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.
Motorists Get Pumped UpSociety's dependence on key workers was put into sharp relief in Scotland over the last two weeks. 1,200 workers at the oil refinery at Grangemouth, in dispute with management over proposed changes to their pension rights, called an official two-day strike for last Sunday and Monday. But that had a knock-on effect, with the plant closing down in advance for safety reasons - and predictions that it would take a month before it could resume full production. The Scottish Government urged motorists not to panic buy, asserting that there were plenty of stocks for "normal" usage. That inevitably created a rush to petrol pumps, sometimes producing long queues and in some cases emptying forecourt tanks. The Grangemouth plant also supplies power for the adjacent British Petroleum pipeline linking North Sea platforms to the mainland and cutting that off resulted in the closure of 70 off-shore oil fields. That sent world oil prices still higher - and produced an estimated loss in revenue to the government of £50 million a day. Prices at the pumps also soared, with accusations of some outlets profiteering. Unleaded petrol in Central Scotland touched £1.10 a litre That's equivalent to just under £5 per UK gallon or £4.12 ($8.20) per US gallon. Of course, 80% of the cost of UK fuel is government taxes of various kinds. After the two-day strike was over, Government announcements that "enormous quantities" of petrol and diesel were being shipped to Scotland from European ports and leaks that the Grangemouth management and unions had been engaged in "positive" talks in the aftermath, reduced the pressure at the pumps. Of course, with most cars with full tanks, drivers could also afford to relax a bit!
Royal Bank Asks for £12 Billion
Even by the standards of today's global financial markets, the Royal Bank of Scotland's call on its shareholders to stump up £12 billion (US$24 billion) of new capital to shore up its finances was surprising. RBS had been hit by losses arising from the US sub-prime mortgage market and paying over the odds when buying a portion of the Dutch bank ABN Amro. Sir Fred Goodwin, the bank's chief executive (pay package last year £4.2 million including a £2.9 bonus for meeting "targets") said the capital-raising was now the "right thing to do" although he had dismissed the idea a few months ago. The extra capital will allow the bank to improve a key equity ratio known as tier 1; currently RBS is just above 4% on that measure and the European average is 6.5%. The Royal Bank, the UK's second largest banking group, will issue 11 new shares for every 18 existing shares at a price of 200p per share. That represents a discount of nearly 50% on RBS's closing share price just before the announcement. The group has also said that it will consider "offers" to buy its insurance arm, the highly successful Direct Line and Churchill Insurance. That could raise a further £5 billion. Like most companies in the financial sector, Royal Bank shares have declined over the last year - though Royal Bank has suffered more than most and are worth 56% of the value of a year ago.
And Bank of Scotland Seeks £4 BillionWithin days of the announcement by Royal Bank of Scotland that it was seeking £12 billion from investors, the call by Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) for £4 billion seemed modest by comparison. Bank of Scotland saw its share price plunge in March when unfounded rumours swept the stock market. HBOS is Britain's largest mortgage lender.
Scotland's Largest Wind Farm RejectedThe proposed wind farm on Lewis in the Western Isles would have been one of Europe's largest, with 234 giant turbines. The local authority and businesses in the Western Isles were very much in favour of the plan, but it also attracted 11,000 objections, with 84% from islanders. Because of its scale, the Scottish Government had to make the final decision and they have now rejected it because it did not comply with European law protecting sensitive environments. It would have had a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the European Commission (EC) Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive. Supporters said it was a lost opportunity to advance Scotland's renewables industry and the fragile economy of the Western Isles. The Government insisted that the rejection of the Lewis development would not mean Scotland failing to meet its renewable targets of generating 50% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020. Currently, 454 wind turbines are operating in Scotland, with a further 203 approved. They are now becoming intrusive on many Scottish skylines and applications have been received for 1,700 others in 28 locations, including another two in the Western Isles. But many are snarled up in lengthy planning processes - the Lewis project was first put forward in 2004.
Islanders Support Wave PowerJust days after the rejection of the wind farm on Lewis in the Western Isles, a planning application was lodged for a major new wave power station on the west of the island. Despite being sited close to communities that would have been nearest to the rejected wind farm, local residents are said to be backing the latest development. The scheme would harness power from the Atlantic waves in Siardar Bay, to generate up to four megawatts of electricity. It will involve putting a causeway out about 200 metres, and building a breakwater with 36 to 40 turbines. The breakwater will also help boats entering the sea at Siardar Bay.
Slowdown in Retail SalesScottish consumers are spending less in the face of the latest financial turbulence and expected economic slow-down. The latest figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) show that like-for-like sales in March were just 1.6% higher than the same month in 2007, when they had risen 4.6% on the previous year. These figures were the worst since December and only the boost of Easter in March stopped non-food sales from falling, compared with a year ago. The slowdown in Scotland was less than in the UK as a whole, however, where like-for-like sales fell 1.6% below their March 2007 level. Clothing, footwear and homewares were particularly hard hit. Heavy rain and gales drove up sales of wintery soups and vegetables rather than salads and chilled products, while confectionery and gift foods benefited from Easter. The poor weather also dampened enthusiasm for shopping, though computer games software and hardware continued to do well, however, while flat-panel TV's and laptops remained popular.
Donald Trump to Attend InquiryEarlier this year, the Scottish Government "called in" the planning application for the £1 billion golf and leisure resort proposed by US entrepreneur Donald Trump. That was after the local planning committee had voted to turn it down - a decision later rejected by the full Aberdeenshire Council. The Government set up a public planning inquiry which will take place next month. It had been thought that Trump might leave his advisers to argue the case, but it is now clear that the billionaire businessman will appear in person for at least part of the hearing. If, as expected, he gives oral evidence at the inquiry, he will be open to cross-examination from those opposing his scheme. Trump says the inquiry is a chance to underline the huge benefits his proposals could secure for Scotland. Despite an original planning committee decision to reject the development, the full Aberdeenshire Council will back the plan at the inquiry.
Ownership of Scotland's Airports QuestionedA report by the UK's Competition Commission has questioned the ownership of seven of the UK's largest airports by one company and has suggested that BAA (British Airports Authority, owned by a Spanish holding company) may be required to sell one or more of its airports. The commission suggests that "there is potential for competition between Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, hence common ownership adversely affects competition between them." The report does acknowledge that there is some limited competition from one non-BAA airport (Prestwick).
Testing Time for Pupils150,000 school children began exams from Standard Grades to Advanced Highers this week. There are over 500 different exam papers being tackled by pupils in 500 schools and exam centres. One distraction is that the TV producers of the X Factor are holding auditions in Scotland next week - on the same day that the Standard Grade English exam is being held. There are concerns that some pupils will be induced to aim for a spot on the hit show rather than aim for an exam pass.
Princes Street to CloseEdinburgh's prime shopping street is to close to all traffic for six months from January next year, while the tracks are laid for the city's new tramway system. Some work on Princes Street has already been carried out but the main effort on infrastructure will commence next month. The construction of the new tramway system will not be complete until May 2011 - assuming that the work is finished on schedule. The initial line will have 11 miles of track and 22 tram stops running from Newhaven, through the city centre and on to Edinburgh Airport.
"Iconic" Redevelopment for Inverness WaterfrontPlans have been unveiled to transform a derelict, rundown part of Inverness and create an iconic waterfront housing development. The industrial site at South Kessock is regarded as one of the most deprived areas in the Highlands. About 190 properties are planned over the next five years, transforming of a four-acre brownfield site presently used for industrial and commercial use or on dormant land. It would be linked to the city centre by a new waterside walkway. There would be a landmark 150 feet high building, inspired by a lighthouse, providing views over the River Ness and the Moray Firth.
Castle in the AirWhen the £75 million refurbishment of Taymouth Castle in Perthshire was launched in 2003, it was forecast that it would be Britain's only "seven-star" luxury hotel. The group which bought the property said that they planned to restore and repair the building to its former grandeur - and add to the facilities, including a helicopter landing pad, swimming pool and spa. The luxury resort and golf course was supposed to have been open by now - but a long-running financial crisis came to the surface over a year ago when upmarket American resort operator Four Seasons, pulled out and work ground to a halt at the end of 2006. Perth and Kinross Council has found it increasingly difficult to contact the developers and although the initial work has left the building in a better state of repair than it has been for many decades, there is increasing concern about whether the project will be completed. Taymouth Castle is the ancestral home of the Campbell's of Breadalbane and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent their honeymoon there. Part of the movie "Mrs Brown" was filmed in the castle, with a 50-seater table there doubling as the one at Balmoral.
Queen Mother Memorial Gates UnveiledPrince Charles has unveiled a set of new gates at Glamis castle which have been built in memory of his grandmother, the late Queen Mother. Glamis has royal links going back to 1372 and the castle was the her childhood home when she was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Donations from home and abroad contributed to the cost of the new gates, which were built and designed locally. The gates are at a new entrance which reinstates the original avenue between the castle and the village and helps the flow of the growing number of visitors to Glamis Castle and the surrounding gardens and estate.
Sour Taste for Scots Whisky DistillersAn international competition run by Whisky Magazine surprised many in the Scottish distilling industry when it voted two Japanese whiskies as the best in the world. Yochi is the first variety outside of Scotland to win the single malt award. Distilled near the city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, it beat dozens of other varieties, including last year's winner, Talisker 18 years old, produced on the Isle of Skye. And Suntory Hibiki scooped the prize for the world's best blended whisky according to the poll in Whisky Magazine.
Record High for Whisky ExportsThat shock result in the whisky tasting competition hasn't had any impact on overall whisky sales by the Scottish distilling industry. Indeed, the value of export sales reached record levels last year, reaching £2.8 billion, earning £90 every second for the UK balance of trade. The Scottish Whisky Association has also reported that export volume was also up, to the equivalent of 1,135 million bottles. Exports to the European Union went up in value by 27% with Spain and France in second and third place in the league table of export countries - the USA remains substantially out in front. Following recent changes in duty imposed in India, whisky exports to there soared 36% last year.
Clinton Tops the BillFormer US President Bill Clinton is to lecture at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre next month. He is expected to speak on issues including the road to the White House, the war in Iraq, the credit crunch and (with an acknowledgement to Aberdeen local priorities), the energy industry. Tickets are expected to cost around £95 each. That's a more modest sum than when he last spoke in Glasgow - when the 550 guests paid £500 a head.
Recent Weather in ScotlandApril showers continued to be a feature of recent weather and on Tuesday thunderstorms and localised flash flooding in the Glasgow area caused traffic chaos. The M8 motorway through the city became gridlocked as vehicles were forced to slow down by torrential rain and with some lanes blocked due to flooding. In the last couple of weeks the Western Isles have fared best in the sunshine stakes, but most of the country enjoyed long sunny spells last Sunday and on Friday. Although it was duller again on Saturday, temperatures rose - particularly later in the afternoon - with Glasgow and Edinburgh reaching 17C (63F). Early next week, the forecast for the west of Scotland is for even higher temperatures, in the range 18/21C (64/70F).
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include:
~ Two young lambs enjoying the sunshine, but keeping close to one another for warmth (see thumbnail);
~ Dandelions rivaling many of the more cultivated plants in suburban gardens;
~ Common Dog Violet with delicate flowers smaller than a thumb-nail;
~ A swathe of golden daffodils with historic Loch Leven Castle in the background;
~ Gorse, with its ability to flower at any time of year;
~ A flock of Greylag and Pink-footed Geese filling the sky;
~ Sunset from the loft window from my own house.
See This Week's Colour Supplement.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Fight to Protect Scotland's BattlefieldsHistoric Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Government, has launched a consultation document aimed at protecting the country's many battlefields, initially by creating an inventory. In some cases, of course, it is too late for any protection measures while for others, even such pivotal conflicts as Bannockburn, the precise location is a matter of debate. The consultation document says that to be included in the "Inventory of Battlefields" the location of the conflict must be mapped and identified. Over the next three months the public will be asked to comment on how best to protect battlefield sites. A final paper will then be prepared by Historic Scotland for consideration by ministers. Currently there is no specific legislation to protect battlefields in Scotland. That has meant that many have been built over by urban developments.
Campaign Launched to Save AbbotsfordA £10 million campaign has been launched to ensure the future of Abbotsford, the historic home of novelist Sir Walter Scott near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. He lived there from 1824 until his death in 1832 and the building is packed with items he collected during his lifetime. The future of the property has been uncertain following the death in 2004 of Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, his last direct descendant to live in the property. The Abbotsford Trust will now seek finance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the aim is to raise matched funding from other organisations and individuals around the world. It has been suggested that to attract more visitors, the railway station at the end of the planned Waverley line between Edinburgh and the Borders should be "Abbotsford" instead of the present plan for "Tweedbank". The station will be less than half a mile away from Abbotsford. Abbotsford currently only attracts 30,000 visitors a year.
Stalemate for Lewis ChessmenAttempts to persuade the British Museum to return the historic Viking chess set, found in a sand dune on the Isle of Lewis in 1831, have been rejected by the director of the London collection. There are currently 82 figures in the British Museum and 11 in the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh. The British Museum claims that when they were found, the Scots involved at that time tried to sell them and the British Museum bought them as a collector of last resort to keep them together. They therefore don't feel under any pressure to return their chessmen to Scotland.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- May 4 1645 - Marquis of Montrose victorious at Battle of Auldearn.
- May 5 1646 - King Charles I surrenders to Lord Leven and was later passed to the Parliamentary forces.
- May 6 1941 - Last major bombing attack on the Clyde area by the Luftwaffe; Greenock was badly hit with 280 dead.
- May 6 1959 - Icelandic gunboats fired live rounds at British fishing trawlers, many of them from Scottish ports, during the "Cod War" over fishing rights.
- May 7 1890 - James Naysmith, engineer and inventor of steam hammer, died
- May 8 1701 - Scottish-born pirate "Captain" William Kidd tried for piracy at London's Old Bailey. He was hanged on 23 May.
- May 9 1860 - J M Barrie, author of "Peter Pan" born
- May 10 1810 - Rev Henry Duncan opened the world's first savings bank in Ruthwell, near Dumfries.
- May 12 1725 - The Black Watch regiment was commissioned under General Wade to police the Highlands.
- May 13 1568 - Mary, Queen of Scots, defeated at Battle of Langside.
- May 14 1754 - St Andrews Society of Golfers constituted. In 1834 it became the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
- May 15 1567 - Mary, Queen of Scots, married Earl of Bothwell - at 4am.
- May 16 1763 - Biographer James Boswell met Samuel Johnson for the first time.
- May 16 1791 - James Boswell's "Life of Johnson" published.
- May 17 1532 - King James V established paid judges to sit as the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland.
Record Numbers at Art GalleryThe Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow tends to get all the publicity these days, with its soaring number of visitors since it refurbishment nearly two years ago. In the 18 months after re-opening, it welcomed over 4 million people over its doors. The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in the centre of the city may not be in that league, but for a gallery focusing on modern art it has been pulling in record crowds. In the last twelve months it has seen 600,000 visitors, the highest total since it opened in 1996. After Tate Liverpool, it is now the most visited modern gallery outside of London. It is housed in a building originally created as an elegant, Grecian-style mansion for an 18th century tobacco merchant. GOMA came in for a lot of criticism from the "art establishment" when it opened as they considered that it was too "populist." They were right - focusing on local artists and issues, it is well used by local Glaswegians, not all of whom call in just because it's handy when the rain comes on!
MaydazeThe weather may not be all that warm, but Glasgow officially kicked off its summer season of events on Saturday with the Maydaze festival. The event brings a range of entertainment, exhibitions and shows to the Old Fruitmarket in the city. Singer-songwriter Dougie Maclean heads the live music programme and also performing are La Sonera Calaveras, a Cuban and Latin-inspired group, and traditional artists Arthur Johnstone and Gordeanna McCulloch. The Maydaze festival will include a MaySpace area, hosted by Radio Clyde's Romeo, where visitors will be able to attend interactive dance and martial arts workshops or take part in African drumming sessions.
World's Largest Chimpanzee EnclosureEdinburgh Zoo opened the largest chimpanzee enclosure in the world on Friday. The £5.65 million "Budongo Trail" is the first part of a £77.8 million investment to create enclosures that simulate more closely the natural environment for a number of species. The chimps enclosure has the world's largest man-made climbing frame for the apes. The enclosure has landscaped gardens with exotic vegetation similar to that found on a forest floor. The new enclosure can house up to 40 chimpanzees and will be a major new attraction for the Zoo's 650,000 visitors each year.
Spring Garden Show Breaks RecordThe Spring Garden Show in Dundee this year broke a previous record of 26,000 for the number of visitors to the three-day show. Based at the Ice arena at Camperdown Park, it was the fourth time it had been staged there. Despite the poor weather in recent weeks, there was a colourful array of flowers on show, including the traditional daffodil and spring flower display competitions. Two gardeners were highly successful, winning almost half of the 31 categories in the show.
Clarinda the MusicalThe Scottish musical play that tells the fascinating story of Nancy Mclehose and Robert Burns toured Scotland earlier this year. The platonic affair gave rise to the Clarinda and Sylvander exchange of letters and inspired Burns to write "Ae Fond Kiss". The musical included 16 songs written by Kevin Walsh and Mike Gibb - as well as Burns' own beautiful love song. Now a cast album of the production has been created which includes all those songs from the show. Plans are also well in hand for a production of "Clarinda" at larger Scottish venues plus a visit to London in addition to appearances at a number of Homecoming 2009 events. For more details on the show and the album, see Clarinda the Musical
Crinan Classic Boat FestivalAbout 50 wooden boats are expected to take sail to the west coast of Scotland in July for the three-day Crinan Classic Boat Festival. The event will not only include racing but also whisky-tasting, live local music, ceilidhs, barbecues, exhibitions and the Crinan Classic Highland Games. Last year 47 boats took part, the only requirement being that they had to have wooden hulls. There sailing boats and motor boats moor at the picturesque Argyll fishing village of Crinan, on the Atlantic side of the Crinan Canal.
Believe It Or Not...The latest edition of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies new ezine "The Bottle Imp" has a focus on religion in Scotland, including an article on the moments in Scottish literature where "Old Nick" makes an appearance - though in some cases he fails to appear when expected! Given Scotland's uneasy but intense relationship with Calvinism, ministers rear their sometimes saintly, often compromised heads all over the place in the country's literature and an article on where they pop up is also included in this edition. See The Bottle Imp.
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.
Scotland v USA Polo MatchUSA will take on Scotland on Saturday, June 21st in the Newport International Polo Series. Scotland has a 3-1 record against the USA in this international series and are cheered on by a loyal band of supporters wearing kilts and waving the Saltire national flag. The Polo Series takes place on the polo grounds of historic Glen Farm, 715 East Main Road (also called Route 138) in Portsmouth , RI.
EdinboroEdinboro University of Pennsylvania in the US was not only founded by Scots and named after Edinburgh, but they also hold an annual Highland Games. This year's games will take place May 16-18 both on campus and throughout the town. This year's musical guests include the Chelsea House Orchestra, Melinda Crawford (a former National Scottish Fiddle Champion), Maidens IV, and Bare Bones. There's also Highland dancing, piping competitions, a kilted mile run, heavy athletics, clan gatherings, sheep to shawl weaving, archery - and a fire eater. For more information, see: Edinboro Highland Games
Highland Games and Scottish Gathering, OregonThe 2nd Annual Great Basin Highland Games and Scottish Gathering is taking place at Harney County Fairgrounds, Burns, Oregon on June 14th, 2008. There will be demonstrations and lessons in Scottish country dancing, bagpipes, Gaelic language, and various athletic events. There will also be a living history talk, clan identification and a traditional ceilidh in the evening. They are anticipating a large crowd this year because they have world renowned entertainer John Doan as their featured performer. He will present a program entitled "A Celtic Pilgrimage", consisting of music, slides and narration. Red McWilliams, "America's Celt" will also be there. For more information, see Highland Games and Scottish Gathering, Oregon
League TablesCeltic again defeated Rangers last weekend, in an exciting match that ended 3-2 in favour of the Parkhead side. Another win on Saturday against Motherwell put Celtic 8 points ahead of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League. But Rangers extended run in the Uefa Cup and postponement of some matches earlier in the season due to weather and waterlogged pitches, has meant that the Ibrox side now have 4 games in hand - potentially 12 points to be won, though none of them will be easy. The first of these will be on Sunday, against Hibernian. Dundee United failed to capitalise on Motherwell's loss on Saturday as they were beaten by Aberdeen. So the Steelers remain in third position, one point ahead of Dundee United and with a game in hand.
On Saturday, Third Division Arbroath came from a goal behind to defeat Cowdenbeath 3-2 on aggregate, ensuring that the Fife side will be demoted to Division Three. Clyde narrowly avoided being relegated from the First Division in their play-off game. They were 5-2 down on aggregate at one stage but rallied to win 6-5. They now face Airdrie in the play-off final and visit Excelsior Stadium in the first leg on Wednesday. Airdrie, who finished second in Division Two, drew with Raith Rovers, who had finished third, to win their tie 4-2 on aggregate thanks to their midweek win in Kirkcaldy. Stranraer, who had finished runners-up in Division Three, defeated Montrose 4-1 on aggregate. Arbroath visit Stair Park in the first leg of their promotion play-off on Wednesday.
Rangers Reach Uefa Cup FinalThe first leg of Rangers' semi-final match against Italian club Fiorentina ended 0-0 at Ibrox and on the return leg this week in Florence, after full time and then extra time, neither side had scored, despite Fiorentina dominating much of the match. That meant the nerve-wracking "penalty shoot-out". Barry Ferguson, the Rangers captain, was the first to step up - and missed. But fortunately his other team-mates did better and a save by the Rangers keeper and misses by the Fiorentina players meant that Rangers won 4-2 on penalties. That means Rangers play in their first European final since they lifted the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1972. They now face Russian side Zenit St Petersburg - their manager is Dick Advocaat, who once managed Rangers. The final is on 14 May in Manchester. Rangers will be playing SPL matches on the Saturday before and the Saturday after the Uefa Cup final which is one of eight games the club must play in a 21-day period, including the Scottish Cup final, two days after the last SPL match. In stark contrast, the Russian Football Association cancelled Zenit's league fixture on the weekend before the 14 May Uefa final.
Extra TimeThe Scottish Premier League agreed to extend the season if Rangers reached the Uefa Cup Final. Now that this has happened, the last Scottish Premier League games will take place on May 22, four days later than previously planned. Even so, the Rangers manager Walter Smith is unhappy at the way in which they are being forced to play important matches within days of one another.
Another Aberdeenshire Golf CourseDonald Trump may be having to overcome opposition to his planned billion pound golf resort at Menie Sands in Aberdeenshire. But a £115 million plan for a golf course, hotel and hundreds of new houses on the site of the former Blairs Seminary near Aberdeen has been passed by a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council. The development will preserve existing listed buildings and Catholic museum. The seminary operated from 1829 to 1986. The course is being designed by Open golf champion Paul Lawrie (pictured here) who hails from Aberdeenshire.
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.
Scottish InventionsWith a relatively small population, Scots have been responsible for many inventions over the centuries - something that we take great pride in telling anyone who will listen! There are many well-known Scottish inventors and inventions (like Alexander Graham Bell who was the first to patent the telephone and Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin) but some are less well known:
Electromagnetic Theory of LightBorn in Edinburgh, James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) showed early signs of curiosity but was nicknamed "daftie" by his fellow pupils at Edinburgh Academy. Nevertheless, he sent his first paper to the Royal Society in Edinburgh at the age of 15 and entered Edinburgh University at age 16. Maxwell became professor of natural philosophy at Marischal College Aberdeen in 1856 and in 1857 published a paper establishing that the rings of Saturn were clouds of dust. Moving to London in 1860, he demonstrated colour photography for the first time (using a tartan ribbon). Returning to Edinburgh in 1865, Maxwell worked on electricity and magnetism, propounding the electromagnetic theory of light and that electricity travels at the speed of light. His equations established that electricity and magnetism are aspects of the same entity - electromagnetism. He predicted the existence of radio waves in 1865, paving the way for radio, TV and electronics. Albert Einstein said that James Clerk Maxwell's work had resulted in the most profound change in the conception of reality in physics, since the time of Isaac Newton.
Scottish Place Names Around the World
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Judging purely by the names of its subdivisions and neighbourhoods, Calgary can justifiably claim to be one of the most 'Scottish' of all the Canadian cities. Calgary's place names certainly illustrate the far-reaching effects of the Scottish diaspora, whether through direct immigration from Scotland or through migration from other parts of Canada by people with Scots ancestry. As a result of feedback and further research the article on Scottish-related place names in Calgary, has been expanded. Of the names of the 263 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Calgary, 73 (27.8%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names or Scottish words. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but as many as 47 of them (17.9%) are unique to Scotland or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names. Calgary itself is a Scottish place name, the city being named for Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull. For more on the Scottish place names in this most Scottish of Canadian cities, see Scottish Place Names - Calgary.
Best of the Recent Additions
From time to time, new sites being added to the Rampant Scotland Directory links sections catch my eye:Scottish Anthem
Scottish Poetry and Song
James Montgomery (1771-1854) was born in Ayr, the son of a missionary of the Moravian Brethren. When he was twelve, his parents moved to the West Indies and he was placed in the care of a seminary of the Moravian Brethern near Leeds in England, with a view to being trained for their Church. He never saw his parents again as they died seven years later in Barbados. He was regarded as "indolent" and was removed from the seminary, finding employment in various trades, while trying to become a writer of essays and romantic stories - which were initially not successful. He later became an editor of a small provincial newspaper and he also wrote a number of essays and poems which gained a certain amount of approval. After more than thirty years, his contribution to literature and as a philanthropist and advocate of the abolition of the slave trade, eventually led to him receiving a state pension.
The spiritual character and piety of his writings gained him the designation of the "Christian Poet" - his last work was "Original Hymns, for Public, Private, and Social Devotion." The song here is thus typical of his work.
Friendship, Love, and Truth
When "Friendship, Love, and Truth" abound
Among a band of brothers,
The cup of joy goes gaily round,
Each shares the bliss of others.
Sweet roses grace the thorny way
Along this vale of sorrow;
The flowers that shed their leaves to-day
Shall bloom again to-morrow.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
On halcyon wings our moments pass,
Life's cruel cares beguiling;
Old Time lays down his scythe and glass,
In gay good-humour smiling:
With ermine beard and forelock gray,
His reverend part adorning,
He looks like Winter turn'd to May,
Night soften'd into Morning.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
From these delightful fountains flow
Ambrosial rills of pleasure;
Can man desire, can Heaven bestow,
A more resplendent treasure?
Adorn'd with gems so richly bright,
Will form a constellation,
Where every star, with modest light,
Shall gild its proper station.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
Same But Different
Sandy and Geordie were walking home from Sunday school at Auchterwearie in the Western Highlands after hearing a strong sermon on the devil. Sandy eventually said to Geordie, "What do you think about all this Beelzebub stuff?" Geordie thought for a moment and then said brightly, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your Dad."
Lachlan's Laws - # 64 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: "Procrastination is the thief of time - especially if you can't spell it."
How to Find Your Wife
Donald had lost his wife in a large supermarket in Glasgow. He approached a good-looking, blonde woman, explained his search for his spouse and asked if he could talk to the blonde for a while. The woman was surprised at the approach and asked how that was going to help Donald find his wife? "Easy," replied Donald. "She always turns up when I'm talking to strange women."
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