Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Weekly Mailing List Archives
22nd December 2006

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

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
Understanding Robert Burns
The Scottish-Canadian Newspaper (1890/1)
Clan Munro Society
Johnson / Johnston / Johnstone
Recounting Blessings
Christmas with Grandma (Children's story)
Standard Settings of Pipe Music of The Seaforth Highlanders
Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island
Scotland's Road of Romance
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scots Minstrelsie
Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas

I was purchasing some bottles of our other national drink, Irn Bru, this week in my grocery store. The chap at the check out was asking what it was like. I think my brain went dead as I really couldn't come up with the words to describe it. About all I could say was that it was made from girders and was probably the best hangover cure in the world :-) I think that got him interested as he'd apparently had a bad hangover the day before! [grin]

Of course here in Canada Irn Bru is easy to get as all the national grocery chains stock it but I understand it is harder to get it in other parts of the world. Should you want to try it our Micro Button advertiser, The Scottish Grocer, can supply it. I further understand that it is a big hit in Russia!

And still on the subject of drink I've really been enjoying the MacIntyre Traditional Roast ground coffee. This as you likely know comes from the MacIntyre estates in Panama. A fellow MacIntyre emigrated to Canada and then purchased this estate which has been in the family ever since. On the back of the packet it gives you The History...

Alexander Duncan MacIntyre, Canadian by birth, was longing for a change in his active and hectic life. One day in April 1918 he read an article about a region called Boquete, in a distant country in Central America named Panama. His curiosity led him to visit the region, where he fell in love with the area, the people and the magic of the valley.

For three generations Alexander's family has cultivated and processed in the same traditional way and is proud to offer a truly special coffee with a balanced cup and sweet chocolate notes. Ricardo Koyner MacIntyre, Kotowa Estate.

You can actually order this on the web at either as ground or beans. I myself ordered ground and am very much enjoying it.

I made myself a sherry trifle this week... haven't had one in ages. You take jam rolls and then break them up to make a base in a suitable container. You then pour sherry over so it soaks in well. You then add a can or two of fruit cocktail and pour that over. You then top that with custard. I just purchased a tin of Devon custard but any custard will do. You then add a thick cream to the top and there you have it.

When it came to the sherry my mother would either get myself or my father to nudge her elbow while she was pouring it over the jam rolls :-)

And finally if you are still to do some baking for Christmas or New Year mind that a good clootie dumpling will serve you well. See our famous clootie dumpling recipe at

I'll be spending Christmas this year with my good friends Nola and Harold in Toronto and their extended family. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I will be getting out another newsletter between Christmas and New Year so if you're "out of the office" you might want to redirect it to your home email address. I might add that some of these "out of office" replies and most informative. I do note the folks from the Canadian Passport Office seem to get a lot of holidays as do certain others <grin>.

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

The political section is compiled this week by Allison Hunter.

Peter in his cultural section is reminding us how the Scots used to have New Year Resolutions and he includes a recipe for one of my very favourite puddings :-)

One Hogmanay custom which sadly seems to have vanished completely is the making of New Year Resolutions. It used to be a question which sprang readily to everyone’s lips “Have you made your New Year resolutions yet?” Equally common, given human nature, was the question a day or so after The Bells of “Have you broken them yet?” Usually the well-meaning resolutions to be well-behaved, stop smoking, stop drinking etc had already disappeared like snaw aff a dyke in June. It was not a custom with a long tradition, indeed it would appear to have been introduced during the Victorian era as no earlier evidence of this practise is to be found. The English writer Philip Howard in The times (1983) might well be right when he wrote –

‘The practise of making resolutions on New Year’s Eve was a Victorian invention, introduced by maudlin Scots and sentimental dissenters.’

Maudlin we might well be, but it does no harm at Hogmanay to reflect on the Year that is at awa, to toast Absent Friends and to look forward to the fresh start which the New Year brings. It is an appropriate time to look forward and to hope that the New Year brings hope for the future. A few resolutions at this time of year is a harmless practise which might do you a bit of good, however quickly they are broken!

One tradition which remains strong at Hogmanay is having Clootie Dumpling on New Year’s Day. As we already have a recipe for Clootie Dumpling in this feature, we will break with tradition and suggest a dessert which is a bittie lighter but equally delicious for your first dinner of the New Year – Golden Syrup Sponge. Your dentist might not approve but it will certainly appeal to the sweet-tooth which lies in every Scot.

Golden Syrup Sponge

Ingredients: 4 oz (120 g) butter; 4 oz (120 g) caster sugar; 4 oz (120 g) self raising flour; 2 eggs, beaten; 2 tbsp golden syrup

For sauce: 1 dessertspoon cornflour; 2 tbsp golden syrup; juice of ½ lemon

Method: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; Sift flour and add to butter mix with eggs, a little at a time, beating well. Pour syrup into base of buttered 2 pint (1.1 ltr) pudding basin then top with sponge mix. Cover securely and steam for 1 ½ to 2 hours, Meanwhile, pour 150 ml water into a pan. Mix cornflour with a little water and add to pan with syrup and lemon juice and heat until thickened. Serve sauce with pudding.

You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots language at 

MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary can be viewed at 

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She is now in a plaster cast which needs to remain until end of January. I did mention to her that the plaster makes a great excuse to avoid any washing up :-)

Now onto the D's and added this week are Duncan, Dundas, Dundee and Dundonald.

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

DUNCAN, a surname of Norwegian origin, ennobled in the person of Admiral, Viscount Duncan, in 1797, of whom a memoir is subsequently given below. The family of Duncan of Lundie in Forfarshire, to which he belonged, was a very ancient one, and originally was designated of Seaside. At what time the barony of Lundie came into the possession of the Duncans is not stated, but we find the family designed of Lundie before 1678. They had also the estate of Gourdie in the same county. One member of it, Sir William Duncan, M.D., an eminent physician of London, married Lady Mary Tufton, daughter of the earl of Thanet. Soon after their marriage they went to the East Indies, where Sir William realized a large fortune. On his return to London he became one of the physicians to his majesty, and was, in 1764, created a baronet, but the title became extinct at his death in 1774. Admiral Lord Duncan was his nephew. The father of the latter, Alexander Duncan of Lundie, provost of Dundee, distinguished himself by his attachment to the reigning family during the rebellion of 1745, and died in 1771. He married Helena, a daughter of Mr. Haldane of Gleneagles, Perthshire. [See HALDANE, surname of.] The admiral succeeded to the family estates on the death of his elder brother, Colonel Duncan, who died without issue in 1793. Two of Lord Duncan’s sons died before him in early youth, and he was succeeded in his titles and estates y the third and eldest surviving son, Robert Dundas Duncan-Haldane (the latter name being assumed from his maternal grandmother, having inherited her estate) second Viscount Duncan, born in 1785, and created in 1831, earl of Camperdown, from the place where the great victory of his father was gained. He married a daughter of Sir New Dalrymple Hamilton, baronet, with issue. His eldest son, Adam (named after his grandfather) Viscount Duncan, M.P., succeeded in 1859 as 2d earl. The 1st earl’s younger brother, Captain the Hon. Sir Henry Duncan, R.N., C.B., K.C.H., held the office of surveyor general of the ordnance, and died 1st November 1835.

It is remarkable that the crest of the family, now borne over the arms of the earls of Camperdown, is a dismantled ship, intended to commemorate, according to heraldic tradition, the escape from shipwreck of an heir of Lundie, about two centuries since, who, while acting as supercargo on board a vessel bound from Norway to his native place, Dundee, was overtaken by a tremendous storm, in which the ship was dismantled, and with great difficulty reached its destined port.

DUNCAN I., King of Scots, “the gracious Duncan” of Shakspeare, succeeded his grandfather, Malcolm the Second, in 1033. He was the son of Bethoc, (or Beatrice) a daughter of King Malcolm, by Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld. In those early times, before Romish superstition and intrigue had introduced the law of the celibacy of the clergy into the church, the marriage of churchmen was allowed, and even down to the period of the reformation the dignity of a mitred abbot was equal to that of a bishop. Pinderton conjectures either that Crinan, Duncan’s father, was Malcolm’s minister of state, as was then usual for churchmen, who alone possessed such learning as the age afforded, or that his marriage with his daughter took place before Malcolm became king, and he gives a list of all the most conspicuous instances in history, of priests, abbots and bishops holding the highest state offices in the different countries to which they belonged, and of being princes, distinguished military leaders, and chief councillors of their respective sovereigns. [Pinkerton’s Inquiry, vol. ii. p. 194.] The dynasty of Kenneth Macalpine, which for so many generations had filled the Scottish throne, appears to have terminated with Malcolm, who was defeated and slain in a great battle, on the southern shore of the Beauly firth, by Thorfinn, a powerful Norwegian earl, styled in the Orkneyinga Saga the richest of all the earls of Orkney, possessing nine earldoms in Scotland, the whole of the Sudreys, and a large riki or district in Ireland. On the accession of Duncan there remained to the Scots north of the firths of Forth and Clyde, only the districts of Fife, Strathern, Menteith, Gowrie, and Lennox, with Athol and Argyle in the north. A considerable part of the territories of the northern Picts also remained unconquered by the Norwegians. During the whole of Duncan’s reign the Scots enjoyed almost uninterrupted tranquility. IN 1035, he is said by Simeon of Durham to have besieged that city without success. In 1039, taking advantage of the absence of Thorfinn in an English expedition, Duncan, with the view of recovering some of the territories of the Scots, of which they had been deprived by

the Norwegians, raised an army and advanced as far as Moray, without encountering any resistance. The Gaelic inhabitants of the north, however, had never admitted his right to the throne, although he was a chieftain of their own race, and under Macbeth, the maormor of Moray, they attacked him at Bothgowanan (in Gaelic, the Smith’s dwelling) near Elgin, defeated his army, and slew himself. This happened in 1040. Macbeth immediately seized the sceptre, which he claimed in right of his cousin Malcolm, and the two sons of Duncan, (he is said to have married the sister of Siward, earl of Northumberland) were obliged to fly. The elder, Malcolm, surnamed Canmore, took refuge in Northumberland, while the younger, Donald Bane, escaped to the Hebrides. [Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland, vol. i. p. 115.] The story of the assassination of Duncan, on which Shakspeare has founded his tragedy of Macbeth, appears to have been an invention of Hector Boece. Five years afterwards, Crinan, the aged abbot of Dunkeld, was slain in battle, in the attempt to revenge his son’s death and obtain the restoration of the throne to his grandchildren.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at 

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the June 1903 issues which contains...

Donald McDonald Chief Cape Highland Society, Tak' Me Hame, Ewen MacPhee the Outlaw, And the greatest of these is..., Legends of the Clan MacKay, Landing Haddook, Hector MacDonald Memorial, The Name Anderson, The Martial Music of the Clans, The Anglicising of the Highlands, Death of General Fraser, Highlanders in the Russian Caucasus, Some Notes on the Harris, Days of Yore at Arrochar, The Sangs my Mither Sung.

You can read this issue at

You can see the issues to date at 

The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.

Now completed the History of Virginia and have now started on the History of Maryland and here is how this account starts...


Geography of Maryland.

HALFWAY up the Atlantic coast of the United States lies the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, almost as much a river as bay, and from it, on either side, branch off tidal estuaries, almost as much bays as rivers, which give navigable access to the country to a considerable distance. The coastal plain, through which these rivers take their course, is level and productive of cereals and vegetables, while the waters of bay and river teem with fish, crabs, and oysters. West of this plain lies the rolling country which the geologists call the Piedmont Plateau, because it lies at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. This Piedmont region is a broken, hilly country, crossed by the Potomac River and by the Patapsco, which runs with rapid current down through the land. West of the Catoctin Mountain we find the Appalachian Mountain Region, filled with mineral wealth, and subdivided into three parts, with fertile valleys between them. The three parts are the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian mountains proper in Alleghany county, and the Alleghany chain in Garrett county. Some of the streams in the last county are a part of the Mississippi Valley system, but by far the greater part of the state lies on the Atlantic side of the watershed.

Prior to the attainment of independence by Maryland, the Appalachian region had only begun to be settled and we shall find our chief interest to lie in the tidewater counties of the Chesapeake. At present the state has an area of 12,210 square miles, of which 9,860 are land, the greater part of this land lying on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, upon which portion of the state over five-sixths of its inhabitants live ; but originally the area of Maryland was considerably greater than it is at present. When Charles I., king of England and husband of Henrietta Maria, from whom Terra Mariae, or Maryland, took its name, gave to Cecil Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore in the Peerage of Ireland, a patent, or charter, for this new province of his realm, much more ample bounds were conferred upon the Proprietary of the Palatinate than either he or his successors ever reduced to their possession. The limits of the domain began at Watkins' Point, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, and ran thence due east to the Atlantic ocean. North of this line should be Maryland's territory, south of it should remain part of Virginia, from which Maryland was carved. The boundary of Baltimore's province then ran along the Delaware Bay to the fortieth degree of north latitude, and westward along that parallel to the meridian of longitude which passed through the first fountain of the Potomac River. Descending that meridian to the river, the line runs along the farther or south side of the river to a place called Cinquack, near the mouth of the Potomac, whence a straight line to Watkins' Point completed the provincial limits.

Lord Baltimore's Grant.

Into this princely heritage, George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, had looked, after he had been discouraged by his unsuccessful effort to found the colony of Avalon on the bleak and forbidding shores of Newfoundland. He had found the unoccupied shores of the Chesapeake so attractive that he asked the king that they be granted him and, receiving the royal favor, would himself have been the first Lord Proprietary had he not died shortly before the royal charter was ready to pass the seals. Spaniards had probably entered the Bay a century and more before the settlement of Maryland, but the first satisfactory account of its shores and map of the country are those prepared by Captain John Smith, who explored the waters of the Chesapeake in 1608, the year after the settlement of Jamestown. He found here and there a small village of Indians of the Algonquin stock, who hunted in the forests and cultivated maize, tobacco and potatoes on little clearings along the river banks. In their bark houses, good stores of furs were kept, which the Indians willingly bartered for manufactured wares offered by the English. In general, it may be said that the Indians of Maryland received fair treatment from the English, and this was especially so of the Piscataways and the Nanticokes, the chief Algonquin tribes on the two shores of the Bay. The difficulties and wars which occurred were chiefly with the stalwart and fierce Susquehannocks who lived in the northern part of the province, on the banks of the river which bears their name. These Indians were of the Iroquois stock, and, after they were subjugated and incorporated with the Five Nations, they induced the Senecas to come down in raids against the frontier settlements and against the peaceable Patuxents and Piscataways. Gradually the Indian inhabitants of the province disappeared, and but few were left after the migration to the north of the Nanticokes about the year 1750.

After Smith's expeditions, other ones followed, and the fur trade from the north to Virginia became a well-established enterprise. The Indians also sold their surplus stock of maize to the Virginians. The timber of the land was early found useful for pipe staves and other purposes. Foremost among the traders on the Chesapeake was William Claiborne, Baltimore's life-long enemy, who struggled against the effectiveness of the Maryland charter for over forty years after it was granted. After Claiborne had been in Virginia for eight years or so, engaged in trading with the Indians, he associated himself with a firm of London merchants, and later, in May, 1631, he obtained from the Secretary of State for Scotland a commission, authorizing him and his associates to trade in all parts of New England and Nova Scotia wherein no trading monopoly had been granted. Sailing up the Chesapeake with this commission, Claiborne planted the Isle of Kent on the eastern shore, placing there, on Aug. 17, 1631, a trading factory with about twenty or thirty men. From Chisquack, in the Northern Neck of Virginia, and Kent Island, a delegate sat in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and Claiborne was a member of the Virginia Council. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Virginians opposed the Maryland charter, which gave Baltimore, a Roman Catholic, two-thirds of their fine bay and cut them off from the profitable Indian trade to the north, which they were carrying on.

Navigation was slow and uncertain in the Seventeenth century, when it took from a month to three months for a sailing vessel to cross the Atlantic, and it was some time after Baltimore had received the patent for his province (on June 20, 1632), that news of this event reached America. Not until Nov. 21, 1633, did the Proprietary's first expedition set forth under the command of his young brother, Leonard, to settle the new province. The fact that Maryland bore from the first the dignified title of province has always been a source of pride to its inhabitants. The charter was modelled on that of Avalon, granted to the first Lord Baltimore some years before, and gave Cecil Calvert a country hitherto uncultivated in the parts of America partly occupied by savages.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The book index page is at

John sent in 2 new doggerls which are the ones at the bottom of his index page at

The Bard of Banff has sent in another poem Our Destiny at

Donna sent in a poem, Reality at

Understanding Robert Burns
by George Scott Wilkie

As you may previously have noticed I did put up 3 of the Bards poems from this book a few months back. Well the author gave me permission to post up his whole book on the site and I have been working on that since then. This work is now completed and it is in 9 .pdf files. As the author printed this out so that the actual poem is in the left column and the translation and/or glossary is in the right column I decided the only way to deal with this was to scan it in page by page.

I believe this book will give you a whole new appreciation for Robert Burns. The author has acknowledged that many people of Scots descent as well as many Scots themselves have difficulty reading poems in the Scots language. I also have this problem and thus when I read this book I myself got so much more from it. One poem I always thought I should enjoy but never really did was magically transformed into one I really did enjoy now that I understood the words.

And so for those of you attending Burns Suppers in January this may well help you greatly in understanding his works. It might also be a great resource for those doing the "Immortal Memory".

You can read this book and note that all the .pdf files are at the foot of the page at

Scottish Canadian Newspaper
This is the weekly newspaper that I acquired a years issues of. Some pages are missing but not a lot so hopefully you'll enjoy reading this. Due to the size of this newspaper I have no option but to photograph each page and post it up as a picture.

Got up the weekly issue for December 25, 1890 at

And the one for January 1, 1891 at

And the one for January 8, 1891 at

Clan Munro Society
I got in the December issue of the Clan Munro newsletter which you can read at

Johnson / Johnston / Johnstone
Got in an interesting article on the spelling on this name at

Recounting Blessings
From a Full Life Enriched by Sport
A Book written by John Henderson

We now have 2 new chapters in for this book, chapters 48 and 49 which can be read at

This is actually a really good read and is well worth reading if you haven't tried it yet. Here is a wee bit about the author...

John Henderson

I was born on the sixteenth of June, 1939 in the shadow of the Wallace Monument in Causewayhead, Stirling, and I have been a 'lad o' pairts' ever since. As the son of JNK Henderson, a Stirlingshire teacher – later a village dominie - I chose first to be a physical education teacher but soon decided to follow in my father's professional footsteps. After a few years being a village dominie I eventually ‘escaped’ from the rural classroom environment to spend my last twenty years of service tutoring intending primary schoolteachers at Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. However, after marrying in 1963, and with my wife Olive’s ready agreement, we chose never to become city residents again – as fine as the happy times spent in studentship days in Hillhead, Glasgow had been for me, and as growing up in Glasgow had been for Olive.

Over the last sixty-five years, I have lived in eighteen homes, namely,

17 Easter Cornton Road, Causewayhead, Stirling.
13 Watson Street, Falkirk,
47 Alma Street, Falkirk,
Schoolhouse, Banknock,
Schoolhouse, Cambusbarron,
Schoolhouse, Bannockburn,
21 Leven Street, Glasgow,
298 Byers Road, Glasgow,
34 Cecil Street, Glasgow,
5 Hillhead Street, Glasgow,
(then after marriage)
29 Springwood Avenue, Stirling,
10 Graffham Avenue, Giffnock,
Schoolhouse, St. Cyrus,
Schoolhouse, Gargunnock,
10a Argyle Avenue, Stirling,
1 Moray Place, Gargunnock,
(and, in retirement)
1 Eve Court, Acheritou Street, Paphos, Cyprus
23 Tassou Izaak, Emba, Paphos, Cyprus

Always an active sportsman, as well as a constant contributor to the social and spiritual lives of communities in which we lived, I have gathered lots of memories of people and events in rural and urban settings over the years, and especially in and around sports grounds nationwide. Some of these of course involve sadness, but I have others enough that may alone be worth relating in order to illustrate the ups and downs of competition, to honour many of the characters who contributed to off-the-field camaraderie after each, as opponents on it, had tried to stifle the power of ‘enemy’ skills and strengths, and to picture incidents which caused injury or provoked frustration or led to either quiet amusement or uncontrolled hilarity.

JH - June 2004

Christmas with Grandma
Well as it is Christmas I thought I'd include a wee children's story for you to read here...

Blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and white lights twinkle on trees and around windows, reminding us that it is Christmas time. Snow falls, landing softly on the browning grass, blanketing it in whiteness.

Inside the house, warm and secure, Nelson and his sister, Kira sat in front of the fire. "Tell us a story about Christmas, Grandma," Nelson begged. "Tell us about when you were a little girl."

His grandma smiled. "Nelson, when I was a wee lass, we didn’t even know what Christmas was. Did you know that until the 1960’s it wasn’t celebrated in Scotland, so I can’t tell you about Christmas in my days. When your dad was a wee lad, we started enjoying Christmas."

"No Christmas?" Kira said softly, in disbelief.

"No, my wee hen. It wasn’t like it is today. I didn’t have a tree with colored lights. I didn’t know who Santa Claus was, and I never had any presents. I didn’t even know Christmas existed," her grandma explained.

Kira and Nelson looked at the tree. He loved how the colored lights sparkled and made the ornaments prettier. "Tell me, Kira, what do you like about Christmas?" Grandma asked.

"I like everything," she said. "I like Christmas trees."

"Did you know that the idea of a Christmas tree came from Germany? When I was a lass, in the wintertime we decorated our house with mistletoe and junipers. They were symbols of life during the cold months," Grandma explained.

"What about you, Nelson? What do you like about Christmas?" she asked.

Nelson looked into the flames of the fire that was roaring in the fireplace. "I like the Yule log," he answered.

"Did you know in Scotland, the Yule log should be cut from a birch tree?" Grandma said.

"I didn’t know that, Grandma. What does a Yule log mean anyway?" Nelson asked.

"A log was put in the fireplace to remind us to keep our hearts warm and filled with good thoughts," Grandma explained. "There’s a lot of tradition with Yule logs, but right now, I want to talk about you both. You know what I love about Christmas now?"

"What, Grandma?" Kira asked.

"I love the food and having my family together. Remember last year when you came to my house? We had a big feast. There were meat pies, and fresh salmon and trout, roasted goose and beef, venison, pheasant, lamb and grouse. We also had roasted apples, bridies and pasties, and hot bannocks. Pine logs burned in the fireplace, filling the house with a sweet smell," she reminded them. "I think there was enough food on that table to feed an entire village for a year." She chuckled.

"I remember that, Grandma," Nelson spoke. "I remember the clootie dumpling. I found ten pence in my piece."

"I liked the shortbread and tablet," Kira said, licking her lips. "Oh, and the plum pudding. I remember it being on fire."

"You’re right, wee Kira. It was a feast. Now, it’s time to tuck you in. Santa Claus will be coming tonight when you are fast asleep and leaving you some gifts," Grandma said. She took them upstairs and tucked them in. ""Goodnight, my wee bairns," she whispered and went back down to the fire.

She sat quietly, remembering the days when she’d help her father cut mistletoe from high in the trees and tie branches of juniper trees, covered with little whitish-green berries, with big red ribbons. A smile lit her face and glowed as brightly as the roaring fire. Merry Christmas.

And thanks to Margo Fallis for this story. You can read other children's Christmas stories at

Standard Settings of Pipe Music of The Seaforth Highlanders
I still haven't heard back from the publishers of this book although I've now sent them 3 emails all to different addresses in the company. In the meantime I have decided to remove the book until I can get clarification on whether there are copyright issues involved.

Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island
Memorial Volume 1772 - 1922.

I am now up to Chapter 16 and as it's a short chapter here it is for you to read here...

The coming of the Scottish Catholic immigrants was in reality a great boon to Prince Edward Island. They were strong men, who feared no hardship, and were therefore well fitted to cope with the difficulties of the situation, for hardships were indeed many and conveniences few, when they began to fell the virgin forest that stood between them and competence. But with the determination of the Celt they never wavered in their purpose, and with an abiding trust in the Providence of God they bade defiance to destiny. A strong tie of fellowship bound them in a bond of genuine sympathy, and they were ever ready to help one another and make common cause against difficulties. Moreover, they were men of deep religious sentiment. It is true their opportunities for education were only meagre; but they made up for their lack of instruction by a spirit of faith, that was able to draw comfort and consolation even from the most trying circumstances. Patriotic men were they too, these stalwart pioneers, whose Country was their idol; and though they had suffered sorely under English rule, they scorned to harbor bitter feelings, and never wavered in their loyalty to the British Crown.

Indeed, it was their dream to found on this side of the ocean a community, that would help to sustain the arm of Britain in her future struggles in the cause of right. This spirit of loyal attachment to the Empire they bequeathed to those who came after them, and these in turn transmitted the same to their descendants, so that today, after a hundred and fifty years the fire of true Patriotism, that warmed the hearts of the first colonists, instead of growing dim with time burns brighter and fresher and stronger than ever. Hence, when Germany threw down the gage of battle to the world, and the cry went forth for men and "still more men," none responded to the call with more genuine enthusiasm than the Scottish Catholic young men of Prince Edward Island, lineal descendants of the early immigrants. In that time of stress the injustice from which their forebears had suffered, the persecutions they had endured, the ill treatment that drove them exiles to America were all forgotten, and these young men went forth to the succor of the old land, ready to fight and ready to die for the cause she had made her own, and today many of them bear in maimed bodies distressing trophies of their encounter with the enemy, whilst many others made the supreme sacrifice, and are sleeping their long last sleep in "Flanders Fields where the poppies grow."

In this way does the spirit of the pioneers survive in their descendants, and the country is richer, nobler, better by the fact. Church and State have evidently recognized this truth, and this is why there is no position of trust in one or the other that they have not filled, with credit to themselves and profit to their fellow citizens. The most honorable positions in the Church have come to them, the most responsible political offices have also been theirs, and to the discharge of the duties thus imposed on them, they brought splendid qualities of mind and heart, whose origin they are proud to trace back to the virile virtues of their forefathers.

You can read the other 5 chapters I added this week at

Scotland's Road of Romance
Travels in the footsteps of Prince Charlie by Augustus Muir (1937).

Now up to chapter 7 and here is a bit from it to read here...

IF I had not gone to the chapel at Mingarry that Sunday morning, I would not have seen and handled the old Macdonald bagpipe that is said to have been played at the Battle of Bannockburn, for it was at the door of the chapel that I was invited to take tea in the afternoon at a house on the island of Shona.

Three days before, from the mouth of Wat the Wanderer's cave near the head of Loch Moidart, I had looked across the water to Shona, but I had seen no houses there. Now, however, I learned that Shona was more than a deserted paradise of pines and firs and silver birches. On the isle in Loch Moidart I was surprised to hear there is a population of about fifty, and a dozen children are taught in the little island school at Baramore. The invitation to tea included my two friends at the hotel as well as Campbell himself; but Gillespie decided to fish until dark; so with Campbell and Grant I set out for Loch Moidart.

The road down to the south shore of the sea-loch follows the river beside the wooded shoulder of a hill ; and before we had been a mile on the way, the rain began to fall. The sky had blackened in the west, and it was plain that we were in for what Grant called a snorter of an evening. Half a pace ahead of us, Campbell splashed through the long quivering pools on the road, and when we came round the corner of the hill he stopped and pointed.

"Castle Tirrim," he said briefly.

It was then that I blessed the weather. What a picture the stark old Clanranald fortress made in the gloom of the autumn afternoon. I had caught a glimpse of it coming over the pass from Glenuig, and from the distance it had seemed like the relics of a child's sand-castle that the encroaching tide had begun to eat away. But seen as it was now, in the battering rain, it made a picture not easily to be forgotten.

It was built nearly six hundred years ago; and is older than the Clanranald family itself. No Highland castle has a more thrilling history. A woman made it : a divorced woman. She had been put away by a Lord of the Isles so that he could marry a daughter of the heir to the throne of Scotland. They called him the Good John of Isla, though one doubts his goodness to Amie MacRuari. But Amie had the blood, of Somerled in her veins, and she consoled herself as the walls of Castle Tirrim rose stone upon stone ; and for centuries it remained the chief stronghold of the Clanranalds, the family of which Amie is the mother. I had read somewhere that Castle Tirrim had been impregnable : now I saw why. At low tide a man can cross on a narrow neck of shingle to the huge hummock of rock on which it stands, but there is no cover for an attacking army, and on the north side the grey cliff rises from the water of Loch Moidart. As I approached the gaunt ruin, I felt like lifting my rainsoaked hat to the memory of Amie MacRuari.

The ebbing tide had already uncovered the track ; and crossing to the islet, we climbed up in lashing rain to the castle. Its walls are ten feet thick. Pointing upward, Campbell told us that a few years ago a bed of strawberries had been found growing on the top. Some bird must have dropped the seed which had taken root in that airy bed high among the dirt and moss.

From the terrace that runs round the courtyard you go down into the dungeon and kitchen, and the damp soil of the dungeon floor is red-red with human blood, Campbell explained. A horrible murder was once committed there, and it was said that the blood of the victim would ooze up from that soil for ever. A certain Doubting Thomas actually sent a sample of the soil to a Glasgow analyst, who reported that the red colouring was due to the action of some mineral, and the sneers of the doubting one were heard for many a day in Moidart. "But the Glasgow man was all wrong," declared Campbell. "The stain is blood. You will find it in the soil for as deep as you like to dig."

Only once, according to Father Macdonald, has Castle Tirrim been captured by an enemy. The chief fell foul of the Scots king-a frequent thing in Moidart history--and the Campbells were given leave to carry fire and sword against him. Where a Macdonald was concerned, a wink was as good as a nod for a Campbell; and round the point of Ardnamurchan came the longboats from Argyll. Anchor was dropped in Loch Moidart near the castle walls. A force was sent ashore to cut off Tirrim from the mainland, making retreat impossible if the fortress fell. The Campbells made an assault and failed, so they tried to starve out the garrison. Not until five weeks had passed did they depart, and the jubilant Clanranald men went off to their homes. That night the Campbells stole quickly back to Loch Moidart, rounded Eilean Shona on a flood tide, and battered their way into the now thinly defended Castle Tirrim. Word of the disaster went over all Moidart like wildfire: Tirrim had fallen! Enraged at having been caught napping by so simple a ruse, the Clanranalds came hurrying back to the lochside, retook the castle, and wiped out the stigma with Campbell blood.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The book index page is at

History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)

Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to chapter 3 and you can read all the chapters at

Here is how chapter 3 starts...

We have seen by the preceding chapter that, when the first representatives of Cape Breton were elected to the Assembly of Nova Scotia there was only one County on the Island and that the County of Cape Breton.

By a Provincial Act of 1834-35 the original county of Cape Breton was like Gaul, divided into three parts, namely, Cape Breton, Richmond and Juste-au-Corps. In 1851 the now Cape Breton county was partitioned into two counties, called, respectively, Cape Breton and Victoria.

By an Act of 1837 the name of the district or county of Juste-au-Corps was changed into that of Inverness. An Act was passed in 1838 "For altering the Representation in the General Assembly" in 1840 an Act "establishing Times and Place of holding Elections": in 1841 an Act "To improve the Administration of Law": in 1843 an Act "to amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1840": in 1844 an Act "to provide two Lock-up Houses and Town Houses, in 1845 an Act "To provide an additional General sessions of the Peace."

The name of Inverness was given to this county on the suggestion of the late Sir William Young, who was its first representative in the Assembly at Halifax. Sir William was, himself, a native of Invernessshire, Scotland, and a cultured Scotsman to the backbone. The Youngs were a recognized force in the early formative days of Nova Scotia. Who hath not read or heard of, the rousing, ringing "Letters of Agricola" on the subject of Agriculture in this Province? Sir William held, at different times several eminent posts in the public service, the last of which was the Chief-Justiceship of our Supreme Court. He was greatly beloved by his Scottish constituents here, particularly by the older clergy of whom he loved to speak so kindly in his old age. Some of our good Presbyterian Ministers were so fond of him that they were calling their children after him. The full name of our second Inspector of Schools for Inverness County was John Young Gunn. And there were others.

As it now stands this county runs from the Richmond line at Point Tupper, along the windings of the coast northeastwardly, to Cape St. Lawrence near Cape North. The length of this coast line would be at least; 130 miles, the average width of the county about 30 miles.

The coast is bold, rugged, irregular and picturesque. There are capes, points and promontaries, with here and there a nestling cove and a sandy beach. The few harbors we have on this long front are distinctly inadequate for the country's needs. Those of Port Hawkesbury and Cheticamp are the only safe places of shelter and anchorage. It was not always so.

Fifty-five years ago, this writer remembers counting two hundred sail of the fine American and Maritime fishing fleet, riding restfully at anchor in the harbour at Port Hood. Today this harbour is not much safer for the tempest tossed than is the open sea. The change has been caused by sheer neglect of the public accommodation. We make this statement, in good faith, for the ear of the wise in our public life.

A good, safe harbour at Port Hood was always a public need, but never as much as now, when we hear the whistle of an excellent colliery, at the very entrance to that harbour, screaming five times a day for suitable means of transportation. Talk about production; production loses most of its value and all its charms, when you are not, able to commercialise your products, except at a ruinous disadvantage. In view of the fine fisheries of this coast, in view of the large and well known deposits of coal at Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness, Saint Rose and Chimney Corner; in view of our improved and improving methods of farming, and in view of the growing intelligence and riper experience of our people, the harbours of Port Hawkesbury, Port Hood and Cheticamp, could be made important assets of Canada as summer shipping ports. We show in this Chapter a drawing of Port Hood Harbour as it was originally. All that is needed to render the Harbour safe is to close the northern entrance thereto.

The incident of counting two hundred vessels in Port Hood Harbour in 1855 reminds us of another incident which occurred there a few years previous thereto. It had been discovered that, for some years preceding the Reciprocity treaty of 1854, some American vessels were sailing under false colors and papers and were thus enabled to fish in waters prohibited by the treaty of 1818. The British cruiser "Devastation" commanded by Captain Campbell, came here to pursue those suspected vessels. Captain Campbell was very severe. He coralled three hundred suspected vessels at Port Hood. The only one that escaped him was a sharp-shooter commanded by Captain Charles Macdonnell. Captain Charlie was renowned at sea. The British cruiser fired at his vessel and blew his jib off, but he got away. Mr. Dunsier Tremain was then American Consul at Port Hood. He happened on a fourth of July to hoist the American flag above the Union Jack at his office. Captain Campbell at once dispatched a boat and messenger to tell the Consul that if he did not lower or reverse the flags within fifteen minutes, his office would be fired at. The Stars and Stripes of course came down.

You can read more of this chapter at

Scots Minstrelsie
I have made a start at this final Volume 6 with the picture, editors notes and the first song, My Heather Hills, which you can see at

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas
At this time of year I get a number of emails asking how we celebrate Christmas in Scotland so I created a page giving those details and as Christmas is now upon us I thought I'd include this page for you to read here...

Although Christmas and its customs were in disfavor for only a short time in England (during the reign of Cromwell), Scotland ignored the holiday far longer. Bear in mind that "Christmas" is "Christ's Mass" and mass was banned in Scotland. There are records of charges being brought against people for keeping "Yule" as it was called in Scotland. Amazingly, this dour, joy-crushing attitude lasted for 400 years. It has only been in recent years that the Scots observed December 25 as a special day at all. So if there is a specifically "Scottish" aspect to Christmas it is that it was not celebrated!

Christmas in Scotland is now a time for going to church, food, presents, parties, holidays and all sorts of other good things. It's a time for celebration because it's the birthday of Jesus.

Planning for Christmas starts weeks before the events. Children are busy writing their Christmas lists for Santa Claus, parents are busy buying presents, cleaning the house and organising food for the great day.

Houses are decorated with tinsel, holly wreaths candles and decorations. Mistletoe is hung to catch a kiss from anyone who stands under it. The Christmas tree, decorated with baubles, takes pride of place in any household.

On Christmas eve, children prepare for Santa Claus by hanging up their stockings in anticipation of their being filled with presents while they sleep. They leave out a small glass of whisky or milk for Santa along with a mince pie. They also leave out carrots for the reindeer - particularly Rudolph - the red nosed reindeer that guides his sleigh through the dark skies. Then the children are ready to go to bed. In all the excitement children find it difficult to get to sleep. Some waking up VERY early in the morning.

Christmas day finally arrives and is marked by screams of delight at the surprises Santa has left. Once the presents are opened, many people get ready to go to church. Christmas carols are sung during the hour long service.

On return, parents prepare the Christmas lunch while children play with their toys. Christmas dinner is a time when families get together - grannies, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins. Once it is finished and the clearing up done, there is generally a party. People sing songs, dance or play games. All the preparation has been worth it. People go to bed happy yet exhausted. Christmas is over for another year!

A traditional Christmas lunch will include - Starter: Scotch Broth or Smoked Salmon. Main course - Roast Turkey, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Chippolata Sausages, Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Brussel Sprouts. Dessert - Christmas Pudding and Brandy custard.

Many Scots also take the opportunity to watch the Queen's Christmas Talk which is usually at 3pm on Christmas Day.

Here is a wee poem to go with the day...

by J K Annand

I'm gaun to hing a stockin up,
I'll borrow my big brither's,
It's bigger nor my sister's ane
And strang-er nor my mither's.

I'll be in bed on Yule E'en
When Faither Christmas comes.
I ken he'll wale oor chimley oot
Amang the ither lums.

On Yule richt early I'll be up
Afore the screich o day
To see what ferlies Santa Claus
Has brocht me for my play.

I hope he'll mind a cuddly bear,
And cups for dolly's tea
Wi lots o ither bonnie toys
For a guid wee lass like me.

You can also listen to this poem in Real Audio at

And that's all for now and I hope you and your families all have a Very Merry Christmas :-)


With Electric Scotland's new site design it is now possible for you to advertise your company on all 150,000+ pages of our site. Email address and contact information can be found at 

You can see old issues of this newsletter at 

For only $10.00 per year you can have your own email account with both POP3 and Web Access. For more details see 

To manage your subscription or unsubscribe visit and select "Manage Subscriptions" at the foot of the Application box.

Return to Weekly Mailing List Archives


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus