Scottish Snippets

22 March 2014

Number 656

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 style, there is now this regular update on the new and updated pages on the Rampant Scotland site including "Scottie's Photo Diary From Scotland".

HotTo receive a text version of this newsletter as a reminder to look at these Web pages when they are published, just send an e-mail to with "Subscribe Newsletter" in the subject line.

Hunt the Gowk - Scottish April Fool's Day

Dinna laugh, an' dinna smile
But hunt the gowk another mile.

There is a long tradition of telling lies and playing jokes on April 1st - but only up until noon. Here are some explanations for the origins of this tradition plus some recent examples of the media entering into the spirit of "April Fool" including a BBC news item about how the trees in Switzerland had produced a good harvest of spaghetti... See Hunt the Gowk


Here's the background and traditions of the festival of St Michael, the patron saint of sailors They include baking a Michael's Cake, which was made from oats, bere (a type of barley), and rye. See Michaelmas

Old Scottish Methods to Find Your Future Mate

If you are looking for your perfect mate here are some old Scottish customs that can assist you. See Old Scottish Methods to Find Your Future Mate

The Distillery Gardener

Not just a gardener but a photographer, guide and raconteur at Tormore Distillery on Speyside. See The Distillery Gardener


Coping with human and animal predators and learning to get things in perspective. See: Predators

Why Lighthouses?

Why lighthouses are so attractive to so many folk, including Sharma Krauskopf who eventually realised a dream to own a lighthouse keeper's cottage. See Why Lighthouses?

Saint Columba

Columba came to Scotland in 563 and may not have settled on Iona until the early 570s. He made one expedition, and perhaps more, up the Great Glen to the court of Bridei, King of the northern Picts. See: Saint Columba

Columba and Iona

Iona was the vital umbilical cord which linked the different parts of Columba's monastic empire. See: Columba and Iona

Graemsay (Hoy) Lighthouses

There are two lighthouses on Graemsay to help ships reach the anchorage at Scapa Flo from the west, Hoy High and Hoy Low. See Graemsay (Hoy) Lighthouses

Fair Isle North

Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom. There is a lighthouse at the north and south end of the island. It was one of the last of the Northern Lighthouse Board's stations to be automated (in 1983). See: Fair Isle North

Fair Isle South

Fair Isle the South (also known as Skaddan) has machinery and equipment almost identical to that at the North Light. A noticeable difference to the visitor, however, is that the height to the light from the ground is 73 feet - another 26 feet of stair-climbing against that required at the North Light. See: Fair Isle South

Tartan Day

Tartan Day in North America is celebrated in early April (and other dates in some other countries). The number of places running events does seem to be declining in recent years but there are still enthusiastic organisers who make the effort to celebrate Scottish culture on Tartan Day. Thanks to them and those who keep me informed, the list of events for 2014 has been updated. See Tartan Day

Great Places to Stay - Atholl Palace Spa Hotel, Pitlochry

Travel writer Vivien Devlin has been enjoying the delights of Pitlochry in the heart of the "Big Tree Country" in Perthshire. Vivien concludes that this fine historic Resort Hotel has certainly changed in design and hospitality since welcoming the first guests in 1878!. See: Great Places to Stay - Atholl Palace Spa Hotel, Pitlochry.

Next Newsletter

The next newsletter is scheduled for 5 April.

Yours aye


Previous editions of this Newsletter are available in an Archive. The Index to the other pages of the Rampant Scotland site is available here.

Separator line

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line