The Rampant Scotland Newsletter - your insight into what has been happening in Scotland, snipped from the Scottish media, for Scots in Scotland and abroad. Bringing you news and events, plus a Scottish magazine section. Published every second week, with 100% recycled electrons.
Previous editions of this Newsletter are available in the Archive> and the Index to the other pages of the Rampant Scotland site is available here>.
The Scottish Snippets Newsletter in its original format began in April 1997 and continued in an unbroken series for 591 issues. Although no longer produced in that format there is now a regular update on the new and updated pages on the Rampant Scotland site and also "Scottie's Diary" on an intermittent basis, To receive this, kust send an e-mail to Scottie with "Subscribe Newsletter" in the subject line.
£30 Billion Budget ApprovedMany newspapers illustrated the successful approval of the first budget of the Scottish Nationalist Government this week with a photograph of First Minister Alex Salmond and his Finance Secretary John Swinney laughing uproariously. And well they might. The Nationalists are the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, but they are still a minority - with just 47 out of the 129 seats. So they should have struggled to get their budget allocations approved. But astute maneuvering by Alex Salmond (including a threat to call an election if his budget was not accepted), minor concessions to gain the support of two minority parties and disarray and ineptitude by the Labour Party, all contributed to it being allowed to sail through. The Scottish Nationalists had the surprising support of the Conservative Party - staunch supporters of the United Kingdom that the nationalists aim to dissolve. The Conservatives (with 16 Members of the Scottish Parliament) got a few crumbs of amendments in the budget - and the satisfaction of seeing their Labour Party rivals made to squirm. In the end, the Labour Party abstained from the final vote (odd for a party that had rejected it out of hand) and even found themselves abstaining on one of their own minor amendments when it was accepted by the Finance Secretary. The final vote was 64 votes in favour, one against and 60 abstentions. There was a suggestion afterwards that the one vote against (by a Labour MSP) was due to pressing the wrong button on the electronic voting system. If true, it was a fitting finish.
Photograph courtesy of the Scottish Parliament> © Web site.
Recycling Targets DoubledThe Scottish Government has announced plans to double the volume of household waste recycled or composted over the next few years. There will be new goals to increase recycling and reduce landfill. Targets will include increasing the amount of municipal waste, largely from households, to be recycled or composted. This is currently standing at nearly 30%, but the aim is to increase it to 60% by 2020 and a new benchmark of 70% by 2025. Landfill from municipal waste is to be reduced to 5% by 2025, with 25% of municipal waste being used to generate energy by 2025 - currently it the figure is under 4%. Waste incineration, however, is regarded as a major source of nitrous oxides and is rejected by environmentalists as a solution to reducing landfill.
End of Relocation, Relocation, RelocationThe controversial policy of relocating public-sector workers from Edinburgh to other parts of the country was championed by Jack McConnell when he was First Minister in the previous Scottish Executive. Aimed at spreading public service departments around Scotland, it was hugely unpopular with staff, disruptive to daily work- and expensive to implement. The move of Scottish Natural Heritage to Inverness was highly contentious - and resulted in large numbers of experienced staff opting for redundancy payments rather than the financial incentives to move north. The previous administration relocated 2,500 jobs from Edinburgh - but most moved 45 miles west to Glasgow, which hardly benefitted the rest of Scotland. Parliament's audit committee reported last year that the relocation policy was failing to deliver a true dispersal of jobs. Now the new Scottish Government, while not abandoning the underlying aim, has announced that it is changing the basis of the policy so that in future public-sector jobs will be relocated only if a series of new criteria are met. These include no compulsory redundancies - and value for money or disposal of unsuitable assets.
Caltongate Plans Move ForwardThe comprehensive £300 million plans to redevelop a section of Edinburgh's Royal Mile with the creation of a new five-star hotel, a conference centre, plus 200 homes, a new arts quarter, shops, cafes, restaurants and offices in the Old Town, were approved by Edinburgh City Councillors this week, in a stormy meeting of the planning committee. However, controversial proposals to demolish all but the facade of twelve historic Canongate flats were put on hold, with the developers asked to look at ways of retaining the premises with affordable housing. There is no doubt that parts of the Royal Mile are badly in need of regeneration, with run-down flats and many small shops selling "tartan tat". But trying to marry that with retaining the historic world heritage site is a herculean task.
Pouring Oil on Troubled WatersPlans by the Forth Ports authority to allow ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth were met by a storm of opposition when they were made public last year. It would have resulted in nearly 8 million tonnes of crude oil a year being transferred between tankers in the estuary of the river Forth between Edinburgh and Fife. There was fierce opposition from local councils, residents and environmental groups who warned of the dangers to wildlife both in the water and on the shores. Now, after an "extensive consultation exercise" and "talks" with the Scottish Government - and with the UK Government announcing that it was to legislate on ship-to-ship transfers in all UK waters this year - Forth Ports made the pragmatic announcement this week that they would not be proceeding with the plan. It would have increased the profits of Forth Ports - but risked the environment paying a high price.
End of Bridge Tolls
Tolls on the bridges over the Forth and the Tay will be scrapped from one minute past midnight on February 11. That will mean that none of the roads or bridges in Scotland will have a toll. Charges on the Skye bridge were abolished in December 2004 and the Erskine Bridge over the Clyde in May 2006. The bottlenecks created by traffic queuing at toll booths will be removed, though whether it will bring an end to congestion on the northbound direction of the Forth Bridge (where a number of lanes have to merge to use the two-lane crossing) remains to be seen.
Showground's 10,000-Seat ArenaThe Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) strongly resisted the plan to relocate from their present showground at Ingleston to allow for the expansion of Edinburgh Airport. But having lost that battle, they are making the best of the opportunity to create a new facility, yards away from the present location, but on the other side of a main road into the Capital. The aim is to create a 10,000-seater indoor arena to attract not just the world's biggest conventions, conferences and exhibitions, as well as major pop, rock and classical concerts. The new Royal Highland Showground is envisaged to be a commercial rival to the planned 12,500-seater National Arena in Glasgow, beside the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The capacity of the showground itself is to be expanded by 50%.
Casualty Unit SavedLanarkshire's health board has voted "unanimously" to overturn its previous decision to close the casualty unit at Monklands Hospital. The unit faced the axe after the board decided that maintaining three casualty departments, including Wishaw General and Hairmyres in East Kilbride, was unsustainable. But the new Scottish Government set up an independent investigation into such closures - and their report condemned the action. The Lanarkshire health board has warned, however, that they would need to find additional funding and a number of services within Lanarkshire would need to change to accommodate the third emergency unit.
Paisley Closing DownPlans to regenerate Paisley town centre suffered a major setback last week as three more stores closed down. More than a dozen prime sites on High Street and Moss Street now lie empty, despite a drive to attract new retailers. Trade in Paisley has slumped by more than 50% over the last ten years, a decline that is attributed to out-of-town shopping complexes such as Braehead in Renfrew and the new Silverburn in Pollok, Glasgow.
Strike Hits Ferry ServicesFerry services between Wemyss Bay in Inverclyde and Rothesay on the Isle of Bute have been hit for three days this week as a result of strike action by workers employed by Argyll and Bute Council. The staff are upset by the way the local authority is implementing a national agreement on harmonising conditions of service. The strike by 1,500 staff has meant the closure of offices and disruption to key services, including transport links, such as the CalMac ferries to Dunoon, because council workers staff the pier.
Lewis Wind Farm RejectedA controversial proposal to build a massive wind farm on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles has been turned down by Scottish Government ministers. It would have created 181 turbines in an area regarded as an important wetland site and impacted on local wildlife. Supporters of the turbines pointed to potential economic benefits, with substantial sums being paid to landowners. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) voted by 18 to eight to support the £500 million project in February 2007. Those in favour argued that it was an opportunity to revitalise the local economy. But the final decision on the planning application rested with the Scottish Government - and they have turned it down.
Perthshire Wind Farm ApprovedA 68-turbine wind farm near Aberfeldy in Perthshire has been approved by Energy Minister Jim Mather. It is estimated that it will have the capacity of 204 megawatts and will meet electricity demand for more than 100,000 homes. The Scottish Government is currently processing 40 renewable power applications - 31 wind farm and nine hydro projects. If they were all approved (most unlikely, based on past experience) these are estimated to generate 4.34 Gigawatts - enough to power two-thirds of Scotland's homes, which always sounds impressive but excludes power used by offices and commercial operations. Last November, the Scottish Government announced a new target to generate 50% of Scotland's electricity from renewables sources by 2020.
Expansion for Aberdeenshire's Largest TownWhile the City of Aberdeen is the north-east's largest conurbation, Peterhead is its largest town - and it is set to become even bigger, now that plans to add nearly 300 new homes have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council. Scotia Homes, based in the county, have been told, however, that they will have to provide a new access road to their development on the north-westen side of the town, to avoid construction traffic gong through existing residential areas.
First Super Bowl ScotThere was more than usual interest in Scotland in the Super Bowl game last Sunday when the New York Giants played New England Patriots. For the first time ever, a Scottish born player was participating in the biggest event in America's sporting calendar - and he produced a flawless performance. Lawrence Tynes, Giants' 29-year-old kicker, opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal and later got the two extra points after his team-mates scored two touchdowns. The New York Giants denied the Patriots what would have been a record-breaking run of 19 wins to win the Super Bowl 17-14. Tynes was born in Greenock in Scotland and moved to the US with his American father when he was 10. Earlier in his NFL career, Tynes returned to Scotland to play for the Scottish Claymores when they participated in the NFL's European League.
Aberdeen-Based Airline ClosesCity Star Airlines, based in Aberdeen, has faced financial difficulties since one of its four planes was grounded last November, following a runway accident. The knock-on impact has now resulted in the company being forced to cease all services between Aberdeen and a number of Scandinavian destinations. However, City Star Executive, a different arm of the business, hopes to go ahead with plans to fly between Aberdeen and Texas later this year.
Scotland Projected as Bleak and GrittyWhile VisitScotland and other tourist agencies promote Scotland's unspoilt beauty, wild scenery and friendly people, another agency - Scottish Screen - is promoting a series of jaw-droppingly ugly locations in a bid to make Scotland a grim and gritty film-making centre. Greenock Prison, the "supremely ugly" Cumbernauld shopping centre and the interior of Airdrie United football stadium are being offered to film makers as ideal locations. They have had some success with this - a Glasgow street was recently used as a desolate, plague-ridden wasteland for a forthcoming science-fiction epic. But that was surely a bit of well-established type-casting. Scottish Screen argue that there are many other countries with stunning landscapes and lovely views - unspoilt by electricity pylons, as is sometimes the case in Scotland. The organisation points out that the film "Trainspotting" introduced people to a different side of Edinburgh and there are still tours that go round the locations that were used in the film.
"Flying Sheep"Climate change and the higher temperatures in winter are producing a range of new challenges for many businesses. One example has been that grass is continuing to grow during the winter. While that is not material for most home-owners with gardens (though lawn mowers may have to be brought into use earlier than in the past) it is a major headache for commercial turf growers such as Kinnesswood Farm near Loch Leven in Fife. Because the ground is soft and muddy, heavy grass-cutting machinery can't be used at this time of year. But the answer has been provided by the nearby nature reserve, where 22,000 Pink-Footed geese arrive each winter. The geese welcome the opportunity to graze on fresh grass and munch away from dawn to dusk. The farm owner says as geese are grazing animals, they are like "flying sheep." But he added that it would be helpful if they'd learn to walk up and down in straight lines....
January's Weather StatisticsThe Meteorological Office has published the figures for Scotland's weather in January - and they make dismal reading! It was the wettest January on record for the east of Scotland, including Edinburgh. Overall, the rainfall total for Scotland was 284.7mm (11.2 inches) which is 183% of the 1961-1990 average. That made it the third wettest January for the whole country since 1993. During the month, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued around 70 flood warnings - compared with 13 last January. Sunshine was just 26.3 hours - 76% of the 1961-1990 average and the dullest January since 1996. The month was mild on average, however, with the mean temperature 1.4C (2.5F) above the norm.
Weather in Scotland This WeekAfter torrential rain and gales in the previous week, which caused damage and disruption with bridge closures and travel delays, the weather was a bit quieter this week, although there were some strong winds at times. On Wednesday, there was sunshine in almost every part of Scotland. Temperatures were just 6/8C (43/46F) that day but it was just good to see the sun again! The thermometer rose markedly on Thursday, however - Edinburgh reached 14C (57F) and other parts were not far behind. It was cloudier at the end of the wee,k although by Saturday the sunshine broke through again, mainly in central and southern Scotland. The outlook for the start of next week is for more sunshine - the spring flowers are starting to make up for lost ground already! The picture of crocus seen here was taken in my own garden earlier this week.
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include the soaring neo-Jacobean architecture of the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh (see thumbnail here); an imposing statue of John Knox; fine equestrian statue of Earl Haig, commander-in-chief of the British army in the First World War; lion rampant shield and the motto "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"; fine statues of the Scottish heroes King Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace; a bronze fountain near the site on which hundreds of "witches" were burned at the stake in the 16th century. See This Week's Colour Supplement.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Separating Facts From Shaggy Dog StoriesA new exhibition has opened to mark the 150th anniversary of the appearance of Edinburgh's most famous dog - Greyfriars Bobby. The Skye terrier was first seen in the church graveyard when its master, police constable John Gray, was buried on February 10, 1858. The exhibition, in the nearby Central Library on King George IV Bridge, has been organised by the One o'Clock Gun Association. There is an link between Greyfriars Bobby and the One o'Clock Gun which fires at Edinburgh Castle each day. When the gun fired, Bobby would trot out of the graveyard to be fed by a Colour Sergeant Donald McNab Scott, who was a clerk at the castle. The sergeant, who lived in nearby Candlemaker Row, also took Bobby for walks along King George IV Bridge - but the terrier always turned round at the end of the bridge and returned to the graveyard. Historic Scotland are in talks with the One o'Clock Gun Association to move the display to Edinburgh Castle later this year.
Storms Damage Historic BuildingsGale force winds which affected many parts of Scotland in recent weeks have damaged buildings, caused trees to collapse and torn up historic gardens owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Brodick Castle on Arran and Hutchesons' Hall (illustrated here) in the centre of Glasgow were badly affected. Hutchesons' Hall has had to be closed until further notice after the gable wall of a modern adjoining building collapsed onto it. Signature trees have also been lost at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Inverewe Gardens, in the Highlands, Crarae Garden, Argyll and The David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre. Repair work is being carried out, but continuing strong winds are hampering efforts. The National Trust has launched an appeal for funds to help to repair the damage.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- February 10 1306 - Robert the Bruce murdered Red Comyn.
- February 10 1495 - A bull from Pope Alexander VI confirmed the foundation of Aberdeen University.
- February 10 1723 - Rev John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College, signatory to the US Declaration of Independence, baptised at Yester.
- February 11 1895 - Coldest temperature ever recorded in Scotland, -27.2C at Braemar.
- February 11 1940 - Author and politician John Buchan died in Canada.
- February 12 1846 - Rev Henry Duncan, founder of the world-wide savings bank movement, died near Ruthwell.
- February 13 858 - Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Dalriada and the Picts, died at Forteviot.
- February 13 1692 - Massacre of 38 of the Clan Macdonald by government order at Glencoe.
- February 14 1565 - Mary Queen of Scots meets Lord Darnley for the first time. They married in July 1565.
- February 14 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone (Patent 174461). Two hours after it was lodged, his rival, Elisha Gray, applied for a similar patent. Bell's was granted.
- February 15 1971 - Decimal currency introduced, abandoning 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.
- February 17 1540 - King James V passed a law which recognised Scotland's gipsies.
- February 19 1972 - Death of film director and producer John Grierson, a pioneer of documentary film making. He is credited with being the first person to use the word 'documentary' (in 1926).
- February 20 1437 - King James I murdered in Perth by a group led by Sir Robert Graham.
- February 20 1472 - Orkney and Shetland annexed from Norway.
- February 21 1945 - Eric Liddell, "Chariots of Fire" athlete, winner of 1924 Olympics 400 metres, died in Japanese internment camp in China.
- February 22 1371 - David II died at Edinburgh Castle.
Proclaimers for Summer GigsTwins Craig and Charlie Reid, better known as the Proclaimers band that began in the 1980s, still attract a huge following. So a sell-out is expected for two outdoor concerts this summer when they perform at Edinburgh Castle esplanade and Bught Park in Inverness. The brothers performed at the Live 8 gig at Murrayfield stadium in the Scottish capital two years ago. They are best known for the songs "Letter from America", "I'm on My Way", and "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".
City of Music BidHaving previously won the title of "City of Culture", Glasgow is now bidding to be named "City of Music" by Unesco, the United Nations' educational, scientific and cultural organisation. The City of Music title, like the City of Literature award already granted to Edinburgh in 2004, is a permanent designation, and would acknowledge the city's musical heritage and its role as a leading centre of music making, performance and enjoyment. The bid will be submitted by May, but it will take six months before a decision is announced. Only two other European cities have gained the accolade so far - Seville in Spain and Bologna in Italy.
Amber Light for BBC Gaelic ServiceThe BBC Trust, the body that oversees the BBC (formerly a task performed by a Board of Governors) has given the go-ahead for the launch of a Gaelic Digital Service - subject to certain conditions. It will launch initially on cable, satellite and broadband and a review will be carried out before it is considered for broadcast over Freeview (an increasingly popular digital terrestrial TV service). The new Gaelic service will cost £20.8 million a year to run.
Glasgow Art FairGeorge Square in Glasgow will once again be full of white tented pavilions as it hosts the annual Art Fair at the end of March. Claimed to be the UK’s most prestigious contemporary art fair outside of London, last year it showcased 46 selected galleries from Scotland, the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond, exhibiting work by over 1000 artists. 16,500 visitors bought art works costing from £50 to £80,000, to a total value of over £1.2 million, in four days. This year's event runs from Thursday 27 until Sunday 30 March.
Glasgow Retains World Pipe Band ChampionshipsThe World Pipe Band Championships have been associated with Glasgow since 1948 and is one of the most colourful spectacles in the city's events calendar. It attracts over 8,000 pipers and drummers from around the world. But the high profile event has attracted the attention of other cities with a piping heritage - and Belfast in Northern Ireland put in a strong bid to host future competitions. However, the National Council of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has agreed the competition should be held in Glasgow at least until 2012. This year's championship will be held on 16 August.
Scottish Culture Around the WorldThe main focus of the Scottish Snippets is news items, usually about Scotland. But the "Scots Abroad" section, invites folk to write in about Scottish-related events in their part of the world. It allows publicity for them and an appreciation by others of just how much Scottish culture is perpetuated in every corner of the globe.
Calgary Celebrates BurnsThe St. Andrew-Caledonian Society of Calgary is one of many organisations around the world that celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns with aid for the less fortunate in their area - and they have three such events. The first is a "Burns Dinner for the Homeless" - volunteers prepared a Burns Supper meal for 875 homeless people, serving 120lbs of haggis, as well as entertainment including piping, Highland dancing, Burns poetry and songs. Then the "Mobile Burns Unit" presented a show of piping, Highland dancing and singing to six seniors' residences and nursing homes. To round off the celebrations, "Burns in the Workplace and the Society" encouraged members of the public to submit photographs of their Burns Day activities at work to be posted, along with those from the Burns Dinner for the Homeless and the Mobile Burns Unit, on the Society’s website: www.standrew-caledonian.ab.ca.
Budapest Burns SupperAnother charitable effort during the Burns "season" was the annual charity fundraising Budapest (Hungary) Burns Supper. That looks on target to have raised the equivalent of almost $80,000 this year, a record for the night. This was the 11th such event and attracted a mix of Scottish expats and Hungarian and international friends of Scotland. The funds raised help Hungarian children.
Football and Rugby League TablesIn the Scottish Premier League, Rangers 2-0 defeat of Falkirk on Saturday put them 7 points ahead of Celtic - who play Aberdeen on Sunday. Dundee United remain in third place after drawing with Hibernian on Saturday. But
Motherwell are just a point behind them - and have three games in hand.
In the First Division, Hamilton remain out in front, 7 points ahead of Dundee.
In the Second Division, Ross County defeated Alloa 6-1 and remain three points ahead of Airdrie United at the top of the table.
In the Third Division, East Fife keep a commanding lead of 18 points over Montrose.
In the Scottish Rugby Scottish Premiership 1, Boroughmuir remain in command, 26 points ahead of Watsonians.
Scottish League CupRangers have reached the final of the Scottish League Cup after beating Heart of Midlothian 2-0. Captain Barry Ferguson and Jean-Claude Darcheville scored at Hampden Park to secure a place in the March 16 final at the same stadium. They will play Dundee United who have been in sparkling form this season under manager Craig Levein and defeated Aberdeen 4-1 in the semi-finals.
Scotland 6 France 27Last year in the Six-Nations rugby tournament, Scotland ended the season with the wooden spoon, winning just one match in five. France won the tournament last year, but had brought in a number of new players. But any hope that this would mean that Scotland could win the match against France at Murrayfield last weekend were soon dashed. They paid the price for confusion and errors, even after scoring first with a dropped goal after three minutes. The final score said it all.
Wales 30 Scotland 15Wales came to this match fresh from their unexpected win against England in the previous weekend. The home side dominated possession and territory and their flair saw two first half tries. Gradually, however, Scotland caught up, thanks to the boot of Chris Paterson (omitted from the game against France), who landed all five of his goal kicks. With 20 minutes to go, the score was 17-15 in favour of Wales. But the Welsh side then recovered and scored two penalties and a try - which will be hotly disputed by afficianados.
Scotland v England International PostponedThe planned international football match between Scotland and England this summer has had to be scrapped as Celtic and Rangers players may be unavailable for international duty due to club trips in the close season. A new date is being sought. Scotland's first game under their new manager, George Burley, will be a friendly against Croatia at Hampden Park in Glasgow on 26 March.
Great Scottish WalkWhen the Great Scottish Walk was organised in Edinburgh last year it attracted 6,000 participants and raised a million pounds for charity. This year, the organisers are to include Glasgow and a 12-mile route which includes Pollok Country Park, Bellahouston Park, Queens Park, Maxwell Park and Newlands Park on 25 May. For those who are less active, there are shorter routes of six miles and one mile, with all routes beginning and ending at Bellahouston Park's Palace of Art.
The "Magazine" section includes songs/poems of Scotland, Scottish humour and brief descriptions of Scottish Culture items added recently to the Rampant Scotland Website - with a link to the page where you can find the full feature, if you find the subject of interest to you.
Great Places to Eat in Scotland
Fenwicks Restaurant, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh
For people who live around the Southside of Edinburgh, Newington or Marchmont, to have Fenwicks on your doorstep is a real hidden gem of a place. As this is a family run restaurant, you can be assured of a warm welcome and friendly service. Home-cooked freshly prepared food, a bottle of good wine; you can imagine you have arrived in Paris for the weekend in this cosy and romantic wee Scottish French bistro. For a full review of this innovative restaurant which blends French and Mediterranean influences, see Great Places to Eat -Fenwicks Restaurant, Edinburgh.
Scottish Place Names Around the World
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
As a result of feedback and further research the article on Scottish-related place names in Baltimore, Maryland has been expanded. A total of 2,300 communities and neighbourhoods have been identified to date in the Baltimore-Annapolis area. Of the names of these localities, 414 (18.0%) are based wholly or in part on Scottish family names, on place names that can be found in Scotland, or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but 149 (6.5%) of these appear to be exclusive to Scotland. For all the background to the Scottish-related names to be found in Baltimore, see Scottish Placenames in Baltimore, Maryland.
Best of the Recent Additions
Bite Magazine Guide to Edinburgh This is a mini monthly guide to eating and drinking in Edinburgh. You can pick it up in a bar, restaurant, coffee shop or cultural venue in Edinburgh or at Edinburgh's farmers markets - or down load a PDF version from the site. It has reviews, recipes, food-related articles, special offers from restaurants and you can sign up for a monthly e-mail newsletter. The monthly guide is full of adverts, of course, but these can give you lots of new ideas about where to eat out in the Capital. See Bite Magazine Guide to Edinburgh.
Scottish Poetry and Song
This song is by John Grieve (1781-1836) who became a successful businessman in Edinburgh. Through connections with the Scottish Borders, he became acquainted with the poet and song-writer James Hogg and provided practical and financial support for the "Ettrick Shepherd." Grieve wrote in a vigorous style, as in this work, which portrays the chief of the Clan Cameron at the time of Culloden. Known as "the gentle Lochiel" he is regarded as one of the noblest of all the Highland chiefs. He was persuaded, through loyalty to the crown and the persuasive words of Prince Charles Edward Stewart, to support the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. It is said that if Cameron of Lochiel had not agreed to participate, the rising might never have got off the ground, such was his influence. The Gentle Lochiel survived Culloden and was exiled to France.
Culloden; or Lochiel's Farewell
Culloden, on thy swarthy brow
Spring no wild flowers nor verdure fair;
Thou feel'st not summer's genial glow,
More than the freezing wintry air.
For once thou drank'st the hero's blood,
And war's unhallow'd footsteps bore;
Thy deeds unholy, nature view'd,
Then fled, and cursed thee evermore.
From Beauly's wild and woodland glens,
How proudly Lovat's banners soar!
How fierce the plaided Highland clans
Rush onward with the broad claymore!
Those hearts that high with honour heave,
The volleying thunder there laid low;
Or scatter'd like the forest leaves,
When wintry winds begin to blow!
Where now thy honours, brave Lochiel?
The braided plumes torn from thy brow,
What must thy haughty spirit feel,
When skulking like the mountain roe!
While wild birds chant from Locky's bowers,
On April eve, their loves and joys,
The Lord of Locky's loftiest towers
To foreign lands an exile flies.
To his blue hills that rose in view,
As o'er the deep his galley bore,
He often look'd and cried, "Adieu!
I'll never see Lochaber more!
Though now thy wounds I cannot feel,
My dear, my injured native land,
In other climes thy foe shall feel
The weight of Cameron's deadly brand.
"Land of proud hearts and mountains gray,
Where Fingal fought, and Ossian sung!
Mourn dark Culloden's fateful day,
That from thy chiefs the laurel wrung.
Where once they ruled and roam'd at will,
Free as their own dark mountain game,
Their sons are slaves, yet keenly feel
A longing for their father's fame.
"Shades of the mighty and the brave,
Who, faithful to your Stuart, fell!
No trophies mark your common grave,
Nor dirges to your memory swell.
But generous hearts will weep your fate,
When far has roll'd the tide of time;
And bards unborn shall renovate
Your fading fame in loftiest rhyme."
Valentine's Day Surprise
It was St Valentine's Day in Auchengillan and Sandy McTavish, the local travel agent, was in a good mood. Bookings over the winter had been well up on the previous year and profits had been sky high. So when he looked out of his window and saw an old lady and an old gentleman peering in the window at the posters showing glamorous destinations around the world, he experienced a rare feeling of generosity (and saw an opportunity for some free publicity in the local newspaper). He called the dejected couple in (out of the rain) and announced: "On your pension you could never hope to have a holiday abroad, so I am sending you off to a fabulous resort at my expense - and I won't take no for an answer." He gave them two flight tickets and a room in a five star hotel in sun-drenched Tenerife for two weeks. About a month later, the little old lady came in to his shop. Sandy asked "And how did you like your holiday?" The old lady replied: "The flight was exciting and the room was lovely. I've come to thank you - but, one thing puzzled me. Who was that old guy I had to share the room with?"
Lachlan's Laws - # 58
That great Highland philosopher, Lachlan McLachlan, propounded a number of irrefutable laws of life, the universe and everything, usually after a "bevvy" in the Auchenshuggle Arms on a Saturday night. Here is another example: "Don't argue with an idiot - people watching may not be able to tell the difference."
For the first 50 laws, see Scottish Humour - Lachlan's Laws.
Long Lasting Love
Geordie confided in his best friend: "I've been in love with the same woman for 41 years. If my wife finds out, she'll murder me."
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
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