you
get the area of the basic line of the suture, I'm sure. Suffice to say
that the entire area represents a convergent plate boundary where the
basaltic oceanic plate is being subducted beneath the continental
plate and the ancillary Island Arc of the Outer Hebrides is being rafted
along towards a collision with the mainland (if one can call it that).

Further reading
For info on Scotland, see the Scottish information on this page

A formidable understanding of geological terms will be necessary to get
the most out of the above paper. To that end, for education on
geological technical terms one would do well to consult:

For an informative elaboration of Scotland's geological history in terms
understandable to most folks not particularly well versed in geological
information consult:

A recommended book is Craig, G Y (ed.) "The Geology of Scotland", now in
its 3rd edition, and full bibliographic details available from

[1.5] Scottish saints and towns

St Andrew: Scotland and St Andrews
More details below on St Andrew

Towns/Cities/Places in alphabetic order

St Nicholas: Aberdeen
St Blane: Dunblane
St Mary: Dundee
St Margaret: Dunfermline
St Giles: Edinburgh
St Mungo/Kentigern: Glasgow
St Molaise: Holy Isle off Arran
St Columba: Iona (formerly Scotland as well).
St Cuthbert: Kirkcudbright
St Magnus: Kirkwall
St Baldred: North Berwick
St Mirren: Paisley
St John: Perth
St Ninian: Whithorn

Sources: Scottish Traditions & Festivals, Raymond Lamont-Brown,
W & R Chambers, Edinburgh, 1991

St Andrew
St Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland as the result of a
foreign monk/hermit (Greek if my memory serves) named Rule or Regulus
coming to what is today the town of Saint Andrews in 732 bearing with
him the purported bones of St Andrew. The religious foundation which
grew up around these relics was not originally Catholic, but Culdee.
Even this association with St Andrew is tenuous as there are other
places which claim to possess the bones of St Andrew. In any case, the
town of St Andrews became in consequence the premier religious site in
the east of Scotland and remained such when the Catholic Church attained
ascendancy over the Celtic Churches. In the west of Scotland, less
importance was attached to St Andrew than to the various local saints
such as Columba, Mungo, Maelrubha etc. Ultimately when the Scottish court
became dominated by Scots speakers, St Andrew became their principal
patron while the Gaelic areas chose Columba as their principle champion
and I don't think that they ever held St Andrew in great esteem. There has
always a lot of obscure politics going on in Scotland over the selection
of national saints and symbols and I suspect that the medieval kings
were delighted to have St Andrew, an apostle, as the patron of Scotland
which vicariously made Scotland "superior" to England who only had
St George, a popular but rather mythological patron and gave the east
coasters a chance to sneer at Strathclyde's St. Mungo as small potatoes.

[1.6] Scotland's population

Census figures for Scotland as a whole from 1811 onwards are available

They show a steady rise in population, summarised as follows:

and a further slight rise to
and a slight drop to
and another (this time attributed to poll tax avoidance)

Figures from the General Register for estimates of Scotland's population
on 30 June for the following years. Figures in thousands.


The numbers of births are currently at the lowest level since civil
registration was introduced in 1855.


Here are the figures for the seven Crofting Counties, as posted by
Michael Paterson:

              Argyll  Caithn  Invnss  Ross&C  Sthrld  Orkney  Zetlnd  Total
        1755  66,286  22,215  59,593  48,048  20,774      38,591      255,543
        1801  81,277  22,609  72,672  56,318  23,117  24,445  22,379  302,817
        1811  86,541  23,419  77,671  60,853  23,629  23,238  22,915  318,266
        1821  97,316  29,181  89,961  67,762  23,840  26,979  26,145  361,184
        1831 100,973  34,529  94,797  74,820  25,518  28,847  29,392  388,876
        1841  97,371  36,343  97,799  78,685  24,782  30,507  30,558  396,045
        1851  89,298  38,709  96,500  82,707  25,793  31,455  31,078  395,540
        1861  79,724  41,111  88,888  81,406  25,246  32,395  31,670  380,442
        1871  75,679  39,992  87,531  80,955  24,317  31,274  31,608  371,356
        1881  76,468  38,865  90,454  78,547  23,370  32,044  29,705  369,453
        1891  75,003  37,177  89,317  77,810  21,896  30,453  28,711  360,367
        1901  73,642  33,870  90,104  76,450  21,440  28,699  28,166  352,371
        1911  70,902  32,010  87,272  77,364  20,179  25,897  27,911  341,535
        1921  76,862  28,285  82,082  70,818  17,802  24,111  25,520  325,853
        1931  63,014  25,656  84,930  62,802  16,100  22,075  21,410  293,139
        1951  63,631  22,710  83,480  60,508  13,670  21,255  19,352  285,786
        1961  59,390  27,370  83,480  57,642  13,507  18,747  17,812  277,948

Of course there are other definitions of the *Highlands* that one could
come up with but the Crofting County figures were carefully maintained
and monitored from the time of the Crofting Act (1880s ISTR). Please
bear in mind that Ross and Cromarty included Lewis and Inverness-shire
included the rest of the Western Isles, Skye and the Small Isles.

These figures were taken from a personal Memorandum to the Minister of
State, Scottish Office, about the Highland Development Bill then
before Parliament, written in 1965 by Mac Mhic Iain, the Earl of
Dundee, P.C., later MP for West Renfrewshire, becoming Under-Secretary
of State for Scotland. He was later Minister of State in the Foreign
Office and Deputy-Leader of the House of Lords.

1991 census
This info from the 1991 Census shows the population of 'localities',
i.e. the name used by the General Register Office for Scotland
Info also available at

Localities are cities, towns and villages with a population of 500
residents or more. I won't go into the details of how such areas are
defined but they were drawn up in consultation with local authorities.
Hence, the boundaries and names should reflect local usage.

You can differentiate between towns and cities as you wish - GRO don't.
Note that Glasgow is apportioned between two local authorities.

Figures in thousands

        Local Authority              Locality     Pop 1991
        Glasgow......................Glasgow (Pt)...606.8
        Aberdeen City................Aberdeen...... 189.7
        Dundee City..................Dundee........ 147.0
        Renfrewshire.................Paisley........ 75.5
        South Lanarkshire............East Kilbride.. 70.4
        South Lanarkshire............Glasgow (Pt)....56.0
        South Lanarkshire............Hamilton........50.0
        North Lanarkshire............Cumbernauld.....48.8
        South Ayrshire...............Ayr.............48.0
        East Ayrshire................Kilmarnock......44.3
        North Lanarkshire............Coatbridge......43.6
        West Lothian.................Livingston......41.6
        Perthshire and Kinross.......Perth...........41.5
        North Lanarkshire............Airdrie.........37.0
        North Ayrshire...............Irvine..........33.0
        Dumfries and Galloway........Dumfries........32.1
        North Lanarkshire............Motherwell......30.7
        North Lanarkshire............Wishaw..........29.8
        West Dunbartonshire..........Clydebank.......29.2
        East Dunbartonshire..........Bearsden........27.8
        East Dunbartonshire..........Bishopbriggs....23.8
        West Dunbartonshire..........Dumbarton.......22.0
        North Lanarkshire............Bellshill.......21.6
        East Dunbartonshire..........Kirkintilloch...20.8
        East Lothian.................Musselburgh.....20.6
        Inverclyde...................Port Glasgow....19.7
        East Renfrewshire............Newton Mearns...19.5
        East Renfrewshire............Clarkston.......18.9
        South Lanarkshire............Blantyre........18.5
        East Renfrewshire............Barrhead........17.3
        East Renfrewshire............Giffnock........16.2
        Argyll and Bute..............Helensburgh.....15.9
        Scottish Borders.............Hawick..........15.8
        North Ayrshire...............Kilwinning......15.5
        South Lanarkshire............Larkhall........15.5
        South Ayrshire...............Troon...........15.2
        North Lanarkshire............Viewpark........14.9
        West Dunbartonshire..........Alexandria......14.2
        Scottish Borders.............Galashiels......13.8
        West Lothian.................Bathgate........13.8
        South Ayrshire...............Prestwick.......13.7
        South Lanarkshire............Carluke.........12.9
        East Dunbartonshire..........Milngavie.......12.6
        North Ayrshire...............Saltcoats.......11.9
        West Lothian.................Linlithgow......11.9
        West Lothian.................Broxburn........11.6
        West Lothian.................Whitburn........11.5
        Dumfries and Galloway........Stranraer.......11.3
        Fife.........................St Andrews......11.1
        North Ayrshire...............Largs...........10.9
        North Ayrshire...............Ardrossan.......10.8
        Highland.....................Fort William....10.4
        North Ayrshire...............Stevenston......10.2
        West Dunbartonshire..........Bonhill.........10.1
        East Dunbartonshire..........Lenzie...........9.9
        North Lanarkshire............Kilsyth..........9.9
        East Ayrshire................Cumnock..........9.6
        Argyll and Bute..............Dunoon...........9.0
        West Lothian.................Armadale.........9.0
        Dumfries and Galloway........Annan............8.9
        South Lanarkshire............Lanark...........8.9
        East Lothian.................Haddington.......8.8
        North Lanarkshire............Shotts...........8.8
        West Lothian.................East Calder......8.7
        East Lothian.................Tranent..........8.3
        Argyll and Bute..............Oban.............8.2
        North Ayrshire...............Kilbirnie........8.1
        Perthshire and Kinross.......Blairgowrie......8.0
        West Dunbartonshire..........Duntocher and
        Fife.........................Dalgety Bay......7.9
        Angus........................Dundee (Part)....7.7
        South Ayrshire...............Girvan...........7.4
        Shetland Islands.............Lerwick..........7.3
        Scottish Borders.............Peebles..........7.1
        East Lothian.................Prestonpans......7.0
        North Lanarkshire............Newarthill.......6.6
        South Lanarkshire............Bothwell.........6.5
        East Lothian.................Dunbar...........6.5
        East Ayrshire................Stewarton........6.5
        Orkney Islands...............Kirkwall.........6.5
        South Lanarkshire............Strathaven.......6.4
        Aberdeen City................Dyce.............6.4
        North Ayrshire...............Beith............6.4
        West Dunbartonshire..........Faifley..........6.1
        Perthshire and Kinross.......Crieff...........6.0
        Scottish Borders.............Kelso............6.0
        North Lanarkshire............Moodiesburn......6.0
        Western Isles................Steornabhagh
        Scottish Borders.............Selkirk..........5.9
        North Lanarkshire............Newmains.........5.9
        North Lanarkshire............Holytown.........5.8
        North Ayrshire...............Dalry............5.7
        Argyll and Bute..............Campbeltown......5.7
        East Lothian.................North Berwick....5.7
        East Ayrshire................Hurlford and
        Dumfries and Galloway........Locharbriggs.....5.4
        South Lanarkshire............Uddingston.......5.4
        South Lanarkshire............Stonehouse.......5.3
        Argyll and Bute..............Rothesay.........5.3
        East Renfrewshire............Neilston.........5.3
        East Ayrshire................Galston..........5.2
        Renfrewshire.................Bridge of Weir...5.2
        West Lothian.................Blackburn........5.0

[1.7] Currency and legal tender

All Scottish banks have the right to print their own notes. Three choose
to do so: The Bank of Scotland (founded 1695), The Royal Bank of Scotland
(founded 1727) and the Clydesdale Bank (owned by National Australia Bank).
Only the Royal Bank prints pound notes. All the banks print 5,10,20 and 100
notes. Only the Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank print 50 pound notes.

Scottish bank notes are not legal tender in Scotland. English bank notes
of denomination less than 5UKP were legal tender in Scotland under
Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954. Now, with the removal of BoE 1UKP
notes, only coins constitute legal tender in Scotland. English bank notes
are only legal tender in England, Wales, The Channel Islands and the Isle
of Man. In Scotland, 1 pound coins are legal tender to any amount, 20ps and
50ps are legal tender up to 10 pounds; 10p and 5ps to 5 pounds and 2p and
1p coins are legal tender to 20p (separately or in combination). 2 pounds
coins and (if you can get hold of one) 5 pound coins are also legal tender
to unlimited amounts, as are gold coins of the realm at face value (in
Scotland at least).

Northern Irish notes are not legal tender anywhere, a situation similar to
Scottish notes. Whether Scottish notes are legal tender or not does not
change or alter their inherent value but it dictates their legal function.
Credit cards, cheques and debit cards are not legal tender either but it
doesn't stop them being used as payment. Only a minuscule percentage of
Scottish and British trading is carried out using legal tender. Just because
something is not legal tender certainly doesn't imply it's illegal to use.

The lack of a true legal tender in Scotland does not cause a problem for
Scots Law which is flexible enough to get round this apparent legal
nonsense, as was demonstrated some time ago when one local authority tried
to refuse a cash payment (in Scottish notes) on the grounds it wasn't
"legal tender", but lost their case when the sheriff effectively said
that they were obliged to accept anything which was commonly accepted
as "money", and that should their insistence on "legal tender" have been
supported, it would have resulted in the bill being paid entirely in
coins, which would have been a nonsense; stopping short of saying that
the council would have been "cutting off their nose to spite their
face", but seeming to hint at it.

For tourists: You can spend Scottish notes in England and they are
exactly equivalent to their English counterpart on a one for one
commission free basis. If changing Sterling abroad, do not accept an
inferior rate for changing Scottish notes than is being offered for
English notes as the two are equivalent. You are very unlikely to
encounter problems spending Scottish money in England, I did it for
many years and was never refused.

The definition of legal tender is something which is acceptable as payment
of a debt. If you pay using legal tender, the other person has no recourse
to chase you for payment. As part of the Skye Road Bridge tolls protest,
people have paid in small coins using the greatest number of small
denomination coins which constituted legal tender. Using entirely 1ps
for instance would not have been legal tender and could have been
refused. (This definition is a simplification, see the Currency
section of "Halsbury's Laws of England" for a full legal definition.)

Britain came off the Gold Standard more than 60 years ago. The Scottish
banks are allowed to issue a relatively small amount without backing,
and the remainder of their issue has to be backed by Bank of England
notes to the same value. So the BofE goes bust, the others go with it.

There is some info on monetary history at

More info on legal tender is at

pictures of Scottish currency are at

The following discussion with the Secretary of State for Scotland occurred on
23rd Jan 2008 re Scottish Banknotes and should be available via Hansard.


Malcolm Bruce (Gordon) (LD): What recent discussions he has had with the
Chancellor of the Exchequer on the acceptance of Scottish banknotes outside
Scotland. [179988]

23 Jan 2008 : Column 1481

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Des Browne): I have regular discussions
with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues.

Malcolm Bruce: May I suggest that the Secretary of State impress on the
Chancellor and the Governor of the Bank of England that it is high time
Scottish banknotes were fully legally acceptable throughout the UK?
They are authorised by the Bank of England and should have exactly the same
status. If dollars and euros are acceptable to traders in England, surely
Scottish notes can and should be, too. Will the Secretary of State
endeavour to ensure that this anomaly is brought to an end?

Des Browne: I am delighted to have the opportunity to expand a little on
the status of Scottish banknotes.

Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock) (Lab): And Irish ones.

Des Browne: And, indeed, banknotes from Northern Ireland. One of the
great successes of the very successful financial services sector in
Scotland is the privilege enjoyed by commercial banks to publish
banknotes when other banks, including commercial banks in England,
do not. The fact is that under the law Scottish banknotes enjoy
exactly the same status as all other methods of payment throughout
the United Kingdom, although that is not widely known. They are
perfectly legal, and people should know and respect that. I know
that on occasion some of my countrymen have had their banknotes
refused, but I have been in London a great deal over the past 11
years, and in connection with my ministerial responsibilities have
periodically had Northern Ireland banknotes in my wallet. No one
has ever refused to accept one of them.

23 Jan 2008 : Column 1482
Mr. Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD): The Secretary
of State says it is a matter of fact that Scottish banknotes can
be accepted throughout the United Kingdom, and he is right, but
it is also a matter of fact that often they are not. That was
highlighted in an excellent article in the Sunday Mail on 6 January.
The paper conducted a random sample, and found that it was difficult
to get notes accepted in Liverpool, Tadcaster, Coventry, Manchester,
Ashton-under-Lyne and London, where even the railway ticket vending
machines would not accept them. Will the Secretary of State
acknowledge that although this may not be a massive problem, it
is a source of embarrassment and irritation to many of our
constituents every year, and will he use his office to address the

Des Browne: I welcome the opportunity to repeat what I have
already said. Scottish banknotes are legal, and enjoy exactly
the same status as any other method of payment. The fundamental
problem is that the law of contract throughout the United
Kingdom allows people not to engage in a transaction at the
point of payment if they do not wish to do so. I should be
happy to join the hon. Gentleman and his party in a
discussion about reforming the law of contract if that is
what he wishes to do, although I suspect that we would find
it difficult to obtain the necessary legislative time or the
necessary support. But he is right: in the 21st century, this
irritation should not exist for people who are tendering
legal notes in payment. I think the best thing for us all
to do is to take every opportunity to tell people that
those notes are as good as anyone else's, and should be

More info on the Scottish legal system in general is at [1.8]

[1.8] Legal questions

The Law Society of Scotland

Scottish Law Information

Statutory instruments of the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Law Commission
Te statutory body concerned with updating and
reforming the law of Scotland.

Scotland has its own legal system and its own laws.
Answers to most common Scottish consumer questions can be found in:
Your Rights and Responsibilities, A personal guide for Scottish
Consumers. Published by HMSO and the Scottish Consumer Council.
ISBN 0 11 495205 1, 4 pounds 95p
Telephone orders: 0171 873 9090

Also, "The Legal System of Scotland" also published by HMSO.

For information on legal tender, see [1.7].
There is also a newsgroup

Solicitors on-line

The Law Society of Scotland,
provides a search facility to find contact details of Solicitors firms,
including their websites.

Making a will
A site specifically for Scots to make their Will:-
Without a Solicitor and completely legally.
Only takes a few minutes and site is a member of Which? webtrader.
You can also print it off and sign it - all online
See the site for more info.

Introduction to Scots Law
Article by Angus MacCulloch

Scotland has a completely separate legal system from that of England
and Wales. Although it does share some institutions, the legislature
and the House of Lords (sitting as a Court). This stems from
Scotland's independence before 1707 and is enshrined in the Act
of Union.

Scots law stems from two main sources, enacted law and common law.
Enacted law has the authority of a body with legislative powers.
Enacted law can come from many sources, some include  Royal
proclamation or order, Acts of Parliament (either the old Scots
Parliament or the UK Parliament), the European Community Treaty or
European legislation, or local authority bye-laws. Common law
derives it authority from the courts and is based on Scots legal

Both forms of law have equal authority and often operate in the same
areas. Under the theory of the "supremacy of Parliament,"
as partially recognised in Scotland, enacted law will override
common law, but common law cannot override an enacted law.

Common law develops through the judgements of the courts. To predict
how it will deal with a given situation one must examine the decisions
of the courts in similar cases. Common law initially derived from
the Roman law, as codified under the Emperor Justinian, and
canon law, the law of the church. One of the other sources of law
was the writings of eminent legal scholars such as Lord Stair,
Erskine and Bell, Hume, and Alison.

The Scottish courts separate into two streams, those which deal with
criminal cases, and those that deal with civil cases. The criminal
law regulates the relationship between the individual and the state.
Civil law regulates relationships between individuals.

The criminal courts are, in ascending order of authority:

The District Court, the Sheriff Court, and the High Court of

The civil courts are, in ascending order of authority:

The Sheriff Court, the Court of Session, and the House of Lords.

The doctrine of "precedent" means that the decision of a higher court
will be binding on a lower court. The High Court of Judiciary and
the House of Lords are not bound by their own decisions. The
decision of an English court is never binding upon a Scottish court.
The decisions of the House of Lords sitting as an English court will
be of a persuasive nature in a Scottish case.

There are also specialist courts which deal with particular areas,
such as industrial disputes, land matters, criminal charges against
children, and heraldry. The courts have a long history. The Sheriff
courts date back to the 12th century, the Court of Session was
established in 1532, and the High Court of Justiciary was established
in 1672.

Scottish judges will sit on both criminal and civil courts, although
some may be seen as specialising in particular areas. The judges are
appointed by the Crown from practising lawyers, both solicitors and

The Not Proven Verdict
Scots law is unusual in allowing three alternative verdicts in a
criminal trial. Although the "Not Proven" verdict is known, incorrectly,
as the third verdict, it has a 300 year history in Scotland. Even though
it has a long history it has been the subject of criticism since 1827
when Sir Walter Scott, novelist and Sheriff, described the not proven
verdict as "that bastard verdict, not proven."

The verdict of not proven is essentially one of acquittal. In all
respects the verdicts of not guilty and not proven have exactly the same
legal effects. In practice it is thought that a verdict of not proven
simply means that the judge or jury have reasonable doubt as to the
accused's guilt. It is interesting to note that the not proven verdict
is used in one third of acquittals by juries, and in one fifth of
acquittals in non-jury trials. Because of the higher number of non-jury
trials ninety per cent of all not proven verdicts are returned in such
cases. It is generally thought that the verdict gives juries, and judges,
an option between not guilty and guilty where they feel that the charges
have not been proved but they equally cannot say the accused is "not
guilty" because of its moral connotations.

Current challenge to the verdict stems from the dissatisfaction and
feelings of injustice suffered by the families of victims of crime.
Political influence has also been apparent, in 1993 George Robertson
tabled a Private Members Bill to abolish the verdict.

The legal profession has been divided over the issue most of this
century. A number of eminent judges have attacked the verdict.
One saying that it was theoretically and historically indefensible,
Lord Moncrieff in 1906. Others have supported it. In 1964 Lord Justice
General Clyde stated that "for upwards of 200 years a not proven verdict
has been available . . . and no convincing argument has been advanced to
justify its elimination from our law."  One view from England helped to
explain the reason for the not proven verdict, Judge Gerald Sparrow
wrote, "I have often thought that the distinction typifies the
different spirit of Scottish and English law: the Scottish being the
more logical, the English more sporting."  The original verdicts in
Scots law were "culpable" and "convict"; or "cleanse". Guilty and
not guilty were introduced by Cromwell during the Usurpation, when he
imposed English judges on Scotland. After the reformation the Scots
courts reverted to asking judges to find whether the facts in
the indictment were "proven" or "not proven."  The "not guilty" verdict
was reintroduced in 1723 in the trial of Carnegie of Findhorn for the
murder of the Earl of Strathmore. In 1975 the Thomson Committee which
examined Scottish criminal procedure recommended that the three verdict
system be retained. In 1993 the Scottish Office said that "it was not
convinced that there was enough groundswell of dissatisfaction from
the public and, crucially, from the legal profession" to justify any
scrutiny of the not proven verdict. Most recently in 1994 the Government
in a White Paper, Firm but Fair, dealing, inter alia, with the verdict
made no proposals for any changes as in the absence of "a considerable
weight of informed opinion against the verdict" the three verdict
system should be retained.

It would appear that there is no immediate prospect that there will
be any change in the current three verdict system.

It is a perpetual myth that there are no trespass laws in Scotland. Even
before the recent Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, trespass
has long been a delict (civil wrong) which is remediable by the remedies
of interdict and damages. However, The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
amends the Trespass (Scotland) Act 1865 and establishes a statutory right
of access.

Certain types of trespass have been criminal since the Trespass
(Scotland) Act 1865 was passed, an Act no-one has ever heard of. Section 3
makes it an offence for any person to lodge in any premises, or occupy or
encamp on any land, being private property, without the consent of the
owner or legal occupier. Admittedly this section envisages a degree of
permanency which will not be present in every situation of trespass.

Land Reform
The Feudal System of land holding was abolished in Scotland by the Abolition
of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2003, with effect from 28th November
2004. Prior to that date the rights to land were split between dominium utile
(right of use) belonging to a "vassal", and the dominimum directum belonging
to a "superior". The vassal was liable to give a "feu duty" to the superior:
originally this could have been military service, a quantity of grain or other
obligations; in the C18th these were all converted to payment of sums of
money. In 1975 legislation introduced rules for voluntary and compulsory
redemption which required feu duties to be redeemed by the payment of a
one-off lump sum.

Since the 2003 Act, superiorities have been eliminated, and all former vassals
are now "owners". Provisions were also included to redeem all feu duties still
in existence, and to transfer the right to enforce certain feudal title
conditions from the superior to the owner of neighbouring land.

Following the final counties of Scotland becoming operational on the Land
Register of Scotland, Registers of Scotland are working on ARTL (Automated
Registration of Title to Land), and consideration is being given to the
closure of the Register of Sasines.

Readers interested in Land reform may be interested in the book
"Who Owns Scotland Now: Use and Abuse of Private Land",
by Auslan Cramb, ISBN 1851589643.
List price 9.99 UKP (paperback) 14.99 (cloth).

More info

[1.9] Scottish Books

The following are all recommended as good places to look for
Scottish books on-line (alphabetic by URL)




Books From Scotland
Has lots of info on Scottish books, literary figures, writers and associated



Gregory's Books

John Smith's

Scottish Publishers Association

Scottish FAQ Books

Thistle Press


National Library
The National Library of Scotland is at




For book searches and price comparisons, try
(highly recommended)

[1.10] Business start-up information

Enterprise/Business start-ups

Enterprise Agencies (national)
Scottish Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Young Enterprise Scotland

Business shops

Networking groups for Entrepreneurs
Now Business

We entrepreneurs
Approx 50 pounds per meeting.

Scotland's only Innovation Consultancy

The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Business Links

In Scotland
Angels Den

Scottish Development Finance

IRC Scotland
They can help find new products or technologies from across
the UK and Europe. They can also promote technologies and
innovations for commercialisation or further development

Targeting Innovation
Deliver business support services to a broad range of companies and
organisations in software, innovation, biotechnology, e-business and
intellectual asset management.
They have a key role in helping start-ups, established businesses and
organisations in these sectors based throughout Scotland.

Scottish Financial Enterprise

ICASS is a government initiative, supported by European Funding, which
provides specialist advice and counselling for Scotland's inventors and
small innovative companies

Centre for Entrepreneurial finance (Scottish Enterprise)

Scottish Equity Partners

The Queen's awards for Enterprise

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

In the UK
Grantfinder is the most comprehensive database of UK and EU
funding, including grants, loans, subsidies and other incentives.

British Venture Capital Association (BVCA)

Working Model
Help with building prototypes. Highly recommended.

Baylis Brands
From the inventor of the clockwork radio

Techcrunch UK

Organised know how

LKT Business Solutions

Non UK sources
Venture Finance

American Inventor

Other links

E-commerce Scotland

Scottish IS - the trade body for IT in Scotland

Useful info on company startups

Patent Attorneys

Legal information

UK oriented
Federation of Small Businesses
British Bankers Association. Has a useful search engine to
compare business bank accounts
CSSA is the trade association for the IT services and software
sectors, representing the interests of companies in these sectors since 1975.
CSSA currently has over 600 member companies representing approximately 80%
of the industry by turnover with combined revenues of more than 14 billion
pounds in 1998.

In addition CSSA's business growth service provides support and
advice to a further 700 young, hi-tech companies.

Patent search

Information for exporters
See [1.12]

[1.11] Scottish import shops

United States
Scottish Crofters is a web-based import store. They sell tartans,
kilts and accessories, crafts from the Highlands, handmade bears
dressed in custom tartans, and a broad range of traditional Scottish
and Celtic jewellery.

Dunedin Scottish
Dunedin Scottish
5402 Airport Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33634
(813) 885-5880
Order line- 1-800-237-5836

Great Scot
Great Scot has a web site with secure on-line shopping at

We rent kilts and also have an easy payment plan for kilt purchases.
Our kilts are made at the Lochcarron Mill in Scotland. We ship world-

We carry tartan ties, sashes, scarves, clan crest badges and key fobs,
kilts, bagpipes, maps, books, music and videos, chanters, sporrans etc.
We also have jewellery we order through several different sources in

David and Sally Fay
Great Scot
P.O. Box 1817,
Nashville, IN 47448

Scottish Lion
The Scottish Lion Import Shop is located in North Conway, New Hampshire,
USA, where, for the last 27 years they have been offering fine Scottish,
Irish and British imported items. They are the largest mail order
catalogue and store in the eastern U.S.

Gael Force Imports, Inc.
Music, Gifts and Jewellery, Books and Videos, Resources and Information.
P.O. Box 26445 Fresno, CA 93729-6445
US or Canada Toll Free 1-800-905-4268, other (209) 438-9661
Fax (209) 438-8813

The Norwegian Import Shop in Norway is:
House of Scotland
Elisenbergveien 35
N-0265 Oslo
Tel: (47) 22 55 37 86

They specialise in Scottish Import Products: Clothes, shoes, etc.
It is also possible to order items like bagpipes and practice chanters etc.
through them. They are also specialists in Burberries.

[1.12] Scottish exporters

Scottish Exporters Virtual Community
A site to help Scottish companies promote themselves internationally
through the Internet. The site provides a lot of free information: export
and market research information with country guides; information on how
to do business in these countries and a library section has some papers
on marketing.

Exporters may also be interested in
for secure on-line card clearance

See [14.10] for gift/tourist shops in Scotland and info on Scottish shops
which export.

[1.13] Scottish inventors and inventions

See here
has info on famous inventors, inventors in history.

If you're currently inventing things, contact:
Inventors Helpline Scotland
Mike Brown

[1.14] Scottish business links

Major Shopping Centres:

Buchanan Galleries, Central Glasgow

Braehead, about 5 miles west of Central Glasgow

The Gyle, western outskirts of Edinburgh

McArthurGlen, Livingston
Desginer outlets, discount prices

Stirling Thistle Centre, Scotland's first covered shopping centre
unfortunately no website

Falkirk Howgate
no website

For general high street everyday shopping (ie food, electrical
goods, clothes etc) I can highly recommend the site Fixture Ferrets


Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland

Clydesdale Bank

CGU Group
Scottish Amicable
Scottish Provident
Scottish Widows
Standard Life

British Energy
Scottish Hydro Electric

The Scottish Water and Sewerage Customers Council

[1.15] Getting a job in Scotland

Printed media
The Scotsman and The Herald carry job adverts most days, although
Friday is the best day for both. The Scotsman has an Edinburgh bias
to the jobs in it, the Herald a Glasgow bias. However, sometimes jobs
in Edinburgh are only advertised in the Herald. I've also seen
Highland jobs only advertised in the Herald. Best to get both if
you're not fussy about location. If you live outside Scotland, the
best paper with a UK wide circulation and with a focus on Scottish
jobs is Scotland on Sunday. Can't say much about the journalism though,
after all it is from the Andrew Neil propaganda machine.

The Scotsman is at

The Herald is at

Scotland on Sunday is at

Online resources
Note: Many of the on-line resources are biased towards jobs for those in
the computer industry.

Job metasearch
Meta search for jobs. Potentially a great (although rather obvious) idea
but has some way to go to be a useful search as there are limited search
options and the integration between the site and the others
is very lacking in places. One day they may all get their collective
acts together and create a common API which produces something useful.
Alternatively, contact us as we are interested in developing such an
interface and are looking for funding/sponsors/partners.

Similar to Jobserve although some jobs may appear on one and not the other.
Send an e-mail to or visit their website at
Tel: 01243 641141

Very flexible search which actually seems to work, unlike many other sites.
Highly recommended. They have launched a Scottish flavoured version at which is highly recommended

Jobserve allows to to filter jobs by location so you can receive a mail
whenever a job in Scotland comes up which matches your criteria (e.g.
technical skills) For more information about JobServe, please send a
blank e-mail to or visit their website at

Unfortunately, you can't filter by salary so you often get back a load
of irrelevant dross. Unfortunately also only agencies can use the service.
This means that vacancies with many smaller companies are not to be found
here as such companies cannot afford the 30% of first year's salary which
agencies charge, often for a few hours work (not bad work if you can get
it!). This is the original online job matching service and it shows. It
doesn't look like they've updated their search facilities since launching
in 1994, c'mon guys when is the salary filter going to arrive?

Website is noted as PANTS here:

Covering all job sectors and the whole UK, this useful job search
has a wide range of jobs and a detailed geographic filter but no
salary search and no option to multiselect various locations.

--------- is a general job board. Search through thousands of jobs
across 34 different industries and apply online. Set up email alerts
and add your CV to help yourself get recruited.

STV Jobs

Jobs in Scottish, site managed by Scottish Television Ltd

Scottish Jobs on the Net

No nonsense Scottish Job board with no annoying pop ups just thousands
of jobs throughout Scotland

Scottish Jobs
One of the most flexible searches going, highly recommended.

Killer Jobs
A decent website with a reasonable number of results. No salary search though.
Keywords are mandatory (so no browsing for just the top paid jobs, irrespective
of keywords)

IT Job Board

Apparantly the market leader, although unfortunately they can't email
you the actual details of jobs which match your requirements!


IC Scottish Recruitment
Search by salary doesn't work
One of the worst job websites for usability

Website is noted as PANTS here:

Scottish IT Jobs

Jobs in Academia
For jobs in academic circles

S1 Jobs
Allows filtering by salary (hooray)

The Appointments Section

------------ - Domain available - Domain also available

--------         Best People            CareerCare      Computer People                Elan        Head Resourcing                 Hudson              Search
Search are Scotland's largest independent recruitment Agency and have
the largest online database of jobs covering Scotland.                     Technology Project Services
eFinancialCareers Scotland - Scotland's Financial Job Marketplace

Software Academy
The Software Academy,, is a
Scottish Enterprise venture to provide support and advice on
recruitment and skills projects including: assistance with the
recruitment process, Training Needs Analysis and access to the
Graduates into Software programme.

Rules and regulations
If you are not a European Union citizen, then there are complex
laws around obtaining a work permit and residency or being a student.
You are strongly advised to consult the British Embassy or Consulate
in your country for official advice. There is some information at
from the Home Office
entitled "Naturalisation as a British Citizen - A guide for applicants"
which should help.

regarding immigration rules to the UK

[1.16] Scottish Yellow Pages - the first and only public-sector sanctioned yellow
pages of Scotland
there is also a "white pages" service from this address

businesses can also be found in

"Yellow Pages" is a registered trademark of BT in the United Kingdom

See also Scottish entries in

The US gateway for Scottish Tourism is at

Friends of Scotland
Highlighting the best that Scotland offers the world

[1.17] Scottish White Pages

The Scotweb scottish store

[1.18] Getting Scottish addresses and phone numbers

If you have an incomplete address and want the full address, there
is a lookup service for all UK addresses available at

For "Yellow Pages" information, see [1.16]

For "White Pages" information, try

once you have the postcode, you can get a local map via (see [14.5])

To locate people, try

[1.19] Buying a house, letting accommodation

Property websites

Essential viewing -  select the local site for your area

Solicitors and Estate Agents
Scottish property and real estate throughout Central Scotland.
This site and the SSPC site have more listings for Scottish
properties than any of the sites below and both are well worth a look.

Mostly estate agents

Note that many of the above are dominated by purely estate agents and the
same property will likely appear on many of the above sites. Solicitors
tend to only put their properties in the SSPC guides, so there is minimal
overlap with other sites.
(Edinburgh Evening News, Edinburgh area only)

New Homes

Essential viewing if you want a brand new house, the other sites and
publications are generally hopeless at distributing information on new


The following sites are good places to look for a mortgage

Easiest to use
-------------- (personal favourite)
(the search engine behind Tesco Finance, Interactive Investor)

Also worth trying
(search has to be started from the beginning if you change anything)

The majority of property in Scotland is sold through solicitors offering
an estate agency service. The Scottish Solicitors Property Centre site at
has links to the various local centres around Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Tayside, Highlands, Perth, Aberdeen, etc) which cover properties for each
particular area. Each site has a convenient computerised matching service.

This system is really convenient but is so efficient it can lead to
a large number of people chasing after a small number of highly
desirable properties. You can sometimes pick up a bargain by specifying
you are interested in all areas.

Estate Agents

Solicitors have a particularly high market penetration in the cities, and
sell over 92% of Edinburgh properties for instance. However, in more rural
locations and in smaller towns, the balance is not so one sided and may be
around 50/50 split between estate agents and solicitors in these places.

Timber Frame Houses
There is information on buying a timber frame house at

Free house prices for Scotland, no need to register either!

Property for sale
View this property for sale

[1.20] Women's issues

described as: "...a Scottish site for women.... Engender is our own
research and campaigning organisation for women in Scotland, committed to
greater visibility, influence and yes...power for women."

Quine Online - Scottish Women

Has everything from rape crisis centres to traditional quilting.
Lots of organisations have sites housed within this one.

Glasgow Women's Library

[1.21] Community information
Association of Scottish Community Councils

To be on a community council, you generally need to be on the electoral
roll for that council's area. Because the electoral roll is compiled in
November, but the elections to the community council are in September,
this means you must have been living in the community council's area for
between 10 and 22 months in order to be eligible to stand.
Scottish community information

[1.22] National holidays

The usual 8 Scottish holidays are:

1 Jan Ne'ers day (for traditions see [12.16], [12.17])
2 Jan Scottish New Year holiday
Good Friday
May day holiday (First Monday in May)
Spring Holiday (Last Monday in May)
August holiday (First Monday in August)
25 Dec Christmas day (for traditions see [12.15])
26 Dec Boxing day

These holidays differ from England as follows:
England gets Easter Monday instead of 2 Jan.
England's August holiday is at the end of August.

There are also "harmonised" Scotland holidays in which Scotland gets the
holidays listed above except the August holiday is the English one
rather than the Scottish one. Scottish School holidays are generally the
end of June to the middle of August; about 2-3 weeks ahead of the
holidays in England.

Scotland also has local holidays at various times of the year, (eg
September) and also trade fairs fortnight. Edinburgh's is the first
two weeks in July, Glasgow's is the 3rd and 4th weeks in July. Although
it is called trades fortnight, the first day of the fortnight is widely
taken as a local holiday across many businesses, particularly public
sector. During this time, local travel may operate a cut down timetable.

[1.23] Sheep
Everything you ever wanted to know about breeds of Sheep. Common Scottish
types are Cheviot, Shetland, Boreray, Hebridean, Orkney, Scottish Blackface.

[1.24] City status

This one has provoked much heated argument, not least because the official
definition of a city is now out of step with the traditional definition of
a city and there is a certain amount of politics associated with what is
a city and what isn't and historically differs from the use of the term
in England.

From the time of David I (12th C) the term city (or civitas) was introduced
from England initially from the association with episcopal seats. However
unlike England, the word city was conferred on every town with a cathedral
no matter what its importance, trading rights or size. Later a city might
acquire burgh status (e.g. Dunblane) or Royal Burgh status (Elgin), however
the two are independent - there were 68 Royal Burghs in Scotland at the time
of their formal abolishment in 1975.

There is no indication that at any time from the 12th century up to the 21st
century when city status was conferred on Stirling and Inverness, that the
title of city confers any special rights, privileges or status. It appears
to have been exclusively an honorific title and a matter of civic pride
for the inhabitants of the town and recognition by the monarch. It also
gave a certain importance to towns that were not burghs or royal burghs
and differentiated them from ordinary villages.

There is a claim that Dunblane was granted city status by James IV
in 1500 when he ruled Scotland from the nearby Royal burgh of Stirling. I
welcome evidence of how this was conferred as it has so far been difficult
to trace. There is a possible explanation that 1500 was about the time
James IV spent quite a lot of time with Margaret Drummond, possibly
marrying her in private. However, in order to block this and make way for
his marriage to Princess Margaret of England, Margaret and her two sisters
were poisoned in 1501 and all three got a magnificient send off in the
Cathedral where they lie to this day. So perhaps Margaret was Dunblane's
reason for being made a city and equally for evidence being hard to find.
This story does not explain why in 1150 when Dunblane's Bishopric was
founded that the town was not granted city status then and had to wait
350 years.

A much more plausible explanation is that of the 13 pre-reformation cathedral
sites in Scotland, 11 of which were in towns, the term city was often used
to refer to the town -  see the letter from Pope Benedict XIII of Avignon,
September 10, 1403, which refers to "the people of the city and diocese"
(of Dunblane).

The "rank" of medieval Scottish towns was thus:
Village (lowest); City (village with a cathedral, honorific title),
Burgh (legal status) and finally Royal Burgh (legal status)

The 11 towns, some of which use the term city today were: Old Aberdeen,
Brechin, Dornoch, Dunblane, Dunkeld, Elgin, Fortrose, Glasgow, Kirkwall,
Saint Andrews and Whithorn

The remaining two cathedrals were at Iona (seat of the Bishopric
of the Isles) and Lismore.

It is unclear whether initally city status was conferred by the monarch
or whether it was simply a term to describe the seat of a bishop.
However, over time, city status is something granted by the monarch and
there is not only a gap between a cathedral being founded but also the
creation of cities where there is no cathedral. By the time of the 17th
century there is a clear documented gap. Charles I founded the Bishopric
of Edinburgh in 1633 but the earliest recorded instance of Edinburgh
being called a city dates from 1687. There is also Stirling which became
the first Scottish city, historic or modern, to not have a cathedral.

By the 19th century a number of Scottish towns are calling themselves
cities but it appears that there is no record of how this was
officially conferred. The first record appears to come via a Royal
Charter granted to Dundee, on 26 January 1889.

The 1929 Local government Act created three different categories of burgh
one of which was cities and this list was Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen
and Dundee. Only Dundee seems to have a Royal Charter, the rest are
Royal Burghs which have been known as cities since medieval times.
So much for the smaller towns which had equal claim to the title.

By 1972, the "Municipal Year Book" gave the
list of Scottish cities as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee,
Perth and Elgin. It is unclear why Perth appears in
this list when Perth has never been a cathedral city and why
Elgin is listed and none of the other cathedral cities are.

By 1975 the former Burghs and Royal Burghs lost their ancient
rights. Thus city status which formerly served to differentiate
a village from a place with a cathedral now became the most
sought after honour which could be bestowed on a town.

The situation we have today is thus:

Two places with a cathedral which were never a city (Iona, Lismore)

11 places with a cathedral and associated settlement which became known
as cities from the 12th century. Old Aberdeen, Brechin, Dornoch,
Dunblane, Dunfermline, Dunkeld, Elgin, Fortrose, Kirkwall, St Andrews,
Whithorn. Many of these places still use the term city in various
contexts, e.g. "City and Burgh of Dunblane", "Brechin City (Football)".

Perth which is refered to as "The fair city" although it is unclear
when the city term originated.

3 major towns (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen) which hold city status
from medieval times and which enjoy official city status today.

3 towns which have been granted city status by a Queen:
Dundee: Royal Charter, 26 Jan 1889.
Inverness: Royal Letters Patent, 18 December 2000, for the millenium.
Stirling: Royal Letters Patent, 14 March 2002, for the Golden Jubilee.
There are no further plans to grant city status for the time being.

These latter 6 form the Official List of Cities as recognised
by the Scottish Executive. However it is unclear what the grounds
are for this list when only 3 appear to have documentary
evidence of city status. It is also unclear why as recently
as 1972, Perth and Elgin were recognised as cities but are no longer
and why the ancient cathedral towns are not recognised as cities.
However, any town which historically called itself a city is still
free to do so. The only difference is that they are not on the
government's Official List Of Places We Officially Acknowledge As
Cities. It is also expecially odd as Dunfermline discovered that
in Medieval times it was called a city and on 16th September 2000
pulled out of the competition to award millenium city status on
the basis that it already was one, a fact recognised by the
executive. Why it should then be excluded from the official list
simply seems strange.

As a result, the 6 Official Cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling and Inverness now seem to have an elite
club and whilst fine for those places does seem to play down the
important Scottish tradition and status accorded to many other
towns and there is no clear explanation as to how this list was
arrived at other than a mixture of recent Royal charter or letters
patent, or being a big town with a cathedral. The only Scottish towns
today with an Anglican cathedral that don't have city status are
Oban and Perth.


I wrote to the OED regarding the use of the term "City"
and the term "High School" which I also felt to be wrong as regards

Oxford University Press wrote back to me and said:

"I agree with you that the definitions of 'High School' and 'city' may
be misleading in respect to Scotland, and we will consider revising
them at the earliest opportunity."

Some definitions
Cathedral: The principal church of a diocese in which is to be
found the bishop's throne or cathedra

Civitas: The name civitas was applied by the Romans to each of
the independent states or tribes of Gaul; in later times it adhered
to the chief town of each of these states, which usually became
afterwards the seat of civil government and of episcopal authority.
The term later meant "a centre of civilized living".

Burgh: Conferring Burgh status gave a town self-government.
Burghs had special trading privileges, which were very important to
the prosperty of the town and its inhabitants. Burghs were
represented in parliament.

Royal Burgh: (or King's Burgh). Had no superior above them except
the King. This was the highest status which could be conferred on
a town. Royal burghs had a monopoly on foreign trade. They also had
more representation in parliament than non-royal burghs. Often the
Royal Burghs were sea ports or had some close connection with royalty
(e.g. Linlithgow and its palace)

The Burghs' trading rights were abolished in 1832 and the Burghs
themselves in 1975.

[2.1] Celtic background

It is incorrect to think of Scotland as a wholly Celtic country.

Since the first millennium BC, Scotland has been a place of multiple
languages and this tradition continues today. First of all it was
Pictish and British; then Gaelic, Norse and Scots came and today it's
English, Scots and Gaelic. Nearly all of Scotland was once Gaelic speaking
except Orkney, Shetland and Caithness which had a variety of Norse
until recent times and East Lothian which was settled by the Angles.
Galloway had a Gaelic community which became separated from the Gaelic
speaking Highlands and Gaelic was still in use until about the 17th
century in Galloway. Gaelic is a Celtic language, like Irish, Scots is
a Germanic language like English.

"Poets, scholars and writers in Lowland Scotland up until the 16th century
readily acknowledged Gaelic to be the true and original Scottish language.
As we know, though, it was an incomer just as much as Anglo-Saxon! For
Walter Kennedy 'it suld be al trew Scottis mennis lede': ('Flyting with
Dunbar' c.1500)"

section quoted from "Gaelic: a past and future prospect", Kenneth Mackinnon.

Other notable reads include anything by the late Prof Kenneth Jackson,
particularly "A Celtic Miscellany", any of John Prebble's books (eg "1000
years of Scottish History") or Nigel Tranter ("The Story of Scotland").
The book "The Lyon in Mourning" about the Jacobite uprising is online

Particularly recommended is Michael Lynch's "Scotland: A new history"
ISBN 0712698930. 517 pages, published 8-October-1992. The
Michael Lynch book is particularly excellent - I have a copy myself and
it was also recommended by a friend with a degree in Scottish History.
Vast in scope with 25 chapters spanning 18 centuries, from the Picts to
the 1980s and aimed at the general reader. However, will miss out on
anything related to The Scottish Parliament. More info here:
The author is Professor of History at Edinburgh University and
President of the Historical Association of Scotland.

For the most up to date recommended guide on Scottish History, take
a look at The Oxford Companion to Scottish History edited by
Michael Lynch. Hardcover - 758 pages, published October 2001.
The Oxford Companion to Scottish History has more than 170 expert
contributors. It interprets history broadly, including archaeology,
architecture, climate, culture, folk belief, geology, and the langauages
of Scotland. It covers more than 20 centuries of history, including
immigrants, migrants, and emigrants. It extends from Orkney and
Shetland to Galloway, the Western Isles to the Borders. It deals
extensively with Scots abroad, from Canada to Russia to New Zealand.
It includes entries on historical figures from Columba, Macbeth,
and William Wallace to James (Paraffin) Young. It covers Burns Clubs,
curling, and shinty. It ranges from clans to Clearances and Covenanters.
More information and related books at the following link

If you're interested in Celtic mythology, an excellent online reference
is at

[2.2] Celtic art and font links

Clip art etc


FTP sites

See also the newsgroup news:comp.fonts

Information on Celtic fonts
Gaelic script is not based on Irish Uncial, but Irish miniscule,
8th century style. The Anglo-Saxon miniscule of the tenth is exactly
the same script, plus thorn, wyn and edh (as exemplified by the 9th-century
gloss to the Linsfarne Gospels), so much so that some academics argue
that Gaelic script is derived from Anglo-Saxon miniscule, rather than
the other way round. It's an old quibble, arising from the similarity
of these two scripts. If you are looking for a definition of Gaelic
script, either could serve as a source.

Gaelic script is characterised by a triangular letter A, and leans towards
Italic rather than the round upright majuscule, or uncial proper. The book
of Durrow is a particularly good reference source.

[2.3] The Celtic cross

It isn't Christian nor Celtic. The oldest examples of the "Celtic"
cross are those engraved or painted on flat pebbles, dating from
10,000 BC and found in a cave in the French Pyrenees. These "ancestor
stones" were believed to contain the spirits of the dead.

In Scotland, The stones at Callanish are laid in the shape of a
Celtic cross. Callanish also predates Christ. It is possible the
Christians took the cross symbol from the Celts or Megalithic peoples
but certainly not that the Celts took the symbol from the Christians.


Information on megalithic sites is available at

Callanish info at

[2.4] Postgraduate courses in Celtic studies

There are three Celtic departments in Scotland
Edinburgh University, Glasgow University and Aberdeen University

Dept of Celtic, The University of Edinburgh,
19/20 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD
Fax: 0131 650 6536
Tel: 0131 650 3622
contact: Professor William Gillies

Degrees available:
 PhD (min 3 years); MLitt (min two years); MSc/Diploma (one year/nine months)
 Entrance qualifications for all three is a good Honours degree in Celtic
 studies or a related or relevant discipline, but I understand each case is
 considered on its individual merits.

The MSc/Diploma is based around a series of prescribed specialisms
including literary, linguistic and historical options of which
candidates choose one. There isn't much specific info on the content of
the other courses

The Dept of Celtic was founded in 1882 and is the oldest in Scotland.
Current members include Prof William Gillies (head of dept), Ronald
Black and Roibeart O Maolalaigh. Allan MacDonald also takes part in
teaching. Nerys Ann Jones, Kenneth MacKinnon and Cathair O Dochartaigh
are Honorary Fellows of the Faculty of Arts in the field of Celtic

Roinn na Ceilteis / Celtic Dept
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
King's College
Old Aberdeen
Tel: 01224 272549
Fax: 01224 272562

Roinn na Ceilteis / Celtic Dept
Glasgow University
G12 8QQ
Tel: 0141 339 8855
Cathair O'Dochartaigh is the head of department at Glasgow and
Thomas Clancy (British Academy Post-Doctoral fellow) teaches

It is said that Aberdeen, then Edinburgh then Glasgow give their students
the best opportunities to leave as fluent Gaelic speakers. Edinburgh also
has the School of Scottish Studies which is the world centre for Scottish
ethnology, folklore, traditions, customs etc (covers the whole of
Scotland, not just the Highlands).

The School of Scottish Studies offers courses in ethnology and
has strong links with the Dept of Celtic (both part of Edinburgh

There may eventually also be courses on offer at the
University of the Highlands and Islands

There is also a Celtic studies dept at St Francis Xavier University,
Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Ken Nilsen teaches at St FX, used to teach in
the Boston area see Dr Ken Nilsen's homepage at
For info on summer courses in Nova Scotia, see

There is also a Masters program at U. of Wales, Cardiff in Welsh

Jordanhill offers courses for people wishing to become Gaelic teachers

Jordanhill College
45 Chamberlain Road
G13 1SP

Clydebank College also offers Gaelic courses

Clydebank College
Kilbowie Road
Siorramachd Dhun Breatann
G81 2AA

There are also Celtic Studies departments at Harvard College and Stonehill
College (in Easton, Massachusetts) and the University of California at
Berkeley. There is an Irish Studies Program at Boston College.

See also

[2.5] The history of language in Scotland

In Britain (including  Scotland), Brythonic Celtic predates Gaelic by
almost 1000 years or so. Being spoken from Kent up to Glasgow and
across to Wales. Some people even suggest that Brythonic was spoken in
Ireland before Gaelic, but this notion begs the question... Where did
Gaelic come from and when? But that's another story. Pictish (possibly
Celtic) would probably predate even brythonic.

As to Gaelic and English in Scotland, The Highlands of Scotland were
occupied by Picts and the Lowlands were occupied by Brythonic Celts.
The Romans  occupying the Lowlands during this time and when the Romans
left in 407, they left a weak kingdom, but still brythonic. The Scots
(Gaelic speaking) extended their region of Dalriada into Argyllshire,
between 500 and 550. The Angles  extended the Kingdom of Northumbria
into Lothian, Berwick, Selkirk, Peebles  and Roxburgh. As far as I am
aware these areas are in present day Scotland. The Angles spoke a
dialect of what is know today as "Old English". The Angles moved into
this area about 540 -600,  these are rough dates. As time went
on, Scotland was left with 4 distinct areas. Dalriada, Pictland,
Strathclyde and Lothian (Northumbria). In 625 the Northumbrian Kingdom
stretched from the Humber to the Forth and was ruled by Edwin. In 685
the Northumbrians decided to try and extend Northumbria into Pictland
and hence invaded the Picts, but this was a big mistake. The
Northumbrian army was defeated by the Picts and eventually Northumbria
lost supremacy to the Southern Saxons. (Also why RP is based on
Southern English and Not Northumbrian ???). The Picts became the
supreme overlords of the Scots in Dalriada and the Brythonic Celts in

About 785, Pictland started to receive attacks from bands of Norse
invaders and these lead to Pictish defeats and in the 830 (approx), the
Norse invaders made permanent settlements.

In 843 Dalriada threw off Pictish control, where upon the Scots King
Kenneth  MacAlpine laid claim to the Pictish throne through the Celtic
law of Tanistry. Followed by the union of the Picts and the Scots. The
now "United Kingdom" tried to oust the Northumbrians from Lothian but
were  unsuccessful. At this time the Norse people occupied the Western
Isles, Northern Isles and Caithness.

The Scots allied themselves to the English to get rid of the Norse
Invaders and sometimes allied themselves with the Norse to get rid of
the English.

It was not until 1018 that the Scots Kingdom managed to remove Lothian
from the hands of the Northumbrians and in 1034 the Scots, Angles,
British and Picts were a United Kingdom of Scotland.

As far as I am aware MacBeth was the last of the Gaelic Kings, and he
himself was followed by Malcolm, whose wife (an English lass) moved the
royal court to Edinburgh around about 1070. At this time many
persecuted English people moved into Lothian from England due to Norman
Conquest. The English who were persecuted in England flourished in

The real point of all the above is that English has been spoken since
the 6th Century in Scotland. Not all of it but quite a large piece.
Modern Scots dates back to the first Angle invasions at this time.

Incidentally whilst parts of Scotland were English speaking, parts of
England were still Celtic speaking eg West Yorkshire Kingdom of Elmet
and part of  Cumbria.

To sum up English has been spoken for longer in Edinburgh than in Leeds.

Nick Higham has written an excellent book on the history of Northumbria.
(The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100)

[2.6] Celtic knotwork

Article by S Walker (

Celtic knots or Celtic interlace are ornamental patterns that first became
associated with Celtic people in the early Celtic Church where they were
used to decorate Bible manuscripts, monuments (notably Celtic crosses and
cross slabs) and jewellery. They probably were used in other media such as
wood carving and textiles but these have not survived.

Knotwork tradition in manuscript painting probably came to Ireland with
displaced Coptic monks from Egypt by way of St. Martins monastery at
Tours (in what is now France) in the 4th or 5th century. This is not a
settled issue as far as the art historians are concerned but the best
evidence I have seen points to Coptic prototypes. From Ireland the style
spread to Scotland (then Pictland and Dalriada), Wales and Northumbria and
with missionaries of the Celtic Church to Europe. Viking raiders later
appropriated some of the design concepts into a more chaotic style of
animal interlace.

Celtic knots are complete loops with no end or beginning. Celtic animal
interlace is similar in construction but the cords terminate in feet,
heads, tails etc. The animal designs are very much influenced by an older
Saxon tradition of abstract beast forms that when combined with the new
more sophisticated knotwork of the Celtic designers became known as
Hiberno-Saxon. A good Celtic artist will never end a strand that is not
stylised into a zoomorphic element or spiral. Rather pure knots should
always be unending. On this point of ornamental grammar you can
distinguish much that is made to look like Celtic design by designers who
do not really know the tradition. The Coptic examples of knotwork that
pre-date the early Irish work are consistent this way while the Roman and
Germanic examples of knotwork that sometimes are cited as possible sources
often have loose ends. The way that ribbons are coloured in some of the
early Irish work, particularly the BOOK OF DURROW is the same as the
Coptic preference and there is a parallel evolution in Moorish design.

Do not get the idea that all Celtic art is borrowed and souped up from
other cultures. Celtic spiral designs are an older design form and have
been practised by the Celts since the dawn of their existence. Very
difficult and sophisticated spirals exist in the same early works where
the knotwork and animal designs are relatively crude.

The Book of Kells is the best known source of Celtic knots as well as
other types of Celtic ornament. The Book of Kells is a fantastic
collection of paintings that illuminate the four Gospels in Latin, penned
circa 800 AD The incredible degree of ornament and detail caused Giraldus
Cambrensis in the 13th century to call it: "the work not of men, but of
angels" or as Umberto Eco wrote in 1990: "the product of a cold-blooded

In recent years Celtic Knots have enjoyed a revival however way too much
of this has amounted to copies of historical knots used in tourist type
craft goods. Fortunately there are a few artists who take the subject more
seriously and are creating new and exciting knots. Check out Patrick
Gallagher at
or Walker Metalsmiths at

Alexander Ritchie made quite a lot of pretty good silver jewellery
incorporating knotwork on the Isle of Iona from 1900 to his death in 1941.
George Bain wrote an excellent book titled CELTIC ART THE METHODS OF
CONSTRUCTION that is great if anyone is serious about learning how to
create new knots in the Celtic tradition. Bain's book was first published
in 1951 but appeared as a series of booklets before that. Aidan Meehan has
a series on Celtic design with an entire volume titled KNOTWORK.

As for symbolism: knotwork designs are emblematic in modern times of the
Celtic nationalities. The symbolism that has come down through the ages is
as obscure and indirect as much of the speech and literature of the Celtic
people. How then can we understand it?

If that which is not prose must be poetry, knotwork's meaning defies
literal translation and should be sought at a deeper level. the repeated
crossings of the physical and the spiritual are expressed in the interlace
of the knots. The never ending path of the strand represents the
permanence and the continuum of life, love and faith.

Particularly recommended material for artists interested in knotwork is
any of the books by Aidan Meehan.

[2.7] Pan-Celtic organisations in Scotland

The Celtic League
The Celtic League publishes 'Carn' which is in all 6 of the Celtic
languages as well as English. There is also a Scottish edition "Stri"
which is in Gaelic and English. For more information on the Celtic
league in Scotland, contact:

Iain Ramsay
22 Denholme Gardens
PA16 8RF

Telephone/Fon: 01475 785843

Membership is 10 pounds (15 for two people at the same address)

For general information, see

Celtic Congress

A' Cho\mhdhail Cheilteach,
Barry John Steen, 7 Grebe Avenue, Inverness IV2 3TD

[2.8] Imbas mailing list

The list focuses on Celtic Reconstructionism and wishes to support the
remaining Celtic languages and people as possible, and to better
understand the beliefs and customs of the Celts throughout history.

There are two ways of signing onto the list. You can do it at or by sending an email to

[3.1] What is the Scots language. Who do I contact for more info?

The Scots language is a Germanic language related to English.
It is not Celtic, but has been influenced by Gaelic, as Scottish
Gaelic has been influenced by Scots. "Briogais", "gaileis",
"baillidh", "snaoisean", "burach", "sneag", etc etc.

For more info, contact:

Scots Language Society
Blackford Lodge
Perthshire PH4 1QP

tel: 01764 682315
fax 0870 428 5086

Membership is 7 pounds a year. More details in [3.3]

There is also some info in the following section:

"The Pocket Guide to Scottish Words: Scots, Gaelic"
by Iseabail Macleod. Published by W&R Chambers, Ltd.
43-45 Annandale Street, Edinburgh EH7 4AZ
(ISBN 0-550-11834-9). Widely available at bookshops and airports

US distributors
 Unicorn Limited, Inc.
 P.O. Box 397
 Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
 (304) 379-8803

It has "Place names, personal names, food and drink. Scots and Gaelic
words explained in handy reference form."

There are 30 pages of Scots words explained. No grammar. It does list a
number of interesting sounding books:

Scots is not slang. If you want to know about slang, see here

Scots Language Dictionaries
"The Concise Scots Dictionary". Mairi Robinson, editor-in-chief. Published
1985, (Aberdeen University Press)  862pp, a comprehensive one-volume
dictionary covering the Scots language from the earliest records to
the present day; based largely on:

William Grant, David Murison, editors "The Scottish National Dictionary"
10 vols., 1931-76, the Scots language from 1700 to the present day, and:

Sir William Craigie, A J Aitken et al "A Dictionary of the Older Scottish
Tongue" published up to Pr- in 5 vols., 1931-, the Scots language up to

Alexander Warrack, "Chambers Scots Dictionary" 1911, 717pp.

"The Scots School Dictionary", ed. Iseabail Macleod and Pauline
Cairns, Chambers 1996, 370pp. The best two-way dictionary currently

General Scots Books
 A J Aitken, Tom McArthur, eds "Languages of Scotland" 1979, 160pp., a
collection of essays on Scots and Gaelic.

David Murison "The Guid Scots Tongue" 1977, 63pp

"The New Testament in Scots" 1983, by W L Lorimer

A Scots grammar : Scots grammar and usage : Scots that haes
David Purves (Saltire Society, 1997).

Just to add to the list of books of/about Scots, one should mention
the reprint of P Hately Waddell's The Psalms: Frae Hebrew Intil Scots
(orig 1871, reprinted with modern introduction 1987 by Aberdeen Univ Press).

I would love to see some instructive writing about the Scots tongue,
more than just word-lists. Especially pronunciation, intonation, cadence,
etc. as well as grammar.

Recommended reading
There are two books that are essential reading on the subject of Scots.

The first is "Scots: the Mither Tongue" by Billy Kay. This is available
both in hardback and paperback.

The second is "Why Scots Matters" by J. Derrick McClure. This is more of
a booklet than a book, and is an inexpensive paperback.

Colin Wilson has written a book to learn Scots called "Luath Scots
Language Learner - an introduction to contemporary spoken Scots". This
book was launched on 9th September 2002. Published by Luath Press Ltd,
ISBN 094648791X.

you can buy the book here:

There's also
George Kynoch, Teach Yourself Doric, Scottish Cultural Press;
published in 1995, I think.

The relevant Scottish Office department covering the Scots language is at

[3.2] On-line Scots language info

Scots language corpus. Highly recommended. is the URL of Clive Young's "Scots
on the Wab", the best "wab steid" about Scots. Clive Young his screived a
buik titled "The Scots Hanbuik" (1995) an his  pit it on the WWW at:

The Scots National Dictionary Association

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue
is the web site of the Univairsitie o Aiberdeen Scots Leid Quorum.

Links to various resources concerning Scots:

Scots Teaching And Research Network

Scots language resource centre

'Wir Ain Leid - An Innin til Modren Scots' an is anent Scots eidiom an
gremmar. The URL is

See also

E-mail and newsletters
There is a newsletter "The Gliffden". Contact Dauvit Horsbroch for
more information.

There is also an excellent newsletter "Scots Tung Wittins". for more info. Tel: 0131 665 5440


FTP Sites

[3.3] Scots Language Society / Scots Leid Associe

Whit's Scots?
jouk, gulravae, stech, fushionless, ill-setten, nieve, orrals, pley,
incomin, havers, clamihewit, murlin, upbring, hant, pleesure, bravity,
fantoush, smeddum, scunner, gilliegaupus, thrawn, glaikit, airtit,
bogshaivelt, flouers, eedjitm lintie, champit, pauchtie, dour, nainsel,
pech, haun, ....

It's our ain tung!
The Scots Language Society exists to promote Scots in literature, drama,
the media, education and every day usage. Since Scots was once the state
language of Scotland, it is a valid part of our heritage and the Society
recognises that it should be able to take its place as a language of
Scotland, along with Gaelic and English.

As well as promoting the language and lobbying education authorities and
the media for greater use of Scots, the society publishes the twice-yearly
"Lallans", the magazine for writing in Scots (free to society members) plus
a newsletter in Scots. It holds an annual conference, which has been
addressed by eminent writers, actors, journalists, musicians, television
presenters, scholars and others, and runs competitions encouraging both
adults and children to write in Scots.

The society can provide advice on the language to theatre companies,
schools, etc.

The society is a registered charity.

Did ye ken?
The Anglo-Saxons said "Hoose" for "House", "Sang" for "Song" and "Maist"
for "Most"

In Scotland, even speakers of Standard English use Scots words, idioms
and grammatical constructions without even realising it. Think about
"Janitor" (care-taker) or "I've got a cold" (I've a cold) or "Outwith"

Scots was once the state language of the kingdom of Scotland, used by
all classes for all purposes

Many of Scotland's greatest writers have used the Scots language to
express many of their most profound thoughts and ideas. eg. Robert
Henryson (c 1430-1506), Robert Burns (1759-1796), Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894), Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978).

A great many common Scots words have cosmopolitan origins, such as 'Skank'
(drain, grating) from French, 'Scone' from Dutch, 'Kirk' from Old Norse and
'Janitor' from Latin.

Today, Scots is a living language, in use outwith the Gaeltacht. It is
recognised as a separate language, even in the European Union where it is
represented by the bureau for lesser used languages.
( WWW: )

Jyne us nou!
Scots Language Society
Blackford Lodge
Perthshire PH4 1QP

tel: 01764 682315
fax 0870 428 5086

Local branches of the society are to be found in Aberdeen, Edinburgh,
Glasgow and Perth.

[3.4] Lowlands-L mailing list

Lowlands-L, an e-mail discussion list for people who share an interest
in Lowlands languages and cultures

What are "Lowlands languages and cultures"?

"Lowlands languages" are those Germanic languages that developed in the
"Lowlands": the low-lying areas adjacent to the North Sea and the Baltic
Sea. These are primarily Dutch, Frisian, and Low Saxon (Low German).
Also included are those languages that descended from autochtonous
Lowlands languages and are used elsewhere; for example, Afrikaans,
Emigre Dutch/Frisian/Low Saxon, Lowlands-based pidgins and creoles, and
also English and Scots. "Lowlands cultures" are those cultures that
use Lowlands languages or are clearly derived from such cultures.

Can you join?

You most certainly can! We welcome you if you share our interests and
goals and have an e-mail account.

To subscribe to Lowlands-L please visit

Soon after you have subscribed to Lowlands-L, you will receive a
multilingual welcoming message containing further instructions. Please
keep the instructions for later reference (for instance, for the
unlikely case of needing to unsubscribe).

Before you apply for subscription, and before you visit our links page
and our visitors book, you might prefer to read more about Lowlands-L.
The following links are relevant to readers interested in Scots.

Contact email

[4.1] Introduction to Scottish Music

By Charles McGregor

There are several kinds of 'Scottish Music'.. First of all the Alexander
brothers, Kenneth McKellar, Moira Anderson, Bill McCue type thing is IMO
largely an amalgum of Harry Lauder type Coonery and a catering to
Tourist tastes (mostly  English coach parties) in various 'Summer' shows.
Most Scots do not like this kind of thing, it makes them cringe.
But if it's your thing, see

The Scottish folk circuit is where most Scots would look for a
real cultural night out. It is alive and vibrant, it is not just about
traditional music. There are many contemporary song-writers as well
as traditionalists.

Scotland being small, there is not a great deal of money available so
you find that often some of the folk circuit artists may leave the
circuit and go into other more lucrative areas. e.g. Gerry Rafferty,
Barbara Dickson, Billy Connolly, Eddie Reader.

Many remain e.g. Dougie MacLean, Eric Bogle, Archie Fisher, Hamish
Imlach, Battlefield Band, Dick Gaughan, Tannahill Weavers, Phil
Cunningham, Aly Bain.

Now at one time, the folk circuit consisted almost entirely of
little folk clubs up and down the country, there was not a deal of
concert hall performances except for the Corries, and this meant that
they were regarded a little apart from the general folk circuit as a
consequence of this.

Nowadays, concert hall performances are common as the folk
'revival' continues.(It seems to have been 'reviving' or getting bigger
all my life). Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughan etc. regularly fill halls
up and down the country.

Another large part of the folk circuit that used to be almost non
existant is the 'folk fesitival'. I don't know how many there are now,
possibly hundreds. Used to be 1.. the Scottish folk festival for
years in Blairgowrie then moved to Kinross.

Folk programs or series make regular appearances on TV.

Then there is the ceilidh music. This basically falls into two camps.

First there is a fairly formal version where the musicians are
basically following a traditional trade. They are largely used for
formal or semi-formal 'occasions' like weddings or 'Dances' in hotels
or village halls. Scottish country dancing like this is regarded as a
little plastic, or perhaps formulaic is a more appropriate word.
However, Scots do go to these and frequently enjoy them, despite some
similarity to 'summer time specials' they are not an artifact of
tourism, although a lot of tourists will go as well. The Jimmy Shand
band might typify this class of music.

The Second type is the rapidly growing 'new order' of ceilidh music.
In this version, formality goes out the window. The main objective is
enjoyment, getting the dance steps wrong is almost irrelevant the
groups are expected to at least be attempting to push the envelopes of
the genre. There is a positive feedback between the audience and
group which leads to near frenzy all round. Wolfstone perhaps typify
this class of music.

Then there is Gaelic music, which again falls into two categories,
the formal and the less so. The formal consists of gaelic choirs up and
down the country with the mega event being the national Mod once a

The less formal are essentially concert hall based and consist of
groups like Runrig, Capercaillie, Clan na Gael.

Now the above are guidelines there is considerable overlap from one
genre to the other. The term Celtic music covers several of them and
indeed in some branches exchange with Irish artistes is commonplace,
indeed several groups are part Irish part Scots e.g., Capercaillie,
Waterboys, Relativity.

More information

Some review of musicians are at

There is a tutorial article (60K) on the modes of Scottish traditional
music available via

Information on Scottish music from NA perspective - a web Site dedicated to
the Preservation, Performance and Appreciation of the Traditional Celtic
Music of Scotland, Cape Breton, and the United States.

see also
Interesting reading on traditional Scottish and Irish music

[4.2] Suggestions for a Scottish National Anthem

The Scottish Arts Council (see [4.17]) has suggested having a new national
anthem written for post-devolution Scotland. However, a number of existing
songs or tunes could be used. Here's the most frequently suggested.

Existing Anthem
The current Official National Anthem in Scotland is God Save the Queen
which is detested by many, not least because it was originally written
as a pro-English, anti-Scottish song at the time of the Jacobite freedom
fighters. Furthermore, many Scots are not particularly Royalist. The
original version, had this verse (now dropped):

God grant that Marshall Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
victory bring,
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King.

Flower of Scotland is also used in an official capacity as the anthem
for Scottish Rugby and Football and I believe it is also used at the
Commonwealth Games.

Flower of Scotland (The Corries)

See also [9.3.1]

Dawning of The Day (The Corries)

Freedom Come All Ye (Hamish Henderson)
Hamish sees this song as more of an international, rather than
national song. Lyrics at

Highland Cathedral
A regular on the Edinburgh Tattoo and has been recorded by numerous artists.

Scots wha hae (Burns)
For a' that (Burns)
Auld Lang Syne (Burns) (there are two tunes)

Scotland the Brave (good tune, somewhat dated lyrics, see [9.3.20]

Caledonia (Dougie MacLean)

Alba (Runrig)

The First Minister has also suggested we have a debate on the matter

Tunes only (new lyrics required)
Scotland the Brave
Farewell to Sicily
Wild Mountain Thyme
Callor Herring (sp?)
Annie Laurie
The Wild Geese
All the Fine Young Men
Willie McBride. See [9.3.9]
Bonnie Dundee
John McLean March
An Ubhal as aird
A Ribhinn Og, bheil cuimhne agad?
Fear a' Bhata
A Riubhinn Donn
Canan nan Gaidheal
Amazing Grace

Both Sides the Tweed (Dick Gaughan)

'Hey, tuttie taitie.' (Scots wha hae) is a Scottish tune of such antiquity
that there is belief in many quarters, (including Burns himself) that it
was indeed the very battle tune used during the Wars of Independence.

Others and less serious contenders
If all leads to independence, "Ae fond kiss and then we sever" might
be apropos...

Parcel O' Rogues (Burns)

Loch Lomond (traditional)
See [9.3.5]

No gods and precious few heros (Brian McNeill / Hamish Henderson)

[4.3] Scottish Music record labels

Alphabetic order, WWW addresses only.
Those with e-mail addresses but no WWW are listed at the end of
this section.

        Back Porch Music
        Bryan's Room Recordings
        Caber records
        Divine Celtic Sounds
        Green Linnet
        Harbourtown Records
        Highlander Music
        MacDonald Music
        Rounder Records
        Ross Records
        Tayberry Music

Indexes of Folk Labels

Folk Labels e-mail only
Ceardach Music, The Smiddy, Palace Road, Essendy, Blairgowrie,
Perthshire, PH10 6SB.

Veesik Records, Brae, Shetland

Whirlie Records and Productions
17-23 Calton Road, Edinburgh EH8
Tel: 0131 557 9099
(has Aly Bain's first solo album)

See [4.10] for artists and groups

[4.4] Folk Events Listings

What's on guides
Check out the Gig Guide for what's happening in the pub folk scene
in Edinburgh.

or for Edinburgh/Glasgow info look in the folk section of
The List
(look for the Glasgow and Edinburgh sections here)

Blackfriars also produce a double sided A3 broadsheet called "Folk
around the Forth", circulation about 10,000 and published every two
months. You can pick it up free in most folk pubs around Edinburgh
as well as selected venues in Stirling, Glasgow and Fife.

Skye Live

Folk Clubs
See [4.7]

See [4.8] for books detailing contacts and general reference information
regarding the Scottish folk music business.

[4.5] Folk and Traditional Music Record shops

For pay per download MP3s. Special emphasis on traditional material
Very good Internet site for buying Scottish music.
Virtual Music, Alloa Business Centre, Whins Road, Alloa FK10 3SA, Scotland
Scottish music
The primary U.S. distributor for music of Scotland and Nova Scotia,
plus selected Irish, other Canadian, and some related US music. They also
offer a broad selection of music to mail order customers, through their
website and by phone, fax, or mail. The website includes their articles
written for Scottish Life magazine on the music. Anyone wishing to submit
a review is welcome to do so.

A good shop which specialises exclusively in folk is
Blackfriars Music, Blackfriars Music, 49 Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB
Tel: 0131 557 3090.

The large general music shops often have folk sections which
are far larger than Blackfriars but the Blackfriars staff are
generally much more knowledgeable on folk matters.

Good places to try in Edinburgh are the Virgin on Princes Street and
The HMV on Princes St and also in the St James Centre. Sometimes the
folk and Scottish sections are in different areas.
Folk is often subdivided in these shops into subcategories
(i.e. Scottish, Irish, pipe bands, folk etc).

I'd also suggest Coda music, 12 Bank Street, The Mound, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 622 7246 / Fax: 0131 622 7245
They claim to have the biggest selection of folk music in Scotland
and don't charge extra for mail order.

Highly recommended is

Real Music, 23 Parnie Street, Glasgow G1,
phone 0141 553 1195
next to Adam McNaughton's book shop
(tel: 0141 552 2665 and also worth a visit!)

Tower records also has a very good range.

There is also a very good shop in Glasgow on the corner of Havelock
Street and Byres Road; like Blackfriars, this also sells sheet music
and instruments.

Sheet music
Blackwells's is also worth trying for folk music - I haven't used their
record department much, but their sheet music selection is reasonable.
(The best place in town - and probably in Scotland - for folk music on
paper is Rae Macintosh Music, 6 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh EH2 4PA,
phone 0131 225 1171, fax 0131 225 9447; but they are very disorganised
and you'll have to rummage for yourself).

For bagpipe music, see [8.5]

For musical instruments, try Mev Taylor's Music shop,
212 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EA. Phone 0131 229 7454

[4.6] Primary folk music pubs and sessions

The Folk'n'Friends singing session is on every Tuesday evening at The
Waverley Bar (upstairs), St. Mary's Street, Edinburgh, roughly 8.30pm to

Recommend listening to "The Reel Blend" on Radio Scotland on
Sunday mornings for listings.

Most of these start around 9
ALP/SMOG = Denotes Adult Learning Project Scots music group session -
If you go to ALP you'll probably know some of the tunes
A = Denotes afternoon session

  West End Hotel     ALP/SMOG session
  Oxford Bar         ALP/SMOG singing session

  Fiddler's Arms     Anne Hughes led session
  Sandy Bells        Jenny and Hazel Wrigley

  Green Tree         Mainly Irish session

  The Diggers        ALP/SMOG session
  Sandy Bells        mixed session
  West End Hotel     Bill Purves, mainly singing
  Shore Bar          Angus R. Grant and friends
  The Tass, Royal Mile/Jeffrey Street
        ALP slow session, mainly supported by ALP students.

  West End Hotel     ALP/SMOG session
  Sandy Bells        Alan Johnstone and John Martin
  The Antiquary, St Stephens St, Stockbridge - *very* mixed session

  Sandy Bells        mainly Irish
 (occasionally) The Tass, Canongate - instrumental, mostly Irish

  Sandy Bells        mainly Irish
  The Tass, Canongate - instrumental, mostly Irish

  West End Hotel     ALP/SMOG tutored youth session (1-2:30) (A)
   Upstairs          Family session for everyone from 2:30   (A)
  Sandy Bells 2.30-7pm (A) Scottish instrumental (lots of pipe tunes)
  Drouthy Neebours   singing session with guest
  Ensign Ewart       Sandy Brechin and friends

All nights
Whistlebinkies 8:30 - 11:30
The Royal Oak (best pub for sing arounds)
Scruffy Murphy's

The Scotia Bar and Clutha Vaults (Stockwell Street)
Victoria Bar (Bridgegate)
Hielan Jessie's (Gallowgate)
Park Bar

Session takes place on Wednesday evenings in The Lorne Hotel, Stevenson

Moulin Inn, first Sunday afternoon of the month - contact Stan Reeves at
the Adult Learning Project, Tollcross Community Centre,
117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QG 0131 221 5800.
His half-sister runs the hotel.

Wednesdays and Thursdays 8pm
The Taybank Bar

Further information

General Listings

Central Scotland
Check out the Gig Guide for what's happening in the pub folk scene
in Edinburgh.

For Edin/Glasgow info look in the folk section of
The List

[4.7] Folk Clubs

For a complete list, please refer to the Scottish Folk Directory
mentioned in [4.4], or the Scottish Music information centre's book
mentioned in [4.8]. Much of the information here was gathered from the
Scottish Folk Directory. Many thanks to Blackfriars music for
permission to use this. The Scottish Folk Directory is on-line at

Alphabetic by town

Aberdeen Folk Club now meets on Wednesdays 8.30pm at
The Blue Lamp on the Gallowgate in Aberdeen.

Contact Pauline Alexander on 01224 495802,or e-mail them

Clydesdale Folk Club Tel 01899-221236
Last Thursday monthly Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar.

Blackford Hotel: Friday night session

Crail Folk Club
Jill Saunderson 01333 312485, and
Bernie McConnell 01333 451126 (mob: 07764 161891)

Weekly Thursday 8.30pm Golf Hotel, Crail.
Singers and guests alternate weeks. Visiting singers or musicians welcome.

The Pheasant Pluckers F.C. runs fortnightly, in the Pheasant Hotel.
Dalbeattie. On Thursday evenings from 9.00 till whenever; Sessions,
Guests.-Sessions, Guests, etc.
For more info. contact; Phyllis Martin. (01556) 612306

Dunblane Folk Club Tel 01786-824092
Weekly Sunday

The Dunfermline Folk Club
The Thistle Tavern, Baldridgeburn, Dunfermline
8.00pm for 8.30 start every Wednesday
Contact Gifford Lind 01383-729673.

Edinburgh Folk Club
Meets in The Pleasance Bar, The Pleasance on Wednesdays
Tel 01383-738922

Edinburgh University Folk Club (oldest folk club in Scotland)
Tel Caroline Brett on 0131 667 6413

Mike and Elaine Rodgers 01651 891797

First and second Wednesday monthly (free) at 8pm Vale Hotel, Fyvie.
All welcome.

Folk at the Egg. Tel 0141 634 1095 Bob or Roz Gilchrist
Second Monday or as advertised Eglinton Arms, Hotel, Eaglesham, Glasgow.
Session/singaround most nights with occasional guest nights.

Glenfarg Folk Club contact Graham Brotherston on
01337 831116 or 07884 000840
Weekly Monday 8.30pm Glenfarg Hotel. Excellent guests, 1st class residents,
appreciative audience, the main emphasis is enjoyment.

Haddington Folk Club
Gordon Pearson (info) Tel:01620 822925
Ian Turnbull (Bookings) tel:01620 822474
Weekly Wednesday 8.30pm: The Mercat Hotel (upstairs loungue),
High Street, Haddington.
Usual format is a sing around with guests every month or two.

Irvine Folk Club Tel 01294 551047 Joyce Hodge
Second Wednesday 8.30pm The Redburn Hotel, Kilwinning Road, Irvine.

Kilmarnock Folk Club Tel 01560 321102 Maggie MacRae
Weekly Thursday 8pm The Hunting Lodge, Glencairn Square
Alternate guests and singers/musicians nights.

Leslie Folk Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month for
sessions at the Burns Hotel, High Street, Leslie at 8.30pm. All welcome.
Contact George Fisher on 07813 987519.

Black Bull Folk Club Tel 0141 634 1095 Bob, Roz Gilchrist
Alternate Sundays or as advertised in The Black Bull Hotel, Main Street,

Montrose Folk Club Tel 01674-830658 Ken Bruce
Every second Tuesday 8.30pm Corner House Hotel, High Street.
Guest performers every meeting. All, including visiting singers and
musicians, are welcome.

Nitten Folk Club meets every Thursday at 8.30 throughout the year in the
Dean Tavern, Main Street, Newtongrange, Midlothian for a singaround.
Guests appear on the first Thursday of every month September to May.
The Annual Charity Concert is in early June and the ceilidh is held in

Contact details are:
Jim Weatherston
Tel 07850-869759 (Mobile)

Penicuik Folk Club meets at the Craigiebield Hotel, Bog Road, Penicuik
Tel Brian Miller 01968-678153, Alan Murray  01968-678610 or
Brian Cherrie 01968-673930. The club holds a concert once a month (generally
the second Tuesday of the month). All other Tuesdays are free Singers Nights.

Rosehearty Music Night, Every Third Friday Night in
The Bay Hotel, The Square, Rosehearty, for more information
contact John on 01346-571382.

Stirling FC meets every Monday in The Terraces Hotel, 4 Melville Terrace.
Contact Isobel Methven on 01259- 218521

Stonehaven Folk Club Tel 01569- 767666. Trudi Clayton
Weekly Friday St. Leonard's Hotel.

Stow Folk Club Tel 01578-730444 Dave Herd
1st, 3rd, 5th Friday

Straiton Tel 01655-770638 Dave Hunter
Last Friday monthly Black Bull Hotel, Straiton, Ayrshire.
Guest artiste monthly and a warm welcome always given to floor singers.

Stranraer Folk Club Tel 01776-703487
Weekly Wednesday The Corner House, The Royal Hotel, Stranraer.
Regular guests.

The new Rowantree Folk Club meets in the Rowantree Inn, Old Mill Road
Uddingston. It meets on the first, third and, where appropriate, fifth
Fridays of each month, at 8pm. for
up-to-date news and information. Tel. 01698 303407 (Carole Scott)

Ceilidh Place Tel 01854-612103
Ullapool, Wester Ross.
Many regular music events on different nights through the year.

[4.8] Scottish music information

The Scottish Folk Directory
This is a book detailing virtually everything to do with the
Scottish folk music scene.

Blackfriars Music, 49 Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB
Tel: 0131 557 3090.

Scottish Music Centre
The Scottish music centre has compiled a book with over 3,000 entries giving
details of Scottish music performers (classical, early music, folk and
traditional jazz), music education, sources of funding, suppliers and services,
venues, clubs and promoters, festivals and competitions. The book also has
sections on young peoples' music, music from other cultures and publicity and

ISBN 0 9525489 0 9 paperback
210mm x 148mm 320pp 12.99 pounds
published 30-Nov-95

Available from:
Scottish music information centre
1 Bowmont Gardens
G12 9LR
Tel: 0141 334 6393
Fax: 0141 337 1161

All the directory data from the book is now on their database-driven web site,
allowing on-line searching and access.

The SMC also has information about music broadcast on some Scottish
radio programmes.

[4.9] Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA)

This is the main organisations for promoting Scots song and music.
The TMSA organise local folk festivals and singing competitions
and concerts and are in some ways a lowland equivalent of Feisean
nan Gaidheal (with whom they have reciprocal membership) and
An Comunn Gaidhealach. The TMSA has many branches throughout Scotland,
mostly in the Lowlands.


Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland
National Office
95-97 St Leonard's Street
Tel: 0131 667 5587
Fax: 0131 662 9153

the National Organiser is Elspeth Cowie

[4.10] Scottish Groups, Folk Groups, Artists and Bands

Alphabetic order by artist (Surname) or group

Battlefield Band

Eric Bogle


Boys of the Lough

Art Cormack


Cameron Brothers



Phil Cunningham


Bruce Davies

Ivan Drever


Dick Gaughan

Mary Jane Lamond

Dougie MacLean

Kenny MacKenzie

Brian McNeill

Anne Martin

Men of Worth

Ed Miller

Rab Noakes

North Sea Gas

Old Blind Dogs


Rock Salt & Nails


Janet Russell


Silly Wizard

Silly Wizard Mailing List

The Singing Kettle

Tannahill Weavers




General Links and Music Magazines
Ceolas celtic music archive
Celtic Music Magazine On-line
Dirty Linen--Folk and World Music
Folk Roots Home Page
Celtic Music at Collins Peak
Stoneyport agency
Music in Scotland
Scottish Music - domain for sale

celtic music gigs worldwide

Tune and Song Sources
Digital Tradition
Ceolas: The Fiddler's Companion
The TuneWeb
Scottish Song Lyrics

Music Venues and Concert Schedules
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Live at The Lemon Tree
An 'Irish' pub but supports mostly Scottish celtic acts.

Musical Styles and Cultural Connections
Celtic Culture, Languages and Music
Robert Burns
Robert Burns page
(see also [5.4])

Lark In The Morning
Accordion links
The Bagpipe Web
David Daye's Bagpipe Page
The Bodhran Page
Georgi's Home Page of the Fiddle
Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Page
TransFlute    Transverse Flutes: An Overview
Mike Simpson's Tin Whistle Guide

Indexes/Further information

There is a specifically Scottish page on the Ceolas site at:

Folk Music Home Page

Search for Celtic



[4.11] Fiddle Styles

Cape Breton style is the old Scottish style of some 150-200 years ago.
Its main influences are pipes and traditional singing. It's highly
ornamented and mostly uses single bows.

West Coast style is exemplified by the playing of Angus Grant. It's a
style which doesn't relate much to the old fiddle style and seems to
have come mostly from piping. There's a lot of ornamentation and very
long bowstrokes are used to mimic the drone of the pipes.

There's a traditional east coast style that is very seldom heard. Most
of the east coast players of today are heavily influenced by classical
violin style. There's one recording of the old style I know: "The
Cameron Men".

Shetland is a totally different tradition which relates strongly to
Scandinavian fiddling.

To compare various fiddle styles from around Scotland, the
following tape/CD from Greentrax may be of use:
The Fiddler and his art (reference: CDTRAX/CTRAX 9009)
there is another one in this series focussing on Shetland music:
CDTRAX/CTRAX "Shetland Fiddle Music"

Alasdair Fraser has also recorded "Portrait of a Scottish Fiddler" - this
is now available on CD. For Cape Breton Fiddle styles, anything by
Buddy MacMaster or Natalie MacMaster is recommended.

[4.12] Books for learning the fiddle

Failte gu Fidheall - The Scottish Folk Fiddle tutor, Book 1.
(This book is in English with a bilingual Gaelic-English introduction)
A Comprehensive guide for beginners
Compiled and arranged by Christine Martin and Anne Hughes
Published by Taigh na Teud (Harpstring house)
Address: 13 Breacais Ard, Isle of Skye, Scotland, IV42 8PY
Published 1992, ISBN 1 871931 90 8
They also publish "Ceilidh collections", "Ceol na Fidhle" (=music of the
fiddle) and "Session Tunes".
The book is about 5 pounds and is 42 A4 pages
There is also a demonstration tape to accompany the book, available from
the publishers.
This is a really good book with one of the best selections of tunes
(Highland, Lowland and others) I've seen in any book.

Here's another, although this is aimed at more advanced players

I picked up an excellent book on Cape Breton fiddle music while I was
there in May 97 and thought others might be interested. Not only does it
have the expected comprehensive selection of traditional tunes, but
there's over 20 pages of introduction explaining the Cape Breton fiddle
style as well as a very useful discography and pointers to sources of
further information, including collections, books and sources on the
Internet. Each song also has considerable descriptive notes and
references. There is also reference to Jackie Dunn's thesis: "Tha blas
na Gaidhlig air a h-uile fidhleir" (The sound of Gaelic is in the
fiddler's music). I'd be interested in finding out more about this
thesis - does anyone have details?

Book details:
Traditional Celtic Violin music of Cape Breton
139 transcripts with historical and musicological annotations by Kate
Dunlay and David Greenberg (considerably revised from 1986 publication
and regarded by the authors as a new book). Published 1996 by DunGreen
music, 20 Windley Avenue, Toronto, Canada M6C 1N2
ISBN 0-9680802-0-0. Softback. 158 pages
Sorry, can't remember how much it cost.
E-mail the authors at

Online info
Although this page is about learning to play the Irish fiddle, we think
you'll find it useful nonetheless!

[4.13] Where can I get a piper?

I just scanned the FAQ and there's one topic I would like to add. Every week
or so I see (and answer) a "How do I find a piper" post on the
soc.culture.scottish/celtic newsgroups or on the various wedding
newsgroups (,

Could you add a something that recommends that they post their inquiries to
the newsgroup or send an e-mail to Their inquiry needs to include both
the location and the date of the event. They should also note what kind
of pipes they want.

Stirling area
Craig Muirhead is a 15 year old bagpiper from Stirling, available for weddings

Other recommendations
--------------------- (has a commercial element)

[4.14] Where can I get bagpipes?

Blackfriars deserves a good mention here. They have in stock, a good
assortment of pipes, particularly smallpipes.

It's many a long year since I "squeezed the bag and tuned the drones",
but I think that you would be safe to give Kilberry Bagpipes of
Edinburgh a toot!! (They're located near the King's Theatre). They would
have an even better selection if their "showroom" wasn't a parking space
for a very large motorcycle.

The Scots Magazine ran an article on them in it's October '96 issue.
They are on
and for e-mail try them at

Highland Pipes:
Henry Murdo (Dun Fion Bagpipes)
Corriegills, Isle of Arran
Tel 01770 302393
Henry is regarded as one of the top pipemakers in the world.

Bagpipes of Caledonia
Lorn House
Links Garden Lane
Leith, Edinburgh EH6 7JQ

Bagpipes and associated products, tuition packs, chanter kits.

[4.15] Early bagpipe references

One of the first sources where bagpipes are mentioned is the Old Testament
and I heard of some carvings that prove the use of bagpipes a thousand
years before Christ somewhere in the east.

The first bagpipes in Europe are mentioned in Greece by Aristophanes
(445 - 385 before Christ) Not much is known about these pipes but they
had probably no drones, just a bag and a chanter.

Since the 9th century bagpipes have been used across Europe. Most of
them had one to three, some also four or more drones. In some countries like
Brittany, Bulgaria, Sweden and others bagpipes are still played, also in
Germany by there are quite a number of pipers playing on original German
bagpipes. I think there are still pipers in nearly every European country
though. In the Middle East bagpipes are first mentioned in the 11th century.

Purser's book (mentioned in [4.21]) says (P75-76)

The earliest reference to bagpipes in English is in Chaucer's Prologue
(1386). In Scots it is Dunbar's Testament of Mr Andrew Kenney (1508).
In Gaelic, it is the Irish manuscript of the second battle of Moytura
(15th C). There are non-literary references earlier from accounts and
from carvings (c. 15th cen) in Rosslyn chapel.

[4.16] Learning to play the harp (clarsach)

Learning to play the clarsach:
If you are interested in learning to play the clarsach, but would like
to 'have a go' before you part with a lot of money, I would recommend that
you hire a harp from Fountain Harps. They also have learner books and tapes.

Based in the Scottish borders, they can arrange the hire to many places
throughout Scotland and also England.

Fountain Harps

Scottish Clarsach Orchestra (na Clarsairean)

Harp enthusiasts may also appreciate the following pages, about the
Irish harper Carolan

Comunn na Clarsaich (The Clarsach Society)

Clarsach Net

John Yule,
Carnethy Cottage,
Silverburn, Penicuik,
Midlothian EH26 9LQ
(has got to be one of the best in Scotland!)

Janet Annan of Queensferry
teaches clarsach & Harp
Tel: 0131 319 1925
Janet also does weddings & events

Starfish Designs
Unit 4, Old Ferry Road,
North Ballachulish
by Fort William PH33 6SA
Tel: 01855 821429 (fax: 01855 821577)

Ardival Harps (Bill Taylor)
Orchard House, Castle Leod
Strathpeffer, Ross-shire IV14 9AA
(also offers harp tuition, all levels)

Another resource is "Sounding Strings" magazine published Quarterly by
Sounding Strings
The Old School
AB31 6NY

Tel: +44 (0)1330 850722
They operate mail order music and recordings and we will be restarting
publication of the magazine later this year.

[4.17] Scottish Arts Council

The Scottish Arts Council
12 Manor Place
Tel: 0131 226 6051

Help Desk on 0845 603 6000 (local rate within the UK)

Fax: 0131 225 9833

They have an interesting page on Scottish arts at

[4.18] Living Tradition

This is the main magazine for Scottish folk music info, although it
covers other forms of traditional music too. The magazine can be
reached at

or The Living Tradition, PO Box 1026, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire KA2 0LG

published every two months

[4.19] Traditional Scottish Music and Culture List

Date: 11 Aug 1997 20:39:07 -0300
From: (Toby A Rider)
Subject: New Scottish listserver: SCOTS-L

To All:

Please note that I have started the new "Official" Scottish
traditional music list server. Devoted entirely to the discussion of
the traditional Celtic music of Scotland by those who perform or
appreciate it.

It is an unmoderated list, I trust that you all will be polite
and considerate of opinions different than your own, regardless of how
repugnant :-)

I look forward to the fine discussions that will develop on this list.

* To subscribe to SCOTS-L, send an e-mail to with the message body:

subscribe SCOTS-L

* To post a message to SCOTS-L, send mail to the following address:

In addition, you can subscribe via the web page at:

Toby Arnold Rider,
Website at

[4.20] Cape Breton music mailing list

send a mail to:
subject: subscribe

[4.21] Reference material for Scottish music

Scotland's Music
A History of the Traditional and Classical Music of Scotland
from Early Times to the Present Day
by John Purser
Published by Mainstream, 1992.
(7 Albany Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3UG)
ISBN 1-85158-426-9
311 pages; 225mm x 285 mm, hardback, 25 pounds (and worth every penny)

I got this book after seeing a lecture given by the author, now
Dr. John Purser. This groundbreaking award winning book evolved from
John's BBC radio series (covering 45 hours). The book covers the whole
of Scotland's music - from 8th Century BC to the present day. The book
covers both classical and traditional music individually and the links
between them. Includes early Celtic plainchant; ballads in Scots and
Gaelic; Renaissance music; music for lutes and virginals; music today:
operatic; symphonic; Gaelic; folk revival and pop.

Chapters include
The Scottish Idiom
Bulls, Birds and Boars (800BC - AD400)
Briton, Pict and Scot (600-800)
The Bell and the Chant (500-1100)
Cathedral Voices (800-1300)
Ballads, Bards and Makars (1100-1500)
Gaelic bards, bagpipes and harps (1100-1600)
The Golden Age (1490-1550)
Reform (1513-1580)
The two Maries (1540-1590)
At the courts of the last King (1570-1630)
Music of the West (1530-1760)
From Covenanters to Culloden (1630-1750)
From Rome to Home (1660-1720)
The Temple of Apollo (1740-1770)
The Scots Musical Museum (1760-1850)
The Withdrawing room and the concert hall (1820-1920)
Sea, field and music hall (1820-1910)
The classical takes root (1910-1970)
A new accommodation (1950-)
also includes
  select bibliography; select discography; libraries and archives;
  glossary of Scottish musical terms; plates in colour and black
  and white; over 200 musical examples; full index.

An absolutely brilliant work, meticulously researched, magnificient in
scope and beautifully presented. A must for anyone interested in
learning in depth about one of Europe's most musical cultures.

A double CD set was also issued, (1) including one track of particular
interest to soc.culture.scottish:
"Calgacus", by Edward McGuire (for orchestra + pipes), performed by an
unnamed piper and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Can anyone name the
piper?  George McIlwham, perhaps?
(1) "Scotland's Music" (Linn Records 1992, LINN CKD 008; Linn Products
Ltd, Floors Road, Eaglesham, Glasgow G76 0EP).

Musica Scotica
A new series of scholarly editions of Early Scottish music, edited
by Dr Kenneth Elliott of Glasgow University. The series is being
published in stages. Titles planned include:
The Complete works of Robert Carver
The Complete Sacred Music of Robert Johnson
16th Century Scots songs for voice and lute
17th Century Scots songs for voice and lute/harpsichord
The Cantatas of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik
Early Scottish Music for Keyboard
Early Scottish Psalm-settings

For more information, contact

Dr Kenneth Elliott
General Editor Musica Scotica
Department of Music
University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Tel: 0131 339 8877 (extn 4094)
Fax: 0141 307 8018

[4.22] The Piano film music

The music for this film is similar to "Gloomy Winter" (Sung often and
well by Dougie MacLean) by Robert Tannahill (see [11.14]). Also sung by
Chantan on their album "Primary Colours" on Culburnie records.

An addition to the above - although the tune Gloomy Winter is very similar,
the stresses are slightly different. There appears however, to be an old
Gaelic song which matches The Piano theme music almost identically. This
Gaelic song is sung by the group "ho-ro-gheallaidh" who won the Gaelic rock
competition at the 1997 National Mod. The tune, with some of the lyrics in
Gaelic and English appear on P208 of the Purser book mentioned in [4.21].
The tune is by Alexander Campbell (born 1764) and this was the tune to
which Robert Tannahill wrote the lyrics "Gloomy winter's now awa'". The
first name of the tune is "Lord Balgonie's favourite" (later renamed to
"Come my bride, haste haste away" and Campbell describes it as "A very
old Highland tune". The song appeared in print on P67 of Albyn's anthology
in 1816.

[5.1] Primary literary figures

Further information
Gateway to Scottish authors

Alphabetic order by surname
Iain Banks (The Crow Road, The Wasp Factory, etc)

Boswell and Johnson's (tour to the Western Isles)

George Douglas Brown (The house with the green shutters)

John Buchan (The thirty nine steps)

Robert Burns (details in [5.2])

William Dunbar

Janice Galloway (The trick is to keep breathing)

Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Sunset Song, see [5.13]) (voted
Scotland's best novel by Herald readers Oct 98 and
the Best Scottish Book of All Time. 28/Aug/05 at the
Edinburgh International Book Festival.)

Alasdair Gray (Lanark)

Neil Gunn (particularly recommended is Highland River/The Silver Darlings)

George Campbell Hay

Hamish Henderson (Alias MacAlias - his autobiography and
"The Armstrong nose" - Hamish's collected letters)

James Hogg (Confessions of a Justified Sinner)

Robin Jenkins (The cone gatherers)

Norman MacCaig (Collected poems)

Hugh MacDiarmid (especially "A drunk man looks at the thistle")

Sorley Maclean (From Wood to Ridge)
One of the greatest Gaelic poets of all time. Book is bilingual; author's
own translations.       Astoundingly powerful stuff. ISBN 0 09 988720 7
(published by Vintage, London)

James McPherson ('Ossian')

Neil Munro (The new road)

J. K. Rowling (award winning and best selling author of the "Harry Potter"

Sir Walter Scott (The Heart of Midlothian, Old Mortality, Waverley -
see [5.5])

Iain Crighton Smith (in Gaelic: Iain Mac a' Ghobhainn) (Consider the lillies)

Muriel Spark (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)

Robert Louis Stevenson (Kidnapped, Weir of Hermiston, Treasure Island,
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)

Jeff Torrington (Swing hammer swing)

Nigel Tranter ("The Story of Scotland")

Alan Warner (Morvern Callar)

Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting)

There's a very strong argument which says the best writing in English
right now is from Scotland. 'Trainspotting' is about Edinburgh, just as
much as 'Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner'. There's a
heap of authors to recommend: Jeff Torrington, James Kelman, Robin
Jenkins, Alistair Gray, William McIlvanney - these are some I like and
frankly, I can't think of any current author whom I would rather read.

The Enlightenment
Any writings by David Hume and Adam Smith from the age of the
Scottish Enlightenment are recommended.

For those interested in the Scottish Enlightenment and it's
enormous contribution to human understanding, I can thoroughly
recommend a book by Alexander Broadie. It's published by Canongate
Edinburgh, ISBN 0 86241 738 4 price 10.99. It is an excellent
anthology for those wishing to get a good grasp of the contribution made
to the age of reason by Scots. My only rebuke is the missing scientific
contributions which the editor admitted were entirely due to his personal
inadequacies on matters scientific. However, the philosophical content
is worth the money alone.

[5.2] Info on Robert Burns

See also Answer [5.3]

Robert Burns, the National Bard of Scotland, was born in on 25 Jan 1759, the
son of an Ayrshire cottar. A cottar is a Scots word for a tenant occupying
a cottage with or (from the late 18th century) without land attached to
it or a married farmworker who has a cottage as part of his contract.
The word dates from the 15th century. Anyway, back to Burns. He
apparently developed an early interest in literature. Between 1784 and
1788, whilst farm-labouring, he wrote much of his best poetry,
including "Halloween", "The Cotter's Saturday Night" and the skilful
satires "Death and Dr Hornbook" and "Holy Willie's Prayer". In 1786
the "Kilmarnock" edition of Robert Burns' early poems was published,
bringing with it fame and fortune, and the second edition, published by
William Creech, brought him enough financial security to marry his
mistress Jean Armour. The couple settled to a hard life in Ellisland
with their four children, and to supplement their meagre income, Burns
took a job as an excise man. From 1787, Burns concentrated on
songwriting, making substantial contributions to James Johnson's "The
Scots Musical Museum", including "Auld Lang Syne" (see [9.3.2]) and
"A Red, Red Rose". On 21st July 1796, at the age of 37, he died in
Dumfries, his health undermined by rheumatic fever.

Most of the above was taken from a recommended book "The complete
illustrated poems, songs and ballads of Robert Burns" 12 pounds 95p.
Published by Lomond Books, ISBN 1 85152 018 X. This is a reprint of a
1905 publication so the print is a bit strange and unfortunately there
is no index and the contents aren't in alphabetical order. However, it
is 650 A5 size pages (hardback) and can often be found in bargain bookshops
for about 5 pounds.

The picture most usually seen of Burns (but not the one on the Bank of
Scotland five pound note) is from an engraving after a portrait by
Alexander Nasmyth, 1787. Today, many thousands of Scots around the
world celebrate Burns night on his birthday, 25th January. Burns night
has even been commemorated in the Kremlin. Burns suppers consist of
having a meal of tatties (mashed potatoes), neeps (turnips - not
swede!) and haggis. Details of how to buy haggis are in [13.1] in this
FAQ. There is usually quite a bit of whisky drunk at these occasions
too, particularly as Burns was a well known drinker (and womaniser).
Usually a man makes a speech remembering Burns and how his thoughts
and poems are timeless and as relevant today as they were when they
were written. Then there's a "reply from the lassies" where it's usual
to point out the other side of Burns and how he left many women broken
hearted. Well, that's the general idea anyway, there's lots of
variations. Some of the features of Burns Suppers are rather
inauthentic: the kilts/tartans worn are really the garb of the
Gael, and the Great Pipe is the Gael's instrument. Burns himself
wasn't a Gael, and would have been more acquainted with
breiks and the fiddle. For more information on Burns Suppers, see

Probably Burns' most famous composition is Auld Lang Syne, however most
people do not sing either the right lyrics or the original tune. A lot of
people erroneously insert the words "the sake of" in the chorus - this
was not written by Burns. The tune is a bit confused too. Burns
originally wrote the lyrics to a tune which his publisher didn't like,
so he then put the lyrics to the tune which most people know. However,
the second tune is also claimed by the Japanese!. The original tune is
available on some recordings, including "The Winnowing" by The Cast and "File under Christmas" by Scotland's
leading Clarsach (Harp) duo, Sileas (pronounced "Shee-lis")

The old tune is rapidly gaining momentum however, and I have heard
hundreds of people sing it in Edinburgh without difficulty. The
old version of the tune is also in The Digital Tradition (see [9.1]
for details) and off
Lyrics are at [9.3.2] in this FAQ.

It is someting of a comment on the English-biased nature of Scottish
education that Scotland has produced one of the world's greatest and
best loved poets and yet he is hardly studied in his own country, most
people studying Shakespeare at school. Shakespeare was obviously a
world class bard as well, but isn't there room for Burns too?
It is also something of a comment on the English education system in
England. Burns and Scott tend scarcely to get a look-in on Eng. Lit.
courses at univ. - certainly very rarely at Cambridge. This is a comment
from an English graduate of Cambridge who says the only Scottish author
they recall being vaguely mentioned was Henryson.

To hear some of Robert Burns' poetry read by a native of Prestwick,
go to and look in the
Scots section.

To balance this "traditional" information on Burns it should be
pointed out that, as well as being quite the poet, Burns was
also a sexist, philandering and womaniser. His sentiment of "A man's a
man for a' that" doesn't carry over very well into his treatment of
women. It is also perhaps true to say that Burns had the same casual
relationship with his music as he did with many of his women. Burns is
often hailed as the champion of Scots but he was broader than that and
drew extensively on Highland music too, perhaps through his relationship
with Highland Mary. For a' that, for instance exists as a Gaelic puirt
a beul. Whether the Gaelic one predates the Burns version is not known,
but it is perhaps possible given that puirt a beul could have arisen from
the banning of the pipes in the years 1747 to 1782 and Burns was around
between 1759 and 1796.

Incidentally, Robert Burns is often known as Rabbie Burns or (chiefly
by Americans) Robbie Burns. These are both modern misnomers and are not
names he used himself. He did use Robin, Rab, Rab Mossgiel, Rab the Rhymer,
Robert and in his formal letters frequently used Robt. Of course in
correspondence to Clarinda he was Sylvander and in one letter to Ainslie
he signed off with Spunkie.

[5.3] Address to a Haggis - Robert Burns

To A Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
                    Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
                    As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
                    In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
                    Like amber bead.

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
                    Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
                    Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn they stretch an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
                    Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
                    _Bethankit_ hums.

Is there that owre his French _ragout_
Or _olio_ that wad stow a sow,
Or _fricasee_ wad mak her spew
                    Wi' perfect sconner
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
                    On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! See him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
                    His nieve a nit;
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
                    O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
                    He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
                    Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
                    That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
                    Gie her a Haggis!

[5.4] Robert Burns links

Burns and a' that festival

Particularly recommended and
Robert Burns Club based in Alexandria, Scotland
The Robert Burns club of Milwaukee.
Contains the complete works of Robert Burns and glossary.

Other recommendations

[5.5] The Celtic muse in Scott's 'Waverley'

Article by Christopher Rollason
3rd November 1996

The Celtic Muse in Walter Scott's 'Waverley'

*This article is mainly concerned with the role of Celtic music and
song in this novel. However, I have thought it useful to begin with a
brief general introduction to the book.*

Sir Walter Scott's first published novel, 'Waverley' (1814; references
to the Penguin Classics edition, ed. Andrew Hook, Harmondsworth:
Penguin, 1972) is best known for bestowing its name on Edinburgh's
main railway station, and to the whole series of Scott's historical
works of fiction, collectively known as the 'Waverley novels'. It
narrates the story of Edward Waverley, a young English aristocrat
posted to Scotland as an army officer, who becomes caught up in the
Jacobite rebellion of 1745, in which he sides with the Scottish troops
of Prince Charles Stuart, pretender to the British throne, against the
ruling house of Hanover.

In other words, the novel is about a civil war in Britain, essentially
between the Scots and the English, in which the main character fights
on the 'wrong' side: Waverley, despite being a ruling-class
Englishman, finds himself, in the remote fastnesses of Scotland,
wearing the tartan, listening to Gaelic, and fighting alongside the
feudal, archaic Highlanders - 'grim, uncombed and wild' (ch. 44, p.
324) - in a world where the chieftains hold 'patriarchal authority'
(ch. 58, p. 399) and the clansmen are bound by 'feudal duty' (ch. 24,
p. 188). The novel is written in the third person, but the protagonist
may be considered a stand-in for the English or, indeed, non-Scottish
reader, gradually inducted by the narrative into a society alien to
his or her own time and place. The reader is made aware throughout of
the divisions existing in the so-called 'United Kingdom', between
Whigs and Tories, Hanoverians and Jacobites, English and Scots; the
ancient kingdom of Scotland had been united with England only since
1707 (38 years before the events described, and 107 years before the
date of publication), and Scotland was itself geographically,
culturally and linguistically divided between the semi-Anglicised
Lowlands, whose inhabitants spoke either standard English or the
'Scotch' dialect of English, and the 'backward', Gaelic-speaking
Highlands where feudal and clan loyalties still ruled.

'Waverley' thus describes a society likely to appear strange and
outlandish to most readers outside Scotland, and, indeed, to Lowland
Scots not acquainted with the Highlands. Despite, or because of, this
visible strangeness of its subject-matter, the novel proved
phenomenally popular on first appearance. It is still of major
importance in literary history, for it introduces and classically
exemplifies the historical novel in its typical modern form: an
imaginary narrative based on actual events, whose characters embrace
all ranks of society and include both real historical figures (Charles
Stuart) and invented individuals who are nonetheless offered as
'typical' or 'representative' of the period.

One aspect of this novel which may not have received its due attention
is Scott's remarkable emphasis, at least in the middle section of the
book, on the strength and vitality of traditional Scottish culture,
especially folk poetry and music. The presence of such an element is
hardly surprising, as Scott's first important literary work was an
edition of Scottish folk ballads ('Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border',
1803), which is still regarded as a landmark in the field. The old
traditional culture was, in the early nineteenth century, still alive
in more than one region of Scotland: Scott himself collected his
ballad material from the lands on the English border, and in Ayrshire,
also in the Lowlands, Robert Burns (whom Scott quotes  in 'Waverley' -
ch. 56, p. 388; editor's note, p. 594)  helped keep the tradition
alive by composing his own songs in the ballad mode. The
Gaelic-speaking Highlands were, however, inevitably seen as the
ultimate repository and redoubt of Celtic culture.

Curiously, the folk-culture aspect of 'Waverley' is scarcely mentioned
by the author in his own prefaces and appendices to the novel, and it
may not appear the most obvious facet of a book mostly concerned with
warfare and battles. Nonetheless, there is evidence to suggest that
exposure to the old Celtic ways plays an important role in Edward
Waverley's learning process across the novel.

The narrative may be divided into three sections. Chapters 1 to 7
introduce Edward Waverley, his family background (he is of pure
English stock, but an uncle has pro-Stuart sympathies) and early
years, and show him embarking on a military career and arriving in
Scotland, where he is posted to Dundee; chapters 8 to 39 plunge the
young English officer, through a chain of chance circumstances, ever
more deeply into Scottish society and the world of Jacobite intrigue;
and from chapter 40 on, he has formally committed himself to the
service of Prince Charles Stuart, and his individual destiny is
subsumed into the larger history of the rebellion of 1745 (the
government cause finally prevails at the battle of Culloden; the
Prince flees into exile; many of his supporters are hanged, though
some, including Waverley, are pardoned). Scott's descriptions of the
Celtic popular tradition occur mostly in the middle section, before
the outbreak of the rebellion proper, and may be seen as forming part
of Waverley's gradual education in things Scottish.

At the beginning of chapter 8, Waverley, who has obtained leave of
absence from his regiment, is on his way to visit the Baron of
Bradwardine, an old friend of his uncle's whose mansion is just
outside Tully-Veolan, a village in the county of Perthshire - in other
words, right on the border between the 'civilised' Lowlands and the
'barbaric' Highlands: 'Edward gradually approached the Highlands of
Perthshire, which at first had appeared a blue outline in the horizon,
but now swelled into high gigantic masses, which frowned defiance over
the more level country that lay beneath them. Near the bottom of this
stupendous barrier, but still in the Lowland country, dwelt Cosmo
Comyne Bradwardine of Bradwardine' (ch. 8, p. 73). The 'stupendous
barrier' is not merely physical; it also symbolises the cultural
barriers between the Anglicised Lowlands and the Gaelic-speaking
Highlands, and the 'frown(ing) defiance' of the hills anticipates the
revolt with which their inhabitants will defy the English crown.
Waverley's experiences in the middle section of the book are,
technically, part in the Highlands, part in the Lowlands; but the
situation of Tully-Veolan on 'this Hieland border' (ch. 66, p. 454)
suggests that the visitor is, in fact, already coming into the purview
of the old Celtic ways.

When Edward enters the grounds of the manor-house at Tully-Veolan, the
first human voice he hears is that of a strange individual dressed in
motley, singing an 'old Scottish ditty' (ch. 9, p. 82): 'False love,
and hast thou played me thus/In summer among the flowers?'. It turns
out to be Davie Gellatley, the Baron's fool, jester, or, to use the
local term, 'innocent': a villager not completely in his right mind,
whom Bradwardine has nonetheless adopted as his personal servant, and
who compensates for his defects with 'a prodigious memory, and an ear
for music' (ch. 12, p. 105), and an immense repertory of traditional
songs, which he sings incessantly. Scott refers in his notes to the
survival in Scotland of 'the ancient and established custom of keeping
fools' (ch. 9, p. 85n), and identifies 'False love' as 'a genuine
ancient fragment' (p. 82n). Davie, 'half-crazed simpleton' (ch. 12, p.
105) though he may be, is also a custodian of the collective memory,
and what Waverley calls his 'scraps of minstrelsy' (ch. 63, p. 435)
are not such scraps after all (several examples are carefully and
copiously quoted). Indeed, the fool's 'minstrelsy' in a sense
parallels, in a spontaneous  and unintellectual form, Scott's own more
conscious activity of collecting and preserving the 'minstrelsy of the
Scottish border'. The Baron's 'innocent' has a Shakespearean dignity,
his ditties at times recalling the Fool in 'King Lear' or the
'melodious lay' of the crazed Ophelia. His old mother (herself
suspected by some of being a witch) declares: 'Davie's no just like
other folk, puir fallow; but he's no sae silly as folk tak him for'
(ch. 64, p. 440); and near the end, when the manor-house has been
plundered and pillaged by the English troops and reduced to an
apparently irrecuperable ruin, Edward identifies Davie's tones among
the wreckage: 'Amid these general marks of ravage ... he heard a voice
from the interior of the building singing, in well-remembered accents,
an old Scottish song:
" They came upon us in the night/And brake my bower, and slew my
knight ... " ' (ch. 63, p. 435). As it turns out, the fool and his
mother are instrumental in saving their master's life, keeping him in
concealment till a pardon reaches him. The figure of Davie singing
amid the ruins bears witness to the strength and tenacity of the
popular tradition which he and his songs embody.

Waverley's residence at the Baron's gradually leads him to discover
the Highlands proper. One and another circumstance brings him, first
to visit the cave of Donald Bean Lean, a freebooting robber, and then
to accept the hospitality of the Jacobite chieftain Fergus, head of
the MacIvor clan. These adventures are accompanied by music and song.
In the robber's  lair, the young Englishman is served breakfast by his
host's daughter Alice, 'the damsel of the cavern', who wakes him with
'a lively Gaelic song' which she sings as she prepares 'milk, eggs,
barley-bread, fresh butter and honey-comb' for the guest (ch. 18, p.
145). This suggests she is singing a work-song, and that music is, as
is the case in traditional communities, an integral part of the pulse
and rhythms of daily life. At Fergus MacIvor's castle, the military
exercises of the clansmen are conducted 'to the sounds of the great
war-bagpipe' (ch. 19, p. 161), while the ceremonial dinner that
follows, in the great hall, is also enlivened by three bagpipers  (ch.
20, p. 164). The Highland feast terminates with a formal address from
Fergus' resident 'bhairdh' or bard, one MacMurrough, who 'began to
chant, with low and rapid utterance, a profusion of Celtic verses',
later rising into 'wild and impassioned notes, accompanied with
appropriate gestures' (p. 165). His Gaelic chant acts as an expression
of group solidarity, and communicates itself as such to his audience:
'Their wind and sun-burnt countenances assumed a fiercer and more
animated expression; all bent forward towards the reciter, many sprung
up and waved their arms in ecstasy, and some laid their hands on their
swords' (p. 166). The bard is, like the fool, a still-alive archaic
figure; both, in their different ways, express through song the
collective consciousness of their ancient societies.

The musical high-point of the novel occurs in chapters 21 and 22,
which introduce the chieftain's sister, Flora MacIvor, as the Celtic
musician par excellence. Flora, though a Highlander, has been educated
in Paris, and blends native awareness of the tradition with a more
intellectual and sophisticated attitude to it: the reader is told that
she had studied 'the music and poetical traditions of the
Highlanders',  carrying out 'researches' and 'inquiries' in a
conscious, organised fashion which seems to parallel Scott's own study
of the Border ballads (ch. 21, p. 169). It is, accordingly, under the
sign of music that her brother Fergus introduces her to Edward:
'Captain Waverley is a worshipper of the Celtic muse; ... I have told
him you are eminent as a translator of Highland poetry' (ch. 22, pp.
171-172). Flora informs the guest that 'the recitation of poems ...
forms the chief amusement of a winter fireside in the Highlands', and
that bards such as MacMurrough are 'the poets and historians of their
tribes'. She also pays tribute to the musicality of Gaelic: 'The
Gaelic language, being uncommonly vocalic, is well adapted for sudden
and extemporaneous poetry' (p. 173). That evening after dinner, she
invites the English visitor, in the company of her attendant Cathleen,
to a secluded glen in the castle grounds, where, by the side of a
waterfall, she sings a 'lofty ... Highland air' to him, in English
translation, accompanying herself on the harp and allowing her song to
blend with the sounds of the cascade. Flora declares: 'To speak in the
poetical language of my country, the seat of the Celtic muse is in the
mist of the secret and solitary hill, and her voice is in the murmur
of the mountain stream' (p. 177). Waverley is overcome by 'a wild
feeling of romantic delight', at her strains 'which harmonised well
with the distant waterfall, and the soft sigh of the evening breeze in
the rustling leaves of an aspen' (pp. 177-178). Flora's woodland
performance images an archaic world where music and song are
integrated into nature.

After this episode, Waverley, not unsurprisingly, falls in love with
the fair Celtic harpist. However, she rejects his suit, and he is soon
caught up in the chain of occurrences which will push him away from
this romantic Highland refuge into the thick of rebellion and war. The
musical references of the novel's third section, which narrates these
rougher and harsher events, are noticeably much fewer. They are also
more superficial, relating as they do, significantly, mainly to the
Lowlands or to the British. Thus, on the road to Falkirk a Lowland
lieutenant 'whistled the Bob of Dumblain' - a tune which the narrator
neither describes nor quotes (ch. 39, p. 287); a party of Lowlanders
is heralded by 'a kind of rub-a-dub-dub' or 'inoffensive row-de-dow'
on the drums (ch. 34, p. 264); an English soldier whistles 'the tune
of Nancy Dawson' (ch. 38, p. 282); the English cavalry are announced
by 'the unwelcome noise of kettle-drums and trumpets' (ch. 60, p.
410). The earlier poetry and depth of musical allusion has
disappeared, and does not return till Davie Gellatley the fool comes
back into the novel near the end.

The Jacobite rebellion is, of course, finally defeated by the English.
Fergus MacIvor is hanged, and Flora leaves Britain forever for a
French convent; the lives of Waverley and the Baron of Bradwardine
hang in the balance until both are in the end pardoned and young
Edward marries the Baron's daughter Rose. There is no evidence, either
internal or external, to suggest that Scott actually favoured the
Jacobite cause or the '45 rebellion. The 'unfortunate civil war' (ch.
71, p. 489) is seen as a forlorn attempt in a lost cause; at the same
time, however, Scott gives full credit and due to the courage and
devotion of the Jacobite leaders and their troops to a belief-system
with which he obviously does not agree himself. His protagonist, near
the end, reaches the conclusion that the only rational hope for the
future is that 'it might never again be his lot to draw his sword in
civil conflict' (ch. 60, p. 415).

It is, nonetheless, amply clear from the novel as a whole that Scott
wished his English readers to take Scottish culture seriously, and to
value and respect the passionate, heroic qualities of the Celtic
nation. At a number of points in the narrative, English prejudices
against things Scottish are exposed as being empty and stereotyped.
Colonel Talbot, an English officer whose life Waverley saves, speaks
contemptuously of 'this miserable country', and is described by the
narrator as being 'tinged ... with those prejudices which are
peculiarly English' (ch. 52, p. 366); he calls the Gaelic language
'gibberish', adding for good measure that 'even the Lowlanders talk a
kind of English little better than the negroes in Jamaica' (ch. 56, p.
387). Scott's own sympathies are clearly, by contrast, with the
Highland ladies and friends of Flora's who declare Gaelic to be more
'liquid' and better 'adapted for poetry' than Italian (ch. 54, p.
377). As an alternative to national antagonisms, Waverley's marriage
to Rose Bradwardine may be seen as symbolizing a certain
Anglo-Scottish convergence, a mutual recognition of cultural value on
both sides of the divide.

Music and poetry emerge from 'Waverley' as essential elements of that
traditional Celtic society whose dignity and originality Scott's novel
clearly defends, at least in cultural terms. Scott was, of course,
more than familiar with the specific musical and poetic traditions of
the Lowlands, as is clear from his ballad studies or from a later
novel like 'The Bride of Lammermoor'. However, he chose in 'Waverley'
to associate the Celtic muse with the Highlands and their hinterland,
as symbolizing all that was most classically and irremediably
Scottish. In this traditional society, music and poetry are integrated
with daily life and work, and make up a tissue of folk history; and
Scott's first novel offers the reader memorable images of this archaic
but holistic view of the world, through the ancient, archetypal
figures of Fool, Bard and Harpist.

Christopher Rollason

[5.6] Scottish Poetry Library

Scottish Poetry Library
5 Crichton's Close
Tel: 0131 557 2876

[5.7] The Saltire Society

The Saltire Society
9 Fountain Close
22 High Street
Tel: 0131 556 1836
Fax: 0131 557 1675

The Saltire society is active in encouraging the development of
Scottish arts, particularly material connected with the Scots and
Gaelic languages and runs an annual competition for the best Scottish
books in various categories.

[5.8] Women's writing

For more information, see

A History of Scottish Women's Writing
ed. Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan
Edinburgh Univ Press 19 pounds 95p
0748609164 Aug 1997

described as "The first ever comprehensive critical analysis of Scottish
women's writing from its earliest known beginnings to the present day."

[5.9] Scottish literature and writers

The Association for Scottish Literary Studies

The Scottish storytelling centre

[5.10] Literature magazines and newsletters

Chapman (Scotland's Quality Literary Magazine)
Joy Hendry, 4 Broughton Place
Tel: 0131 557 2207
Fax: 0131 556 9565

Cencrastus is edited by Raymond Ross at
Unit One, Abbeymount Techbase, 8 Easter Road, Edinburgh EH8 8EJ

Lines Review is edited by Tessa Ransford at
Edgefield Road, Loanhead, Midlothian EH20 9SY

West Coast Magazine is edited by Joe Murray at
Top Floor, 15 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 6AB

NorthWords, the magazine from the north for short fiction and poetry is
available from:
Northwords, 68 Strathkanaird, Ullapool, Ross-shire, IV26 2TN

For Scots Gaelic, the premier magazine is Gairm
Gairm, 29 Waterloo St, Glasgow G2 6BZ
Gairm is completely in Gaelic

Lallans, The magazine for writing in Scots:
The Scots Language Society
The AK Bell Library
York Place
Telephone: 01738 440199
Fax: 01738 646505

[5.11] The Selkirk Grace

The Selkirk Grace
often attributed to Robert Burns, but in fact already in use in his time.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Gaelic translation
Tha biadh aig cuid, 's gun aca ca\il,
acras aig cuid,'s gun aca biadh,
ach againne tha biadh is sla\int',
moladh mar sin a bhith don Triath.

[5.12] Obituary of Sorley MacLean

Sorley MacLean - An Obituary

I wrote the Gaelic translation in 1996, shortly after Sorley's death.
It has been widely circulated as the English translation of his Gaelic
obituary. The English obituary appears first.

Obituary: Sorley MacLean
Born: 26 October, 1911, at Osgaig, Raasay
Died: 24 November, 1996, at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, aged 85

"The death of Sorley MacLean (Somhairle MacGill-Eain) will make a colossal hole
in the fabric of Scottish literature and not just in Gaelic literature, though
of course he was one of the very greatest of Gaelic poets. Indeed, one might
say that he was a poet who had attained world-class stature. He read his work
frequently in Scotland, England and abroad and most especially in Ireland,
where he was a cult figure. Students would flock like pilgrims to his readings.

"The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has described hearing MacLean read for
the first time as mesmeric. There was, he said, a 'sense of bardic
dignity that was entirely without self-parade but was instead the
effect of a proud self-abnegation, as much a submission as a claim to

"And indeed he was a wonderful reader of his work, sonorous,
rhythmical, strong- voiced. It is hard to think that we won't
hear him again - for instance, reading Hallaig, that great poem of
desolation and resurrection.

"Sorley MacLean was 85 when he died. He had been in hospital,
but his friends thought that he was suffering from a minor
ailment only, and consequently his death was a shock to them.

"For most of his life he had been strong and sturdy and it
seemed as if would go on forever.

"He was born in Raasay. He loved Skye and the Cuillins, about
which he wrote his great long but unfinished poem where the
Cuillins became a symbol for human endeavour. Above all, he
loved his Gaelic culture and was lucky that he came from a
family which was steeped in song and story.

"At one time he wrote that he probably would rather have
been a singer than a poet and the great songs of the 16th
and 17th century informed his poetry with their magical music
from anonymous bards. These were at the heart of his poetry
and gave them the tunefulness which is lacking for the most
part in modern poetry.

"He began writing poetry as a student in Edinburgh University, where he
gained a first-class honours degree in English. His very first poems
were, I believe, in English, but he soon realised that true authenticity lay
in Gaelic. By the end of the Thirties he was already an established
figure on the Scottish scene.

"In 1940 he published Seventeen Poems for Sixpence with Robert Garioch.

"But it was Dain Do Eimhir, a sequence of love poems, published in
1943, that made his name and is to my mind the central and most
brilliant section of his work. I remember getting this book as a
prize in the fifth year in the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, and
realising that here was a new voice unlike any that I had heard
before. The book was illustrated with Picasso-like drawings and
this gave them a modern look.

"Since then I have never wavered in my belief that MacLean
was one of the great love poets of the world, like Catullus or
Donne or Yeats or Sappho. What attracts one in the poems
is their music. But also much more than that.

"One of the things that made them seem modern to me were the
references to political figures such as Lenin, and to poets who
had taken part in the Spanish Civil War, including Auden and
Spender. These and even Eliot he dismissed as following 'a small dry way'.

"The Spanish War was central to him then. In it he saw the fascism which
had been seen in the Clearances.

"But at the same time as the war was taking place he was in love, and his
loved one and the Civil War became entwined in an embrace which
tested him to the limits.

"To MacLean at this time the Spanish government, and also the British
Empire, were monstrosities. He had a hatred of despotism. We find
this also in his long unfinished poem, The Cuillins, where there are
references to many of the great rebels and radicals of the past in
different countries. He records that when he was young his great
heroes were Shelley and Blake, and that in those days he was more
interested in politics than in poetry. As far as Scotland was concerned,
the great radical figure he admired most was a man from his own clan,
the legendary John Maclean, of whom he wrote:"

Not they who died
in the hauteur of Inverkeithing
in spite of valour and pride
the high head of our story;
but he who was in Glasgow
the battle post of the poor
great John MacLean
the top and hem of our story.

"Thus it is that MacLean was a great love poet (who had wished to go to Spain
but was unable to do so for family reasons), a great political poet and also a
great war poet. He served in the African Desert during the Second World
War and was wounded three times, the last time severely. He saw fascism
not only in Spain, not only in Nazism, but probably also in the Highlands at
the time of the Clearances. Possibly his best- known and perhaps his greatest
single poem is Hallaig, which is about a cleared village and which has a
strange, eerie picture of the dead haunting a place and walking there.
MacLean was also a scholar of the Highlands and had a tremendous interest
in Highland genealogy.

"He was certainly a Marxist, though he was never, as he said himself, a
card-carrying communist, and this philosophy gave him a key to explain what
had happened to his beloved Highlands. (Indeed, as he well knew, Marx had
written about the Clearances).

"By profession he was a teacher. He taught in Mull, where he felt an atmosphere
of intense gloom still somehow lingering in the wake of the Clearances. He
also taught in Edinburgh, at Boroughmuir High School, and he ended his teaching
career as a headmaster in Plockton.

"He was a friend of all the leading Scottish poets, such as Hugh MacDiarmid,
Sydney Goodsir Smith, Norman MacCaig and others. He sometimes used to
complain wryly that teaching gave him no time for writing, and this must
certainly have been the case when he was a headmaster. He was an admirer
of all these poets, especially MacDiarmid. He didn't think he himself had the
kind of imaginative variety which allowed MacDiarmid to finish A Drunk Man
Looks at the Thistle. And he used to say of Goodsir Smith that he was the most
variously funny man he had ever known.

"MacLean was a very human, down-to-earth person who had no airs or graces
or intellectual or other arrogance. He came from a democratic background
and though he won many honours they didn't change him in any way.

"He was the recipient of many doctorates and awards, perhaps the most
important of which was the Queen's Medal for Poetry. It is extraordinary
that a poet who wrote in Gaelic should have received such an award,
but by that time he was well known in England as well as in Scotland.

"It may be that latterly he didn't write much, but he was a poet of great
integrity who would rather not publish than publish inferior and inauthentic
work. I admired him greatly for this silence when there must have been many
temptations for him to break it.

"His parents were steeped in Gaelic history and lore. His whole family, his
brothers and sister, were and are all successful and talented people. His
brother, John, was my own headmaster and he, too, was a great Gaelic
scholar and piper. Others have been doctors and teachers and headmasters.

"I think if one were to ask what quality above all one should isolate in
Sorley's poetry it would be the passion, and there are many people who
would say that poetry without passion is nothing. MacLean admired passion
above all in poetry and the greatest poetry to him was the lyric.

"In many ways, though he did partially complete a long poem, the long poem
was to him a contradiction in terms. How could one sustain passion over a long

"It is this passion which joins the young with the old in their admiration. And
what was wonderful about MacLean's poetry was that it continually attracted
the younger generations, to whom he was always helpful. People have differing
views of most poets, but everyone was united in their admiration for MacLean.

"His body of work is comparatively thin. Spring Tide and Neap Tide: Selected
Poems 1932-72 was published by Canongate in 1972 in a bi- lingual edition.
Poems 1932-82, a collection of English translations, was published by the Iona
Foundation in Philadelphia in 1987. The collected poems, From Wood to Ridge,
were published by Carcanet in 1989. Ris a' Bhruthaich: The Criticism and Prose
Writings of Sorley MacLean was published in 1985.

"I remember when I was much younger thinking it strange that a great poet - a
great love poet - should be a lover of shinty, but this only shows my
ignorance. Great poets have to live in the world like the rest of us and
perhaps if Catullus had lived in Skye he, too, would have been a lover of

"I remember once appearing at MacLean's house and finding that he was
refereeing a shinty match. This was when he was in Edinburgh many years ago.
But surely, I thought, they didn't play shinty in Greece or Rome.

"He had a long and happy marriage to Renee (nee Cameron). Whenever I was at
a poetry reading, there they were together. She drove him everywhere: for many
years he would say wryly he hadn't been allowed to drive far from home. Her
easy temper and friendliness were of incalculable value to him. I am sure
that at times he was absent-minded and looked to her for help. Our deepest
sympathy goes out to her, to his two surviving daughters and his brothers and

"But they will be proud to know that for many Sorley MacLean represented the
Highlands. His voice was the authentic voice of the Highlands, of Gaeldom.
He grieved because of what had happened to them historically, and perhaps
he grieved most of all for the adulteration and partial loss of the language,
for he himself proved., in spite of any detractors, that Gaelic could be
used as a language in which great poetry could be written and in an
idiom which could take account of modernity.

"What MacDiarmid did for Scots, Sorley MacLean did for Gaelic, and it is
heartening to reflect that the two poetic geniuses of the 20th century in
Scotland wrote in Gaelic and one in Scots. It may be that Sorley's like will
not come again."

On 26th November 96, the following touching appreciation of Sorley by Ronnie
Black appeared in the Scotsman. Translation of Gaelic text by Craig Cockburn.
The translations of the poetry are Sorley's.

Saoghal gun Somhairle

[Trans: A world without Sorley; An appreciation by R. MacilleDhuibh]

Gun ach beagan sheachdainean air ais, siud Somhairle MacGill-Eain shuas air
ard-urlar an Taigh A\dhaimh an Du\n E/ideann ri linn na Fe/ise comhla ri
Seumas Mo/r MacEanraig agus Sea/n Mac Re/amoinn.

[Trans: Only a few weeks ago, there was Sorley MacLean up on the stage at
Adam House in Edinburgh during the festival with Hamish Henderson and Sea/n Mac

Abair gun robh fonn math air. Dh'innis e sgeulachd mu rud a thachair an Gleanna Comhann.
b'ann mun da\
shealladh no mu thaibhs Mhic 'Ic Iain? Neo mu ghrad-bhoillsgeadh bhiodagan 's eirmseachd
oidhche a' mhuirt? Cha b'ann, ach mu dhra\ibhear Domhnallach, pasaidear Caimbealach agus
thurasaichean ann am bus a' cur aghaidh ri rathad a' Ghlinne. Sgeulachd e/ibhinn a thug
an taigh
cluasan. (Agus nach e an taigh a bha pacte.

[Trans: He was in great form. He told a story about something that happened in Glencoe.
Was it
about the
second sight or the ghost of the Chief of the Glencoe MacDonalds? Or even about the
gleam of a
dagger and
expert talk about the night of the massacre? Not at all, but a story about Donald the
driver and
Campbell who was a passenger and a load of tourists in a bus heading for the road
through the
glen. A
funny story which brought the house down. (And how the house was full).]

Bus ann am beul Shomhairle MhicGill-Eain? Bus am beul an fhir a rinn

Coisich mi cuide ri mo thuigse
a-muigh ri taobh a' chuain.
Bha sinn comhla ach bha ise
a' fuireach tiotan bhuam?
Ann am beul an fhir a rinn
'Am faca tu i
Iu\dhaich mho/ir
ris an abrar Aon Mhac Dhe/?
Ann am beul an fhir a rinn
'Bha mi 'n Leipzig le u\idh
nuair sheas Dimitrov air bialaibh cu\irt..?

[Trans: From the mouth of Sorley MacLean? From the man who composed

I walked with my reason
out beside the sea.
We were together but it was
keeping a little distance from me? (From "The Choice")
From the mouth of the man who wrote
'Have you seen her,
mighty Jew,
who's called the Only Son of God? (From "A Highland Woman")
From the mouth of the man who composed
'I was in Leipzig, with eager hope
when Dimitrov stood before the court?
(From "The Cuillin", Part VI)]

Bha Somhairle, an duine ta\lantach, smuaineachail, ealanta seo a bha 'na dhrochaid thar
linntean, bha
Somhairle la\n annasan. Annas a bh' ann gun deach a chuid bha\rdachd a dhe\anamh sa
chiad dol a-

[Trans: It was Sorley, this talented, thoughtful, artistic man who was the bridge
between ages,
was full of surprises. It was a surprise that the first piece of poetry which he did
was this

Cha robh du\il aig duine as de/idh a' Chogaidh Mho/ir ri dad u\r a b'fhiach a thighinn
a-mach a/
na Ga\idhlig. Ach tha\inig na h- uiread comhla - cha b'e a-mha\in an aigne, an iargain
's an
gaol, ach
buaidh nan seann o\ran; e/ifeachd gach searmoin, gach sailm 's gach laoidh a chuala e
gun an
earbsa bhith
aige sa chreideamh; cuimhne mhionaideach air gach eucoir a rinneadh air na Ga\idhil,
paisean nam
poileataigs ri linn Hitler agus Stalin, agus an Roinn Eo\rpa a' dol fodha ann am boglach

[Trans: No one expected after the end of the Great War that anything worthwhile would
from Gaelic
heritage. But so many things came together, it wasn't just "the intellect, the pain and
love", but
the influence of old songs; the effect of each sermon, each psalm and each hymn that he
despite the
lack of faith which he had in religion; a detailed memory on every injustice which was
done to
the Gaels,
a passion for politics in the century of Hitler and Stalin, while Europe sank in the
morass of

Annas a bh'ann gun ta\inig Somhairle beo\ idir a/s an Darna Cogadh - nach ann a spreadh
fo chasan san Fha\sach an-Iar. Annas nan annas a bha 'na leabhar Da\in do Eimhir agus
eile, gu i\re
's gu bheil oileanaich Gha\idhlig mo linn-sa a' cuimhneachadh ca\ robh iad a' chiad uair
iad e. An aon rud nach robh 'na annas as deaghaidh sin se gun do leanadh Somhairle le
tuill de
bha\ird 's de sha\r bha\rdachd.

[Trans: A wonder it was that Sorley came home at all from the Second World War, in that
war a
blew up under his feet in the African desert. A wonder that his book "Poems to Eimhir
and Other
was of such an level that Gaelic students of my generation remember where they were the
time they
opened it. The one thing that wasn't a surprise after that was that Sorley would be
followed by
a flood
of exceptional poets and exceptional poetry.]

Cha d'ra\inig Somhairle deireadh an 20mh linn. De\anamaid cinnteach ma- tha\ ann an
saoghal na
gu bheil cothrom na Fe/inne aig ar cloinn an guth a thogail san 21mh linn mar a thog
Tha e a-
nis anns an t-si\orraidheachd comhla ri a dha\intean deachdte 's neo- dheachte:

'Thar na si\orraidheachd,
thar a sneachda,
chi\ mi mo dha\in neo-dheachdte...
an langan gallanach a' sianail
thar loman cruiaidhe nan a\m cianail,
an comhartaich bhiothbhuan 'na mo chluasan,
an deann-ruith ag gabhail mo bhuadhan:
re/is nam madadh 's nan con iargalt
luath air to\rachd na fiadhach,
troimh na coilltean gun fhiaradh,
thar mullaichean nam beann gun shiaradh;
coin chiu\inecuthaich mo bha\rdachd,
madaidheanair to\ir na h-a\illeachd.'
  bith coin Shomhairle a' ruith gu bra\th
   - R. MacilleDhuibh

[Trans: Sorley didn't reach the end of the 20th century. Let us make certain then that
in the
world of
Gaelic there is an equal opportunity for our children to lift their voices in the 21st
as Sorley
did. He is now in the eternity with his written and unwritten poems.

[Trans: Across eternity, across its snows
I see my unwritten poems....
their baying yell shrieking
across the hard bareness of the terrible times,
their everlasting barking in my ears,
their onrush seizing my mind:
career of wolves and eerie dogs
swift in pursuit of the quarry,
through the forests without veering,
over the mountain tops without sheering;
the mild mad dogs of poetry,
wolves in chase of beauty.
  From "Dogs and Wolves")
   - Ronnie Black.]

[5.13] Sunset Song

The opening text of the main section of the Best Scottish Book of all time

Below and around where Chris Guthrie lay the June moors whispered and rustled and shook
cloaks, yellow with
broom and powdered faintly with purple, that was the heather but not the full passion of
colour yet. And in the
east against the cobalt blue of the sky lay the shimmer of the North Sea, that was by
and maybe the wind would
veer there in an hour or so and you'd feel the change in the life and strum of the
bringing a streaming
coolness out of the sea. But for days now the wind had been in the south, it shook and
played in
the moors and went
dandering up the sleeping Grampians, the rushes pecked and quivered about the loch when
its hand
was upon them, but it
brought more heat than cold, and all the parks were fair parched, sucked dry, the red
clay soil
of Blawearie gaping
open for the rain that seemed never-coming. Up here the hills were brave with the beauty
and the
heat of it, but the
hayfield was all a crackling dryness and in the potato park beyond the biggings the
drooped red and rusty

[6.1] Scottish folk festivals

Edinburgh festival/fringe etc usually starts the second Sunday in
August and runs for 3 weeks.

at about the same time is the Edinburgh Tattoo

The Fringe starts a week earlier than the 'main' festival
and about the same time as the tattoo.

Celtic Connections
This runs for three weeks. Usually starting about the middle
of January and running to the first week in February. More info from the
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.

The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,
2 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3NY, Scotland.
International Tel:- +44 141 287 5511
International Fax:- +44 141 353 4134
Pay by Access/Visa/MasterCard. Cheques payable to 'The Glasgow Royal
Concert Hall'

Press & Media Enquiries:-
Tracey Kelly  Tel:- 0141 332 6633    Fax:- 0141 333 0123

Info is available at

The British Council has a searchable database of some major
festivals in Britain, see

[6.2] Edinburgh Festival Fringe

  postal: 180 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QS
  tel:    0131 226 5257 / 5259
  fax:    0131 220 4205

You can view the whole Fringe programme, see and make on-line reviews
and buy tickets through the web site

join the edinburgh festival fringe e-mailing discussion group:
send the message: subscribe edfringe-list

The Gilded Ballon (a comedy venue during the fringe) can be reached at

[6.3] Edinburgh Folk Festival

Contact address:

David Francis
Artistic Director
Edinburgh Folk Festival Society
PO Box 528
T/F 0131 557 1050

Edinburgh Folk Festival/ Shoots and Roots is no more.
After over 20 years of operation it has been forced to close due to
funding difficulties and cash flow problems.

[6.4] Gaelic festivals / Feisean nan Gaidheal


Arthur Cormack
Fe\isean nan Ga\idheal
Nicolson House
Somerled Square
Isle of Skye
IV51 9EJ

Tel 01478 613355
Fax 01478 613399

There is an excellent article on the feis movement here

[6.5] Festivals in Edinburgh

All festivals in Edinburgh, the Festival City

------- Beltane fire society
The Beltane Fire Society is a charitable organisation, it exists to
organise the Beltane Fire Festival which happens each year in Edinburgh,
it is also an important hub for a large number of groups and individuals,
who as well as contributing to the overall Beltane project also work within
their local communities and internationally to promote the wealth of arts
and culture that Beltane represents.

Folk Music
Folk Festival

August Festivals
Book Festival

The Festival Fringe

Film Festival

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh International Festival:
 the Fringe usually starts a week earlier.
Fireworks are the last Saturday of the official festival.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Edinburgh's Capital Christmas

[6.6] Scottish and Celtic festivals worldwide

Highland Games and Celtic Festivals
U.S. Scots Online has spent over five years developing an extensive and
rich database of Highland Games and Celtic Festivals across North
America and around the world. We currently have more than 400 games
listed with current dates, contact information, listings of scheduled
events, featured activities, competition championships, scheduled
performers, attendance figures, admission prices, and much more.

Visit for the latest
information on all Highland Games and Celtic Festivals.

Additions and updates can be made at the site using the information

Scottish and Celtic Festivals
Updated listings detailing over 350 Scottish and Celtic
festivals from around the world have been posted at:

The new listings include over 80 events in Scotland plus several
new events in North America. There is even a Celtic Festival in
Japan listed.

If you are aware of any events not in the listings, or have any
corrections you wish to share, please let us know. We have an
on-line form to make submitting the information we need simple:


Jim Finegan
Clan MacLachlan

Celtic Colours
This is a Cape Breton Celtic music festival held in October each year.

See also
More info in section [16.5] regarding Highland Games

[6.7] Hebridean Celtic Festival

further info from
On in Lewis each July

Postal mail: PO Box 9901 Stornoway Isle of Lewis HS2 OHH.

[7.1] How can I learn Gaelic?

Comann an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh (CLI)
The Gaelic learners' association Comann an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh can advise
about books, learners near you, classes, correspondence courses etc. The
name is abbreviated to CLI and pronounced KLEE. CLI has members around
the world. Motto: "For Gaelic learners and supporters". CLI publishes an
excellent magazine quarterly called 'Cothrom'  which is bilingual and
packed full of interesting articles and useful information. There is
also a tape of the Gaelic in the magazine. The printed version of the
magazine is distributed free to members. Please mention the Internet if
you found out about CLI through this medium. Gaelic is pronounced "Gaalic"
in Scotland and "Gaylig" in Ireland. In Canada, mostly the "Gaylig"
pronounciation is used, but to mean Scots Gaelic.

CLI, Tu\r a Tuath, An Caisteal, Inbhir Nis, Alba, IV2 3EE

CLI, North Tower,The Castle, Inverness, Scotland, IV2 3EE

Phone and Fax: +44(0)1463 226710
On CLI's website is a database of Gaelic classes worldwide.
You can also find a lot of useful information on the Learn Gaelic
website at

Bilingual extracts from CLI's magazine "Cothrom" are on-line at - CLI column

E-mail lists and IRC

There's GAELIC-L, a Gaelic medium e-mail list for all 3 Gaelics.
Short English only messages from learners are OK with a message containing the line
sub Gaelic-L yourgivenname yoursurname
to join
List archives at

Gaidhlig-A & Gaidhlig-B
For beginners of Scots Gaelic there is a list for Gaelic and English,
although English should only be used where you are unable to phrase
your message in Gaelic. It is Gaidhlig-B  - to join, send a mail to containing the line
sub gaidhlig-b yourgivenname yoursurname
There is an archive at

There is also a list Gaidhlig-A which is for fluent speakers and fluent
learners and is Gaelic only (no English). To join, send a mail to containing the line
sub gaidhlig-a yourgivenname yoursurname
List archive at

There are also similar -A and -B lists for Irish
For Manx, there is a list GAELG at

Scots Gaelic complete beginners:
A new mailing list -- Gaidhlig4U -- exists for entry-level beginners
of Scottish Gaelic, as well as for those who are in the early stages
of learning the language. Such topics as conversation and grammar,
learning materials and other resources, and Gaelic culture will be
emphasised. Particular attention will be given to encouraging new learners
to practice and post their Gaidhlig, no matter how elementary it may be at
present. Those with more advanced Gaidhlig are wholeheartedly invited to
participate, but please remember that communication will be centred on the
needs of beginning learners. Postings may be in Gaidhlig with
accompanying English translations, or in English only.

If you have any further questions regarding gaidhlig4u, please contact
Gobnait NicFhilib (Deborah White) or
Daibhidh Ealaghoil (David Wright)

To subscribe, please do the following:
Send a message to
Write the following in the body of your message:  subscribe gaidhlig4u

IRC info
For IRC, try #gaidhlig4u on Efnet. There is generally someone
there between 8pm-10pm EST, Monday through Thursday.

Hugo's "Scottish Gaelic in 3 months". ISBN 0 85285 234 7
Author: Roibeart O/ Maolalaigh, lecturer in the Dept of Celtic at the
University of Edinburgh 4.95 (Pounds)  $7.95 (US Dollars). Includes useful
index at the back. There is also a tape available to accompany the book
Distributed in the USA by
Hunter Publishing Inc
300 Raritan Center Parkway
CN94, Edison, New Jersey, 08818

Teach Yourself Gaelic (book,tape) author: Boyd Robertson. 16.99 pounds for
both. ISBN 0-340-55925-X. Book alone is 7.99 (ISBN 0-340-55923-3). Includes
useful small dictionary at the back

Both of the above are recommended (particularly the Hugo book) and suitable
for complete beginners and progress to upper intermediate conversational
level. Both books really need the learner to be exposed to additional audio
materials and/or conversation as the amount of spoken materials on the tape
is a bit limiting.

Speaking Our Language (workbooks, tapes, videos), published by Canan
( Highly recommended for complete beginners
through to upper intermediate levels. The entire course covers 4 series,
each containing 18 programmes with each programme approx 25 mins.
Tel: +44-1471-844345  Fax: +44-1471-844322
Canan PO Box 345, An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, IV44 8XA, Scotland

Everyday Gaelic (book) author: Morag MacNeill (intermediate level)

Courses and organisations
Telford College run Gaelic classes at various levels including
Scotvec 1,2 and 3 and Gaelic Higher. Both evening classes and distance
Contact: Telford College, Crewe Toll, Edinburgh EH4 2NZ  Fax: 0131 343 1218
Tel: 0131 332 2491 extn 2233  (Communication and Languages Dept)
This is the only centre in the world offering a Gaelic Higher course
by correspondence. Students keep in touch with tutors by mail,
E-mail or phone. Learning packs are also sent out and work is
returned with comments. Listening tapes and speaking practice are
also part of the course. Course fees (1996-97) are 42 pounds for
the Scotvec modules and 49 for the Higher. There is a separate fee
(about 20 pounds) for actually sitting the exam.

Gaelic/Highland/Music/Singing courses (1-2 weeks long)
Sabhal Mor Ostaig, An Teanga, Sleite, Isle of Skye IV44 8RQ,
Scotland tel: 01471 844 373
(Sleite is pronounced "Slate")
There is a course "Conaltradh ann an Gaidhlig" which seems to be a
little above Higher level and is a distance learning course.

Gaelic courses from beginners to advanced available in Sutherland info at:
Tel: 01408- 641 474

Cothrom na Feinne run Gaelic courses
Contact: Cothrom na Feinne, Balmacara Mains, Balmacara, by Kyle
IV40 8DN. Tel: 01599 566 240

Jewel and Esk Valley College (Edinburgh) offer a National Certificate
in Gaelic studies for learners wanting to achieve fluency through a 9
month immersion course (16 hours a week). E-mail:
Tel: 0131 654 5294/5204

Correspondence course
Gaidhlig Bheo: Correspondence course, run by The National Extension
College, 18 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge
Tel: (01223) 316644 Fax: (01223) 313586

On-line Gaelic lessons/software
Canan, have launched a Gaelic CD-ROM
priced 9.95 pounds and based on the first 5 lessons of Speaking our
Spoken lessons with real audio
covers many languages including Gaelic

Basic Gaelic for parents, with sound samples

Information particular to the United States
An Comunn Gaidhealach America

Information on The Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in
St Anns, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia - Gaelic and other Scottish classes
are offered here
Gaelic College
P.O. Box 80
Englishtown, Nova Scotia
B0C 1H0

Other links
Other Gaelic links, see [7.2]
Gaelic books, see [7.3]
Gaelic products from Scotland, see [7.4]

[7.2] Gaelic links


Sabhal Mor Ostaig - Gaelic College on Skye
World centre for Gaelic links

Gaelic Scotland
official tourism portal

Accommodation where Gaelic is spoken

Save Gaelic

Am Bratach

Am Baile


Gaelic podcast

Tell the time in conversational Gaelic
Program written by Craig Cockburn
Source here:

Gaelic in Canada

The Scottish Parliament

The Gaelic resource database

Guide to Gaelic Scotland
(available in English, Gaelic, Spanish, Italian, French and German)

Gaelic organisations

The Gaelic Homepage

Comunn Gaidhlig Astrailia - The Scottish Gaelic Association of Australia

Dalriada Celtic Heritage Trust

The Gaelic-L archives

Slighe nan Gaidheal - Scottish Gaelic in Seattle

Siol nan Gaidheal

The Scottish Office dept with responsibility for Gaelic

The Book of Deer, the oldest Scots Gaelic book

The date and time in Scotland, given in conversational Gaelic

Gaelic Orthographic Conventions

The Coigach Gaelic Place Names CD

Celtic Congress
A' Cho\mhdhail Cheilteach,
Barry John Steen, 7 Grebe Avenue, Inverness IV2 3TD

Links to Dictionaries

More info

[7.3] Where can I get Gaelic books?

The Gaelic Books Council
The Gaelic Books Council stocks every Gaelic book in print
including prose, poetry, songs, music, children's material etc.
They have a catalogue. The Gaelic books council ships worldwide
and takes credit/debit cards. Postage is free to UK addresses,
elsewhere add 30%.

Comhairle nan Leabhraichean
22 Sra\id Achadh a'Mhansa
G11 5QP.

Fon: 0141 337 6211
Facs: 0141 341 0515

The Gaelic Books Council
22 Mansfield Street
G11 5QP

Tel: 0141 337 6211
Fax: 0141 341 0515

Note: All Gaelic addresses can be used fine provided the postcode is
written. If you are looking for a Gaelic name for your child, the book
to get is Ainmean Chloinne, Scottish Gaelic names for Children.
Author Peadar Morgan.
Published by Taigh na Teud, Breacais Ard, Skye. ISBN 1871931401

The book to get if you want to give your house a Gaelic name is
"Cuir ainm Gaidhlig air an taigh agad" (Give your home or cottage
a Scottish name) by David and Deborah Livingston-Lowe
ISBN 0-9681442-0-9. 44 pages. Includes English, Gaelic and phonetics.
Published by Celtica, 725 King Street West, Suite 507, Toronto ON
M5V 2W9 Canada.

Also try
Acair specialise in children's Gaelic books and can be reached at                             (Scotland)                         (Scotland)               (All UK Books in print)                     (USA)

Personalised Gaelic books for children can be obtained from
Create-a-book Barra
244 Bruernish
Isle of Barra
Western Isles
Tel: 01871 890376

[7.4] Scots Gaelic products and catalogue


Firtree publishing have a bilingual Gaelic/English Highland calendar

See also [7.3]

[7.5] Where can I get Gaelic music and lyrics, info on Gaelic songs

Contact An Comunn Gaidhealach, 109 Sraid na h-Eaglais, Inbhir Nis,
IV1 1EY. Tel: 01463 231226.

there is also a small office in Stornoway
Tel: 01851 703487 Fax: 01851 706467

An Comunn have a lot of Gaelic music and maintain a list of every
Gaelic choir in Scotland. Currently the only Gaelic choirs outside
Scotland are in London, Sydney (Australia), Melbourne (Australia),
Vancouver (BC, Canada), Victoria (BC, Canada), Seattle (WA, USA),
Antigonish Gaelic Choir in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and
there is one in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

An Comunn also has an American branch. Their web address is

If that fails, try
The School of Scottish Studies, 27 George Square,
Edinburgh, EH8 9LD

Also worth contacting is Canasg

Canasg Choral Music Publishing of Scotland specialises in
publishing choral and vocal music, offering a wide range of
totally original settings and arrangements for choirs and vocal
harmony groups; mainly a cappella, but some with instrumental

[7.6] The National Mod and Local Mods

An Comunn Gaidhealach runs the national Mod and branches of An Comunn
around Scotland run the local mods. An Comunn is based at

109 Sraid na h-Eaglais, Inbhir Nis, IV1 1EY
109 Church St, Inverness, IV1 1EY. Tel: 01463 231226

An Comunn don't seem to have their own specific site, but can be reached
through The Mod site:

The Mods are a series of Gaelic competitions involving singing, poetry,
drama, music etc. Similar to the Eisteddfod in Wales - see

The Royal National Mod is held in Mid-October each year during the end of
term break. Forthcoming venues for the National Mod are:
2000 (Dunoon); 2001 (Stornoway); 2002 (not allocated yet);
2003 (Oban - 100th Mod).

The National Mod runs from a Friday to the Saturday morning of
the following week (the competitions end on the final Friday)
Besides the official Mod programme, there is also a lively Mod fringe.

There are also local Mods. Here's a list of them:
Caithness/Sutherland; Dalriada (Lochgilphead area);  Easter Ross;
East Kilbride; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Harris; Inverness; Islay; Kyle;
Lewis; Lochaber; Oban; Mull; Perthshire/Angus; Skye; Stirling; Uist;
Wester Ross. Local Mods generally run over a weekend.

Contact details for the local mods are available off the site at

There is also a Mod in Vancouver held on even years.

Calum MacDonald (no connection with the person in Runrig) is the Mod
officer with An Comunn Gaidhealach.

[7.7] How mutually intelligible are Scots and Irish Gaelic?

Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic are a bit like Italian and Spanish -
fluency in one goes a long way to understanding the other. I am
learning Scots Gaelic and can read some Irish with a bit of difficulty,
but fluent speakers of Scots Gaelic can more or less understand most
Irish - indeed Irish Gaelic is often broadcast on Scots Gaelic
radio. The people from Islay however have a Gaelic that is almost a
cross so have less trouble than the rest of Scotland. Donegal Irish is
the closest to Scottish Gaelic. The written form of Gaelic is easier to
understand than the spoken form due to being more standard.

[7.8] Gaelic playgroups

Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Araich (CNSA)
53 Sra\id na h-Eaglais (53 Church Street)
Inbhir Nis  (Inverness)
Tel: 01463 225469

There are about 150 pre-school playgroups throughout Scotland through the
medium of Gaelic and about 50 Gaelic medium primary schools

The organisation for parents who have children being educated through
the medium of Gaelic is "Comann nam Parant", their newsletter can be
obtained at
SANAS - (Gaelic parents' newsletter)
Contact: Aonghas MacNeacaill
The Rock
EH26 9NF

[7.9] Gaelic newspapers

Gaelic newspapers

(Papers with a significant Gaelic content and untranslated articles)

Guth na Ga\idhlig
The subscription desk
Highland News Group
Henderson Road
Tel: 01463 713700

Stri (magazine of the Scottish branch of the Celtic League)
Carn (magazine of the Celtic league as a whole)
See [2.7] for information on the Celtic League

An Gaidheal Ur (magazine sent to members of An Comunn Gaidhealach).
See [7.5] for contact info for An Comunn

Am paipear beag; (The West Highland Free Press)
See [18.1] for contact details

An t-Albannach (The Scotsman)
Gaelic column on Fridays and alternate Wednesdays. These columns also
appear on the paper's website.

Papers with a Gaelic column

(contact details in [18.1])
The Inverness Courier, The Oban Times, The Press and Journal,
The Scots Independent, The Stornoway Gazette,

Northern Ireland
Nuachta/n laethu/il nGael
An Chulturlann
216 Falls Road
Be/al Feirste (Belfast)
BT12 6AH
Tel: 01232 239303
Fax: 01232 2393943

[7.10] Gaelic Arts

Proiseact nan Ealan / National Gaelic Arts Project
An arts development agency promoting Gaelic music, theatre and
visual arts through initiatives such as exhibitions, publications,
festivals, television programmes, CDs and training courses.

Contact: Malcolm MacLean
Proiseact nan Ealan
10 Iomair Sligeach
Eilean Leodhais
Tel: 01851 704493/703440
Fax: 01851 704734

(10 Shell Street, Stornoway
Isle of Lewis HS1 2EA )

Proiseact nan Ealan are on of the sponsors of the excellent "Ceolas"
event held in Uist the first week in July.
More details:

Ceolas is a summer school to explore the interconnections between Scottish
traditional music, song and dance. Tutors from Scotland and Cape Breton
offer courses on pipes, fiddle, Gaelic song and dance.

The course is 160 pounds for the week (accommodation extra).

Proiseact nan Ealan also organised an excellent programme of Gaelic
events during the Edinburgh Festival a few years ago.

[7.11] Info on Scots Gaelic accents

Broadly speaking there are three major Gaelic dialects. One includes the
Western Isles (except Lewis), Skye, Glenelg, Moidart and Western
Lochaber "The Central Western Area". The next area lies around this area
and includes Rossshire, Inverness, Badenoch, Fort Augustus, Laggan,
North Argyll and Mull. The third area includes Lewis, Sutherland,
Deeside, Perthshire, Mid-Argyll, Jura, Mull, Islay and Kintyre. There
are of course variations within this, such as Islay's "go robh math
agad", peculiar to there.

In Uist and Barra, deanamh and words ending in mh are pronounced with a
"oo" sound at the end, whereas in many other places it's a "v". Lewis
Gaelic is noticeably different in pronounciation and I know native
Argyll and Sutherland Gaelic speakers who have trouble
understanding Lewis Gaelic (however, the other way around is probably
also true). In Lewis they have their own words, such as "bu\rn" for
drinking water. Elsewhere it is uisge. The variation between Lewis and
Harris Gaelic is very noticable. As has been pointed out, the
Scandanavian influence is very strong and it seems to me as if Lewis
Gaelic speakers speak it with a Scandinavian accent - completely
different to the rest of Scotland. Whilst it's true that Lewis Gaelic
has its own vocabularly, the same is also true of many other areas.

However, there are similarities between Harris and Sutherland Gaelic (but
both different to the rest of the Outer Isles). For instance, they both
pronounce "adhart" as "ugurst" whereas the dh almost drops out in most
other areas. This is despite Harris and Sutherland falling within different
linguistic areas.

For more information on this, see Anthony Dilworth's essay "Central
Western and Peripheral Gaelic". Tony Dilworth was a linguistic
researcher (now retired) with the School of Scottish Studies. For
thorough research on Gaelic and Scots dialects contact the school.
The School is on-line at:

Perthshire Gaelic:
See Cothrom 6, published by the Gaelic Learners Association

Sutherland Gaelic
(An Ceathramh Gaelic centre in Sutherland)

Wester Ross:
Roy Wentworth, 25 Ea\rradal a Deas, Gairloch, Ross-shire IV21 2AU

More info in
Companion to Gaelic Scotland, edited by Derick S. Thomson

[7.12] Scots Gaelic translation services

Contact John MacLeod of An Darach Ltd

15 The Murrays
EH17 8UD
tel: 0131 664 2606
(John also offers Historical & cultural trips to Gaelic areas of Scotland)




[7.13] Dog commands in Gaelic

Heel - gu sail  (nas fhearr saoilidh mi na 'sail' fhein)/(better than
'sail' by itself)

Sit -  suidh!

Stay - fuirich! (fan! mas e Gaidhlig Earraghaidheil a tha sibh ag
iarraidh math dh'fhaoidte; Cha bhitheadh 'stad' freagarrach, agus cha
bhitheadh 'feith' uamhasach nadarra - 'a' feitheamh' = 'waiting')

Come (here) - trobhad!; tiugainn! (Chan urrainn dhuibh 'thig' a radh
leis fhein - feumaidh tu facal eile comhla ris, mar eiseamplar 'thig

Fetch - faigh (sin/seo/e)

(Get) down - laigh si\os! (Chan e ordugh a tha san fhacal 'dol' -
dh'fhaodadh sibh 'gabh sios' no 'sios leat' a radh.)

(Be) quiet - bi samhach!

Attack - gabh chuige!; gabh air/oirre etc.!  (Chan e ordugh a tha san
fhacal 'ionnsaigh'. Co-dhiu, tha mi 'n dochas nach bi sibh feumach air
an ordugh seo!!)

Stop that - sguir dheth! ('sgurr' = mountain peak)

?Off? - chan eil mi a' tuigsinn carson a chleachdadh duine seo an aite
'down', agus co-dhiu chan e an aon rud a tha ann an 'air falbh' - ach
'having gone', no 'somebody is away somewhere'.

Mu dheireadh, seo facal eile a bhiodh feumail, 's docha - ma tha sibh
a' bruidhinn ri cuilean, canaidh sibh "A Chuilidh" - car coltach ri
'doggy' ann am Beurla. 'S e "A chon" a bhiodh na seann na\baidhean
againn a' chanail nuair a bhiodh iad a' bruidhinn ris a' chu\.
(Tuiseal gairmeach). Tha fhios nach eil e cho cairdeil ri "A chuilidh".

[7.14] Census figures for Gaelic speakers

1991 and 2001 figures

1991 figures
These figures were released in October 1992.

The first figure is the number of Gaelic speakers, the second
is the percentage this represents of the total population in the

Borders 460 (0.45%)
Central 1612 (0.61%)
Dumfries & Galloway 515 (0.35%)
Fife 1477 (0.44%)
Grampian 2491 (0.50%)
Highland 14713 (7.39%)
Lothian 4206 (0.59%)
Strathclyde 18283 (0.83%)
Tayside 2479 (0.66%)
Orkney 92 (0.48%)
Shetland 105 (0.47%)
Western Isles 19546 (67.23%)

total 65978 (1.34%)

The numbers for Skye & Lochalsh (part of Highland Region totals) were:
4715  (41.16%)
Only two parishes in Skye had more than 50% Gaelic-speakers: Kilmuir
(73.2%) and Snizort (52.5%)

other areas:

Lochaber (Highland):  1988  (10.52%)
Inverness (Highland):  3476  (5.77%)
Ross & Cromarty (Highland):  2812  (5.82%)
Argyll & Bute (Strathclyde):  4583  (7.23%)
Glasgow City (Strathclyde):  6300  (0.96%)

Dun Eideann (Edinburgh) 3089
Lodainn an Ear (East Lothian) 322
Meadhan Lodainn (Midlothian) 227
Lodainn an Iar (West Lothian) 567

These figures come from the 1991 Census Scotland, Table L67S (Gaelic
Language), by way of an article by Kenneth MacKinnon, "Gaelic and 'the
Other Languages of Scotland' in the 1991 Population Census". The
Gaelic-speaker numbers are specifically labeled "Gaelic Mother-Tongue
speakers", so I don't know if second-language learners were excluded (or
if they were, how).

2001 census
Numbers from the 2001 census were released on 13th Feb 2003. Surprisingly
they took 4 months longer to be released than the figures of 1991.

The number of Gaelic speakers fell by 11% over 10 years to a figure of


Understands spoken Gaelic but cannot speak, read or write Gaelic

Speaks, reads and writes Gaelic

Speaks but neither reads nor writes Gaelic

Speaks and reads but cannot write Gaelic

Reads but neither speaks nor writes Gaelic

Writes but neither speaks nor reads Gaelic

Reads and writes but does not speak Gaelic

Other combination of skills in Gaelic

No knowledge of Gaelic

[8.1] Learning Gaelic song

See also [8.2], [8.3], [8.4], [8.5]

The Gaelic Learners' Association CLI (Comann an Luchd-ionnsachaidh)
has published "Karaoke Ceilidh" which is likely to be of use to
people interested in singing Gaelic songs. The package, produced
in conjunction with Clydebank College, consists of a book and tape
(ISBN 1 898043 05 1). The tape has six favourite Gaelic songs with
spoken, sung and instrumental versions of each song together with
eight popular puirt a beul. The accompanying book includes all the
lyrics in Gaelic and English together with grammatical notes. The
clear pronounciation of the spoken versions of the songs, is likely
to be of use to anyone seeking accurate pronounciation. The songs
include Fear a' bha\ta, O mo dhu\thaich, An ataireachd a\rd,
Maighdeanan na h-a\iridh (also recorded by Capercaillie), Eilean a'
Cheo\ (also recorded by Cathy Anne MacPhee) and Chi\ mi na
mo\r-bheanna (also recorded by Keltoi). The tape is laid out in such
a way that you can listen to the sung version, then turn the tape
over at that point to listen to the instrumental and spoken versions.
This allows side one of the tape to be listened to as a normal music
cassette if you choose. There are both male and female singers on the
tape. The package has been very successful since its launch in 1994.
Cost is 10 pounds plus 1 pound postage for the UK, 2 for EU, 3 for
elsewhere. More info from CLI at
See also

Temple records are an excellent source of material for Gaelic singers.
Artists such as Art Cormack, Christine Primrose, MacTalla,
Flora MacNeill and Eilidh MacKenzie all record for Temple and full
lyrics in Gaelic and English are available for all Temple recordings
by writing to the record company.

For more detailed information on traditional Gaelic singing,

A large number of Gaelic songs are online at

There are courses in Gaelic song available at Sabhal Mor Ostaig  during the summer and at Feis Rois in May (in
Dingwall). E-mail Rita Hunter

There is also classes in Gaelic song at the Ceolas summer school
held in Uist each July and organised by Proiseact nan Ealan (the
National Gaelic arts Project) Tel: 01851 704493/703440
Fax: 01851 704734. See also [7.10].

In Nova Scotia, contact Rosemary McCormack on

There is also sometimes courses at the Edinburgh Folk Festival, held
each Easter.

There may also be course connected with the School of Scottish Studies
at Edinburgh University. See [12.1] for address and further information.

There is also sometimes short courses in Gaelic song held as part of
Celtic Connections in Glasgow each January.

[8.2] Waulking songs and information

Article by Craig Cockburn

This article promoted by "The Smithsonian" in their Sept 98 issue.

Waulking is a process for fulling Harris tweed (making it
more airtight). The word 'waulking' is a Scots word from the 14th
century meaning the same as "full" in English. The waulking process
not only fulls the tweed but also shrinks it slightly.

Name origins
The term "waulking" was coined by a non-Gaelic speaker who saw a waulking
done by the feet and modified the word "walking". Waulkings were done
by both hand and foot, but more usually by hand. The Gaelic name for
waulking songs is "Orain Luaidh", luaidh translates to "full". In
Scotland, waulking was done exclusively by women whereas in Cape
Breton both men and women did it - waulking is often seen in Cape
Breton at "milling frolics".

The process of waulking may also have given rise to the surname "Walker".
About 2 miles south-east of Burnley in Lancashire there is a small village
called Walk Mill in the Parish of Cliviger. In the book 'A Pennine Parish,
the History of Cliviger' (Thornber, Titus., 1987 Rieve Edge Press Ltd. )
the author describes the origin of the name of the village thus:

"... along side the river was a Fulling or Walk Mill ... The process
of fulling was a laborious one in which men trampled on the cloth inside
tubs of a mixture of water and fullers earth. Hence the name walk, and the
surname Walker. The earliest record is of a Richard the Fuller who had a
'millpool' in 1270 AD."

There are other cases of fulling referred to as 'walking' in the
medieval history of the Pennine region which may question be the origin
of the term "walking" before it mutated to "waulking". Titus Thornber's
suggestion that the surname Walker is connected with the occupation
is interesting.

When tweed is made, it needs to be fulled to increase its ability to
keep out the wind. Waulking is a process of repeatedly beating the cloth
to full it and prepare it for use. Waulking songs are a musical form
unknown elsewhere in Western Europe and often sound African. They are
very rhythmic and were composed to keep the beat when the cloth was
being waulked. This task was only done by women in Scotland, however
in Nova Scotia where it is known as milling then it is generally a
male task. Often waulking songs were adapted from other songs.
Frequently they tell of local gossip, the material is not usually
"highbrow". The tweed was generally soaked in human urine (it was
someone's job to collect the urine which had been saved in each house).
The women were usually seated around a table and the tweed would be
placed on the table, or perhaps a door which had been taken off its
hinges. There might be one woman at each end and maybe about 4-5 down
each side. One person would sing out the verse and then everyone would
join in the chorus. The verses and choruses (sometimes there are up to
4 choruses) are very short, sometimes only a few syllables. The chorus is
what is used to classify waulking songs I think - nearly always the chorus
is vocables. These are words with no specific meaning, although they have
been carefully chosen to fit the rhythm of the tune. I only know of one which
has real words - Deannain sugradh ris a nighean dubh (on the Poozies first
album). There are a few waulking songs in the book "Folksongs and folklore
of South Uist" (Margaret Fay Shaw, Aberdeen University Press
ISBN 0 08 032471 1) and particularly Hebridean Folksongs (Campbell &
Collinson 3 volumes).

During the waulking, the cloth would be pulled towards you,
then passed slightly to your left before pushing it back. This way, the
cloth turned round the table in a clockwise manner as it was being waulked.
The Gaels are superstitious and believe anti-clockwise to be unlucky. It
was important to turn the cloth to ensure the cloth was evenly processed.
Waulking as a process is now no longer necessary, machines do it now.
However, there are societies which preserve the waulking tradition for
historical/tourist reasons. I think waulking died out in the 1950s.
One of the oldest Gaelic songs in existence (perhaps 13th C?) is "Seathan",
a waulking song which appears in Carmina Gadelica (an amazing source
of folklore). Seathan (he was the son of the King of Ireland) is several
pages long and would easily take over an hour to sing. The waulking process
could last about 2-3 hours and there would likely be a ceilidh afterwards
(I hoped they washed their hands first!), with the men being invited back in.
I think it was usual to start with slower songs and then to speed up
towards the end - the speed of waulking songs varies a lot.
"Seathan" and "Gur h-e mo ghille dubh donn" are quite slow whereas "He mo
leannan" is usually sung a bit faster and "Tha Mulad", "He Mandu" etc are
faster still. One of the fastest is "Beann a' Cheathaich" which has been
recorded by Christine Primrose and in 1995 The Poozies recorded it on
"Danceoozies". It was adapted by Marjory Kennedy Fraser and became
"Kishmul's Galley".

Today, many bands/singers eg Capercaillie, Sileas, Poozies, Mary Jane
Lamond, Runrig, Christine Primrose, Cathy Anne MacPhee, Flora MacNeill,
Eilidh MacKenzie, etc sing waulking songs - they are proving very
popular and the strong rhythms make them quite transportable to
so-called mainstream culture (mainstream in whose definition?). It was
a waulking song sung by Capercaillie "Coisich a ruin" (also sometimes
known as "Fluich an oidhche") which became the first ever Scots Gaelic
tune to enter the UK top 40 (in 1991?). I believe this song is about 400
years old. There are three variations of this song that I know of.

There are many individuals and groups who have recorded a waulking song
or two on an album of Gaelic music, but there are four albums of
exclusively waulking songs which may be of interest:

1) Orain Luaidh - Waulking songs
Published 1986 by the Harris Tweed Association (sorry no address)
This is an excellent tape and has a 29 page A5 book with it which has
lyrics for every song, a translation and some notes. There is a 5 page
introduction which gives more information and additional reference material.
Most of the contributions are from the Western Isles although one is
from Cape Breton

2) and 3) both published by Greentrax records
Cockenzie Business Centre, Edinburgh Road, Cockenzie, East Lothian EH32 0HL
Tel: 01875 814155 Fax 01875 813345

2) Waulking songs from Barra
This is published in the excellent "Scottish tradition" series which is
essential for anyone really interested in authentic Scottish
traditional music, particularly from an academic standpoint. This
series is produced with the School of Scottish Studies, part of
Edinburgh University and the world's foremost authority on Scottish
ethnology. All the recordings (which cover both Highland, Lowland and
Shetland traditions) have extensive books and notes to accompany them.
The cassettes are not general mass market music and the song ones are
all unaccompanied. They are however outstanding and in particular
William Matheson's Gaelic Bards and Minstrels is incredible. I don't
have the waulking tape in this series but I do have 3 others and they
are both excellent!

3) Bannal - Waulking songs. Bannal is a group comprising many well known
singers, they are:
Kenna Campbell, Catherine Fletcher, Christine Grant, Wilma Kennedy,
Mairi MacArthur, Chrissie MacInnes, Maeve MacKinnon and Mary C MacLean.

4) The South Harris waulking group has a tape "Waulking songs from
Harris". This is available from Lewis Recordings, 1 Millburn Road, Inverness

The tape comprises 18 distinct songs of between 1 and 3 mins each and is
all unaccompanied with all the women except Chrissie MacInnes having a turn
at solo. Most of the women are known soloists in their own right.
The tape is excellent entertainment value for listening to in the car
but is spoiled considerably by not having any notes on the individual
songs and more importantly no lyrics whatsoever in either Gaelic
or English with the album and no indication that lyrics are available. This
isn't the first time Greentrax have let me down in this way - Canan nan
Gaidheal has no Gaelic lyrics either. By contrast Temple records have
an excellent reputation for printing lyrics and given the choice between
both companies I would feel happier buying a Gaelic recording from Temple
knowing I would be able to get lyrics.

In addition to the albums mentioned above, it is also worthwhile to get
the tape "Music from the Western Isles", by Greentrax records. The
accompanying booklet explains waulking songs as well as other types of
Gaelic song. The tape is not exclusively waulking songs but is a "sampler"
featuring different types of Gaelic music and song.

There is also a good number of waulking songs on the album "A tribute to
the North Shore Gaelic singers", published by B&R Heritage Enterprises,
Iona, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The main and best source for information on waulking songs is
Hebridean Folksongs by J L Campbell and F Collinson, first published by
Oxford University Press in the 70s. There are 3 volumes, which you
may be able to find in a library, and volumes 2 and 3 have recently
been republished (at 29.50 each, sterling!). Volume 1 has an excellent
bibliography, with additions in volume 3. The songs are the repertoire of
singers from Barra, Uist and the small islands in that area.
The School of Scottish Studies' published series, Scottish Tradition,
includes Waulking Songs from Barra, and the booklet that goes with it
is informative. This is available as cassette or CD from Greentrax
Recordings. Music from the Western Isles, in the same series, also has
some waulking songs and some notes on the genre. Orain Luaidh,
published by the Harris Tweed Association, has an accompanying booklet
with texts and translations into English. Orain, by Christina Shaw,
published by Acair, has four waulking songs. C.S. was from Harris.
The South Harris group are quite good, but there is at least one bad
error in the way the words come within the rhythm.

The School of Scottish Studies' magazine Tocher contains texts of
waulking songs, with their tunes, particularly Tocher 50. Tocher is
published by:

The School of Scottish Studies, 27 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD

More information
For more information on waulking, see the Harris Tweed website at

or The Smithsonian's article on Harris Tweed
for more info and further links

[8.3] Puirt a beul

See the following for an introduction:

[8.4] Gaelic psalm singing

Greentrax sells tapes from the School of Scottish studies and one of
these is Gaelic psalm singing from Lewis. The album reference is

Some info from the liner notes, by Morag MacLeod

"Lowland Scots took well to ballad metre, which was familiar to them in
folksong, & 'reading the line' ("precenting" in Scottish tradition,
"lining-out" in American Southern tradition) became so much a part
of the church's praise that it came to be regarded as a venerable
Scottish custom. Later church music reformers campaigned to abolish it,
and it gradually became extinct, except in Gaelic-speaking areas.

When the psalms were translated into Gaelic the metre used was again
ballad metre, so that the same Lowland tunes could be used. This metre was
and is entirely alien to Gaelic literature and any other Gaelic poetry
composed in it is parody. The way in which 'reading the line' broke up
the quatrain into eight lines of differing length may have been a welcome
alleviation of ballad metre for the Gaelic singer.

The person who read the line became known as the precentor. Nowadays it
is the precentor's duty not only to let the congregation hear clearly the
text it is to sing next, but also to give a hint of the melody line by
pinpointing its more important tunes. The repertoire varies from seventeen
to twenty tunes, which are basically the same as those that appear under
the same name in the Church Hymnary or the Scottish Psalter. Melodic
modifications do occur in some of the tunes in the process of adaptation
to Gaelic modal patterns, but these are not to be taken as the only cause
of the unaccustomed listener's confusion as he tries to link the printed
tune with the Gaelic version. There is no clear break between the precentor's
chant and the beginning or end of the original musical text; the singing is
very slow, possibly to convey the solemnity of the occasion even if the psalm
is a joyful one; and passing notes and grace notes are introduced to
decorate the basic melody - but not to the extent of obscuring it, and the
precentor's voice should keep the congregation together on the basic notes,
which coincide with the beginnings of syllables."

[8.5] Piobaireachd, Pibroch and Piping

There are some excellent recordings available from Greentrax in the
Scottish Tradition series.
Relevant album numbers are CTRAX 9010, 9011, 9012 and 9015

Margaret Stewart (Mod gold medallist) has released a recording along
with the famous piper, Allan MacDonald of Glenuig, on the Greentrax label.
It features quite a few choice pieces of Ceol Mor. They both study and
research ceol mor and its related Gaelic song and their album concentrates
on this, in fact Allan has undertaken an academic study of ceol mor at
Edinburgh University, resulting in an MLitt degree. The album has received
rave reviews in all the piping magazines and folk music magazines and is
selling extremely well all over the world.

You can order the CD direct from Greentrax on

Also look for an album entitled "Strictly Piobaireachd"- I think Lismore
produced it. Any of the "Masters of Piping" series (also Lismore) would have
at least one piece of Ceol Mor, usually more than one. Lismore are at

Roderick Cannon, the Highland Bagpipe and its Music is a good
source for the facts of bagpipe history. Also, Seumas MacNeill and
Frank Richardson "Piobaireachd and its Interpretation for Ceo\l Mo/r"

Piping Info
The MacCrimmon Piping Heritage Centre

The Piping Centre,
30-34 McPhater Street,
G4 0HW
phone/fax 0141 353 0220

College of Piping (publishes 'The Piping Times')
20 Otago Street, Glasgow
0141 334 3587

See also Bagpipe web
Piobaireachd net

The newsgroup is where most of the
pipers on the internet seem to be.

[8.6] Oldest datable Gaelic Song

The oldest datable Gaelic song is Piobaireachd Dhomhnuill Dhuibh
according to John MacInnes, School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh University

The music to Piobaireachd Dhomhnuill Dhuibh is in the Purser book mentioned
in [4.21] and a recorded version is on the Clan Alba Album.

This tune is thought to be named for Donald Dubh, 11th chief of the Clan
Cameron, who led the clan from 1400 to 1460. There is some evidence that
the tune evolved from Ceol Mor: a fiddle version was published by James
Oswald in 1760. Sir Walter Scott also put lyrics to it in 1816.
The Queen's Own Highlanders often use it as a March Past.

I'm not sure what "datable" means here. Francis Collison in the
"Traditional and National music of Scotland", mentions 'Ceann na
Drochaid Mhoridh' (The end of the great bridge) as being
traditionally held as being composed at the battle of Inverlochy
in 1427. Of the claim of Donald Dubh to be contemporary with it, he
calls "impossible to say".

[8.7] Information on Runrig


Fan club

Runrig Fan Club, 1 York St, Aberdeen AB11 5DL Scotland
Tel: 01224 573100  Fax 01224 572598

Runrig as a name for the band is a term Blair Douglas thought up
when he was studying in Glasgow. A rig is a strip of farmland and
a run is a series of those strips. The run-rig system of farming
is no longer used, but the marks of it can still be seen particularly
on Skye where the core of the band is from. The term run-rig is a Scots
word. The Gaelic is "raon ruith"


 Play Gaelic (good, very folky, last 2 tracks are very good, limited
 lyrics in Gaelic available from fan club)

 Highland Connection (v good, my favourite, mix of ballads and heavy rock,
 lyrics supplied, but no translations. I have translations of Cearcall a'
 chuain - one of my all time favourite tracks and an easy one to sing along
 to and learn).

Recovery (v. good, close second, similar to Highland Connection.
Translations for Gaelic available from this point on). The last one with
Malcolm Jones playing the pipes.

 Heartland (v. good, slightly more commercial than previous two, less Gaelic)
 Cutter and the Clan (OK. considerably more commercial than Heartland.
 2 Gaelic tracks. An uabhal as airde is a very good song from this album)

 Once in a lifetime (live album featuring material from previous 4, but only
 1 track from Play Gaelic- Chi mi'n Geamhradh)

 Searchlight (OK. More commercial than "Cutter", 2 Gaelic tracks)

 Big Wheel (improvement on Searchlight. Commercial, but some good tracks, 2
 Gaelic tracks)

 Amazing things (rather bland and middle of the road. Some good tracks, but
 many forgettable)

 Mara (a theme album; excellent production masks some rather middle of the
 road tunes)

The band seem to be struggling to make their albums more and more
commercial in sound and the Gaelic content of each is nearly always
lower or the same as the last. However, they don't seem to be having
much success outside Scotland. They are the biggest selling band in
Scotland, and I think Donnie Munro is a very good singer. It's ironic
that Capercaillie have managed about the same success with singles as
Runrig yet Capercaillie's single was in Gaelic and a lot more
traditional. Runrig are perceived as too Scottish by many non-Scottish
audiences and their following is very heavily biased towards people
from Scotland or with Scottish connections.
You might wonder why this should be so. You would never hear it offered
as a criticism of Bob Marley that he was "too Jamaican", of Bruce
Springsteen that he is "too American", or of Madness that they were
"too English". With regard to Gaelic, it is a problem peculiar to
English speakers that they are often reluctant to appreciate music in
languages other than their own.

Runrig have played a major part in bringing Scottish music up to date
and reviving the Scottish folk scene, and interest in the Gaelic language.
However, I wish they'd accept that they're not going to have a major
breakthrough in popularity overseas and go back to the feel of their
earlier material. This early material, particularly pre-"Cutter" gets a
better response at concerts in Scotland.

The fan club has all the albums and can be reached at the address above.
Many of the band currently live in the Edinburgh area though Calum and
Donnie both have homes in the Highlands. Malcolm Jones is seen frequently
at folk events in Edinburgh and also plays with Freeland Barbour in "The
Occasionals" ceilidh band. Donnie has bought a house in Portree and was
the Labour parliamentary candidate for the Ross, Skye and Inverness West
constituency in the 1997 General Election. Calum MacDonald lives in Mid Ross.

Donnie Munro announced in May 1997, after failing to win the Ross, Skye
and Inverness West seat in the UK General Election, that he wished to follow
a career in politics. His last concert with the band was in August 97 at
Stirling Castle. The band received about 200 tapes from people seeking
to be the new lead singer and auditioned a number of people, however they
took out an advert in The West Highland Free Press, 27-Feb-98 advertising for
others to come forward. The band was particularly keen to get someone with
strong Highland connections and there was talk that the band are wanting to
increase the Gaelic content. Donnie's replacement was announced on 18-Jul-98
and is the Nova Scotian singer Bruce Guthro.

There is also an excellent instrumental album called "An ubhal as airde"
played on whistles and synthesisers - this album contains material which
Runrig have either written or recorded. More info on this follows:

The Highest Apple - An ubhal as airde
An intrumental album played by Steve Gwyn Davies (recorders and whistle)
with Sabine Barnes-Rauch (orchestral synthesiser). All songs on this
album have previously been written by or recorded by Runrig.

on Vital Records, 1 Waterloo, Breakish, Isle of Skye, IV42 8QE Scotland
released 1994, available on CD  - VITAL CD02 (interesting to find out
what else is in their catalogue!)
it's about 40 mins long and contains 17 tracks (between 35 seconds and
4 mins).

also available from Canan at
7.99 pounds for cassette (code CSAUAA) or 11.99 for CD (code CDAUAA).
Some bilingual lyrics included.

May also appeal to fans of Enya. This album contains "Clachan Uaine"
which is the only song I know of that Runrig have written but not
recorded themselves (Mairi MacInnes recorded it on Causeway; she
sings on Runrig's Heartland album).

Music information
Get more information on the music listed here
via our music page in association with Amazon.[8.7]

[8.8] Information on Capercaillie

Capercaillie is pronounced "Cap-ir-cay-lee", not "Cape-r-cay-lee" A
Capercaillie is the largest member of the Grouse family (from the
Gaelic words for Wood Grouse) and is an endangered species.


Fan club
Capercaillie Fan Club
PO Box 1155
G3 7TW

There is also a fanzine called Sidetaulk. Call Mandy Shanks on
Hopeman 01343- 835194 for more info, or write to her at:
21 Thom Street, Hopeman, Elgin, Moray, Scotland IV30 2SS
(I think Charlie McKerron comes from Hopeman)

There is a Capercaillie e-mail list. Send a mail to
to sign up (it's managed by hand, so there may be a delay)


Album #1: Cascade (recorded 1984)
        Lineup: Karen Matheson (lead vocal)
        Joan MacLachlan (fiddle, vocal)
        Marc Duff (Recorder, Whistles, Rauschpfeife)
        Shaun Craig (Guitar, Bouzouki)
        Martin Macleod (Basses, Fiddle)
        Donald Shaw (Accordion, Keyboards, Fiddle)
        Published by Taynuilt Records, Highfield, Taynuilt, Argyll, PA35 1JQ
        This is the village which the band hail from and it's possible the
        record company has some of Karen's earlier recordings when she was
        with The Etives. The band met at Oban High School.
This is a really good album, but has no lyrics with it and is only on

Album #2: Crosswinds (1987):
        No lyrics with this, many copies of the lyrics are available in books
        though. Excellent album. Available on Green Linnet. The band
        undergoes a line up change - Charlie McKerron joins on
        fiddle, replacing Joan MacLachlan.

Album #3: The Blood is strong (1988)
        Soundtrack for TV series. Very good tunes (most are quite
        short though, as is the album). Includes lyrics and translations

Album #4: Sidewaulk (1989)
        Similar in sound to Crosswinds. The first album with any English
        on it. Full Gaelic and English lyrics supplied. Excellent album,
        available on Green Linnet.

At this point the band leave the Green Linnet label and join Survival
records. The fan club starts in a London suburb and later moves to the
studio in Glasgow where the band do much of their recording. The sound
becomes a bit more contemporary, the Gaelic content goes down slightly
but the sound remains much more traditional than Runrig.

Album #5: Delirium (published 1991)

Coisich a' ru\in (a 400 year old waulking song) from this
album becomes the first ever Scots Gaelic tune to enter the
UK top 40 after it becomes the theme tune for a UK wide TV
programme featuring Prince Charles entitled "A Prince among
islands". Charles appeared on this programme supporting
Gaelic and has since appeared on TV talking in Gaelic.

The "Cape Breton song" on this album which Capercaillie allege
has mutated so much the lyrics are meaningless is a real song
with real lyrics. I am trying to get a copy of these lyrics.
I find it hard to believe that they would select a song (of the
thousands written in Cape Breton) in which no meaning is left to
the words - kind of goes against the very first principle of
Gaelic singing and that is to tell a story! The song is
Oran Nan Te/ine. It was written by Lachlan Currie (Am Bard Ruadh) of
Grand Mira and Boisdale (source: Songs Remembered in Exile, P90).
It had been published in the newpaper The Casket in their Gaelic
column, Achadh Nan Ga\idheil. Date unknown. Song is about about a
forest fire that got out of hand when a Cape Bretoner was clearing
land to sow.

This was in the bio details of Mrs. JR Johnston(nee Margaret MacNeil)
of Beaver Cove. It also mentions that it was also recorded from Mrs.
David Patterson(nee MacNeil) of Benacadie.

For lyrics, see here

Album #6: Get Out - remixes and some new material. Worth getting
       for the Poll Tax song.

Album #7: Secret People

The following pointers to sources may be of interest to those seeking
music and/or lyrics to the Gaelic material on Secret People

An Eala Bhan - Gaelic and English lyrics with sol-fa music available in
 "Orain nan Gaidheal", Vol 3, Bruce Campbell.
 Published by Gairm, 29 Waterloo St, Glasgow G2 6BZ
ISBN 1 871901 27 8 (Ailein Duinn with lyrics, translation and sol-fa
music is in Vol 1, Maighdeanan na h-airidh is in Vol 2).
Ailein Duinn (lyrics, music and story) is also in Tocher 22 & 41, published
by the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh University EH8 9LD. There is
also lyrics and the story behind the song at [9.3.12].

Hi ri'm bo - 4 part music and Gaelic lyrics only available in "Coisir a'
Mhoid" Vol 2. Available from the Gaelic Books Council, Address in
answer [7.3]. These are different verses to the ones Capercaillie do,

Tobar Mhoire - Lyrics in Gaelic and English available from Temple
records to accompany Flora MacNeill's album "Craobh nan Ubhal"

Seice Ruraidh, part 1 - no source for this yet
Part 2 - Recorded by na h-oganaich - does anyone know which album and
does it have the lyrics?

Lyrics for "Bonaparte" are in the Frequently Requested Songs section
of this FAQ at [9.3.15]

Album #8: Capercaillie - the "Disco" album. Almost universally despised
by fans of traditional music.

Album #9: To the moon

Album #10: Beautiful Wasteland
the words to Finlay's on Beautiful Wasteland can be found
in the Frequently Requested Songs section of this FAQ under [9.3.7]
'Sileas Puirt a beul'

More info on the Capercaillie website

Some Capercaillie lyrics are in the Frequently Requested Songs section
of this FAQ

Karen Matheson also has a solo album "The Dreaming Sea"

[9.1] Scottish songs on-line

There are quite a few in The Digital Tradition, a free 6800+ strong
database (many with tunes to play on your computer's speaker). It is
available from the website below, or for
more information. There is also a lot of other musical info and folk info
on that ftp site.

The discussion forums at are a particularly good
source of information.

Also, check out the Ceol section of

also try

[9.2] Scottish song books

I'm frequently browsing through bookshops to find good songbooks, but
most of the time they're of the tourist top 40 genre with only the most
popular tunes in. These are the sort of tunes you might hear played at
the Edinburgh tattoo, and not the sort you'd here at a folk concert or
down the pub.

I was at Blackfriars Music and got a copy of an excellent book by them
called "The Singing Tradition on Scotland: Book 1, The Birken Tree".
This particularly caught my eye as The Birken Tree was a song which our
singing group performed in a concert in 1994. The book is 3 pounds 50p,
has 56 songs and is 64 pages. All the songs are Scottish, have staff
music supplied, as well as a glossary of Scots words, notes on the
songs and notes for guitarists.

There's the usual tourist songs such as The Lewis Bridal Song (Mairi's
Wedding), Scotland the Brave and The Skye Boat Song, but the majority of
songs are of the type that folk artists would record or which you would
here down the pub. There's about 10 by Robert Burns. Unusually for book
not written for the Gaelic market, there is a Gaelic song "Cumha
Mhic Criomain" = MacCrimmon's Lament.

Blackfriars Music specialise in folk music and bagpipe music and sell
instruments, records and books. The also publish the "Scottish Folk
Arts Directory", the "yellow pages" of the Scottish folk scene detailing
festivals, artists, record labels, societies, radio programmes, folk pubs
etc etc.

Blackfriars Music can be reached at:

Blackfriars Music
49 Blackfriars St
Tel: 0131 557 3090

(if you are visiting, the shop is open 7 days and is near The Radisson SAS
hotel on the Royal Mile).

"The democratic muse" is definitely also worth a read. This covers the
Scottish folk movement revival since the 50s and covers the major singers
who have influenced the revival, their songs and some history about the
folk song revival and the context of the songs. ISBN 1 898218 10 2

The Feis movement (Feisean nan Gaidheal) has a songbook out and it is
excellent for anyone interested in Gaelic song or musicians interested in
Gaelic tunes. 28 songs; 36 further tunes. Title: Ceol nam Feis.
Music (staff format) and translations available for all the songs which
range from the traditional to the new. The address is in answer [6.4].
ISBN 0 9528687 0 9, price approx 10 pounds.

The Corries Songbook (and their CDs) can be ordered online from
Gavin Browne's home page at
He is extremely efficient - My book was mailed the same day I ordered it.
This book has full lyrics and staff music and guitar chords for 62 of the
Corries' favourite songs.

Gavin's e-mail address is

For Gaelic songs, I'd recommend Bruce Campbell's Orain nan Gaidheal,
in 3 three volumes each about 5 pounds. Published by Gairm, Glasgow
and available from the Gaelic Books Council (address in [7.3])
Each contains about 37 well known songs, lyrics in Gaelic and
English and music in sol-fa. No music in staff format.

For children's songs, contact The Singing Kettle:
Kettle Records, The Post House, Kingskettle, Cupar, Fife.
Tel. 01337 31121

[9.3] Frequently Requested Songs

See [4.2] for suggestions for a National Anthem.

        [9.3.1] The Flower of Scotland
        [9.3.2] Auld Lang Syne
        [9.3.3] Amazing Grace
        [9.3.4] Oh wee white rose of Scotland
        [9.3.5] Loch Lomond
        [9.3.6] Runrig - Skye
        [9.3.7] Sileas puirt a beul
        [9.3.8] Eilean nam Bothan
        [9.3.9] William McBride
        [9.3.10] Doon in the Wee Room
        [9.3.11] An teid thu leam a Mhairi
        [9.3.12] Ailein duinn - from Rob Roy
        [9.3.13] Theid mi Dhachaidh - from Rob Roy
        [9.3.14] Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda
        [9.3.15] Bonaparte
        [9.3.16] Ca the yowes
        [9.3.17] Nighean nan geug
        [9.3.18] Sguaban Arbhair
        [9.3.19] My Bonnie Moorhen
        [9.3.20] Scotland the Brave
        [9.3.21] Caledonia - Dougie MacLean

[9.3.1] The Flower of Scotland

(The Flower of Scotland is the title given in the Corries songbook,
not "Flower of Scotland"). This song was adopted as the official
football anthem by the SFA in 1997. It was already the official
rugby anthem.

Flower of Scotland was composed at 69 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh

The Flower of Scotland
O flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Words and music: Roy Williamson. (c) The Corries (Music) Ltd.

The Flower of Scotland (Gaelic translation)
Here is an authorised Gaelic translation

(translation by John Angus Macleod)

O Fhlu\ir na h-Albann,
cuin a chi\ sinn
an seo\rsa laoich
a sheas gu ba\s 'son
am bileag feo\ir is fraoich,
a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaidh
air chaochladh smaoin?

Na cnuic tha lomnochd
's tha duilleach Foghair
mar bhrat air la\r,
am fearann caillte
dan tug na seo\id ud gra\dh,
a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaigh
air chaochladh smaoin.

Tha 'n eachdraidh du\inte
ach air di\ochuimhne
chan fheum i bhith,
is faodaidh sinn e\irigh
gu bhith nar Ri\oghachd a-ri\s
a sheas an aghaidh
feachd uailleil Iomhair
's a ruaig e dhachaidh
air chaochladh smaoin.

This is "Flower of Scotland", the unofficial national anthem of Scotland
(written in the 1960's by the Corries) translated into Scottish Gaelic.

Story behind the song:
Aig ce\ilidh ann an Du\n De\agh sheinn Anna NicGillEathain a' Bheurla de
seo. Thuirt i rium, "'S bochd nach robh Ga\idhlig air an o\ran." Fichead
mionaid an de\idh sin dh'eirich i is sheinn i na facail seo, a chuir mi
ris fhad 's a bha sinn ag o\l cupan ti\!

<At a ceilidh in Dundee, Anna MacLean sang the English version of
this. She said to me "It's too bad that there isn't a Gaelic version of
the song." Twenty minutes after that she got up and sang these words
which I put to the song while we were drinking cups of tea!>

John Angus Macleod, from his book "Na freumhan thug dhomh cothrom fa\s".
The book also contains Gaelic versions of "Bridge over troubled water",
"Mull of Kintyre", "A red red rose" and "The Dark Island". Available
from the author John Angus MacLeod, 76 Brisbane Street, Largs, Scotland,
KA30 8QN

[9.3.2] Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind
Should auld acquaintaince be forgot
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely you'll be your pint stowp
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll drink a richt guid willy waught
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wandered monie a wearie fit'
Since auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidled in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine
But seas a'tween us braid hae roared
Since auld lang syne


And here's a hand my trusty fere
And gie's a hand o' thine
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.


Words and original music: Robert Burns

See also [5.2] for more information on Burns and this song.
See [12.16] for info on Hogmanay / New Year customs

The original music for Auld Lang Syne is available at the following locations

You can also hear the traditional version of the song in the movie
Sex and the City, see here

[9.3.3] Amazing Grace

Miorbhail Gra\is

O Miorbhail gra\is! nach breagh' an ceo\l;
'S e lorg mi 's mi air chall,
Air seachdran dorch', gun neart, gun treo\ir,
'S a dh'fhosgail su\ilean dall.

'S e gra\s thug eo\las dhomh air m'fheum;
'S e gra\s thug saors' is si\th;
'S cha cheannaicheadh o\r a' chruinne-che\
Chiad la\ bha fios nam chri\dh'.

Tro iomadh cunnart 's trioblaid chruaidh
Thug E gu sa\bhailt mi.
An gra\s a shaor bhon bha\s le buaidh
Chan fha\g 's cha tre\ig gu si\or.

San dachaigh bhuan gun uair gun ti\m,
'S deich mi\le bliadhn' mar la\,
Cha sguir an ceo\l 's chan fha\s iad sgi\th
A' seinn a chaoidh mun ghra\s.

(Version sent to me by An Comunn Gaidhealach, translator unknown)

For information regarding the original English version of this
song, see

[9.3.4] Oh wee white rose of Scotland

Oh wee white rose of Scotland
   Susanne Ferguson - 1986

Oh wee white rose of Scotland tell tae me
When wad ye rise and bloom wi fient a thorn
When wad ye rise up haill and straucht and free
Nae mair tae dwine forfochten and forlorn

Oh wad ye rise and scent the air again
Wi blossom blithe on branches noo abrede
Tae gar this land pit life in ye I'd spend
My warldis gear tae bring ye some remeid

Oh no this land's a kindly nurse tae me
It is the sky wi mirk is sair owercast
Thir days o dule they will only ended be
When fae a new airt blaws a fresher blast

When charity shall stand in Scotland's tongue
For leal and soothfu band wi aa that lives
When riches are nae mair the work o wrang
But shall requite the ane that freest gives

When Scotland's great are they wha kindest can
Lift ithers' loads tae gie their spirits room
Then wi a glad upspringin til the sun
The winds o aa the world I shall perfume

hail = whole
fient = hardly
straucht = straight
dwine = dwindle
forfochten = worn out
abrede = spread
tae gar = to make
warldis = all the world
remeid = relief
mirk = darkness
thir = these
dule = misery
leal = loyal
soothfu = truthful

This song has been recorded by the harp duo Sileas

[9.3.5] Loch Lomond

From Rudy Ramsey

I've been meaning to write the lyrics down, anyway. I couldn't find
them anywhere here (though there is a similar version in the CD insert
of the Corries' "Silver Collection", which I've misplaced). I know the
song well, though, and believe these  lyrics to be accurate. I can't
remember where I originally got them, but I suspect it was Ewan
MacColl. The Corries' version of this song is truly beautiful, by the

There's a lovely story associated with the song, and I believe it to be
the true origin of the "Loch Lomond" and "High Road" songs, of which
there are several variants. I admit that I don't have detailed
documentation for the story, however, and I'm  writing it from memory,
too. Caveat emptor, and all. :-)

The Jacobite Rebellion came to an end with the Jacobites disastrous
loss at the Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746. After the battle, many
of the captured Scottish soldiers were taken by the English to
Carlisle, where they were imprisoned at Carlisle Castle. The English
treated the Scotsmen rather capriciously, selecting some -- apparently
at random -- to be hanged. Others, also seemingly chosen at random,
were simply released, and told to walk home, over the roads, to

One of the captured Scottish soldiers was Donald MacDonald. He felt
sure that he would be one of those hanged by the English, and he
wrote this song. One can suppose it was meant as a memorial, a message
of hope for his fellow Scotsmen, and a last love letter to his beloved
Moira, who lived back in the Scottish highlands, near Loch Lomond.

The song is written to be sung not by Donald, but by Moira. It tells of
the journey of Donalds spirit after his death. He returns to Scotland
not by the high road -- the ordinary road over which his countrymen are
walking home -- but by the low road of death, a much faster and surer
route. Donalds spirit visits Moira and makes love to her one last time.
But she can tell that he is gone, and that she will not see him again,
in this life.

This is not the version most people sing, it starts off
"By Yon Bonnie Banks and By Yon Bonnie Braes".....

Loch Lomond
O whither away my bonnie May
Sae late and sae dark in the gloamin?
The mist gathers gray oer moorland and brae.
O whither sae far are ye roamin?

  O, yell tak the high road and Ill tak the low.
  Ill be in Scotland afore ye.
  For me and my true love will never meet again
  By the bonnie, bonnie banks o Loch Lomond.

I trusted my ain love last night in the broom,
My Donald wha loves me sae dearly.
For the morrow he will march for Edinburgh toon,
Tae fecht for his king and Prince Charlie.

O, weel may I weep for yestreen in my sleep.
We lay bride and bridegroom together.
But his touch and his breath were cold as the death,
And his hairtsblood ran red in the heather.


As dauntless in battle as  tender in love,
Hed yield neer a foot tae the foeman.
But never again frae the fields o the slain
Tae his Moira will he come by Loch Lomond.

The thistle may bloom, the king hae his ain,
And fond lovers will meet in the gloamin.
And me and my true love will yet meet again
Far above the bonnie banks o Loch Lomond.


I'm still interested in finding out more about this Donald MacDonald
(that was the subject of my original posting in this thread). If
anyone can point me to likely sources, I would appreciate it.

It appears that this version of Loch Lomond was written by
Donald McDonnell of Clan Keppoch.

The popular Loch Lomond tune is also shared by the Irish song
"Yellow is the rose"

[9.3.6] Runrig - Skye

Translation of the Gaelic words in 'Skye' by Runrig.


 Chi mi an t-eilean uaine
 Tir nam beanntan arda
 Ceo a'tuiteam tron a ghleann
 'Na shineadh air do raointean

 I see the green island
 land of the high mountains
 mist falling through the glen
 stretching out over your raointean* (=strips of land)

* this is the plural of raon which is the origin of the word "run" in
  Runrig (once Run-Rig and before that "The Run-Rig Dance band"). Run-Rig
  is a historical legal term which Blair Douglas gave the band when the
  band was founded in the early 70s and Blair was studying at Glasgow.
  A rig is a strip of land associated with a croft and Run-rigs are
  sequences of those strips of land, many of which are still visible on

[9.3.7] Sileas puirt a beul

3 Traditional puirt a beul from the Si\leas album "Beating Harps"
for information on puirt.

Sileas don't have a home page but can be reached
via the Poozies page at

        Tha bann' aig na caoraich uile (x3)  All the sheep have milk
        'S galan aig a' chaora chruim        And the one with the
                                                crooked horn has a gallon
        Ubh oirr' cho mo/r ri gamhain        She has an udder as big as
                                                a milk cow's
        'S e cho sleamhain ris an i\m        And it's as slippery as butter

        Sheatadh cailleach                   The old woman would set
        ruilleadh cailleach                  The old woman would reel
        Sheatadh cailleach ris a' bhalg      The old woman would set
                                                to the bag
        Sheatadh cailleach Uileam Bhuidhe    Yellow haired William's
                                                old woman would set
        ris a bhuidheann a bh'air falbh      to the company that had gone

        Ruilleadh cailleach nan cailleach    The old woman of the old women
                                                would reel
        ri cailleach bhaile nan cailleach    to the old woman of the town
                                                of old women
        'S gu seatadh a chailleach Hearach   and the old woman of Harris
                                                would set
        ris a chaillich a bh'air falbh       to the old woman who had gone

        Ruilleadh cailleach Iain Bhuidhe     Yellow haired John's old woman
                                                would reel
        Ris a chailleach a bh'aig Uileam     to William's old woman
        'S nuair a thug Anna dhith           and when Anna took off her mutch
        an curachd
        B'fheadar a dh'Iain Curraidh falbh   John Curry had to go away

        Thoir a nall Ailean thugam,          Bring Allan over to me,
        Ailean thugam, Ailean thugam         to me, to me
        Thoir a nall Ailean thugam           Bring Allan over to me,
      seatadh e'n t-urlar                  he would set the floor

        Cha teid Fionnlagh a dh'Eige         Finlay won't go to Eigg
        Ged nach po\sda e feasda             although he's not married yet
        Cha teid Fionnladh a dh'Eige         Finlay won't go to Eigg
        Dh'Eige cha teid Fionnlagh           To Eigg Finlay won't go

        Ceann ruadh air a nighean            The girl has red hair
        Buidhe ruadh air a nighean           The girl has yellow-red hair
        Ceann ruadh air a nighean            The girl has red hair
        Mar a bh'air a ma\thair              Just like her mother

[9.3.8] Eilean nam Bothan

Eilean nam Bothan
Variant 1
Ars an gobha fuiricheamaid
Ars an gobha falbhamaid
Ars an gobha ris an ogha
Na sheasamh aig dorus an t-sabhal
Gu rachadh e shuiridhe.

'Si eilean nam bothan nam bothan
Eilean nam bothan nam bothan
Eilean nam bothan nam bothan
Bothan a bh'aig Fionnghal'

Bheirinn fead air fulmaire
Bheirinn fead air falmaire
Liughannan beaga na mara
Bheireamaid greis air an tarruing
Na maireadh a na duirgh dhuinn.

Cha d'fhuair sinn dad ann a seo
Cha d'fhuair sinn dad ann a seo
Cha d'fhuair sinn dad ann a seo
Cail ach racadail na duirgh dhuinn
O nach tigeadh Carbhanach
O nach tigeadh Carbhanach
Mursgainn is leabagan glas
A bheireadh na dubhain 'on fheamainn
Na maireadh na duirghe dhuinn.

Island of Bothies
The blacksmith said let us wait
The blacksmith said let us go
The blacksmith said to his grandchild
standing at the door of the barn
that he was going to go courting.

Island of bothies, of bothies
Island of bothies, of bothies
Island of bothies, of bothies
Fingal's bothies.

I'd knock spots off the birds
I'd knock spots off the hakes [fish]
little lythes [flat fish] of the sea.
We would take a while hauling them in
if our hand lines last.

We got nothing here
We got nothing here
We got nothing here
except noises of the hand lines.
If only carp would come
If only carp would come
or razor fish or flounder
that would take the hooks from the seaweed
if our hand lines last.

Variant 2 - Lyrics off "Music from the Western Isles", School of
Scottish Studies/Greentrax

Thuirt an gobha fuirighidh mi
'S thuirt an gobha falbhaidh mi
'S thuirt an gobha leis an othail
A bh'air an dorus an t-sabhail
Gu rachadh e a shuirge

'S a gheala ham botham nam botham
Pe ho ro bha hin an doicheam
'S hala ham to han an doicheam
Am bothan a bh'aig Fionnaghuala

Bheirinn fead air fulmairean
Bheirinn fead air falmairean
Liuthannan beaga na mara
Bheireamaid greis air an tarrainn
Na maireadh na duirgh dhuinn

It was from the late Calum Johnston of Barra that Micheal (O'Domhnaill)
first head this piece.

[9.3.9] William McBride

I'd just like to post these excellent lyrics here and
thanks to Howard Evans for sending them to me!
Contact Howard Evans at

--- Message from Howard ---

These are the words (and original title) as sung by the author Eric Bogle
at the Cottage Theatre Folk Club, Cumbernauld on 19th Feb, 1977. All other
versions are corruptions :-) Iain Mackintosh (to my mind) does the *best*
cover version. (But I would say that as he's a friend). Chords are what I
play (to Eric's tune). Most "modern" (post 1980) versions are based on
the Furey's version which as I told you before is very different. They
also changed the title between "Willie McBride" and "Green Fields of France"
Bogle calls it "No Mans' Land" on his "Plain and Simple" record with
John Munro.

Enjoy it - but for god's sake, don't Wild Rover it (i.e. don't get them
all swinging to the chorus). You should finish it with a lump in your throat.

Slainte (my only word of Gaelic)

Howard Evans.

William McBride

        (c)Well how do you (F) do Private (Dm) William McBride
        Do you (G7) mind if I sit here down(C) by your grave(G7)side
        And I'll (C) rest for a (F) while in the(Dm) warm summer sun
        I've been (G7) walking all day and(F) I'm nearly (C) done
        And I see by your gravestone you were(Dm) only 19
        When you(G7) joined the glorious fallen back in (c)1916 (G7)
        Well I (C) hope you died quick and I (F) hope you died (Dm) clean
        Or (G7) Willie McBride was it (F) slow and obscene (C)

        Did they (G7) beat the drum slowly
        Did they (F) play the fyfe (C)lowly
        Did the (G7)rifles fire o'er you
        As they (F) lowered you (C) down
        Did the (F) bugles play the Last Post in (Dm) chorus
        Did the (C) pipes play the (F) Flooers o the (G7) Forrest (C)

        And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
        In some faithful heart does your memory enshrine
        And though you died back in 1916
        In some faithful heart are you forever 19
        Or are you a stranger without even a name
        Enshrined forever behind the glass pane
        Of an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained
        And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame

        Ah the sun's shining now on these green fields of France
        The warm winds blow gently and the red poppies dance
        The trenches have vanished under the plough
        No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now
        But here in the graveyard it's still No-Man's Land
        The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
        To Man's blind indifference to his fellow-man
        To a whole generation who were butchered and damned

        And I can't help but wonder now William McBride
        Do all those who lie here know why they died
        Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
        Did you really believe that this war would end wars
        Well the suffering and the sorrow and the glory, the shame
        The killing the dying, the dying, it was all done in vain
        For Willie McBride, it all happened again
        And again, and again and again and again.

[9.3.10] Doon in the Wee Room

Lyrics supplied by George Allan

Hello everybody. Here's a source for "Doon in the
Wee Room", courtesy of another respondent:

The Marlettes
Songs of Scotland (Lyrics included)
Tape # KITV 457
Produced by Bill Garden
Recorded at Scotty's Sound Studio, Kilsyth

B.G.S. Productions Ltd.,
Newtown Street,
Kilsyth, Glasgow
G65 0JX

The Lyrics:

The Wee Room Underneath The Stair
Now if yer tired and weary, feelin' sad and blue
Don't let your cares upset ye 'al tell ye what tae do
Just tak a cor tae Springburn go inta Quin's Pub there
Go doon intae the wee room underneath the stair

For it's doon in the wee room underneath the stair
Everybody's happy everybody's there
And they're all makin' merry each in his chair
Doon in the wee room underneath the stair

A king went a huntin' his fortunes for tae seek
He lost his cor at Partick went missin' for a week
Days and nights they hunted sorrow and despair
They foun' him in the wee room underneath the stair

Fur it's doon in the wee room underneath the stair
Everybody's happy everybody's there
And they're all makin' merry each in his chair
Doon in the wee room underneath the stair

Noo when am gettin' auld and ma bones begin tae set
I'll never worry naw I'll never fret
For I'm savin' up ma pennies tae buy a hurrly chair
Tae tak me tae the wee room underneath the stair

Fur it's doon in the wee room underneath the stair
Everybody's happy everybody's there
Adn they're all makin' merry each in his chair
Doon in the wee room underneath the stair.

Thanks again for your help and encouragement.

See you at "The Royal Oak".

George Allan

[9.3.11] An teid thu leam a Mhairi

An teid thu leam a Mhairi

An teid thu leam a Mhairi
Am falbh thu leam thar saile
An teid thu leam a Mhairi dhonn
Gu tir nam beanntan arda

Tha crodh againn air airigh
Is laoigh an cois am mathar
Tha sin againn is caoraich mhaol' (=Cheviot sheep)
Air aodann nam beann arda


Dh'aithnichinn fhin do bha\ta
Si\os mu Rudh' na h-Airde
Bre\idean geala anns an t-seol
Is clann MhicLeoid 'gan ca\radh


Words from Christine Primrose

[9.3.12] Ailein duinn - from Rob Roy

Due to the success of Rob Roy (and Capercaillie!) a lot of people have
asked me about these lyrics - here they are and a story about them

"Allan Morrison was a sea captain from the isle of Lewis. In the spring
of 1788 he left Stornoway to go to Scalpay, Harris, where he was to
marry Annie Campbell. Unfortunately they sailed into a storm and all
the crew sank with the vessel. This is the lament she composed. The
broken-hearted Annie wasted away through grief and died a few months
afterward. Her body was washed ashore near where her fiance's was found.
There are quite a few variants of this song."

Ailein duinn
Gura mise tha fo e/islean,
Moch 's a' mhadainn is mi 'g e/irigh,
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat.

Ma 's e cluasag dhut a' ghainneamh,
Ma 's e leabaidh dhut an fheamainn,
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat.

Ma 's e 'n t-iasg do choinnlean geala,
Ma 's e na ro\in do luchd-faire,
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat.

Dh'o\lainn deoch ge boil le ca\ch e,
De dh'fhuil do choim 's tu 'n de/idh do bhathadh,
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat.

on the single, they sing:

Gura mise tha fo eislean
Moch sa mhaduinn is mi g'eirigh

O hi shiubhlainn leat
Hi ri bho, ho rinn o ho
Ailein Duinn, o hi shiubhlainn leat

Ma 's'en clusag dhuit a ghaineamh
Ma 'se leabaidh dhut an gheamainn

Ma 's en t-iasg do choinlean geala
Ma 's na Righ do luchd-faire

This song is also in Orain nan Gaidheal, Vol 1 by Bruce Campbell.
ISBN 901771 85 6, published by Gairm, 29 Waterloo St, Glasgow G2 6BZ
Song appears with 4 verses in Gaelic, English translation and music in
sol-fa format. Also in Su\il ri cladach, published by Acair. Also in
Tocher 22 & 41, published by the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh
University EH8 9LD. This is online at the following link

A song with the same name but different
tune and lyrics (ie a different song entirely but based on the same
story) has been recorded by Mac-talla.

[9.3.13] Theid mi Dhachaidh - from Rob Roy

Date: Thu, 07 Sep 1995 20:44:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Theid Mi Dhachaidh, can you forward?

Hello Craig, I think you are right that these words in Gaelic and
English would be of interest to other readers of the newsgroup; but my software will not import this text into
newsgroups. I am hoping that if I send it to you, you could forward it to
that newsgroup? I am sending this to Digitrad. Thanks,

Theid Mi Dhachaidh
Gaelic lyrics to "Theid Mi Dhachaidh", or
"Cro Chinn T-Saile "
(Courtesy of An Comunn Gaidhealach,
many thanks to them for their kindness)

Theid mi dhachaidh ho ro dhachaidh,
Theid mi dhachaidh chro\ Chin t-Sa\ile,
Theid mi dhachaidh ho ro dhachaidh,
Theid mi dhachaidh chro\ Chinn t-Sa\ile.

Rann 1
Theid mi fhi\n, leam fhi\n, leam fhi\n ann,
Theid mi fhi\n, leam fhi\n a Gea\rrloch,
Theid mi fhi\n, leam fhi\n, leam fhi\n ann
'S gabhaidh mi 'n rathad mo/r Chinn t-Sa\ile.

Rann 2
Bi mi nochd am buaile Phearsain,
Bi mi 'n a chuid mhart am ma\ireach.
Bi mi nochd am buaile Phearsain,
Bi mi 'n a chuid mhart am ma\ireach.

English lyrics, from Talitha MacKenzie's "So/las" CD

I will go home
I will go home to the cattlefold of Kintail.
I will go home
I will go home to the cattlefold of Kintail.

I will go myself, by myself, there
I will go myself, by myself to Gairloch.
I will go myself, by myself, there
I will take the high road to Kintail.

Tonight I will be in the parson's cattlefold,
Tomorrow I will be with the cattle
headed for the slaughter
Tonight I will be in the parson's cattlefold,
Tomorrow I will be with the cattle
headed for the slaughter.

(She adds another verse:)

I will go to Urray, to reap the sea-bent
I will go to Urray with you, my love
I will go to Urray, to reap the sea-bent
I will go to Urray with you, my love.

The Gaelic for this is:

The/id mi dh'Uraigh bhuain a' mhurain
The/id mi dh'Uraigh leat a ghra\idh bhig
The/id mi dh'Uraigh bhuain a' mhurain
The/id mi dh'Uraigh leat a ghra\idh bhig

[9.3.14] Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda

Barrachd faclan aig an orain "Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda" air an
clar "Sidewaulk" aig Capercaillie.

More lyrics for the waulking song "Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda" on
Capercaillie's Sidewaulk album.

Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda
As do la\imh-sa (ho/ ho\) dh'earbainn tapachd (ho/ ho\)
   From your arms, I'd expect valour
Mharbhadh Tighearn' (ho/ ho\) ach nam Breac leat (trom eile + seist)
   Achinbreck's laird was killed by you

(2nd couplet)
Mharbhadh Tighearn' (ho/ ho\) ach nam Breac leat (ho/ ho\)
   Achinbreck's laird was killed by you
Thiolaigeadh e (ho/ ho\) an oir an lochain (trom eile + seist)
   And was buried at the lochside

(vocables and repeats omitted in subsequent couplets purely to save
space here)

Thiolaigeadh e, etc
Ged 's beag mi fhin      chuir mi ploc air
   Though small I may be, I cast a sod on him
'S chuir siod gruaim air     Niall a' Chaisteal
   Which made Neil of the castle gloomy
'S dh'fha\g e lionndubh      air a mhac-sa
    and left his son melancholy
'S bha Ni Lachlainn          fhe/in ga bhasadh
    Lachlann's daughter  herself was lamenting
'S bha Nic Dho\mhnaill       'n de/idh a creachadh
    and Donald's daughter her hands was wringing
Cha b'iaonadh sin,            b'fhiach a mac e
    Tis no wonder, her son was worth it
Dronncair, po\iteir           seo\lt' air marcraichd
    Copious drinker, clever horseman
Ceanndard an airm             an tu\s a' bhatail
    Army leader foremost in battle
Sheinneadh piob leat          mho/r air chnocan
    You'd play the great pipes on a hillock
Dh'o\ladh fion leat           dearg am portaibh
     You would drink red wine in houses
Chuala mi'n de/                sgeul nach b'ait liom
      I heard today a tale amazing
Glaschu bheag                   bhith 'na lasair
      That little Glasgow is a-blazing
'S Obair-eadhain                an de/idh a chreachadh
      and Aberdeen has been plundered

[9.3.15] Bonaparte

Bonaparte from Capercaillie, Secret People

O gu sunndach mi air m'astar
          I'm happy on my journey
Falbh gu siubhlach le bheag airtneul
          travelling swiftly without flagging
Dol a chomhrag ri Bonaparte,
          heading off to do battle with Bonaparte
'S e bha bagairt air Righ Deors'.
          He it was who threatened King George

'Illean chridheil, bitheamaid sunndach,
          Brave lads, let's be merry
Seasaibh onoir ar duthcha,
          Stand for the honour of your country
Fhad's a mhaireas luaidh is fudar,
          As long as lead and powder last
De rud chuireadh curam oirnn?
          What could worry us?

Chan eil faillinn ann ra chunntas
          There is no weakness to be described
Anns na h-armainn nach diultadh,
          in the young heroes who never retreat
Chan eil gealtachd nan gnuis-san,
          cowardice is not in their countenance
Cha toir iad grunnd do luchd a'bhosd.
          they will never give ground to the boasters

Luchd nan osan gearr 's nam feileadh,
          Men of the short hose and the kilts
Cota sgarlaid orr' mar eideadh;
          with their uniforms of scarlet coats;
Gum bu ghasd' iad an am eirigh -
          splendid they were in attack-
'S iad nach geilleadh an deidh an leon.
          they would never yield though wounded.

Ann am Bruxelles a chaidh innse
          In Brussels it was told
Gun robh Frangaich tigh'nn nam miltean:
          that the French were coming in their thousands
'S cha bhreug bhuam gur h-i an fhirinn,
          I tell no lie but the truth
'S iomadh fear bhois sint' gun deo.
          many a man will be stretched out without breath of life

[9.3.16] Ca the yowes

Ca' the yowes

Ca' the yowes to the knowes,
Ca' them whare the heather grows,
Ca' them whare the burnie rowes,
My bonnie dearie!

As I gaed down the water side,
There I met my shepherd lad,
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid
And he ca'd me his dearie.

Will ye gang down the water side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide,
Beneath the hazels spreading wide?
The moon it shines fu' clearly.

I was bred up at nae sic school ,
My shepherd lad, to play the fool,
And a' the day to sit in dool,
And naebody to see me.

Ye sall get gowns and ribbons meet,
Cauf-leather shoon upon your feet,
And in my arms ye'se lie and sleep,
And ye shall be my dearie.

If ye'll but stand to what ye've said,
I'd gang wi' you my shepherd lad,
And ye may rowe me in your plaid,
And I shall be your dearie.

While waters wimple to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death sall blin' my e'e,
Ye shall be my dearie.

Recorded by Sileas and others

[9.3.17] Nighean nan geug

On the Cathy Anne MacPhee album "Canan nan Gaidheal", I don't think
these lyrics are in print elsewhere. Words from Morag MacLeod (School of
Scottish Studies) via Cathy Anne (at Feis Rois Inbhich) and John Shaw.
This song is closely related to the song known in Cape Breton as
"A chuachag nam beann" and on the excellent Mary Jane Lamond album "Bho
thir nan craobh" where the song appears with lyrics in Gaelic, some of
which match the lyrics below.

Nighean nan geug
A nighean nan geug , o hao ri iu\
Tha muigh leis an spre/idh, o hao ri o han , o hao ri iu\
   (Girl of the branches out with the cattle)

Na gabh eagal neo fiamh <vocables> Tha mise an seo siar <vocables>

Nach truagh leat mo chlann   /  bean eile nan ceann
  Do you not pity my children     another woman looking after them
Dham bualadh gu teann     dham biadhadh gu gann
   hitting them hard and often feeding them short
's an athair 's a' ghleann  a nighean nan geug
   and their father in the glen  (+repeat of first line)

[9.3.18] Sguaban Arbhair

From Play Gaelic - outstanding tune and lyrics.

Na Sguaban Arbhair - The stacks of corn

Rann/Verse 1
Bha mi raoir a' siubhal drathair
   Last night I opened a drawer
'S thainig dealbh do mo laimh
   and a picture came to hand
Dealbh mo sheannmh'ar is mo shean'ar
   a picture of my grandmother and grandfather
'S balach og na shuidh' ri'n taobh
   and a young boy sitting by their side

Rann 2
'S iad ag obair aig na sguaban arbhair
   They were working on the corn stacks
Shuidh mi g'an coimhead fad' na h-oidhch'
   I sat and looked at them all night
Thainig cianalas na m'chridhe
   A deep sorrow came to my heart
'S thainig cuideam na mo laimh
   and a great weight came to my hand

Uair eile gu bhith dhachaidh
   (O for) Another chance to be home
Uair eile gu bhith beo
   Another chance to be alive
Ruith mu'n cuairt na sguaban arbhair
   Running around the stacks of corn
Uair eile gu bhith og
   Oh to be young again

Rann 3
Cha'n e aois a tha mi sabaid
   It isn't age I'm fighting against
Cha'n e mo bheatha nach eil slan
   It isn't my life that's unwell
'S e bhith fuireach ann a' saoghal maide
   It's living in a false world
Le chuid daoin' nach tuig mo chainnt
   With its people who don't understand my language

Rann 4
Dh'fhalbh mo sheannmh'air 's mo shean'air
   My grandmother and grandfather passed on
Thuit na sguaban arbhair sios
   The stacks of corn fell down
Dh'fhalbh mi gu saoghal eile
   I left to go to another world
'S dh'fhalbh a' Ghaidhlig bho mo bheul
   And Gaelic went from my mouth

[Seist a-rithist/Chorus again]

Written in 1975 on the M8 from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

[9.3.19] My Bonnie Moorhen

My Bonnie Moorhen
 My bonnie moorhen, my bonnie moorhen,
 Up in the grey hills, and doon in the glen,
 It's when ye gang butt the hoose, when ye gang ben
 I'll drink a health tae my bonnie moorhen.

 My bonnie moorhen's gane o'er the faim,
 And it will be summer e'er she comes again,
 But when she comes back again some folk will ken,
 And drink a toast tae my bonnie moorhen.

 My bonnie moorhen has feathers anew,
 And she's a' fine colours, but nane o' them blue,
 She's red an' she's white, an' she's green an' she's grey
 My bonnie moorhen come hither away.

 Come up by Glen Duich, and doon by Glen Shee
 An' roun' by Kinclaven and hither tae me,
 For Ranald and Donald are oot on the fen,
 Tae brak the wing o' my bonnie moorhen.

This is a song from the Jacobite period of Scottish history and is one
of many of the period with double meanings and disguise. In the song,
the fugitive is being hunted in the hills by government forces and
Ranald and Donald are red coat soldiers. The colours referred to are
those of the old Stuart tartan. The Prince is the moorhen.

[9.3.20] Scotland the Brave

Scotland the Brave

A patriotic song, favoured by many as a contender for Scotland's national anthem -
running second after Flower of Scotland (see [9.3.1]) although unlike Flower of Scotland
considers Scotland on its own merits rather than dwelling on wars with England.

Scotland the Brave is used at the Commonwealth Games (incidentally, to be hosted in
Glasgow in

It started as a pipe tune around the start of the 20th century and lyrics were added in
1950 by
Cliff Hanley (1922-1999).

Scotland the Brave
by Cliff Hanley

Hark when the night is falling
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits
of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud
standard gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining rivers,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines
from fair maidens' eyes.


Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.

In 2007 in the run up to the Scottish General Elections, an alternative version
"Scotland the brave 2007" became popular on YouTube
Lyrics reproduced here with permission from the author Alan Smart

Scotland the Brave 2007
by Alan Smart

Land of the purple heather
Land of some shocking weather
Land of Elvis Presley's mother
Scotland the brave

Land of some high endeavours
Harry Potter, Ewan McGregor
Land of Sir Sean forever
Scotland the brave

Land o' tech computer dolls
Royal bank and Shopping Malls
Burger Kings but nae Polaris
Moscow, Houston, Texas, Paris

Hip hop, bhangla, Gaelic classes
River city, free bus passes
Rabbie Burns and bonnie lassies
Scotland the brave

Land of Mary and Prince Charlie
Adam Smith and Mick McGahey
Referendums, oor ain Parly
Scotland the brave

Land where the Poll Tax ended
Land where Dennis wis suspended
Land where Bairns they were offended
Scotland the brave

Land where the fox runs safe
Folk look forward tae old age
Our students get cash tae get clever
Warrant sales are gone forever

Liz McColgan, Henrik Larsson,
Andy Murray, Highland Dancin'
Murrayfield, the roar of Hampden
Scotland the brave

Land of all creeds and colours
Polish, English, Moslem brothers
Land where we live together
Scotland the brave

Where gay folks are defended
noo that the Clause has ended
John Knox was fair offended
Scotland the brave

James Connolly and John McLean
Still standing up for hungry weans
Annie Lennox, William Wallace
Joining in the freedom chorus

Land of the purple heather
Land of the shining rivers
Land of my heart forever
Scotland the brave

Land of the purple heather
Land of the shining rivers
Land of my heart forever
Scotland - the brave

[9.3.21] Caledonia - Dougie MacLean

By Dougie MacLean
Anthem for Homecoming Scotland 2009

I don't know if you can see
The changes that have come over me.
In these last few days I've been afraid
That I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem
So far away today

Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had

Now I have moved and I've kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
I have kissed the ladies and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes there's no denying
I have traveled hard with coattails flying
Somewhere in the wind

Now I'm sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They've withered now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear

(c) 1982 Plant Life Music Ltd

[10.1] Understanding Scottish Dance music

I hope this is what you're looking for -- and as a caveat, this is only
my understanding based on observation/listening, not on any
authoritative source. Also, you must know that this is not the best
way to learn this stuff!  It would have helped to know which tunes you
know; I've included some examples that I think are common, but they
might not be in your experience. I hope you can find some kind person
to show this to you interactively; reading text is a terrible medium
for this kind of information. Nevertheless:

What characterises each kind of tune is the rhythm. You must be able
to hear differences in rhythm in order to tell one from the other.

First of all, listen for the "downbeats" or major rhythmic accents.
These kinds of dance tunes are evenly divided into measures (also
called  bars) and the downbeat is the first beat in each measure.
Counting the  number of beats from one downbeat to the next is the
first step in  distinguishing one type of tune from the others. The
examples that  follow the explanations (the BUMP bahs, etc.) are best
understood said  aloud if possible, and/or tapped with the hands,
fingers or feet, to get  a physical sense of the rhythms.

Reels and strathspeys, and most hornpipes are counted in four, that is,
they have four beats to a measure. Jigs of all kinds are in three
(have multiples of three beats to the measure). A pickier (or more
knowledgeable) person might say that many reels, etc. are in fact
counted in two rather than four, but for purposes of simplification,
I'm calling it four. Likewise, jigs are counted in three or multiples

Reels and single/double jigs have two beats to  the measure.
Strathspeys have either 4 or 2 depending on the style (RSCDS - Royal
Scottish Country Dance Society - tends to be in 2, while Cape Breton and
Highland are in 4). To illustrate, if someone were playing a typical
reel, Flowers of Edinburgh, for example, no one would clap 4 beats to
the measure. Rather they would normally clap two beats to the measure.
Likewise, the musicians will normally tap two beats with their feet, if
they tap at all. The same is true of jigs. The difference is what
happens in the beat. In reels there is a duple rhythm, which could be
expressed as 4 notes to the beat, 8 notes to the measure, while in jigs
there is a triple rhythm with three notes to the beat or six notes to
the measure. I've seen some people give metronome markings of the
beat =240, counting 4 beats to the measure, but that strikes me as
ridiculous. It's almost impossible to count at mm=240, but not too
hard at mm=120 and two beats to the measure. BTW, RSCDS seems to use
about mm=112 for both reels and jigs.

In a reel, the notes are for the most part evenly spaced -- that is,
all  the fast notes have the same time as each other, and the same with
the slower ones. And reels are played quickly. Very quickly, usually.

Hornpipes and strathspeys are usually slower, though of course this
depends on the players. Some people play everything as fast as they
can manage, to the detriment of the beauty of the music, IMHO.

Though this is not always the case, I think of hornpipes as having what
is called "dotted time" (because of the way it is written). The first
note is held longer than the second, so a bar of this kind of rhythm
might be illustrated:

        Bump bah bump bah

where the "Bumps" have half again as much time as the "bahs" or even
twice as long as the "bahs", giving the hornpipe a feeling of triple
time within a 4 beat measure.

But dotted time is usually only one component of the rhythm. Other
rhythmic figures such as triplets and regular quarter notes are
sprinkled in amongst the dotted. The triplets work out real well  with
the dotted rhythm.

Another common feature of hormpipes is that the parts often end with
three beats. For instance, perhaps the most well-known hornpipe,  The
Sailor's Hornpipe, ends this way, though, I'm sorry to say, it doesn't
have dotted time. The Rights of Man hornpipe has both.

Hornpipes can be played in several different styles. RSCDS tends to
treat hornpipes as reels, which tends to force the notes into equal
value, like a reel. On the other hand, they can be played slowly with
the dotted rhythm. Sailor's Hornpipe certainly can be played that way,
though most people don't. BTW, do you mean the Popeye tune for
Sailor's. That tune is known in most Scottish collections I've seen as
the College Hornpipe, with another tune being called the Sailor's
hornpipe. Thought I would mention it since it does cause some
confusion on this side of the pond from time to time.

Strathspeys are even harder to explain, though if you got the bit about
dotted time, you might understand this explanation too. As I
understand it, strathspeys feature what we might call "reverse dotted
time" where a measure might have

        Bah bump, bah bump    or     Bah bump, bump bah

as a rhythmic feature in many of its measures. This is called the
"Scottish snap" since strathspeys are a Scottish invention. They
often have regular dotted time, quarter notes, and triplets as well.

In general, then, hornpipes and strathspeys are both slower than reels
and have more varied rhythmic figures. Marches are also slower than
reels, but have that sense of even rhythm that is good for cadence.

Strathspeys can be quite fast, if beat in 4. It's not uncommon to have
a strathspey (in 4) going at mm=128 while a reel (in 2) is a mm=116.
Marches can be played as quick two-steps, such as Duke of Fife's
Welcome to Deeside, or as slower pipe marches and retreat marches.
There should be a swing and lilt to a march, though, which often
involves dotting the rhythm somewhat, not unlike a hornpipe or
strathspey. Alasdair Fraser has written a march, the Aberdeen
Alternative Festival March, which started out as a strathspey. He
decided that the form of the tune called for it to be considered a
march. Another interesting category in marches is the 6/3 marches,
such as the Atholl Highlanders, and the retreat marches, which are in
three beats to the measure, such as the Bloody Fields of Flanders,
which is the tune for The Freedom Come-All-Ye.

Jigs are in three, usually counted as six, or nine, or twelve. To my
ear, distinguishing between the 6 and 12 often seems somewhat
subjective, but that's probably due to a limitation in my powers of

Double jigs, single jigs, and slides all have a sense of two or
four-ness about them -- the underlying beat is in twos. I'm not sure
what the  difference between double and single jigs is -- though I
believe that  double jigs are counted in six, and slides are in twelve.

If you're counting a double jig in six, it'd be

        ONE two three Four five six     <or>
        ONE two three Two  two  three
        ^             |
[Sorry to beat this over the head, but the "ONE" gets the major stress
(^),  and the "Four" or "Two" gets the secondary stress (|). You might
try  beating this out yourself with the right hand doing the beats with
stresses and the left doing the others (or v.v. if you're left-handed)]
Likewise for slides, it's

        ONE two three Four five six Seven eight nine  Ten  eleven twelve  <or>
        ONE two three Two two three Three two   three Four two    three
        ^             |             |                 |

Slip jigs, however, have the very different feel of three-ness:

        ONE two three Four five six  Seven eight nine
        ONE two three Two  two three Three two three
        ^             |              |

The Butterfly Jig is a good example of a slip jig. Waltzes are also in
three (or six), but much slower.

As I understand it, single jigs tend to have a predominant rhythm of
long-short for each beat, such as The Stool of Repentance opening
measure. Off She Goes might be a better example. Double jigs have the
three notes to the beat rhythm. Most RSCDS jigs are single or double
jigs. Some ceilidh dancing, such as Strip the Willow, can be done to
slip jigs. Slip jigs are much less common in Scottish music that, I
think, in Irish music.

Waltzes are a completely different animal, and should not be confused
with jigs in any way.

I have yet to discover the nuances of the way people write tunes out;
for example, most reels can be written as a series of quarter and
eighth notes, or as eighth and sixteenths. I'm sorry if this is
getting too technical, but the point is that I don't think there are
hard and fast rules governing how to write this stuff out.

Depending on how you write them out then, tunes usually have four or
eight bars in each part, then that part is repeated once immediately
after playing it the first time. Most tunes have two parts; call the
first part A, the second B, and so forth. So most tunes are sixteen or
thirty-two bars. Taking the case of the thirty-two bar tune, it would
be two A parts of  eight bars each, then two B's of eight bars each.

        A (8 bars) A (8 bars)
        B (8 bars) B (8 bars)

In RSCDS, most reels and jigs call for 32 bar tunes, so the tune is
either played AABB or ABAB once through before going to the next tune.
Strathspeys are usually 16 measures in length, so they are usually
played twice, so that the same 32 bars are reached before going to the
next tune in the set. Some dances call for 40 or 48 bar tunes, which
causes odd repeat patterns. As a practicing musician, I don't
particularly like 40 and 48 bar tunes because I'm used to playing 32
bar tunes and I actually have to try to remember the odd repeat
pattern. Can cause screw-ups at dances, though I usually make it

Also, MOST of the time, people play this whole shebang twice through
before heading off to the next tune in a medley. Sometimes they play
it more than twice, but rarely do they play it only once through.

RSCDSs, because of the insistance on 32 bar tunes, tends to have but
one playing of a reel or jig, most of which are 32 bar tunes if played
AABB, before going to the next tune. However, I never let a tune go
only one time in concert, unless it's a long, usually 4 part, pipe tune
where the 3rd and 4th parts are strongly related to the 1st and 2nd

There are many exceptions to all of this, of course. One of my
favourite tunes, The Galtee Hunt, has eight bars in the A part, and
twelve in the B part.

Let me know if this makes any sense to you, or if I'm talking way below
or above your understanding. I've tried to explain this before on the
net, but as I said, text is hardly the best way to get this across. It's
interesting to me to try to verbalise stuff that has become almost
second nature to me. Though, I hasten to add, I frequently have to
count to figure out what a tune is.

One other caveat: Sometimes the title of the tune is the Such-and-such
Reel or whatever, and it's not played in that rhythm at all. I don't
know why this happens, and it's rare, but it does happen. Sometimes
people just change the way it's played for fun. There's a hornpipe
called The Banks Hornpipe that Michael Coleman plays as a hornpipe, but
I've heard it played here in the States for contradances as a reel.
Just human perversity, I guess!

A strathspey is actually a type of reel which developed in the  valley
(strath) of the river Spey area in Northeast Scotland. There are
several ways to play strathspeys. For the more formal Royal Scottish
Country Dance Society dances, the strathspey is played essentially in
two, but with a strong afterbeat on the second beat to lead into the
next measure. Since the music is written in 4/4, the basic rhythm for
RSCDS dancing would be ONE two THREE Four, with emphasis at least every
other measure on the Four. For Highland dancing, the playing is done
in a vigouorous four, and somewhat faster than the RSCDS tempo of
approximately 60 for the half-note. Highland would be somewhat faster
than 120 for the quarter-note. Cape Breton strathspeys are sometimes
slower and sometimes faster, but are usually in four beats to the bar.
A common pattern is to have a slow strathspey lead into a faster
strathspey, which gets faster until the players and dancers break into
reels, which are actually slower than the strathspey (in four) is at
that point.

Strathspeys can often be identified by the Scottish Snap rhythm,
usually notated as a 16th - dotten 8th, but played more like a
32nd -  double dotted 8th, which occurs at various times in the piece.
While strathspeys are in 4/4, not 12/8, I understand that Scottish
pipe band drummers often treat them as if they were in 12/8 because of
the tendency to make dotted (dotten 8th - 16th) rhythms sound as if
they were some form of triplets. However, they are notated either as
regular dotted rhythms or as equal notes. Strathspeys often do have
triplets notated in them, and they are notated as triplets. They also
often have runs of 4 16th notes, and the two features are often found
in  the same strathspeys. The feel of a strathspey is quite different
from  that of a slide (an form of jig in 12/8) or of jigs, and the
music should  be thought of as 4/4 or 2/2 which may have triple or
quadruple rhythms, not as a firm triplet rhythm as in a jig.

For more information on Scottish Dance, contact the only organisation
devoted to the Traditions of Scottish Dance and Dance music, who can
be reached at:

Liam Paterson
The Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust
54 Blackfriars Street
EH1 1NE.
tel/fax: 0131 558 8737

[10.2] What is a Ceilidh

A Ceilidh (pronounced "Kay-lay", emphasis on 1st syllable) is many
things. It derives from the Gaelic word meaning a visit and originally
meant just that (and still does in Gaelic). It can also mean a house
party, a concert or more usually an evening of informal Scottish
traditional dancing to informal music. Ceilidhs in the Lowlands tend
to be dances, in the Highlands they tend to be concerts. Dances in the
Highlands and traditional ceilidhs in the Lowlands are often called
"ceilidh dances". Ceilidh dancing is fundamentally different from
Scottish Country Dancing (See answer [10.4]) in that it is much less
formal and the primary purpose is the enjoyment of doing the dance.
Scottish Country Dancing is much more oriented towards being a
demonstration or exhibition. Ceilidhs are extremely popular indeed
with young people and often attract from a few dozen people to
several hundred. There are world championships for ceilidh bands
now (the first winners were Fire in the Glen, now called Tannas).
There are also workshops for ceilidh bands at
ALP Scots Music Group, The Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street Edinburgh
EH6 8RG 0131 555 7668

Best places for Ceilidhs are:


Assembly Rooms and The Hub are the best venues.

Also try: Marco's leisure centre, Cafe Royal, Southside
Community Centre, St Bride's centre, St Oswald's Hall (Montpelier),
Methodist Halls, The Thomas Morton Hall, MacEwan Hall, St Pete's
Church Hall in Lutton Place and Caledonian Brewery.

The West End Hotel has leaflets on the noticeboard showing when
ceilidhs are on, or look in the Folk music section of The List
(the Glasgow and Edinburgh what's on guide; out fortnightly
available at most newsagents). (look
for Glasgow/Edinburgh sections). Info on Ceilidhs in the folk
music section

The Riverside Club. OK place for a ceilidh but prone to being busy
and too much like a nightclub. There are even bouncers (unheard of
at all the good ceilidhs)

A good book for anyone wanting to learn how to do ceilidh dances and
play ceilidh tunes is Let's have a ceilidh by Robbie Shepherd
(well known Radio Scotland presenter of Take the Floor)
Price 4.95, 100 pages.
Published by Canongate Press, 14 Frederick St, Edinburgh, EH2 2HB
ISBN 0 86241 412 1

Includes 20 of the most popular dances, plus a selection of music to
go with the dances. There are explanations for the various steps with
diagrams, as well as some notes on the history of dancing.

[10.3] Article on Scottish Step Dancing

See also
by Maggie Moore

and also
Prepared by: Sheldon MacInnes, Program Director,
Extension & Community Affairs, University College of Cape Breton.

See the end of [10.5] for details of a mailing list covering step
dance and highland dance

Article by Dr Margaret Bennett

"Step-dancing: Why we must learn from past mistakes"

MARGARET BENNETT of the School of Scottish Studies on the history - and
possible future - of a unique form of dance.

When I read your article "Step-dancing makes its return ..." earlier this
year [in the West Highland Free Press (WHFP)] it was not my intention to
"join in the dance" as I saw it as a useful piece of publicity for Harvey
Beaton's step-dancing class that was to be held at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, [the
Gaelic Adult Education and Community College on the Isle of Skye].

Publicity or not, it was a pity the article began with so many historical
distortions - all that nonsense about Queen Victoria's "infatuation with
the Highlands" which had a "lasting effect upon the style of music and
dance". Perhaps it is an attempt at retroactive "Royal bashing" for it has
no bearing whatsoever on reality.

Based on my own research, I would say that Queen Victoria took a sincere
and supportive interest in Scotland's culture and languages and would urge
others to read her journals before making such sweeping statements. There
are also accounts from oral tradition, such as one which was re-told to me
by my colleague, Dr John MacInnes, of Queen Victoria advising the Duke of
Atholl to employ a Gaelic-speaking nursemaid so that the language would not
be lost. If only twentieth century mothers had applied her clear-thinking
principle, Gaelic would be in a much healthier state.

In view of the fact that by far the greatest influence on Scottish
traditional dance did not appear until well after Queen Victoria's death,
it might be as well to remind readers of the facts. Ironically, (though too
often the case with people who "mean well") the woman who undoubtedly had
the greatest influence on dance had every intention of *preserving* it.

She was Miss Jean Milligan, lecturer in Physical Education at Jordanhill
College of Education in Glasgow, and as such, was in the ideal position to
train teachers in every aspect of the dances she clearly loved. She did
not, however, love the wild, undisciplined ways of the "untrained" village
hall or kitchen-floor dancers, who, at that time would dance in whatever
footwear they happened to be wearing, or, as was often the case in summer,
in bare feet. She was certainly willing to study dance, and if, for
example, she watched several versions of a particular reel, she would
decide on a standard *correct style*, then, with missionary zeal, set about
"correcting" rural dances. Beginning with footwear (dance-pumps, please)
she tackled "position", having decided it should be based on classical

In 1923 she co-founded The Scottish Country Dance Society, and published
books that set out the "proper" way to dance. From then on, there cannot be
a teacher who trained at Jordanhill who does not remember the classes - in
my own day, mid 60s, we had three years of them - you bought the books,
turned up with the proper shoes, learnt the "positions" and dances, and how
to teach them. Then, thoroughly trained, five hundred of us girls graduated
each year convinced that we were on the right track. (I did, however,
wonder at the instructions to the piano player which always began: "Thank
you Miss Peterkin, (shouted) *and!*" Just calculate the number of
school-teachers, to say nothing of the privately trained village-hall
teachers, who have influenced Scottish dance since 1923 - it was the ideal
system for "correcting" an entire nation.

I have no doubt that some readers will be irritated at what they might
perceive as criticism of the RSCDS and its co-founder. That is not at all
my intention. I believe that any form of dance is perfectly valid; what is
*not* valid is to eliminate traditional forms along the way.

There is much to be said in favour of the RSCDS, as the organisation has
given pleasure to millions of dancers and spectators over the years, and,
in its own way, acts as an ambassador for Scotland. I would, however,
suggest that anyone serious enough to research aspects of Scottish dance
should read Miss Milligan's own account of what her aims were and how she
set about attaining them. The reader will, at the same time, gain an
interesting insight into her (lack of) understanding of Scottish culture.

To cite one example which will show how inaccurately she perceived dance in
the broader scope of Scottish Customs: in 1912, before she cleverly
discovered how to train school-teachers to promote her ideas, Miss Milligan
founded the Beltane Society in Glasgow in order (she wrote) "to cultivate
among the younger generation a knowledge of Scottish folk songs, ballads,
dances and ... to maintain all the national customs and quaint ceremonies
...". Our forebears celebrated Beltane, *Latha Bealltain*, for centuries,
and, as many of your readers already know, it had nothing to do with
Jean Milligan's revolutionary ideas. Fortunately, membership of her Beltane
Society was voluntary (unlike the Jordanhill dance classes) and did not
last, otherwise we might be faced with the task of re-educating our own
people in yet another perfectly valid part of our past.

*IT IS NOT* surprising, then, that the older dances which were so popular
in the Scottish Highlands were preserved in the New World amongst emigrants
who left Scotland before the massive re-education campaign started.

There were solo dances and group dances, all of which involved a variety of
steps and formations, and depending on where the dances were performed,
there were (and are) countless variations. They were not, however, confined
to Cape Breton, as they could be found wherever Highlanders settled: New
Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, and so on.

While it is heartening to watch a revival in step-dancing and to see it
taught once again in Scotland, when I hear of revivalists referring to this
solo dancing as "Cape Breton step-dancing" and then dictating that all
dancers *must* wear hard-soled shoes of a certain type, I wonder if they
are not in danger of repeating some of the same mistakes that Miss Milligan
is accused of making? In their zeal to "do it right" new enthusiasts may be
creating a new set of rules that may be just as definitive as those set out
by the RSCDS.

As far as the terms of reference are concerned, if we adopt the same logic
which is applied to the naming of step-dancing and then, for example, apply
it to the Gaelic language, we would be able to state authoritatively that
people in Skye, or any other Gaelic-speaking area, speak "Lewis Gaelic",
for, after all, that is where Gaelic is spoken most widely. Imagine the

In the space of a few short years, the term "Cape Breton step-dancing" has
even taken hold in Canada, and can be heard in provinces where it was
completely unknown twenty years ago. This summer I encountered it on the
west coast of Newfoundland, where Scottish step-dancing has survived every
bit as well as in Cape Breton, albeit with a much smaller area. I was told
"well, I guess that's what they're calling it now - you see it on the
television." Only two years ago I video-recorded the same step-dancer who
never once used the term "Cape Breton step-dancing" although he has often
danced in Cape Breton at the invitation of Cape Bretonners who liked his

On the subject of hard-soled shoes, the same dancer commented that they are
"pretty good at a ceilidh," especially on a wooden floor, above the sound
of the fiddle, "but years ago, more often or not I'd be dancing bare-feet
out in the field and singing for myself." In the past, there were no rules,
and it was just as common for a woodsman in his steel-toed boots in the
lumber camp bunkhouse as it was for the priest to dance in his black
leather shoes at the church social.

Another Newfoundland Gael, whose people emigrated from Canna and Moidart in
the 1820s and 40s, described where they got their dances (transcribed from

"We had people here that taught step-dancing, the Scotch dancing ... there
was one woman here, she was a MacDonald, she could dance sixty steps,
different steps, and it was all the right dancing, you know, step-dancing.
Oh I tell you they were pretty lively! They knew the tunes, a lot of them
from Scotland ... they followed the tunes from Scotland right down."

There is obviously a crying need for a dedicated individual to document
carefully the range of material available. Since I am a folklorist (not a
dance ethnographer) who happens to have made a number of video and audio
tapes on the subject (and yes, they are at the School of Scottish Studies),
I have no plans for writing a book about the history of dance. I have,
however, made much of my own collection available to interested individuals.

In my 11 years at the School of Scottish Studies I have only encountered
three people whose interest was such that they were prepared to spend the
time studying all the material available. One was a former Highland dance
champion who was writing a post-graduate dissertation on Scottish dance,
and during her studies she discovered that her own mother, brought up in
the Stirling area, and by then in her seventies, had a repertoire of
step-dances which she had never demonstrated until she saw a film of
step-dancing in Canada. Till then, the older lady had thought her daughter
who "had been trained to dance properly" might ridicule her.

The second person was one of our own students who studied village hall
dances; and the third person was James MacDonald-Reid, who quite correctly
stated in his recent letter to the WHFP that step-dancing did not, in fact,
die out in Scotland this century. Since he was courteous enough to ask me
if he could refer to my tapes (and without hesitation I agreed) it is only
fair that I should take some responsibility for his reference. As is our
policy, he did not mention any names, for we had not asked the permission
of informants.

Apart from the tapes already mentioned, Mr Reid listened to a discussion by
a step-dancer in the Spey Valley who can still dance step-dances that had
been taught to her by her parents who were from Laggan and Barra
respectively. Like the Stirling woman, she did not simply display a glimmer
of recognition at the sight of "Cape Breton step-dancing", but she could
(and can) get out on the floor and dance the steps.

It is easy to understand why individuals such as these have kept silent
about their ability, for ever since they went to school they have been
shown how to dance "correctly". And, having mastered the RSCDS dances, both
women channelled their childhood energy and love of dance into Highland
Dance, which also has all the acceptability and status lacking in the steps
they had learned at home.

It is to this particular recording that James MacDonald-Reid referred, as
he not only watched her dancing on video (in this case made professionally
by the independent film company Caledonia, Sterne and Wylde) but also
visited the dancer. Together they discussed aspects of dance, and though I
was only able to observe one session of this discourse, anyone watching the
two of them - one born and brought up in the Highlands, and the other
brought up in Ontario in a Scottish family - would be in no doubt as to the
continuity of tradition. Aside from those mentioned, there are reports of
others, granted only few, who still dance the old steps, but to pronounce
something dead while it yet breathes is inaccurate, to say the least.

*CLEARLY* there is much to be done to promote step-dancing and revive it.
If however, those who profess to have its best interest at heart ignore the
facts, then we are in trouble.

It saddens me to watch the very same bodies who declare a serious interest
make so many of the same mistakes that we watched in the past. It is all
very well to bring in an expert for a week or two a year, but what of the
rest of the time?

Those who decide on the appointment of dance teachers must consider
carefully what the demands are, as they plan the promotion of traditional
dance. The ideal person should possess a profound depth of knowledge, a
natural ability to dance, and good, clear teaching techniques. Anyone who
has seen Jamie MacDonald-Reid dance, heard him discuss the subject (and
*not* when he is unfairly cornered by interviewers determined to set him on
edge), or anyone who has seen him teach dance to a class of children or
adults could not doubt his abilities, nor imagine that he is responsible
for some of the damage that Mike Kennedy attributes to "professional
dancers and dance teachers" (WHFP)

Interestingly, though not surprisingly, Mr Reid is also the only person
whom I have ever encountered who could, after watching the video of the
Newfoundland step-dancing, perform the steps himself, as if they were
second nature to him. (The usual reaction of new observers is to ask "how
in the world does that step go," repeat, and try to figure it out.) I
wonder when some organisation, perhaps a local authority, a feis or a
festival, might risk asking James MacDonald-Reid to run a dance class?

Those who have taken the time to watch him are already convinced. It would
be a great pity if some of the so-called enthusiasts spent the rest of
their lives "trying to figure it out" instead of enlisting the talent of
someone who has taken the subject seriously all of his life. If there is
anyone who is more passionately committed to traditional dance in Scotland
then I would very much like to hear from him or her. Better still, I'd love
to watch the dance.

(c) from West Highland Free Press, 14/10/94

*emphasis* - the asterisks are to emphasise various words that might
otherwise be in bold or italic fonts.

[10.4] What is Scottish Country Dancing?

Contributed by Anselm Lingnau

Scottish Country Dancing is a modern form of the 'country dancing' popular
in England and Scotland in the 18th century. It involves groups of six to
ten people (most of the time) of mixed sex (most of the time) -- a 'set'
-- dancing to the driving strains of reels, jigs and strathspeys played
on the fiddle, accordion, flute, piano, drums, etc. (no bagpipes, mostly!).
The dance often combines solo figures for the 'first couple' in the set
with movements for all the dancers, although there is considerable
variation -- there are over 7000 different dances catalogued, of which
maybe 1000 or so are of lasting and non-local importance. Many of these
dances derive from traditional sources such as old manuscripts and printed
dance collections, but a lot have been devised in the fairly recent past,
say the last fifty years or so. This fusion of the traditional and the
modern as well as its ongoing evolution are part of the attraction of
Scottish Country Dancing.

Think of SCD as a cross between square or contra dance (although there is
no caller) and ballet; there are about a dozen basic figures which will get
you through quite a number of dances, although many dances have their own
quirks and specialities which make them unique and fun to dance. There is
also more emphasis on 'steps' than in, say, Ceilidh dancing, but the basic
technique can be learned at a week-end workshop or through a couple of
months' worth of practice evenings once a week. Even though there are so
many dances, you don't have to learn any of them by heart if you don't
want to -- the programmes for balls and social evenings are usually
published well before the event, so everybody can check their crib sheets.
Also, at the event itself dances are often recapitulated or even sometimes
walked through slowly before the music starts (although local custom may

SCD is a very social form of dancing, not only because you get to dance
with seven or so people at once instead of just with one partner (smiles
and eye contact are almost mandatory, and if you want there is a lot of
opportunity for relaxed 'flirting') but also because there are workshops,
balls and social dances being held in places all over the world. It is
nice to be able to travel and join a SCD group for a night nearly
everywhere you go.

When country dancing came to Scotland in the 18th century, it was at first
popular among the townspeople in places like Edinburgh, but spread
throughout Scotland (at varying pace) and thrived there even when, during
the 19th and early 20th century, more modern dances like the Waltz,
One-step etc. became fashionable in other places. Country dancing in
Scotland was also influenced by other Scottish dances such as Highland
Reels and so acquired a particular 'Scottish' flavour.

In 1923, the Scottish Country Dance Society (SCDS, later 'Royal' Scottish
Country Dance Society or RSCDS) was founded in order to preserve
traditional Scottish country dancing. Its patrons went out to watch
people dance and collect the dances for publication. In the process,
they also tried to reconstruct and publish dances from old manuscripts
that were no longer actually danced, and standardised technical points
like steps and footwork (which the common folk rarely bothered a lot
about). It is debatable whether this standardisation was actually a good
thing as far as preserving the tradition of Scottish country dancing was
concerned, but it has certainly done a lot for making SCD into something
that can be enjoyed internationally. In fact, Scottish Country Dancing is
probably more alive today than it ever was in the past, and this is
to a large extent due to the efforts of the RSCDS.

Today the RSCDS numbers about 25.000 members and has 'branches' in
various countries all over the world. Lots of SCD groups are affiliated
with the RSCDS even though they aren't actually branches of the Society,
and even more people enjoy SCD without being members of the RSCDS
(or any group) at all.

The RSCDS is at

  12 Coates Crescent       telephone: 0131 225 3854
  Edinburgh EH3 7AF              fax: 0131 225 7783

There is an Internet mailing list (not affiliated with or endorsed by
the RSCDS) for discussing Scottish Country dancing and music, which goes by
the name of 'Strathspey'; send a message containing a 'Subject: help'

There is also a Web server containing an archive of the mailing list
as well as lots of other interesting items connected with SCD at

(Yes, that's in Germany. So much for the international character of SCD!)

The books I would recommend on the topic are _Traditional Dancing in
Scotland_ by Joan and Thomas M. Flett (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
1985) -- this is a seminal work detailing much of the recent (pre-RSCDS)
history of Scottish dancing according to living memory, and it forms the
research basis of a lot of what is said by Emmerson -- and _Scotland's
Dances_ by Hugh Thurston (reprint edition; Kitchener, Ontario: Teacher's
Association (Canada), 1984), which is a small and easy-to-read book
giving an introduction to the various genres of Scottish dancing,
including Highland dances, solo dances, Reels and country dances. This
book was originally published some time ago and so reflects the research
done until, I think, the late 50s, but it has a lot to say about things
like recreating dances from ancient manuscripts which aren't in any
other book.

The following review is by Jim Healy (of Perth) and originally appeared in
'The Highland Gateway', the Perth & Perthshire  RSCDS Branch newsletter.

The Collins Pocket Reference *Scottish Country Dancing, Compiled in
association with The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society,*
edited by Peter Knight, published by HarperCollins.
The ISBN is 0 00 470987 X. I picked up my copy in Scotland this
summer for 5.99.

This little book has been compiled in association with the RSCDS.
It gives a brief history of dancing and some instructions on the
steps and various formations. The bulk of the book, however, is
given over to descriptions of various popular dances, both RSCDS
and others. It is perhaps unfortunate that the publishers have
picked up the illustrations used for the  Miscellanies showing the
ladies in long white dresses and sashes - not exactly typical of
SCD in the 1990s.

The dance instructions include about 50 popular RSCDS dances; 30
others such as The Bees and Mairi's Wedding and some fun ballroom
type dances like The Palais Glide,  not normally on an SCD
programme and some of which I havent seen done for many a year -
but none the worse for that. I was very interested to see both the
RSCDS and the "County" versions of the Foursome Reel are given in
some considerable detail: time for a revival? Less fortunate in my
view is that the only Strip the Willow is the 40 bar Society
version which is not the one actually danced. Any criticisms are
minor though: overall this is a very useful book and an excellent
buy for any inexperienced dancer.

It has just been announced that the book is one of those chosen for
the Scottish Book Fortnight and various promotional activities for
the book (and by association for SCD) will be taking place around
the country at the end of October. Keep an eye on the local press
for details.

The book is available in book stores for GBP 5.99. RSCDS members
can get a reduction to 5 pounds 9p through HQ.

[10.5] Scottish Highland Dancing

See the end of this article for details of a mailing list covering
step dance and highland dance

contributed by Nancy Burge
with amendments from
Anselm Lingnau

Highland Dancing

Scottish Highland dancing is one of the oldest forms of folk dance,
and both modern ballet and square dancing can trace their roots back to
the Highlands. Dating back to the 11th or 12th century, the Highland Dances
of Scotland tended to be highly athletic male celebratory dances of triumph
or joy, or warrior dances performed over swords and spiked shield.
According to tradition, the old kings and chiefs of Scotland used the
Highland Games as a way of choosing the best men for their retinue and
men at arms. Highland dancing was one of the various ways men were tested
for strength, stamina, accuracy, and agility. The Scottish military
regiments used to use Highland dancing as a form of training to develop
stamina and agility, but this has become less common these days.
Competitive Highland dancing started during the Highland revival of
Victorian Britain, and was for men only. Ladies began competing
only at the turn of the century. Over the centuries the dancing
style has become more refined and now shares many elements from
classical ballet. Although historically Highland dancing was restricted
to men, today it is mostly performed by females. No matter who dances
them, Highland dances require both athletic and artistic skill.

The Highland dances

The Highland Fling
This is the oldest of the traditional dances of Scotland and is a dance
of joy performed at the end of a victorious battle. It was danced by
male warriors over a small round shield, called a Targe, that the
warriors carried into battle. Most Targes had a sharp spike of steel
projecting from the centre, so dancers learned early to move with
great skill and dexterity. The Highland Fling is danced on the spot,
and is said to be based on the antics of a stag on a hillside; the
grouped fingers and upheld arms representing the antlers.

I would be interested to see anybody do a Highland Fling on a targe with a
spike without impaling himself. Presumably the toe-and-heel step would be very
interesting to watch. Hopefully there will be a doctor at hand.

The Sword Dance (Gillie Challum)
It is probable that the tune, _Gillie_Callum_, dates back to the days of
Malcolm Canmore (Shakespeare's MacBeth). The earliest references to the
*dance* are from the 19th century, and it is unlikely that it is very
much older.

One story is that this was a dance of victory, as the King danced over
his bloody claymore (the two-handed broadsword of Scotland) and the even
bloodier head  of his enemy. Some say that no severed head was used and
that the King danced over his own sword crossed over the sword of his enemy.
Another story is that the Sword Dance was danced prior to a battle.
To kick the swords was considered a bad omen for the impending battle,
and the soldier would expect to be wounded. If many of the soldiers
kicked their swords the chieftain of the clan would expect to lose
the battle.

The Seann Triubhas
Pronounced "shawn trews", this Gaelic phrase means "old trousers".
This dance is reputed to date from the rebellion of 1745 when Bonnie
Prince Charlie challenged the might of England at Culloden, and lost.
As a penalty, Highlanders were forbidden to wear the kilt. Seann
Triubhas is a dance of celebration developed in response to the
Proscription Repeal which restored to the Scots the right to wear their
kilts and play the bagpipes once more. The movements of this dance
clearly depict the legs defiantly shaking and shedding the hated
trousers and returning to the freedom of the kilt. Some of the steps
originate from hard shoe dancing.

It is likely that the kicking-off-of-the-trousers bit was retro-fitted to the
dance much like the bloody-swords-and-head thing with the Sword Dance. The
Seann Triubhas arrived at its present form in the early 20th century, and an
itinerant dance teacher from the 1890s is on record as having invented the
first step of the Seann Triubhas. See Flett & Flett. -- It does not
come as a big surprise that some of the steps in the Seann Triubhas
'come from hard shoe dancing', since that is what people would have
worn for dancing in the old days, anyway (if they wore anything). Before
the RSCDS, the modern ghillie pumps were only used by competing Highland
dancers at Games, and even now there is a certain renaissance of the
hard shoe; only a few years ago even the RSCDS put out a newsletter urging
teachers to teach the steps in a way so that they can be danced in hard shoes.
(Personally, I do prefer the ghillies for SCD, having tried both --
there is much better control.)

Strathspey and Highland Reel and Strathspey and Half Tulloch
The Strathspey and Reel and the Strathspey and Half Tulloch are
performed by four dancers. The Strathspey is never danced on its own
in competition but must be followed by the Reel. These dances
illustrate the "set" and "travel" steps which are common in Scottish
social dancing.

In Highland dancing competitions, female dancers wear a velvet jacket
with gold or silver braid edging and gold or silver buttons, over a
white shirt with lace ruffles at the neck. They wear a kilt and tartan
hose, and black laced gillies, or dancing shoes. Men wear the kilt
and sporran, with a jacket and bonnet, with tartan hose with a
sgian dhubh. For the National dances either a national costume is
worn, or the costume appropriate to the dance such as the hornpipe
costume, or the Irish Jig costume, which is worn with jig shoes.
The national costume consists of a tartan style gathered skirt, a
velvet jacket of a different style, laced up the front with silver
laces and decorated with silver buttons. There is a plaid which is
attached at the waistband at the back, and then comes up and over the
right shoulder and is fastened with a brooch onto the shoulder of
the jacket. Men wear the kilt and sporran, with a jacket and bonnet,
with tartan hose with a sgian dhubh. They can wear tartan trews or
Highland dress for national dances, and the hornpipe outfit, and a
male version of the Irish Jig costume.

The National Dances

The Flora McDonald's Fancy
This is said to be the last dance Flora McDonald danced for Bonnie
Prince Charlie before he fled overseas, but is more likely to be a
dance named in her honour. Flora McDonald helped the prince escape
from North Uist to Skye disguised as her maid. She emigrated to
America but returned home to Skye later in life.

The Sailor's Hornpipe
The Sailor's Hornpipe is a caricature dance developed from the
traditional English version. It has become more popular in Scotland
than in England and is regularly featured in Highland Games. The
movements in this dance  portray actions used in the daily work
routines of a sailor's life, such as pulling ropes, climbing the
rigging, and looking out to sea. A costume like a sailor's uniform is
worn by both male and female dancers.

The Irish Jig
The Scottish Version of the Irish Jig is another caricature dance
depicting an Irish washerwoman who is angry with her erring husband.
The costume worn for this dance is either a red or emerald green skirt
and bodice and a full white petticoat, with a white blouse, with a
white apron. Red or green jig shoes are worn and there is much
stamping and facial grimacing in this dance. In the male version,
the dancer wears a red or green tailcoat with a waistcoat of the
opposite colour, brown knee britches of corduroy, with a paddy hat
and he carries a shillelagh, which is a club made from the forked
branch of a tree.

Scottish Lilt
The original tunes for the Lilt are 'Drops of Brandy' (if you happen to
have danced the RSCDS version of the popular ceilidh dance, Strip the
Willow, which is a 9/8 running step, you may have heard the tune; it is also
sometimes played at sessions) and 'Brose and Butter' (for the folkies, this
is the tune used for the song, 'Tak it, Man, Tak it', on the Dublin Lady
album by Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunny). I do the Scottish Lilt either to
the Battle of the Somme (which is also a 9/8 tune) or to the original tunes
-- I have a very nice recording of them played on the clarsach and bodhran
with duet singing which is suitable for 8 steps of the Lilt, but I don't
know where that tape originally came from :^( The difference in feeling
isn't very pronounced but I do prefer the originals.

There are a number of other National dances, which include "The Earl of
Errol", "Hielan' Laddie", and "Wilt thou go to the Barracks, Johnny?". They
reflect the difficulty of trying to elucidate the history of the dances. The
Earl of Errol was originally a hard shoe dance, from the Aberdeenshire area,
which was collected by Isobel Cramb, recorded on the Hill manuscript yet
there are two different versions. The Scottish Lilt is claimed by
both the Hebrides and Perthshire. It was probably very different
when danced to its original 9/8 jig tune but nowadays it is danced
to a tune called "The Battle of the Somme" which dates from the
First World War. The tune is a retreat and has a completely different
speed and rhythm. There are several different tunes called
"Hielan' Laddie", and different dances to each tune so who knows
which is the original? "Wilt thou go to the barracks, Johnny?" is
a recruiting song and "the barracks" is probably a corruption of
"Berwick", although there was a barracks there.

Many of the National Dances, for example, 'Blue Bonnets' and 'Hielan Laddie'
were actually devised in the late 19th century by a chap called Ewan
MacLachlan, who studied the ballet in France before returning to his native,
I think, Benbecula (at any rate, somewhere in the Outer Hebrides). Some of
them are really quite balletic but do retain their Scottish flavour.

Incidentally, there are new Highland-style dances being devised all the
time (similar to what happens in country dancing). To the SOBHD purists,
the only Highland dances are the Fling, the Sword Dance, the Seann Triubhas
and the Foursome, of course, but there are many dances that were danced
in the Highlands which have become lost or which are very seldom danced
if at all.

IMHO there is also a world of difference between competitive Highland
dancing and the Highland dancing 'for enjoyment' that is done by folks like
me who are too old, sloppy and lazy to compete. From watching dancers
at games, I feel that all the standardisation that's going on is taking
the character of the individual dances away. I've seen 'champions' do the
Lilt, which is a rather soft and relaxed dance, and they would try to jump
twice their own height and do the kind of weapon-grade-steel high cuts one
would tend to expect in, say, the Sword Dance. Sigh. Call it 'sour grapes'.

Competition Dancing
Many Highland Games and Highland Dance Competitions are now run
according to the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD)
style of dance. The SOBHD was set up in 1950 and its aims were to
stabilise the technique of Highland Dancing (which also includes
the National dances of Scotland), to formulate laws and regulations
covering every aspect of the art and to further the interests of
Highland dancing. Prior to the advent of the SOBHD, dancers
competing at the various games throughout Scotland had to vary
their style and alter their steps according to the district they
were competing in, or to suit the known stylistic preferences
of the judges.

The address is:-

Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing,
32 Grange Loan,
EH9 2NR. Scotland
phone: 0131 668 3965
fax: 0131 662 0404

Dancers compete in one of five groups: Primary (under 7 years old),
Beginners, Novice, Intermediate, and finally Premier. There are
age classifications in each group, so each dancer will be competing
not only in their age group but also against dancers of a similar standard.
Dancers are judged on three basic areas: timing, technique and
general deportment. Timing is the ability to follow the rhythm of the
music in the dance. Technique is primarily the footwork, and
co-ordination with head, arm and hand movements. The positioning of
the feet is of great importance as however graceful or agile the
dancer, it is the neatness and accuracy of the foot positions that
give the dances their essential character.

The interpretation and the ability to capture the spirit of the dance
are also important as are balance, general appearance and bearing,
as well as carriage of the head, arms, body and hands. Although the
dances are very strenuous, they must be danced gracefully with
apparent ease. Music at competitions is usually played by a piper but
may be played on the accordion.

There are many books, records, CDs and videos available, about
Highland dancing and one supplier is the Scottish National Dance Co,
whose address is
They have world wide contacts and if you want to find a teacher or
group to learn with, the Scottish National Dance Co would be a good
place to start.

The Highland-Dance mailing list is a forum for the discussion of all
aspects of Highland and other forms of scottish step dancing, e.g., dance
descriptions, dancing technique, the history of dances and dancing,
learning or teaching how to dance, ... We also welcome descriptions of new
dances, announcements of events like courses or competitions, or anything
the subscribers might find interesting.

The mailing list is unmoderated, i.e. everything that is submitted is
forwarded directly to the subscribers of the list.

Articles to be submitted should be sent to

To subscribe to the list, send mail to


        subscribe highland-dance

in the body of the message. To unsubscribe, send a message containing

        unsubscribe highland-dance your.address@your.domain

To retrieve this message again, include a line saying


in the body of your message.

For any other queries, please send mail to

We look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: This mailing list and its maintainer are in no way officially
connected with the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing. They can
be contacted at the address mentioned earlier in this article.

[10.6] Books on Scottish dancing

There is an extensive bibliography on country dancing on the Strathspey
server at

The best book I've seen on Scottish dancing is _A Social History of
Scottish Dance_ (George S. Emmerson, 1972; published by McGill). It
covers everything from the earliest times to the present. It is a superb
synthesis of the social history of Scotland with dance as its centre. The
chapters on the Scotch Reel, Jig, Hornpipe, and Folk Jigs are particularly

[11.1] How do I trace my Scottish ancestry?

Genealogy is a very popular activity on the Internet and Scotland has some
of the best kept and easily searched ancestral records in the world, if
you are researching Scottish Genealogy to trace your ancestors from Scotland,
then it is probably quite a lot easier than you would think.

General Register Office (GRO)
All the records for births, marriages and deaths in Scotland are held at

New Register House
West Register Street
Tel: 0131 334 0380
Fax: 0131 314 4400

Scotland's People

This is an online pay-per-view database of indexes from the genealogical
records of the GRO(s). It costs 6 pounds for 30 page credits. Each page
consists of a maximum of 15 search results. Further credits can be bought
in 30 page increments for a further 6 pound charge each time.

There is a link to online rates of exchange,
although these are provided as a guide only and charges will be made at the
exchange rate current at the time of the actual payment processing.

About the index
The database contains fully searchable indexes of the GRO(S) index to
births/baptisms and banns/marriages from the Old Parish Registers dating from
1553 to 1854, plus the indexes to births, deaths and marriages from 1855. Birth
records over 100 years old are available, marriage records over 75 years and
death records over 50 years. One additional year will be added per annum to
protect the privacy of living persons. However, more recent records can be
obtained by ordering directly from the GRO.

Searching is possible on the following fields:

Event type (birth/christening, marriage, death)
Forename (or first initial)
Year of registration (or range of years)
Age (or age range) - deaths only
Registration District (Statutory Index)
County (Old Parish Register)

Searching is also possible on other names which are mentioned within a
particular record. This includes spouse's name, father's name, mother's
name and mother's maiden surname, depending on the entry.

Current data includes

Births & Christenings (1553-1901) Old Parish Register Index & Statutory
Register Index. Marriages (1553-1901) Old Parish Register Index &
Statutory Register Index. Death records (1855-1926) Statutory
Register Index  1881 Census. 1891 Census + images. 1901 Census +
images. So if you are looking for the 1901 Census data for Scotland,
this is your place!

Extract Ordering
An extract is a transcription of all the information held as an entry in the
original records held by GRO(S). Entries themselves often contain additional
information that is not held within the indexes and can be of historical

Extracts of the original entries in the GRO(S) records can be
ordered directly from the database. Extract orders are processed
by GRO(S) and sent via ordinary mail as paper documents. They are
very efficient indeed and the certificates will be with you in days or
weeks (contrast the US where for New York records it takes 10 months).

Extracts of entries not accessible via the online database can be
ordered directly from the GRO(S) website by printing off a form
and either faxing or mailing it.

For further details about the GRO(S), visit their website.

Manual searches or searches by post
If you use New Register House you have to know what you want because it is
a bit bureaucratic and you have to order each item individually and one at
a time. So it is tedious work, but naturally rewarding. The censuses only
started in the 1800s so it is very difficult to track back earlier. Other
records at Register House permit further research. In particular a computer
driven search of parish registers can be very productive, very quickly.

Western Isles
If your ancestors are from the Western Isles, there is a service
there run by Bill Lawson in Harris called "Co leis thu" which may
turn up information not at New Register House.

An Seann taigh-sgoile, An Taobh Tuath, Na Hearadh, HS3 3JA Scotland
Phone: 01859 520258

There is a book published by HMSO (Her Majesty's Stationery Office)
called "Tracing your Scottish Ancestry".

"Surnames of Scotland" by Black gives the general history of surnames,
together with spelling variations and the earliest occurrences in
written texts.

Another useful address or two:
Scottish Ancestry Research Society
296 Albany Street, Edinburgh
Tel 0131 556 4220

Scottish Genealogical Society
15 Victoria Terrace,
Edinburgh EH1
Tel 0131 220 3677

Ancestral Scotland
A genealogical tourism site. Doesn't contain records but does contain data on
parishes, counties and surname distribution as well as associated local
information and resources of use.

Further Information
There is a newsgroup news:soc.genealogy.britain which may also be of use.
If you don't find what you want there, also try the more general newsgroup

Scottish sites
We have been tracing Scottish family trees for over 22 years - longer than any other
research firm.
Specialist in Ancestral Visits to Scotland

Scotland Marriage Records
Directory of Scottish marriage records from online resources for genealogical research.
Follow in the footsteps of your Scottish ancestors with a luxury tour of

Scottish Genealogy information
includes some interesting components such as a linkable outline of
Scottish history at

the Scotland GenUKI pages at:

GENUKI includes a beginners guide, and general information  on all
sorts of subjects, including such items as the location of parishes,
obsolete occupations, the addresses of local Family History Societies,
archives, libraries and other useful institutions, and surveys of
which records have survived - and where they can be found. There is a
section for each country, and this is then sub-divided into its
assorted parishes. Most counties now have associated surname-interest
lists. On the GENUK site is an introduction to Scottish Family History

People looking for Genuki should only use this URL

This lists several other books and gives a description of using both
New Register House and the Scottish Record office.

Scottish Genealogy Consultants  (Gordon Johnson)
and also Carole Wilson

Scottish Family Search is here to help you locate your Scottish ancestors.
SFS provides a quality service for all kinds of family research. Whether
your ancestors came from Scotland in recent times or in the past then we
can help trace them.

Genealogy FAQ

Scottish Family Research
Scottish Family Research is a professional genealogical service agency
based in Edinburgh.

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland

The two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, covering the 1790s
and the 1830s, are among the best contemporary reports of life
during the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Europe.
Learn more about the area in which you or your ancestors have lived,
or use this key source to study the emergence of the modern British
State and the economic and social impact of the world's first
industrial nation.

Based largely on information supplied by each parish church
minister, the old (first) Statistical Account and the New (second)
Statistical Account provide a rich record of a wide variety of
topics: wealth, class and poverty; climate, agriculture, fishing and
wildlife; population, schools, and the moral health of the people.

General sites

[11.2] Scottish Monarchs

Kenneth I MacAlpin              843 -  858
Donald I                        858 -  862
Constantine I                   862 -  877
Aed                             877 -  878
Eochaid                         878 -  889
Donald II                       889 -  900
Constantine II                  900 -  943
Malcolm I                       943 -  954
Indulf                          954 -  962
Dubh                            962 -  966
Culen                           966 -  971
Kenneth II                      971 -  995
Constantine III                 995 -  997
Kenneth III                     997  - 1005
Malcolm II                      1005 - 1034
Duncan I                        1034 - 1040
Macbeth                         1040 - 1057
Lulach                          1057 - 1058
Malcolm III Canmore             1058 - 1093
Donald Ban                      1093 - 1094
Duncan II                       1094 - 1094
Donald Ban (again)              1094 - 1097
Edgar                           1097 - 1107
Alexander I                     1107 - 1124
David I                         1124 - 1153
Malcolm IV                              1153 - 1165
William I 'The Lion'            1165 - 1214
Alexander II                    1214 - 1249
Alexander III                   1249 - 1286
Margaret, Maid of Norway      1286 - 1290
John Balliol                    1292 - 1296
Robert Bruce (Robert I)         1306 - 1329
David II                        1329 - 1371
Robert II (the Stewart)         1371 - 1390
Robert III                      1390 - 1406
James I                         1406 - 1437
James II                                1437 - 1460
James III                               1460 - 1488
James IV                                1488 - 1513
James V                         1513 - 1542
Mary (I)                                1542 - 1567
James VI                                1567 - 1625
Charles I                               1625 - 1649
Charles II                              1649 - 1685
James VII (II of England)       1685 - 1688
William 'III' & Mary II         1689 - 1694
William 'III'                   1694 - 1702
Anne                                    1702 - 1714
George I                                1714 - 1727
George II                               1727 - 1760
George III                              1760 - 1820
George IV                               1820 - 1829
William 'IV'                    1829 - 1837
Victoria                                1837 - 1901
Edward 'VII'                    1901 - 1910
George V                                1910 - 1936
Edward 'VIII'                   1936
George VI                               1936 - 1952
Elizabeth 'II'                  1952 -

The Scottish Monarchy merged with the English Monarchy in 1603 when
James VI of Scotland became James I of England and VI of Scotland.
After James VII and II the Scottish numbering system was ignored in
favour of the English one (William III and not William III & II). The
current practice is now to use the higher of the Scottish and English
numbering systems to derive the next in the sequence.

[11.3] Declaration of Arbroath

The Declaration of Arbroath (English Translation)
Source: Charles Macgregor

To the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord John, by divine
providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman and Universal Church, his
humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of
Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March,
Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of
Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, Earl of
Sutherland; Walter, Steward of Scotland, William Soules, Butler of
Scotland, James, Lord of Douglas, Roger Mowbray, David, Lord of
Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville, John Menteith, guardian of
the earldom of Menteith, Alexander Fraser, Gilbert Hay, Constable of
Scotland, Robert Keith, Marischal of  Scotland, Henry St Clair, John
Graham, David Lindsay, William Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton,
William Abernethy, David Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus of Ardrossan,
Eustace Maxwell, William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald
Campbell, John Cameron, Reginald Cheyne, Alexander Seton, Andrew
Leslie, and Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders
and the whole community of the realm of Scotland send all manner of
filial reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of
the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the
Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from
Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of
Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most
savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however
barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of
Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still
live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly
destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the
Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many
victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear
witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their
kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own
royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner. The high qualities
and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain
glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our
Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them,
even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the
first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that
faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles -- by calling,
though second or third in rank -- the most gentle Saint Andrew, the
Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his
protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these
things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same
kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter's
brother. Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in
freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of
the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our
kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and
were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend
and ally to harass them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre,
violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down
monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages
without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither
age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine
unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of
Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless
Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his
heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil
and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and
bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of
succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to
the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our
Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been
wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits
that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we
mean to stand. Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to
make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English,
we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a
subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was
well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us
remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English
rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are
fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives
up but with life itself.

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your
Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch
as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that,
since with Him Whose Vice-Regent on earth you are there is neither
weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you
will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation
brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God. May it
please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to
be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be
enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in
this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at
all, and covet nothing but our own. We are sincerely willing to do
anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win
peace for ourselves. This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you
see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the
sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of
Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will
tarnish your Holiness's memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers
eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must
perceive. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons
pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars
they have on hand with their neighbours. The real reason that prevents
them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find
quicker profit and weaker resistance. But how cheerfully our Lord the
King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave
us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess
and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.
But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell
and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from
favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the
perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow,
inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely
laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready
to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar;
and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of
our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will
inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought. May the Most
High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant
you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the
month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the
fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.

Endorsed: Letter directed to our Lord the Supreme Pontiff by the
community of Scotland.

[11.4] History and Archaeology information

An excellent site for Scottish Historical information is:

Scottish history tours

Scottish stone monuments (cairns, brochs, standing stones, circles etc)

Insch, Aberdeenshire
Information on 7,000 recorded prehistoric sites, including stone circles,
Iron Age hill forts and Pictish symbol stones,

Scottish Archaeology News
and the online verion of The Digger (UK excavators newsletter) plus links to
all archaeological units in Scotland.

Scottish History online

Kilmartin House Trust
This group has opened its multi award winning archaeological
centre and museum in the village of Kilmartin on the West Coast of
Scotland. This site gives a taste of the museum and also allows visitors
to preview the collection of ancient sites that surround the village.

There is an on-line historical Scottish newspaper, "The Latest", at
Gordon Johnson's homepage
(also has Scottish genealogical information)

British Archaeological Directory for Scotland is at:

Antique style maps of the battlefields, clans and families of Scotland
are available mail-order from:

Border reivers

CD-ROMS / Software
Dunedin Multimedia
Educational software publishers

Mailing lists
There is a mailing list for Scottish/Celtic/Medieval history: for more information. I was sent a sample
issue and it looked excellent. See also   Join via

A recommended book on Scottish history is
Scotland: A new history by Michael Lynch.
ISBN 0-7126-9893-0
500+ pages, shortlisted for Saltire book of the year award.
Covers 20 centuries, from the Picts to the present day

[11.5] The Picts

Article by Lorraine MacDonald

The Picts

Background - Early Scotland
The question of the Picts should be approached as an integral part of
the heritage of Scotland (and Celtic Britain and Europe as a whole) rather
than as some isolated oddity. Early Scotland was populated by various
individual tribes who were ruled by people of Celtic origin. The oldest
recorded language found in Scotland is of Celtic root but what should be
remembered is that there are a number of different Celtic languages.
(Watson: Celtic Place Names of Scotland).

Also present at this time were the people whom the Romans called
the Hiberni. These Hiberni were the Irish of the time. In Southern
Scotland there were also the various tribes of the Britons. Both
the Hiberni and the Britons were of Celtic origin.

To the Romans, the tribes were recognised by the Latin equivalent
of their tribal names. However, it was only the tribes which came
into contact with the Romans, usually in the form of battles, that
were naturally considered by them to be the most powerful and
prominent. From this came the Roman habit of calling the land
after whoever they saw as being the most powerful tribe.

Origin Myth of the Picts
An early Irish origin myth gives 'Cruithne' as the eponymous ancestor of
the Picts. In this myth it is said that the seven sons of Cruithne gave
their names to the seven divisions of the Pictish kingdom. The names of
the seven sons were Fib, Fidach, Foltlaig, Fortrenn, Caitt, Ce and
Circinn. Fib is equated with Fife, the site of Fidach is uncertain, the
others being Athfotla, Fortriu, Caithness, Aberdeenshire and Angus
respectively. Regardless of the accuracy of the myth, these seven divisions
did exist historically within Pictish territories.

It is interesting to note that Athfotla, ie Atholl, is equated with one
of the sons, Foltlaig. Athfotla means 'new Ireland' and an area
once identified as being occupied by the Picts, Argyll, is omitted
entirely from the divisions of the Pictish Kingdom. So it seems that
this creation myth came at a time when the Dalriada kingdom was
already in place in the Argyll area.

There is also a possibility that the Picts were of Gaulish descent. The
Pictones, sometimes given as Pectones, were a Gaulish tribe to be
found on the Bay of Biscay south of the Loire

Historical Records
The first ever written record of the people known as the Picts came
from Roman sources. In 297 A.D. the orator Eumenius referred to the
Britons as 'already being accustomed to the Picti and Hiberni as
enemies', implying that they had been making their presence felt for
some time.

The people we call the Picts never used such a term for themselves.
Scotland at that time was made up of tribal peoples who identified
themselves simply by the name of their tribe. The idea of kings and
kingdoms was only beginning to come into being.

Concerning the tribal identity of the peoples who came to be called
the Picts, one reference came from a Roman in 310 A.D. who mentions
"the Caledones and other Picts". There is some controversy over this
translation,others giving it as "the Caledones, Picts and others".
Depending on which translation you accept, this could either imply
that the Caledonians were Pictish, or that the Caledones and Picts
were only two of several tribes in the area.

Other tribal names of early Scotland, of Celtic root, include:
Caereni, (people of the sheep) Lugi, (of the raven) Smertae (the
'smeared ones') and Decantae (nobles). Besides the Caledonii (the
'hard ones'?) were the Vacomagi and Venicones. Other tribes included
the Epidii on the west coast and the Damnonii, Novantae and Selgovae
further south. In later times a number of these tribes merged to
form what became the 'Pictish kingdom'.

It was not long after this point that the influence of the Picts began
to be felt in the north of the country. It is also from this point that
confusion can set in. While the Caledonians were the power in the
north, the Romans called the country Caledonia. So when the Picts came
into power they likewise called the country Pictavia. The people were
also then called Picts. At the same time the Irish were still calling
them Cruithne. In Watson's own words: "it is important to keep in
view that while all Picts were Cruithne, all Cruithne were not Picts".

The Picts were therefore one tribe amongst many others who happened
to gain control over a particular area. They did not gain control
over the areas in Ireland that the Irish Cruithne or non-Gaelic
tribes lived on. Therefore, the Irish Cruithne were not Picts and
should never be called such.

Further information
See the series of articles on the Picts and Scotland's Early History
published by Dalriada Celtic Heritage Trust at:
Picts in the Dee and Don valley

Further reading
"In search of the Picts", by Elizabeth Sutherland, Ed.Constable, London.

"Picts", HMSO press, ISBN 0 11 493491 6

The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland
by J Romilly Allen and Joseph Anderson
The Pinkfoot Press, Balgavies, by Forfar Angus DD8 2TH
ISBN 1 874012 03 2  and  ISBN 1 874012 04 0
republished 1993
This is a web offset reprint of the 1903 ***Tome***
2 volumes 1000 pages     8-O 8-O

Contains everything which was then known about its subject and is
still very up to date. Strongly recommended.

[11.6] Antiquarian books

Domhnall MacCormaig
Antiquarian Bookseller
Specialising in Scottish Gaelic books, Highlands and Islands topography,
Scottish history and Celtic studies

Visitors by appointment
19 Braid Crescent, Edinburgh, EH10 6AX
Tel: 0131 447 2889  Fax: 0131 447 9496
Member of the Scottish branch of the antiquarian booksellers'

See also  (Antiquarian catalogue link off here)

[11.7] Historical re-enactments

Scottish Reproduction Weaponry:
Castle Keep
Unit 7B1, Portree Industrial Estate
Portree, Isle of Skye
Tel. 01478 612114

Rob makes hand forged swords, knives, dirks and sgian dubhs,
also wrought iron and leather goods, for historical re-enactments.

[11.8] Museum of Scotland project

The museum should be finished in November 98.

see also
(National Museums of Scotland)

[11.9] The story of Glasgow's emblem (fish and ring)

Here's the relevant excerpt from Iain MacDonald's "Saint Mungo" (Floris
Books, Edinburgh, 1993):



Queen Languoreth, living in plenty and delights, was not faithful to
the royal chamber or the marital bed, as she ought to have been:  for
the wealth of her treasures, the exuberance of her means of sensuality,
and the elevation of power, gave incentives and fuel to the will of the
flesh. She cast her eyes on a certain youth, a soldier, who seemed to
her to be beautiful and fair of aspect beyond many at court. And he,
who without external temptation, was himself ready enough for such a
service as this, was easily induced to sin with her.

As time passed, the forbidden pleasures, frequently repeated, became
more and more delightful to both of them; so from a rash act they
proceeded to a blind love, and a royal ring of gold, set with a
precious gem, which her lawful husband had entrusted to her as a
special mark of his conjugal love, she very imprudently bestowed upon
her lover. He, more impudently and more imprudently placing it upon
his finger, opened the door of suspicion to all who were conversant in
the matter.

A faithful servant of the king, finding this out, took care to instil
the secret of the queen and the soldier into the ears of the husband,
who did not willingly lend his ear or his mind to her disgrace. But
the detector of the adultery, in proof of the matter, showed the ring
on the finger of the soldier;  and so persuading the king to believe
him, he succeeded in kindling the spirit of jealousy within him.

The king veiled under a calm demeanour his wrath against the queen and
the soldier, and appeared more than usually cheerful and kind. But
when a bright day occurred, he went out hunting, and summoning the
soldier to accompany him, sought the woods and forests with a great
company of beaters and dogs. Having loosed the dogs and stationed his
friends at different places, the king with the soldier came down to the
banks of the river Clud, and they, in a shady place on the green turf,
thought it would be pleasant to sleep for a little.

The soldier, suspecting no danger and resting his head, straightaway
slumbered;  but the spirit of jealousy exciting the king, suffered him
neither to slumber nor to take any rest. Seeing the ring on the finger
of the sleeper, his wrath was kindled, and he with difficulty
restrained his hand from his sword and from shedding of blood; but he
controlled his rage, and after drawing the ring off the finger threw it
into the river, and then, waking the man, ordered him to return to his
companions and go home. The soldier waking up from sleep, and thinking
nothing about the ring, obeyed the king's order, and never discovered
what he had lost till he entered his house.

But when, on the return of the king, the queen in the usual manner came
forth from her chamber and saluted him, from his mouth there proceeded
threats, contempt, and reproach, while with flashing eyes and menacing
countenance he demanded where the ring was which he had entrusted to
her keeping. When she declared that she had it laid up in a casket,
the king, in the presence of all his courtiers, commanded her to bring
it to him. She, still full of hope, entered the inner chamber as if to
seek the ring, but straightaway sent a messenger to the soldier,
telling him of the king's anger, and ordering him to send the ring back

The soldier sent back to the queen that he had lost the ring and could
not tell where. Then, fearing the face of the king, for the sake of
concealment, he absented himself from court. In the meantime, as she
sought further delays, and was slow in producing what, of course, she
could not find, uselessly seeking here and there, the king in fury
frequently calling her an adulteress, broke forth in curses saying:

"God do to me, and more also, if I judge thee not according to the law
of adulterers, and condemn thee to a most disgraceful death. Thou,
clinging to a young adulterer, hast neglected the king thy spouse;  yet
I would have made thee the sharer of my bed and the mistress of my
kingdom:  thou hast done it in secret;  I will do it in public, and the
sun shall manifest thine ignominy and reveal thy more shameful things
before thy face."

And when he had said much after this sort, all the courtiers praying
for some delay, he with difficulty conceded three days, and ordered her
to be imprisoned. Cast into a dungeon, she now contemplated death as
imminent;  but not the less did her guilty conscience torment her.

By the inspiration of the Lord, the woman in her great strait sent a
faithful messenger to Saint Kentigern, told him her whole misfortune,
and urgently requested help. She also begged that at least he would
use his influence with the king and beseech pardon for her, for there
was nothing so great which he would, or could, or ought to deny him.

The saintly bishop, knowing the whole story before the arrival of the
messenger, ordered him to go with a hook to the bank of the river Clud,
to cast the hook into the stream, and to bring back to him straightaway
the first fish that was caught upon it and taken out of the water.

The man did what the saint commanded, and exhibited in the presence of
the man of God a large fish which is commonly called a salmon; and on
his ordering it to be cut open and gutted in his presence, he found in
it the ring in question, which he straightaway sent by the same
messenger to the queen. And when she saw it and received it, her heart
was filled with joy, her mouth with praise and thanksgiving.

Therefore the queen returned to the king the ring he had required, in
the sight of all. Wherefore the king and all his court were sorry for
the injuries done to the queen;  and humbly on his knees he sought her
pardon, and swore he would inflict a severe punishment, even death or
exile if she willed, upon her slanderers. But she wisely desired that
he should show mercy. And so the king, and the queen, and the accuser
were recalled to the grace of peace and mutual love.

[11.10] Scottish historic buildings and sites

Historic Scotland is the government organisation which looks after many
of Scotland's historic sites and ancient buildings

There is also the National Trust for Scotland

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments
of Scotland (RCAHMS)

Historic places to go in Scotland

and Scottish Natural Heritage

The Architectural Heritage society of Scotland
may also be of interest

If you are interested in conservation, the site at
is well worth a visit. They are a Scottish conservation
charity dedicated to the regeneration and restoration of
the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands of Scotland.

[11.11] William Wallace / Braveheart

Historical references
If you want to read about the history rather than the Hollywood tale,
a scholarly work is 'William Wallace' by Andrew Fisher from
John Donald Publishers Ltd., 138 Stephen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
at 8.95 pounds plus postage. The Hollywood tale has a large number of
invented storylines and major historical inaccuracies and only has a
passing resemblance to historical fact.

Other references:
  "Robert Bruce", by GWS Barrow, Edinburgh University Press.
  "The Scottish and Welsh Wars 1250-1400"
        by Christopher Rothero, Osprey Men-at_Arms Series.

  "Robert the Bruce, King of Scots" Ronald McNair Scott,  Canongate Pub.
  "The Battle of Bannockburn, a Study in Medieval Warfare"
        by WM MacKenzie, M.A.,  The Strong Oak Press Ltd.

  "The Bruce Trilogy" by Nigel Tranter,  Coronet Books.
  "The Wallace", Nigel Tranter, Coronet Books.
  "The Costume of Scotland" by John Telfer Dunbar. B.T. Batsford Ltd, London.

Further information
Islay Woollen Mills
Isle of Islay
PA43 7LB
The owner/operator, Gordon, did the weaving for the Braveheart tartans.


William Wallace Stonehaven day

[11.12] Clan Links

Gathering of the Clans:

Clan Cameron
Clan Donald USA:
UK Clan Grant Society:
Clan Gregor
Clan Graham Association
Clan Stewart:
Clan MacDonald
Clan MacIntyre
Clan MacTavish

Achlain medals - clan crest medals
We are a company based in the Highlands of Scotland near Loch Ness who are
selling 99.9% pure silver clan crest medals. Our medals have been approved
by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

Please have a look at our site at:

The standing council can be reached at:

Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs
Hope Chambers
52 Leith Walk

Clan Gregor mailing list
There is a new Mailing List for persons interested in the heritage of the
Clan Gregor (MacGregor), Clan Alpine (MacAlpine), and septs of Alpine and

Subscription is via E-Mail from the home page of the American Clan Gregor
or directly to

The mailing list is known as "Ard Choille". It is a moderated list for
all parties with an interest in MacGregor history, lineage, and current
events. The primary interests are to: bring persons interested in Clan
Gregor, its septs, and related clans together in clan friendship; collect
and publish historical and genealogical material;  and inform participants
about the history of the Clan in Scotland and America; and aid
descendants within the Clan.

Further clan information
See also [11.1] and [12.5]

[11.13] John MacLean

Article by Abby Sale, and from an extract by Sorley MacLean, Craig Cockburn
and Jack Campin

John Maclean was born 14 August 1879 (died St Andrews Day, 30-Nov-1923).
He was Scotland's great turn-of-the-century labour leader. He is mentioned
in two Hamish Henderson songs - Freedom Come all Ye and of course
The John MacLean march. He was a schoolteacher and member of the Social
Democratic Federation, who believed passionately in workers' education
(his teaching of 'Marxian economics' attracted classes of over 1000 at
times). He was anti-militarist, and was imprisoned four times between
1916 and 1921. His position as a socialist and a nationalist is unequalled
in Scottish politicial history. Some history books fail to mention him
at all and they can be judged on that. John MacLean has a street named
after him in St. Petersburg.

The lyrics of the John MacLean march are at

Maclean's triumphant return to Glasgow from Peterhead Jail was 3 December
1918. See The biography by James D. Young, _John Maclean: Clydeside
Socialist_ (Clydeside Press.) It's still available from AK Distribution,
who have a US office:

Sorley MacLean wrote of John MacLean

Clann Ghill-Eain
Chan e iadsan a bha\saich
an a\rdan Inbhir-che/itean
dhaindeoin gaisge is uabhair
ceann uachdrach ar sgeula
ach esan bha'n Glaschu,
ursann-chatha nam feumach,
Iain Mo/r MacGill-Eain,
ceann is fe\itheam ar sgeula.

The Clan MacLean
Not they who died
in the hateur of Inverkeithing
in spite of valour and pride
the high head of our story ;
but he who was in Glasgow
the battle-post of the poor,
great John MacLean
the top and hem of our story.

[11.14] Robert Tannahill

Information on the Scottish composer Robert Tannahill, based on David
Semple's "The Poems and Songs and Correspondence of Robert Tannahill,
with Life and Notes." Paisley: Alex Gardner, 1876.

Robert Tannahill's family had been weavers for several generations at
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. They moved to Paisley in 1756, which a that time had
more than 1300 working looms and only about 4000 people. They did well,
married, raised large families, served their church, and owned their houses.

In 1786 James Tannahill, Robert's father, was chosen Deacon or Boxmaster of
the Paisley Old Weavers' Society. Family connections have a bearing on
Tannahill's work, not only because prosperity made possible both the
education and the leisure to pursue the arts, but more specifically because
his mother, Janet Pollick, was related to the Brodie family, which had
produced several poets and actors among its farmers and weavers. One of
her cousins, Robert Brodie, was a poet of some local renown, and a
frequent visitor to the Tannahill home.

Robert was the 5th child and 4th son, born June 3, 1774, and was sickly
from the start. Through careful nursing, he survived, and "a slight bend
in the right foot was straightened." His constitution remained delicate
throughout his life, however, and he endured considerable pain and
embarrassment from a lifelong limp. He wore extra stockings on his thin
right leg to make it look more like his other leg, and all his life was
bashful of meeting strangers.

Both Robert's parents had had a liberal education, and the children were
sent to school from the age of 6 to 12. Robert did not distinguish
himself at school, though by age 10 he was entertaining his friends
with verses about public figures in the town. After leaving school
he bought a dictionary with a grammar included and continued to instruct
himself in his chosen avocation.

In 1786, aged 12, he was apprenticed to his father, working in the
relatively light trade of muslin, linen and silk weaving. Apparently
some biographers have asserted that this was a sign of family poverty,
but Semple asserts it was the custom of the town for boys to go to
work at that age, and that wages were good. Robert also spent a good deal
of time walking, to strengthen his leg and his constitution, though it
also increased his pain. The "woods of Craigielee" were but a 3 minute
walk from his father's house, and the countryside around Paisley served
as setting and material for many of his later songs.

Robert's apprenticeship ended in 1791, the year Tam O'Shanter was
published (expensively). It came out cheaply in 1794, and folks in Paisley
felt especially attached to the story because of the reference to a
"cutty sark o Paisley harn." Robert and his friends walked from Paisley
to Alloway Kirk & spent six weeks in Burns' country..

At this time, when he was about 20, Robert seems to have begun a conscious
self-education by reading and correspondence, toward the "treating of
poetry and music". His declared purpose in this period was to restore the
popularity of old Scottish airs by writing new words for them. He must
have been working feverishly (perhaps literally so, given his health) for
he attached an inkpot to the frame of his loom so he could write down
whatever came to him as he worked. (Which makes one wonder to what
extent the rhythm of weaving affected the rhythms of his poems.)

In 1795, the poet met Jenny Tennant, a girl about 4 years older than
himself, who had come with her mother to Paisley from Dunblane to seek
employment. They "walked out together" for 3 years but she married
another in 1798. How much this disappointment contributed to Robert's
later despondency is of course a favourite topic of speculation.

By the end of the century, the population of Paisley had ballooned to
nearly 24,000, and when a widespread crop failure in 1799 caused a
stagnation in trade throughout the UK, the town was thrown into a crisis.
Provisions rose to famine prices and committees were formed to operate
soup kitchens. Robert, then 26, and his youngest brother, Hugh, then 20,
went to England looking for work, but found the "distress" there equally
severe. In Bolton, Lancashire, they were taken in by a former Paisley
weaver and through him were able to find work. They were called home,
however, by the end of 1801, to attend their father's death bed. Robert
moved back in with his mother and returned to his loom and his poems. The
correspondence included in Semple's collection begins in the spring of 1802.

Tradesmen of Paisley had been forming reading clubs and other societies for
"mental culture" since about 1770. Robert and his friends formed a new
one in 1803 devoted exclusively to music, poetry, and literature. Its
15-20 members "considered themselves the cream of the intellectual
tradesmen of the town," and their meetings included the vociferous and
detailed critique of various poems and publications, including Robert's
poems. The proceedings were in general well lubricated, and Robert endured
a lot of ridicule for abstaining from liquor--whether for moral or health
reasons is not clear. Robert valued the opinions of these men (and at
least one woman, who hosted them when they travelled from Paisley to meet
with like-minded men in Kilmarnock) and continued to court their good
opinion until the day of his death. He wrote "The Soldier's Return," a
"dramatic interlude," on request from a local actor (who died before he
finished it), and submitted it to the club for critique. They disliked it,
and apparently told Tannahill the reasons in some detail, and with a deal
of drunken enthusiasm, when he inquired. The poet was crushed by this
reaction, and sullenly continued to believe the drama was his "complete

The "interlude" did include some good songs, however. John Ross of Aberdeen
had been employed to write the music for "Our Bonnie Scots Lads" (a song
on the Paisley recruits) and "The Dusky Glen," and the performance of
one of these songs brought Tannahill together with another composer,
R.A. Smith, who, along with William McLaren became a close friend.
(Smith was the son of an English weaver who relocated to Paisley. Unlike
Tannahill, he had no aptitude for a weaver's life and hated the work.)
McLaren wrote an early biography of Tannahill, and described him in these
years as a staid, quiet, inoffensive man, about 5'4", with a halt in
his walk, not a fine dresser (some of his siblings were the setters of
fashion in Paisley), who spent most of his money on books, stationery,
postage, and occasional traveling expenses". He was not strong, and had a
permanent dry cough (He and the rest of his club were heavy smokers).

Tannahill's first publication was in 1804 or 1805 in a literary magazine in
Edinburgh -- its title has never (at least to 1876) been satisfactorily
identified. His next publication seems to have been in another
unidentified magazine in England. It seems logical that he must have
published more extensively than this in 1804, as 17 of his poems were
included in a pair of Glasgow publications of 1805 and 1806--"The Selector"
and "The Glena," both of which, as their names suggest, were "gleanings"
from other publications. In any case, from then on Tannahill was
published regularly, in "The Paisley Repository", "The Nightingale",
"The Caledonian Musical Repository" and other publications.

Tannahill's fame and popularity were growing. Many of his poems had
been put to music by Smith and by Ross, and their lyrics were easily
memorised. Women singers were fond of his songs, and those from
"The Soldier's Return" had an added patriotic appeal. But his first
audience remained his most cherished one, and he continued to show new
pieces to his club and to other friends--the careful saving of these
copies by his acquaintance subsequently saved many poems from oblivion.
In 1806 he was instrumental in opening a lending library for tradesmen
in Paisley (there already was one for gentlemen), and he remained a
working weaver and full member of his community.

In May 1807 an edition of his poems was published, with an advance
subscription of 900. The "interlude" and the songs received the same
reception from critics as they had in Paisley--they hated the play and
loved the songs--and once again the poet was cast into despair. The
drama was his masterpiece, he insisted again, and his songs "commonplace",
elevated to greater interest only by the music supplied by others.

Still, the book made money, at least 20 pounds, and increased his fame. It
allowed him to pursue his next desire, the collection of Irish airs--a
project that proved far more problematic than his similar use of Scottish
sources. Judging from one of his letters, he apparently collected
unpublished songs from the Irish, had them translated or just talked to
the singer about what the song was about, and then wrote verses in what he
believed to be the same vein--often using people or events around Paisley
as models for a song's situation. In 1808 a number of these new songs
were rejected by George Thomson for publication, and in 1810 two other
publishers refused a new edition of his poems. All was not discouragement
in these years--in 1808 he wrote a comic song, "Caller Herrin," to the
air of "The Cameronian Rant," and by 1810 six other new poems had been
published in "Scots Magazine"-- but economic times were hard in Paisley,
and the three major publication refusals were hard on Tannahill's spirits.

In March, 1810, just before he received the second refusal on his new
edition, Tannahill received a visit at Paisley from James Hogg. The visit
was arranged by Smith, the composer, and the three of them spent a
"convivial evening" with other friends in the club room of a tavern. This
was the last great event of Tannahill's life. Shortly afterward, friends
began to recognize symptoms of mental disturbance: he was despondent and
sometimes incoherent. On several occasions he was escorted home by friends
afraid to let him go into the streets alone. Wading through the Semple's
elevated and euphemistic language, (the only direct phrase is
"aberration of mind") one concludes that Tannahill probably suffered from
an organic mental illness. On the night of May 16, 1810, he was seen to
bed by his mother, but got up later and left the house. When his absence
was discovered, a search party was organized and his watch and other
effects were found by a canal. His body was recovered shortly thereafter.

[11.15] Robert the Bruce

I cannot recommend 'The Bruce', John Barbour annotated by A.A.M.
Duncan, highly enough. Archie Duncan was professor of Scottish
history at Glasgow University from 1962 to 1993.

Aside from modernisation of some letter styles this is an unadulterated
transcription of the 'E' (Edinburgh) m.s. the nearest to original among
extant m.s. His commentary is both rational and logically coherent. It
also has the merit of being by a Scot on Scottish history, somewhat of a

Publisher Canongate Classics, Canongate books, Edinburgh
ISBN 0 86241 681 7

The Scottish Text Society published a very nice 3 volume version
called Barbour's Bruce, edited by Matthew P. McDiarmid (1985). That
has over 60 pages of a very useful glossary in Volume I. There is a
paperback book: The Bruce by John Barbour edited by A.A.M. Duncan,
Canongate Books, Edinburgh, (1997) for about 10 pounds which has
extensive notes that point out factual errors, redundancies, etc.

See also [11.11]

The Bruce Film
The Bruce was made in 1996 and mainly funded by private investors buying
debentures that gave them certain benefits, e.g. place in the credits as
Associate Producer and right to be in the film as an extra.

The company had previously made a film called Chasing the Deer about the
1745 uprising and also produced Macbeth (with Jason Connery and Helen
Baxendale). Before that they made factual videos of many wars/battles
including a life of William Wallace.

See here for more information
the film is now available on video

[11.16] Thomas Muir

An article on the Scottish Political Reformist Thomas Muir. He was
transported to Australia for 14 years for attempting to change the
political system in Britain, and was involved in political reform in
the US, France and Ireland. Thomas Muir is the subject of a song by
Adam McNaughton, sung often by Dick Gaughan.

Article sent by Charles McGregor
Source: Steel's "Scotland's Story". A very good, if succinct history of
Scotland and which featured as a TV series about 10 years ago.

The first Convention of the Scottish Friends of the People opened in
Edinburgh on 11 December 1792. Over 150 delegates representing 150
societies from 35 towns and villages attended. Their aim was to draw
up a petition to send to the British Parliament in support of
electoral reform. Thomas Muir, a Glasgow barrister with a reputation
as a man of principle, had helped organise many of the societies. He
had also, before the Convention, been in contact with the United
Irishmen movement, a group of professional men in Dublin also
bent on political reform. Against the advice of his colleagues, Muir
read an address the United Irishmen had sent which urged the Edinburgh
Convention to 'openly, actively and urgently' will Parliamentary reform.

On the last day of the Convention, a Petition to Parliament was read and
approved; but it was suggested that the Convention arm itself so as to
be able to help magistrates put down riots that might occur in support
of reform. An emotional evening session ended with delegates swearing
the French oath, 'To live free or die'. The government at Westminster
misread the situation. The Home Office files bulged with reports from
spies. As informers were paid piece-rate many had put down gossip as fact,
and rumour spread that the delegates were preparing themselves for
insurrection. The government panicked and on 2 January 1793 arrested Muir.
His trial opened in Edinburgh on 30 August 1793. He was accused of making
seditious speeches, of circulating Paine's Rights of Man and of
defending as well as reading the Address from the United Irishmen. Muir
turned down an offer made by Henry Erskine, the Dean of the Faculty of
Advocates, to defend him and conducted his own defence:

"I am accused of sedition and yet can prove by thousands of witnesses that
I warned the people of that crime, exhorted them to adopt none but
measures which were constitutional, and entreated them to connect liberty
with knowledge and both with morality."

The trial lasted sixteen hours, the evidence heard by five judges and a
jury. But the proceedings were dominated bv Lord Braxfield, of whom Lord
Cockburn wrote:

"Strong built and dark, with rough eyebrows, powerful eyes, threatening
lips, and a low growling voice, he was like a formidable blacksmith. His
accent and his dialect were exaggerated Scotch; his language, like his
thoughts, short, strong, and conclusive. He was the Jeffreys of Scotland.
'Let them bring me prisoners, and I'll find them law', used to be openly
stated as his suggestion, when an intended political prosecution was
marred by anticipated difficulties."

Muir's flowery address to the jury lasted three hours but fell upon
deaf ears.

"I have devoted myself to the cause of the people. It is a good cause, it
shall ultimately prevail, it shall ultimately triumph."

Braxfield, who had arrogantly dismissed the evidence of Muir's twenty one
witnesses, summed up:

"Government in this country is made up of the landed interest, which alone
has a right to be represented; as for the rabble, who have nothing but
personal property, what hold has the nation of them? what security for
the payment of their taxes? They may pack up all their property on their
backs, and leave the country in the twinkling of an eye."

The jury found Muir guilty, and Braxfield sentenced him to fourteen years
transportation to Botany Bay, a novel sentence then tantamount to the
death penalty. After 1783 Britain had looked to Australia as a substitute
for the American colonies to take the overflow from Britain's prisons.
The first fleet of eleven vessels had carried nearly 800 convicts, and
had arrived at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. Many subsequent ships sank
before reaching Australia; many convicts died of dysentery or typhoid
en route, and by the time of Muir's sentence horror stories about
Britain's embryo prison colony abounded. Scots were shocked by the
sentence. Robert Burns was moved to write, 'Scots Wha Hae' in protest,
a song which was immediately banned as seditious. 'The newspapers gave
Muir's trial enormous coverage and three editions of the court's proceedings
were published, two of them in America. After sentence, Muir was taken
to the Tolbooth and on 14 November put on board the Royal George bound
for London. His mother and father presented him with a pocket Bible
with the inscription, 'To Thomas Muir from his Afflicted Parents'.

The question of his sentence was raised five times in Parliament; but
on 13 February, Muir, together with Skirving, Gerrald and Margarot, set
sail for Botany Bay. The filthy, stinking, mutinous voyage took nearly six
months. Because they were political prisoners Muir and the Edinburgh
Martyrs were not obliged to work like the other convicts. Thomas
Muir purchased a small farm near Sydney Cove and called it Huntershill,
after his father's Scottish home.

On 24 January 1796, the Otter, an American ship from Boston, visited the
colony and the night before she set sail Thomas Muir managed to board
her. His escape, after just sixteen months in the colony, proved a
timely one. Within a month of Muir's bid for freedom, Gerrald died at
the age of thirty-six and Skining succumbed to dysentery. After many
adventures Muir eventually reached France, where he was given a hero's
welcome at Bordeaux, and thence conveyed to Paris where the Revolutionary
government held a banquet in his honour. But his last years were marked
by sad decline, both physical and intellectual. Although he had not seen
Britain's shores for four years, he set himself up as an expert on his
country's affairs. Talleyrand, the French Foreign Secretary, allowed him
a small pension; but once the French had exhausted Muir's propaganda
value he became an irrelevance. He died at Chantilly outside Paris
in 1798, more extreme in his views and more full of his own importance
than ever.

I heard one anecdote from Muir's trial recently. Some woolly minded
liberal member of the Scottish establishment pleaded with Braxfield:
"But rememberber, my Lord, Jesus Christ was a reformer too."
"Muckle he made o' that. He was hanget," was Braxfield's retort.

In Edinburgh Library there are many accounts of Scotland's links with
Australia. Not all the Scots who found themselves on the other side of
the world went as prisoners. The second governor of New South Wales,
John Hunter, responsible for consolidating the colony, was a Leith man.
There is a memorial to him by the Leith dock gates, near the Malmaison Hotel.

The 5th governor of New South Wales and Australia's greatest Governor
Major-General was also Scottish: Major-General Lachlan Macquarie.
Macquarie was a Scottish soldier and Governor of the colony of New South
Wales from 1810-1821, whose term of office was noted for humanitarian
treatment of ex-convicts, encouragement of public works programmes,
inland exploration and the creation of new towns. Lachlan Macquarie was
born on the tiny island of Ulva, in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland and
grew up on the nearby larger island of Mull.

As with other other expatriate communities, these links are much better
remembered in Australia than they are in Scotland. The excellent
Mitchell Library in New South Wales, for example, has a fine collection
of material about Muir.

Later on in the same book...

1820 is the year of the so-called Scottish Insurrection. The events, which
were to culminate in the execution of three weavers for high treason,
were, however, in large part the expression of the resentment many in
Scotland felt for having fought for Britain against Napoleon only to
return home and find themselves treated as seditious rabble and
industrial scrap.

Attempts had been made by the authorities, after the Napoleonic War, to
relieve the hardship caused by unemployment. The Town Council of Glasgow,
for instance, employed 324 workless to restyle Glasgow Green. Relief
centres were also opened up in the town; but charity did little to
ameliorate what was seen as the root of the problem. If the disaffected,
as the government called them, were to continue to be intransigent, there
was but one solution, namely to create a head-on collision that would put
the radical movement in its place.

In 1820, government spies once again were ordered to infiltrate the
radical ranks. They encouraged the radicals to form a Committee of
Organisation for Forming a Provisional Government, and on 1 April
placards appeared on the streets of Glasgow, calling for an immediate
national strike and a rising on 5 April:

"To show the world that we are not that lawless, sanguinary' rabble which
our oppressors would persuade the higher circles we are but a brave and
generous people determined to be free."

The Proclamation, making reference, as it did, to the Magna Carta and the
English Bill of Rights, was probably written by a government spy.
Throughout Scotland some 60,000 stopped work on 1 April. Yet unknown to the
rank and file of the radical movement, twenty-eight members of the
so-called provisional government were in Glasgow jail and had been
since 21 March when they had been quietly arrested. On April Fool's Day
1820, the streets of Glasgow were lined with troops. The government had
called out the Rifle Brigade and the 83rd Regiment of Foot, together with
the 7th and 10th Hussars, under the command of Sir Richard Hussey Vivian,
the government's leading expert in cavalry tactics and expressly sent
north by the Duke of York in case of disturbances. Samuel Hunter's
Glasgow Sharpshooters were also on hand, under his personal command.
There was a brief encounter in the evening when three hundred radicals
skirmished with a party 'of cavalry', but no one came to harm that day.
At Fir Park, now Glasgow's Necropolis, seventy radicals had been directed by
government agents to go to Falkirk, where English sympathisers, it was
said, would join up with them and help take the Carron Iron Works. When
the small band got there, they found nobody and half of them dispersed.
Thirty radicals were resting at Bonnymuir, near Castlecary, when a troop
of the 7th Hussars advanced towards them. Andrew Hardie, one of the
radicals, recalled the scene:

"Some of our men were wounded in a most shocking manner, and it is truly
unbecoming the character of a soldier to wound, or try and kill any man
whom he has it in his power to take prisoner, and when we had no arms to
make any defence."

Forty-seven radicals were ultimately rounded up and taken to the military
prison at Stirling Castle. Twenty-four were tried and sentenced to death.
One of the three hanged was a sixty-year-old weaver, James Wilson.
A special English Court of Oyer and Terminer, a royal commission court with
power to hear and determine criminal causes, was set up in Glasgow. Wilson
made an impassioned speech to the court:

"You may condemn me to immolation on the scaffold, but you cannot degrade
me. If I have appeared as a pioneer in the van of freedom's battles - if I
have attempted to free my country from political degradation - my
conscience tells me that I have only done my duty. Your brief authority will
soon cease, but the vindictive proceedings this day shall be recorded in

Sentence was passed by Lord President Hope. Wilson was to be drawn on a
hurdle to the place of execution, hanged, then his head severed from his
body and his corpse quartered. Twenty thousand people witnessed
James Wilson's execution on Glasgow Green. His remains were spared
quartering and were ultimately allowed to rest in Strathaven, the village of
his birth, where in his younger days, it is said, he had invented the purl

Two other radicals, John Baird a thirty-two-year-old weaver from Condorrat,
and Andrew Hardie, a weaver from Glasgow aged twenty-eight were executed in
Stirling, watched by a crowd of 2000. The night before Hardie wrote to his

"I shall die firm to the cause in which I embarked, and although we were
outwitted and betrayed, yet I protest, as a dying man, it was done with
good intention on my part... No person could have induced me to take up
arms to rob or plunder; no, my dear Margaret, I took them for the
restoration of those rights for which our forefathers bled, and which
we have allowed shamefully to be wrested from us."

(I find these words especially moving....chic)

The authorities had trouble in finding someone who would chop off the heads
of the two radicals at Stirling. Nine days before the ex-ecution two town
clerks were sent to 'engage an executioner'. One went to Glasgow, where he
witnessed James Wilson's execution and noticed he was first hanged by an
executioner and then had his head severed by another masked man 'in a long
robe'. Glasgow's hangman demanded ten guineas per victim and, grudgingly,
the Stirling Town Clerk agreed to pay it. The decapitator was found in
Edinburgh. He demanded twenty guineas per victim for what was regarded
as a more dangerous job as the crowd would almost certainly react to
his gory task. The sentences of nineteen other radicals captured after
Bonnymuir were commuted to transportation to New South Wales, seven for
life and twelve for fourteen years. Peter Mackenzie, a Glasgow journalist,
campaigned to have them pardoned. He published a small book en-titled,
"The Spy System, including the exploits of Mr Alex. Richmond, the
notorious Government Spy of Sidmouth and Castlereagh........"

[11.17] John Paul Jones

This Scot went on to found the US Navy. There is a museum in Scotland
about him. More info at

[11.18] The Auld Alliance

See here for more info

[11.19] The Clearances

A new fully-moderated version of the Highland Clearances mailing list
is now up and running. To subscribe, please send a message to: with the command:

   subscribe fuadach-nan-gaidheal

in the body of the message.

See also

[11.20] Battle of Culloden

[11.21] Knights Templar

Article by Alan Clayton
The Knights Templar were a military Religious Order, to put it somewhat
simplictically 'fighting monks' as there was a vow of chastity. They were
founded in 1119AD to protect Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land
and in particular the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, hence the name.

They were first established in Scotland by King David 1st. Their main
base in Scotland was at Maryculter in Kincardineshire, founded by one
of their members, Walter Bisset in 1221AD. The place name Temple is of
course a definate indication of their presence and influence in an
area (e.g. Temple, Midlothian)

By the 14th century they were so wealthy and powerful they had
become Europe's bankers, one of history's paradoxes since their
secondary name was The Poor Knights of Christ. Due to this they were
alleged to have become heretics and King Philip 4th of France induced
Pope Clement 5th at Avignon in southern France (another story) to
expel them in 1307.

King Robert 1st of Scots, The Bruce, offered them sanctuary in
return for support in his struggle with England. Although primary
source material has not been found (Scottish state documents were
destroyed by both Edward 1st of England and Cromwell in attempts to
eliminate the existence of a Scottish state from human history) there
is strong circumstantial evidence that it was they who led the charge
of Sma' folk at Bannockburn and it was the Knights in cavalry charge,
with their distinctive white crosses on their shields, rather than
the Sma' folk per se that led the English troops to finally break and
run in terror. Certainly if they were coming in only when Scottish
victory seemed likely there was some 'bet hedging' deal with Bruce.

King Edward 2nd of England confiscated all their property in England in
1315AD, another strong circumstantial indication that they were at
Bannockburn. From Bannockburn till the Rerformation in 1560AD they
acted as parish clergy in a number of Scottish parishes including
the collegiate church called Rosslyn Chapel

They also acted as parish clergy at Inchinnan in Renfrewshire and
several are buried at the Renfrew end of the runway of Glasgow Airport
where All Hallows Church of Scotland had to be demolished when the
runway was built, as it was in the direct flight path. Several Templar
tombstones were removed at that time to the replacement church,
St Conval's Church of Scotland, Inchinnan, and are in the Church grounds.

The present Minister, Rev Marlyn Maclane would I am sure be delighted to
answer any questions that may be asked of her. Entry to the Templar
cemetery requires the permission of Glasgow Airport security and can
only be accessed with security present.

Article by Charles McGregor
The Knights Templars were formed in 1118 AD (mildly disputed) in
Jerusalem, after the crusaders had captured the Holy Land. Ostensibly
their task was to protect pilgrims from the still frequent Islamic
attacks, however some claim that this was a cover, right from the
start. They were a highly secretive organisation and therefore have
necessitated and indeed positively invited, much and frequently wild,
speculation. Amongst the more famous speculations are those regarding
devil worship, worshiping heads and other non-christian
practices(Baphomet), the occult, a world control judaic conspiracy,
retention of the treasures of Jerusalem, retention of the Holy Grail,
knowledge of astonishing secrets (e.g.s Jesus survived the cross and
had descendants in Europe. Secret of total power. etc.).
All weird and wonderful stuff. Fortunately, the elements of the
Templar's story relevant to the voracity of the 'Prince Henry claim'
are amongst the least contentious. The following is I believe
accepted by certainly the great majority of historians.

The Templars had a rule that they could acquire wealth as a body,
through their Templar activities, but not individually. Over the
years, for services rendered, and possibly with the Jerusalem
treasure as a starting fund, the group became very rich. Rather than
just have the money sit there, since they couldn't split it up amongst
themselves, they loaned it out, at interest of course, to various
people (usually kings) all over Europe. This meant that the fund grew
at an accelerated rate, and the favours granted by grateful monarchs
meant that they became ever more powerful and even richer as a body.
Effectively, they became the World's first international banking

Their services too, developed from the purely marshal and financial,
to things like arbitration in all kinds of disputes.

The Order spread and grew in number, all over Europe.

Eventually, they became extremely arrogant and considered themselves
even superior to monarchy or at least, outside it's control and
anwerable only to the Pope.

Phillipe IV of France (La Belle) became jealous of their power and
riches and conspired by papal manipulation to have the order declared
heretical aided and abetted by the Templars own predeliction for

In 1307 the arrests and burnings began across Europe.

Here is where Scotland takes centre stage in the story. Because
Robert the Bruce was currently excommunicated, Scotland became one of
the very few havens in Europe for Templar Knights. The Templars were
never proscribed in Scotland, even after the excommunication was
lifted. It is believed that refugee Templars even fought at
Bannockburn (as of course did Scotland's resident Templars like the
Sinclairs), but the number and extent is once more clouded by the
secrecy that so characterises Templar history.

Some Templars in Scotland are believed to have joined with the
Hospitallers there and formed a proto-freemason association [11.22].

So in the 1390's it is highly likely, indeed consensually so, that
there would still be a significant number of 'foreign' Templars
in Scotland (or at least 1st and 2nd descendants thereof).
Furthermore, although some of them may have acquired a degree of
wealth and status by dint of marshal rewards, it is probable that,
due to their own code, their treasure(which eluded Phillipe's men)
could still not be used to deliver them from penury on an individual

So what does this have to do with the Prince Henry story?

If you recall, I said that the more astute may have noticed a couple
of genuine problems with the Prince Henry claim. These are best
illustrated by the following questions.

Why would Henry undergo the expense and hazard of such a venture?

Why, if he had found America, did he not make his fame and fortune by
bringing back maize, potatoes, tobacco etc. and seek funding for mass

Why, did he go to all that trouble and not even return there himself?

Remember, the Sinclairs were Templars. Amongst the other things
discussed above, they had a vow to help other Templars.
They also provided two of the Grand Masters of the Templars during
their near 200 years of 'legality'. (there is only one at any one

In Scotland, there were probably still many Templar refugees, although
they may have had access to certain funds on a communal basis, many
of them were likely to be less well off personally than they would
like, neither could they return to their homeland.

I think it should be fairly immediately obvious from the above that
Templar involvement, in the motivation, the funding and the secrecy of
the entire operation, would answer all of the above questions.

Henry may well have had a strong desire to help his fellow Templars.
They could easily have called upon their communal funding.(12 ships
don't come cheap) and he didn't return to the New World because the
Sinclairs were quite happily situated in Scotland, he in fact had done
it on behalf of others.

In fact the Henry expedition may well have been establishing the
escape route for what was to be the first of many flights from
religious persecution in Europe, to the New World, albeit of a
particularily secretive nature.

It is not difficult to imagine that Henry was also aware, via his
Scandinavian ancestory and the folklore of his principality, of the
legend of previous visitations to Vinland (Greenland).

Once again, I hasten to add that, the above theory is not of my
construction, and the Rosslyn guidebook refers to this fact.

For those acquainted with Templar history, the lack of hype, or
secrecy surrounding the Prince Henry expedition, is no more than would
be expected.

Additional information
The story of Robert I offering sanctuary to Templars and their role
at the battle of Bannockburn is not supported in any way by evidence.
Augustin Hay, a writer of romances, invented the tale. By the mid-1200s
the Temple order had ceased to have any real military function and had
become an international property conglomerate. There is no evidence
whatsoever for the arrival of a Templar fleet in Scotland at any time.
Also, due to his need for foreign recognition, Robert I would not
have done anything to provoke either the king of France or the Pope;
he was hardly likely to give succor to an organization that they
had gone to such lengths to suppress.  These tales have gained a
currency in recent years through being re-hashed by unscrupulous
people publishing conspiracy novels and pretending that they are
history. Absolutely no one with any grounding in medieval history
has, or would, accept such offerings as being valid research
for the good reason that they are NOT valid research. One of
the reasons that Baigent, Leigh, Knight, Lomas, Lincoln and
Sinclair have been able to get away with their claims - and
make lots of money - is that Scottish people are badly served
when it comes to history in our schools. Nobody would get
away with such rubbish if it were set in medieval England
because English people have a much better grasp of their
history. Grail/Templar/Roslin mythologizing does nothing to
help, but it does undermine scholarship. There are many fine
pieces of work that further our understanding of medieval

Readers should be pointed in the direction of Professors Nichols,
Duncan and Barrow and Drs Reid, Boardman, Watson, Penman and Ewan.

More info here

[11.22] Freemasonry

Scotland has the oldest Masonic records in the world, dating back to
January 1598. The first lodge in Scotland was founded in 1105.

See here for history and information

Freemasonry Today publication - an independent magazine for everyone
with an interest in Freemasonry

Kilwinning Lodge, the oldest in the world - dates from early 12th C

[11.23] Vikings

The end of the Viking threat to Scotland.

In 1263, King Haakon led his great Viking battle fleet to subdue the
Scottish resistance. Leaving his base in the Western Isles, he sailed
south to the Clyde estuary. His fleet was anchored on the western
shores of the Firth and a recce was made by a smaller group on the
eastern shore at Largs.

The Scots gave but a tiny view of their presence whilst their king
called to arms all those who would join him to repulse the Vikings.He
managed to stall the Viking emissaries until his countrymen could
assemble. His proposals had to be referred to Haakon. The Vikings
decided to attack the Scots even though bad weather over the Clyde was
playing havoc with their much-vaunted fleet. When the assault boats
beached at Largs and the Vikings advanced from the beach the latter were
beset by a great Scottish army which trounced them. The living Vikings
escaped to their boats, sailed to their fleet, but it had been greatly
abused by the gales and the Scots on the water repeated their thrashing
of the Viking battle fleet. Haakon scuttled off to the Hebrides and
made pact with the Scots to assualt Scotland no more. Haakon died in
Orkney before he could return to Norway.

(1263 was the year that the Grammar School of Glasgow was founded, the
precursor of the University of Glasgow.)

[11.24] Scots emigration/immigration to the US

When did the Scottish come to the US?
The first Scots began coming to the New World in the early 1600's,
Emigration picked up during the Cromwellian Civil War in Britain, as many
Scots from both sides were transported to the American Colonies in the
mid-1600's. The Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 also saw numbers of
Scotsmen transported to America, as did the Highland Clearances which came
somewhat later. Scottish emigrants who had gone to northern Ireland as
colonists of the Ulster plantations in the first half of the 16th century
also emigrated to America in the early 1700's. These people, who were
referred to as the "Scotch-Irish" were by far the most numerous group of
Scottish Colonists to come to America. Between 1715 and 1776 some 250,000 of
them arrived, mainly in the Chesapeake Bay region, and settled all along the
east coast, particularly in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia,
North and South Carolina and later in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond. A second wave of Scottish immigration
came during the late 1800's and most of these Scots settled in the
northeastern U.S. in the larger industrial cities, and included such
worthies as Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell.

Why did the come?
Some were transported, they had no choice other than prison or execution,
the reasons ranging from political prisoners of rebellions, to paupers, to
petty thieves and criminals. Others came because of poverty. They had no
hope of ever breaking out of their set place in the Class-system which
existed in Britain, but in America, a man could make something of himself,
regardless of his background. Mst of these came as bonded-servants and would
be given passage to America, paid by the person who brought them over and
would have to work off their passage upon their arrival as per their
contract, a period which often lasted for seven years. At the end of that
time, they were on their own and it was up to themselves to make something
of their life in the New World.

How were the Scots treated?
The Scots were looked down upon by the English, Dutch and Germans, who saw
them as being less civilized, orderly and less interested in bettering
themselves materially through hard work. They were thought to be good
fighters and in that capacity they were often set out on the frontier to
act as a first line of defence against Indian attacks. The Scots quickly
disproved the sterotypical views of the English and other colonists by
becoming enormously successful in the New World. Among those who signed the
Declaration of Independence were a number of Scotsmen, and the names of such
political giants as Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, James
Buchanan, John K. Polk, William Drummond, Hugh Mercer,and many other
Scotsmen echo throughout the pages of American history.

Where did the Scots settle? Why?
The early Scots colonists who arrived in the first half of the 1600's tended
to prefer Virginia over New England and a preference for those colonies
south of the New England states continued through the time leading up to the
Revolutionary War, though numbers of both Scots and Scots-Irish could be
found in New York, New Hampshire, Massassachusets, Conneticut and elsewhere.
Primarily though, the main concentration of Scottish settlement was from
Pennsylvania southward to Georgia.

How did the Scots make a living in the US?
Any way they could, as farmers, soldiers, blacksmiths, cattle-ranchers,
lumber men, factory workers, whatever way they could succeed.

What were the roles of different family members?
This was the same as with other ethnic groups, the husband was generally the
main provider, the wife the home-maker, mother, nurse, and the children
usually did their share to help the family out, whether it was in farming,
or working in the factories, or the streets as labourers.

What traditions did they bring to the US?
They brought their language, which influenced American English to some
extent, particularly in Appalachia, but more than anything else, they
brought their music, especially fiddle-music, which became what we know
today as  American "bluegrass" music.

Was the US really the "promised land" for them?
Definately. Most of the Scots who came to America turned out to be far more
successful than they would have if they stayed at home. At the worst, they
were no worse off than they would have been had they not immigrated. America
is the land of opportunity, Britain was a land of privilege, status and
class-systems that were carved in stone.

What is the status of the Scots in the US today?
The Scots in America today are your typical Americans. They are the
hard working, materialists who generally try to conform to the Norman
Rockwell image of America. They are the backbone of the American economy
and political system, the very foundation upon which America was built.
If it were not for the Scots, America would probably still be a British

Compared to other immigrant groups?
Here's a good reference of how the Scots stack up against other ethnic
groups. This is from an Associated Press newspaper article which appeared in

"Americans of Scottish descent tend to be better educated and have
higher incomes than other European based ethnic groups, according to a new
Census Bureau study.

"Based on a survey taken in late 1979, the study said Americans who
traced their ancestry to Scotland had median family incomes of $20,018,
highest of eight single ancestry groups studied.

"Second in family income were those of German background, at $17,531,
while those of Spanish background had the lowest median income at $10,607.

"The Scots were the only group to record no illiteracy in the survey,
had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.1%, and the highest rate of
high school graduates, 81.2%.

"The study looked at characteristics of Americans of English, French,
German, Irish, Italian, Polish, Scottish and Spanish descent.

"Among them, those of Spanish descent, 30.3% were most likely to
have been born outside the United States. The Italians were a distant second
at 13.1%, while only 2.7% of the Irish were born outside the
United States.

"Scots recorded the highest proportion of married men, at 79.6%,
followed by 75.5% for those of French extraction. The lowest male
marriage rate was 62.8% among the Spanish.

Among women, the French were most likely to be wed, at 68.6%, with Germans
second at 64.3%. Polish women were the least likely to be married, at 60.6%.
The highest divorce rates were 4.8% among Irish men and 6.6% for
Spanish women. At 3.5%, Polish men had the fewest divorces, as did Polish
women at 4.3%.

Here are how the various groups fared statistically in some other
social characteristics:

"Male high school graduates: Scottish, 81.2%; English, 74.6%; German, 72.4%;
Irish, 68.8%; French, 67%; Polish, 64.4%; Italian, 62.7%; Spanish, 42.5%.

"Female high school graduates: Scottish, 78.1%; English, 76.7%; German, 72%;
Irish, 70%; French, 65.7%; Italian, 60.4%; Polish, 59.1%; Spanish, 40.5%.

"Unemployment: Scottish, 2.1%; German, 3.1%; English, 3.6%; Italian, 4.7%;
Irish, 5%; Polish, 5.4%; French, 5.6%; Spanish, 9%.

"Median family income: Scottish, $20.018 ; German, $17,531; Italian,
$16,993; Polish, $16,977; English, $16,891; Irish, $16,092; French, $15,571;
Spanish, $10,607"

So, you see, we Scots are the richest, best-educated, hardest-working and
make the best lovers of all Americans. "Here's tae us! Wha's like us? Damn
few, and their all deid! More's the pity."

Steven Akins of that Ilk

[11.25] The fairy flag of MacLeod legend

Article by Jeff Ramsden (MacLeoid)

Many, many years ago, the Chief of Clan MacLeod was a handsome,
intelligent man, and all the young ladies in the area were very
attracted to him, but none suited his fancy. One day, he met a fairy
princess, a bean sidhe, one of the Shining Folk. Like all the other
females he met, she fell madly in love with him, and he with her as
well. When the princess appealed to the King of the Fairies, for
permission to marry the handsome Chief, he refused, saying that it
would only break her heart, as humans soon age and die, and the
Shining Folk live forever. She cried and wept so bitterly that even
the great King relented, and agreed that she and the Chief could be
hand-fasted for a year and a day. But, at the end of that time, she
must return to the land of Faerie and leave behind everything from the
human world. She agreed, and soon she and the young MacLeod were
married with great ceremony.

No happier time ever existed before or since for the Clan MacLeod, for
the Chief and Lady MacLeod were enraptured of each other totally. As
you might expect, soon a strapping and handsome son was born to the
happy couple, and the rejoicing and celebration by the Clan went on
for days. However, the days soon passed and a year and a day were gone
in a heartbeat. The King led the Faerie Raide down from the clouds to
the end of the great causeway of Dunvegan Castle, and there they
waited in all their glamourie and finery for the Lady MacLeod to keep
her promise.

Lady MacLeod knew that she had no choice, so she held her son to her,
hugged him tightly, and at last, ran from the castle tower to join the
Faerie Raide, and returned with them to the land of Faerie. Before she
left, however, she made her husband promise that her child would never
be left alone, and never be allowed to cry, for she could not bear the
sound of her son's cries. The Chief was broken-hearted with the loss
of his wife, but he knew, as did she, that the day would come when she
would return. He kept his promise, and never was the young MacLeod
allowed to cry and never was he left unattended. However, the Laird of
MacLeod remained depressed, and grieved for the loss of his lady.

The folk of the clan decided that something must be done, and on his
birthday, a great feast was proclaimed with revelry and dancing until
dawn. The Laird had always been a grand dancer, and at long last he
agreed to dance to the pipers' tunes. So great was the celebration
that the young maid assigned to watch the infant Laird left his
nursery and crept to the top of the stairs to watch the folk dancing
in all their finery and to listen to the wonderful music. So
enraptured was she that she did not hear the young Laird awaken and
begin to cry. So pitiful was his crying that it was heard all the way
in the Land of Faerie, and when his mother heard it, she immediately
appeared at his crib, took him in her arms, and comforted him, drying
his tears and wrapping him in her fairy shawl. She whispered magic
words in his ears, laid her now-sleeping son in his crib, kissed him
once more on the forehead, and was gone.

Years later when the young lad grew older, he told his father of his
mother's late-night visit, and that her shawl was a magic talisman. It
was to be kept in a safe place, and if anyone not of the Clan MacLeod
touched it, they would vanish in a puff of smoke. If ever the Clan
MacLeod faced mortal danger, the Fairy Flag was to be waved three
times, and the hosts of Faerie, the Knights of the Faerie Raide, would
ride to the defense of the Clan MacLeod. There were to be three such
blessings, and only in the most dire consequences should the Faerie
magic be used. The Chief placed the Fairy Flag in a special locked
box, and it was carried with the Chief wherever he went.

Hundreds of years later, the fierce Clan Donald of the Lord of the
Isles had besieged the MacLeods in battle, and the MacLeods were
outnumbered three to one. Just before the Donalds' last charge, the
Chief opened the box, and placing the fairy flag on a pole, waved it
once, twice, and three times. As the third wave was completed, the
Fairy magic caused the MacLeods to appear to be ten times their
number! Thinking that the MacLeods had been reinforced, the Donalds
turned and ran, never to threaten the MacLeods to this very day.

On another occasion, a terrible plague had killed nearly all the
MacLeod's cattle, and the Chief faced the prospect of a winter of
starvation for all his people. Having no alternative, he went to the
tallest tower of Dunvegan Castle, attached the Fairy Flag to a pole,
and waved it once, twice, three times. The Hosts of Faerie rode down
from the clouds, swords drawn, and rode like the wind over the dead
and dying cattle. They touched each cow with their swords, and where
there once had been dead and dying cows, now stood huge, healthy, and
well-fattened cattle, more than enough to feed the Clan for the winter
to come.

There remains one more waving of the Fairy Flag, and the Flag is on
display at Dunvegan Castle, there awaiting the next threat to the Clan

It is said during World War II that young men from the Clan MacLeod
carried pictures of the Flag in their wallets while flying in the
Battle of Britain, and not one of them was lost to the German flyers.
In fact, the Chief of Clan MacLeod had agreed to bring the Fairy Flag
to England and wave it from the Cliffs of Dover should the Germans
attempt to invade Great Britain.

[12.1] Learning and studying Scottish Culture

Centre for Continuing Education
CCE, Freepost No EH3376
The University of Edinburgh
11 Buccleuch Place
Tel: 0131 650 4400
Fax: 0131 667 6097

The School of Scottish Studies (Sgoil Eolais na h-Alba),
University of Edinburgh,
27 George Square, Edinburgh,
Tel: 0131 650 1000
(they run a number of summer schools)

The main work of the dept is with teaching undergraduate and
postgraduate courses in Scottish ethnology (there is a separate
dept of Celtic). They also run summer classes though

The Adult Learning Project (ALP)
Tollcross Community Centre
117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 221 5800.
ALP has about 20 classes and about 300 students in culturally related
evening and day classes.

Scots Fiddle Festival 18 - 20 November 2005
and Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin 3 - 6 April 2006 are contactable via
the above address too.

Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama (RSAMD) has an excellent degree
course in traditional Scottish music


Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
100 Renfrew Street,
G2 3DB,
Tel: 0141 332 4101
Fax: 0141 332 8901

Course leaders are
    Jo Miller BA, BMus, MLitt
    Peggy Duesenberry BA, MA

Tutoring includes
Accordion, Highland Bagpipe, Clarsach, Fiddle, Scots Song, Gaelic Song,
Percussion, Guitar, Gaelic, Scots and Dance Studies

Sabhal Mor Ostaig,
An Teanga,
Isle of Skye
IV44 8RQ

Tel: 01471 844 373
Fax: 01471 844 383

St Andrews University
St Andrews University has a distance learning programme which
offers courses in fiddle, voice and traditional music. Tutors
include Adam McNaughton, Robbie Shepherd and Sheena Wellington.
Further details from The Secretary at:
University Music Centre, University of St Andrews, KY16 9AJ

The University of Stirling runs summer schools which cover a
wide range of Scottish cultural topics including Gaelic, various
music classes and much more.

Celtic Music. Regional Cultures and Modern Success
is a provocative, well-researched on-line culture and history course
offered by the Continuing Education in Music program at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. Anyone in the world can take this starting at any
time. Find out more or register now at

Or call (USA) (608) 262-2451 to register for course number 3750.
The course is permanently open to enrollment.

[12.2] Cultural Newsletters and websites

Tales, Songs and Tradition. First published 1971
Selected from the archives of the School of Scottish Studies.
Two issues a year, annual subscription 6 pounds.
Each issue contains approx 65 A5 pages and includes material in Scots
and Gaelic (Gaelic with translation). Songs have tunes in staff format.
UK ISSN 0049-397X
Mrs Frances Beckett
School of Scottish Studies
University of Edinburgh
27 George Square
Tel: 0131 650 3060

Suil na h-Iolaire (The Eagle's Eye)
Cultural news from Argyll, the Highlands and Islands.
Published every 2 months, info at:

Scottish Affairs
For comment and debate on Scottish politics, society and current affairs
Published in book form every quarter. Independent of political parties
and pressure groups
Annual subscription (4 issues), 25 pounds (40 for institutions)
Published by
Unit for the study of government in Scotland
Chisholm House
High School Yards
Tel: 0131 650 2456  Fax: 0131 650 6345

U.S. Scots Magazine
U.S. Scots Magazine is the premiere print magazine for the
Scottish-American Community. Visit to read past articles, reference
the online databases, explore the extensive links database, and learn
how to subscribe.

[12.3] Kilts and their history

There is no documentation for "kilts" before 1575.
Tartan yes. Kilts no. The Leine Croich or belted saffron shirt, yes; cloaks,
yes; tunics, yes; armour that might appear kilt-like on an ancient engraving,
yes. Kilts - no.

The Leine Croich: A tunic like garment usually worn with a belt around the
middle. Made of - linen - of course, which was also cheaper to get (from
Ireland mostly) than wool as sheep had not yet begun to make serious
inroads yet. With more sheep, the woolen weaving industry followed.
In a very general way, depending on fashion of a certain time and of
course the wealth of the individual, just look at what anyone else in
Europe was wearing at any certain time and a good basic idea will
emerge. For instance - compare a portrait of England's Henry VIII with
his Scottish contemporary James V - one will almost always see they
are wearing near identical styles of clothes. Not a kilt ever to be
seen on James, King of Scots.

The "little kilt", what you see today worn as the wrap around pleated
garment, is ascribed to invention in the 1720's. It was eventually
taken up and preserved by the British military in the Highland
Regiments - in fact most of what is called "Highland Attire" today was
ironically either preserved or invented by the British Army Highland
Regiments in their dress and then also invented by or for said
regiments. The "little" kilt was adopted for use by the military as
soon as the expense and cumbersomeness of the 'great" kilt was seen
(i.e. by 1800). Glengarry caps are a military invention of about the 1820's,
not adopted for regulation use until the 1850's. Sgian Dubhs (or some such
knife) were normally carried under the jacket until officers of the
Black Watch started sticking them in their kilt hose in the 1840's,
then it caught on with everyone else.

Metal Clan bonnet badges date from the early Victorian era and copied
as a style from the regimental bonnet badges (the symbols within
the badges may be ancient - it is the idea of the Clan metal/pin
on badges themselves that is new - the usual Clan bonnet badge
was a sprig of a local plant). Feather bonnets are another
military invention. The cut and style of most modern "kilt jackets"
are off-shoots of military patterns. The writings of Sir Walter
Scott, the Royal visit of George IV in full "Highland" regalia
(organized by Scott), and the works of others such as the
spurious "Sobieski Stuart" brothers, all in the early 1800's,
followed by the keen interest and love of Scotland by Queen
Victoria all helped in the "fad" of things Scottish in the 19th
century. This is not to debunk Scottish "history" or pride, but
just to put the true face on the matter. What people wore in
Scotland, whether Highland or Lowland, - just as it is today -
imitated or was influenced by the rest of Britain/Europe/Western
civilization. Until fairly recently, only the poorest of the poor
would only own a piece of material to wrap around themselves.
No Highland "Chief" worth his name would have been caught dead in
such a low-class garment!  -- Not until it became "fashionable"
that is, well into the 1700's and mostly in the early 1800's.

References on the history of the kilt
Beyond the Pale: A Survey of Gaelic Garb, 1500-1650_
Compiled by Ld. Cormac MacCliuin O'Domnaill. Reprint Copyrighted 1987 by
Moongate Designs. (Good one for no kilt pre1575)

A short history of the Scottish dress, R.M.D. Grange; London 1966.

The costume of Scotland, John Telfer Dunbar; B.T.Batsford, Ltd., L
ondon, 1981.

History of Highland Dress, by the same author, is a more comprehensive
work, including photos of pre 1745 tartans and other details.

The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, James Logan and R.R.McIan, first
published 1845, Reprinted 1980 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., NY (This source
must be used with caution, as not all the author's information is accurate).

Highland Clans and Tartans by RW Munro.

Companion to Gaelic Scotland, edited by Derick S. Thomson, published by
Gairm (Glasgow)

For info on doing the traditional plaid outfit (Great Kilt,
feilidh-bhreacain)like the costumes in Braveheart, see

See also
See [12.5] for information on tartans
See [12.6] for Where to buy/hire kilts and Highland accessories
See [12.7] for information on Kirking of the Tartans
See [12.3] for info regarding what is worn under the kilt
History of the Kilt
Evolution of the kilt
Celtic Dress of the 16th Century

[12.4] Plaid

Plaid (pronounced "plad") is the name of the material which is used for
making kilts. It isn't the name of the pattern on the material, this is
called "tartan". In the US, plaid is sometimes pronounced "plaid" and
usually refers to the material - plaid and tartan are interchangeable
terms there, they aren't in Scotland.

Ray Dunn adds:
"plaid" is also the specific name for the tartan "cape" worn over the
shoulder in full "highland dress", e.g. by pipers.
In my experience, from my long gone pipe band days, this was indeed
called a "plaid" and not a "plad".

Dwelly wrote in 1901 under the entry for "fe/ileadh-bhreacain"
The kilted plaid. This consisted of twelve yards or more of narrow
tartan, which was wrapped around the middle, and hung down to the knees.
It was more frequently fastened round the middle by a belt, and then it
was called "breacain-an-fhe/ilidh" or "fe/ilidh-bhreacain". The breacain,
or plaid part of this dress, was, according to occasion, wrapped round
the shoulders, or fastened on the left shoulder with a brooch (brai\sd)
of gold, silver or steel, according to the wealth of the wearer. By
this arrangment there was nothing to impede the free use of the

[12.5] Tartan and Tartan Day

Tartan Day

History of Tartan Day
Dear Craig;

I was just looking at your site and thought I would drop you a line.
With reference to Tartan Day you may wish to link to

Tartan Day started in Canada in 1986 with a motion passed at a meeting of the
Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia that we should have a date to
honour our forebearers who came to this country (Canada) and through faith,
hard work, and determination went on to help build our country and others
like it. We encouraged all to wear the tartan on April 6th. We picked
April 6th because it was the date of the signing of the Declaration of
Arbroath in Scotland hand had strong significant meaning to Scots.

I was put as a one person committee to promote the date and it has now
spread from coast to coast in the provinces in Canada with Quebec
declaring it in 2003. We are happy and pleased that the USA picked up
on Tartan Day once it was passed in Ontario and it has become a large
event there

We are still working to have it put on calendars and we hope this will
gradually be achieved

yours very truly
Jean MacKaracher-Watson

Tartan day in the US
April 6th 1998 was declared National Tartan Day in the US for the first
time. This date was chosen because 6th April 1320 was the date of the
signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (see [11.3]). Coincidentally, this
document formed the basis for the US Declaration of Independence. See

The official Scottish government website for Tartan Day is at

Tartan Day domains available

History of Tartan
Dwelly (Gaelic Dictionary - published 1901) writes (under breacan)
Parti-coloured cloth was used by the Celts from earliest times, but the
variety of colours in the breacan was greater or less according to the
rank of the wearer. That of the ancient kings had seven colours, that of
the druids six, and that of the nobles four. In the days of Martin the
tartans seemed to be used to distinguish the inhabitants of different
districts, and not the members of different families as at present. He
expressely says that the inhabitants of the various islands were not all
dressed alike, but that the setts and colours of the various tartans
varied from isle to isle. As he does not mention the use of a special
pattern by each family, it would appear that such a distinction is a
modern one, and taken from the ancient custom of a tartan for each
district, the family or clan originally most numerous in each part
eventually adopting as their distinctive clan tartan the tartan of
such district. Martin's information was not obtained on hearsay,
he was born in Skye and reared in the midst of Highland customs.

MacLennan (Gaelic dictionary - published 1925) writes (under breacan)
A parti-coloured dress, used by the Celts from the earliest times.
"Breacan an fhe/ilidh", the belted plaid (consisting of twelve yards
of tartan, worn round the waist, obliquely across the breast and
over the left shoulder, and partly depending backwards). According
to Keating it was the custom in ancient time to have one colour in
the form of a slave, two in the dress of a peasant, three in the
dress of a soldier or young lord, four in the dress of a brughaidh
(land-holder), five in the dress of a district chief, six in the
dress of an ollamh, and in that of a King and Queen.

This info about number of tartan colours and rank should perhaps
be taken with a pinch of salt.

The use of tartan in Scotland predates the kilt as tartan appeared
as a design before the small kilt was invented. The first recorded
use of the modern kilt was in 1575, but the use of tartan predates
this significantly.

See also
Scottish Tartan Society

Also see:
- displays about 60 tartans

the Tartan Finder
A combination of a Java program and an online database that can be
used to browse a collection of tartans with a web browser. There's
currently about 270 setts online, adapted from the popular X-Windows
program xtartan.

See [12.7] for information on Kirking of the Tartans

[12.6] Where to buy/hire kilts and Highland accessories

See [12.3] for information on kilts and their history.

(US and Canada sections follow)

Tartan Web
ML12 6HH
Telephone: +44 (0) 1899 22 00 88
Fax: +44 (0) 1899 22 04 47

Ann Higgins Kiltmaker
5 Fife Street
AB55 4AL
Tel/Fax (01340) 821136
Ann supplies locally and mail-order to the U.S. and other places.

Geoffrey (tailor) Highland Crafts Ltd
57-59 High Street (2 doors up from John Knox's house)
Royal Mile, Edinburgh
EH1 1SR, Tel: 0131 557 0256

on-line at

They are also always at the Texas Scottish Festival.
Someone added: They have made one of my kilts and are quite good.

Their Edinburgh shop is open 7 days and late on Thursday.
Although it's on the Royal Mile, the prices should be reasonable.
They hire outfits; sell outfits and also sell ex-hire outfits.
Note that women in Scotland don't wear kilts, they wear kilted skirts.

Hugh Macpherson, Ltd.
Jean Macpherson, Managing Director
17 West Maitland Street
EH12 5EA
Tel: 0131 225 4008
Fax: 0131 225 9823
(this shop is also known as Macphersons of Haymarket)

We currently do a good amount of trade particularily to USA over the web

Celtic Craft Centre
Paisley Close
101 High Street
"The Royal Mile"

Kinloch Anderson Ltd
Commercial Street / Dock Street
Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6EY
Telephone: +44 (0)131 555 1355
Fax: +44 (0)131 555 1392

Stewart Highland Supplies

Brave Trading
316 Shields Road

Tel 01698 230720
Mobile 07932 066428

Houston Traditional Kiltmakers
Houston Kiltmakers are a third generation family run business with
over 90 years experience as gentlemans outfitters, Highlandwear &
Tartan Specialists. They do a massive range of tartans, and can
produce any tartan to buy.
Tel: +44 141 889 4879
Tel: 0800 072 0386

In the US

Great Scot
P.O. Box 1817
Nashville, Indiana  47448
(812)988-8094 (fax)

Scottish Lion
The Scottish Lion Import Shop is located in North Conway,
New Hampshire, USA, where, for the last 27 years we have been offering
fine Scottish, Irish and British imported items. They are the largest
mail order catalogue and store in the eastern U.S and large wedding rental
business with the kilt and Prince Charlie jackets.
Tel: 603-356-5517

Geoffrey Tailor Highland Crafts
17 Greenwood Dr.
South San Francisco, CA 940080
Tel 800 566 1467

There is a kiltmaker named Ann Stewart, of Leeds, New York, whose work is
apparently very good. She shows at the St. Andrew's Society Scottish
Festivals in Goshen, CT. Ann's e-mail address as listed in their latest
program is; telephone (518) 943-0975
Address is 384 Main Street, Catskill, NY, 12414.
Don't know what her prices are, just that her work is good.

J. Higgins Ltd.
P.O. Box 14341
Lenexa, KS. 66215

Highland Heritage Ltd.
1601 Concord Pike, Suite 69
Wilmington, De. 19803
(302) 656-4007

Scottish Products
(212) 687-2505 m,t,th,f 11:30-5:30

Tartan Imports of Florida
813 or 888-734-3606 margret 10-1 atlantic

The Village Weaver
Center for the Arts
ll785 Highway 441 N.
Tallulah Falls, GA  30573
(mailing address: P.O. Box 7l, Dillard, GA 30537)
Tel: 706-746-2287
(hand weaver only, not a full service retailer of all things

Celtic Craft Centre
1323 Columbus Ave
Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco, CA  94133
800-535-5458    or   415-567-6520
415-567-5918 fax      10-5:30 T-SA

Scottish Heritage Center
Queen Mary Seaport
1119 Queen's Highway
Long Beach, CA  90802
310-499-1760          10-6  365days/year

Hector Russell Scottish Imports
83 University Street
The Harbor Steps Seattle
WA 98101
Phone: (206)242-1768, (206)242-0291
Fax:  (206)439-8066

Texas Scottish Festival Association

Patrick Roper
Northchannel Kilts
(206) 706-0757

Rob McCarthy
McCarthy Highland Services
61 Borealis Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1K 4T5
phone: (613) 842-3288

Burnett's & Struth Scottish Regalia Ltd

61 Patterson Road
Barrie, Ontario L4N 3V9

Phone: (705) 728-3232
Fax: (705) 728-2962

MacLeods Scottish Shops
80 Ontario Street
Ontario, N5A 3H2
Ph.: (519) 273-5850 Fax: (519) 273-6287

MacNeils Scottish Imports
1825 Avenue Road
Toronto, Canada

The Scottish Company
4687 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M2N 5M3
(416) 223-1314

Scottish Factory Outlet

The Kiltmaker
704 Arlington Park Place
Kingston, Ontario
K7M 7N7
Tel: (613) 634-4118

[12.7] Kirking of the tartans

by Tom McRae.

To give you an idea of the pseudo Scottery we have to put up with here I'm
appending something I put out over on H-ALBION British History Group. Not a
single respondent cited an example of this silly bit o' Brigadoonery in
Scotland. My name's mud with the local so-called Clans Congress, if they
only knew I've hardly started yet. I'm currently doing a long series of
articles on the early Scottish National Movement and am just recovering
from the trauma of doing 3 articles covering the West Coast Insurrection of
1820 and its ghastly repercussions. I'm quite narked with the S.N.P. as I
wrote to them in Edinburgh outlining my project and asking for information
on its history for inclusion in later articles. Three months later I have
still to receive the courtesy of a reply. Seems they've yet to get their
act together.

Tom McRae

Kirking of the Tartans
On a Sunday close to St Andrew's Day this ceremony is practised in at
least Sydney and Brisbane. Organised by the local Clans Congress it
involves clan leaders marching into some presbyterian or uniting church
in strict order of precedence. (I neither know, nor care who follows
who). They are led in by someone carrying a saltire flag alongside
another with the Australian flag. Clan tartans are worn and so-called
clan banners are carried in the procession. Highlight of the ceremony
is when wee bits of tartan are brought out and prayed over or blessed.

If people enjoy themselves marching up and down like this I've no
objection. What concerns me is the mythos developed around the rite. It
all started, so the story goes, when the tartan was banned after the
fall of Bonnie Prince Charlie. To cherish its memory parishioners took
wee bits of the stuff to kirk every sabbath to have it blessed, the
ceremony has persisted up until today.

Nice tale, but garbage!

First off Charlie's army consisted largely of Roman Catholics and
Scottish Episcopaleans. Had they won the Kirk would probably have been
oppressed yet again. Presbyterians of the time had no truck with the
Jacobites, they'd suffered too much already at the hands of Stewart

Second point. Blessing of bits of cloth, or anything else inanimate,
was anathema to all good Calvinists. Any kirk goers practising such
rites would have been severely dealt with.

Thirdly. No native born Scot I've discussed the matter with recalls
such a ceremony in Scotland. Any group stupid enough to act out such a
pantomime would have been laughed out of the church.

Fourth I've searched historical records but could find no mention of
the ceremony. In desperation I consulted the encyclopaedic "Dictionary
of the Scottish Language" There are dozens of entries on tartan and on
kirk and kirking; not one makes mention of this rite. I then went to a
dictionary of the older Scottish tongue, once again no records.

Finally. If this is true where are all those wee bits of tartan? Surely
they' have become cherished family heirlooms. After the banning the
tartan sticks used to mark out traditional weaves were destroyed; we
don't know what pre '45 tartans looked like, apart from a few
paintings. Those we use today are post 1780. Relics of the early
tartans would be invaluable to Scottish history so where have they all
gone to?

I wrote the whole thing up in the newsletter of our Scottish radio
programme group here in Brisbane. In my article I promised that if
anyone could give me proof of this ceremony's antiquity I would gladly
recant. Six months later the sole response was a letter from the
Secretary of our local Clans Congress complaining bitterly at my unfair
attack. I answered his letter gently pointing out the questionable
origins of the Kirking but never received reply. My main objection is
the ridiculous light in which this sort of Brigadoonery puts real Scots
culture. Best example of this was some years back in Sydney. After the
Kirking ceremony all the clan leaders and their retinues marched from
the kirk to New South Wales' Upper House of Parliament, In they
marched, banners awave, up to the bar of the House. Members were
discussing some legislation and totally ignored them, after standing
like gallahs for 10 minutes or so all they could do was about turn and
march out again.

I seem to have traced the origins of the thing to New York State,
U.S.A. where a presbyterian minister invented it as a war bond scheme.
Any information from The States, Canada, etc would be appreciated. Best
of all can any Scots tell me I'm wrong and that the ceremony is a
genuine hand me down from the days of The '45?

Regards Tom Mc Rae


Tom Mc Rae
Entomology Department
University of Queensland
BRISBANE  Qld 4072
Home (011617)3713966
Work (011617)3652196
Fax  (011617)3651922

Additional Information
Some subsequent research has turned up the following:

What has become known as "Kirking of the Tartans" was introduced in the
United States by the Rev. Peter Marshall in April 27, 1941 at New York
Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Marshall was a Scottish immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1927 at
age 24 (ergo, born @1903), was the pastor of NYAPC until his death in
1949 and served as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1947-1949.

[12.8] Scotch

This is a term used to mean various things, but is now considered mildly
offensive when referring to people - generally use "Scots" for people
and "Scottish" for everything else. Whisky is usually not referred to
as "Scotch" - see note on whisky [13.4]

Historically, the word was widely used in Scotland as a adjective meaning
the same as "scottish". In fact, it was not until circa 1925 that the
Scotch Education Department became the Scottish Education Department.

Burns used the word Scotch

"The sma', droop-rumpled, hunter cattle,
Might aiblins waur'd thee for a brattle;
But sax Scotch miles, thou tried their mettle,
An' gart them whaizle:
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O' saugh or hazel."
("The Auld Farmer's New Year Morning Salutation To His Auld
Mare, Maggie")

In The Oxford Companion To The English Language, OUP 1992, there
is an entry on "Scotch", written by Professor A. J. Aitken, Honorary
Professor, University of Edinburgh, formerly editor of "A Dictionary
of the Older Scottish Tongue."

"SCOTCH: A late 16th century contraction of "Scottish", first
in Early Modern English then in Older Scots. It ousted
"Scottish" as the prevailing form in England. In Scotland, the
native form "Scots" predominated until in the 18c Anglicizing
vogue "Scotch" became fashionable in both countries.

In the early 19th c., however, some Scottish writers were
expressing doubts about it as a supposed innovation and
returning to the more traditional "Scottish" and "Scots", while
others, such as J. A. H. Murray, editor of the OED, continued to
use it.

By the early 20th c., disapproval of "Scotch" by educated Scots
was so great that its use was regularly discountenanced by
teachers, except for such entrenched phrases as Scotch broth,
Scotch mist, Scotch terrier, Scotch tweed, Scotch whisky.

In England and North America, "Scotch" has remained the dominant
form into the late 20c, although awareness of middle-class
Scottish distaste for it has been spreading. The OED
Supplement, (1982) reported that in deference to Scottish
sensibilities the English have been abandoning "Scotch" for
"Scottish" and less frequently "Scots", and prefer "the Scots"
to "the Scotch" as the name of the people.

Paradoxically, for working-class Scots the common form has long
been "Scotch" (sometimes written "Scoatch") and the native form
Scots is sometimes regarded as an Anglicized affectation."

The concise OED (publ 1999) states that the use "Scotch" for
the people of Scotland is "dated".

[12.9] Scottish Wedding Information

Scottish Weddings
Traditional wedding customs in Scotland

Info: The Blacksmith shop in Gretna Green is Scotland's second most
popular free tourist attraction after Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the
third most popular tourist attraction if you include paid attractions
(Edinburgh Castle is the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland).

Weddings in Scotland
Information supplied by

Highland Weddings
Information supplied by the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board

Orkney courtship and marriage traditions

Romantic Scotland
Destinations for romantic breaks, weddings and honeymoons in Scotland

A traditional Celtic way of signifying an engagement. If you want a
handfasting ceremony, speak to Scotland's only Celtic Bishop, the Most Rev
William Mackie (sorry, no contact details).

Scottish Wedding vows in Gaelic and English
Source: Sabhal Mor Ostaig

Gaelic wedding blessing
Supplied by Christopher Lau, University of Calgary

Mi\le fa\ilte dhuit le d'bhre/id,
Fad do re/ gun robh thu sla\n.
Mo/ran la\ithean dhuit is si\th,
Le d'mhaitheas is le d'ni\ bhi fa\s.

Translated as:

"A thousand welcomes to you with your marriage kerchief,
may you be healthy all your days. May you be blessed
with long life and peace, may you grow old with
goodness, and with riches."

This is attributed to the Rev. Donald MacLeod, minister of Duirinish,
Skye, Scotland c. 1760.

The bit about the marriage kerchief probably isn't applicable these days,
so you could just ignore it (any Bards fancy thinking up a suitable

Celtic wedding rings

Ortak - traditional Scottish jewellery. Shops around Scotland.
Domain available

11812 North Creek Pky N, Suite 103
Bothell WA 98011 USA
Celtic jewellery from Wales

UK Weddings
General info about UK weddings. Not much Scottish content

[12.10] The Church of Scotland

The home page for the church of Scotland is at

A chart showing the various churches in Scotland is available

The Scottish Bible Society

[12.11] Choosing a Scottish name for your child

Scottish Names
Scottish Christian Names by Leslie Alan Dunkling
ISBN 0717946061
Publishers Johnston & Bacon, PO Box 1, Stirling, Scotland
"Christian name", now that's a term which has rapidly vanished
from use!

Note, if you want to change your name in Scotland you have to do
this by deed poll in order for official (UK) government bodies to
recognise it, even though a deed poll is an English legal instrument.

Scottish Gaelic names
Ainmean Chloinne
Scottish Gaelic names for Children, by Peadar Morgan.

Available from
The Gaelic Books Council
22 Mansfield Street
G11 5QP
Tel: 0141 337 6211

Published by Taigh na Teud, Breacais Ard, Skye. ISBN 1871931401

Information from the register of births regarding the most popular names
used in Scotland 1900-2000 is available at
for 2001, the information is here

The most popular children's names in Scotland in 2003 are listed here:

Medieval Names
For info on pre-1600 Scottish names (for all you SCA people), click on the
"Scottish Names Resources" link at

[12.12] Couthie on the Craigie - Hyperreal Scottish culture

Written by Martin Burns,
(this was written a few years ago)

Couthie on the Craigie

Scotland the Hyperreal and the Unionist paradigm

In recent weeks, an advertising campaign for Grant's whisky has
utilised proverbial-sounding pseudo-Scots phrases such as Couthie on
the Craigie, and challenged the Scots public to work out their
meaning. Whether the phrases have any meaning is irrelevant to the
perceptional objectives of the campaign - an image of an authentic
Scotland is created. It is my objective to explore this hyper-reality,
and to discuss what relevance it has to the Unionist paradigm.

John Major sought to plant a sense of Britishness in the face of a
greater Europeanisation by calling to an identity which all know to
have passed, but which nevertheless retains substantial power as a
mythical landscape:

Fifty years from now, Britain will still be the country of long
shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs,
and - as George Orwell said - old maids bicycling to holy communion
through the morning mist. And, if we get our way, Shakespeare will still
be read - even in school. Britain will survive in all essentials.

Similarly, from as early as the eighteenth century, the landscape of
Scotland is represented as a mythical one. Guidebooks and travel
writing emphasised wild grandeur, remoteness and peace, and a
romantic history. The process of myth-making can be observed in
paintings. The eighteenth century artist Paul Sandby produced two
paintings. The first - painted in the early part of the century -
shows straightforward realistic detail. The second of thirty years
later shows the same mountains made more rugged, with fir trees and a
man in a kilt added, presumably for greater authenticity. In the twentieth
century, this fiction is still perpetuated. Scottish Tourist Board
publications represent Scotland as having peopleless, dramatic landscapes,
the everyday melting into the exotic and majestic icons of castles and
pipers. As Womack noted:

That all Scots wear tartan, are devoted to bagpipe music,
are moved by the spirit of clanship and supported Bonnie Prince
Charlie to a man - all these libels of 1762 live on as items in the
Scottish tourist package of the twentieth century.

These representations of Scotland show an almost hysterical rush from
the reality to the image, where the sign has more potency than the
reality if it carries a greater impression of reality. This is
clearly demonstrated in the Grant's campaign, and in such works as
Capercaille's 1993 album, "Secret People" in which Gaelic songs are
given a greater authenticity by the not being translated. This
reflects Baudrillard's conclusion that Art today has totally
penetrated reality, and is a classic demonstration of post-modern

But why does Scotland place such an emphasis on cultural and historical
signifiers, rather than political ones? Why are Scots content with being
"Ninety minute Nationalists" at Murrayfield and Hampden Park? And why is
there a separation between the two discourses? Scots such as Michael
Forsyth are more than happy to value aspects of Scottish cultural
difference. Why  then does it take the prospect of electoral
suicide to force him to recognise political difference?

There is perhaps no more potent symbol of political power in Scotland
than Edinburgh Castle. In any nation, a castle in such a prominent
place would be a symbol of national pride. In Scotland, the castle
flies the Union flag, a flag which grows every year, particularly
when Edinburgh is the centre of national attention. And yet, the
castle is a key element in the marketing iconography of Scotland. How
is this allowed by the people of Scotland?

The answer is that they no longer need the threat of military action,
and the power over their bodies which was required for Wallace and
the Jacobites. The people of Scotland have internalised the political
power which England has over Scotland. As the Westminster parliament
commented shortly after the signing of the Act of Union:
(on-line at

We have catch'd Scotland, and we will bind her fast.

This Foucaultian episteme predicts that once such an internalised
system of power is established, no substantial political opposition
is possible. And yet, to be effective, such a discourse has to be
seen as productive and enabling rather than coercive. While there is
certainly a demand for greater autonomy for Scotland, the general
opinion - as measured by the support for the manifestly unionist
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parties - is that there is
value in the Union. It is a central plank of the ideological makeup
of the Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland that Scotland is a
financial - in terms of the Barnet funding formula - and political -
in terms of the number of Westminster seats for it's population -
beneficiary of its constitutional position. That it has been shown
to be the reverse is not acceptable to those who have internalised
English domination.

However, it is to be noted that this internalisation of power is by
no means universal. A symbolic reclaiming of power took place at
Edinburgh Castle in 1991, and Stirling Castle in 1994 when the Gaelic
band Runrig played a number of concerts. That this was allowed at all
was a significant retreat by the strongly Unionist military
establishments which have responsibility for the sites. In creating a
discourse of the acceptability of an internalised acceptance of the
Unionist hegemony, it was necessary to create excluded groups. Runrig,
in common with much of Scottish traditional music embodies many of these
excluded threats to the peace of mind of the British state.

Excluded histories have long been a rich vein of material for
folk-songs in Scotland and its close musical cousin, Ireland.
There is a dictum within folk music circles that the victors write
the history books, while the vanquished write the songs. Songs
articulate the experience of working people - on the land or in cities:

        Come bonny lass lie near me, and let the brandy cheer ye
        For the road fae Fife tae Falkirk's lang and wet and weary.
        Ma trade it is the weavin', fae the boony toun o' Leven
        And I'll drink a health tae the fairmers' dames wha'll buy
        my cloth the morn

        Well ye can see them a', the lads o' the Fair;
        Lads fae the Forth and the Carron water
        Workin' lads and Lads wi' gear;
        Lads wha'll sell ye the Provost's daughter;
        Soldiers back fae the German wars;
        Fiddlers up fae the Border
        And Lassies wi' an eye for mair than the kye
        at the Trystin' Fair at Falkirk

Songs enable those outwith the Anglophone community to express their
world view as here, or in the Scots extract above:

        Failte gu mo chainnt
        Welcome to my language
        Is i dh'ionnsaicht mi 'nam phaisde
        The one I learned as a child
        Canan uasal mor nan Ghaidheal
        The huge dignified language of the Gael
        Mar bhratach dhomh gach la
        That stands like a banner for me daily

Direct political comment is also common in the Celtic tradition,
particularly in relation to Ireland. The following extract was
written by Bobby Sands for his comrades from Derry in the H-Blocks,
and sung out through the keyhole to them.

In 1803 we sailed out to sea, out from the sweet town of Derry
For Australia bound if we didn't all drown and the marks of our
fetters we carried.
In rusty iron chains we sighed for our wains, as our good wives
we left in sorrow.
As the mainsails unfurled our curses we hurled at the English and
thoughts of tomorrow.

Oh Oh Oh Oh I wish I was back home in Derry
Twenty years have gone by and I've ended me bond and comrades'
ghosts are behind me
A rebel I came, and I'll die the same. On the cold winds of night
you will find me.

Finally songs enabled immigrants - particularly the Irish immigrants
- and travelling people to speak for themselves, or to have singers
speak on their behalf:

        Don't forget your shovel if you want to go to work
        Or you'll end up where you came from like the rest of
        us...diggin'....Ow di diddle ow

        And we want to go to heaven but we're always diggin' holes
        Well there's one thing we can say, we know where we are goin'
        -Any chance of a start? - No - ok

        Enoch Powell will give us a job, diggin' our way to Annascaul
        And when we're finished digging' there he'll close the hole and all

        Now there's six thousand five hundred and fifty-nine Paddies
        over in London all trying to dig their way back to Annascaul
        and very few of them boys is going to get back at all
        - I think that's terrible.

        Born on the common by a building site
        Where the ground was rutted by the trail of wheels
        The local Christian said to me
        "You'll lower the price of property"
        You'd better get born in some place else.
        Move along, get along
        Go! Move! Shift!

But whose excluded history does Scottish popular culture represent?
One problem is that all the role models presented are essentially
masculine. Military heroes such as Bruce or Wallace, socialist
leaders such John MacLean or James Connolly, writers such as Scott or
Burns only speak in a masculine voice. Even the leading contemporary
Gaelic writers - Aongus Dubh, Sorley Maclean and Calum Macdonald of
Runrig speak of a masculine landscape. Only the waulking songs
preserve a female voice, and even that is a voice which often spoke
at the request of men, reciting the story of battle victory and spoils:

        Chunna' mi do long air saile
        I saw your longship on the sea
        Hi 'illean beag ho ill o ro

        Bha stuir oir oirr' 's da chrann airgid
        There was a helm of gold on her, and two silver masts
        Hi 'illean beag ho ill o ro

        'S cupaill de shioda na Gaillmhinn
        And shrouds of Galway silk
        Hi 'illean beag ho ill o ro

In pondering the desirability of reconstructing a Celtic identity, it
is perhaps useful to consider why such a reconstruction has become so
attractive in recent years. To claim the Highlands is to claim the
identity of a residual Celtic nation, a pre-industrial nation. This
claim axiomatically rejects the capitalist hegemony, as is echoed by the
contrast between Edwin Muir's socialist interpretation of the cities of
Glasgow and Edinburgh, and this more sympathetic treatment of Scotland's
countryside in his Scottish Journey. Such a rejection is inherent in
youth movements since the 1960's, and it is perhaps surprising that
a Celtic identity has only recently come to prominence. Any cultural
signifiers which mark a Highland culture would be expected to be
appropriated to support this assumption of identity. It is therefore
no surprise that wearing of Tartan - independently of Vivien Westwood
- ceilidh dancing, musical genres such as Puirt a Beul and above all
an interest in Gaelic language have grown at a substantial rate among
young people in Lowland Scotland.

Such a preference of the hyper-reality of Scotland the mythical-Brave
over Scotland the late-twentieth-century-Reality positively
disenfranchises the people of Scotland from the political and
socio-economic process. As Brian McNeill and Hamish Henderson savagely

        And tell me will we never hear the end
        o' poor bloody Charlie and Culloden yet again
        though he ran like a rabbit in the glen
        leavin' better folk to be butchered
        Or are you sittin' in your council house thinkin' o' your clan
        Waitin' for the Jacobites to come and free the land?
        Try goin' doon the broo wi' a claymore in your hand
        and then count all the princes in the queue.

        For there's no Gods and there's precious few heroes,
        but there's plenty on the dole in the land of the leal.
        And it's time now to sweep the future clear o'
        the lies of a past that we know was never real.

Given that cultural signifiers have been created to enforce the Unionist
paradigm, is it then necessary to proscribe references to them before
political change is possible? Cultural signifiers can be used as part of
a mobilisation of a political will. However, it is necessary to use them
as a means of awakening interest in political gains only, otherwise they
become tools of a system of power which emasculates the political process.

[12.13] Burns night / St Andrews Day / Tartan Day

Burns night: 25th January

Tartan Day, 6th April - See [12.5]

Bannockburn Day: 24th June (not widely observed)

St Andrews Day: 30th November

None are a holiday in Scotland!

Info on Robert Burns at [5.2]
Info on Burns night at

Contact regarding using the following domains

If you want reminded of any of these events, these services might
be of interest: (recommended) (free) (not free, but no advertising)

[12.14] Saint Andrew's society

Saint Andrew's Society  - an International Scots network, with
information on all Scottish societies, pipe bands, Burns societies,
haggis eaters etc. worldwide
PO Box 84
Contact: Michael Brander

Michael has also written a directory of World Scottish Associations
ISBN 1-897784-27-9

[12.15] Christmas Customs

Christmas itself was until recent times a purely Religious festival and
New Year was and still is the main holiday for Scots. Christmas was not
traditionally celebrated in Scotland because it was banned for nearly 400
years until the 1950's. Hogmanay was the real traditional celebration.
The reason Christmas was not celebrated until recently go back to the time
of John Knox in the 1580's as it was seen to be papist in origin - the ban
was strictly enforced in law.

Until recently, Christmas was fairly low key. It wasn't even a public holiday
until 1958. Up till then, people worked normally on Christmas day, although
the children did get presents. Therefore the Christmas 'traditions' in
Scotland are pretty much the same modern US version. If you wanted to have
a real traditional  Scottish Christmas, you should go into work on
Christmas day! In 1997/98 and 2001/2002 there were strikes at Scottish
banks because the bank staff were getting English holidays rather than
the Scottish ones which have more time off at New Year.

As a result, most if not all Christmas celebrations nowadays have been
brought in from other cultures (notable England and the US) and thus
I'd be interested in finding out about Christmas customs unique to
Scotland prior to the 20th century.

Presumably both Christmas and New Year are both linked to the ancient
midwinter festival; with Christmas being created as a means to make the
early Christian church more acceptable to the pagans who already had a
festival about that time. The same was done for Easter. Thus there a
few similarities between the Halowe'en traditions and the New Year. In
many parts of the Highlands there are traditional New Year celebrations
which follow the Julian calendar and fall on Jan 12th. On this night,
girls would celebrate "Hallowe'en" whilst boys would celebrate New Year.

There are some Christmas Scottish tunes at

South Uist customs
Article by Bill Innes

Christmas (as a non-religious celebration) is a fairly recent importation
into Scotland.

When I was a little lad, Santa Claus didn't visit us on Christmas Day.
He would be coming after Hogmanay Night on the first day of the
New Year, although we had a Christmas tree and although we had
Christmas parties in the church hall.

The celebration of Christmas was complicated by varying church
attitudes. The day itself was chosen by the early church to replace
the pagan midwinter solstice celebrations - which is why some Christmas
customs have a pagan connection. Although my own island of South Uist
was remarkable for the high level of peaceful co-existence between
different faiths, the Presbyterian churches tended to regard Christmas
as a Catholic feast and ignored it almost completely -which is why
Scotland's celebrations were transferred to New Year's Eve. Even in
South Uist some Protestants would go out to work on Christmas day -
unless of course it fell on the Sabbath. In Carmichael's "Carmina
Gadelica" you will find that some of the rituals now associated with
New Year were originally part of the Christmas celebration. Even in
Catholic households in the old days it was very much a religious feast
centred round Midnight Mass - with none of the commercialism and ritual
gift-giving of to-day for the simple reason that people were too poor.
Those of you familiar with South Uist will understand why there were
no Christmas trees. :-)

See also [12.16]

[12.16] Hogmanay customs

Hogmanay Festivals
Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Glasgow's Hogmanay

The Silver Bough
A four volume study of the national and local festivals of Scotland
by F. Marian McNeill
Vol. 3 Hallowe'en to Yule  (also covers Hogmanay!)
ISBN 0-948474-04-1

available from:

Stuart Titles
268 Bath Street
Glasgow G2 4JR
Phone:  0141 332-8507

Full of things done by both Highlanders and Lowlanders in the olden days
(and perhaps some still today) to celebrate the new year.

Auld Lang Syne
The original tune for Robert Burns Auld Lang Syne is available off and

Note, this is the tune which Burns wrote and which he set the lyrics to.
It is not the version which most people currently sing, that version was
imposed on Burns' lyrics by his publisher.

History of New Year's Day
In 1599 the Privy Council, "undirstanding that in all utheris weill
governit commoun welthis and countreyis the first day of the yeir
begynnis yeirlie upoun the first day of Januare, commounlie callit new
yeiris day..."* resolved that Scotland should from 1 January 1600 start
the New Year on January 1st. Prior to that time the New Year officially
started on March 25th (Lady Day).
Ths change reflects the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in various
European countries from the 1580s.

*See Register of the Privy Council 17 December 1599  _or_
Osborne & Armstrong: Scottish Dates. Birlinn, 1996.

If Jan 1 was already "commounlie callit new yeairis day" then perhaps
Hogmanany was always celebrated on 31 Dec and the Lady Day date was
simply a legal formality - somebody will surely know!

Oidhche Challuinn, Hogmanay, New Year's Eve
The Gaelic name for New Year's day is Calluinn, with lads who go out on
Hogmanay being called "Gillean Calluinne". The name Calluinn is derived
from the Latin "Calendae" (the first day of the month; the day
announcements were called and is related to the word "call"). Thus there
is a link between the Gaelic word "Calluinn" and the English word

The eve of New year's Day was on of supreme importance in the Highlands
and Islands of the West and took precedence even over Christmas. It was
a time of much ceremony and gaiety, but underneath the levity lies a
sinister hint of the old ritual and sacrificial nature of the festival.
The Eve of New Year was known as Oidhche Challuinn, and New Year's Day
as La Challuinn. First Footing is still carried out, as in other parts
of the Highlands, although, as elsewhere, it is a dying custom. Up to
the beginning of the century at least, the festivities of New Year's Eve
were fully in operation and people went round the houses in every town
shop carrying dried cow-hides and chanting special rhymes continuously.
They beat the skins with sticks and struck the walls of the houses with
clubs; this ritual was believed to have an apotropaic effect and to
keep at bay the fairies and evil spirits and hostile forces of every
kind. The part of the hide used was the loose flap of the beasts neck;
this was called in Gaelic caisean-uchd. This they used to singe in the
fire and present it to the members of the family, each in turn; every
member of the household was required to smell it as a charm against all
things evil and harmful. One example of the type of rhyme chanted is as

Great good luck to the house,
Good luck to the family,
Good luck to every rafter in it,
And to every worldly thing in it.

Good luck to horses and cattle,
Good luck to the sheep,
Good luck to everything,
And good luck to all your means.

Luck to the good-wife,
Good luck to the  children,
Good luck to every friend,
Great fortune and health to all.

Carmichael gives the following example of a Hogmanay rhyme:

Tonight is the hard night of Hogmanay,
I have come with a lamb to sell -
The old fellow yonder sternly said
He would strike my ear against a rock.

The woman, better of speech, said
That I should be let in;
For my food and my drink,
A morsel due and something with it.

Apparently lads with no better rhyme used to chant the following:

I have no dislike of cheese,
I have no dislike of butter,
But a little sip of barley bree
I am right willing to put down!

The young people used to travel in groups round their own townships.
In different areas, different rites would be performed at each house,
but some form of Duan Challuinn, 'Hogmanay Poem', would always be
chanted. There were two types of visitation; in one instance the duan
was recited outside the house and the cant described the ritual of
approaching and entering the house. Another duan was sung after the
house had been entered, the caisean Calluig, 'Hogmanay Hide', was beaten.
This is also called the Caisean a' Bhuilg, 'Hide of the Bag'. The basic
form of the ritual was universal in spite of regional variants in ritual
and terminology. These old practices have virtually died out, but the
ancient and pagan ritual discernible in them requires no comment. The
boys who took part in these rites were known as gillean Callaig.
'Hogmanay Lads', and the ceremony was performed at night. One of the
boys was covered with the hide of a bull to which the horns and hooves
were still attached. When they came to a house in some areas they
climbed to the flat edge of the thatched roof and ran round it in a
sunwise direction, the boy, or man, wearing the hide would shake the horns
and hooves, and the others would strike at he bull-man with sticks. He
was meant to be a frightening figure, and apparently the noise of the
ritual beating and shaking of the hide was terrific. After this part of
the ceremony was performed, the boys came down from the roof and recited
their blatantly pagan chants; afterwards they were given hospitality of
the house. The rhyme when the hide was in the process of being struck
was as follows:

Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Strike of the hide,
Strike of the hide,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Beat the skin,
Beat the skin,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Down with it, Up with it;
Strike the hide.
Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,
Down with it, Up with it;
Strike the hide.
Hogmanay of the sack,
Hogmanay of the sack,

The ritual rhyme was of course, chanted in Gaelic. Its very monotony
imparted a certain eerie relentlessness to the ceremony.. When it was
finished, another carol or chant would be sung at the door of the house;
this would praise - in anticipation - the generosity of the occupiers
and would request entry and reward. In some areas the skin was singed
by the man of the house, and the fumes it gave off were believed to have
powers of purification, imparting health to all the family for the next
twelve months. A New Year's blessing, widely used and having a number
of variants, could also be heard in both the island, and the Gaelic
mainland. Pennant records, for the Dingwall region of Easter Ross, that
he was told in the locality that on New Year's Day the people burned
juniper before their cattle to protect them - another custom going back
to Druidic times. He also learnt that on the first Monday of every
quarter, the beasts were sprinkled with urine - a potent evil-averting
substance. Campbell, in his Witchcraft, gives other details of the
Hogmanay ceremony. He says the hide of a cow was wrapped round the head
of one of the men and he went off, followed by the rest of the party who
struck the hide with switches so that it made a booming sound, similar
to the noise of a drum. Again, the procession went three times deiseal,
or sunwise, round every house in each township, beating on the walls of
the house and chanting their rhymes at the door. The amount of drink
taken must have been very considerable and as the evening wore on, the
noise and rowdiness must have been quite alarming. On entering each
house each member of the party was offered refreshments of the
traditional kind - oatmeal, bread and cheese, and meat, followed by a
dram of whisky. The man of the house was then given the caisean-uchd,
which Campbell described as the breast-skin of a sheep which was wrapped
round the point of a shinty stick; this was, as in other instances,
singed in the fire, and carried three times sunwise round the family,
grasped in the right hand, and held to the nose of each person. This
was the focal point of the ritual. Campbell also records that as many
people who wished to do so could carry a caisean, and that it could be
made of goat or deer skin as well as from the breast-skin of a sheep.
The houses were decorated with holly on order to keep out the fairies
always a troublesome race; it was believed that if a boy were whipped
with the branch of this plant it was an assurance that he would live for
as many years as the drops of blood drawn by the sharp holly - a painful
way of ensuring longevity! Cheese, which as we have seen, was believed
to have magical properties was an important item of the festive fare and
the cheese eaten on this occasion was referred to as the caise Calluinn,
the Christmas Cheese. A slice of it was preserved, and if this happened
to have a hole through it, it was believed to have special virtues.
This sacred slice was known as the Laomacha, and a person who had lost
his way at any time during the ensuing twelve months had only to look
through the hole in the slice and he would know where he was - this was
especially valuable to one lost on the hill in the mist. It was
regarded as a very magical festival in every respect, and games of all
kinds were played.

Some of those concerned with the endlessly-fascinating desire to find
out who one's future husband or wife was destined to be. Sometimes the
boys in the a Hogmanay procession were preceded by a piper. No matter
how long or short the chant was, some words at least must be recited.
It was the tradition to keep the fire, which was usually 'smoored' or
extinguished at night, alive all through New Year's night. Only a
friend might approach the sacred blaze, and the candles were likewise
kept burning in the house. This custom gave rise to another name for the
festival, Oidhche Choinnle, 'Candlemass'. These various rites were
performed in the belief that, by observing them, evil would be kept from
the dwelling for the ensuing year. When the fire was being fuelled on
this night, a special incantation was recited, but Campbell was unable
to obtain an example of this. If the fire went out that night, it boded
ill for the coming year, and no neighbour would provide kindling to
light it on the following day. Ritual even accompanied the
extinguishing or 'smooring' of the fires; the putting out of flames was
called in Gaelic 'smaladh an teine'. The main fuel used in the Highlands
and Islands was, of course peat; wood was scarce, and although much more
coal is used today, peat is still burnt. The fire was not entirely
extinguished but kept barely smouldering during the night. Until very
recently the fire was in the centre of the floor of the so-called black
houses, and the embers were smoothed out evenly on the hearth; these
were then covered over with large peats and ashes to prevent the fire
from blazing up in the night, but ensure easy kindling in the morning.
The whole process was regarded with superstition, and was accompanied by
many incantations. One incantation taken down by Carmichael invokes;

The Sacred Three
To save,
To shield,
To surround
The Hearth,
The House,
The Household,
This eve,
This night,
Oh! this eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night.

There are many variants of invocations for this important function of
smooring the fire, all of a sacred nature, and going right back to the
ancient pagan belief in the miraculous power of fire. The kindling in
the morning, on which all domestic comfort depended, had it's own
repertoire of charms and incantations for blessing:

I will raise the hearth-fire
As Mary would.
The encirclement of Bride and St. Mary
On the fire, and on the floor,
And on the household all.

Who are they on the bare floor?
John and Peter and Paul.
Who are they by my bed?
The lovely Bride and her fosterling.
Who are those watching over my sleep?
The fair loving Mary and her Lamb.
Who is that at the back of my head?
The Son of Life without beginning, without time.

Deeply and sincerely Christian as these devout Highlanders were, they
managed to keep the essence of the old religion in being by turning from
the many pagan gods and goddesses - although, as we have seen, some of
these were retained underneath a veneer of Christianity - the many
saints and angels, as well as the Virgin and the Trinity, thus
continuing to surround themselves with divine protection, of a Christian
kind, but according to the ancient pre-Christian formulae.

Campbell, in his Witchcraft, notes that Latha na Bliadhn' Ur, "New Year's
Day" was also known as the Day of Little Christmas. After the family had
got up in the morning, the head of the house gave a dram of whisky to each
member of the household; then a strange custom followed in some areas;
a breakfast was provided of half-boiled sowens - austere fare for a
festive occasion. This was supposed to bring luck to the household.
Campbell does say that this tradition was not observed on Mull,
Morvern or the Western Isles. Then each member of the family
exchanged traditional greetings and did likewise with every person
they met. The boy then went off to play shinty and meanwhile a late
and luxurious breakfast was prepared. Apparently, no substance of any
kind was allowed to be removed from the house on New Year's Day -
dirty water, sweeping from the floor, ashes and so on. If a neighbour's
fire had gone out one must not give fire from one's own house to them;
this was regarded as one of the most unlucky things that could be done.
It would ensure a death within that family during the coming year; it
also gave power to the black witches to take away the produce from the
cattle. No woman should enter the house first on the portentous day.

Extracted from "The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands", By Ann Ross.
1976, Published by Barnes and Noble.

[12.17] New Year Fire Festivals

As midnight strikes on Hogmanay in Comrie a strange, time-honoured
ceremony takes place - the lighting of the Flambeaux, to herald in the
New Year. It is a ceremony that goes back far beyond the memory of folk
and when questioned about its origin, they say "There have aye been
flambeaux, in my father's time and my granfather's".

The flambeaux are great tall torches, some ten feet in length, swathed for
about two feet on top. The poles are usually smallish birch trees which
are cut around October. The swathing is of canvas formly bound to the
shaft with wire, and is subjected to being soaked in a large barrel of
paraffin for several weeks.

On Hogmanay night they are brought out and laid against the dyke at the
northeast corner of the Auld Kirkyaird, and when the clock strikes at
midnight they are set alight. The torches are then seized by the
strongest young men and hoisted shoulder high. Preceded by the Comrie
Pipe band followed by a procession of people gathered in the village
square they are paraded down Drummond Street, back over the Dalginross
Bridge and down Strowan Road to the Square, then along Dunira Street to
the Public Hall in Burrell street and finally returning to the Square.
Once there they are ceremoniously thrown into the river Earn. It takes
strong men to complete the circuit and no shortage of volunteers.

A motley collection of guisers and people in fancy dress add to the
ambiance and there is dancing and laughter. Prizes are awarded for the
best costumes.

Therafter people first foot their family, friends and neighbours. It is
important that a dark - haired "stranger" be allowed into your house
before a fair haired one - this may have something to do with Viking
raids - invariably Vikings were fair haired. The "stranger" may carry
a lump of coal signifying warmth or heat, or a piece of cake signifying
food or Scotch signifying liquid. A good time is then had by all and
sundry. No-one is turned away at the door.

The ceremony may be Druid - to exorcise the witches because people until
very recently believed in witches or it may have something to do with
protecting the village from marauding Vikings or it may have something
to do with the Flems who came there 200 years ago and taught the local
folk how to weave. (Flambeaux = beautiful flames)

Burghead and Stonehaven
The fire festivals are typical of those which used to be held in many
communities in Scotland, but which were largely stamped out
by the Church of Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries. A few
survived, such as the Burning of the Clavie at Burghead (Moray), and the
fireball whirling at Stonehaven. These days they are often an excuse for
the public to consume various quantities of appropriate alcoholic
beverages. The Clavie fire ceremony is conducted under strict accordance
with tradition and takes place around January 1st by the old calendar,
which equates to January 10th/11th.

The Clavie is dated back to pre-Christian times and is held in the
highest regard by the people of Burghead, more than Xmas and
January 1st itself. A position in the Clavie crew (the organisers)
is hereditary, and has been handed down from father to son for many
generations. (I wonder if any women have ever wanted to take part?)
A barrel is halved and filled with tar and faggots, mounted on a pole and
carried round the streets of the town, with burning bits of wood tossed
into doorways where they are snapped up by the joyous householders and
preserved to bring good fortune throughout the year. They used to take
the clavie round ships in the harbour, but after a few accidents this
practice ceased. The clavie is finally mounted in a special pillar on a
mound within the Pictish fort, where it burns itself out. Similar
ceremonies used to occur at other Moray fishing villages, including
Findhorn and Lossiemouth, but this was stamped out by the church in the
17th century. Burghead didn't have a church until the mid-19th century,
so it survived there.

Shetland has a similar fire festival in January "Up helly aa" - this is a
series of fire festivals. The biggest takes place on the last Tuesday in
January and is a procession of flaming torches, carried through the streets
of Lerwick by 'guizers' and led by the Jarl Squad in full Viking costume,
before setting alight a specially built full-size replica longship.
Smaller festivals are held throughout Shetland from January to March, these
are more accessible but still very spectacular.

[12.18] Ba' game, Orkney

No doubt you'll know about this already but one particular custom we
have in Orkney is the Ba'. Although the ba' is played on Christmas Day
and New Year's Day every year, it's origin's were probably in New Year's
Celebrations (The New Year's day Ba' was originally the only one of
any importance until 1880 at which point the Christmas Ba' began to
achieve some stature.)

On Xmas Eve and Hogmanay each year all the householders and shopkeepers
along Kirkwall's main streets barricade up their premises in preparation
for the ba'. The idea of the "game" is that the men of the town are
either "Uppies" or "Doonies" and fight over a cork filled leather ball.
The Uppies must touch the Ba against a wall in the South End of the Town
whereas the Doonies must get the Ba into the water of the Harbour at the
North. The streets are their playing field.

A typical game can go on for hours with a heaving throng of men pushing
and pulling to try and gain a few metres ground. When the crowd breaks
the man with the Ba' will try and get as close to the "goal" as possible
before being stopped again. Numerous tactics are used. Players have been
known to smuggle the ba through Kirkwall's winding lanes and even
attempt to reach their goal via the rooftops.

The origins of the Ba' are uncertain but it may stem from the tradition
of the old year fighting the New. Numerous legends grew up around it's
origin, one being that it stemmed from the defeat of an evil tyrant
named Tusker. A young Orcadian man rowed across the Pentland Firth and
travelled on horseback until he met and defeated Tusker (so called
because of his protruding teeth). The boy severed Tusker's head and was
taking it back to Orkney tied to his saddle when one of Tusker's teeth
punctured the Earl's leg. The wound became infected and the boy died,
but not before making it to the Mercat Cross outside Kirkwall's
cathedral and throwing the head into the midst of the gathered

The people of Kirkwall were so outraged that they kicked the severed
head through the streets in anger - hence the legendary (but
historically untrue) origin of the Ba'. Interestingly this tale parallels
almost exactly a historical campaign by the Orkney Earl Sigurd, who
travelled to the mainland and defeated his enemy Maelbrigte Tusk, a
Scottish Earl. Sigurd defeated Maelbrigte and his men and strapped their
severed heads to the saddles of their mounts. Sigurd spurred his horse
and Maelbrigte's tooth punctured the Earl's leg. This wound poisoned and
Sigurd died and was buried on the mainland.

It's interesting to note the severed head connection with the Ba' and
the Celtic motif of the Beheading Game - most well known via "Gawain and
the Green Knight". One theory as to the origins of the beheading game
motif is that it is all that remains of an ancient new year ritual - the
challenge of the new year (Gawain beheads the knight representing the
old year and symbolically becomes the "New Year" - he is then told by
the beheaded knight that he must return in a year at which time his head
will be struck off) to the old year. Gawain through the head of the
Green Knight to the watching people in the court of Camelot who kicked
the severed head as it rolled around the ground towards them. I wonder
about the connection?

Another possibility of its origin lies in the Orkney legend of the Sea
Mither (the Benign Spirit of the Sea) and her nemesis Teran (spirit of
Winter). These two battle twice per annum - once at the spring equinox
at which time Teran is defeated and bound and again at the Autumn
equinox when Teran breaks free and banishes the sea-mither. The Ba' has
been likened to these struggles and possibly originated as a ritual
contest based on folk memories of the strife between these two

More info at

There is also a lot of information on the Ba' game in Tocher 53.

[12.19] Halloween

The Celtic festival Samhain is one of the four quarter festivals.
In Gaelic it is Samhuinn which means hallow tide or season, the feast of
all-souls. The souls of all the dead are said to be free on that day,
1st November. 1st November was the first day of the Celtic new year and
the transition between old and new year was believed to set free evil
spirits which would visit your house.

Halloween is actually the night before where lanterns (Gaelic: samhnag),
Hallowfires and such are supposed to scare the souls that will emerge at
midnight, away from your house. Samhuinn is also used in Gaelic for the
entire month of November. The name "Samhain" entered Canadian folklore as
"Sam Hain", the name of the guy doll which children would wheel round.

Halloween customs in Scotland these days consist chiefly of children going
door to door "guising" (or "Galoshin" on the south bank of the lower Clyde)
dressing up and offering entertainment of various sorts in return for gifts.
The Witchcraft Act of 1735 contained a clause preventing the consumption
of pork and pastry comestibles on Halloween although these days sausage
rolls seem to a popular treat for children - the act was repealed in
the 1950s.

The children are invariably dressed up as something supernatural or spooky
and the entertainment usually consists of singing, telling a poem or joke
etc. They don't 'trick' you if you do not give, as in America. However,
after the showing of ET in the early 80s, the influence of American "trick
or treating" seems to have become more prevelant at least in England.
Hollowed out turnips with candles in them are sometimes displayed or carried.
Note that many children in America do not 'trick' either.

Halloween parties often consisted of various games, for instance
'Dooking fur aiples' where the children had to bite apples floating in a
basin of water, once they had one by the teeth they could retreive and
obtain it. Sometimes flour would be sprinkled on the surface of the water.

For younger children a more modern game is 'Forkin fur aiples', an easier
task, where the children stood on a chair and held a fork handle in their
teeth, taking aim, they would release it into the basin of apples
and water and retreive and keep any apple they so skewered. Another game
was 'treacle scones' where children had to eat a scone covered in treacle
hanging on a piece of string.

One custom associated with Halloween in the Western Isles was to put two
large nuts in the fire. These were supposed to represent yourself and your
intended spouse. If the nuts jumped together when they warmed up then this
was deemed to be a good omen, but if they jumped apart then it was time to
look for someone else!

See [12.15] for further details of Halloween customs - some of these
migrated from the Celtic hogmanay of 31 October to the modern hogmanay
of 31 December with the change from the Celtic calander to the modern
calendar. However, according to Brewster's Dictionary of Folklore which
is on line, 'guiser' was a Scottish Mummer at Christmas time, so this
is one tradition that has gone in the other direction i.e. from
yuletide to Halloween.

Further info
The story of Halloween

Recommended further reading:
Tocher 7 (Autumn 1972) P201-207, P220
Tocher 15 (Autumn 1974) P241, P257
Published by the School of Scottish Studies, see [12.2]

See also "Halloween", a poem by Robert Burns (written 1785)

[12.20] Use of Mc Vs Mac in Scottish Surname

See here for full information on the use of Mc, Mac and other prefixes
used in Scottish and Irish surnames

[12.21] What is worn under the kilt?

It is traditional custom that no undergarments are worn underneath the kilt,
and it is military regulation for soliders in Highland regiments. However,
there are exceptions. In Highland step dancing, athletes for Highland games,
and band leaders (who raise their knees to chest level as a way of keeping
time) wearing undergarments is more seemly and permitted.

For civilians, undergarments is a personal choice, not a regulatory
requirement. Some wear underwear, usually bikini briefs (which are easier to
get in and out of when nature calls), some do not. One of the reasons that I
recommended specially made kilt shirts with longer tails is that this would
provide a layer between the skin and the worsted wool for those who wear
their kilts in the traditional fashion, especially if they are sensitive to

Last but not least, there is the answer given by all Scotsmen - regardless
of whether they have underwear or not - to the age-old question of "What is
worn underneath the kilt?" It is:

[13.1] Haggis information

Buying haggis
The best known haggis maker in the world is Charles MacSween of
Edinburgh. He makes about 1 ton a day and ships it all over the UK and
overseas too (it keeps remarkably well in the post). Many shops in the
UK (including supermarkets) sell MacSween's haggis. There is also a
vegetarian version which is quite tasty. The vegetarian one is made from
black kidney beans, lentils, nuts, mushrooms, swede and carrots. It
accounts for 10% of MacSween's haggis sales.

Macsween of Edinburgh
Dryden Road
Bilston Glen
EH20 9LZ
Scotland, UK.

Tel: +44 131 440 2555
Fax: +44 131 440 2674

As an alternative, you should try the haggis at Sandy Crombie's on
Broughton Street. There is a guidebook to the best food shops in the UK
(I can't remember the title, but I can find it if you want), and you'll
find Sandy's shop in there. It is a truly excellent butchers, and is
regarded by many as an equal to McSweens.

See also the excellent site at

Cooking haggis
From interview with John MacSween of MacSween's the butchers in
The Times, 2-Jan-93, P7.

"Wrap the haggis tightly in tin foil and place in a large saucepan of
cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes per lb.
When ready to serve, remove from foil and drain off the excess water.
Split the skin with a sharp knife and spoon the contents onto a hot
(most important) plate with mashed turnip and mashed potato."
Allow about 6-8oz per person.

Haggis in the US
US customs seem to have problems allowing Haggis into the country. If
you live in the US and want a haggis, try Lamb Etc.

Haggis recipie


This is the most traditional of all Scottish dishes, eaten on Burns
Night (25th January; the birthday of Scotland's national poet, Robert
Burns, 1759-1796) and at Hogmanay (New Year's Eve), accompanied by the
traditional Black Bun, Het Pint and Shortbread. It is really a large
round sausage; the skin being a sheep's paunch. The finest haggis of
all is made with deer liver, served to the skirl of the pipes, cut
open with a traditional 'sgian dubh' (black stocking knife) and
accompanied by small glasses of neat Scotch whisky. This recipe dates
from 1856.

1 cleaned sheep or lamb's stomach bag
2 lb. dry oatmeal
1 lb. chopped mutton suet
1 lb. lamb or venison liver, boiled and minced
2 c. stock
sheep heart and lights, boiled and minced
1 large chopped onion
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Toast oatmeal slowly until crisp.
2. Mix all ingredients (except stomach bag) together; add stock.
3. Fill bag to just over half full, press out air, sew up securely.
4. Have ready a large pot of boiling water.
5. Prick the haggis all over with a large pin so it doesn't burst.
6. Boil slowly for 4 to 5 hours.
7. Serve with Clapshot.


Clapshot is delicious with Haggis. A traditional Orkney dish, it is
widely eaten in the North of Scotland.

1 lb. potatoes
1 lb. white or yellow turnips (or swedes)
4 chopped shallots, or
1 tbs. chopped chives
1 tbs. butter or dripping, heaped
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of mace or nutmeg if desired

1. Boil potatoes and turnips separately, drain.
2. Mash very well, adding all other ingredients.
3. If desired, add sprinkle of mace or nutmeg.
4. Season to taste, serve hot.

[13.2] Scottish cooking and recipes

Great Scottish Food when dining out
The definitive guide to eating good traditional Scottish food is
"The Taste of Scotland" published by

Taste of Scotland, 33 Melville St, Edinburgh, EH3 7JF

----- - Nick Nairn, award winning TV chef.

Scotland Hampers

This is probably the best page on the Net for Scottish recipe site

F. Marian McNeill - The Scots Kitchen, its lore and recipes. A
classic and as much a source of folklore and history as a culinary
reference. First published in 1929. 300+ pages. Published by Grafton
Books, 8 Grafton St, London, W1X 3LA. ISBN 0-586-20784-8. Grafton books
is a division of Collins, Glasgow. Just about every recipe has a tale,
saying, poem, song or bit of history printed with it (the occasional
one in Gaelic; with translation). F. Marian MacNeill was a historian by

Another book, rather more contemporary (no stories etc but probably
biased towards modern eating trends and it also has US-UK conversions).
Scottish Cookery: Catherine Brown. ISBN 0-86267-248-1. Published by
Richard Drew publishing, 6 Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow G3 7LW.
Really good traditional stuff and well laid out.

McNeill's book gives several recipes for haggis. The Traditional
Cottage Recipe includes : "The large stomach bag of a sheep, the pluck
(including heart, lights and liver), beef-suet, pin-head (coarse)
oatmeal, onions, black pepper, salt, stock or gravy. Meg Dod's recipe
includes "Sheep's pluck and paunch, beef-suet, onions, oatmeal, pepper,
salt, cayenne, lemon or vinegar". Haggis Royal includes "Mutton, suet,
beef-marrow, bread-crumbs or oatmeal, anchovies, parsley, lemon,
pepper, cayenne, eggs, red wine". Deer Haggis includes "Deer's heart,
liver and suet, coarse  oatmeal, onions, black pepper, salt, paste". It
takes about a day to make a haggis from  scratch, but very very few
people do this as it is particulaly gruesome. Most people buy their
haggis from the butcher's. See [13.1] for details of how to get

[13.3] Best Scottish pubs

To find out where to get the best beer (Real Ale), look in The
Good Beer Guide, available from all major bookshops. Published by
CAMRA. ISBN 1852491868. Published in October each year. also lists the pubs with the best
beer in Scotland.

Stagg's Bar in Musselburgh won CAMRA's "Pub of the Year" 1998.

Edinburgh: Bannerman's; Bert's bar; Bow bar; Canny Man's;
Cumberland Bar; Clark's Bar; Drew Nicol's; Golden Rule; Greenmantle;
Guildford Arms; Halfway House; Hampton Hotel; Holyrood Tavern; Kay's
Bar; K. Jackson's Bar; Leslie's Bar; Malt and Hops; Oxford Bar
(; Robbie's Bar; Royal Ettrick Hotel;
Smithie's Ale House; Southsider; Stable Bar; Starbank Inn;
Merman; Caledonian Sample Rooms; Homes Bar; The Cask and Barrel; Mather's;
The Cafe Royal; Bennet's, Milne's; Old Chain Pier.

The Caledonian Brewery (Slateford Road;
has a big beer festival in early June; The biggest beer festival in
Scotland is held at Meadowbank Stadium in early October.
See also

You should note that many recent Sunday paper reviews make the Basement
the 'trendiest pub in Edinburgh'. It also does excellent Mexican food
early evenings.

Glasgow: Athena Taverna; Babbity Bowser; Bon Accord; Boswell Hotel;
Brewery Tap; The Horse shoe; Mitre; Cask & Still; Sloane's; Station Bar;
Tennents; Three Judges; Ubiquitous Chip; Victoria Bar

There's also a brew pub called The Clockwork Beer Co. at 1153/55 Cathcart
Road. Good selection of cask conditioned plus their own ales brewed on
the premises.

For information on pubs with no-smoking areas, see Craig's list at:
As of 26th March 2006 all indoor areas including pubs and restaurants
in Scotland are smoke free by law.

If smoke free areas in pubs interests you, then the sites at and may also be of
interest. There is a relevant report here

See also

There is also a lot of good pubs listed in the Scotland the Best
guidebook, see [14.2].

[13.4] Whisky (whiskey)

Information about whisky
Whisky is the spelling used in Scotland and for Canadian Rye.
Whiskey is the spelling used in Ireland, the US and some other countries.
People very rarely call whisky "Scotch" in Scotland, they either ask for it
by brand name or ask for any malt, or just ask for a whisky. The word "scotch"
is used though (scotch is an appellation).

A single malt scotch must fulfill three requirements:

i) It must be the product of only one distillery
ii) It must be made exclusively from barley malt
iii) It must be made in Scotland.

and, in order to be sold under the description "Scotch Whisky", it must by law
be at least three years old.

Highland malt whisky must be made in an area north west of a line which passes
near Dunblane. It includes both Deanston and Blackford, towns a few miles to
the west and north of Dunblane.

The best selling single malt in Scotland is "Glenmorangie", pronounced
to rhyme with "orangey" (stress on the 2nd syllable of Glen-mor-an-gie).
This word comes from the Gaelic for "Glen of Great Tranquility". The best
selling single malt scotch in the world is Glenfiddich (=Glen of the Deer).
My personal favourites are Highland Park (12 years old, from Orkney).
Jackson rates this as "The greatest all-rounder in the world of whisky".
For special occasions, I'd recommend MacAllan 18 year old.

There are only two single malt whisky distilleries in North America. One
is at Glenora, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It usually opens for visitors in
June for the summer season and also for a few days around Christmas. The
other is recently opened and is at Clear Creek Distillery in Portland, Oregon.

Try the whisky www page at

More whisky information is also available at

Other whisky links include

and Diageo (formerly Guinness/GrandMet) owners of many Scotch whisky brands

Mailing Lists
To join the malts mailing list, send a mail to
containing the line
SUBSCRIBE MALTS-L yourfirsname yoursurname


Useful addresses
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
87 Giles St, Leith, Edinburgh EH6. Tel: 0131 555 2929

The Scotch Whisky Association
20 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh EH3   Tel: 0131 229 4383

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre
354 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1  Tel: 0131 220 0441

The definitive book on Malt Whiskies is:

Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion
A Connoisseur's Guide to the Malt Whiskies of Scotland
Published by Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 9 Henrietta St, London, WC2E 8PS
The ISBN for the 1999 edition is 0751307084 The price is now UKP12.99
356 pages, hardback. More info at the following link

Covers over 250 malts from over 120 distilleries with full tasting notes.
Includes all well known brands plus rare and specialist bottlings
Includes rating system for both the whisky and the distillery.
Includes alphabetic index, and list of distilleries (with phone numbers)
that offer tours.
The brands that Jackson rates most highly are:
Balvenie, Lagavulin, Glenlivet and Highland Park.

The Malt Whisky File
another book is "The Malt Whisky File" by John Lamond and Robin Tucek,
"has more tasting notes (over 400) than any comparable whisky guide" .
It was described by Esquire as "Unquestionably the best consumer guide
to Scotland's finest whiskies". More info at the following link

It is published by
Canongate Books Ltd, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE
The price for the 2000 edition is UKP7.99, and the ISBN is 1841950726

It can be purchased direct from the publishers via secure
transactions available from the above web sites. Also from
on-line booksellers (see [1.9])

[13.5] Ale (Beer)

Ale brewing in Scotland predates whisky distillation.

Caledonian Brewery (Edinburgh)

There is also Heather Ale, made to a 4,000 year old Pictish recipe

Scotland's only ubrew "you brew" centre is in Edinburgh and is at
Beer is 75p a pint. (1998 prices)

For info on real ale in the UK and British beer festivals, see

[13.6] Irn-bru

Scotland's "Other national drink"

[13.7] Traditional bread recipe (Gaelic and English)

Seo agad doigh airson aran a cho\caireadh

<Here's a Gaelic recipe for bread - takes about 2-3 hours total. We
make this frequently, it's quite straightforward. English follows>

Aran Sgi\re Raoird


dusan unnsa flu\r-bracha donn
coig unnsaichean flu\r geal la\idir
spa\in-ti\ de shalann
spa\in-ti\ de shiu\car
spa\in-bhu\ird de cho\than ghearrte
spa\in-bhu\ird de shi\l neo\inean-gre\ine
seachd gramaichean de bheirm

leth spa\in-ti\ de shalann
da\ unnsa-bhu\rn de bhainne
si\l de cheann choilich dheirg no si\l sasamaidh

Cuir an cungaidh gu le\ir le che\ile le tri\ ceud ml de bhu\rn bhla\th.
Taoisnich fad deich mionaidean e agus de\an tri\ roinntean dheth. Fill na
roinntean le che\ile mar fhigheachan. Measgaich an ugh, salann agus am
bainne le che\ile agus comhdaich an taois leis. Cuir dhan an darna taobh
fad leth-uair a thi\de gus e\irigh e. (Feumaidh e a bhith da\ uiread na

Nuair a tha an taois air e\irigh, comhdaich e leis a' bhainne agus an
ugh a-rithist. Faodar si\l de cheann choilich dheirg, no si\l-sasamaidh
a chur air cuideachd.

Cuir e dhan an a\mhainn, aig 230C. mar tha, fad deich mionaidean air

Nut bread
12 Oz Malted brown flour
5 Oz strong white flour
1 tsp salt, sugar
1 tbsp olive oil (or veg oil), chopped nuts, sunflower seeds
1 pkg yeast (7g)
sesame or poppy seeds.

Brush on: 1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Oz milk
 Beat lightly and apply as directed below

Mix all ingredients together with 300ml of warm water (approx 125ml
boiling and 175ml cold). Kneed for at least 10 mins. Shape and cover
with "brush on". Cover with cling film and allow to rise in a warm,
draft free area to double original size. Prior to cooking re-apply
"brush on" and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Cook for
30 mins at 230C (450F) in a preheated oven.

[14.1] What's on


Glasgow/Edinburgh area


The List

Gig Guide

The Highlands

[14.2] Scottish Guide books

The primary guide to finding out the best things to do, go, eat,
see etc in Scotland is "Scotland the Best". This is an alternative
guide to Scottish culture for both locals and tourists alike. I liked
it so much I bought the book then helped work on the next edition :-)

This guide is now published by Collins and there a small city guides
by the same author for Edinburgh and Glasgow.

see here for an eating out search engine

For a tourist who might be interested in the history of Scotland, the
Blue Guide to Scotland is indispensible. I have used this book a great
deal, particularly when travelling in the Highlands and the west: it is
excellent. It has none of the trendy stuff about where's cool to drink
or eat (like the Rough Guide) but it has a fantastic ammount of
historical detail which brings places and the landscape alive.

On Scotland, The Lonely Planet Guide to Britain is superior to the Rough
Guide to Scotland. And the Scottish Tourist Board (VisitScotland) have
re-issued 'Scotland: A Touring Guide', which lists all the 'heritage
attractions' in Scotland. The Good Food Guide to Britain' is a very good
restaurant guide. The List also publishes very fair guides from time-to-time.

Edinburgh Guides
Charles McKean's architectural guide to Edinburgh is first class and
Andrew Lownie's Edinburgh: A Literary Guide throws an interesting slant
on the city for anyone interested in these matters. A personal
favourite of mine is Edinburgh: The Graveyard Guide. Many of the
graveyards offer quite beautiful and unexpected views of the city.

There is an on-line guide to some Edinburgh restaurants at

See also

[14.3] VisitScotland / Scottish Tourist Board

VisitScotland is the name for the former Scottish Tourist Board is the name of the joint venture between VisitScotland,
Area Tourist Boards and private investors to run the national contact
centre, website and associated software. This page explains who to contact
for what!

The main website is at

Late deals are at

For information and booking services, use the
National Scottish Contact Centre, call: 0845 22 55 121 or from
outwith the UK +44 1506 832 121.

The US gateway for Scottish Tourism is at

Please also view the Silicon Glen accommodation section at

In Edinburgh, the main tourist office is in Waverley Market, Princes Street,
Tel: 0131 332 2433

From overseas, dial the international access code, then 44 131 332 2433. The
code for the UK when dialling from other countries is 44.

VisitScotland (The Scottish Tourist Board) have an office in London and you are
welcome to drop in, book accommodation etc

The Scottish Tourist Board
London Office
19 Cockspur Street
Tel: 0171 930 8661

If you are a Scot in London, these sites may also be of interest:

Areas of Scotland



Western Isles

Highlands of Scotland

Aberdeen and Grampian

Angus and Dundee

Argyll, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs
([15.20] may also be of interest)

Kingdom of Fife

Glasgow and Clyde valley

Ayrshire and Arran

Dumfries and Galloway

Edinburgh and Lothians

Scottish Borders

Scottish tourism awards

Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions

[14.4] Travel information

Travel resources
Tel: 0845 2255 121

Travel Scotland

Scottish Accommodation listings, Travel information, venues etc.

Information on Scotland, aimed at people travelling from the US


Public Transport
---------------- - all timetables online - Transport Direct

unlimited travel on one ticket (bus and many trains)

------ (timetables) (book train tickets online)


online bus timetables

Plan journeys by bus and train in and around West Lothian (includes to and
from Edinburgh). Brilliant site, if only everywhere in Scotland had this
level of integrated information, more people might use public transport!

Glasgow Airport Millennium Taxis

Part of the official Glasgow international Airport taxi business, the site
includes over 450 pages dedicated to Scottish tourism.


Cycling Scotland

Scottish Cycling Development Project
(Including information about bikes and public transport)

Dales Cycles Ltd.
150 Dobbies Loan
Glasgow G4 OJE

Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland is the transport agency run by the
Scottish Executive.


Sunrise and Sunset
use 'form B'

[14.5] On-line maps

Modern Maps
A complete interactive atlas of Great Britain online, complete with
directions and routeplanner
Scottish (and UK) road atlas maps online
More online maps

Historical Maps
Free access to first edition historical maps of Great Britain dated between
1846 and 1899. Easy to spend all day viewing this fascinating site!

[14.6] Scottish and UK Virtual Reality Map

Seen 20-Nov-97 on the newsgroup news:uk.announce

We've just released the world's first 3D Mobile Map of UK and Ireland
(5MB shareware) at our site. Free to test 24000 sqr km, and only 20
pounds to buy the entire map.

Its a terrain map that lets you move around hills, coasts, lakes, and
cities in real-time. Great for tourists, local travellers, and outdoors
enthusiasts who want to see what places look like before travelling

[14.7] Arts information and events
Arts information and events in Scotland

Mark Fisher's Scottish Theatre Links

[14.8] Mary King's Close

The bit that the tourists (and few locals) have ever seen. Mary
King's close, a medieval street under the Royal Mile. Until
recently, not generally open to the public.

The site opened as a 'world-class' attraction, now called THE REAL Mary
King's Close, in April 2003. New, historically accurate information has
been uncovered about the site and its residents, double the number of
rooms/spaces have been revealed and it is now open to the general public
every day except Christmas Day.

'The Real Mary King's Close'

Beneath the City Chambers on the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh's deepest
secret - a warren of hidden streets where real people lived, worked and died
between the 17th and the 19th centuries. Now a new attraction allows visitors
to step back in time to walk through these underground closes and witness
some of the dramatic episodes and extraordinary apparitions from this site's
fascinating and historically rich past.

The Real Mary King's Close consists of a number of underground Closes
which would have originally been very narrow walkways with houses on either
side stretching up to 7 storeys high and dating back several centuries. In
1753 the Burgh authorities decided to develop a grand new building, the Royal
Exchange (now the City Chambers). The houses at the top of the Closes
were knocked down and part of the lower sections were kept and used as the
foundations for the new building, leaving a number of dark and mysterious
underground Closes and ancient dwellings steeped in mystery!

Since April 2003, guided parties of visitors have been able to visit The Real
Mary King's Close itself, and a range of other Closes and spaces that lie
hidden beneath Edinburgh's City Chambers - some of which have never before
been open to the public. This new attraction presents a historically
accurate interpretation of life in these narrow alleyways from the 16th to the
19th century. Extensive documentary research and on-site survey works has
been undertaken to provide an accurate platform for the subtle and
unobtrusive interpretation of these A-listed buildings.

There are actually 4 Closes under the City Chamber, one of which is Mary
King's Close, named after the woman who loved at the head of that Close
until 1634. It was also called King's, Alexander King's (no relation to Mary),
Towris, Livingstoun's and Browns.

See also and

Anyone interested in finding out about some of Edinburgh's other underground
streets may like to enquire about the ones at Niddry Street South. Any details,
please pass them on.

[14.9] Photographs of Scotland

Scottish Viewpoint
The largest collection of Scottish photographs in the world

The Photographs of Scotland Website is at:

Multimap has some aerial pictures of Scotland

[14.10] Gift and Tourist shops
Large range of high quality Scottish gifts available to purchase
Gifts from Crieff
Traditional Scottish Wear and Tartan from Crieff
Scottish music and videos from Scotland
Items relating to your clan, family and clan name.
Scottish gifts online
Contact details for the legendary Grays of Edinburgh

[14.11] Scottish Youth Hostels Association

The best way to see Scotland if you've got a tight budget. Even if you
can afford more luxurious accomodation (accomodation is always singular
in Britain), Youth Hostels are definitely worth using. All ages use them
and cost is typically 10-15 pounds a night. Most of them have lights out at
11pm, except those in large cities which are often open later.

Contact for more info, to book accomodation etc

The Scottish Youth Hostels Association (SYHA)

7 Glebe Crescent
Phone 01786 891400
Fax: 01786 891333

Joining the SYHA, (#2.50 ages 5-17, #6.00 ages 18+) entitles you to use
Youth Hostels all over the world.

There is also United Hostels of Europe, a different organisation to
the SYHA. UHE have an Edinburgh hostel at

[14.12] Dynamic Earth exhibition

The Dynamic Earth is a permanent exhibition designed to change
people's perception of the planet we live on.

The exhibition will use the latest visual and interactive techniques to
demonstrate how the earth was made, how it works and what can go wrong.

Visitors of all ages are taken on an exciting journey encountering the
various dynamic forces that formed their environment.

The Dynamic Earth is located at the foot of Edinburgh's Royal Mile next
to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The project cost 34 million pounds of
which 15 million pounds came from National Lottery Funds, and it is
Scotland's largest new visitor attraction.

The Dynamic Earth opened in July 1999.

[14.13] Museums

The Virtual Library:Museums web site has a comprehensive index of
museums in the UK at

There is also a list of Scottish museums at

There is also the National Archive of Scotland

[14.14] Travel companies

Wild Country Expeditions
Wild camping, Whale and Dolphin Expeditions,
history and clan links, the Knoydart Experience.

Haggis Backpackers

[15.1] Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire council

[15.2] Bonnyrigg

Bonnyrigg Community Events Committee

[15.3] Central Scotland

[15.4] Cromarty

[15.5] Dalgety Bay

Dalgety Bay

[15.6] Dunblane


[15.7] Easdale Island

[15.8] Edinburgh

The name Edinburgh comes from the Welsh Dynas Eidyn, fort of the Votadani
or Goddodin- see the Poem The Goddodin. The Gaelic is similar and is
Du\n E\ideann. Symeon of Durham, Saxonised the name to Edwinesburgh.
This site won the award for best designed website in Scotland 1997

The ultimate guide to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Information

The Royal Mile

Edinburgh Web

City of Edinburgh Council

Derivation of Edinburgh's Street Names
fascinating site

Craig's list Edinburgh

[15.9] Falkirk

The Falkirk Wheel

[15.10] Fort William and Lochaber

Fort William and Lochaber

[15.11] Aviemore


[15.12] Glasgow
Official tourism portal
If your looking for anything to do with Glasgow city or surrounding areas
then "Glazgow" is where you will find all the information and sites you
will ever need.


Glasgow Hotels

[15.13] Highlands and Islands
Excellent travel information for the Scottish Highlands and Islands,
public information sources, businesses, transport, news, etc
Very comprehensive site.

[15.14] Kinlochleven


[15.15] Knoydart

We have set up a Web Site for the Knoydart peninsula of Scotland. The
site will act as an interactive  forum for those who have hiked, sailed
or simply visited this most remote and beautiful area of Scotland. We
welcome contributions (reminiscences, experiences from those who have
visited, advice, queries, etc) and will update and add the contributions
to the site promptly. The site also includes links to Knoydart
addresses as well as news articles about the peninsula culled from The
Scotsman. The site address:

[15.16] Loch Ness

Includes the Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition

[15.17] Melrose

[15.18] Midlothian

Midlothian, Scotland

[15.19] Montrose


[15.20] Oban

Oban and Lorn Tourism Association website

[15.21] Queensferry and Forth Bridges

Queensferry History Group

Forth Bridges

Forth Rail Bridge
(strictly at Hawes rather than Queensferry)

Local authority for Queensferry
City of Edinburgh council

The Forth Bridge also adorns the front of this American published book
on Java Server Pages (!)

[15.22] Road to the Isles

[15.23] Shetland and Orkney

Shetland and Orkney are both old Norse holdovers. Orkney and Shetland
became Scottish as security for the dowry for the Danish Princess Margaret
who married James III. When oil was discovered some wondered if the Danes
could get them back if they paid the dowry, but they became permanently
Scottish a century later.

Shetland and Orkney were speaking forms of old Norn up to the 18th
century and the language used there is still filled with special loan
words. The place names show heavy Norse influence as do half the west
coast names (and in many there is a direct combination of the Gaelic
and Norse influences, indicating the level to which the Norse came into
the already present gaelic communities and assimilated successfully.
Examples would include places like Inverness from Inbhir (Gaidhlig for
an estuary, or river mouth) and Nese (Norse for nose or headland).
Another example is Suilven from Sula (Norse for column) and Bheinn
(Gaidhlig for mountain - Feumaidh sibh a bhith ceart-chainnteach,
is Beinn am facal...). On this point it is worth noting that there
are written records indicating that the Norse Earls of Orkney had
Gaidhlig, no doubt to foster trading relations with the Gaidhealtachd.

Most islanders (natives, not incomers) in these places still consider
the islands as their own communities and Scotland as a separate
entity. This is not to say they want to split off or achieve
independence, just an indication of how different they see themselves.
In Orkney, one goes to the mainland to go to Kirkwall or Stromness. If
you want to go to Aberdeen or Scrabster, you are going to Scotland! :-)

For more information on Orkney, see  or
See also [12.18] for info on Orkney customs

For more information on Shetland, see

[15.24] St Andrews

Gaelic name: Cille-ri\mhinn

St Andrews and Golf

[15.25] Stirling


Stirling Marginal Review

[15.26] The Trossachs


[15.27] Linlithgow

Linlithgow Tours

Linlithgow -a Great Visit!

Kingsfield Clays

Kingsfield Golf

Star and Garter Hotel

Linlithgow Business Association

[16.1] Football

This is football (soccer) as opposed to anything to do with American

Scottish Football Association website:

Tartan Army pages

World cup 98

For American Football, we have the Scottish Claymores.

Domain available:

[16.2] Rugby

The Scottish Rugby Union homepage is at

[16.3] Camanachd (shinty)

Camanachd Association
Algarve, Balabrie, Banavie
Fort William
Tel. 01397 772 461

The Camanachd Association now has an official website at
which gives all the information anyone could possibly want on the sport.

Northern California Camanachd Club

[16.4] Golf

See here

Info on St Andrews at [15.24]

[16.5] Highland Games

The games go back to contests of strength held among the clans in ancient
times, a way for the chiefs and kings to choose the strongest men to serve
as their warriors. During the Celtic revival of the early 19th century which
was inspired by the writings of James MacPherson and Sir Walter Scot, a
renewed interest in the traditions of the clans of the Scottish highlands
occurred and was popularised by the upper crust of Society through the
patronage of Queen Victoria, who loved all things Highland and wrote about
her holidays in her Scottish castle of Balmoral where she retreated after
Prince Albert's death. It was during the high Victorian period that the
Highland Games began to come into their own as an attraction. Since that
time various revivals have occurred boosting the popularity of Highland
Games. The St. Andrews Society of Detroit, and the Caledonian Club of San
Francisco have sponsored the two oldest Highland Games in the U.S. which
date back to the time of the Civil War. Other large gatherings which have
become huge attractions more recently are the Ligioneer Highland Games in
Pennsylvania, the Alma, Michigan Highland Games, and those held annually at
Grandfather Mountain, N.C. and Stone Mountain, GA, though there are more
than 200 different annual games and gatherings across the U.S. and Canada,
each year.

For info on amateur games, including Highland contact:

Scottish Athletics Federation
Caledonia House,
South Gyle
Edinburgh EH12
0131 317 7320

A comprehensive list of Highland Games is available at

Games information is also available at U.S. Scots On-line at
there is also a form at this site for making updates.

[16.6] Curling

See here

Millport Cycling

[16.7] Fishing and Angling

see here

Scottish salmon fishing

Allan Water angling improvement association

Sea fishing

[16.8] Cricket

Cricket is the third (or maybe second) biggest participant sport in
Scotland. It is especially popular in Lothian, Fife & places on the
East coast (although Glasgow Accies are also pretty good). Freuchie have
won the national vilage championship (that's BRITISH national...) and last
I heard Scotland are in the semi-finals of the ICC WORLD championship
(It looks like they will end up competing against IRELAND for third
place & a spot in the next world cup).

[16.9] Cycling

Cycling Scotland

Look here for cycling info

Scottish Cycling Development Project

Cycle-Lobby-Scot is a mailing list for cycle campaigners in Scotland.

This mailing list aims to help Scottish cycle campaign groups work
better together by sharing examples of best practice, alerting groups to
developments in other parts of the country, and discussing the nature of
campaigning and providing cycle-friendly infrastructure (whether roads
and transport systems or workplaces and neighbourhoods) under the unique
legal and governmental systems in Scotland.

It is intended to be fairly technical and general discussions about
forthcoming events and the 'philosophical' aspects of cycling are not

To subscribe, send a blank message to:

[16.10] Skiing

Scottish Tourist Board / visitscotland skiing information
Includes the latest reports from the five Scottish Ski Areas

Scottish National Ski Council
(loads of info here)

Edinburgh Ski Club

Scottish Avalanche Information Service - Daily forecasts of avalanche
risks in the Scottish mountains.

The Scottish Ski & Winter Activity Report


[16.11] Walking and Rambling

The Ramblers' Association
Ramblers' Association Scotland
Kingfisher House, Auld Mart Business Park
Milnathort, Kinross KY13 9DA, UK
Tel +44 (0)1577 861222
Fax +44 (0)1577 861333

Walking in Scotland from VisitScotland
Contains hundreds of walks (including walks suitable for families
and disabled people). Additionally includes information on every
Munro and how to climb it.

Hillwalking in Scotland Web Site

West Highland Way

Tony Connery Scottish Walks

See [16.12] for books.
See [16.13] for information on Munros.

Walkers might also be interested in Itch Ease for Midgies

If you're out and about you might like to know there are only 5 lakes
in Scotland, the rest are lochs.

Lake of Menteith near Aberfoyle,
Raith Lake in Fife,
Pressmennan Lake at Stenton in East Lothian,
Cally Lake at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway
Hirsel Lake near Coldstream and the River Tweed

However, Lake of Menteith is the only natural area of water in
Scotland called "lake", the rest are man made.

[16.12] Books for hillwalkers

Rambler's Yearbook

"The Rambler's yearbook and accomodation guide" is a good source of low cost
accomodation (typically 10 - 20 pounds per person per night)
Published by The Ramblers' Association, 1/5 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2XX
Tel: 0171 582 6878

100 best routes
Ralph Storer's "100 best routes on Scottish mountains", Warner books.
A division of Little, Brown and Company (UK) Ltd, 165 Great Dover St,
London, SE1 4YA
ISBN 0 7515 0300 2
223 pages, includes a variety of mountains throughout Scotland.
Mountains classified by grade; terrain; navigation difficulty and
seriousness. Includes diagrams and Gaelic translations and phonetics

Place names
Ordnance Survey: "Place names on maps of Scotland and Wales"
ISBN 0-319-00223-3
24 pages of info on Gaelic, Norse and Welsh placenames, meanings,
grammar, common Anglicisations. Very useful for translating place
names in remote areas.

[16.13] What is a Munro, Corbett or Graham?

A Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3,000ft. A "top" is a secondary
peak over 3,000ft. The distinction is not clear cut, and has changed
over the years; the current list was made by a committee of the Scottish
Mountaineering Council. There are 284 Munros and 517 tops.

The name Munro comes from Munros tables compiled by Sir Hugh Munro the
Tory MP, but there have been some modifications since the table was first

A Corbett is a separate mountain over 2,500ft.
Distinct Corbetts must have a 500ft drop between them. A Graham is a
separate mountain over 2,000ft. (does anyone know how many Corbetts and
Grahams there are - I have heard 219 and 224). The Corbetts are named
after John Rooke Corbett who in 1930 became the first person to climb
all the 2000-feet-high peaks in Scotland. The Grahams are named after
Fiona Torbet (nee Graham) who published her own list of these peaks in
the early 1990s.

The Inacessible Pinnacle on Skye is the only Munro to require climbing
equipment but in practice very few people do all the others without a
rope for some of the hard bits on the usual routes.

Don't go unprepared. It is rather easy to die on Scottish mountains if you
start with the attitude that they're all going to be an easy stroll you
could do in jeans and running shoes.

Full list
A full list of Munros is at

More info on walking in Scotland
This has information on how to climb every Munro

[16.14] Diving

Scapa Flow

Scapa Flow in Orkney is one of the premier dive sites in the world,
due to the number of historical shipwrecks from both world wars.
Scotland's coastline generally has lots of excellent dive sites, with
the Firth of Clyde, St Abbs Head, and Oban being particularly popular.

Scottish sub-aqua club

ScotDive Magazine online

Scottish Diving Magazine online

[16.15] Horse riding holidays

West Highland Heavy Horses
West Highland Heavy Horses on Skye (near Armadale)
The U.K's only specialised Heavy Horse Riding Centre

[17.1] Intro to Scottish Education

Starting School
In Scotland, the school (primary; secondary) system seems to have its
cut off at variable dates, roughly between the end of Feb and the middle of
March. It seems to stretch both ways though and parents are usually given
the option of which year they want their children to be part of. As with
most things final decisions regarding cut-offs are left to the school
administration to decide.

In England the cut off generally seems to run with the academic year
meaning that all the pupils are the same "age" at the end of the
academic year. This means that Scottish children born between August
and March are usually one year ahead than their equivalent English
counterparts and can go to university younger as a result.

Primary and Secondary
In Scotland, primary school runs from age 4/5 for 7 years and High School
(both private schools and state schools) runs for up to 6 years.
After 4 years of High School children are usually 15 & 16 and sit
Standard Grade exams (usually 7). A few children leave school at this
point, there is no obligation to graduate from High School as there is
in the US and pupils may leave at any time after the age of 16.
After 5 years of High School, pupils sit Highers. These can be used for
going to university in Scotland and pupils generally sit about 5.
Year 5 starts as soon as the Standard grade exams are over, i.e. the end
of May, and pupils who have to change schools to take Highers do so at
this point. At University level, Scottish courses are generally one year
longer than their English counterparts. An 'ordinary' degree usually
takes three years in Scotland, an honours degree takes four years.

Leaving School
About 7% of the students intending to go to further education leave
school at this point, aged 16/17. The remainder stay on for 6th year,
to do Advanced Highers, additional Highers, resits or other
subjects. Advanced Highers are of a standard above that of A-levels
and constitute the equivalent of the first year of a university degree.
Advanced Highers are necessary for entrance to English universities
for subjects studied at both school and university. A small number
of Scottish schools offer A-levels.

A small number of English schools offer Scottish exams too. Scottish
results are generally published the first week in August and receive
modest publicity in England. English results receive extensive
publicity in Scotland, due to the fact that the UK news is in effect
the English and International news and there is no Scottish opt out
for English only news stories (maybe the director general of the BBC
will start seeing sense on this one?)

Exam options
Pupils can study GSVQ's, NC modules, Standard grades, Higher grades,
A levels and possibly even Higher National Certificate at school.
There is also an 'Advanced Higher' which has replaced Certificates of
Sixth Year Studies.

The reform has resulted in the amalgamation of the two awarding bodies
the SEB (who awarded highers and standard grades) and SCOTVEC. The
new body is the Scottish Qualifications Authority (see [17.2]).See

In practice though you'd have to leave high school and study HNCs at
college as no high school could run them as it isn't cost effective
to teach a whole separate course to a single student.

Comparisons with England
The Scottish "Higher" system is generally regarded as superior to that
in England for a number of reasons:
1) It is possible to fail one or two Highers and still have enough
qaulifications to enter university. Less pressure is put on pupils
to pass everything at the first attempt.
2) It is possible to use 6th year to resit Highers and gain additional
qualifications. In England, there is no time to do this if you fail an
important exam, the resits are in December (There are Tertiary College
courses to cater for pupils whose grades were not up to standard.)
3) Pupils study a wider range of subjects, offering the opportunity for
a broader education and perhaps a vocational subject.

The Scottish summer holidays run from the end of June to the middle of
August, usually two weeks ahead of those in England although the dates
of holidays are left to individual local education authorities (LEAs).

Advanced Highers
A bizarre quirk of the educational system is that whereas A-levels
and CSYS are broadly the same level, English students who have done
relevant A-levels may get exemption from certain subjects in 1st
year University (or even the whole year), whereas the Scottish
CSYS apparently counts for nothing within the Scottish further
education system. This appears to be changing (eventually)
and some Scottish universities now give direct entry to second
year if you have specified CSYS/Advanced Higher grades.

Scottish Universities have full control over their degree system and
while inspectors from education authorities evaluate the standard
subjects are being taught at the results and actual creation of the
exam is left up to the university the exam is sat at. Colleges tend
to either be affiliates of the SQA or a local university.

Due to the rarity of Advanced Highers (people only tend to do them for
subjects they plan to study at university) most universities have
slight alterations of their entry requirements when considering
Advanced Highers (i.e. if the university requires two subjects at
Higher in grade B for a subject (as well as other things for example
BBBB tends to be the norm for any subject in the faculty of art) it
will accept an Advanced Higher at level A or B in place of these two
qualifications.) The difficulty with factoring Advanced Highers in
when considering entry requirements is that entry requirements vary
drastically from one university to another so it is impossible to
say what is valued and what is not. While Advanced Highers ARE
recognised by universities it is quite possible to get into
any degree course without ever sitting one provided you received
reasonable results in your highers.

Gaelic medium
There is education through the medium of English and at playgroup;
pre-school; primary school and college level there is also teaching
through the medium of Gaelic in Scotland. There are exams for both
Gaelic learners and native speakers.

In my school in the 1970's and 1980's Gaelic wasn't allowed despite us
having a national Gaelic bard as a teacher there. Russian and Latin were
offered instead. The following article may be interesting.

Scottish Literature
It is said that Robert Burns seems to occupy an incidental part of
the Scottish curriculum compared to William Shakespeare.

What is taught in Scottish schools as the literature portion of the
English courses (Higher and Advanced Higher) is left to the
discretion of the teacher provided the prose/poetry is of a
reasonable standard. At higher level Shakespeare is the only drama
which counts in the exam and generally schools teach one example of
prose, one Shakespeare play and a selection of work from one poet to
fulfil the literature exam. The SQA advises (though I'm not entirely
sure if this is mandatory, I'd have to check) that every class be
taught at least one example of Scottish text. This is simply to
counteract the old system (of about a decade ago I think) when
Scottish texts weren't counted as valid examples of English

The teaching of Scottish literature and language is conducted to a
point however as the majority of pupils and teachers in Scotland
cannot speak Gaelic studying the language can hardly be made
mandatory. While schools have the option of teaching it they
tend not to unless in the far north as it isn't seen as being
especially useful when seeking employment or further education (or
at least not as much as German, French, Latin etc ). As far as
literature goes there is only so much can be studied in the years
at school and with the exception of older works like Burns and
colloquial speech like Irvine Welsh or Lewis Grassic Gibbon like
to write in, most Scottish writers tend to write in standard English
as it is what they, and the majority of their readers, speak.

Education History
With reference to the rest of the world, Scots education is thought of
highly and we have a long history of being a well educated country.
Scotland had five universities for a long time when England only had
two. Scotland had way and by far the largest percentage of primary
secondary and tertiary educated population in Europe, until Prussia
caught up in the 18th Century.

England had one of the *lowest* percentages in Europe.

Example 1864

Secondary school :
Scotland        1 in  205
Prussia 1 in  249
France  1 in  570
England     1 in 1300

The Scottish Education Act of 1696, heralded the first National system
of education in the World since ancient Sparta, and spawned the Scottish
Enlightenment, which in turn spearheaded the European Enlightenment.

From my own experience in both Scottish schools and on an educational
exchange to the US, it seems Scottish schools are approximately
1-3 years ahead of their US counterparts in most subjects apart from US
History and US sport. This difference carries on right through
University and only equals out at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level which are
about the same in Scotland and the US. Given that a M.Sc. usually only
takes 1 year full time in Scotland, and longer in the US it shows that
the American undergraduate degree does not reach as high a level. This
is borne out also in the way various professional bodies treat US
qualifications versus Scottish and British ones.

Religious nonsense
It is mandatory to attend religious education in Scottish High Schools.
It isn't general, though. Many schools subsume RE in Social Education.
Why religion has such a high place in the curriculum and Scots
literature and language do not is anyone's guess.

Religious Education is mandatory to such an extent that when school
inspectors discovered it was not being taught in my school to fifth
years (note : Fifth and sixth years have the option of not being there
at all so why it is necessary to teach them RE god only knows [sic])
they enforced the practice. In Scottish schools RE, Social Education
and, I think, Physical Education is mandatory up to an including
fifth year. No doubt some schools have not had this enforced yet
but it's only a matter of time. Thankfully sixth years are
excluded from this ruling seeing as, in general, they tend to have
so many free periods that enforced subjects would simply be stupid.

One person's experience
In closing I'll give the example of my own school which is currently
messing around with its timetabling system in order to increase the
uniformity of subjects and period length.

In first year pupils are taught English, Maths, General Science,
History/Modern Studies/Geography ( on a rotating basis, 3 months each if
I recall correctly) Home Economics, Computing, Tech Studies, Graphics,
Craft and Design (more complicated system due to the availability of
craft rooms or lack thereof) Art, Music, Drama, PE, RE and Social Ed and
finally by order of the SQA 'whichever modern language they had begun to
have taught to them in Primary school'. As all the schools in our catchment
area teach French, the school has decided it will teach French as well. To
all of them. Whether they wish to do German or Spanish or not. Subjects
such as English, Maths Science get three periods a week, rotational
subjects two and subjects like computing, drama and music only one.

In second year the exact same subjects are taught the exact same way
with the exception that at the end of the year pupils will choose their
subjects to study for standard grade based on teacher recommendations
as to whether they should be taught Foundation/General or General/Credit.
The Scottish Standard grades are graded 1-7 with 1-2 being Credit, 3-4 General,
5-6, Foundation and 7, Fail. Each level ( Foundation, General
and Credit ) has a single exam but each pupil sits two level based on
what their academic level has been estimated at. The highest grade
you attain receives dominance so even if you get a 4 in the general
exam a 1 in credit will still be a 1 in credit.

In third and fourth years candidates study for their standard grades. Classes
for larger subjects tend to be ability filtered but some subjects such as Tech
Studies only have enough applicants each year to justify a single class. It is
worth noting that Drama screws up the whole system by only having one single
paper for all three levels. Candidates can choose whatever they want with the
following restrictions - The must choose English, Maths, a science (either
Physics, Chemistry, Biology or General Science if it wasn't felt they could
handle the individual disciplines), the modern language they were studying
(French), An Aesthetic subject (Art, Drama, Home Economics, Music), A social
subject ( Modern Studies, Geography or History), a technological subject
(Tech Studies, Graphics, Craft and Design, Computing) and finally an additional
subject which is either social, a modern language, aesthetic, a science or a
technological subject. Personally I opted for English, Maths, French,
Modern Studies, Chemistry, Tech Studies, Computing and Drama.

In fifth year candidates sit their 'Higher Still' exams. The difference
between Higher and Higher Still is that the latter has internal assessments
during the year which decreases the emphasis on the final exam. Candidates in
my school can either do the subjects they did at Standard Grade, 'Crash'
Highers in related subjects or ... leave. Crash Highers tend to be rare in
Fifth year.

While most people who only received Foundation marks for their standard
grades just leave it's worth mentioning that in addition to Higher Still
(only available if you got a credit grade in the subject or a related subject)
there is Intermediate 2 for those with general grades and Intermediate 1 for
those with foundation grades. It's also worth mentioning that there is talk of
the standard grades being phased out all together and replaced with the
Intermediate exams which means pupils will be doing the same style of exams
from 3rd right into 6th. Pupils are limited to maximum of five subjects, no
exceptions. I was the only person to receive eight '1's in my school and
opted to study English, Maths, French, Computing and Chemistry at Higher Still.

In sixth year pupils either leave, re-sit exams from the previous year
they needed/wanted to get a better grade in or sit additional exams. Advanced
Highers become available for subjects you got either an A or a B pass in at
higher (but the latter only if the teacher(s) you had feels you were capable
of an A) but only tend to run in my school for English, Maths, The Sciences
and Music as there just aren't enough people for the other subjects. You
cannot justify running a class for only one or two people. Last years
Advanced Higher English only had six candidates. Universities allow applicants
from fifth year to enter degree programs so both low and high performers often
leave in fifth year however the number of pupils 'staying on' in sixth year is
growing. Pupils in my school must do a minimum of three subjects in fifth and
sixth year and people applying to do Intermediate 1 or 2 in sixth year are
encouraged to leave and pursue those subjects in college (and 'stop
wasting everyone's time' to quote my depute principal). As far as Advanced
Highers go while a good number of people take them due to the limitations
very few do more than two. The norm tends to be one, either English or Maths. A
fair number this year are taking Maths and Physics, one English and
Physics and one Maths and Music I think I'm right in saying that not a
single person is doing three subjects at advanced higher. Personally
I'm applying for Advanced Higher English, Higher Still Physics (crash),
Biology ( crash) and History (crash). I've applied to do Psychology
(Higher Still) on what is called a 'distance learning programme' from Telford
College Edinburgh ( which allows schools to run subjects for their pupils via
the internet which class sizes and lack of staff would otherwise render
infeasible). I am the only person at the school who has applied for five
subjects in sixth year however as Telford have not got in touch it's unlikely
that Psychology will be going ahead which means not a single person at my
school will be taking five subjects in sixth year. Some of these I may later be
ejected from, naturally it all depends on the results of the exams I'm in the
middle of sitting right now.

See also
The Scottish Office Education and Industry department, information about
education in Scotland

Scotland org's Educational section

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is at
has information on Scottish Primary schools

Learning and Teaching Scotland, see [17.4]

[17.2] Scottish Qualifications Authority

This is the new national body responsible for all Scottish qualifications
except university degrees.

See also [17.1]

[17.3] Books and information on studying Scottish culture

Further info

Open University

The Centre for Scottish Studies at the Open University in Scotland
has launched

"Studying Scottish History, Literature and Culture".

which is a rewrite of the former Scottish Studies pack and is
a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the whole range of
Scottish Studies.

What follows is copied from the printed flyer - the Web site isn't ready

196 pages, illustrated throughout.

* Historical topics covered include the Reformation, the Union, the
agricultural and industrial revolutions, government and politics, the
Highlands, towns and cities, developments since 1945

* Literature includes studies of early Scottish literature, major
authors such as Burns, Scott, Hogg and Galt, Stevenson, Grassic Gibbon,
Gaelic literature, the modern novel, poetry and drama.

* Cultural history before 1560, cultural effects of the reformation and
the Union, Enlightenment and Romanticism, questions of identity in the
modern age.

The writing team, Angus Calder, Ian Donnachie, William Donnelly, George
Hewitt, Shiela Lodge and Glenda Norquay are all experts in their
respective fields.

Available for #12 + #1.50 post and packing from

The Open University in Scotland,
10, Drumsheugh Gardens,
Edinburgh EH3 7QJ

Sterling cheques only, no plastic. Or order it from your friendly local
bookshop - ISBN 0 7492 7349 6.

[17.4] Learning and Teaching Scotland

Learning and Teaching Scotland
74 Victoria Crescent Road
G12 9JN
Tel: +44 (0)141 337 5000
Fax: +44 (0)141 337 5050

This organisation specialises in producing, marketing and distributing
materials on computer for the Scottish educational market.

[17.5] SCRAN - Historical and cultural on-line resource

The Web resource base of the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network
was launched by Sam Galbraith, Scottish Office Minister for Arts and
Cultural Heritage, on Friday, July 25th 1997.

SCRAN is a Millennium project to build a networked multimedia resource
base for the study, teaching and appreciation of history and material
culture in Scotland.

At launch, the SCRAN resource base contained about 60,000 text records of
objects from over 30 museums. A few hundred of these are attached to
images. By the Millennium we plan this to have grown to 1.5 million
text records and 100,000 multimedia objects, including movies, sound
clips and Virtual Reality.

Please visit the website and choose "search SCRAN", try out the pilot
user interface and let them know what you think!

[17.6] League tables of Scottish schools

Scottish school league tables



[17.7] Research papers

I thought this would be of interest to researchers

Computer Science Research Paper Search Engine [.ps]
(url temporarily removed)

Created by Just Research, an applied research lab in Pittsburgh, PA,
this site will find ready use among computer science students and
professionals. Using Cora, visitors can conduct keyword searches over
the partial text of some 50,000 Postscript-formatted computer science
research papers. Alternatively, users can browse top-ranking papers
organized under a number of topics and sub-categories. Search returns
include title, author, institution, and abstract, with a link to a
Postscript version, the referring page, a detailed entry (including
references), and a BibTeX entry. Although the site has not been recently
updated the sheer number of papers indexed make it a valuable resource.

[18.1] Newspapers

Papers on-line
--------------  - The Scotsman  - Daily Record - The Herald - Scotland on Sunday - The Sunday Herald - The Evening Times (Glasgow) - Edinburgh Evening News - The List - look for Glasgow/Edinburgh sections - Stornoway Gazette  Northern Scot               (The Shetland News)           (The Shetland Times) - Scots Independent - D C Thomson (Sunday Post, Courier, Scots Mag etc) (The Scots Magazine)
The world's most widely-read Scottish interest publication. First published in
1739, The Scots Magazine is a monthly periodical with around 300,000 readers
Scottish Memories magazine

Courier and Advertiser, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee, DD1 9HU
Tel: 01382 223131

Press and Journal, 84 Academy Street, Inverness, IV1 IJY
Tel: 01463 222801

The West Highland Free Press
(Broadford, Isle of Skye, IV49 9AP) , tel: 01471 822464

Newspaper dedicated to the Edinburgh Festival:

Other Scottish Newspapers
Edinburgh Herald and Post, 108 Holyrood Park, Edinburgh EH8 8AS
Tel: 0131 243 3659.

Oban Times, PO Box 1, Oban, PA34 5PY
Tel: 01631 563058, Fax: 01631 565470

Stirling Observer, 40 Upper Craigs, Stirling, FK8 2DW
Tel: 01786 451110

Linlithgowshire Journal and Gazette
114 High Street, Linlithgow EH49 7AQ
tel: 01506 844592
fax: 01506 670281

The Inverness Courier, Inverness, IV1 1QW

Guth na Gaidhlig, Highland News Group, Henderson Road, Inverness
IV1 1SP, Tel: 01463 713700

La/ newspaper (Northern Ireland) has a Scottish Gaelic column.

Metro (A DC Thomson free paper) Tel 0141 225 3345. Fax: 0141 225 3316

Political bias in newspapers
I understand from The Scotsman journalists I've spoken to (perhaps
better not to name names) that Andrew Neil, who is hardly ever there,
is detested and there is a constant struggle away from his hard
Unionist line. The Scotsman also uses ICM as a polling organisation.
The director of ICM has admitted that the allocation of "don't knows"
in ICM polls has a bias against the SNP. The ICM poll for the North East
Euro seat by-election in Nov 98 was 600% out in terms of the SNP majority
over Labour. During Andrew Neil's tenure, the Scotsman reported a drop in
circulation of 2.2% for the first six months of 1999 when the Scottish
General Election was one of its main stories, and projected ABC figures for
the Scotsman for the year are about 3.5% down. The Herald over the same six
months only lost 0.5%. This was the period during which I switched from
The Scotsman to The Herald because of The Herald's political neutrality.

Having got himself a new job presenting a daily afternoon show on
Radio Scotland veteran Scotsman columnist Tom Morton felt free to
comment on what has been happening at what used to be the establishment
voice of the nation, (or at least that part of the establishment living
on the east coast).

His thoughts were quoted in the Sunday Herald diary 31-March-2002

"The Scotsman is a paper run on the whim of someone who has no insight
into or concern for Scotland, its culture or politics.  It has become
a vanity publication and I want nothing to do with it."

Additionally, on 16th April 2002, the staff of The Scotsman and its sister
publications passed a vote of no confidence in the group's publisher Andrew
Neil in the face of declining revenues and sales. Hint: Maybe the publisher's
political stance might have something to do with this.

The Herald has gone through bad periods and two editors as it works out
where its readership lies, although its history is unionist and Whig.
They both give a lot of space to nationalist letter writers with
circulation in mind, often tending towards the controversial (but misinformed)
simply to stir up a good debate. The Sun has dropped circulation badly
since dropping the SNP, and even the arch unionist Record now has Ian Bell
as a columnist, at least till they see if he is increasing circulation. The
Scotsman has of course held its price well below The Herald for over a year.
The general perception and one which The Herald is keen to emphasise is that
the Herald is politically neutral.

The West Highland Free press has an exceptionally hard anti-SNP line and
is often little more than a front for Brian Wilson's press office. One
wonders whether the paper should be entered as an election expense for
the Labour party.

Political bias in Journalists
See also

Some journalists and columnists with political interests:

Margaret Vaughan - The Herald - wife of Social Security Minister
Alistair Darling.

Gerald Warner - Scotland on Sunday - former spin doctor and adviser to
Michael Forsyth.

George Birrell - The Herald - former spin doctor and adviser to
Michael Forsyth.

Michael Kelly - The Scotsman - former Lord Provost of Glasgow and Labour

Jim Stevens - economist Fraser of Allander Institute and Member of Labour

Michael Fry, who occasionally works for the Herald, is a former Tory
candidate in one of the Glasgow seats.

Brian Meek, also a Tory activist, also works for the Herald.

George Galloway - Scottish Mail on Sunday - current Labour MP for Hillhead.

The Economist's Peter Jones is married to Labour MSP Rhona Brankin.

Alex Salmond and Tommy Sheridan also have columns in the Scottish
Press. Sheridan in the Record IIRC, and Salmond in the Sunday Mail or
News of the Screws.  Lorraine Davidson, erstwhile Labour spin
doctrix, also has a column in either the Sunday Mail or News of the World -
don't normally buy 'em so sorry for being so vague.

Further Information
Scottish newspapers on-line

Yahoo index for Scotland is
Media and newspapers are off there at:

See also (UK newspapers on-line)

Scottish Media Watch

The Press Complaints Commission

The Scottish News Agency.
fax 0870 787 8961.

Free press release publication

[18.2] Radio

BBC Radio Scotland
Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, G12 8DG
Tel: 0141 339 8844

Listen to the station live, and also 'listen again' to shows, including
music ones, for up to a week after transmission. Essential listening,
especially for Scots around the world outside the reception area.

Radio nan Gaidheal, 7 Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AD
Tel: (Inverness) 01463 720720
Fax: (Stornoway) 01851 704633

More information

See [18.5] for Scots music radio programmes

See [18.6] for Gaelic TV and Radio information

See [18.4] for Celtic & Scottish stations broadcasting on the Internet

See for Scottish Media Watch

[18.3] Television

BBC Scotland (TV)
The BBC in Scotland

The BBC raises approximately 164m a year from Scottish TV licence
payers but only 84m was spent in 1997 on making programmes in Scotland,
including regional programmes and commissions for the national network.
The other half of the money went on BBC1 and 2 and Radios 1,2,3,4 and 5 live
and towards transmission costs. (Source: Scotland on Sunday 16 Aug 98, P9)

Border Television
Border Television, Television Centre, Carlisle CA1 3NT
Phone: +44 (0) 1228 25101
Fax: +44 (0) 1228 41384

Grampian Television
Telebhisean Grampian, Crois na Banrigh, Obar Dheathain, AB9 2XJ,
(Grampian TV, Queen's Cross, Aberdeen)
Tel: 01224 846 846, Fax: 01224 846800
(now part of the Scottish Media Group)

Scottish Television
Scottish Television PLC, Cowcaddens, Glasgow G2 3PR
Phone : +44 (0) 141 300 3000
Fax : +44 (0) 141 300 3030

Terrestrial Frequencies
TV broadcast channels for the 5 terrestrial channels, broken down by
Scottish transmitter frequencies

Tartan TV
Tartan TV is a weekly magazine programme which is broadcast in North
America and Canada.

See [18.6] for Gaelic TV and Radio information

Media Watch
See for Scottish Media Watch

[18.4] Scottish and Celtic broadcasting on the Internet


Celtic music
Index of Celtic Music WebRadio Sites

Traditional music weekly show from RTE in Ireland

Celtic MP3s you can play

Ceolas list

General Lists
All web radio stations  can be found at or or


The Sounds of Scotland
The world's most popular on line "Scottish Music" Radio Show

There is Manx music information off
Select the Celtic channel. Constant feed.
Celtic Music on WRUV 90.1
Mondays 6:00-9:00 AM US Eastern Time (GMT -5 hours)
Follow the "World and New Age" link for Celtic.
KGNU-FM Boulder, Colorado
Celtic music 7:00-9:00 PM US Mountain Standard Time (GMT -7 hours)
CKUA broadcasts "The Celtic Show", 6pm-9pm (MST), Fridays

[18.5] Scottish music radio programmes

In Scotland
Radio Scotland (MW= Medium Wave 810, FM = 92.4 to 94.7). All the programmes
below are FM and MW unless otherwise stated. Radio Scotland MW can be
picked up as far south as London when conditions are favourable.

      Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
      Live at the Lemon Tree 7-8pm

      Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
      Celtic Connections 7-9pm

      Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00

      Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
      Travelling Folk 7-9pm

      Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00

      Take the floor 6:30-8pm
      Travelling Folk 8-10pm
      Celtic Connections 10-12 midnight

      The Reel Blend: 10-12am MW & FM
      Pipeline: 9:00-9:45pm

Radio nan Gaidheal also has a lot of music. Unsure of exact times of music
programmes though. (On 103.5 - 105 & 97.9 FM) Na durachdan (6:05-7:30 on
Fridays) plays popular request music
Radio nan Gaidheal broadcasts in the Edinburgh area on 104.7FM.
Its broadcasting times in Scotland are:
7:30-12:00 and 17:00-19:30 (Mon-Thu)
7:30-12:00 and 17:00-23:00 (Fri);
9:00-13:00 (Sat);
15:00-15:30 and 21:00-22:00 Sun

Moray Firth Radio have a folk show on Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9:00.
They can be contacted at

Folk on 2, BBC Radio 2. Wednesdays 8-9pm.

Covers British Folk. Presented by Jim Lloyd
there is also frequent series of folk & features on Wednesdays between 8pm
and 9:30pm on Radio 2 (three half hour programmes)

In the US
The Thistle and Shamrock. This is hosted by Fiona Ritchie.
There is an on-line list of stations carrying this programme -

Ceolas carries another list, of over one hundred American celtic music
radio programs, and several in other parts of the world:

The Thistle and Shamrock has a brochure that gives some background on Fiona
Ritchie and the show, and includes information about their Newsletter,
Playlists, and Souvenirs: T-shirts, a pin, tankard and coasters. If you want
this brochure, send a SASE to "The Thistle and Shamrock, P.O. Box 560646,
Charlotte, NC 28256 (USA).

At Ceolas, there is a list
"Ceolas Worldwide Celtic Music Radio Listing"

[18.6] Gaelic TV and radio information

Gaelic Radio is on (103.5 - 105 & 97.9 FM) the same frequency as Radio
Scotland VHF - this is 104.3 in the Edinburgh area. It's on in the mornings
and early evening. Gaelic is no longer broadcast on Radio Scotland 810MW,
a great disappointment as it used to be available in most of England and
now the so-called "National" service only has patchy coverage in Scotland!

Radio nan Gaidheal, 7 Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AD
Tel: 01463 720720

Gaelic TV is on BBC Scotland. Scottish Television and Grampian

Times of Gaelic Radio and TV are also published each Friday in the
West Highland Free Press, Broadford, Skye, IV49 9AP
Tel: 01471 822464
Fax: 01471 822694

Gaelic Broadcasting Committee
For details of Gaelic Broadcasting in general, contact:
The Gaelic Broadcasting Committee.
4 Acarsaid, Cidhe Sraid Chrombail, Steornabhagh,
Eilean Leodhais PA87 2DF, Scotland.
Tel: 01851 705550
Fax: 01851 706432
See also [18.7]

Gaelic Broadcasting Provision
Provision for Gaelic television programmes on Independent Television
in Scotland was included in general terms in the Broadcasting Act 1981,
and was specifically provided for in the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and
1996. Grampian and Scottish Television, but not Border Television,
therefore have specific licence conditions to produce and broadcast
Gaelic programmes: in the case of Grampian Television, 53 minutes a
week of Gaelic programmes funded by themselves plus an additional 30
minutes a week supplied by Scottish Television; Scottish Television
has to show 30 minutes a week of Gaelic programmes funded by themselves
plus an additional 30 minutes a week funded by Grampian Television.
In addition, these companies are obliged to broadcast on a regular
basis up to 200 hours a year of Gaelic programmes funded by the Gaelic
Broadcasting Committee.

The Gaelic Broadcasting Committee (Comataidh Craolaidh Gaidhlig, CCG)
manages the Gaelic Broadcasting Fund set up under the provisions of
the Broadcasting Act 1990, as amended by the Broadcasting Act 1996.
The Committee is charged with funding up to 200 hours of Gaelic
television programmes, and with enhancing and widening the range of
Gaelic sound programmes, to be broadcast mainly in Scotland. In
practice, funded programmes are broadcast by the BBC as well as ITV,
although the former has no statutory requirement under the Broadcasting
Acts 1990 and 1996 to transmit Gaelic programmes funded by the Gaelic
Broadcasting Committee.

The BBC, under its Royal Charter and its agreement with Parliament,
pledges to broadcast 90 hours a year of Gaelic television programmes
funded by the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee. It also provides the
Gaelic radio service Radio nan Gaidheal which broadcasts up to 45
hours a week of Gaelic programming.

See also

[18.7] Attitudes towards Gaelic TV in Scotland

Survey results
This survey was conducted by System Three for the Gaelic Television
Committee (see [18.6]) and published in July 94 in their 93/94 annual

The Gaelic TV programmes are not funded by TV licence money, they
are funded directly from the Government by Act of Parliament (the
Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996).

Unweighted base: 1052.
Figures are percentages

The columns are

1) Agree strongly
2) Agree slightly
3) Neither agree nor disagree
4) Disagree slightly
5) Disagree strongly
6) Don't know
7) Mean score


a) There are too many Gaelic programmes on television nowadays
Answers: 11 15 13 36 20 4  -0.40

b) I enjoy watching Gaelic TV programmes, even though I may not
speak Gaelic myself.
Answers: 12 30 12 20 23 4  -0.14

c) Too many Gaelic TV programmes are shown at peak times
Answers: 14 14 13 36 17 6  -0.29

d) It is important that the Gaelic language in Scotland is kept alive
through Gaelic programmes on TV
Answers: 40 35 9 8 5 3  1.00

[18.8] Scottish film industry

Scottish Screen
Scottish Screen is the new national body for film and television in
Scotland, established in April 1997. It takes on the functions of
the Scottish Film Council, the Scottish Film Production Fund,
Scottish Screen Locations and Scottish Broadcast and Film Training,
forming a unitary organisation.

Scottish Screen now works in the areas of production, development,
location assistance, exhibition and festivals, training, media education
and preserving the heritage and history of the moving image in Scotland
through the Archive.


Scottish Screen
Chief Executive, Ken Hay
249 West George Street
Glasgow G2 4QE

Tel: 0141-302-1700
Fax: 0141-302-1711

For Scottish Film locations, see [18.9]

Celtic Film and Television Association
Frances Hendron
Secretary: AEFI
Celtic Film and Television Association
1 Bowmont Gardens
G12 9LR

Tel: 0141 342 4947
Fax: 0141 342 4948

[18.9] Scottish film locations

Information for anyone who may be interested

Scotland the Movie Location Guide
A visitor guide to filming locations for movies and television made in
Scotland is now at

Currently covers over 60 movies and television series with hundreds of
photos of locations, stills and maps. Site currently has over 300
pages with more added frequently.

[19.1] Scottish Government

The Scottish Parliament

In Gaelic

In Scots

The Scottish Executive

The Scotland Office
formerly the Scottish Office

British Government

[19.2] Sources of political information

See [19.12] for details of the Parliament and associated white
papers on the referendum and the Parliament itself.

Addresses of relevant organisations:

Political Parties in Scotland

Scottish National Party (SNP)
Scottish National Party
Gordon Lamb House
3 Jackson's Entry
(Gaelic: Partaidh Naiseanta na h-Alba - PNA)

John Webster
Scottish National Party,
300 Cree Crescent,
Manitoba, R3J 3W9.

In the US, contact John MacInnes

The newspaper The Scots Independent is at

Labour Party
Labour Party, 1 Lynedoch Place, Glasgow G3 6AB.
Tel: 0141 332 8946 FAX 331 2566 (UK) (Scotland)

Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats, 4 Clifton Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5DR
0131 337 2314
(opposite Haymarket station)
Liberal Democrat History group

Conservative and Unionist Party
Suite 1/1, 14 Links Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 7EZ
Tel: 0131 555 2900 (UK) (Scotland)

Scottish Independence Party

Scottish Socialist Party

Politically Oriented organisations

Charter 88
c/o Sead, 23 Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3DN   Tel: 0131 225 6550

Scottish council for civil liberties
SCCL is an independent non party-political organisation which campaigns
for the defence and promotion of civil liberties in Scotland and
provides educational material on civil and human rights

The magazine of the Green movement in Scotland is available through
Green Scotland, 2 Arbikie Cottages, Inverkeilor, Angus DD11 4UZ
tel: 01241 830351

Independence Convention
The aims of the Convention are to create a forum for those of all political
persuasions and none, who support independence; and to be a national
catalyst for Scottish independence.

See also
Scottish Politics home page:
There is an interesting survey at
This is an ICM poll for The Scotsman regarding how the Scots view themselves

The University of Edinburgh has a local Government in Scotland site at
the Act of Union is on-line here

Info on devolution and government
--------------------------------- - The Scottish Parliament - in Gaelic - in Scots - The Scottish Executive main page
UK Citizens Online Democracy (UKCOD) is Britain's first national online
democracy service. We aim to promote informed discussion on matters of
national and local importance by providing a forum for members of the
public to discuss political issues.

The BBC's Scottish Politics programme Scottish Lobby can be reached
and their website for Scottish politics programmes is at

Scottish issues are sometimes discussed in the programme On The Record

British Official Publications Current Awareness Service (BOPCAS)

bopcas-scotland offers weekly updates of the latest UK
government publications relating to Scotland and a forum
to discuss matters arising from them.

Parliament Keywords: Scotland; Scottish; Parliament;
           devolution; government; politics; UK

See for more info
It costs money to subscribe to this service

[19.3] Scottish politics e-mail lists

A discussion list about Scottish matters, often with a political

Information on the ScotTalk list AND subscription form at -

Scottish Politics
There is also the Scottish politics list. Send a mail to
info scottish-politics

in the message body for more information.

[19.4] Government publications
The Stationery Office is the prime source of government and official
publications in the UK.

[19.5] Scottish sovereignty

Scottish sovereignty was not subsumed by English sovereignty in 1707.
In the case of MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1954 (1953 SC 396), Lord
Cooper stated that "The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of
Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no
counterpart in Scottish constitutional law. ... I have difficulty in
seeing why it should have been supposed that the new Parliament of
Great Britain must inherit all the peculiar characteristics of the
English Parliament but none of the Scottish Parliament...."
This case dealt with the styling of the current monarch as the "second"
of the United Kingdom (there never having been a previous
Queen Elizabeth of the UK). There is a section on the nature of
Scottish constitutional law within the UK in G Mitchell's
'Constitutional Law' (2nd Ed. Wm Green and Son, Edinburgh 1968(ish))

"we are sovereign within the Union and we can walk out any
time we want". Those are the exact words once uttered by Michael
Forsyth, an arch-unionist and Secretary of State for Scotland under
the last Conservative government, uttered January 1997

[19.6] Scottish and English oil and energy reserves

People often ask, how much of the oil/gas etc in the North Sea would
Scotland get if it became independent. The North Sea is already
legally divided into a Scottish sector and an English sector. It has
to be as Scots law is different to English law.

The relevant law is The Continental Shelf (Jurisdictional) Order 1968.

Currently this places 90% of the oil in Scottish waters, however this
percentage is gradually growing as new fields open up to the North of
present fields and also to the West of the mainland.

The SNP advocate dividing the North Sea assets based on the 55.50'
latitude or upon international legal principles of equidistance.

[19.7] Political Quotations

"Show me a man who respects the rights of all countries, but is ready
to defend his own against them all, and I will show you a man who is both
a nationalist and an internationalist".
Fletcher of Saltoun (1653-1716)

"Independently of my enthusiasms as a Scotsman, I have rarely met with
anything in history which interests my feelings as a man equal with the
story of Bannockburn. On the one hand, a cruel but able usurper, leading
on the finest army in Europe, to extinguish the last spark of freedom
among a greatly-daring & greatly-injured people; on the other hand, the
desperate relics of a gallant nation, devoting themselves to rescue their
bleeding country or perish with her. Liberty! thou art a prize truly
and indeed invaluable, for never canst thou be too dearly bought."
Robert Burns (1759-1796)

" I ken when we had King, and a chancellor, and a Parliment-- men
o'our ain, we could peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude
bairnes. But naebody's nails can reach the length o'Lunnon."
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

"There has been in England a gradual and progressive system of
assuming the management of affairs entirely and exclusively proper
to Scotland, as if we were totally unworthy of having the management
of our own concerns"
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

        Mel Gibson, "Braveheart"

"Tartan Tax"
         Michael Forsyth, Secretary of State for Scotland 1996.

         Tony Blair, Prime Minister

"Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government"
         Michael Forsyth, 5 days before losing his seat and 5 days
         before the Labour party swept to power with a massive majority

"We declare the right of the people of Scotland to the ownership of Scotland,
and to the unfettered control of Scottish destinies, to be sovereign and
indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and
government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished
except by the destruction of the Scots people. The Scots people have
asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty by arms and by
the ballot box. Standing on that fundamental right and asserting it
in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim Scotland as a Sovereign
Independent State and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades
in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its
exaltation among the nations."
   THOMAS J. CLARKE and others
(text adapted and modified from the proclamation of the Irish republic)

"The Scottish Constitutional settlement should be entrenched by a
simple provision in the Scotland Act (the act establishing the
Scottish parliament). Proposed amendments should be approved by a
simple majority in the UK and Scottish parliaments and in a referendum.
The Convention should consider giving the electorate the right to
propose an amendment through a constitutional petition"
Paragraph 5, Page 47 of "Towards a Scottish Parliament".
Consultation document and report to the Scottish people by
The Constitutional Convention. October 1989.

"We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby
acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine
the form of government best suited to their needs, and do hereby
declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their
interests shall be paramount.

We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations
shall be directed to the following ends:
To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;
To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish
people for that scheme;
and to assert the right of the Scottish people to secure the
implementation of that scheme."
The Claim of Right,  agreed by the Scottish Constitutional Convention
March 1989.

"The piece of Perthshire sandstone of controversial pedigree which has
come to Scotland in the general interest of party-political advantage
will be sited at a location in Edinburgh, decided upon by the Westminster
Establishment, and will be removed from Scotland if and when a London
government so decides. It is an almost perfect metaphor for devolution"
                        Alan Clayton, "The Herald", 30-Nov-96

[19.8] Quangos

(Quasi-autonomous non governmental organisations - now called
non-departmental public bodies apparently)

Labour promised us a "bonfire of the quangos" - anyone noticed
any difference yet?

If you think that quangos are over dominated by politicians of a
certain political persuation - here's your chance to go on one
yourself: Write to the Scottish Office and ask for the list of
Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The address is: Room 237, St Andrew's
House, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 3DG Tel: 0131 244 4999 Fax: 0131 244
2683. You will be asked about your political persuations when you
join - this is not used for selection but is simply used for
statistical analysis (do you believe that?)

[19.9] Local Councils

Information on the Scottish local councils

This Edinburgh University site also has an interactive map showing the
local Scottish Councils which is superior to that shown on the Scottish
Office website. The Edinburgh University map is at
and info on local government is at

Commission on Local Government and the Scottish Parliament

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

The accounts commission for Scotland
See if your council gives you value for money.

Enacting legislation
Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c. 39)

Scottish Local Authorities - council web sites

Specific authorities
        Aberdeen City
        Argyll and Bute


        Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
        Dumfries and Galloway
        Dundee City
        East Ayrshire
        East Lothian
        East Renfrewshire
        Glasgow City
        Moray council
        North Lanarkshire
        Perth and Kinross
        South Ayrshire
        South Lanarkshire
        West Dunbartonshire
        West Lothian
        Western Isles

[19.10] General Election results

2005 results
2,333,882 total votes, 60.6%
Labour  41 seats (notional 5 loss) 39.5%
Lib Dem 11 seats (notional 2 gain) 22.6%
SNP     6 seats (notional 2 gain) 17.7
Conservative 1 seat (notional 1 gain) 15.8

No other party recorded over 2% of the votes cast or won any seats

2001 results
2,315,703 total votes, 58.2% turnout.
Labour 56 seats, 43.9%
SNP 5 seats, 20.1%
Lib Dems 10 seats, 16.4%
Conservative 1 seat, 15.6%

1997 results
(2,812,439 total votes)
Electorate      3,946,113     71.3% turnout

Labour 45.65% of vote, 56 seats
SNP 21.96% of vote, 6 seats,  (617,260 votes)
Conservative 17.54% of vote, no seats (493,059 votes)
LibDem 13.00% of vote, 10 seats, (365,359 votes)
Referendum party 1.0% of vote, no seats (26,978 votes)
Green 0.06% of vote, no seats
Others 0.80% of vote, no seats

1992 results
Labour 39% of vote, 49 seats
Conservative 25.6% of vote, 11 seats
SNP 21.5% of vote, 3 seats
LibDem 13.1% of vote, 9 seats
Others 0.8% of vote, no seats

[19.11] Devolution Referendum Results

Here are the results of the referendum held on 11th September 1997
which asked the Scottish electorate whether they wanted a Parliament
and whether a Parliament should have tax varying powers.

Summary of Results

Every region voted Yes-Yes, except Orkney and Dumfries & Galloway which
both voted Yes to a Parliament but No to tax raising powers by small

Q1) Should there be a Scottish parliament
Agree 1,775,045 (74.3%)  Disagree 614,400 (25.7%)

Q2) Should the parliament have tax varying powers
Agree 1,512,889 (63.5%)  Disagree 870,263 (36.5%)

Turnout 60.4%

Breakdown by local authority, alphabetically

Aberdeen City
Q1: Agree 65,035 (71.8%)  Disagree 25,580 (28.2%)
Q2: Agree 54,320 (60.3%)  Disagree 35,709 (39.7%)
Turnout 53.7%. Declared 04:13

Q1: Agree 61,621 (63.9%)  Disagree 34,878 (36.1%)
Q2: Agree 50,295 (52.3%)  Disagree 45,929 (47.7%)
Turnout 57.0%. Declared 04:20

Q1: Agree 33,571 (64.7%)  Disagree 18,350 (35.3%)
Q2: Agree 27,641 (53.4%)  Disagree 24,089 (46.6%)
Turnout 60.2%. Declared 03:27

Argyll & Bute
Q1: Agree 30,452 (67.3%)  Disagree 14,796 (32.7%)
Q2: Agree 25,746 (57.0%)  Disagree 19,429 (43.0%)
Turnout 65.0%. Declared 04:27

City of Edinburgh
Q1: Agree 155,900 (71.9%)  Disagree 60,832 (28.1%)
Q2: Agree 133,843 (62.0%)  Disagree 82,188 (38.0%)
Turnout 60.1%. Declared 03:05

Q1: Agree 18,790 (80.0%)  Disagree 4,706 (20.0%)
Q2: Agree 16,112 (68.7%)  Disagree 7,355 (31.3%)
Turnout 66.1%. Declared 00:41

Dumfries & Galloway
Q1: Agree 44,619 (60.7%)  Disagree 28,863 (39.3%)
Q2: Agree 35,737 (48.8%)  Disagree 37,499 (51.2%)
Turnout 63.4%. Declared 02:44

Dundee City
Q1: Agree 49,252 (76.0%)  Disagree 15,553 (24.0%)
Q2: Agree 42,304 (65.5%)  Disagree 22,280 (34.5%)
Turnout 55.7%. Declared 02:20

East Ayrshire
Q1: Agree 49,131 (81.1%)  Disagree 11,426 (18.9%)
Q2: Agree 42,559 (70.5%)  Disagree 17,824 (29.5%)
Turnout 64.8%. Declared 03:46

East Dumbartonshire
Q1: Agree 40,917 (69.8%)  Disagree 17,725 (30.2%)
Q2: Agree 34,576 (59.1%)  Disagree 23,914 (40.9%)
Turnout 72.7%. Declared 04:16

East Lothian
Q1: Agree 33,525 (74.2%)  Disagree 11,665 (25.8%)
Q2: Agree 28,152 (62.7%)  Disagree 16,765 (37.3%)
Turnout 65.0%. Declared 02:37

East Renfrewshire
Q1: Agree 28,253 (61.7%)  Disagree 17,573 (38.3%)
Q2: Agree 23,580 (51.6%)  Disagree 22,153 (48.4%)
Turnout 68.2%. Declared 02:27

Q1: Agree 55,642 (80.0%)  Disagree 13,953 (20.0%)
Q2: Agree 48,064 (69.2%)  Disagree 21,403 (30.8%)
Turnout 63.7%. Declared 02:53

Q1: Agree 125,668 (76.1%)  Disagree 39,517 (23.9%)
Q2: Agree 108,021 (64.7%)  Disagree 58,987 (35.3%)
Turnout 60.7%. Declared 03:37 (this result secured the first question)
There was probably a counting error when totalling the Q2 results in
this area as the Q2 votes exceed the Q1 votes by about 2,000. The
number of Q2 votes also exceeds the number of ballot papers issued.
Q2 agree was misrecorded. It should have been 106,214.

Glasgow City
Q1: Agree 204,269 (83.6%)  Disagree 40,106 (16.4%)
Q2: Agree 182,589 (75.0%)  Disagree 60,842 (25.0%)
Turnout 51.6%. Declared 03:32

Q1: Agree 72,551 (72.6%)  Disagree 27,431 (27.4%)
Q2: Agree 61,359 (62.1%)  Disagree 37,525 (37.9%)
Turnout: 60.3%. Declared 05:44

Q1: Agree 31,680 (78.0%)  Disagree 8,945 (22.0%)
Q2: Agree 27,194 (67.2%)  Disagree 13,277 (32.8%)
Turnout: 60.4%. Declared 03:21

Q1: Agree 31,681 (79.9%)  Disagree 7,979 (20.1%)
Q2: Agree 26,776 (67.7%)  Disagree 12,762 (32.3%)
Turnout 65.1%. Declared 03:09

Q1: Agree 24,822 (67.2%)  Disagree 12,122 (32.8%)
Q2: Agree 19,326 (52.7%)  Disagree 17,344 (47.3%)
Turnout 57.8%. Declared 02:15

North Ayrshire
Q1: Agree 51,304 (76.3%)  Disagree 15,931 (23.7%)
Q2: Agree 43,990 (65.7%)  Disagree 22,991 (34.3%)
Turnout 63.4%. Declared 03:50

North Lanarkshire
Q1: Agree 123,063 (82.6%)  Disagree 26,010 (17.4%)
Q2: Agree 107,288 (72.2%)  Disagree 41,372 (27.8%)
Turnout 60.8%. Declared 04:07 (This result secured the second question)

Orkney Islands
Q1: Agree 4,749 (57.3%)  Disagree 3,541 (42.7%)
Q2: Agree 3,917 (47.4%)  Disagree 4,344 (52.6%)
Turnout 53.5%. Declared 01:54

Perth & Kinross
Q1: Agree 40,344 (61.7%)  Disagree 24,998 (38.3%)
Q2: Agree 33,398 (51.3%)  Disagree 31,709 (48.7%)
Turnout 63.1%. Declared 03:02

Q1: Agree 68,711 (79.0%)  Disagree 18,213 (21.0%)
Q2: Agree 55,075 (63.6%)  Disagree 31,537 (36.4%)
Turnout 62.8%. Declared 01:59

Scottish Borders
Q1: Agree 33,855 (62.8%)  Disagree 20,060 (37.2%)
Q2: Agree 27,284 (50.7%)  Disagree 26,497 (49.3%)
Turnout 64.8%. Declared 03:40

Shetland Islands
Q1: Agree 5,430 (62.4%)  Disagree 3,275 (37.6%)
Q2: Agree 4,478 (51.6%)  Disagree 4,198 (48.4%)
Turnout 51.5%. Declared 03:13

South Ayrshire
Q1: Agree 40,161 (66.9%)  Disagree 19,909 (33.1%)
Q2: Agree 33,679 (56.2%)  Disagree 26,217 (43.8%)
Turnout 66.7%. Declared 02:31

South Lanarkshire
Q1: Agree 114,908 (77.8%)  Disagree 32,762 (22.2%)
Q2: Agree 99,587 (67.6%)  Disagree 47,708 (32.4%)
Turnout 63.1%. Declared 00:50

Q1: Agree 29,190 (68.5%)  Disagree 13,440 (31.5%)
Q2: Agree 25,044 (58.9%)  Disagree 17,487 (41.1%)
Turnout 65.8%. Declared 02:57

West Dumbartonshire
Q1: Agree 39,051 (84.7%)  Disagree 7,058 (15.3%)
Q2: Agree 34,408 (74.7%)  Disagree 11,628 (25.3%)
Turnout 63.7%. Declared 03:17

West Lothian
Q1: Agree 56,923 (79.6%)  Disagree 14,614 (20.4%)
Q2: Agree 47,990 (67.3%)  Disagree 23,354 (32.7%)
Turnout 62.6%. Declared 01:49

Western Isles / Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Q1: Agree 9,977 (79.4%)  Disagree 2,589 (20.6%)
Q2: Agree 8,557 (68.4%)  Disagree 3,947 (31.6%)
Turnout 55.8%. Declared 02:11

[19.12] The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament web site
-------------------------------- - English - Gaelic
The Parliament was elected on 6 May 1999, reconvened after a 292 year gap on
12 May 1999, and assumed its full powers after the official opening
by the Queen on 1 July 1999.

The Scotland Act 1988

Statutory Instruments

The full breakdown by constituency of the votes in the Scottish
Parliament election (including the regional list vote) is off

See also

The powers of the Scottish Parliament are based on those established by
the Labour led Constitutional Convention.

The final report of the constitutional convention is at

The Scottish parliament extends democratic control over the responsibilities
formerly exercised administratively by the Scottish Office.

The responsibilities of the UK Parliament will remain unchanged over UK policy,
for example economic, defence and foreign policy.

The UK Government has published a short free guide concerning powers of
the parliament. It is available in Scots, Gaelic, English and other
languages. Write to: The Constitution Group, the Scottish Office,
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.

Site of Parliament
It was leaked to the media on 5th January 1998 that the Parliament will be in
Holyrood, near Holyrood Palace. Most political parties and most members of
the general public wanted the parliament to be at Calton Hill, but this
was ruled out on cost grounds. However, Holyrood palace offers plenty room
for expansion if/when the Queen is no longer the head of state.... Any
suggestions as to what the Parliament should be called? Thomas Muir house
has been suggested, after the Scottish political activist (see [11.16]). The
actual site was originally that of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun's house - he
was one of the main opponents to political union in the previous Scottish
parliament. Until the new Parliament building at Holyrood was constructed, the
Scottish Parliament met in the General Assembly buildings on The Mound.
These buildings are only a few minutes walk from Parliament Square where
the Scottish Parliament met prior to being suspended in May 1707.

The postal address of the Parliament is

The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

You can contact your MSP by e-mail.
The format is

Parliament Building
There is an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland showing the
latest design of the new Scottish parliament by the Catalonian architect
Enric Miralles. Since everyone cannot go and visit the display, you can view
photos of the models and illustrations together with some other info at:

129 seats - 71 of the present 72 constituencies plus Orkney & Shetland
with one each giving 73 elected by FPTP. The remaining 56 elected by
party list in the eight Euro-constituencies - seven seats each.

List regions

Central Scotland
Airdrie & Shotts; Coatbridge & Chryston; Cumbernauld & Kilsyth; East
Kilbride; Kilmarnock & Loudon; Hamilton North & Bellshill; Hamilton
South; Motherwell & Wishaw; Falkirk East; Falkirk West (10 seats).

Glasgow Anniesland; Glasgow Baillieston; Glasgow Cathcart; Glasgow Govan;
Glasgow Kelvin; Glasgow Maryhill; Glasgow Pollok; Glasgow Rutherglen;
Glasgow Shettleston; Glasgow Springburn (10 seats).

Highlands & Islands
Argyll and Bute; Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; Inverness East,
Nairn and Lochaber; Moray; Orkney; Ross, Skye and Inverness West; Shetland;
Western Isles (8 seats).

Edinburgh Central; Edinburgh East and Musselburgh; Edinburgh North and
Leith; Edinburgh Pentlands; Edinburgh South; Edinburgh West; Linlithgow;
Livingston; Midlothian (9 seats).

Mid Scotland and Fife
Central Fife; Dunfermline East; Dunferline West; Kirkcaldy;
North East Fife; Ochil; Perth; Stirling; North Tayside (9 seats).

North East Scotland
Aberdeen Central; Aberdeen North; Aberdeen South; Angus; Banff & Buchan;
Dundee East; Dundee West; Gordon; West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine (9 seats).

South of Scotland
Ayr; Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley; Clydesdale; Dumfries; East Lothian;
Galloway & Upper Nithsdale; Cunninghame South; Roxburgh & Berwickshire;
Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale (9 seats)

West of Scotland
Clydebank & Milngavie; Cunninghame North; Dumbarton; Eastwood;
Greenock & Inverclyde; Paisley North; Paisley South; Strathkelvin &
Bearsden; West Renfrewshire (9 seats).

The original proposed powers of the parliament, detailed in the white
paper are limited by the following, control of which is proposed to
remain at Westminster.

Exceptions to the home rule
1 Succession to Crown
2 Treason
3 UK titles of honour
4 Defence, civil defence, armed forces
5 Making of peace & war
6 Relations with foreign states, membership of EU
7 Immigration
8 Payments from UK Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund
9 Tax payable to the UK Exchequer, except as otherwise prescribed
10 Currency and coinage
11 Interest rates and credit
12 Competition policy
13 Business regulation
14 Financial services regulation
15 Loan guarantees to public body, except as otherwise prescribed
16 Import & export licensing
17 Gas, electricity and telecommunications regulation
18 Regulation of charges and prices other than those charged by
Scottish secretary
19 Social security
20 Employment regulation
21 Discrimination issues
22 Control of drugs and medicines
23 Environmental protection
24 Civil aviation regulation
25 Maritime shipping, inland water navigation
26 Road traffic regulation
27 Railways regulation
28 Elections to UK and EU parliaments
29 UK statistics, census
30 Data protection
31 Continued existence of High Court of Justiciary, Court of Session,
the sheriff courts, the district courts
32 Appeals to House of Lords and High Court of Justiciary.
33 Courts-martial and the Courts-Martial Appeal Court; Election
Courts; Restrictive Practices Court; Employment Appeal Tribunal
34 Posts and telegraphs, including telephones, radio satellite cable
and terrestrial television
35 Prevention of terrorism
36 Quarantine of animals
37 Human rights
38 Genetic research, human fertilisation and embryology
39 Intellectual property
40 Weights and measures, including time

[19.13] How the Scottish Parliament might work

Readers interested in a proposed model for how the Scottish parliament
could work might find the following of interest

To make the parliament of Scotland a model for democracy
prepared for the John Wheatley Centre
by Bernard Crick and David Millar

The publication (published 1997), is a revised version of Standing
Orders for a Scottish Parliament prepared by the authors in 1991 for the
Scottish Constitutional Convention.

About the authors
Bernard Crick, founding secretary of the Study of Parliament group in
1963 and author of The Reform of Parliament (1963) and of In Defence of
Politics, is Emeritus Professor of Politics, London University and an
Honorary Fellow of the Politics Department of the University of
Edinburgh. David Millar OBE, was formerly a clerk of the House of
Commons, then Director of Research at the European Parliament, now an
honorary fellow of the Europa Institute of the University of Edinburgh

The publication is 54 A4 pages and costs five pounds.
ISBN 1 873 11809 0
available from John Wheatley Centre, 20 Forth Street, Edinburgh
Tel/Fax: 0131 477 8220

This FAQ was first published in 1994 and then the above proposal was of
interest. Now we have a parliament, and finally a building, the above is only
included for historical reference.

[19.14] Scottish Elections

Scottish General Election
First held on 6 May 99. Thereafter the first Thursday in May at fixed 4 year
intervals unless the parliament is dissolved early due to a vote of no
confidence or failure to form a government. Two ballot papers, one for
a constituency MSP the other for PR seats on a list.

Total PR votes
Figures are presented in the form: Party, No. votes  (% share) actual
seats won, Top-Up regions fought

Electorate 3,986,886
Turnout 2,305,987 (57.84%)

Labour 786,818 (34.12%) 56 All
Scottish National Party 638,644 (27.70%) 35 All
Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party 372,213 (16.14%) 18 All
Scottish Liberal Democrats 277,656 (12.04%) 17 All
Scottish Greens 84,024 (3.64%) 1 All
Socialist Labour Party 55,232 (2.40%) 0 All
Scottish Socialist Party 46,635 (2.02%) 1 All
Pro-Life Alliance 9,784 (0.42%) 0 C,G,L,M&F,W
Scottish Unionist Party 7,009 0 C,G,W
Natural Law Party 4,906 (0.21%) All
Cairdeas - The Highlands & Islands Alliance 2607 (0.11%) H&I
Scottish Liberal Party 2,056 (0.09%) L
UK Independence Party 1,502 (0.07%) S
Scottish Family & Pensioners' Party 1,373 (0.06%) C
Witchery Tour Party 1,184 (0.05%) L
Civil Rights Party 806 (0.03%) L
Socialist Party of Great Britain 697 (0.03%) G,L
Communist Party of Great Britain 521 (0.02%) G
Humanist Party 447 (0.02%) G
Independents (Various Lists) 41,319 (1.79%) 1 C,G,H&I,L,NE,W

Local Authorities
Held on 6 May 99 and thereafter the first Thursday in May at fixed 4 year

10 June 1999
Elections to the European Parliament. 5 year term. Scotland formed a
single constituency for the purposes of this election with all candidates
being elected on a closed list PR basis.

May 2011
Latest date for UK General Election

[19.15] Understanding Parliament

For understanding how the UK parliament works, the web page for the
UK Parliament is:

They have links to how Parliament works (bills, etc..) at:

Just general information but cuts right through to the basics..

and has many public
information office fact sheets.

This info is here in order to help people understand the process by
which they are governed in Scotland. This section will be expanded once
the Scottish Parliament is running.

Announcments are often made through the Central Office of Information (UK) (Scottish info off here)

For political information, see also

[19.16] The Monarchy

Crown Estate
Info on the Crown Estate - property owned by the sovereign of the
United Kingdom "in right of the Crown" with origins dating back
almost 1000 years.

Do you want a monarchy?
On Tuesday 7th January 1997, there was a televised debate shown across
the UK on the future of the monarchy. There was a phone-in vote which
attracted 2.5 million votes, the biggest ever total for a phone-in
(the previous largest was 1.25 million). The question put to voters
was "Do you want a monarchy" and the breakdown of votes is as follows:

Scotland 56% AGAINST (the only part of the UK to vote against)

Northern Ireland 64% in favour
Wales 59% in favour

The South East of England 72% in favour
The South West of England 71% in favour
East Anglia 70% in favour
The English Midlands 69% in favour
North East England 66% in favour
London 66% in favour
North West England 64% in favour

Further information in The Scotsman, 8-Jan-97, main story, P1.

Scottish Crown Jewels (Honours of Scotland)
For information on the Scottish Crown Jewels (Honours of Scotland), see

There are pictures of the jewels there. The Honours of Scotland are the
oldest sovereign regalia in the British Isles.

[19.17] OBEs, honorific titles, "gongs" etc

John Major began to eform to the the "gong" or honorific title
scheme to award knighthoods, OBEs, MBEs etc to more members of the
general public. The Labour government has extended this and honours are
now awarded to people from all walks of life. If you know of someone
who you feel is worthy of an award then the following website should
help you:

If you want to know about courtesy titles, see

[19.18] Scottish Independence information

The Scottish National Party

Independence oriented websites

Further reading
Information on the legal issues around independence is covered in
the Vienna convention, on-line at:

A recommended read is
Scotland: An unwon cause by P. H. Scott
ISBN 0-86241-700-7, published 1997.

[19.19] Article on Independence

Article by DOBSCAN

I am forever reading comments about an independent Scotland. The reasons
often given are; a hatred for England, a wish for a return to Gaelic, and
other such emotional issues. Now while these and other emotional issues
may play a small part I doubt, due to the mass differences in opinion that
any of these will have any affect on the independence of Scotland.

I grew up in an extremely nationalist environment and the issues I heard
to support a separate Scotland, and I believe they are the ones shared by
most Scots and in general most thinking people.

1: Economic self rule so as to decide where our tax pounds went. A very
simple idea and principal, that would allow the people to decide what was
important to them and how their money was spent and to insure that their
money was spent in Scotland to meet the needs of the Scottish people who
paid them. This was always the main issue.

2: Our own polititians who would be more concerned with the problems
affecting Scotland than those in London who are resposible for a larger
area and a higher population. Since the governing people are elected the
issues of the majority get a priority over the issues of a minority.
England has a greater population thus more votes, thus more pull with the
political parties. Again a simple reality.

I never heard vote for Scottish rule because we hate the English, or we
want our own Royal Family, or other issues. They may exist in some cases
but not in the main stream. In fact if one was to look at the issues of
Scottish rule one would see the plans already in place for a great deal of
cooperation with the countries around Scotland. The reason for an
independent Scotland is to improve the life of the Scots, not to harm the
lives of other nations. The issue is prosperity and responsability for
Scottish issues by the people of Scotland.

As an example of the emotions involved, one of my uncles, a very staunch
nationalist, and a, rightfully so, proud vetran of the Scots Guards used
to make us stand for God Save The Queen, while everyone else left the
pictures (movies) Because it was the right thing to do.

At 14 to 16 I would of been the ideal terrorist and would of welcomed the
chance of running into Westminister with a bomb on my back. I suggested it
a few times, and even the hardest core fringe separatists/nationals were
aghast at my suggestion. "We don't do that" was the reply and the disgust
was very clear in the voices. As much as I thought of them as cowards in
my foolish youth I respect and admire their stance today in my mature
foolishness. Again the ecomonic and logic of separation were explained to
me. When I would, as a child, express a horray for the IRA or such, I
would be chastised and told some poor soldiers mother, wife or child would
be missing them. Think of the poor bairns was always a prominent remark.
Steps were taken so that I would not hate the English people with the
constant emphasis being placed on economics and logic.

I hope this will clear up some of the issues about Scottish Nationalism.
Will help clear up some missconceptions about the movement. As you can see
by the sign off of Mr. Chick McGregor when he says " Don't vote Labour
because of your Parents. Vote SNP because of your children." You will note
that there is no other reason for an independent Scotland that to benefit
the people of Scotland. Scottish Nationalisn is not based on history it is
conceived on the hopes of the future.

Dave M.

[19.20] Contacting MPs, MSPs by E-mail

Members of the Scottish Parliament
You can contact your MSP by e-mail.
The format is
Some apparantly don't read e-mail or respond to it.

Members of the UK Parliament
There is a list of MPs contactable by E-mail at

[19.21] Health and the NHS
Health Education Board for Scotland

[20.1] The computer industry in Scotland - Silicon Glen

Traditionally, Silicon Glen focussed on the inward investment of
electronic companies. We are now seeing the problems caused by such a
narrow strategy. Viasystems, National Semiconductor and the like are
foreign companies which are now closing down, with devastating knock
on effects for the Scottish economy, an economy which has focussed too
narrowly on such industries. The current trend towards massive growth
in call centres is another case in point - whilst these provide quality
jobs in the short term, their long term prospects are in grave
doubt due to the growth of automated systems and electronic commerce
on the Internet as well as outsourcing from Scotland's Silicon Glen to
India's Silicon Plateau.

It is estimated that like electronics, there will be a scaling down of
call centre jobs. An article in PC Week (29-Sept-98, P7) indicated that
50% of front line jobs (including call centres) will disappear by 2010.
There is hope though. Scottish software, whilst still relatively small
scale, is starting to grow thanks to the efforts of the Scottish
Software Federation, now ScotlandIS. However, we still live in a climate
where people are often expected to gamble the roof over their head to
start a business in Scotland and at the same time foreign investors are
paid thousands of pounds of money in grants for each job created. It is
hardly surprising therefore that there is such an imbalance in the
Scottish software business towards foreign companies at the expense of
home grown talent. Public sector money is also often surrounded by so
much red tape that it isn't unknown for  the funds to have to hand the
money back to investors because insufficient businesses were eligible
to apply.

In an age when we should be attempting to eliminate ageism and sexism in
the workplace and to encourage people to balance work and family life,
when you start a business there is completely rampant sexism (funds only
availale for women), ageism (funds only available to young people) and no
special help at all for anyone balancing a startup with a family! Talk about
conflicting government messages!

For business startup information, see [1.10].

Magazines and Journals
NB Magazine will provide you with news about the computer industry in
Silicon Glen, Scotland

Scotland's Premier IT Trade Magazine

Scottish Development International
The body dealing with inward investment in Scotland

Scotland IS
The trade organisation for Scottish hi-technology

Website project management and e-commerce
Please contact
Chartered IT Professional, PRINCE2 Practitioner

Website link monitoring and quality assurance

Website hosting
(the company hosting the website)

Web Warehouse Ltd UK web hosting

Content filtering and security

Helpdesk Software
For Helpdesk Software, visit Serio Ltd, based in Livingston

Object Oriented software estimation

The forum for entrepreneurs to meet venture capitalists.

The British Computer Society
Gain computing qualificaitons and professional status, e.g. Chartered Engineer
or Chartered IT professional

An Interesting Read

Interesting Blogs
----------------- (news, blog)

Scotland Internet Guide
----------------------- (General site) (web design guidelines) (The Pants Website award)

The Chartered Management Institute
Gain managerial qualifications and professional status, e.g. Chartered Manager

WOW Web Competition
For Scottish businesses, a competition run by the Scottish Enterprise
network with corporate sponsors.
The winners are usually websites with lots of glitz and trendy technologies
rather than websites which are useful from a consumer's point of view (e.g.
one recent winner didn't even have an email address on their site - doh!)

Combat Spam - The Spam Filter
The Spam Filter - Mentioned on TV across the US.

Combat spam - sign the free petition
Embarrass leading vendors into doing something

To keep abreast of developments about the internet community in Scotland,
please join the Scotland internet community email list by sending a
message with the single word 'subscribe' to

For information on jobs in Scotland, see [1.15]

Free Press Release Distribution

[20.2] General Internet information

Scottish chapter of the Internet Society

Statistics on Internet use

Scottish Internet Exchange

Articles on Website Usability

FTP by mail
See here

[20.3] Creating a top level domain for Scotland

A number of people and organisations are calling for a global top level
domain (DNS entry or TLD) to be created for Scotland on the Internet.

What this would mean is that Scottish e-mail, WWW, FTP addresses could
be assigned a two letter "country" suffix signifying Scotland.
Currently Scottish addresses end in .uk or one of the general
"international" suffixes such as .net, .com or .org. Scottish
businesses in particular, rather than having a Scottish address are
forced to use either a "UK" version, or an international one which
might already be in use by a different company elsewhere in the world.

From a Welsh point of view, a separate DNS entry also makes sense for
companies as limited companies there can put Cyf. (Cyfyngedig) after
their names, making their name unique in a Welsh context only.
e.g. www.companyname.cyf.<wales-code> corresponding to the current

The organisation which allocates Internet numbers to names is ICANN
(The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number),

The responsibility was previously handled by
(The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). The two letter country
suffixes which they use are those defined in ISO3166.
This standard is on-line at various locations, one such location is
Incidentally, ISO3166 predates the Internet and is used in a wide
variety of contexts besides Internet country domains.

Independence is not a prerequisite for getting a country domain.
"The codes represent the names of countries, dependencies and other
areas of special interest for purposes of international exchange,
without indicating expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the
legal status of any country or territory or of its' authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of its' frontiers." Any area of "special
interest" can get one with the support of the relevant standards body.
For instance, the Isle of Man is (.im), Jersey is (.je) and Guernsey is
(.gg). These ones slipped through to IANA (the forerunner of ICANN) by
"mistake". IANA states:

"Jersey is part of another ISO 3166 list which defines reserved codes.
All UPU (Universal Postal Union) codes on this list we allowed into the
top level domain list. We have now been advised to not use this
reserved code list any further. However, all top level delegations
from that list remain current."

It appears that the UK government was not at all pleased about Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man being granted full ISO3166 status. The UK
government should have been consulted and their subsequent stance
indicates that they would have opposed such a move, as they are presently
doing with Scotland.

The codes ICANN now uses are exclusively those from the ISO 3166-1 standard,
although codes previously allocated under previous rules are maintained. In
particular, uk (seen on most UK e-mail addresses) is not in ISO3166, the
appropriate country code in ISO3166 is GB. There is at least one address
using this: ( is a rough equivalent of

Why GB was the country code in the first place rather than UK is explained

Britain's (and hence Scotland's) representative on ISO is the British
Standards Institute or BSI. They can be reached at

The situation in the UK as regards ISO3166 is now rather a mess. Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man shouldn't have codes but do, and the UK's
is listed as "GB", but "UK" is what appears in the DNS. Scotland has
its own parliament with devolution but  still does not have its own DNS
entry, even though other areas such as Antartica do. So do
many minor islands. Some of them are barely inhabited (Pitcairn/.pn,
population 48). Some are now dependencies of Australia or New Zealand but
still have their own ISO 3166 codes and DNS entries. The Isle of Man and
the Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies rather than parts of the UK or
Great Britain (but they are classed as part of the British Isles). Despite
what HMG might say on the matter, they *should* have had ISO 3166 codes
long ago - they have different legislation, have different postal rates, etc.

The creation of a top level domain for Scotland not only has the support
of many IT professionals, but also some manufacturers and Internet
providers as well as the SNP. The namespace is also
oversubscribed - too many people chasing the same names. That's why
Nominet introduced and - theoretically the names
registered at Companies House (and mangled according to Nominet rules
to turn them into domain names) are not very memorable.

Even the and expansion has still resulted in
becoming quite widely used.

One way of increasing the effective namespace is to add Scottish, Welsh,
English and Northern Irish TLDs. That *might* be a justification that ICANN
would accept for adding those TLDs without ISO 3166 country codes. It is
also possible to lodge a case with the domain name arbiter

In contrast to the problems with the DNS, Scotland has had its own usenet
domain for a very considerable length of time (in Internet terms). The
scot.* hierarchy has been around since at least 1985, more info on
this in [20.4]. Furthermore a top level domain may be introduced soon
for American Indigenous Peoples. There is also likely to be a ".eu" domain
for the European Union. If there is a case for these domains, surely there
is a case for Scotland?

Possible codes
The possible codes Scotland could be allocated range from aa to zz although
the country codes AA, QM-QZ, XA-XZ and ZZ are reserved by ISO 3166 as
user-assigned codes and are not available. There is no process for
reassigning codes already in use. Maybe having one might be a step forward?

"Scotland" letter combinations (all allocated):
SC = Seychelles
SO = Somalia
ST = Sao Tome and Principe
SL = Sierra Leone
SA = Saudi Arabia
SN = Senegal
SD = Sudan

"Caledonia" letter combinations:
CA = Canada
CL = Chile
CD = Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
CO = Colombia
CN = China
CI = Ivory Coast/Cote d'Ivoire

"Alba" combinations
AA = reserved as user-assigned
AL = Albania

Finally, people who use the unofficial "SCO" country sticker on their cars
may be surprised to learn that Scotland has been granted an official three
letter country designation under part 2 of ISO3166 - this indicates names
of subdivisions of countries. Under this standard, Scotland is not SCO but

This seems the most likely route at the moment - rather than getting a two
letter country suffix, we get a three letter designation. See here for
more info

[20.4] Scottish usenet newsgroups

(alphabetical order)

ed.* Edinburgh
news:ed.accommodation   - Edinburgh accommodation.
news:ed.followup        - Edinburgh - followups to articles.
news:ed.general         - General Edinburgh topics.          - Reviews of events in Edinburgh.

scot.* Scotland
news:scot.announce       - Scotland/North England Wide: General Announcements.
news:scot.bairns         - Discussions about Scottish children.
news:scot.birds          - Birdwatching in Scotland. - Scottish business discussions about the Internet.
news:scot.environment    - Scottish environmental issues.
news:scot.followup       - Followups to scot.general articles.
news:scot.general        - Scotland/North England Wide: General Articles.           - Jobs wanted and offered in Scotland.          - Scottish legal issues.
news:scot.newsgroups.announce - Official scot.* announcements
news:scot.newsgroups.discuss - Discussion of proposed new groups, rules etc.
news:scot.politics       - Scottish politics discussions.
news:scot.scots          - Scots language discussions.  - For the discussion of Scottish football.
news:scot.test           - Test postings in the scot.* hierarchy.

Announcements of proposed new groups in the scot.* hierarchy currently take
place in scot.newsgroups.announce, with the discussion taking place in
scot.newsgroups.discuss. The committee who manage the scot.* hierarchy is
comprised of: Simon Brooke, Craig Cockburn, Duncan Dewar, Neil Fernandez,
David Marsh, Sandy Morton and Bob Scott.
The Scot* netnews committee can be contacted on

Committee proceedings are currently posted to news:scot.general. has more details regarding the management
of the scot.* hierarchy, the committee and procedures for creating new
groups and amending existing ones.

For control messages in the scot.* hierarchy, see

Global/UK Groups
news:alt.arts.storytelling - Storytelling
news:alt.politics.british - British Politics
A group has been created called alt.scottish.clans. The purpose of
this group is to discuss the folklore, traditions and history of the
various Scottish clans. Current clan gatherings and announcements will
also be found here. Anyone interested in this sort of thing is invited
to join in the discussions. "Crest of the Clan Chief" in Gaelic
is "Suaicheantas a ceann cinnidh"                  - The Highlander TV show              - Edinburgh             - Glasgow
news:rec.heraldry                       - Heraldry                   - Celtic music (Irish & Scottish bias)                     - General Folk music (US/England bias)   - Discussions about bagpipes, playing them etc.          - Recreating history, re-enactments etc
news:sci.archaeology     - Archaeology. Scottish sites occasionally discussed.
news:soc.genealogy.britain - Genealogy in Britain
news:soc.culture.british - British culture in general (strong England bias)
news:soc.culture.celtic  - Celtic culture in general (Irish/Scottish bias)
news:soc.culture.scottish - Anything regarding Scotland or things Scots.
news:uk.local.borders-region - The Scottish Borders
news:uk.local.glasgow - Glasgow
news:uk.local.lothians - The Lothian region - The Scottish Highlands       - Folk music in the UK (England bias)
There are a large number of other groups in the uk.*
hierarchy, some of which have Scottish relevance (eg news:uk.politics.misc)

news:ns.general - General Nova Scotia discussions

There is also an eduni.* hierarchy for Edinburgh University a hw.* hierarchy
for Heriot Watt University and a strath.* hierarchy for Strathclyde
University but none of these is intended to propagate outside the university.
A gla.* hierarchy also seems to exist and appears to be private to Glasgow
university (i.e. the domain). The west.* groups serve the West of
Scotland but these are poorly propagated and hardly anyone knows about
them. There is also confusion between these groups and an ISP in the US.

More info on usenet
Information about usenet in general, links to groups and FAQs

[20.5] How to get scot.* hierarchy groups

The scot.* hierarchy

Read the groups at

Google carries the full list, they just don't show it.

Public news feed servers:

Also see:

[20.6] Getting hooked up to the Internet

Have a look in the UK Internet List, Britain's first guide to
Internet providers. Particularly suitable for home based dialup info

Founded by Craig Cockburn, in June 1992.

For UK based web hosting options, check out

[20.7] Internet Cafes and Public Internet Access Points


Cosmic PCs
19 St Andrews Street, Dunfermline, Fife KY11 4QG
TeleFax 01383 432296

Connections, 5 Colinton Road, EH10 5DP
Tel: 0131 446 9494

Cyberia, 88 Hanover Street. (0131 220 4403)

Entertainment World, 138 Lothian Road.(0131 229 5333)

Web 13, 13 Bread Street. (0131 229 8883)

There's also one in Leith, near the Royal Bank.

The Internet Cafe, 239 North Street. (0141 221 8447)
(currently closed due to demolition work)
There is another Internet Cafe in Park Road - opened October 96
Java, 152 Park Road. (0141 337 6727)
and possibly another in Charing Cross
John Smith & Sons Bookshop
57 St Vincent Street. (0141 221 7472)

Cafe Roslin, Dalrymple Street. (01475 730 576)


[20.8] How can I find someone in Scotland on the Internet?

This is a usenet FAQ which can apply to finding people anywhere in the
world. See the FAQ for more information, the URL is:

[20.9] Faxing Scotland by E-mail

Send a mail to for information on a free service
which will allow you to send an e-mail and have it converted into a fax
and faxed from a server in the UK to the phone number of your choice. Visit
them on the web at

[21.1] Scottish links
Rampant Scotland - over 7,000 links to web pages about Scotland
A very rich site with on-the-fly GIS mapping capabilities for over
30,000 Scottish resources. (Yep, it locates them in proper geographic
space). It even locates the closest pub to your target destination. - UK based but some relevant to Scotland - Nova Scotia - United States
A Hebridean Journal
Huge amount of information about Scottish culture in an electronic
magazine format. Buy books, find out Scottish facts, practice your
Gaelic and much much more.

The alternative Scottish FAQ from Scot.general     (Needs that capital 'W')
For info regarding Glasgow's environs including hotels, on-line papers,
theatres, etc. Contains links to places wider afield in Scotland too.
Info on Constitution, Stone of Destiny, Treaty of Union etc.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (founded in Scotland)

[21.2] Mailing lists


For information on public Internet mailing lists, see:

For information on all listserv lists, send an e-mail to any listserv
containing the line
list global
alternatively you can refine the search by adding a subject:
list global/poetry
or search via

There is a HUGE file the "SRI list of lists" which describes every
public mailing list and has instructions on how to subscribe.
or with a message containing the line
send /netinfo/interest-groups
(the message will come back in several parts which you will then have
to piece together)

See also [19.3] for info on Scottish politics e-mail lists

[21.3] Celtic information and Celtic FAQs

Encyclopaedia of the Celts

Celtic FAQ

FAQ location

Celtic Music FAQ

FAQ location

Celtic Countries

newsgroup news:soc.culture.breton

FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.cornish

FAQ location


FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.scottish

FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.welsh

FAQ location

Isle of Man
Manx Information
An online guide to the Isle of Man.

Manx Bulletin Board

Isle of Man/Manx mailing list

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotian Information

[22.1] Alphabetic list of links in this FAQ

I've extracted all the WWW addresses from this soc.culture.scottish
FAQ - here they are. Thought this might be useful to maintainers of
Scottish or Celtic WWW sites or for searching. Here they are sorted

I also find this page handy for submitting to link checkers to ensure
the links in the FAQ work. These links were verified by and
Xenu Link Sleuth
and the pages have been developed by the excellent HTMLValidator

We have also developed our own unique real time link checker that places
no load on the server hosting the site being checked. for more information or see here

<deleted to save space>

[22.2] Links to pages of this FAQ

This is a list of links to pages in the FAQ itself and acts as a site
for the FAQ. This allows search engine spiders to quickly index the
whole site.
<deleted to save space>

<<< END OF FAQ >>>

Craig Cockburn ("coburn"). Director, Ltd
Web project manager and Internet specialist. CITP. C.Eng
s. Again a simple reality.

I never heard vote for Scottish rule because we hate the English, or we
want our own Royal Family, or other issues. They may exist in some cases
but not in the main stream. In fact if one was to look at the issues of
Scottish rule one would see the plans already in place for a great deal of
cooperation with the countries around Scotland. The reason for an
independent Scotland is to improve the life of the Scots, not to harm the
lives of other nations. The issue is prosperity and responsability for
Scottish issues by the people of Scotland.

As an example of the emotions involved, one of my uncles, a very staunch
nationalist, and a, rightfully so, proud vetran of the Scots Guards used
to make us stand for God Save The Queen, while everyone else left the
pictures (movies) Because it was the right thing to do.

At 14 to 16 I would of been the ideal terrorist and would of welcomed the
chance of running into Westminister with a bomb on my back. I suggested it
a few times, and even the hardest core fringe separatists/nationals were
aghast at my suggestion. "We don't do that" was the reply and the disgust
was very clear in the voices. As much as I thought of them as cowards in
my foolish youth I respect and admire their stance today in my mature
foolishness. Again the ecomonic and logic of separation were explained to
me. When I would, as a child, express a horray for the IRA or such, I
would be chastised and told some poor soldiers mother, wife or child would
be missing them. Think of the poor bairns was always a prominent remark.
Steps were taken so that I would not hate the English people with the
constant emphasis being placed on economics and logic.

I hope this will clear up some of the issues about Scottish Nationalism.
Will help clear up some missconceptions about the movement. As you can see
by the sign off of Mr. Chick McGregor when he says " Don't vote Labour
because of your Parents. Vote SNP because of your children." You will note
that there is no other reason for an independent Scotland that to benefit
the people of Scotland. Scottish Nationalisn is not based on history it is
conceived on the hopes of the future.

Dave M.

[19.20] Contacting MPs, MSPs by E-mail

Members of the Scottish Parliament
You can contact your MSP by e-mail.
The format is
Some apparantly don't read e-mail or respond to it.

Members of the UK Parliament
There is a list of MPs contactable by E-mail at

[19.21] Health and the NHS
Health Education Board for Scotland

[20.1] The computer industry in Scotland - Silicon Glen

Traditionally, Silicon Glen focussed on the inward investment of
electronic companies. We are now seeing the problems caused by such a
narrow strategy. Viasystems, National Semiconductor and the like are
foreign companies which are now closing down, with devastating knock
on effects for the Scottish economy, an economy which has focussed too
narrowly on such industries. The current trend towards massive growth
in call centres is another case in point - whilst these provide quality
jobs in the short term, their long term prospects are in grave
doubt due to the growth of automated systems and electronic commerce
on the Internet as well as outsourcing from Scotland's Silicon Glen to
India's Silicon Plateau.

It is estimated that like electronics, there will be a scaling down of
call centre jobs. An article in PC Week (29-Sept-98, P7) indicated that
50% of front line jobs (including call centres) will disappear by 2010.
There is hope though. Scottish software, whilst still relatively small
scale, is starting to grow thanks to the efforts of the Scottish
Software Federation, now ScotlandIS. However, we still live in a climate
where people are often expected to gamble the roof over their head to
start a business in Scotland and at the same time foreign investors are
paid thousands of pounds of money in grants for each job created. It is
hardly surprising therefore that there is such an imbalance in the
Scottish software business towards foreign companies at the expense of
home grown talent. Public sector money is also often surrounded by so
much red tape that it isn't unknown for  the funds to have to hand the
money back to investors because insufficient businesses were eligible
to apply.

In an age when we should be attempting to eliminate ageism and sexism in
the workplace and to encourage people to balance work and family life,
when you start a business there is completely rampant sexism (funds only
availale for women), ageism (funds only available to young people) and no
special help at all for anyone balancing a startup with a family! Talk about
conflicting government messages!

For business startup information, see [1.10].

Magazines and Journals
NB Magazine will provide you with news about the computer industry in
Silicon Glen, Scotland

Scotland's Premier IT Trade Magazine

Scottish Development International
The body dealing with inward investment in Scotland

Scotland IS
The trade organisation for Scottish hi-technology

Website project management and e-commerce
Please contact
Chartered IT Professional, PRINCE2 Practitioner

Website link monitoring and quality assurance

Website hosting
(the company hosting the website)

Web Warehouse Ltd UK web hosting

Content filtering and security

Helpdesk Software
For Helpdesk Software, visit Serio Ltd, based in Livingston

Object Oriented software estimation

The forum for entrepreneurs to meet venture capitalists.

The British Computer Society
Gain computing qualificaitons and professional status, e.g. Chartered Engineer
or Chartered IT professional

An Interesting Read

Interesting Blogs
----------------- (news, blog)

Scotland Internet Guide
----------------------- (General site) (web design guidelines) (The Pants Website award)

The Chartered Management Institute
Gain managerial qualifications and professional status, e.g. Chartered Manager

WOW Web Competition
For Scottish businesses, a competition run by the Scottish Enterprise
network with corporate sponsors.
The winners are usually websites with lots of glitz and trendy technologies
rather than websites which are useful from a consumer's point of view (e.g.
one recent winner didn't even have an email address on their site - doh!)

Combat Spam - The Spam Filter
The Spam Filter - Mentioned on TV across the US.

Combat spam - sign the free petition
Embarrass leading vendors into doing something

To keep abreast of developments about the internet community in Scotland,
please join the Scotland internet community email list by sending a
message with the single word 'subscribe' to

For information on jobs in Scotland, see [1.15]

Free Press Release Distribution

[20.2] General Internet information

Scottish chapter of the Internet Society

Statistics on Internet use

Scottish Internet Exchange

Articles on Website Usability

FTP by mail
See here

[20.3] Creating a top level domain for Scotland

A number of people and organisations are calling for a global top level
domain (DNS entry or TLD) to be created for Scotland on the Internet.

What this would mean is that Scottish e-mail, WWW, FTP addresses could
be assigned a two letter "country" suffix signifying Scotland.
Currently Scottish addresses end in .uk or one of the general
"international" suffixes such as .net, .com or .org. Scottish
businesses in particular, rather than having a Scottish address are
forced to use either a "UK" version, or an international one which
might already be in use by a different company elsewhere in the world.

From a Welsh point of view, a separate DNS entry also makes sense for
companies as limited companies there can put Cyf. (Cyfyngedig) after
their names, making their name unique in a Welsh context only.
e.g. www.companyname.cyf.<wales-code> corresponding to the current

The organisation which allocates Internet numbers to names is ICANN
(The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number),

The responsibility was previously handled by
(The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). The two letter country
suffixes which they use are those defined in ISO3166.
This standard is on-line at various locations, one such location is
Incidentally, ISO3166 predates the Internet and is used in a wide
variety of contexts besides Internet country domains.

Independence is not a prerequisite for getting a country domain.
"The codes represent the names of countries, dependencies and other
areas of special interest for purposes of international exchange,
without indicating expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the
legal status of any country or territory or of its' authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of its' frontiers." Any area of "special
interest" can get one with the support of the relevant standards body.
For instance, the Isle of Man is (.im), Jersey is (.je) and Guernsey is
(.gg). These ones slipped through to IANA (the forerunner of ICANN) by
"mistake". IANA states:

"Jersey is part of another ISO 3166 list which defines reserved codes.
All UPU (Universal Postal Union) codes on this list we allowed into the
top level domain list. We have now been advised to not use this
reserved code list any further. However, all top level delegations
from that list remain current."

It appears that the UK government was not at all pleased about Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man being granted full ISO3166 status. The UK
government should have been consulted and their subsequent stance
indicates that they would have opposed such a move, as they are presently
doing with Scotland.

The codes ICANN now uses are exclusively those from the ISO 3166-1 standard,
although codes previously allocated under previous rules are maintained. In
particular, uk (seen on most UK e-mail addresses) is not in ISO3166, the
appropriate country code in ISO3166 is GB. There is at least one address
using this: ( is a rough equivalent of

Why GB was the country code in the first place rather than UK is explained

Britain's (and hence Scotland's) representative on ISO is the British
Standards Institute or BSI. They can be reached at

The situation in the UK as regards ISO3166 is now rather a mess. Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man shouldn't have codes but do, and the UK's
is listed as "GB", but "UK" is what appears in the DNS. Scotland has
its own parliament with devolution but  still does not have its own DNS
entry, even though other areas such as Antartica do. So do
many minor islands. Some of them are barely inhabited (Pitcairn/.pn,
population 48). Some are now dependencies of Australia or New Zealand but
still have their own ISO 3166 codes and DNS entries. The Isle of Man and
the Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies rather than parts of the UK or
Great Britain (but they are classed as part of the British Isles). Despite
what HMG might say on the matter, they *should* have had ISO 3166 codes
long ago - they have different legislation, have different postal rates, etc.

The creation of a top level domain for Scotland not only has the support
of many IT professionals, but also some manufacturers and Internet
providers as well as the SNP. The namespace is also
oversubscribed - too many people chasing the same names. That's why
Nominet introduced and - theoretically the names
registered at Companies House (and mangled according to Nominet rules
to turn them into domain names) are not very memorable.

Even the and expansion has still resulted in
becoming quite widely used.

One way of increasing the effective namespace is to add Scottish, Welsh,
English and Northern Irish TLDs. That *might* be a justification that ICANN
would accept for adding those TLDs without ISO 3166 country codes. It is
also possible to lodge a case with the domain name arbiter

In contrast to the problems with the DNS, Scotland has had its own usenet
domain for a very considerable length of time (in Internet terms). The
scot.* hierarchy has been around since at least 1985, more info on
this in [20.4]. Furthermore a top level domain may be introduced soon
for American Indigenous Peoples. There is also likely to be a ".eu" domain
for the European Union. If there is a case for these domains, surely there
is a case for Scotland?

Possible codes
The possible codes Scotland could be allocated range from aa to zz although
the country codes AA, QM-QZ, XA-XZ and ZZ are reserved by ISO 3166 as
user-assigned codes and are not available. There is no process for
reassigning codes already in use. Maybe having one might be a step forward?

"Scotland" letter combinations (all allocated):
SC = Seychelles
SO = Somalia
ST = Sao Tome and Principe
SL = Sierra Leone
SA = Saudi Arabia
SN = Senegal
SD = Sudan

"Caledonia" letter combinations:
CA = Canada
CL = Chile
CD = Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
CO = Colombia
CN = China
CI = Ivory Coast/Cote d'Ivoire

"Alba" combinations
AA = reserved as user-assigned
AL = Albania

Finally, people who use the unofficial "SCO" country sticker on their cars
may be surprised to learn that Scotland has been granted an official three
letter country designation under part 2 of ISO3166 - this indicates names
of subdivisions of countries. Under this standard, Scotland is not SCO but

This seems the most likely route at the moment - rather than getting a two
letter country suffix, we get a three letter designation. See here for
more info

[20.4] Scottish usenet newsgroups

(alphabetical order)

ed.* Edinburgh
news:ed.accommodation                                                - Edinburgh accommodation.
news:ed.followup                                                     - Edinburgh - followups to
news:ed.general                                                         - General Edinburgh
topics.                                                          - Reviews of events in

scot.* Scotland
news:scot.announce                                                    - Scotland/North England
Wide: General Announcements.
news:scot.bairns         - Discussions about Scottish children.
news:scot.birds          - Birdwatching in Scotland. - Scottish business discussions about the Internet.
news:scot.environment    - Scottish environmental issues.
news:scot.followup       - Followups to scot.general articles.
news:scot.general        - Scotland/North England Wide: General Articles.           - Jobs wanted and offered in Scotland.          - Scottish legal issues.
news:scot.newsgroups.announce - Official scot.* announcements
news:scot.newsgroups.discuss - Discussion of proposed new groups, rules etc.
news:scot.politics       - Scottish politics discussions.
news:scot.scots          - Scots language discussions.  - For the discussion of Scottish football.
news:scot.test           - Test postings in the scot.* hierarchy.

Announcements of proposed new groups in the scot.* hierarchy currently take
place in scot.newsgroups.announce, with the discussion taking place in
scot.newsgroups.discuss. The committee who manage the scot.* hierarchy is
comprised of: Simon Brooke, Craig Cockburn, Duncan Dewar, Neil Fernandez,
David Marsh, Sandy Morton and Bob Scott.
The Scot* netnews committee can be contacted on

Committee proceedings are currently posted to news:scot.general. has more details regarding the management
of the scot.* hierarchy, the committee and procedures for creating new
groups and amending existing ones.

For control messages in the scot.* hierarchy, see

Global/UK Groups
news:alt.arts.storytelling - Storytelling
news:alt.politics.british - British Politics
A group has been created called alt.scottish.clans. The purpose of
this group is to discuss the folklore, traditions and history of the
various Scottish clans. Current clan gatherings and announcements will
also be found here. Anyone interested in this sort of thing is invited
to join in the discussions. "Crest of the Clan Chief" in Gaelic
is "Suaicheantas a ceann cinnidh"                                                  - The Highlander TV show                                              - Edinburgh                                             - Glasgow
news:rec.heraldry                                                       - Heraldry                                                   - Celtic music (Irish &
Scottish bias)                                                     - General Folk music
(US/England bias)                                        - Discussions about bagpipes,
playing them etc.          - Recreating history, re-enactments etc
news:sci.archaeology     - Archaeology. Scottish sites occasionally discussed.
news:soc.genealogy.britain - Genealogy in Britain
news:soc.culture.british - British culture in general (strong England bias)
news:soc.culture.celtic  - Celtic culture in general (Irish/Scottish bias)
news:soc.culture.scottish - Anything regarding Scotland or things Scots.
news:uk.local.borders-region - The Scottish Borders
news:uk.local.glasgow - Glasgow
news:uk.local.lothians - The Lothian region - The Scottish Highlands       - Folk music in the UK (England bias)
There are a large number of other groups in the uk.*
hierarchy, some of which have Scottish relevance (eg news:uk.politics.misc)

news:ns.general - General Nova Scotia discussions

There is also an eduni.* hierarchy for Edinburgh University a hw.* hierarchy
for Heriot Watt University and a strath.* hierarchy for Strathclyde
University but none of these is intended to propagate outside the university.
A gla.* hierarchy also seems to exist and appears to be private to Glasgow
university (i.e. the domain). The west.* groups serve the West of
Scotland but these are poorly propagated and hardly anyone knows about
them. There is also confusion between these groups and an ISP in the US.

More info on usenet
Information about usenet in general, links to groups and FAQs

[20.5] How to get scot.* hierarchy groups

The scot.* hierarchy

Read the groups at

Google carries the full list, they just don't show it.

Public news feed servers:

Also see:

[20.6] Getting hooked up to the Internet

Have a look in the UK Internet List, Britain's first guide to
Internet providers. Particularly suitable for home based dialup info

Founded by Craig Cockburn, in June 1992.

For UK based web hosting options, check out

[20.7] Internet Cafes and Public Internet Access Points


Cosmic PCs
19 St Andrews Street, Dunfermline, Fife KY11 4QG
TeleFax 01383 432296

Connections, 5 Colinton Road, EH10 5DP
Tel: 0131 446 9494

Cyberia, 88 Hanover Street. (0131 220 4403)

Entertainment World, 138 Lothian Road.(0131 229 5333)

Web 13, 13 Bread Street. (0131 229 8883)

There's also one in Leith, near the Royal Bank.

The Internet Cafe, 239 North Street. (0141 221 8447)
(currently closed due to demolition work)
There is another Internet Cafe in Park Road - opened October 96
Java, 152 Park Road. (0141 337 6727)
and possibly another in Charing Cross
John Smith & Sons Bookshop
57 St Vincent Street. (0141 221 7472)

Cafe Roslin, Dalrymple Street. (01475 730 576)


[20.8] How can I find someone in Scotland on the Internet?

This is a usenet FAQ which can apply to finding people anywhere in the
world. See the FAQ for more information, the URL is:

[20.9] Faxing Scotland by E-mail

Send a mail to for information on a free service
which will allow you to send an e-mail and have it converted into a fax
and faxed from a server in the UK to the phone number of your choice. Visit
them on the web at

[21.1] Scottish links
Rampant Scotland - over 7,000 links to web pages about Scotland
A very rich site with on-the-fly GIS mapping capabilities for over
30,000 Scottish resources. (Yep, it locates them in proper geographic
space). It even locates the closest pub to your target destination. - UK based but some relevant to Scotland - Nova Scotia - United States
A Hebridean Journal
Huge amount of information about Scottish culture in an electronic
magazine format. Buy books, find out Scottish facts, practice your
Gaelic and much much more.

The alternative Scottish FAQ from Scot.general     (Needs that capital 'W')
For info regarding Glasgow's environs including hotels, on-line papers,
theatres, etc. Contains links to places wider afield in Scotland too.
Info on Constitution, Stone of Destiny, Treaty of Union etc.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (founded in Scotland)

[21.2] Mailing lists


For information on public Internet mailing lists, see:

For information on all listserv lists, send an e-mail to any listserv
containing the line
list global
alternatively you can refine the search by adding a subject:
list global/poetry
or search via

There is a HUGE file the "SRI list of lists" which describes every
public mailing list and has instructions on how to subscribe.
or with a message containing the line
send /netinfo/interest-groups
(the message will come back in several parts which you will then have
to piece together)

See also [19.3] for info on Scottish politics e-mail lists

[21.3] Celtic information and Celtic FAQs

Encyclopaedia of the Celts

Celtic FAQ

FAQ location

Celtic Music FAQ

FAQ location

Celtic Countries

newsgroup news:soc.culture.breton

FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.cornish

FAQ location


FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.scottish

FAQ location

newsgroup news:soc.culture.welsh

FAQ location

Isle of Man
Manx Information
An online guide to the Isle of Man.

Manx Bulletin Board

Isle of Man/Manx mailing list

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotian Information

[22.1] Alphabetic list of links in this FAQ

I've extracted all the WWW addresses from this soc.culture.scottish
FAQ - here they are. Thought this might be useful to maintainers of
Scottish or Celtic WWW sites or for searching. Here they are sorted

I also find this page handy for submitting to link checkers to ensure
the links in the FAQ work. These links were verified by and
Xenu Link Sleuth
and the pages have been developed by the excellent HTMLValidator

We have also developed our own unique real time link checker that places
no load on the server hosting the site being checked. for more information or see here

<deleted to save space>

[22.2] Links to pages of this FAQ

This is a list of links to pages in the FAQ itself and acts as a site
for the FAQ. This allows search engine spiders to quickly index the
whole site.
<deleted to save space>

<<< END OF FAQ >>>
Craig Cockburn ("coburn"). Director, Ltd
Web project and programme manager. M.Sc., CITP, C.Eng

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When some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she wants to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

Best Regards

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

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Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM