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Weekly Mailing List Archives
6th February 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site The Aois Community brings you message forums and lots of community services
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Dear Friend

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
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
New Statistical Account of Scotland
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's Stories
Glen Albyne
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs (New Book)
Robert Burns Lives!
Parents Learning & Speaking Gaelic With Their Children At Home

I spent most of a day this week creating the newsletter for the St. James Priory in Toronto. As this is the first issue of the newsletter I thought it might be of interest to make it available for you to read. I won't normally make others available but as this is a first thought it might be interesting. You can view this at 


Here is a list of the books I am working on that will make it up onto the site in the weeks ahead...

- The Gateway of Scotland
East Lothian, Lammermoor and the Merse By A. G. Bradley (1912)

As we don't have much information on the site of this area of Scotland I thought it would be interesting to put up this book.

- The Social and Economic Condition of the Highlands of Scotland Since 1800
By A. J. Beaton (1906)

This is actually quite a short book but I thought the information contained within it was unique in many aspects so a worthwhile addition.

- Banffshire
By W. Barclay (1922)

As the Bard of Banff has sent us in lots of poems I thought it would be good to feature his area of Scotland :-)

- Parish Life in the North of Scotland
By Rev. Donald Sage A.M. (1899)

Thought this would make interesting reading from a person that ministered in the area and whose father also was a minister serving within it. This means he's got lots of stories to tell.

- The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk

This autobiography is often quoted in other works about Scotland and is also thought to be one of the three best publications created in Scotland. And so I thought I'd make this available for you to read.

- Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers D.D., LL.D., FSA Scot
in 3 volumes (1884)

I've always been interested in the Social life in Scotland and in these three volumes we're presented with considerable information. What also makes this book so good is that there are plenty of references to other works in each chapter and if you wanted to study a particular subject within the social life of Scotland this would make a great starting point.

- Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend
By Donald A MacKenzie

We all like to read stories of adventures from the mist of time and so these are some of the ones that are told in Scotland.

- Among the Forrest Trees
or How the Bushman Family got their Homes, by being a book of facts and incidents of pioneering life in Upper Canada, arranged in the form of a story, by Rev. Joseph H. Hilts (1888)

The author was a Minister in the back wood of Canada for some 4/5ths of his life and so this is his story born out from his practical experience. He says in the introduction that he wanted to preserve the work of the pioneers for future generations as already he was finding the young people did not know of all the hard work their ancestors had put in to build the farms and towns that they now took for granted.

- The Writings of John Muir
Father of the National Park Service

I mentioned these writings in the last issue of this newsletter and have now made a start at ocr'ing them into the site. If you like the far off places and are interested in wildlife and plants then you're going to enjoy reading these books. There are in fact 10 volumes of his writings so not entirely sure if I'll do them all but will say these are probably the best books I've ever ocr'd onto the site. There is hardly a single mistake and so it's going very fast for a change!

- Crofting Agriculture
Its practice in the West Highlands and Islands by F. Fraser Darling (1945)

I have always been interested in crofting but can never find anything that goes into sufficient detail so having found this book thought I'd put it up on the site. The author also runs his own croft so is able to suggest practical methods of farming it. This is a book from 1945.


Have added a new advertiser to the site - InfoHub - which supplies brochures and other information on holidays in Scotland and around the world.

So if you click on their button in our header you'll go to our own landing page. From there you can select "Europe" and then "Scotland" and you'll get a listing of all the holidays that take in Scotland. One entry looks like...

Spirit of Scotland - Mystical Islands and Highlands: July 7 - 19, 2009

Take a life-changing voyage through Mystical Scotland with Celtic Spirituality author, teacher, storyteller and ritualist, Mara Freeman!

Cultural Journey

USD 3795 Per person


Then you get a link for...

- View Details
- Request Free Brochure

Clicking on "View Details: gives you a lot more information such as...

Join Mara Freeman, renowned teacher of Celtic Spirituality and magical traditions, and author of "Kindling the Celtic Spirit," on this exciting journey to Scotland's Islands and Highlands. From the majesty of mountain peaks to the gentle curves of island shores, we will follow the ancient tellers of Scotland's unfolding story, who have left their signatures on the land in the form of Neolithic stone circles and cairns, Celtic settlements, medieval abbeys, and splendid castles. As the landscape reveals the sacred ways in which our ancestors honored the many and varied faces of Spirit, our journey will truly be a pilgrimage of the soul.

Highlights include:
The holy isle of Iona; extraordinary temples of stone at Kilmartin Glen; the sacred groves of Glen Lyon; the faery glens of Skye; the ancient yew-tree of Fortingall; the renowned neolithic stones at Callanish on the isle of Lewis; the Faery Hill of Aberfoyle; the Templar Chapel of Rosslyn. Plus much, much more...

and then several more paragraphs. While on this page you can apply for a free brochure or contact the organisation for further details.

You can also use this service for any part of the world you're interested in.

So to make use of this service go to

In actual fact this looks to be a worthwhile service any time you are considering a vacation anywhere and so I hope it will be a good resource for you.


And while Steve didn't manage to make available our community system last weekend as he promised I have been advised that it is now installed. It's not yet available as he's working on the customisation of it and also bringing in the new Arcade system. So looks like he's nearly there... say I keeping my fingers crossed :-)

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and he always has a great range of topics to discuss as well as having an article both in the old Scots language and in Gaelic. Some interesting poll results in favour of the SNP since the budget was rejected by the opposition parties and as a result the budget has now been passed.

In Peter's cultural section we get a real good fitba' story from the old days...

This Saturday (7 February 2009) I return to my cauf-kintra, the Granite City of Aberdeen, on Scottish Cup business with two football scarves – Aberdeen FC and East Fife FC. As I will be sitting in the away kit-men seats at Pittodrie, the Don’s scarf will remain firmly in my pocket! Jim Corstorphine’s excellent preview of the game (our thanks to Jim for permission to use it on The Flag) refers to the East Fife victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup in 1938. For that replay, on their way to winning the Scottish Cup (the only lower league ever to have achieved that distinction), The Fife played in a red strip instead of their normal black and gold. Aberdeen were so impressed by the red strip that from the next season onwards The Dons changed from black and gold to the now familiar Pittodrie red jerseys. On Saturday East Fife will be playing in green and white but I don’t think that will inspire Aberdeen to change again!

Can Baikie's Boys Disappoint the Dons?

The team that knocked Aberdeen out of the Scottish Cup in 1965

All roads lead to Aberdeen this weekend as the East Fife faithful make the journey north to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup. Incredibly, it’s almost THIRTY-FIVE YEARS since the Methil men played at Pittodrie, and it goes without saying a fair percentage of the club’s present day supporters have never seen their favourites line up to face the Dons!

The Bayview faithful have been buzzing ever since the draw was made, and all are eagerly anticipating Saturday’s match.

So do Second Division East Fife have any chance of causing an upset at Pittodrie? On paper, the answer would have to be no; but then again, the same would have been said when the two clubs were first paired together in the competition back in 1927!

Back then, the Fifers were only in their sixth season as a Scottish League club, and were sitting in the top half of the Second Division. Aberdeen, on the other hand, were a firmly established First Division club who were more than capable of beating the best in the land. A few eyebrows were raised, therefore, when the Fifers forced a replay following a 1-1 draw at Bayview; surprise then turning to shock when the Methil men finished the job with a 2-1 win at Pittodrie!

Eleven years later, in March 1938, the two clubs were drawn to face each other once again. Not even the most optimistic follower of the men in black and gold would have dared predict a repeat of the events of 1927, but that’s just what happened; East Fife knocked the Dons out of the competition with a 2-1 win at Pittodrie following a 1-1 draw at Bayview! That year, however, the Fifers went on to emulate the class of ’27 by going on to win the cup just over a month later.

After the Dons had gained a little revenge by knocking the Fife out of the cup with a 2-1 victory at Pittodrie in 1959, the Methil men were presented with another giant-killing opportunity in 1965.

After holding out for a no-scoring draw at Pittodrie, the men in black and gold used home advantage to the full in the replay at a packed Bayview to make it a hat-trick of Scottish Cup wins against the Dons with a single goal victory.

Will history repeat itself yet again? The circumstances are very similar to 1927, 1938 and 1965; but is the gulf that exists between the top-flight clubs of today greater than it was back in the good-old-days?

At quarter-to-five on Saturday, weather permitting, we will know the answer. One thing is certain, however; if the present East Fife team adopt the traditional cup-battling qualities of their predecessors, we’re in for an enthralling afternoon!

Although Aberdeen have more than matched both halves of the Old Firm in recent weeks, Pittodrie holds no fears for the Fifers according to manager Dave Baikie. The management team have done their homework, and this week have been busy trying to assess all areas of the Aberdeen team in order to identify any possible weaknesses that could be exploited. The players will all be very aware, however, that a very difficult task lies ahead.

The Bayview boys will have to be at their very best on the day, but it is perhaps worth remembering that several members of the present squad were in the team that knocked SPL side St Mirren out of the CIS Cup on their own soil last season.

On the injury front, only Jonathon Smart is doubtful for the big match, and a decision will be made on the big central defender towards the end of the week.

Hopefully the match won’t be affected by the weather we’ve been experiencing recently, and with both clubs having agreed on a reduced admission price for visiting supporters of just £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for under 12’s, why not take full advantage and have a great day out following the Fife!

Jim Corstorphine

Aberdeen Butterie Rowies

Ingredients: 1 lb flour; 1 oz yeast or 1/2 tablesp dried yeast; 1 tablesp sugar; 8 oz butter; 4 oz lard; 3/4 pt tepid water; a pinch of salt.

All utensils should be warm before starting. Makes about 15.

Method: Mix the sifted flour and salt into a basin, then cream the yeast with the sugar. When it has bubbled up add it to the flour with the water, which must be blood heat only. Mix well, cover and set in a warm place until double the bulk, about thirty minutes. Cream the butter and lard together and divide into three. Put the dough on to a floured board and roll out into a long strip. Put the first third of fats in dots on to the top third of the pastry strip and fold over like an envelope, as if making flaky pastry. Roll out, and do this twice more until all the butter mixture is used up. Then roll out and cut into small oval shapes ( or small rounds ). Put on to a floured baking sheet with at least 2 in. between each one to allow for spreading. Cover, as above, and leave to rise for three-quarters of a hour, then bake in a moderate to hot oven ( 375 degrees - 400 degrees/ Gas mark 5 - 6 ) for 20 minutes.

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

Christina McKelvie's Weekly diary is available at

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

Since the last newsletter we've added to the Supplement...

Mercer, Miller, Morville, Murchison, Paton, Rae and Rattray.

Here is how the account of Rattray starts...

RATTRAY, a surname derived from the barony of that name in Perthshire. So far back as the reign of Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093) the family of Rattray of Rattray and Craighall are said to have existed in that county (Nisbet, vol. i. p. 130). In the reigns of William the Lion and Alexander II., lived Alanus de Rattrieff, as the name was then spelled, whose son, Sir Thomas de Rattrieff, was knighted by Alexander III. By Christian, his wife, the latter acquired part of the lands of Glencaveryn and Kingoldrum, in Forfarshire. In the Register of the Abbacy of Arbroath, there is a perambulation, of date 1250, between that convent and Thomas de Rattrieff, about the latter lands. He left two sons, Eustatius and John. The former was father of Adam de Rattrieff, who, in 1292, with other Scots barons, was compelled to submit to Edward I. He is mentioned both in Prynne’s Collections and Rymer’s Faedera. In 1296, he was again forced to swear allegiance to the English king. He died before 1315. His son, Alexander de Rattrie, was one of the barons of the parliament held at Ayr that year to settle the succession to the crown. Dying issueless, he was succeeded by his brother, another Eustatius de Rattrie, who, in the parliament of Perth, August 1320, was falsely accused of being concerned in the conspiracy of Sir William Soulis and Sir David Brechin against Robert the Bruce, but fairly acquitted.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Clan and Family Information
Got in the Clan Leslie newsletter which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in another poem, "Ancient Peak" at

And of course more articles in our Article Service from Donna and others at 

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

The Snowing-up of Strath Lugas

Here is how it starts...

Jolly old Simon Kirkton! thou art the very high-priest of Hymen. There is something softly persuasive to matrimony in thy contented, comfortable appearance ; and thy house,—why, though it is situated in the farthest part of Inverness-shire, it is as fertile in connubial joys as if it were placed upon Gretna Green. Single blessedness is a term unknown in thy vocabulary; heaven itself would be a miserable place for thee, for there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage !

Half the county was invited to a grand dinner and ball at Simon’s house, in January 1812. All the young ladies had looked forward to it in joyous anticipation and hope, and all the young gentlemen, with considerable expectation—and fear. Everything was to be on the greatest scale: the dinner in the ancient hall, with the two family pipers discoursing sweet music between the courses, and the ball in the splendid new drawing-room, with a capital band from the county town. The Duke was to be there with all the nobility, rank, and fashion of the district; and, in short, such a splendid entertainment had never been given at Strath Lugas in the memory of man. The editor of the county paper had a description of it in type a month before, and the milliners far and near never said their prayers without a supplication for the health of Mr Kirkton. All this time that worthy gentleman was not idle. The drawing-room was dismantled of its furniture, and the floors industriously chalked over with innumerable groups of flowers. The larder was stocked as if for a siege; the domestics drilled into a knowledge of their duties; and every preparation completed in the most irreproachable style. I question whether Gunter ever dreamt of such a supper as was laid out in the dining-room: venison in all its forms, and dish of every kind. It would have victualled a seventy-four to China.

The day came at last,—a fine, sharp, clear day, as ever gave a bluish tinge to the countenance, or brought tears to "beauty’s eye." There had been a great fall of snow a few days before, but the weather seemed now settled into a firm, enduring frost. The laird had not received a single apology, and waited in the hall along with his lady to receive the guests as they arrived.

The rest of this story can be read at

The other stories can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Added four more pages which include Clothes, Clothes Brush, Clothes Horse, Clothes Line, Clothes Moth, Clothes Peg, Clotted Cream, Cloud Grass, Clout Nail, Clove, Clove Hitch, Clover, Club Foot, Club Root, Clumber Spaniel, Clumps, Clutch of Motor Vehicles, Clydesdale Terrier, Coachman, Coagulation, Coal.

You can read about these at

New Statistical Account of Scotland
Added the account of the Parish of Kirkliston from the Edinburgh volume which you can read at

Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
By George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (1850)

Making more progress with this book and have added the following chapters...

Section VII


Branch E. From Bonar Bridge to Loch Inver of Assynt, and from Assynt to Durness
From Assynt to Duirness
Branch F. Tongue to Thurso

Note to Route Fourth.

(1.) Dunrobin Castle
(2.) Herring, Cod, and Ling Fisheries
(3.) Strathpeffer
(4.) Meikle Ferry and llornoch ; Errata and Addenda
(5.) Steam Communication to the West of Ross and Sutherlandshire

Section VIII

The Western Isles and Cantyre

A. Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig
B. Knapdale and Cantyre.
From Fort-William to Campbelltown and the Mull of Cantyre, by land, along the coast
(1.) Fort-William to Oban
(2.) Do. to Lochgilphead
(3.) Knapdale
(4.) Cantyre. 1. West Side
(4.) Cantyre 2. East Side.
C. Islands of Islay and Jura, Colonsay and Oronsay
Colonsay and Oronsay
D. Mull, Iona, and Staffa
Sound of Mull

Here is a bit from the Islay chapter...


2. The sound of Islay is in the centre about a mile in width, and is lined by abrupt but not very high cliffs. It is remarkable for the close correspondence of the opposing shores, and the great rapidity of its tides; and the navigation is rather dangerous. On entering the Sound, a strong current is perceptible, which, in a spring tide, if it happens to be adverse, with any considerable strength of wind also a-head, will impede very considerably even the power of steam, while the cross and short sea raised by the current, may even create alarm to an indifferent sailor. The island of Islay now becoming "tangible to sight," presents no very interesting or promising appearance. The coast seems bleak and bluff, without rising into the dignity of real hill or mountain, and presenting little else than the stunted and heathy vegetation of Alpine scenery. Here the eye is more relieved by the scene presented in the offing of the Sound, which seems studded with a lively group of islands, being Colonsay, with its smaller tributaries. The landing-place of Port Askaig is soon made, where there is a secure haven and a good pier; and a tolerably comfortable and commodious inn greets the passenger's arrival. After the dreariness which threatened the stranger's approach, he is surprised, on landing at Port Askaig, to find himself at once nestled securely among well-grown trees and, planting; the face of the hill above the inn, and some of the adjoining grounds, which rise abruptly from the sea, being well clad with wood.

3. Islay is about thirty miles long by twenty-four in extreme breadth. On the south it is deeply indented by an arm of the sca, called Loch-in-Daal, extending about twelve miles in length, and terminated by the Point of Rinns on the west, and on the east by the Moille of Keannouth, or Mull of Oe. This opening has no great depth of water, but is much resorted to by shipping. About midway, on the east side, Loch-in-Daal widens out greatly towards the Mull of Oe, which is opposite the Point of Rinns, forming a capacious bay called Laggan. Port Askaig is situated about the centre of a high tract of micaceous schist. From either extremity of this tract, a broad ridge of hills of quartz rocks extends southward; on the east, to the Mull of Oe, and on the west, to Loch Groinart, not reaching much further than the head of Loch-in-Daal. The northern central portion is composed of fine limestone rock, disposed in rocky eminences or irregular undulations. An ample and fertile alluvial plain encompasses the upper portion of Loch-in-Daal from Laggan Bay, with the exception of a stripe of clay-slate, bordering the west side of the loch and this level ground, which, where not cultivated, is covered with peat, extends in a broad belt, along the termination of the western hilly range, to that side of the island. The rest of the adjoining peninsula declines from the ridge of low hills which skirts the western coast, in fine arable slopes to the shores of Loch-in-Daal. The northern and western hills are of moderate height and easy inclination, and are covered with heath, pasture, and fern. Those on the east are more elevated and rocky. There is a great variety of soil throughout the island, but it is generally fertile and well cultivated. Islay, of all the Hebrides, is, beyond comparison, the richest in natural capabilities, and the most productive.

Perhaps more than one half of its whole surface might be advantageously reduced to regular tillage and cropping. The facilities for improvement are great ; and in no portion, probably, of Scotland, have these advantages of late years been more successfully cultivated; and a steady pursuit of the course of improvement is still in progress in Islay. This island is celebrated for its breed and numbers of cattle and horses. It belonged chiefly to Mr. Campbell of Islay and Shawfield, but is now under the management of trustees, and the estate is in the market, bond-holders and personal creditors having claims upon it to the amount of upwards of £700,000. The coast, especially about Portnahaven, abounds with fish. To the north-west of Port-Askaig, lead-mines were at one time wrought, and with success. The ore is said to have been unusually fine, and the late proprietor of Islay could use the rare boast of having a proportion of his family plate manufactured from silver found on his own domains. But the mines here have partaken of the fatality that seems incident to all mining speculations on the north and west coast of Scotland, and they have, accordingly, been abandoned for many years. Whisky is a great staple commodity of this island. Its distillation has for some years been carried on to a very large extent, and there has, of late, been a yearly revenue of fully £30,000 realised to government from distilleries in this island alone. More than the half of the grain producing this sum in duties is imported.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

All of these can be read at

Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
By R. Angus Smith (1885)

Moving ahead with this book and added this week are chapters...

Chapter XVI - Bardic Satire
Chapter XVII - Tain Bo Cuailgne
Chapter XVIII - The Cairn of Achnacree
Chapter XIX - Connel Moss - Lake Dwelling
Chapter XX - Hill of Ledaig and Cromlechs
Chapter XXI - Lochnell and Glen Lonain

Here is how the chapter on "Lochnell and Glen Lonain" starts...

As the conversation was not well remembered on this excursion, one of the party was requested to write an account of a day at Lochnell and its neighbourhood. They had all heard of Lochiel, but who of Lochnell? Even the guide-books connect the name with the wrong place, namely, the land over near Keills, beyond Connel Ferry, instead of with its own region, surrounded by its own hills, draining its own fields, and sending its own river Feochan down to the sea at Loch Feochan. It is a very small lake, not a sea loch, for we may make the distinction, which, however, is not made in Gaelic, or even by the English, between lake and loch. The name is poetic, Locla-a-ncala, the lake of the swans; there may have been many such birds here once, but they are gone. Still there is left a pleasant memory of airy life, and the low land where the stream falls out of the lake is called Dalineun—the valley of birds. Here is the report of the excursion.

The road from Oban to the loch itself is steep, but it is good, and only about four miles long. To go by land to the other side of the loch would make four or five more round, so that it needs a good walker to traverse in a day all the ground to be visited. Glen Lonain itself needs some ten miles of walking to and fro if it is all to be visited. We preferred, therefore, to have a conveyance to take us to the ground, and to help us at need. As the party drove out of the glen leading from Oban south-east, the rugged heights showed themselves more than on the other side, and the strange shapes of the hills seemed more and more the playthings of numberless streams and violent submarine currents. But soon we came to a not extensive moor, and saw before us the isolated but warm-looking, because wooded valley, with its couple of good country-seats and the manse of Kilmore. The valley goes to the right, and below is Loch Feochan, the entrance of the sea; but we went to the left, and immediately came to a house or two, poor enough looking, and with a desolate kind of name, Cleigla. This name signifies a burying-place, and one of the younger of us naturally asked, "Why do you take us to burying-grounds? We never visit such at home, unless it be to see the tomb of a relative." The answer was easy: "We are here to see the memorials of the people who have long passed; history is among the dead; at home we live among the active men. Besides, here are our distant forgotten relatives." And here, certainly, there are few and scattered dwellings to see, but the name seems to indicate that many persons, living or dead, were brought here, if they did not live and die here.

It is not hard to imagine all this pleasant valley filled with houses, small of course; there is much good grass, and there is still some corn. People pass the road and see nothing, but Cameron stopped us at the little farm-house of Molee before arriving at LochnelI, and, walking to a field on the left, we saw the remains of a great cairn sixty feet in diameter. Now, it must have been an important person who had such a burying-place. Who of the men of this century, has such a great space to rest in? Such cairns are at first a dozen feet high or more, and yet the stones are gone, probably to build the neighbouring house and byres. The stones had been gathered from the fields, probably old rounded boulders, and thus the land was cleared ages ago, doing good to the living by remembering the dead. And now we have the benefit, because these fields show a good crop of oats. The people, probably, were not very irreverent when demolishing the heap in later years to form habitations for the living. Tradition has no knowledge of the inmate of this cairn, but an inmate there was, and, as soon as the stone kist was seen, no more theft was perpetrated there; the nearly square box remains in the centre, formed of the best of the stones. The body had been burnt, and the urn containing the ashes had been removed and given to a lady living for the time in the valley lower down. It will go to make up some unknown collection, and people will say, "It was probably a Celtic urn." Who knows if the body was not bent up and buried, dissolved long ago, whilst the urn was only a water or food vessel, deposited by the friends, according to some ancient custom, and alone remaining undecayed. The kist or cist is small for this mode of burial.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read all these chapters at

Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's Stories
A Book for Bairns and Big Folk by Robert Ford (1904).

The pages we have up this week are...

Children's Rhyme-Games
Bab at the Bowster
The Wadds
The Wadds and the Wears
The Widow of Babylon
London Bridge
The Jolly Miller

Here is the London Bridge rhyme for you to read here...

"London Bridge;" is a well-known and widely played game, though here and there with slightly different rhymes. Two children - the tallest and strongest, as a rule--standing face to face, hold up their hands, making the firm of an arch. The others form a long line by holding on to each other's dresses, and run under. Those running sing the first verse, while the ones forming the arch sing the second, and alternate verses, of the following rhyme:-

London bridge is fallen down,
Fallen down, fallen down;
London bridge is fallen down,
My fair lady.

Question.—What will it take to build it up? (With repeats.)
Answer.– Needles and preens will build it up.
Question.—Needles and preens will rust and bend.
Answer.—Silver and gold will build it up.
Question.—Silver and gold will be stolen away.
Answer.---Build it up with penny loaves.
Question.—Penny loaves will tumble down.
Answer.—Bricks and mortar will build it up.
Question.--Bricks and mortar will wash away.
Answer.—We will set a dog to bark.
Question.--Here's a prisoner we have got.

At the words "a prisoner," the two forming the arch apprehend the passing one in the line, and, holding her fast, the dialogue resumes:--

Answer. Here's a prisoner we have got.
Question. What's the prisoner done to you?
Answer —Stole my watch and broke my chain.
Question.— What will you take to set him free?
Answer — A hundred pounds will set him free.
Question —A hundred pounds I have not got.
Answer.--- Then off to prison you must go.

Following this declaration, the prisoner is led a distance away from the rest by her jailers, where the questions are put to her, whether she will choose "a gold watch" or "a diamond necklace." As she decides she goes to the one side or the other, When, in like manner, all in the line have chosen, a tug-of-war ensues, and the game is ended.

You can read the other pages at

Glen Albyne
or Tales of the Central Highlands

We have now completed this book with the following chapters...

Chapter III.—Under the Shadow of Ben Tigh
Misapplied Vengeance—Miss Jenny Cameron—Kilfinnan Cattle-lifting—The Battle of the Shirts

Chapter IV—The Raven's Rock ("Creag an Fhithich")
The Well of the Seven Heads—Glengarry—A Highland Funeral—Aberchalder

Chapter V.—Saint and Sinner (Cummin and Curnberland)
GIen Mor—Cille-Cummin—Fount Augustus—A Salubrious Climate—Cumberland the Butcher—The Traitor Lovat - Roualeyn Gordon-Cumming—The First Ordnance Survey

Chapter VI.—Round about Kilcumein
"The Prisoner's Landlady"—Kilcumein—Musie: and Ministers—Montrose's March—The "Dairy Glen"—Corri Arrick —The "Old King's Inn"—"His Majesty's Galley"—Baile Friseil—Battery Rock—Cherry Island—An Open-air Kirk —Kilmalomaig—Allan of the Red Shirt—A Vitrified Fort - Corrie's Cave—Loch Ness—Glenrnoriston—Urquhart Castle

Here is how Chapter IV starts...

AT Invergarry station we reach the west end of Loch Oich, which forms the highest point of the Caledonian Canal, little more than a hundred feet above sea level. Looking back across the little strip of land that separates the waters of Loch Oich from those of Loch Lochy, we see a stream coursing down the hillside which is one of those curious instances met with in watersheds where a man with a spade might in a few moments turn aside the waters of the stream so that instead of being discharged into Loch Linnhe on the west coast they would ultimately find their way into the German Ocean, far on the other side of Scotland.

A similar example is found in the headwaters of the Clyde and Tweed, it being quite a question whether the stream will flow east or west, and in times of spate salmon fry are frequently washed from the headwaters of the Tweed into the upper reaches of the Clyde, above the Falls of Cora.

In the present instance a very practical old lady turned this singular formation of nature to good account. She lived just on the march or boundary between Locheil and Glengarry, the dividing line being formed by the stream. As often as the Cameron factor came to collect his rent he found the stream flowing merrily between him and the old woman's house, and whenever she saw Glengarry's officer approaching on a similar errand she diverted the water to the other side of her little property and defied him to lift his dues. By this ingenious plan she maintained her house and land for a long number of years free of all rent and taxes.

Directly opposite Invergarry station on the edge of the loch there stands a small monument commemorating one of those deeds of blood so common in the Highlands. Beneath the monument there bubbles up a little spring of clear, cold water, whilst the top of the shaft is crowned by a hand grasping seven heads transfixed with a dagger. Few stories are better known in the Highlands than this tale of the seven heads, yet seldom has so well-known a fact been confused with such a mass of conflicting details.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
by James M. Mackinlay (1893)

This is a new book we've started and those that visit Scotland might want to take in a visit to one of these :-)

Chapter 1 starts...

IN glancing at the superstitions connected with Scottish lochs and springs, we are called upon to scan a chapter of our social history not yet closed. A somewhat scanty amount of information is available to explain the origin and growth of such superstitions, but enough can be had to connect them with archaic nature-worship. In the dark dawn of our annals much confusion existed among our ancestors concerning the outer world, which so strongly appealed to their senses. They had very vague notions regarding the difference between what we now call the Natural and the Supernatural. Indeed all nature was to them supernatural. They looked on sun, moon, and star, on mountain and forest, on river, lake, and sea as the abodes of divinities, or even as divinities themselves. These divinities, they thought, could either help or hurt man, and ought therefore to be propitiated. Hence sprang certain customs which have survived to our own time. Men knocked at the gate of Nature, but were not admitted within.. From the unknown recesses there came to them only tones of mystery.

In ancient times water was deified even by such civilised nations as the Greeks and Romans, and to-day it is revered as a god by untutored savages. Sir John Lubbock, in his "Origin of Civilisation," shows, by reference to the works of travellers, what a hold this cult still has in regions where the natives have not yet risen above the polytheistic stage of religious development. Dr. K B. Tylor forcibly remarks, in his "Primitive Culture," "What ethnography has to teach of that great element of the religion of mankind, the worship of well and lake, brook and river, is simply this—that what is poetry to us was philosophy to early man; that to his mind water acted not by laws of force, but by life and will; that the water-spirits of primeval mythology are as souls which cause the water's rush and rest, its kindness and its cruelty; that, lastly, man finds in the beings which, with such power, can work him weal and woe, deities with a wider influence over his life, deities to be feared and loved, to be prayed to and praised, and propitiated with sacrificial gifts."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The book index can be found at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

A Warm Welcome to Professor David Purdie, MD, FRCP ED, FSA (Scot)

Celebrating the 250 anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns is a thing of beauty, and a thing of joy, particularly for those of us who are proud to be called Burnsians! With all of the Immortal Memories, songs, and toasts honoring Burns this anniversary year, it is evident that his popularity continues to grow by leaps and bounds year after year. Our poet is more popular today that ever before. He is truly a man for all seasons. I cannot think of Scotland without thinking of Robert Burns. With these thoughts in mind I have asked Dr. Purdie to allow me the privilege of presenting this article on Burns that first appeared on The earlier this month.

For those of you who do not know Dr. Purdie, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. As a celebrated public speaker, his highly amusing speeches are in great demand for charity and corporate functions. As an experienced speech writer, Professor Purdie is also available as a speech writer and a speech editor. He is well known for documentary voiceover and narration.

He has but one golden rule as an after dinner speaker – “Leave them wanting more…”.

Those who should know have endorsed him as…

“Arguably our finest after-dinner speaker of the moment” – Lewine Mair in The Daily Telegraph

“Articulate, funny and spot-on with content and delivery…one of the most magnificent speakers I have ever heard.” Sam Torrance in Sam, the Autobiography.

As important as all of his accomplishments are, Dr. Purdie is proud to have the opportunity to serve as the current Secretary of the Edinburgh Burns Club.

Dr. Purdie and I have exchanged emails in the past regarding Sir Walter Scott and it is a pleasure to do the same now regarding Robert Burns. It is my distinct honor to present to our readers his article entitled:-

"What Burns means to me" and you can read his talk at

Parents Learning & Speaking Gaelic With Their Children At Home
In today’s gloomy world, how good it is to have some happy news to share with your readers. I am of course referring to the fact that over the past 3 years and largely due to the highly popular and very effective language tool known as Gaelic In the home Course, ever more parents are enthusiastically taking up and conversing in Gaelic with their children, in their own home environment.

In addition it is also worth noting that the useful CNSA Family Language Plan manuals, played an equally important part in this decisive move forward.

While still in this congratulatory mood, one must also acknowledge the crucial role parents played in reaching this high point, which in my opinion, is nothing short of magnificent.

Of course, CNSA readily accept that there is still a very long way to go in reaching the target of having 3000 new families each year making a similar commitment to those mentioned above. However, it does reveal two important and undeniable facts and the first being, that it can be done by any parent who has the will and energy to have a go.

And secondly, given good strong support and the wherewithal it is possible to have one’s whole family fluent in Gaelic and it comfortably contained within their own lifestyle.

May I say once again, well done everyone.

In conclusion, if you or any member of your family or any of your friends are fluent in Gaelic, then please get in touch with us, as we are always in need of people to help and support us with our work.

On the other hand, if you are interested and would very like to have your family Gaelic speaking and want to find out more, just contact me, Finlay, on email at I would really like to hear from lots of people and what they have to say, as to how best we can take this initiative forward.

Parents would also do well to consider that if they are keen to have their children speaking Gaelic, it is best to begin the process as early as possible in their life, it does make an enormous difference to the learning process.

If you do join the growing band of Gaelic speaking families, I promise you will find the experience both enjoyable and pleasantly rewarding.

Who knows, 2009 might not be so bad after all. Here are my contact details...

Finlay M. Macleoid
92 Academy Street

Tel CNSA: (0)1463-225469
Mobile: (0)7789-826934
Home: (0)1542-836322

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


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