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.
Liberal Democrat Leader Steps DownPolitical commentators, have been busy scribbling after the resignation of Wendy Alexander as leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament. Then within a week they were plunged into more frantic writing when Nicol Stephen, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, surprised everyone by announcing he was standing down because he wanted to spend more time with his family. While that phrase is sometimes used as an excuse to cover other reasons, it appears that in this case it is true. The Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeen South moved his wife and four children to Edinburgh last autumn but they moved back to Aberdeen in March. While he will continue as an MSP, clearly being leader of the LibDems put additional pressures on him and he has opted to give his family priority instead. Now both Labour and the Liberal Democrats will be holding leadership elections over the summer, with a vote in September.
By-Election for UK Parliament SeatThe sitting Member of Parliament for the Glasgow East constituency in the UK Parliament has resigned on health grounds. In normal times, the Labour Party would have been assured of an easy victory there again - at the last election, Labour had a majority of over 13,000 votes. But these are not normal times for either Prime Minister Gordon Brown or the Labour Party in Scotland. Early opinion polls have already put the Scottish National Party candidate in the lead. Some commentators are suggesting that if Labour lose this by-election, it could result in Gordon Brown facing pressure to resign. Labour's position in the constituency is not being helped by their candidate being Margaret Curran and the much smaller Scottish Socialist Party fielding a Frances Curran. The by-election will be held on 24 July and there will be nine candidates fighting for the seat, with the minor parties all scrabbling to be noticed.
Manufactured Exports IncreaseFor many years it has been the service sector which has produced the growth in the Scottish economy. But with the current pressure on financial institutions in particular, there has been a down-turn there. So the latest government statistics on Manufacturing Exports, which showed an increase of 2.3%, were greeted with some delight and relief. Scottish manufactured export sales increased by 2.3% in real terms in the first quarter of 2008 and grew by 3.2 over the year to the end of March 2008, according to the estimates. The main industries contributing to the increase in manufactured export sales were electrical and instrument engineering and mechanical engineering which grew by 6.6% and 19.3% respectively. However, there were falls in the export of transport equipment (-10.4%) and food and tobacco (-14.8%). The overall increase followed drops of 5.1% and 1.5% respectively in the third and fourth quarters of last year.
Landslide Closes Trunk Road "For Weeks"Heavy rain in the south and east of Scotland this week resulted in a land slip on the A7 trunk road south of the village of Langholm (seen here) in Dumfries and Galloway on Wednesday. The A7 is a major artery between Carlisle in northern England and Edinburgh. Another land slip north of the town partially closed that section of the road too as earth fell onto the road. Engineers are still, assessing the situation, but early estimates are that it will take a number of weeks to repair the damage and until then the road is closed. On the same day as the A7 road was cut, Edinburgh had more than a third of its normal rainfall for the month of July.
Go-Ahead for "Super Village"A legal decision this week by the House of Lords in London has paved the way for the creation of one of the biggest new housing developments in central Scotland. 2500 homes, plus schools, shops and other amenities, will be constructed at a 619-acre site known as Durieshill, near Stirling. It will be about the size of Dunblane when complete and aims to meet growth in demand for housing in the area, but without uncontrolled urban sprawl on the edge of Stirling. However, those living in the area at the moment say that it will lead to the already congested roads in the area being further choked - especially as it coincides with the construction of a new hospital at nearby Larbert.
Scotland Wins Race for Children's OlympicsNot content to rest on the laurels of Glasgow winning the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland has been working hard to bring the International Children's Games (known as the Mini Olympics) to Lanarkshire in 2011. Nearly 200 young competitors from more than 70 countries will be descending on the area after the selection committee made a unanimous decision in at a meeting in San Francisco. Lanarkshire was up against Singapore and the city of Daegu in South Korea for the right to stage the event. North and South Lanarkshire worked together on the joint bid and will be the first region ever to host to the Games. Until now they have always been awarded to cities. Events will take place all across the region, including in the four largest towns of Hamilton, Motherwell, Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. Teams of athletes aged between 12 and 15 represent cities as opposed to countries in the Children's Games.
Edinburgh Cuts VisitScotland FundingFrom time to time, Edinburgh City Council has been critical of the way in which VisitScotland, the country's tourism agency, has promoted the Capital. That opinion is often shared by Glasgow and other parts of the country who feel that "their" area is not getting enough attention. But now Edinburgh has cut £125,000 from its £625,000 annual grant to the agency, saying that it wants to increase its own promotion of the city as a tourist destination. VisitScotland is unhappy about this, of course, and is reported to have questioned the city council's "candour and professionalism". But the City Council has responded by saying that the tourism agency has failed to provide any evidence of the economic benefit that its work has brought the Capital. The council wants a more focused Edinburgh marketing strategy focusing on its unique attributes, instead of the wider national tourism campaigns which are often a feature of VisitScotland.
New Emergency Care Centre for AberdeenThe Scottish Government has approved the business case for a new £95 million emergency care centre in Aberdeen. The Grampian Emergency Care Centre will provide a 'one stop shop' for patients, by bringing the accident and emergency department, Acute Medical Assessment Unit, ward accommodation and the primary care out-of-hours service all under one roof at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Work will start on the new building early next year and it is scheduled to start treating patients by the end of 2011. At present, unscheduled care in Aberdeen is carried out at a number of different locations in the city. The new centre will have state-of-the-art diagnostic and telemedicine facilities and clinical accommodation will be provided in the floors above the emergency care centre.
New £180 Million Train FleetThe Scottish Government Finance Secretary announced this week that an order is being placed for a new £180 million fleet of electric trains. The 130 carriages will be brought into use in December 2010, mainly in the west of Scotland, particularly on services serving Glasgow. But that will result in rolling stock being released to provide more capacity in other parts of the country, including the new Airdrie to Bathgate line. The government agency Transport Scotland will provide the finance and First ScotRail will lease them on a 17-year contract. The trains, supplied by Siemens Transportation Systems, will be air-conditioned, with disabled access, cyclist provision and CCTV. The forthcoming rail link serving Glasgow Airport will be one of the routes where the new rolling stock will operate. Of course, with a by-election scheduled for later this month for the Glasgow East seat in the UK Parliament, we can expect more "good news" government announcements like this one over the next couple of weeks.
Lease of Life for CoalScottish Coal is now the largest coal producer in Scotland and the largest opencast coal mining company in the UK. It produces approximately 4 million tonnes of low sulphur content coal per year from sites throughout Scotland. The company has just signed a new five-year agreement worth £700 million to supply Scottish Power Ltd, equivalent to half the mining company's annual output. Scottish Power, which is owned by Spain's Iberdrola SA, uses between 4 million and 6 million metric tons of coal every year, much of which is currently imported. Scottish Coal is now likely to expand its existing open-cast mines and start new ones, creating 100 jobs.
Famous Grouse Contributes to Record ProfitsThe giant drinks company Edrington Group has posted a record profit of £75 million on global sales of £291.5 million. Famous Grouse whisky contributed to that success and became the country's top-selling brand for the 27th consecutive year. The company is planning to expand production, which will be good news for the 500 workers in Glasgow. The industry's fastest bottling plant there already has 20 lines and produces 600 bottles of whisky a minute. There are plans to increase that to 800 bottles a minute, with most of them gift packs for the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blended range. 36 million bottles of Famous Grouse leave the Glasgow production lines each year and go to over 100 countries.
Scotland Online Now "brightsolid"The current trend for company names that have no capitals and are formed by merging two words together reared its ugly head again this week with the announcement that long-stabllished IT service provider Scotland Online is to be rebranded as brightsolid.... In addition to being a service provider, the Dundee based company has expertise in the digitisation and management of records in the online family history market, having won the contract to digitise, license and publish the 1911 Census of England and Wales from the National Archives. It is also involved in the preparation and processing of the 2011 Scottish Census. Brightsolid also operates scotlandspeople.gov.uk, a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon.
Pringle of Italy?One of Scotland's iconic knitwear brands is likely to close its factory in Hawick, with the loss of 80 jobs. Instead, Pringle of Scotland will move its production to Italy. The company was taken over by Fang Brothers in 200 and they have invested £45 million in the brand, which has increased sales as a result. But last year the textile company lost £9 million and blamed the "changing nature" of the competitive market. Manufacturing costs in Italy would be 30% lower than in Scotland but the company's history in the Borders dates back to 1815. There were calls for the company to stop using the "Pringle of Scotland" marketing and change it to "Pringle of Italy". But the company's HQ and office staff will still be located in Hawick.
Racing Driver RetiresDavid Coulthard from Twynholm in Dumfries and Galloway has been racing for 25 years (he won the Scottish Junior Kart Championship in 1983) and at 37 he is now the oldest driver in Formula 1 motor racing. Now he has announced that he will retire at the end of this season. During his career in F1 racing, he has had 13 victories. He failed to become world F1 driving champion, in part due to his career being eclipsed by the dominance of Michael Schumacher. In 2001, Coulthard finished second to the German in the drivers' championship. The year before he had walked away from a plane crash in which the two pilots died. That event made him "refocus" his life. Now he is looking forward to continuing in motor racing - probably at the track side or as a consultant, though he says he hasn't yet hung up his helmet for the last time.
Here is the Scottish News - from LondonViewers of BBC Scotland's flagship evening news programme Reporting Scotland on Monday were surprised to find they were watching news from London instead. Presenter Jackie Bird apologised to viewers later, when a truncated ten-minute programme came on with just ten minutes to go. She explained that a fire alarm had gone off in the BBC Scotland building and it had to be evacuated. The Scottish production was forced off air for 20 minutes and the alternative news from the UK capital was slotted in to fill the gap. A spokesman afterwards said that with a live programme "such things happen."
Andy Murray Back in Top 10A fighting performance in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship has pushed Scottish tennis star Andy Murray into the top 10 in the world tennis rankings. He won through to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon with a surprising fight-back against Frenchman Richard Gasquet after losing the first two sets. He won the third on a tie-break and then cruised to victory in the last two sets, winning them 6-2, 6-4. He then met Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals - and was out-classed by the eventual winner of the Wimbledon singles title, losing 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours. Nadal was generous in victory, saying that Murray would be in the top five if he continued playing at the same standard.
"Buckie"Withdrawn from ExhibitionBuckfast Tonic Wine (often known as simply Buckfast or "Buckie" in Scotland), is a tonic wine produced by Buckfast Abbey in Devon, south west England. It has achieved a surprising level of popularity within working class communities in certain parts of Scotland (and Ireland) and in some areas is known as "Coatbridge Table Wine" after the North Lanarkshire town where it is popular. It is often regarded as the "drink of choice" by underage and anti-social youngsters because it provides a strong alcoholic effect for a low cost. In recent years politicians have singled it out for special attention, much to the displeasure of the producers. Now, after pressure from its distributors, a bottle of Buckfast has been withdrawn from an exhibition about Scottish life mounted by National Museums Scotland. It was argued by the company that displaying it beside high-strength lager, a drug resuscitation kit, a methadone leaflet and a blood-testing kit was "promoting the product irresponsibly."
June Weather in ScotlandWeather data for the month of June confirmed that it was a changeable month, with above average rainfall. The average temperature for the month was just 0.1C above the 1961-1990 average, with sunshine just 96% of the norm for the month. But rainfall was 128% of the long-tem average. Temperatures did reach 23.9C (75F) at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire early in June, but later in the month there was a touch of overnight frost in the Highlands with -2.3C (27.8F) being recorded. Around two inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Dumfries & Galloway on 22 June.
Recent Weather in Scotland
Another very changeable spell, with lots of cloud and some rain. This was mainly light but torrential rain hit Edinburgh a the south of Scotland on Wednesday, causing some localised flooding. The Western Isles got the best of any sunshine that was to be had - and that wasn't often. Maximum daytime temperatures hovered around 16/17C (61/63F) though Aberdeen reached only 12.2C (54F) on Thursday of this week while Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth reached over 20C (68F) on the Tuesday at the start of the period under review.
The illustration above is of a family of six young cygnets in (more or less) line astern formation. The youngsters are growing up fast!
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include:
~ Alstroemeria (also known as the Peruvian Lily) looking particularly striking against a blue sky;
~ Theatre Royal, Glasgow looking fresh and spruce after an external refurbishment;
~ Statue to the Duke of Wellington, again with a traffic cone on his head - said to highlight the Glaswegian sense of humour;
~ The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in Glasgow, built after the influx of Irish immigrants to Glasgow in the early 19th century;
~ Thalictrum, with its the mass of fluffy flowers on slender stems which can be up to five feet high;
~ A fox that likes to have a snooze in the sun on the grass in my back garden;
~ Brilliantly coloured Gazanias (also known as Treasure Flower), produced freely from mid-summer to mid autumn. That's a thumbnail of the Gazania here.
See This Week's Colour Supplement for all the illustrations.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Another World Heritage Site for ScotlandThe Antonine Wall, built by the Romans across central Scotland, from the river Clyde to the river Forth, isn't visible from orbiting spacecraft in the same way as the Great wall of China. Indeed, it's hard to even see the wall on the ground. But this week Unesco's world heritage committee put it in the same august category by putting it in the same league as the Great Wall in China and the pyramids of Egypt. The Antonine Wall runs for 37 miles from Bo'ness in West Lothian to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire (see map above). But unlike the stone-built Hadrian's wall further south (roughly along the border between Scotland and England) it was constructed of turf on a stone base. So much of it has been eroded and lost, leaving behind some ditches and a few bath houses used by the Roman garrison. The structure begun in 138 AD, during the reign of Antoninus Pius. It was designed to keep back marauding Caledonian tribesmen and marks the most northerly walled frontier of the Roman empire. A press conference was held this week at the well-preserved remains of a Roman bath-house and latrine, built in the 2nd century AD to serve a small fort in what is now Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire.
Ring of Brodgar to Reveal Its Secrets?A team of archaeologists and scientists, including experts from Orkney College, the University of The Highlands and Islands, Manchester University and Stirling University, are undertaking a month-long investigation programme at Orkney's Ring of Brodgar, one of Western Europe’s most impressive prehistoric sites. The third largest stone circle in the British Isles is part of ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ World Heritage Site, designated by UNESCO in 1999. Little is known about the ancient site, including its exact age and purpose. The last major study there was in the 1970s and analytical techniques such as dating have advanced considerably since then. Trenches dug in 1973 will be re-excavated and there will be geophysical surveys - at least 40 stones can be identified but there are spaces for 20 more and the investigations should reveal what is actually there beneath the ground as well as above.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- July 13 1249 - King Alexander III crowned at Scone July 14 1927 - Scottish National War Memorial opened.
- July 15 1889 - National Portrait Gallery for Scotland opened in Edinburgh.
- July 16 1328 - David II, son of Robert I (the Bruce) married Joan, sister of Edward III (he was 4, she was 7).
- July 16 1970 - 13th Commonwealth Games opened in Edinburgh.
- July 17 1695 - Bank of Scotland, first bank to be established by an Act of the Scottish Parliament, opened.
- July 18 1792 - John Paul Jones, naval hero of the American Revolution, died; he was born in Kircudbrightshire in 1747.
- July 19 1333 - Battle of Halidon Hill in which Sir Archibald Douglas (guardian of David II) routed by Edward Balliol and Edward III. Scots losses were nearly 600, English losses 14.
- July 20 1651 - Battle of Inverkeithing. Royalist force supporting Charles II failed to halt advance of army of Oliver Cromwell heading for Perth.
- July 21 1796 - Robert Burns dies in Dumfries, aged 37.
- July 22 1298 - The army of the English King Edward I, using longbows for the first time, defeated the Scots led by Sir William Wallace at Battle of Falkirk.
- July 23 1745 - Charles Edward Stuart landed on Eriskay at the start of the 1745 campaign. July 24 1567 - Mary Queen of Scots abdicated and the young James VI acceded to Scottish throne. The Earl of Mar was appointed regent.
- July 24 2002 - The Princess Royal formally opened the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Scotland's first national park.
- July 25 1394 - King James I born.
Military Tattoo Needs New GrandstandThe Edinburgh Military Tattoo needs to raise £15 million for a new grandstand if it is to survive into the next decade. The present structure dates from 1975 and holds 8,700 spectators. For the tenth year running, tickets have sold out as visitors from around the world are attracted to the spectacular event in its atmospheric amphitheatre in front of Edinburgh Castle. But the seating is cramped and it takes months for the grandstand to be erected and then taken down again each year. That is to the detriment of the castle itself - at the peak of the tourist season. Current plans would be for a grandstand that would have the same capacity as now, but with seats 35% larger - and capable of being put up and down much more quickly. So far, £3 million has been promised by Edinburgh City Council - it is estimated that the Tattoo contributes between £50 million and £80 million each year to the Scottish economy and the images shown round the world are worth £15 million in free advertising. The government's Scottish Enterprise agency is limiting its contribution to "advice" and says it is exploring funding options with the Tattoo organisers which include "sponsorship and commercialisation opportunities."
Glasgow River FestivalThe Glasgow "Fair" holiday weekend of 19th/20th July sees the return of the action packed Glasgow River Festival, which takes place around Glasgow Harbour, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and the Glasgow Science Centre. Last year there were over 85,000 spectators and the programme this year should attract even more. There will be demonstrations by the (very noisy but exciting) Jet Skis with stunts and races and at a more leisurely pace, there will be boat trips down the river. A large number of vessels will be moored at the river bank, including the Clyde Puffers "Vital Spark" and "Spartan". Visitors will also be able to go on-board the Loth Loriën schooner, two Royal Navy Hunt class minesweepers and the Jacinta, a Fleetwood trawler, which now acts as a floating museum of deep sea fisheries. And of course there is the "Great Glasgow Duck Race" - visitors can sponsor a plastic duck for £1, with the fastest duck winning its owner a prize. All proceeds will go to the Variety Club of Scotland.
HamewithRegular readers of this Newsletter will know that each issue includes a Scottish poem or song - the collection on the Rampant Scotland site now contains a total of nearly 650 of these. So it was a pleasure to find that a new edition of the poems of Charles Murray (1864-1941) has been created by Colin Milton on behalf of the Charles Murray Memorial Fund. Previous editions are out of print and this new volume not only includes all of Murray's poetry (covering some from his very first volume, which were not included in later collections) but also has an extended glossary and an explanation of many of the proper names and allusions in the poems. Colin Milton has written an extensive introduction and appreciation of Murray and his works and is also includes the introductions to the earlier editions as appendices. Charles Murray was born and raised in Alford in north east Scotland. He published his first volume of poetry in 1893 but it was his second volume "Hamewith" (Homewards) published in 1900 (and republished five times before his death) for which he is most remembered. It owed much to his thoughts as an expatriate and showed also his gentle humour. He served in the Armed Forces during the Second Boer War and the First World War and in 1917 produced a volume of poetry entitled "The Sough o' War" (The Sigh of War). When he retired in 1924, Murray returned to Scotland and settled in Banchory, not far from where he was raised. You can find a few of Murray's poems in the Rampant Scotland poetry section - and "Scotland Our Mither" is included in this week's newsletter (see Songs and Poems of Scotland section below). Copies of the new "Hamewith" collection are available at around £10 (plus p&p) from Colin Milton, the editor, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Movie Star Patron for Film FestivalSir Sean Connery is one of the honorary patrons of the Edinburgh Film Festival and at the end of this year's event at the end of June he introduced the latest honorary supporter - Scottish actor Robert Carlyle. The festival sees its patrons as important in maintaining the event's profile and network of contacts, drawing new films, stars and film-makers to the city. The Trainspotting star will join Connery alongside Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton. During the festival, Carlyle won its top performance award for his part as a dyslexic petrol station attendant in the film Summer and also appeared in another festival premiere - Stone of Destiny. This is the story of the 1950s theft of the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey and was Carlyle's first Scottish-based film for more than ten years.
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 the Brave
The international smash hit celebration of the best of Scottish music, song and dance - Scotland the Brave - is coming to the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand for two performances only on Saturday 19 July at 2pm and 8pm. This spectacular production features more than 100 performers, including the Vector Wellington Orchestra, the Orpheus Choir, City of Wellington pipe-band and drum corps, Highland dancers and Celtic fiddlers. The outstanding soloists include popular young tenor Greg Moore, who features on the bestselling DVD. Scotland the Brave delights audiences of all ages with superb arrangements of traditional Scottish favourites by acclaimed conductor Sean O'Boyle. Highlights include The Gael, Highland Cathedral, Amazing Grace, Annie Laurie, The Blue Bells of Scotland, A Brigadoon Medley, and the very popular sing-along to name just a few. Don't miss this great opportunity to don your tartans and relive the magic of the Highlands. For more information visit www.scotlandthebrave.ca.
Scottish Premier League TV DealThe Scottish Premier League has unveiled a new £125 million four-year television deal with Setanta Sports. That is more than double the present contract with the Irish-based broadcaster. The new deal covers the 2010/11 season through to the end of the 2013/14 campaign. 60 live games will be televised each season for subscribers in the UK and Ireland. All the cash received under the deal is distributed on the basis of 48% equal share and then the rest is split according to first and 12th in the league.
European Champions League DrawRangers will face either Andorra's Santa Coloma or Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas in their second round qualifying match in the European Champions League. Rangers previously met the Lithuanian champions in European competition in a Champions League qualifier in 2000, beating them 4-1 on aggregate. The first leg will be held at Ibrox on 29 or 30 July, with the return leg on 5 or 6 August.
Aberdeen v Manchester UnitedTo mark the 25th anniversary of Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983, Manchester United played the Dons at Pittodrie on Saturday. This year's Champions League winners are managed by Sir Alex Ferguson (see graphic) - who also took Aberdeen to their European trophy. The game ended in a 2-0 win for Manchester United.
Barclays Scottish Open GolfColin Montgomerie's hopes of qualifying to play in this year's Ryder Cup are almost gone after crashing out of the Scottish Open Championship at Loch Lomond this week. He started well with a 69 in the first round but he followed that with a 75 and missed the cut. Now, only a miracle performance at The Open at Royal Birkdale next week will allow him to scrape enough points to join the Ryder Cup team. Five Scots made the cut, including former Open champion Paul Lawrie. On Saturday, it was Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell who shot 66 to move to the top of the Scottish Open leaderboard with England's Simon Khan. They both have an overall score of 10 under. Overnight leader Angel Cabrera suffered a disastrous third round on Saturday, carding a 78 to fall eight shots behind the leaders.
Hearts Appoint New ManagerHeart of Midlothian football club announced this week that caretaker manager Stephen Frail had left the club "by mutual consent". A few days later, it was announced that they had appointed the Uganda coach Csaba Laszlo to take over to work with sport director Anatoly Korobochka on first-team matters. The 44-year-old former Ferencváros and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach has signed a three-year contract - though in the footballing world contracts are often only the basis of severance negotiations when the manager leaves. Hearts had been looking to appoint a manager for the last six months and finished a disappointing 8th in the Scottish Premier League. Laszlo has improved Nigeria's Fifa world rankings by 70 places - to 97th.
Annan Elected To Scottish LeagueThe vacant slot in the Scottish Football League caused by the demise of Gretna is to be filled by Annan Athletic, who were elected by the other 29 clubs. Annan, only eight miles along the road from Gretna, beat off competition from Cove Rangers, Edinburgh City, Preston Athletic and Spartans.
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 Place Names Around the World
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
As a result of feedback and further research the article on Scottish-related place names in Winnipeg, Manitoba has been expanded. Of the names of the 316 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Winnipeg, 95 (30.1%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of these names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 67 of them (21.2%) appear to have a unique connection with Scotland, whether directly or indirectly. Admittedly, these statistics may be a little inflated since several names are variations on a single name, for example the numerous neighbourhoods with Inkster, Kildonan or Transcona as part of their name. But judging purely by the names of its communities, neighbourhoods, highways, parks and reserves, Winnipeg is one of the Canadian cities (along with Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and Hamilton) where Scottish influences appear to have been particularly marked. Indeed, Winnipeg would seem to be the most 'Scottish' of all the Canadian cities, a legacy, perhaps, of Lord Selkirk's Red River Colony scheme and the large number of Scotsmen later employed by the railway companies. As with other cities in the western half of Canada, Scottish influences were often indirect since several pioneers whose ancestry was probably Scottish came from the eastern provinces of Canada. Nevertheless, Winnipeg's place names certainly illustrate the far-reaching effects of the Scottish diaspora of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. For all the details on Winnipeg's Scottish place names, see Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Did You Know?
Nicknames of Scottish Towns
It's a while since an addition has been made to the collection of miscellaneous items of information collected in the "Did You Know" section of the Rampant Scotland site. So here's a new list of the nicknames applied at times to a selection of Scottish cities and towns. In some cases, it's the residents rather than the town itself that carry the nickname. See Nicknames of Scottish Towns. If you have any additions to the list, drop an e-mail to Scottie@RampantScotland.com.
Scottish Poetry and Song
See the item in the Entertainment section above for news on a new edition of Charles Murray's poetry. Here is an example of his work, written as an expatriate in South Africa.
Scotland Our Mither
Scotland our Mither - this from your sons abroad,
Leavin' tracks on virgin veld that never kent a road,
Trekkin' on wi' weary feet, an' faces turned fae hame,
But lovin' aye the auld wife across the seas the same.
Scotland our Mither - we left your beildy bents
To hunt wi' hairy Esau, while Jacob kept the tents.
We've pree'd the pangs o' hunger, mair sorrow seen than mirth,
But never niffer'd, auld wife, our rightfu' pride o' birth.
Scotland our Mither - we sow, we plant, we till,
But plagues that passed o'er Egypt light here an' work their will.
They've harried barn an' basket till ruin claims us sure;
We'd better kept the auld craft an' herdit on the muir.
Scotland our Mither - we weary whiles an' tire;
When Bad Luck helps to outspan, Regret biggs up the fire;
But still the hope uphaulds us, tho' bitter now the blast,
That we'll win to the auld hame across the seas at last.
Scotland our Mither - we've bairns you've never seen -
Wee things that turn them northward when they kneel down at e'en;
They plead in childish whispers the Lord on high will be
A comfort to the auld wife - their granny o'er the sea.
Scotland our Mither - since first we left your side,
From Quilimane to Cape Town we've wandered far an' wide;
Yet aye from mining camp an' town, from koppie an' karoo,
Your sons richt kindly, auld wife, send hame their love to you.
Meaning of unusual words:
kent = knew
aye = always
beildy bents = sheltered hilly ground
pree'd = tasted
niffer'd = bartered
bairns = children
Straight Down the Middle An Aberdonian, an Edinburgher, a Dundonian and a Glaswegian were playing a foursome at the Killiecrankie Golf Course one Saturday morning and found themselves behind a particularly slow group of golfers ahead of them. The Aberdonian fumed, 'What's with those laddies? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!' The Dundonian agreed, saying 'I've never seen such poor golf!' The Edinburgher called out 'We should tell them to hurry up. After all, time is money' The Glaswegian, seeing the green keeper going past asked 'What's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?' Murdo the green keeper replied, 'Oh, yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.' The group fell silent for a moment. Then the Aberdonian said: 'That's so sad. I think I'll say a special prayer for them tonight.' The Dundonian agreed and added: 'I'll contact an ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything he can do for them.' The Edinburgher followed that up with 'I think I'll donate £10,000 to the fire-fighters in honour of these brave souls' The Glaswegian was thoughtful for a moment and then said: 'Why can't they play at night?'
Lachlan's Laws - # 69
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: "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression."
Geordie's grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. Now she's 97 years old and the family don't know where the blazes she is....
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Places to Visit>