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Weekly Mailing List Archives
4th June 2010

Electric Scotland News
Scottish Events
The Flag in the Wind
Book of Scottish Story
Oor Mither Tongue
Poems of William Dixon Cocker
Auld Biggins of Stirling
Old Pictures of Scotland
Scottish Notes and Queries
The Kingdom of Fife
The Complete Scotland
Furth in Field
Art in Scotland
Biography of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
Poems in the Dorric Language
Roamin' in the Gloamin'
Robert Burns Lives!
Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada
In the Hebrides (New Book)
Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire (New Book)
Social Life among the Easter Ross Fishermen
Sheep Farmers and Drovers (Complete Book)
Eight Days in Islay
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree

Electric Scotland News
We've made progress on our new Aois community and now have the new version of the software configured. Our next task is to install and configure the portal software over the top. The last step is to install the various add-ons that we feel will add value to our community and this includes our Arcade and a New Member service.

Steve will shortly be inviting a few beta testers in to try it out.

I might add that what we have up already is an improvement on what we have now and so now we work on all the new services that hopefully will blow your socks off :-)

Mind if any of you have a particular expertise and would like to share that with us in a new forum do let us know.


I have continued to make progress on the Gairloch and Loch Maree project that I mentioned last week and you can see what's new at

I'm getting more emails in promising some help on this so encouraging news.


Anyone interested in doing a regular column or know of someone who might? We've had many compimentary emails on Frank Shaw's Robert Burns Lives! series and so we thought we might seek out others that could do a weekly or even monthly column on something to do with Scotland.

So if this is of interest please get in touch or mention it to someone who might be interested.

I am in fact emailing various folk and organisations seeing if I can find anyone to contribute regular articles.

Mind you when it comes to regular contributors we do get "The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP" which is usually an interesting read each Then we get the "Flag in the Wind" in weekly and "Beth's Newfangled Family Tree" each month.

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 in our site menu and at

Scottish Events
Start planning for the 2010 Highlands of Durham Games! Elgin Park, Uxbridge, Ontario.
This year's dates are July 24th and 25th 2010.

With a touch of Old Scotland, you, your family and friends, can gather to celebrate your Celtic roots, enjoying three days of Traditional Scottish entertainment with Pipers and Drummers all in the picturesque setting of Elgin Park. And that’s not all. We’ve got a little something for everyone...

We’ll have music, dance, and other entertainment of all kinds - for all ages! What to see first?

The traditional Highland dancers compete... 300 hundred in all!!

The splendid Massed Band performs daily – twice!

There’s also:

the Heavy Event competitors
Livestock shows
Celtic Artisans
Traditional Scottish fare

Don’t forget we also have Live Celtic music round the clock, and the always-impressive Avenue of the Clans.

In our 16th year this Non-profit Family event has become Durham’s summer destination.

For more information visit

This weeks issue is compiled by Jim Lynch which always contains a good mix of articles. Jim always provides the Gaelic column with an English translation which in itself is a good read. You can read more about this at

The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP diary entry for this week can be viewed at

I might add that Christina is getting quite chatty these past few week and this week she's even giving us a couple of poems no less!

Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.

This week he's sent in Part 1 of "The Twin Sisters" which starts...

Emma and Emily Graham were twin daughters of a respectable farmer and cattle-dealer in Perthshire.The girls bore such a striking resemblance to each other, that their mother found it necessary to clothe them in different colours, as the only method by which they could be distinguished. As they grew up, their similarity became, if possible, more perfect; the colour of their eyes and hair had no shade of difference; and, indeed, every feature of their faces, their form and stature, were so exactly alike, that the same distinction of different dresses continued necessary. They had a brother, Edward, about fifteen months younger, who bore as great a likeness to both as they did to each other. When the girls arrived at nine or ten years of age, they gave promise of being rather above the ordinary stature of their sex, with a very considerable share of personal beauty. But it was only in externals that the resemblance was complete; for, although both had excellent dispositions, with a large share of good nature, their minds were in most respects dissimilar.

Emma was sedate and modest, even to bashfulness ; while Emily was so free and lively, that many thought her forward, and her lightheartedness akin to levity. Edward’s mind resembled that of his younger sister as closely as his personal appearance. She was all mirth and frolic, and, by changing clothes with her sister, amused, perplexed, and sometimes fretted her parents; in all which Edward delighted to bear a part. At school there was an ample field for these sportive tricks; and the teacher himself was often sadly teased by their playful metamorphoses.

The rest of this story can be read at

All the other stories can be read at

Oor Mither Tongue
An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938) and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

The By-Road
The Waukrife Win
The Conqueror

You can read these at

The other poems can be read at

William Dixon Cocker
W.D. COCKER (1882 – 1970)

W. D. Cocker was a Scottish poet who wrote in both Scots and English. In the First World War, Cocker served with the Highland Light infantry, and was taken prisoner in 1917. His war poetry is interesting and includes the poems "Up the Line to Poelkapelle", "The Sniper" and a five-part sonnet cycle entitled "Sonnets in Captivity". However, he is best known for his humorous poems in Scots.

Another 4 pages up which can be read at

The other poems can be read at

Auld Biggins of Stirling
The contents page of this book are done alphabetically so we're adding new chapters in the order they appear in the book and not as they appear in the contents. Loads of illustrations which do add to the enjoyment of this book.

Added Shore Road Level Crossing, The Shore, Cambuskenneth Abbey.

You can read this at

Old Pictures of Scotland
We have been adding some old pictures from Scotland and now onto...

Set 17 - West Highlands (Part 4)

and also

Set 18 - Paintings of Arran

You can view these at

We're also adding a wee book about "Scottish Loch Scenery" to this page and have added Duddingston Loch this week.

You can view these at

Scottish Notes and Queries
This is a periodical we came across launched in 1887 and we are going to scan in a number of issues for you to read.

Added Volume 2 Issue 5

You can read this at

The Kingdom of Fife
Its Ballads and Legends by Robert Boucher, Jun (1899)

Added "The Storied Dust of Lindores"

This can be read at

The Complete Scotland
A comprehensive survey, based on the principle motor, walking, railway and steamer routes. Historical section by J.D. Mackie, M.C., M.A. Professor of Scottish History and Literature and the University of Glasgow and geology and scenery by T.M. Finlay, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S.E., University of Edinburgh.

Added this week...

The River and Firth of Clyde
Glasgow to Ayr by the Coast: Paisley—Dumbarton— Greenock— Gourock — Wemyss Bay—Largs—The Cumbrae — Ardrossan — Saltcoats — Kilmarnock — Troon—Prestwick—Ayr and the Burns Country
Rothesay and Bute

You can read this at

Furth in Field
volume of essays on the Life, Language and Literature of Old Scotland by Hugh Haliburton (1894).

Added Lochleven and the Bishopshire.

This can be read at

Art in Scotland
Its Origin and Progress by Robert Brydall (1889)

We have completed this book but still adding some pictures of various paintings and added another 5 this week which now completes this project

You can see these at

Holiday Cottages
These are wee tourism articles. Got in this week...

Don Valley - Explore the historic facts.

This can be read at

Biography of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal
by Rev. J. W. Pedley

This is a biography of a very powerful and influential Scot that made a huge contribution to Canada.

We have now completed this book by adding these chapters...

Chapter XXIII. Practical Maxims
Chapter XXIV. The Last Reception
Chapter XXV. An Honored Burial
Chapter XXVI. Voices of Appreciation

Here is how Chapter XXIV starts...

In this narrative, we have often referred to the large-hearted, almost princely, hospitality of Lord Strathcona. His wealth was for him a source of pleasure because he was able to gratify this spirit of entertainment. And he did it on a lavish scale. He had homes in London, Glencoe and Colonsay (in Scotland), Hertfordshire, Essex (in England), Nova Scotia, Winnipeg and Montreal (in Canada). It was his delight to welcome visitors to these homes and many a time the most exalted persons were domiciled beneath his roof.

There was one great function which took place every year in London. This was the "Lord Strathcona Reception" which was given in honor of all Canadians who chanced to be in London at the time. It was the privilege of the writer to attend the last of these, which was held on the evening of July 2nd, 1913. It was held in Queen's Hall and was certainly an occasion to make a Canadian feel a thrill of pride. It is estimated that twenty-three hundred guests assembled in the large theatre, among whom were the representatives of royalty, in the persons of the Duke of Connaught and Princess Patricia, the nobility, in the persons of the Earl of Aberdeen and Earl Grey, and men and women eminent in every walk of life—statesmen, soldiers, writers and others famous in their professional callings.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read all these chapters at

Poems in the Dorric Language
By John Henderson

John has sent in new poems which can be seen at the foot of his page at

By the British Medical Association (1922)

We've added another chapter to this book...

The Clyde. By. Neil Munro

You can read this book at

Roamin' in the Gloamin'
By Sir Harry Lauder (1928)

We've added more chapters to this book...


Here is how Chapter XII starts...

I set sail from Liverpool on the old Lucciania in the middle of October 1907. Nance did not feel any too good in health at that time and cried off the trip. Tom, my inseparable henchman and companion, was ill with rheumatic fever in London and could not accompany me. So I took my son John, then a boy of sixteen and due to go up to Cambridge in a month or two. He had been over the water to Canada with his mother a year before; he was by way of being an old sailor and knew the ropes.

Poor John! I can scarcely bear to think about that trip with him and the fine times we had together on board. He was very young but he was very wise and among his other accomplishments he could play the piano beautifully and sing a good sentimental song. What a favourite he was with the passengers! Little did he or I dream then of a world war which was to bring desolation and unending sorrow into our home and into millions of others. How glad I am now that I took him with me on that first American trip! It was the longest time we had ever been together; we only got to know each other properly during that two months' holiday. Remembering always my first trip across the Atlantic with my dear boy John I never miss a chance of telling parents who are blessed with boys and girls to spend all the time they can with them when the bairns are young because if they don't do so then, they will be missing one of the purest joys of life in what Burns describes as "this melancholy vale."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
by Frank Shaw

The Luath Kilmarnock Edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect

I'm holding in my hand Volume 4 of the 612 copies of the Subscriber Edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect by Robert Burns, published by the Luath Press, which sells for £40. I must also tell you that there is another edition of the same book entitled The Luath Kilmarnock Edition which sells for £15. Both were published in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Burns. All 612 copies of the Subscriber Edition are signed and numbered. With apologies to an old Coca-Cola commercial, both editions are wonderful copies of “the real thing” which was first printed in 1786. New material by three key people identified with this book, John Cairney, Bob Dewar, and Clark McGinn, make it a fascinating read. Each is an expert in his own right.

You can read the rest of this article at

You can read the other articles of Robert Burns Lives! and Frank's other articles at

Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada
By a "Canuke".of the fifth generation (1905)

Lots more chapters up this week...


Spinning Yarn
Straw Working
Milking Time
Plucking Geese
Cheese Making
How Sauer Kraut was Made


Cider and Cider Mills
Making Apple Butter
Honey Gathering
Straw Hives and Superstitions About Bees
Shingle Making
Flax Culture
Tanning Leather


Early Farm Implements
The Sickle and Reaping Hook
Sowing the Grain
Cradling Grain
The Reaping Machine
Sheep Washing and Shearing

FARM WORK—(Continued)

The Threshing
The Logging Bee
The Raising Bee
Maple Sugar Making Time


The Paring Bee
The Quilting Bee
The Husking Bee
Butchering Day, or "The Killing"


Raccoon Hunting
Hunting for Bees
Hunting and Trapping
Fishing in the River
The Wild Pigeons and Wild Geese


The Old-fashioned Country Dance
The Charivari (Shivaree)
The "Old Sorrel"
The Spelling School
The Singing School
Pop Corn, Nuts and Apples

You can read this book at

In the Hebrides
By C. F. Gordon Cumming (1883)

A new book we're starting on and here is the Introduction...

THE dreamy summer in the Western Isles which furnished the notes for the following pages, was immediately succeeded by a prolonged spell of most delightful wanderings in the Himalayas.

On this,—my first journey to the Far East,—my attention was forcibly arrested by many very striking analogies between many of the customs and legends of Western Islanders, and those of Eastern Highlanders.

These, again, suggested such a multitude of unaccountable links between various semi-obsolete customs in Christian lands of the West (which are undoubtedly survivals of ancient pagan practice), and those which form part of the daily religious life in Eastern lands,—that my volumes attained dimensions somewhat forbidding to general readers.

I have therefore deemed it expedient to select such notes of my summer in the Hebrides, as appear to me to possess most general interest, omitting all dryer matter.

These notes I now offer to all my kindred-wanderers on our own romantic Western shores and Isles, trusting that they may therein find some suggestions which may add interest to their own summer rambles.


We have the first few chapters up which you can read at

Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire
It's Records, Traditions, Inhabitants and Natural History with a Guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree and a Map and Illustrations" by John H. Dixon FSA Scot. published in 1886.

Another new book we've started on and here is the Preface for you to read...

THE preparation of the following account of Gairloch has been prompted by regard—almost affection—for this beautiful and interesting Highland parish. It is published in the hope that it may not only assist the tourist, but also be found to constitute a volume worthy of a nook in the great library of local history. Here and there some few general remarks on the subjects dealt with have necessarily been introduced by way of explanation or illustration, but in the main this book relates solely to Gairloch. I have tried to make short chapters, and to dispense with footnotes.

Without much assistance the work could not have been satisfactorily completed. The necessary help has been given with the greatest freedom and kindness. Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie, Bart. of Gairloch, has himself furnished much valuable and accurate information, and Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch has kindly assisted. From Mr Osgood H. Mackenzie of Inverewe, youngest son of the late Sir Francis Mackenzie, Bart. of Gairloch, I have received a large amount of personal aid. Much of the information about the Mackenzies has been culled from the works of Mr Alexander Mackenzie (a native of Gairloch) with his consent. He is the able author of a copious history of the Mackenzies and other important books, and the editor of the Celtic Magazine, from which last the memoir of John Mackenzie of the "Beauties" and several of the traditions have been mainly taken. From the MS. "Odd and End Stories" of Dr Mackenzie, Eileanach, only surviving son of Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bart., eleventh laird of Gairloch, numerous quotations will be found.

These extracts are published with the consent of Dr Mackenzie, as well as of Mr O. H. Mackenzie to whom he has given his MS. volumes. With one exception, wherever Dr Mackenzie is quoted the extract is taken from his "Odd and End Stories." The Dowager Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch has been so good as to prepare a short statement, from which extracts are made. Dr Arthur Mitchell, C.B., Senior Commissioner in Lunacy for Scotland, has permitted the use of his paper on the Isle Maree superstitions. Mr Jolly has contributed three valuable chapters, and the Rev. J. M'Murtrie and Professor W. Ivison Macadam have each given a chapter. To Mr William Mackay of Craigmonie, Inverness, I am indebted for full notes on ecclesiastical matters, and for extracts from the old records of the Presbytery of Dingwall.

The Rev. Alexander Matheson, minister of Glenshiel, has supplied extracts from the records of the Presbytery of Loch-carron. I have to thank Messrs Maclachlan & Stewart, of Edinburgh, who in 1882 brought out a sumptuous edition of the "Beauties of Gaelic Poetry," by the late John Mackenzie, a Gairloch man, for permission to use the accounts of John Mackay (the blind piper), William Ross, William Mackenzie, and Malcolm Maclean, contained in the "Beauties." James Mackenzie, of Kirkton (brother of John Mackenzie of the "Beauties"), has furnished a large chapter of Gairloch stories, besides a number of facts, traditions, and anecdotes; wherever the name of James Mackenzie occurs in these pages, it is this worthy Highlander who is referred to.

Other Gairloch traditions, stories, and information have been furnished by Kenneth Fraser, Leac nan Saighead (through the medium of the Celtic Magazine); Alexander Maclennan, Mossbank; Roderick Mackenzie (Ruaridh an Torra), Lonmor; George and Kenneth Maclennan, Tollie Croft; John Maclean (Iain Buidhe Taillear), Strath; Simon Chisholm, Flowerdale; Roderick Campbell, Tollie; Donald Ross, Kenlochewe; Alexander Mackenzie (Ali' Iain Ghlass), piper, Pool-ewe ; George Maclennan, Londubh; and Alexander Maclennan (Alie Uistean), Inveran, who especially has given me considerable assistance. The legend of Ewan Mac Gabhar is mainly in the form given in the works of James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, supported to some extent by several of the old people now living in Gairloch. That enthusiastic friend of the Highlander, Professor Blackie, has kindly contributed two English versions of Gaelic songs; and Mr William Clements Good, of Aberdeen, has given similar aid.

Professor W. Ivison Macadam has communicated the results of his analyses of ores and slags, and has assisted in examining the remains of the old ironworks. Mr D. William Kemp, of Trinity, Edinburgh, has generously done a very great deal to unravel the history of the ironworks, and in other ways. Lieutenant Lamont, of Achtercairn, has procured the traditions given on the authority of Ruaridh an Torra, Mr Mackintosh, postmaster, Poolewe, has supplied some anecdotes and facts. The Glossary has been prepared with the aid of Mr O. H. Mackenzie; the Rev. Ronald Dingwall, Free Church minister, Aultbea; Mr Alexander Cameron, the Tournaig bard ; and Mr Alexander Maclennan, Inveran. The names of some others who have rendered valuable help are stated where their information is utilised. To all these ungrudging helpers, and to many others not mentioned by name, I beg to offer my sincere thanks.

To render the natural history of Gairloch complete, lists are still needed of the insects, sea-anemones, grasses, mosses, lichens, fungi, sea-weeds, and fresh-water weeds. Any information on these and other branches of natural history will be heartily welcomed, with a view to insertion in a possible future edition.

The process of zincography, by which nearly all the illustrations have been reproduced, has not in many cases realised my expectations, but it has been thought best to issue the book at once rather than wait until the illustrations could be rendered in a superior manner.

The profits, if any, from the sale of this book will be applied in aid of the Poolewe Public Hall.

Inveran, Gairloch, 1st September 1886.

We have several chapters up already and these can be read at

Social Life among the Easter Ross Fishermen
I extracted this story from an old copy of the Highland Magazine which I hope you'll enjoy reading.

The story starts...

IF the reader will glance at any good map of the north shore of the Moray Firth, among the places named he will find Hilton, Balintore, and Shandwick. These are villages composed exclusively of fishing families, who are entirely dependent on the sea for their living. To the antiquarian, the first and last named villages will, at least, be known by reputation. Tradition has it that they mark the burial place of two of the sons of the Kings of Denmark, who were wrecked on this coast. In the case of the Hilton stone, perhaps I ought to mention that it was removed by the late R. B. AL. Macleod of Cadboll to his residence—Invergordon Castle—a good many years ago, and that the little house—the " chapel," as it was locally known—is razed to the ground. The stone, however, is in a perfect state of preservation, and appears to be well taken care of; but I think it only right to put the fact of its being removed from its original site on record, as in recent references to it by archaeological writers, it is assumed to be still at Hilton. Although these villages are about a mile apart from one another, yet, in most respects, they may be regarded as one. There are, however, some things upon which they do not think alike.

The fishermen of the three villages as a class are sober, honest, and God-fearing, but exceedingly poor. Poverty has always been, to a greater or less degree, present with them; in fact, it is part of their very existence. Of course, it fluctuates in degree, according to the success which attends the herring fishing. It is upon the herring that they depend for the sinews of war to pay for their boats and fishing gear, and the many other items of extraordinary expenditure connected with the economy of the household.

And you can read the rest of it at

Sheep Farmers and Drovers
I came across this wee book with some good illustrations all about these folk chatting away in a cabin of a boat taking them to Oban from Falkirk.

The first paragraph sets the scene...

It is well known that the Highlands have undergone a great change within the last thirty years; that the human population has become less dense, the woolly population more so; that the old proprietors have nearly all disappeared to make room for new; that bogs have been drained, and moors reclaimed, making the "bonny blooming heather" succumb to the "yellow corn." Much, however, remains to be known of the ways of the people—how they eat, and how they drink; how they speak, and how they act; how they live, and how they die. The object of the following Sketches is to show something of this, and to begin with a night with drovers and sheep-farmers on the Mull of Cantyre.

You can read this book at

Eight Days in Islay
By the members of the Islay Association.

I thought this was an excellent article and you might get a clue why in the first paragraph...

In the month of November, 1867, a series of three articles appeared in the Glasgow Herald, under the heading of "Eight Days in Islay." To these articles, thus sanctioned, we feel constrained to reply. We have no desire to hurt or offend the anonymous writer who attacked us; we beg his forgiveness if we say anything even in self-defence which may be disagreeable to him; but we cannot allow that which he has published to pass without remark. We too claim that right of free speech which the ancient Icelanders exercised on the hill of laws, the right which every Briton now claims, and will defend. Our race and our class are attacked,—we claim the right to defend ourselves, and to combat our opponent as best we can. ,We salute him, and if we slay him we will lament over him if he fights well. We propose to reprint and comment on the articles in question, to show the capacity of our judge—the spirit by which he was animated—and the relation of his facts to his conclusions, and to our3. The writer begins thus:—

You can read this publication at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Edited by Beth Gay

The June 2010 edition is now out and in it there is an interesting article on the Clan Donald USA DNA Project as well as many other great articles to read.

You can get to this issue at

And to conclude here is a wee humour story I got in...

Streetching It’

It was told that Colonel M'Dowall, when he returned from the war, was one day walking along by The Nyroch, when he came on an old man sitting greetin' on a muckle stone at the roadside.

When he came up, the old man rose and took off his bonnet, and said:

"Ye're welcome hame again, laird."

"Thank you," said the colonel; adding, after a pause,

"I should surely know your face. Aren't you Nathan M'Culloch?"

"Ye're richt, 'deed," said Nathan, "it's just me, laird."

"You must be a good age, now, Nathan," says the colonel.

"I'm no verra aul' yet, laird," was the reply; “I'm just turnt a hunner."

"A hundred!" says the colonel, musing; "well, you must be all that. But the idea of a man of a hundred sitting blubbering that way! Whatever could you get to cry about?”

"It was my father lashed me, sir," said Nathan, blubbering again; "an' he put me oot, so he did."

"Your father!" said the colonel; "is your father alive yet?"

"Leevin! ay," replied Nathan; "I ken that the day tae my sorrow."

"Where is he?" says the colonel. "What an age he must be! I would like to see him."

"Oh, he's up in the barn there," says Nathan; "an no' in a horrid gude humour the noo, aither."

They went up to the barn together, and found the father busy threshing the barley with the big flail.

Seeing Nathan and the laird coming in, he stopped and saluted the colonel, who, after inquiring how he was, asked him why he had struck Nathan.

"The young rascal!" says the father, "there's nae dooin' wi' him; he's never oot o' mischief. I had to lick him this mornin' for throwin’ stanes at his grandfaither.”

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


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