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Weekly Mailing List Archives
26th October 2007

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
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Rolphin's Orb - A Children's Story
Clan Information
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
History of the County of Bruce
History of Ulster
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world (new book)
Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872 (new book)
A Celtic Christmas (Advert)
Scottish Studies Dept. at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

This week we embark on a book by David B Thomson "A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world". Unlike other books this one has yet to be published so you're the first to be able to read it. I've done a bit of a write up on this below.

I'm starting to do a bit of research on Water. This is actually a Knights Templar project as they are looking at ways they might be able to help those without a quality supply of fresh and clean water around the world. The only reason I mention this is that some of you out there might be involved with projects of this nature and so if you are please feel free to let me know of any special web links on the subject.

I have a page up with some links at

Rhonda Peebles, a fellow director of the Scottish Studies Foundation, has launched a web site which amongst other things sells handbags. You might be interested in viewing her site for an early Christmas present at 

I've also started the book "Ocean to Ocean" which is a diary of an account of the survey by Stanford Fleming, the chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway. I have added more information about this below.

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.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at

We meet a lot of wonderful people whilst making programmes for the Web TV Channel, but Donald Black is a real Scottish treasure. Scotland on TV first met professional Scottish harmonica player Donald Black when he was in town for the Piping Live! Festival this summer. What Donald had to say to us then was so interesting and got such great feedback that we just had to visit him again to find out more.

Donald gave Scotland on TV an exclusive guided tour around his music room, filled with pictures and memorabilia from his times on the road with the great and good of the Scottish music scene. Donald has played Highland music since he was a child – the harmonica has family heritage for the Blacks - and marvels at the ease of being able to play great Scottish music on an instrument that you can carry about with you in your pocket. He also tells our reporter, Nigel Buckland, about why he designed the Highlander Harmonica, which enables him to play traditional Scottish folk tunes.

The film can be viewed here:

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch who has just celebrated another birthday! Happy Birthday Jim!

Loads of info on speeches made by various MSP's in this issue.

In Peter's cultural section he has a Scots Wit entry for the golfers...

The Benefit of the Doubt

Andra, one of the old school, had been employed as a caddie for a full month by a distinguished visitor to the Fife coast. Anxious to improve his game during his stay, the visitor had announced that if and when he 'broke' 100, Andra was to have a bottle of whisky to mark the occasion.

Despite the player's efforts and all that Andra could do by way of advice and encouragement, the final round on the final day had arrived with the 100 still unbroken. Play proceeded in a tense atmosphere until, standing on the 18th tee, a moderate 5 was all that was required to achieve the elusive 99 - and the equally elusive bottle.

To Andra's dismay however, the over-anxious player was short of the green in 3. The critical moment had come; but it was too much for the nervous visitor, and his 98th stroke finished 15 yards beyond the hole.

But Andra was equal to the occasion. Rushing forward to pick up the ball he shouted excitedly "Weill don, Sir! Ye've dune it. Oniebody wad gie ye that yin."

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

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

Onto the K's with Kinnoul, Kintore and Kirkaldy

Here is how the account of Kirkaldy starts...

KIRKALDY, a local surname, derived from the town of that name in Fifeshire, where there is said anciently to have been a place of worship belonging to the Culdees, hence Kilculda or Kilculdei, in course of time corrupted into Kirkcaldy.

One of the brightest of our historical names is that of Kirkaldy of Grange. Of the family, however, our public records furnish but a few scanty notices. As their estates, lying in the parish of Kinghorn, adjoined Kirkaldy, it is supposed that they derived their surname from that town. In Prynne’s History, a Sir William de Kirkcaldy is mentioned as one of the Scots barons who submitted to Edward III. of England during one of his invasions of Scotland, and a charter of King David II., dated “Apud Edynburgeh,” contains the name of a Simeon Kyrcaldie.

There were at an early period two principal families of the name, the Kirkaldys of Inchtower or Inchture in the shire of Perth, and the Kirkaldys of Grange in Fife. From their surname the latter appear to have been the elder branch, although supposed to have descended from a younger son of the former. Their connection with Fife must have been prior to the reign of David II., as we find a pension granted by that monarch to an Andrew de Kirkaldye, “Capella ano, 5 marcarum sterlingorum annustim de custuma civitatis Sancti Andreae, quosque per Dominum Regem ad Aliquod beneficium ecclesiasticum fuerit promotus,” &c. The house of Inchture has long been represented by the noble family of Kinniard, Marjory, daughter and sole heiress of Sir John de Kirkaldy of Inchture having, at the end of the 14th century, married Sir Reginald de Kinniard, knight, and her lands were confirmed to him by a charter of Robert III., of date 28th January 1399. A minor branch, the Kirkaldys of Wester Abden, also in Fife, appear to have ceased as a distinct family about the beginning of the 17th century.

In the Register House at Edinburgh are preserved no fewer than eighteen MS. charters and two remissions (the dates ranging between 1440 and 1568, both inclusive) relating to the family of Kirkaldy of Grange, now extinct, but which at the period to which they refer appear to have been one of the most important in the county of Fife. John de Kirkaldy, a younger son of the family, vicar of Newburn in that shire, is mentioned in Archbishop Shevez’s confirmation of privileges to the university of St. Andrews, dated at Edinburgh, 2d June 1479.

You can read the rest of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Rayne at

Here is a bit about Rayne...

Name.—The name Rayne was sometimes written Raine in the records of the seventeenth century, but more frequently Rain, the orthography which is still retained in Old Rain, the post-town. It was probably derived from a Gaelic word of similar sound, Raon, signifying a field of good ground,—a term sufficiently appropriate to this parish, which consists of open and continuous fields, generally of good soil, and under productive tillage.

Extent, &c.—This is a landward parish, of moderate extent and compact form, being about 3 1/3 miles in each direction, and containing 11 square miles. Its figure is not perfectly regular, but approaching to a square : it is bounded on the south side by the parish of Oyne, and divided from it by the water of Ury; on the west, by that of Culsamond; on the east, by parts of Daviot, and Chapel of Garioch; and on the north, by parts of Fyvie and Auchterless. It forms the northern boundary of an inland district of Aberdeenshire called the Garioch, which is divided from that of Formartine, by the hill of Rothmaise in Rayne, about 850 feet above the level of the sea. With the exception of this hill, the parish consists of undulating fields, and gentle acclivities, with a long tract of peat-moss or bog, towards the north side, reaching from the west boundary to the east, where Daviot begins.

Eminent Men.— One native may be mentioned on account of the eminence which he attained abroad, viz. William Leslie, second son to William, the fifth laird of Warthill, in this place. Born in 1657, he got a classical education in the parochial school, and, having completed his academical studies at one of the universities in Aberdeen, became schoolmaster in the parish of Chapel of Garioch for some years; but, being there persuaded by Count Leslie, a member of the Balquhane family, and his own cousin-german, to embrace the Romish faith, he went to Rome with the Count in 1684; and there became so noted for his learning and piety, that, at the age of thirty-three years he was chosen to be Professor of Theology in the College of Padua, and was afterwards made Bishop of Laybach in Carniola, and a Prince of the German empire, which honour, along with others, he retained through life: he died at his see in 1727. During his long residence abroad, he faithfully corresponded with his brother Alexander, the sixth laird of Warthill, and sent him at one time an original portrait of himself, esteemed a good picture, and which, with many of his letters, is still in possession of William Leslie, Esq. the present proprietor of the family estate.

You can read the rest of this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger articles are continued week by week.

This week have added articles on...

Woman's Noblest Attitude (Pages 147-149)
The Fate of Franklin (Pages 149-151)
A Leaf from the Annals of a Hidden Life (Pages 151 - 152)
"Faint, Yet Pursuing" (Page 152)
Lady Somerville's Maidens (Pages 153-157)

I also added "An Argyllshire Vision" from the 1875 edition which was edited by Norman's brother Donald MacLeod.

Contributed by his Grace the DUKE OF ARGYLL.

I HAD often heard the late Duke of Argyll relate an extraordinary vision which had been seen about the middle of the last century by two men of the name of Bell, father and son, in the immediate neighbourhood of this place.

In looking over some old papers lately, I found an account of this vision, written in 1808, by a Mr. Bell, a writer in the burgh of Inveraray, who was the son of the younger, and grandson of the elder, of the two men who saw the vision. Mr. Bell, and the family to which he belonged, were persons of the highest respectability of character, and no doubt was ever entertained as to the truthfulness of the narrative.

I may mention that in some details the written account differs slightly from the form in which the same story was related to me, derived from oral tradition. But the locality is so accurately described, that the spot can be identified at the present day. The thorn-bush, referred to in the narrative, still exists; and though the two clumps of trees, also mentioned, were cut down many years ago, their position can be seen from the curious indelibility with which old pasture retains ghostly indications of former operations on the surface of the soil.

My father always attributed the vision to the effects of mirage. But it is a very extraordinary example of this phenomenon. Thinking it may possibly interest some of the readers of Good Words, I send the written narrative which I have found.

You can read this account at

You can read the other articles at

Rolphin's Orb
Many of you will remember us adding this 12 book story from Margo Fallis. Well she has now added a 13th book called "The Beginning" to give an introduction to how the series came about.

Lots more chapters up at

Clan Information
Added the Fall 2007 newsletter from Clan MacIntyre at

Clan MacIntyre also announces that the first deposits need to be paid for the 2008 Gathering in Scotland and you can learn more about this at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in a number of doggerels...

Ma Pianny at
Scots Heilanders' Games at
Han-Me-Doon Memories at

He also sent in Chapter 61 of his Recounting Blessings at

Donna sent in two poems...

Something About September at
Flapping in the Wind at

She also sent in some pictures of her paintings which showed at the Exhibit for the teachers of the Art Center in Ponca City at

Donna also sent in a Journal entry, The International Club, at

Added a page for Marion Martin, the Scottish singer now living in Australia at

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have included...

The Galloway Breed of Cattle
On the Agricultural Colleges of America and their Adaptibility to Scotland

The article on Agricultural Colleges of America is rather interesting and here is how it starts...

By James Macdonald, "Scotsman" Reporter, Aberdeen.
[Premium—The Minor Gold Medal]

Introduction.—In America the practice "of agriculture, as presently carried on, is in the main as primitive and simple as it was in Scotland two hundred years ago. The means by which that simple work is executed are certainly far superior to those at the command of our forefathers eight generations back. America is ahead of all other countries in the world in labour-saving machinery; but the practical every-day manipulation on an average American farm is as elementary and simple as in Scotland at the period referred to. American farmers plough, and sow, and reap, and heed neither the principles of rotation nor the science of manuring. Their management of live stock, too, is as simple as ever it has been in Scotland. And yet this new country throws Scotland far into the shade by the efforts it has been making to disseminate throughout its bounds scientific agricultural education. It recognises that though so long as the soil retains its virgin richness, farmers may thrive even by the primitive, simple system of farming that now prevails, the day is not far distant when American agriculture, like agriculture in Britain and in other-long settled countries, will demand the aid of science; and so, looking beyond the actual wants of the time, and discarding the maxim that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, Americans (the inhabitants both of the United States and Canada) are making a bold, liberal, and intelligent effort to train up a race of farmers that may be able to grapple with the stubbornness of the soil when it becomes weary of its present well-doing and refuses to yield profitably without "priming." Undoubtedly such stubbornness will come some day. In an old fully developed country, where every small grocery business seems as safe to its heirs apparent as an entailed estate, few regard agriculture as the essential basis of true national prosperity; but in America, whose manufactures and commerce are still in process of formation, every one feels that without a sure foundation in agriculture, these commercial fabrics would be frailty itself. How true are those eloquent words of Daniel Webster, the great American orator, "Agriculture feeds us; to a great extent it clothes us ; without it we could have no manufactures, we could have no commerce. These all stand together, but stand like pillars in a cluster, and the highest is agriculture."

Agricultural Colleges in the United States.—By an Act of Congress, passed in 1862, a large free grant of land (extending to 30,000 acres for each senator and representative in Congress according to the census of 1860) was given to each state for the "endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading objects shall be, without including other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of farming as are related to agriculture and the mechanical arts." Two-thirds of the states have disposed of the whole of these extensive land grants or land scrips; but still more than a million and a half of acres belonging to the other third remain unsold. Already, however, all of the thirty-eight states in the Union, with the exception of Nevada, have established educational institutions in accordance with the Act of 1862; while Georgia, besides the regular state college, has a separate college of agriculture in the northern section of the state, making in all in the United States thirty-eight institutions in which scientific agriculture is taught as a prominent branch of their course of study. During a recent lengthy tour throughout the continent of North America, the writer made a point of inquiring into the working of these industrial colleges, and was glad to find that they are diffusing a healthy influence among the agricultural community of the country. Several of the colleges have been established so recently that as yet they have been able to effect but very little real substantial work, or to settle down to any definite line of policy; but, on the other hand, the older and better conducted institutions (of course they have not all been managed equally well) have already done most valuable service to the country by sending forth fleece after fleece of well-taught graduates. Each college has from six to ten professors (besides assistants), including a professor of prac-tical agriculture, and attached to each is an experimental or model farm, on which the students of agriculture are taught the elements of practical agriculture, and have to labour for so many hours per day, and on which are conducted experiments on the principles of manuring and rotation, and on the various kinds of farm crops. The course of study at these institutions, especially as it relates to agriculture, is pretty much alike; and an outline of the modus operandi at the Michigan College, the oldest and one of the best in the country, may suffice to indicate what the agricultural, or more properly speaking, the industrial colleges of the United States really are, or aim at becoming.

You can read the balance of this account at

You can get to the other articles at

Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson

The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896

This week we have...

Mauns' Stane; or, Mine Host's Tale and here is how it starts...

In the latter end of the autumn of -------, I set out by myself on an excursion over the northern part of Scotland; and, during that time, my chief amusement was to observe the little changes of manners, language, &c, in the different districts. After having viewed, on my return, the principal curiosities in Buchan, I made a little alehouse, or "public," my head-quarters for the night. Having discussed my supper in solitude, I called up mine host to enable me to discuss my bottle, and to give me a statistical account of the country around me. Seated in the "blue" end, and well supplied with the homely but satisfying luxuries which the place afforded, I was in an excellent mood for enjoying the communicativeness of my landlord ; and, after speaking about the cave at Slaines, the state of the crop, and the neighbouring franklins, edged him, by degrees, to speak about the Abbey of Deer, an interesting ruin which I had examined in the course of the day, formerly the stronghold of the once powerful family of Cummin.

"It's dootless a bonny place about the Abbey," said he, "but naething like what it was when the great Sir James the Rose cam to hide i' the Buchan woods, wi' a' the Grahames rampagin' at his tail, whilk you that's a beuk learned man 'ill hae read o'; an' maybe ye'll hae heard o' the saughen bush where he forgathered wi' his joe; or aiblins ye may have seen't, for it's standing yet just at the corner o' gaukit Jamie Jamieson's peat-stack. Ay, ay, the abbey was a brave place ance; but a' thing, ye ken, comes till an end." So saying, he nodded to me, and brought his glass to an end.

"This place, then, must have been famed in days of yore, my friend?"

"Ye may tak my word for that," said he. "'Od, it was a place ! Sic a sight o' fechtin' as they had about it! But gin ye'll gang up the trap-stair to the laft, an' open Jenny's kist, ye'll see sic a story about it, prented by ane o' your learned Aberdeen's fouk, Maister Keith, I think; she coft it in Aberdeen for twal pennies, lang ago, an' battered it to the lid o' her kist. But gang up the stair canny, for fear that you should wauken her, puir thing;—or, bide, I'll just wauken Jamie Fleep, an' gar him help me down wi't, for our stair's no just that canny for them 't's no acquaint wi't, let alane a frail man wi' your infirmity."

You can read the rest of this story at

The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at

The History of Bruce County
By Norman Robertson, published in 1906

This week sees us adding the Appendix which now completes this book. You can see this at

There are lots of interesting wee snippets in the appendix and here is one to read here...


24th August, 1848.
The undersigned agent, appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General for the settlement of the Crown Lands in the townships of Glenelg, Bentinck, Brant, Greenock and Kincardine, in the county of Waterloo, hereby gives notice to all persons willing and having means of locating therein, that his office is temporarily fixed at or near "Hunter's," on the Garafraxa Road, where he will receive the application of the settlers, every day of the week between the hours of nine and five o'clock, from the 15th day of September next.

Fifty acres of land will be given to any settler eighteen years old and a subject of Her Majesty, who will present himself, provided with a certificate of probity and sobriety, signed by known and respectable persons and having the means of providing for himself until the produce of his land is sufficient to maintain him. The bearer of that certificate shall mention to the agent (who will keep a registry thereof) his name, age, condition, trade or profession, whether he is married, and, if so, the name and age of his wife, how many children he has, the name and age of each of them, where he is from, whether he has somewhere any property, and in what township he wishes to settle.

The conditions of the Location Tickets are: To take possession within a month after the date of the ticket, and put in a state of cultivation at least twelve acres of the land in the course of four years ; to build a house and to reside on the lot until the conditions of settlement are duly fulfilled, after which accomplishment only shall the settlers have the right of obtaining a title of property. Families comprising several settlers entitled to lands, preferring to reside on a single lot, will be exempted from the obligation of building and of residence (except upon the lot on which they reside), provided the required clearing of the land is made on each lot. The non-accomplishment of these conditions will cause the immediate loss of the assigned lot of land, which will be sold or given to another.

Leave will be granted to those who shall have obtained a lot gratis to purchase three other lots on the road (150 acres), at eight shillings per acre for ready money, so as to complete their two hundred acres in all.

The land intended to be settled is of the very best description and is well timbered and watered.

The roads will be opened on a breadth of 66 feet, and the land on each side will be divided in lots of 50 acres, each to be gratuitously given.

Beside the principal road, there will be others (one on each side of the principal road) marked out on the whole extent of the territory, and on which free locations of 50 acres will be made. But as the Government only intend to meet the expenses of survey on those additional roads the grantees will have to open the road in front of their location.

The most direct route to reach the agency on the Garafraxa Road is by way of Guelph and Elora, in the Wellington District.

Crown Lands Agent

You can read the rest of this appendix at

And the other chapters at

The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)

This week have added another 7 chapters to the first volume...

The Policy of Conciliation
The Religious Element
Bad Money and Misery
The Scots in Ulster
Shane O'Neill and the Crown
O'Neill the Great visits Elizabeth

Here is a bit from "The Scots in Ulster "...

In the five years of Mary's reign, little of moment occurred in Ulster. In 1556 St. Leger finally left Ireland, his successor being Thomas Radclyffe, Lord FitzWalter, better known by his later title of Earl of Sussex. One of his first acts was to lead an army into Ulster against the Scots, then very powerful in the districts of the Route and Clanaboy. These Scots had long been a menace to the peace of Ulster. Descended from the Scots of Ireland, they had extended their sway over all modern Scotland; and in their new home, those who dwelt on the east coast were content with their lot. Those who lived on the western coast were of a more restless and adventurous disposition. These Scots, under their chiefs, the MacDonalds of the Isles, made many descents on the adjacent Irish coasts. Confined originally to the glens of Antrim, to which they could show some sort of title, the MacDonalds had gradually extended their sway over the whole of the eastern counties. It was calculated, in 1539, that at least 2000 of them were in Ulster. St. Leger reported, six years later, that he feared an invasion from them in force, and before the end of the year the Lord of the Isles did come, and was at Carrickfergus with 4000 men; and Bellingham was instructed to assist the Earl of Tyrone against them. Often, as we have seen, they hired themselves out to the Ulster chiefs as mercenaries. But they effected permanent settlements as well. They had expelled the MacQuillans from the Route; they had occupied Clanaboy, besieged Knockfergus, and levied Black Rent from the English colonists in Lecale; but whether in making war themselves, or in aiding the Irish chiefs to make war, they kept Ulster in constant unrest, and all attempts to reduce them were unsuccessful.

When Sussex landed, the Scots in Ulster numbered 7000, and the immigration continued. Their presence in Antrim was no less unwelcome to the O'Neills than it was to the English Government. The supremacy of Tyrone was threatened, and Shane O'Neill therefore gladly assisted the new Deputy in his attempt to subdue the Scots. A skirmish took place near Glenarm, when some seventy or eighty Scots were killed. But this was the sole victory gained; and at the end of six weeks, his provisions being exhausted, Sussex marched back to Dublin "without receiving submission or hostages". The old Earl of Tyrone did not despair, but was again unfortunate in an expedition against the same dangerous intruders in Clanaboy, being defeated by them, with the loss of 300 men.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
By David B. Thomson

Reflections contains a fascinating kaleidoscope of first hand impressions of peoples and lands around the globe. They are the thoughtful account of a Scot who left school before he was fifteen years old, and spent the next 7 years on trawlers and seiners in the North Sea and East Atlantic. A few years later he became a lecturer in the College of Fisheries, Newfoundland, and an Assistant Professor in the University of Rhode Island, USA. But his heart was set on doing something for the millions of poor fishing communities in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Pacific. So, he took up assignments with the United Nations Agencies and bilateral organizations, which saw him serve in over 60 countries, in both marine and inland fisheries. Thomson was deeply touched by peoples he lived and worked amongst, and sought to grapple with the economic, social and environmental issues they faced. This led him to question some conventional approaches, and to study how imperfect aid efforts could be improved. He was particularly influenced by thinkers like E. F. Schumacher of Small is Beautiful, and by the range of ideas and initiatives he encountered among development workers, educators, politicians, students, and artisans in each country visited.

Few will agree with all of the conclusions and ideas promoted in the book, but most readers will find them stimulating and thought-provoking. The writer hopes that the observations will also be entertaining and even wryly amusing in places. While deploring current militarist responses to differences between nations, yet acknowledging the threats to freedom and democracy of terrorist activity and attempts by some governments to control the press and judiciary, David offers a measure of hope and encouragement based on personal experience and events witnessed in troubled lands and in troubled times.

Electric Scotland Note: We're delighted that David has decided to launch his book on our site. Of course at some point he'll be getting it published in hard cover and so he'd be happy to get any comments on what you think of the content and also any errors that you may spot. Please email him at

You can start reading this book as we now have the first few chapters up at

Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
by The Revd. George M. Grant (1873).

As some of you may know Sandford Fleming, a Scot, was the chief engineer for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and this book is a diary of his survey of the line. Quite apart from being a Scot this is a most interesting account and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

The first chapter sets the scene and here is how it starts...

Travel a thousand miles up a great river; more than another thousand along great lakes and a succession of smaller lakes; a thousand miles across rolling prairies; and another thousand through woods and over three great ranges of mountains, and you have travelled from Ocean to Ocean through Canada. All this Country is a single Colony of the British Empire; and this Colony is dreaming magnificent dreams of a future when it shall be the "Greater Britain," and the highway across which the fabrics and products of Asia shall be carried, to the Eastern as well as to the Western sides of the Atlantic. Mountains were once thought to be effectual barriers against railways, but that day has gone by; and, now that trains run between San Francisco and New York, over summits of eight thousand two hundred feet, it is not strange that they should be expected soon to run between Victoria and Halifax, over a height of three thousand seven hundred feet. At any rate, a Canadian Pacific Railway has been undertaken by the Dominion; and, as this book consists of notes made in connection with the survey, an introductory chapter may be given to a brief history of the project.

You can read this book at

A Celtic Christmas (Advert)
Who: Perth Productions

What: A Celtic Christmas with musical performances by Peter Ian McCutcheon,tenor, Margaret Mikelait, piano and Scottish piper Rob Crabtree

When: Saturday, December 1, 2007 8:00 p.m.

Where: Jubilee United Church, 40 Underhill Drive, Toronto

Admission: $25 General Admission

To purchase tickets in advance or for more information:
Call: 416-438-9458

Tenor Peter Ian McCutcheon celebrates five years as a solo artist, presenting A Celtic Christmas, an evening of traditional holiday and Celtic repertoire, including:

O Holy Night - Adam
Mary, Did You Know - Lowrey/Greene
O Joyful Children - Holdridge
Snow - Lampman/McKennitt
The Seasons - traditional
Wexford Carol - Irish traditional
Coventry Carol - 15th Century Carol
Poverty - Roberts/Welsh traditional
Rorate - Dunbar/Scottish traditional
Christmas in Killarney - Redmond/Cavanaugh/Weldon
Deck The Halls - McCaskey/Welsh traditional

Peter Ian McCutcheon welcomes guest artists pianist Margaret Mikelait and Scottish piper Rob Crabtree.

For media information contact:

Vince J. Ciarlo
Ciarlo Communications
Tel: 416-763-3783
Cell: 416-458-5090

Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Was sent in the newsletter and thought I'd give it a plug to see if anyone out there could help...

Scottish Studies at SFU Popular, but in Danger

Despite on-going concerns about demographic shifts, easy employment opportunities and other factors that have an impact upon enrolment in post-secondary education, the courses at Simon Fraser with Scottish themes remain popular. Credit courses such as the English Department’s North Sea Literatures or the Humanities Department’s Medieval Scotland are consistently over-enrolled.

Neither is this interest limited to the classroom. Several students this semester have joined our local Gaelic Choir and the student Celtic Dance society will be offering ceilidh dancing lessons for any who will show up on Tuesday nights. Impressively, such a strong interest in the Gaelic language has so grown among students that they have formed their own Gaelic society: an Comunn Gàidhlig SFU. Current membership stands at just over 35, but will no doubt grow as an Comunn gains further notice through its activities. This is all in addition to the ongoing interest in the SFU Pipe Band, which remains a pillar to this groundswell of interest.

Scottish, Irish and more broadly Celtic topics have been gaining interest over a number of years globally. Gaelic websites have exploded in number from barely a handful five years ago, and one can find Gaelic classes in almost any town in North America. Attendance at Highland Games continues to increase and a number of universities across Canada and the United States have established centres or departments with a clear Scottish focus.

Celebrations for the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth in 2009 will occur all across North America, and nowhere more concentratedly than at the newly established Burns’ Centre in Glasgow. Conferences in his honour will take place across the globe. The University of Otago in New Zealand has just recently appointed a Chair in Scottish Studies and other such programs are gaining strength across the globe.

Unfortunately, as with any explosion of interest or numbers, the greater the explosion, the more difficult it is to follow its developments. Many students are ignorant of the opportunities afforded by the extensive Scottish community of the greater Vancouver area and of the Centre’s offerings. This latter ignorance is a direct result of the Centre’s limited ability to offer courses. With no money to support a permanent Scottish Studies professor, the Centre has been forced to rely on offerings that coincide opportunistically with the offerings of its cooperating departments.

With our current limited funding, the Centre can only limp along offering a few courses each semester. This fall has seen one of Simon Fraser University’s largest enrolling cohorts. Student interest will only continue to grow. It remains to be seen if support from the University, which depends directly on our support from the local ommunity, will be able to keep pace. And as we have so often stressed in this newsletter and other forums, the future of the Centre is largely in the hands of people of Scottish descent in British Columbia. Our long-term viability is dependent on the success of our endowment campaign.

How you can support the Centre for Scottish Studies

Annual Gifts
Support the Centre’s programs and activities with an annual gift to help pay for programming including special lectures and events. Or support an annual scholarship with a minimum gift of $1,000 a year for three years.

Endowed Gifts
Consider creating a named endowment fund:
• Scholarships and Bursaries (minimum $20,000)
• Annual Lecture Series (minimum $50,000)
• Endow the Centre ($500,000)
• Visiting Chair ($1 million)
• Permanent Chair ($2 million)

Planned Gifts
Make a bequest in your will or designate the Centre for Scottish Studies as the beneficiary of an insurance policy. All the funds paid out in premiums can be receipted for tax purposes.

For more information on making a gift to the Centre for Scottish Studies please contact:

Susan McAlevy, CFRE
Advancement Officer
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

You can read the whole newsletter at

And so if you can help, or know of someone that could help, please do what you can :-)

And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


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