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.
Labour Party Leader ResignsWendy Alexander, the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, dramatically resigned from that post on Saturday "with deep regret". Earlier in the week she had been found guilty of a breach of parliamentary rules on declaring donations made when she was campaigning to replace Jack McConnell as Scottish Labour leader last August. She said she had acted in good faith on the written advice of the parliamentary authorities. But when the donation was reported to the watch-dog parliamentary standards committee (after apparently being leaked by a member of the Labour Party), they concluded that she was technically in breach of the rules. They declared she should be suspended for one day - regarded as a "rap on the knuckles". That decision had to be confirmed by a full meeting of the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). But as they had risen for the summer recess, it would be the autumn before they would meet again. Even though the MSPs might have over-turned the suspension, Wendy Alexander decided it would be a "distraction" over the summer months and decided to stand down. There will now be a contest to decide on the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party - their 5th since the Scottish Parliament resumed in 1999.
Homecoming 2009First Minister Alex Salmond this week unveiled the nationwide programme for "Homecoming 2009" which will include over 100 events to celebrate Scotland's first ever year of Homecoming. Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, Homecoming 2009 will be a celebration of the great contributions Scotland has made to the world. It's also a chance for Scots around the globe to reconnect and engage with their heritage. The programme of events has been organised around five main themes - the Bard himself, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations and Scotland's culture and heritage. Highlights include a Burns 250th anniversary weekend, including a campaign to create the world's biggest "virtual Burns Supper" celebration. There is also an exhibition of contemporary art inspired by Burns, to be held in Glasgow's Mitchell Library, featuring works by John Byrne, Tracy Emin, Graham Fagen and David Mach. A celebration of the Caledonian Canal will involve a flotilla travelling the length of the canal from Fort William to Inverness. During the year, The Open Golf Championship will return to Turnberry - and one of the largest clan gatherings in history will be held in Edinburgh. Although home-grown events predominate, Forbes Magazine has announced plans to return to Scotland for the first time in nearly 100 years to host their annual European CEO Forum, an influential business conference. See also Homecoming 2009 Web site.
Online Census FormsWhen the census is being completed again in 2011 (it comes round every ten years) people in Scotland will be able to complete the questionnaires online for the first time. Residents of west Edinburgh and on Lewis and Harris in the Western Isles will be the first to test out the new system in a dry run next year. The census covers such details as age, gender, place of birth and marital status of all people and households in the country. Amid concerns about recent cases where personal details have been "lost in the post" by government departments, the Registrar General has asserted that the website offering the online questionnaire would have "robust" security measures to protect respondents' confidential information. Householders will have a choice of the new computerised system or the conventional paper format.
University League TableThe Times Good University Guide, which is published each year, is not only perused by prospective students but by the universities themselves to see how they have fared in the league table of higher education establishments throughout the UK. As before, the top rated Scottish university is St Andrews, which once again lies 5th in the UK. Edinburgh comes next, ranked 18th (but down 5 places from last year). Glasgow University jumped up the rankings, however, from 31st to 20th in the table - only slightly below Edinburgh. The 113 UK universities are ranked according to eight criteria which include research quality and degree results as well as student satisfaction.
Shortage of Workers in HighlandsRecruitment agencies in the north of Scotland are reporting a looming employment crisis as the number of migrant workers seeking jobs there has fallen dramatically. Last year, 2,000 people from east European countries registered for work in the Highlands; this year, the numbers are down to below 1,500. There are reports of a 60% drop in the number of agricultural workers from Eastern Europe seeking work in the area. A combination of factors has led to the fall in numbers - the falling value of the pound and improved employment prospects and wages in Eastern Europe. The exchange rate between sterling and Polish zlotys, for example, has moved from six to the pound to four. This has discouraged migrant workers from coming here and encouraged those who are here to return home. The cost of living in the Highlands, particularly travel costs, has also acted as a deterrent. Even the poor weather is being blamed, with less sunshine here than on the continent.
Caltongate Development ApprovedThe controversial plans to redevelop part of Edinburgh's historic High Street at Canongate have already been approved by the city council. Now the Scottish government ministers - who had the final decision - have decided not to "call in" the proposals. That means there will not be a public enquiry and the city council is free to issue planning permission. The complex includes a 5-star luxury hotel and conference centre, an office complex and 200 homes. Some buildings on Canongate will be retained at the insistence of the planning authorities and the overall height of a passageway that goes through those buildings will be reduced and finished in natural stone. The £300 million project will transform that part of Edinburgh's Old Town. 15 years ago a bus depot in the area was demolished but hopes of developing the area have come and gone in the meantime. Now, work will start before the end of this year, with elements of the scheme completed by 2011, with a final completion date of 2013.
Road Accidents at 50-year LowWhile traffic volumes continue to soar, with more vehicles and higher annual mileages, the number of people killed or injured in road accidents in Scotland fell to its lowest level for over 50 years in 2007, according to government statistics released this week. 282 people were fatally injured last year, a 10% decrease on the year before. 2,315 were seriously injured, a drop of 12% on 2006. The government says that there is no room for complacency and is working to produce a Road Safety Strategy for Scotland which will be published later this year. Changes to the driving test were among the measures designed to reduce the number of road accidents further.
Smokers Bribed to QuitSmokers in parts of a deprived area of Dundee are being offered food vouchers worth £50 a month if they give up smoking. During the three month trial they will receive money credited to a card which can be used to buy groceries (but not cigarettes and alcohol). They must pass a weekly carbon monoxide breath test at their local chemist to prove that they have not been smoking. The cost of the scheme works out at around £1,200 per person, but compared to the cost of treating them for smoking-related diseases, that is money well spent. The local National Health Service (NHS) Trust expects about 1,800 people (out of 18,000 approached) to take part. Life expectancy in Dundee is amongst the lowest in Britain according to government statistics. If the scheme in Dundee proves to be successful, it will be rolled out to other areas of Scotland.
£17 Million Burns Heritage RevampThe project to refurbish the thatched cottage where Robert Burns was born in 1759 and create a modern museum to Scotland's national poet took a step forward this week with the announcement of a £5.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The Scottish Government has already pledged £5.5 million and South Ayrshire Council has provided land worth £2.8 million. But the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is still looking for funding to plug a £5 million gap in the finances. NTS was asked to take over the project when an earlier £7 million project to save the cottage and museum in Alloway collapsed in January 2005. Since then, costs have soared to a total of £17 million. It is hoped to have the cottage and some related projects will be finished in time for the Homecoming 2009 celebrations next year, when the 250th anniversary of the birth of Burns is a major pillar. But the work will not be finished in time for the actual anniversary in January 2009. And a new "world-clas" museum building at Alloway will not be completed until 2010.
Approval for Hotel Above Railway StationEdinburgh City Council has granted approval for the £200 million development of a 17-storey leaf-shaped hotel above Haymarket railway station in Edinburgh along with a large business complex with a 5-star-hotel to be created on a nearby gap site. The development is a major regeneration project for the Capital and will introduce a variety of a new uses into the area, such as leisure, business and commercial facilities.
Plea to Retain Phone BoxesThe Member of Parliament for the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk parliamentary constituency in the Scottish Borders has called on British Telecom (BT) to suspend plans to remove around 50 public phone boxes in the area. He acknowledges that in urban and highly populated areas, the need for phone boxes in the street with pay phones has reduced dramatically as a result of mobile phones. But he argues that in the Scottish Borders the phones can provide a lifeline service where mobile phone coverage can be patchy. Some of the phone boxes are used less than once a month and BT argues that 60% of its 5,883 payphones in Scotland are unprofitable. They are required to maintain the service unless they can convince the communications regulator that the costs are too onerous. The company is currently "thinning the estate" by proposing to remove 473 payphones in Scotland that have a another situated nearby. BT says that if a genuine social need for a payphone can be demonstrated during the consultation, they will not be removed.
FibrecityPlans have been announced to create Scotland's first "fibrecity" in Dundee with (eventually) ultra-high-speed communications delivered to every home and business via a new fibre-optic cable network using the sewers beneath its streets. Dundee markets itself as the "City of Discovery" so it is appropriate that the new hi-tech system should be piloted there. The new network will offer broadband speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second.
Mr Happy Celebrates 25th Anniversary
I've always had a soft spot for the Mr Happy campaign that was launched 25 years ago to "sell" Glasgow. Maybe it was because at that time I was commuting to Edinburgh with a sticker saying "Glasgow's Miles Better" on the back window of my car. (The genteel folk of Edinburgh smiled condescendingly, as they are prone to do at the activities of those from the Wild West of Glasgow). Saddled with the image of "No Mean City" and industrial grime, the campaign was a huge success, not just in convincing the rest of the country that Glasgow was indeed "better" than it had been, but persuading the citizens of Scotland's largest city that the slogan might actually be true. Of course, the traditional sense of humour of the locals was also roused by the slogan also being capable of reading "Glasgow 'smiles Better" and incorporating a well-known children's cartoon character "Mr Happy". The campaign was the most successful of any British city and is claimed to stand comparison with "I Love New York". It was so successful it won the International Film and Television Festival of New York award in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987. The slogan lasted until 1991, when it was thought that it had run its course. The city has struggled to come up with anything nearly as successful - "Glasgow's Alive" succeeded it (did anyone ever say it was dead?). After three years the council brought back Mr Happy and "Glasgow's Miles Better" after a non-stop campaign to resurrect it. But three years later, copyright fees (£28,000- really big bucks) were the excuse for ditching it again. Since then, "Glasgow: The Friendly City" and "Glasgow: Scotland With Style" have failed to replicate its success. I've still got that original window sticker....
I'll Drink to ThatA boom in exports of British food and drink is being led by Scotch whisky with the value of exports now over £2.8 billion. Distribution hubs such as Singapore (whisky exports up by 84% last year, supplying emerging south-east Asia markets) and Germany (up 62% supplying central and eastern Europe) led the way. Poland has emerged as another major market, partly due to rising wages and living standards and partly due to Poles who have worked here returning to their homeland with a taste for British food and drink products.
Highland Air Travel DisruptedA strike by firefighters last Monday closed nine of the eleven airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick airports were all closed to scheduled traffic. Inverness and Dundee remained open, but although flights to London and the south continued to operate, services from Inverness to Orkney and Shetland and the Western Isles were affected. The firefighters have rejected a pay offer of 2%, backdated to last October.
Picture of Barra airstrip (on the beach) via Wikipedia.
Dolphin Stranded in River ClydeThese days, the quality of the water in the river Clyde through Glasgow is much improved from the time when the city was a major industrial centre. Salmon and other fish are found there regularly, swans inhabit deserted slipways and cormorants can be seen regularly fishing in the river beside the huge Braehead Shopping Centre near Renfrew. But there was some astonishment when a dolphin was spotted by passers-by in the centre of Glasgow, near the Clyde Arc bridge. Crowds gathered on the river bank and the ten feet long Risso's dolphin was featured on BBC Scotland's TV news programme. But experts who examined the animal reported that it was malnourished and had been injured - possibly in the Firth of Clyde. This may have disorientated the creature, causing it to swim up-river. Dolphins are picky eaters and would find little to eat in the Clyde. There was no point in supplying it with dead food as it has to chase its prey and any attempt to capture it and take it to the sea would have been too traumatic. There were later reports of it moving further down river but after that it disappeared from view.
Sea Eagles Fly In13 white-tailed sea eagles arrived at Edinburgh Airport this week from Norway - and were met by the Scottish Government's Environment Minister, Mike Russell. This was the second batch of birds being brought in as part of a five-year East Scotland Sea Eagles (Esse) introduction project. Esse is a partnership between the bird protection organisation RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland to reintroduce sea eagles to eastern Scotland. The species was wiped out in Scotland in Victorian times, due to persecution by humans. Europe's largest bird of prey with an 8 feet wingspan, has been successfully reintroduced into the west coast of Scotland since the 1970s. The first batch of fifteen birds were released in the east of Scotland in 2007, of which 11 have survived so far.
Dry Weather Affects Power and WhiskyThe dry weather in May might not have continued to quite the same extent in June but the lack of rain and the driest spring for 20 years has had an impact on some of the remoter areas of the country. Residents on the 17,500 Knoydart estate in the north-west are having power supplies rationed due to low water levels in a loch that supplies hydro-electric power. The electricity is being cut off from 11pm to 7am each day. That is affecting fridges and freezers and many other household equipment from electric alarm clocks to computers. Meanwhile, on the whisky-producing island of Islay, whisky production had to close down for a spell due to a lack of water from local rivers and streams. During the disruption to that essential ingredient, distilleries used the time to schedule maintenance work rather than produce whisky.
Recent Weather in ScotlandThe weather has been very changeable over the last couple of weeks, with cloud predominating, interspersed by showers. There were only a few sunny spells to remind us that this is summer. Temperatures were not summery either, ranging around 14/16C (57/61F) in the first week and rising slightly in the second week to around 17/18C (62/64F) with Aberdeen managing to reach a maximum of 20C (68F) on Saturday. The outlook is for more cloud and showers.
The picture here is Ben Lomond from the village of Luss in Argyll.
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 village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond, famous as "Glendarroch" in the TV drama series "Take the High Road" (see thumbnail);
~ Glen Luss, running from the village into the surrounding hills, with occasional glimpses of Loch Lomond;
~ A "Beautiful Carpet" moth, unimpressed by a camera less than an inch away;
~ Kellie castle in Fife, visited in 1617 by King James VI during his only visit to Scotland after the Union of the Crowns in 1603;
~ The Campsie Fells from the northern side, near the little village of Fintry in Stirlingshire;
~ A delicate Green Lacewing insect with translucent wings which can release a vile smell resulting in its common name of "Stinkfly";
~ A rambling rose that seems to have been produced by spilling a number of paint pots.
See This Week's Colour Supplement
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Stone of Destiny is a "Forgery"First Minister Alex Salmond has voiced his support for the theory that the stone which was surrendered to King Edward I in 1296 was not the real Stone of Destiny (used at the coronations of Scottish monarchs since the 9th century). Instead Edward took off to Westminster Abbey a fake and Scotland's iconic symbol was kept in Scotland - location unknown. The First Minister has reignited the debate by supporting the view that the Abbot of Scone (where the stone was located at that time) had passed off a forgery. The stone was placed under the throne in London - and English and then United Kingdom monarchs have been crowned since then while sitting above it. The First Minister rejected the idea of seeing if science could resolve the issue, saying it would be better to leave the mystery unsolved. One thing is sure, the Stone of Destiny currently displayed at Scone (seen here) is a replica!
Battle Flags Found at AbbotsfordTrustees who have taken over responsibility for Sir Walter Scott's home at Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders, have uncovered flags from the battlefield of Waterloo which the novelist brought from the scene in 1815 after hearing of Napoleon's defeat and rushing to the scene. The rare banners are very fragile and had been rolled up in paper. It is hoped, however, to put them on display. There are three French and one British banner, some with bullet holes in them. Scott, who wrote many historical novels. was an inveterate collector of military memorabilia. Abbotsford has Rob Roy's gun and Montrose's sword among many others on display.
106-Year-Old Gas Tower To Go?The skyline of Edinburgh is set to be much improved when the 106-year-old Granton gas holder, a distinctive blue structure visible from all over the city (seen on the horizon in this picture taken from the centre of the Capiytal), is finally demolished. There has been a long-running campaign to retain this ugly blot on the landscape, but it looks as though the cost of £7.4 million to repair the tower and clean contaminated land around it will be too much for the owners, the National Grid. Granton is undergoing a major facelift with large numbers of new buildings being constructed - with the gas holder towering above them. There are plans to create another "iconic" circular structure in its place and the steel lattice work will be used elsewhere in the area. Even so, there are those who believe that it should be retained, regardless of cost as a reminder of Granton's industrial heritage.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- July 1 1505 - Seal granted by Edinburgh Town Council to the Incorporation of Barbers and Surgeons to practise their craft. The organisation is now known as the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
- July 1 1782 - Proscription Act Repealed, thus allowing again the wearing of tartan and the carrying of weapons (banned as a result of the 1745 Uprising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie).
- July 2 1266 - Treaty of Perth, Norway renounces claim on the Hebrides.
- July 2 1908 - Dumfries reached a temperature of 32.8C (91F), the highest recorded - so far.
- July 3 1928 - John Logie Baird transmitted first colour television.
- July 4 1892 - Lanarkshire-born James Keir Hardie became the first socialist to win a seat in the UK Parliament.
- July 5 1847 - Final run of the Edinburgh to London mail coach (trains had taken over).
- July 6 1747 - John Paul Jones, hero of the US Navy, born Kirkbean, Dumfries.
- July 7 1559 - John Knox became the first Protestant minister appointed in Edinburgh.
- July 8 1249 - King Alexander II died on Isle of Kerrara, Oban Bay.
- July 9 1867 - Queen's Park Football Club, first senior football (soccer) club in Scotland formed.
- July 10 1451 - King James III born at Stirling.
- July 11 1274 - Robert the Bruce born (possibly at Turnberry Castle).
- July 12 1698 - Darien expedition left Leith for Panama.
Royal Highland ShowThe premier agricultural event in Scotland finished its four-day run last Sunday at Ingleston, Edinburgh. Last year's Royal Highland Show (RHS) was marred by torrential rain but still managed to have attendance figures in excess of 150,000. Of course, it's not just farmers who come along. Although many of the stands are aimed at selling agricultural-related products, the livestock competitions and horse jumping and the food hall are equally attractive to town dwellers. Due to the expansion of the neighbouring Edinburgh Airport, the show will be moving to a larger site on the other side of the busy A8 road in a few years' time. That will allow the RHS to cater for an even larger number of spectators, with more of the displays under cover.
Ticket Sales Unaffected by Change of DateThe Edinburgh Film Festival has traditionally been held in August at the same time as the main Edinburgh International Festival. But this year for the first time it has moved to June - a move that might have lost it a crossover audience from the main event. But so far it is claimed that ticket sales have been unaffected, which is quite an achievement for what is effectively a new event - even though this is its 62nd year. The 12-day film festival ends on 29 June.
Top Scottish Movie of All Time?A survey of cinema-goers asked to name their favourite Scottish film of all time put Mel Gibson's 1995 production "Braveheart" into top spot (of course). The black comedy "Trainspotting" was in second place. Perhaps surprisingly, as the respondents would include many of the younger cinema-goers, it was the 1940 black and white comedy "Whisky Galore" (known as "Tight Little Island" in the US) which came in third. Other films in the top ten were the sentimental story of Greyfriars Bobby and "Mrs Brown" which covered the relationship between Queen Victoria and her Highland servant John Brown. "Gregory's Girl" about an awkward schoolboy and his relationship with a football-playing girl was 7th.
A Quiet Rock Festival?Environmental health officers have ordered the organisers of T in the Park, Scotland's biggest rock festival, to cut down the volume level amid concerns that fans and bands could suffer permanent damage to their hearing by standing beside giant speakers for hours on end. So instead of noise levels equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off, they will be similar to a classical orchestra at full volume. Although the maximum level has been reduced only from 140 decibels to 137 decibels, it means that the intensity of the noise will be cut by about 50%. Some fans voiced concerns at the ruling, fearing that it could rob the event of its excitement. And they point out that in an open air environment, sound can be rapidly reduced or blown away. The T in the Park rock concert takes place at Balado near Kinross on July 11 to 13. It will have 114 bands on six stages over the three days.
Pandas for Edinburgh ZooAlthough there are some who believe that wild animals should be kept in their original habitats, Edinburgh Zoo is negotiating with the Chinese government to have a breeding pair of giant pandas in the near future. It seems that the recent earthquake in Sichuan province may actually speed up the process and they could be in Edinburgh earlier than the original target date of next spring. Edinburgh would be one of only a handful of zoos outside south-east Asia to house giant pandas. An increase in visitor numbers is anticipated once they are in residence and the zoo is considering a pre-booking system to cope with the demand. Some zoos have seen a doubling of visitor numbers after the arrival of the "rock stars" of the zoological world. Edinburgh Zoo only just coped with the highest visitor numbers for 20 years last May Day bank holiday. when 10,000 flocked through the gates in one day.
Radio Clyde Wins New York "Oscar"Clyde 1 radio station, which covers much of the west of Scotland, won gold at the New York Festivals Radio Broadcasting awards last weekend. The international competition aims to acknowledge the "World's Best" in radio broadcasting and promotion. Radio Clyde's "SuperScoreboard" won gold for sports commentary/analysis and bronze in the best sports coverage category. The station's live match commentary, in-depth analysis and open forum after matches were praised by the judges. Radio Clyde also won a silver award for "Going for Gold", their ongoing coverage of Glasgow's successful bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
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.
Canadian Highland GamesThe Halifax Highland Games and Scottish Festival will be held this year across the harbour in Dartmouth Commons, Thistle and Victoria Road, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on July 12th. This is a larger field and everyone is very excited about the new location. There will be bagpipe concerts, guided tours, a heavyweights competition, family history at the Clan Tents and members of the Federation of Scottish Clans In Nova Scotia will be there to answer your questions on Scottish culture, dress and Clan Societies. For more information, see Halifax Highland Games.
Scotland v USA International PoloThe 5th international polo match between the USA and Scotland at Portsmouth, north of Newport Rhode Island, began for the first time with the Mystic Highland Pipe Band in Full Regimental Dress playing "Flower of Scotland" which the Scottish contingent in the crowd enjoyed immensely. The horses, on the other hand were not so sure and pinned their ears back, looked skittish, but endured. The Scottish team had arrived in the US a day late due to a flight cancellation and heavy traffic in New York, so they missed a warm-up match in Virginia. Their problems continued as the Scot's number 1 had to leave the field injured in the middle of the second chukka - an American had to be loaned to make up the Scots team. So by half time Scotland were 5 goals down, despite the vociferous support of a contingent from the St Andrew's Society of Rhode Island. At half-time, the pipe band gave a flawless display of sword dancing! Maybe that inspired the Scots team because they held on in the 4th and 5th chukkas, but were still 5 goals down entering the final session. Then a miracle "nearly" happened - the Scots scored three goals and a penalty, leaving the score at 14-15 in favour of the US. Hanging on grimly, the US team managed another goal in the dying seconds of the match. The final score of 14-16 was the highest score of all the matches between the two teams so far. The Mystic Highland Pipe Band offered the "Dark Isle" in commiseration. But Scotland remain 3-2 ahead in the series - and are looking forward already to next year!
Antigonish Highland GamesThe Antigonish Highland Society first officially sponsored the Antigonish Highland Games on October 16th, 1863, although there is evidence of highland games occurring in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on an informal basis before that. These days there are a whole series of events associated with the event and this year they begin with an opening church service on Sunday, 13 July. There is a concert on Tuesday evening and a "Kilted Golf Tournament" on Wednesday.The Scotia Highland Dancers Concert is on Thursday evening and the games proper begin on Friday 18 July at Columbus Field. Events include the New Scotland Open Highland Dancing Championship, a 5-mile road race, piping and drumming competitions, the Nova Scotia Pipe Band Championship, Heavy Events Championship - and a Ceilidh on both Saturday and Sunday evening. For more information, see Antigonish Highland Games.
Andy Murray in Last 16 at WimbledonScots tennis star Andy Murray eased his way through the first three rounds of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships and then defeated former world number two Tommy Haas of Germany by three sets to one to reach the last sixteen. He will now face eighth seed Richard Gasquet - who reached the semi-finals last year.
Great Scottish WalkOver 100 charities benefitted last weekend as around 6,000 people took part in the Great Scottish Walk, pounding the streets of Edinburgh. There were a number of media personalities taking part too, including John Smeaton, the hero of the attempted terrorist attack on Glasgow airport last summer (who is planning to emigrate to the US to live there with his girlfriend). There was a pipe band to lead the walkers at the starting point and there were prizes for the best fancy dress amongst the participants. There were in fact three walks - 12 miles, six miles and one mile.
Le Mans 24 Hour Win for ScotScotland's Allan McNish, partnered by Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Denmark's Tom Kristensen powered their way to the front in the Le Mans 24 hour sports car race, giving Audi their 8th win in nine years. They were up against a team of Peugeot cars which were faster in dry conditions. But rain and a wet track shifted the advantage to the Audi team. Even so, at the end of 24 hours of continuous racing, they finished only 3 minutes and 31 seconds ahead.
Cricket for AberdeenScotland's cricket team face the challenge of New Zealand and Ireland next week in a 50-over ICC one-day internationals sponsored by Lloyds TSB Scotland. Scotland has not yet managed to defeat a top Test playing nation. Scotland last played the Kiwis during the 1999 World Cup. Ireland are ranked 10th in world cricket rankings, three places ahead of Scotland.
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
The Giffnock Ivy, East Renfrewshire
The Giffnock Ivy has opened in an area (just over the boundary with Glasgow) where there is a lot of competition from other good restaurants. But its attention to detail, eye-catching, fresh food which delights the taste buds should ensure that it is a great success. Best of all, although the food and its presentation are of such a high standard, its prices give excellent value for money. If I lived in the area instead of on the other side of the city, I could easily see me becoming a regular customer - maybe they could be persuaded to open a Bearsden Ivy? for a full illustrated review, see Great Places to Eat - Giffnock Ivy.
Scottish Place Names Around the World
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
As a result of feedback and further research the article on Scottish-related place names in Edmonton, Alberta, has been expanded. Judging purely by the names of its communities, neighbourhoods, suburbs, roads, parks and bridges, Edmonton is one of the Canadian cities (along with Calgary, Halifax, Hamilton and Winnipeg) where Scottish influences appear to have been particularly marked. In many cases these influences were indirect since a large number of the place names commemorate early settlers from other parts of Canada whose ancestry was probably Scottish. Nevertheless, Edmonton's place names illustrate the far-reaching effects of the Scottish diaspora of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Of the names of the 508 areas, communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Edmonton, 135 (26.6%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but as many as 76 of them (15.0%) are unique to Scotland or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names. For all the background, see the illustrated article at Scottish Place Names - Edmonton, Alberta.
Best of the Recent Additions
Encyclopedia of New Zealand - The ScotsThis is an extensive history of Scots in New Zealand beginning with the sailors and missionaries before 1840, through the organised settlements of 1840-1852, the settlement at Otago, a surge of Scots 1853-1870, the ebbs and flows of 1900-1945 and immigration after 1945. There are sections on the influence of Scottish culture, education and Scots in public life and the New Zealand economy, plus lots of facts and figures. The site has lots of images, audio and video, a biographies gallery and sources of further information. See Encyclopedia of New Zealand - The Scots.
Scottish Poetry and Song
This is very much a traditional Jacobite song, possibly originating in the 18th century. "Geordie" in the song is King George II who was born in Germany and "Charlie" is Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender to the throne and grandson of the deposed King James VII.
Will ye go to Inverness,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie?
There you'll see the Hieland dress,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
Philabeg and bonnet blue,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
For the lad that wears the trews,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
Geordie sits in Charlie's chair,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
Had I my will he'd no sit there,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie.
Ne'er reflect on sorrows past,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie;
Charlie will be King at last,
Bonnnie laddie, Hieland laddie.
Time and tide come round to a',
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
And upstart pride will get a fa',
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
Keep up your heart, for Charlie fight,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie,
Come what may, ye've done what's right,
Bonnie laddie, Hieland laddie.
Meaning of unusual words:
Philabeg = kilt
trews = trousers, usually tartan
fa' = fall
Had A Good Day?
As a result of all that rain that falls on the west of Scotland, including Glasgow, most locals carry an umbrella wherever they go - and have a selection of them, collected over the years. Archie from Gallowgate was like that, but one day he found that his last good one was broken. Looking at six useless umbrellas in his umbrella stand, Archie decided to take them all in and have them repaired. On the bus on the way home, purely out of habit, he picked up an umbrella that belonged to the woman sitting next to him. She immediately cried, "Stop, thief!" Archie surrendered the umbrella immediately, looking very embarrassed, and quickly got off the bus. The next week he picked up his repaired umbrellas. When he got on the bus with the six umbrellas under his arm, he just so happened to sit next to the very same woman. She gave him a long, icy stare and (holding onto her own umbrella tightly) said, "Had a good day, laddie?"
Lachlan's Laws - # 68
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: "Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggie" until you can find a rock."
At long last Donald responded to all the government propaganda about losing weight and exercising. So he joined a health club, believing that the annual fee of £400 would be well worth it. Six months later he was talking to one of his drinking buddies (he had cut down on that to just four times a week) and commented that he hadn't lost a pound. His friend, who knew the background, shook his head and observed: "But Donald, you actually have to go there - paying £400 only lightens your wallet."
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