Living with Clans and Castles Blog Posts

  • Flodden 1513
    on May 5, 2016
    The most recent Scots Heritage Magazine has a piece on the feud between the Montgomery and Cunningham families in the 15th/16th centuries. It's a depressing story but I read it anyway: castles burned with folk inside them, a parade of individuals amb...
  • The Scots who migrated to Bath.The mineral-rich hot springs of Bath, Somerset, England still bubble away, as they did in Roman times. As they did in 1687 when Mary of Modena, wife of James II, visited there desperately hoping for a healthy child and nine months later James, father...
  • General Hugh Mercer: Jacobite, Doctor, Symbol of the American Revolution
    on Dec 29, 2015
    General Hugh Mercer was a Jacobite who fought at the Battle of Culloden (1746) as a 20 year old surgeon and died as a general in George Washington's Continental Army, fatally wounded at the Battle of Princeton in 1777, now aged 51. Washington said of...
  • Clashing CulturesI watched episode nine of the Outlander TV series last night... where Jamie takes his belt to Claire for her disobedience: "You've done wrong to all the men and you must suffer for it". She then twice makes him promise, at the point of a dirk, never...
  • Gallipoli 1915 and Culloden 1746
    on Jul 12, 2015
    My adopted town of Hawick remembers its dead. In May I visited the Gallipoli peninsular, scene of a disastrous campaign in 1915. At the great Helles Memorial to those who died, a marble plaque from the town commemorates the Hawick fallen, and each ye...
  • Scotland says 'No'. But now that you're listening...
    on Sep 23, 2014
    So what should those outside these shores make of our Independence Referendum?In short, the 'No' vote won but we are now in a much better position  - with more devolution on the way - than we were a month ago.Much passion has been generated and...
  • Come home to Scotland!
    on Jun 29, 2014
    How lucky we are in Scotland to have a colourful and vibrant clan culture to underpin our tourism industry! But are we looking after our Diaspora?...making it easy for folk to find and enjoy the experiences that they seek?Yesterday I was at the very...
  • Rewriting the Battle of Bannockburn
    on Apr 27, 2014 in Bannockburn Maid of Norway
    I am Edward II of England, facing King Robert of Scotland, played by the Chief Guide at the Bannockburn Centre. It was an interesting encounter: I led my cavalry straight into his foul calthrop trap but he was so keen to protect his king (yes, it's a...
  • What is a 'Broken Clan'?Clan Cunningham website announces jubilantly, "We are no longer a broken clan!".Indeed there is now a Chief of the Name and Arms of Cunninghame (sic) which, after 218 years without one, is good news.A chief-less clan is often cited as 'brok...
  • When is a castle not a castle?
    on Jan 19, 2014
    A castle is advertised for sale. So I took a look.Cavers Castle (or maybe Cavers House?) in its prime.Cavers Castle, a tower house of the Black Douglas, was destroyed by the English in 1545, remodelled in the 1750s and much extended in 1887. It has b...
  • Roxburgh Castle
    on Jan 7, 2014
    It's difficult to imagine, as I walk by the River Teviot to ruinous Roxburgh Castle, that King David I (1124 - 1153) governed Scotland from here, that it saw royal marriages and births, and was one of the principal strongholds of Scotland, ceded to E...
  • Authenticity is Everything in this Counterfeit World
    on Aug 15, 2013
    I had a birthday the other day and was given a cd by Hugh Laurie (thanks Jamie) who apologises in the liner notes for being a white middle class Englishmen offering songs from black Louisiana in the early 1900s. He goes on to talk of 'furniture dippe...
  • The Hill Road to Roberton
    on May 24, 2013
    The hill road to Roberton's a steep road to climb,But where your foot has crushed it you can smell the scented thyme,And if your heart's a Border heart, look down to Harden Glen,And hear the blue hills ringing with the restless hoofs again.When I mov...
  • The Queen's Unfortunate Love of Golf
    on May 15, 2012 in Mary Queen of Scots
    Mary Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587) is reported to be the first woman to play golf regularly. Now some readers will know how that game can just get a hold of you; it clouds the judgement. So it was for Mary: people noticed that within days of the murde...
  • The Burning of the Clavie
    on Jan 12, 2012 in Clavie Up Helly Aa
    Though my calendar shows 12 January, it is actually January 1st ... according to the Julian Calendar, accepted in Britain until 1752 (in Alaska until 1867 and Russia until 1917).That means last night must have been Hogmanay and a night of celebration...
  • Christmas for a King in 1716
    on Dec 22, 2011 in James VIII Fetteresso
    The best known Jacobite rising was of course the 1745 which ended with the disastrous Battle of Culloden. But it was the 1715 that had the most chance of success. Queen Anne died in August 1714 and although there were 56 better claimants, a non Engli...
  • Remembrance Day
    on Nov 10, 2011 in Remembrance Day
    I was delighted to read that traffic in Inverness will stop for two minutes at 11.00 tomorrow, 11 November, to mark the memory of  all those servicemen who fell in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. This move which augments tributes t...
  • Guy Fawkes Day and the 'Winter Queen'
    on Nov 5, 2011 in Winter Queen
    Today is an ideal Guy Fawkes Day - clear, crisp and a Saturday. There will be fireworks throughout the United Kingdom tonight and massive bonfires topped with a 'guy', a stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes who, on 5 November 1605, hoped to make a bonfire of...
  • Shinty/Hurling International
    on Oct 29, 2011 in Camanachd Shinty
    I went down to Bught Park in Inverness today to see an International... Scotland v Ireland playing the hybrid rules that combine Scotland's national game of Shinty with its Irish brother, Hurling.I once watched a Shinty game with an American client,...
  • Queen Victoria's Love of Scotland
    on Oct 13, 2011
    I've been working a few weekends recently and, now that the season is over, today I took a day off - a walk down the lovely River Findhorn...... and a cup of tea at nearby Logie Steading, where there is a particularly good second hand books...
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