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July 16th, 2010

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  • July 16th, 2010

    Electric Scotland News
    The Flag in the Wind
    The Complete Scotland
    Holiday Cottages
    The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
    Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire
    The Starling, A Scotch Story
    The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal
    Hector MacKinnon, A Memoir
    Chronicals of a Country Cobbler (New Book)
    John's Scottish Sing-Along
    Robert Burns Lives!
    The Celtic Magazine
    The Sneeze

    Electric Scotland News
    Still working on our Electric Scotland Community and have just added the latest update to the base program.

    We've identified a mod that seems to allow us to send out a full email newsletter to you. It seems to be a wee bit complex to setup but we're going to have a go. This is of course due to the feedback you sent me in where some of you would prefer to get the entire newsletter in an email.

    I might add however that you will need to be a member of our community to enable this option and so if you could get ready for this by registring as a member that would be great. If the system works then we'll be discontinuing this list.

    I might add that we're getting in some great messages into our community and they are well worth a read even if you only browse through as a guest. When you go into our forums you'll see an option under the menu bar for "New Posts" and that will let you see the messages that have come in since you were last on.

    Steve is trying out an ESPN ticker which updates all the time with scores for various sports. You'll find that at the foot of the page.

    We're aiming at adding a new radio feature where we can all get involved with setting it up... again this is good for the community as the community gets to add their own favourite radio stations and chat shows.

    We still don't have a resolution to our Postcard program but now hot on the trail and we hope to have this fixed by next week. The main issue is to do with having a correct license for our sendmail program as it is registered to a different server. We had emailed the company to get a new license but they weren't responding. BUt we heard from them today and it seems they did get our email but there replies were not getting through to us.

    The Facebook book connection is also still not working. I talked to Steve about this but he's a bit technical for me so I still don't quite understand the issue. It seemed like we need more members to sign up to our community through Facebook and when we get this minimum number of sign ups we can then apply for a key which will then enable it in our community. He had talked about the minimum figure being 5 and we seem to have that number so not sure what the next step is.

    We are also playing around with the Gallery options. We tried implementing the Photo Post program but that wouldn't let us add albums and it also looked somewhat complex to add new pictures. And so we decided to remove the program and are now looking for a way we can let everyone view the public albums.

    We're also hoping to add another University to our community and this time from Scotland.

    We now have 103 active members on the community so growing steadily. I will say some of our members are very active posters and there are some really excellent messages in there with some very good YouTube videos as back up. So do have a wee browse at

    Next week I'll be creating a regular column to tell you what is happening in the Community as it will no longer be "News".


    Might add I was back in London on Monday for a check on my eye and received some laser surgery which the surgeon says has now completed the work that needed done. I just need to check in with my local eye specialist in three months time.


    This week I have also done a lot of work on extracting stories from old issues of the Celtic Magazine for which see more below.

    Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section in our site menu and at

    This weeks issue is compiled by Ian Goldie.

    You can read his compilation at

    The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP diary entry for this week can be viewed at

    Should add that as Parliament is now on Summer break that we might not hear from Christina for a wee while.

    The Complete Scotland
    We've come to the end of this book for the time being as Alan is getting married and then off for an extended honeymoon. That means we'll need to wait until he returns.

    You can read what we have up to date at

    Holiday Cottages
    These are wee tourism articles. Got in this week...

    Scotland – The romantic destination of UK

    This can be read at

    The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
    Added Page 396, Dry Cell, Dry Cleaning, Drying, Dry Measure, Dry Mounting, Page 397, Dry Rot, Dubbin, Duchesse Cover, Ducks, Page 398, Ducks, Page 399, Ducks, Duck, Duck Board, Duffel Cloth, Dumb Bells, Dumb Crambo, Dumbness, Dumpie Fowl, Dumpling, Dundee Cake, Dungaree, Dunning. These can be read at

    Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire
    It's Records, Traditions, Inhabitants and Natural History with a Guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree and a Map and Illustrations" by John H. Dixon FSA Scot. published in 1886.

    We're onto Part II and added this week...

    Chapter XXI.—Alexander Grant, the Great Bard of Slaggan
    Chapter XXII.—John Mackenzie of the "Beauties."
    Chapter XXIII.—Living Gairloch Bards
    Chapter XXIV.—The Poolewe Artist
    Chapter XXV.—James Mackenzie's Gairloch Stories

    Part III.—Natural History of Gairloch

    Chapter I.—Physical Features

    Here is how Chapter XXII.—John Mackenzie of the "Beauties." starts...

    JOHN MACKENZIE, piper, poet, and author, is best remembered as having been the collector and editor of the work entitled the "Beauties of the Gaelic Language." He was born 17th July 1806, at Mellon Charles. He was the eldest son of "Alastair Og," who, like his father before him, was tacksman of all the lands on the north side of Loch Ewe belonging to the lairds of Gairloch. John Mackenzie's mother was Margaret, daughter of Mr Mackenzie of Badachro. On the father's side he was fifth in direct male descent from Alastair Cam, youngest son of Alastair Breac, fifth laird of Gairloch. He was educated primarily at home, afterwards at a small school on Isle Ewe, and finally at the parish school of Gairloch. From childhood he evinced a peculiar delight in reading, and especially devoted himself to the study of the songs and music of his native district. While -a mere child he made a fiddle for himself, and later on a set of bagpipes, using no other instrument or tool than his pocket-knife. He became an excellent piper, and could also play the piano, fiddle, flute, and several other instruments. His parents, seeing his skill •with his knife, apprenticed him to a travelling joiner named William Ross.

    During his travels with his master, John Mackenzie found congenial employment in noting down the Gaelic songs and tales floating among his countrymen. While executing some work at the manse of Oairloch he received a severe blow on the head, which for a time incapacitated him. On partially recovering he went to a carpenter at Conan Bridge to complete his apprenticeship, but he soon found that the injury to his head was of such a permanent character as to unfit him to pursue his trade further. Nor was he sorry to give up what was by no means congenial to his taste. He returned to Gairloch, and employed himself in collecting the poems of William Ross, most of which he obtained from Alexander Campbell. He spent twenty-one nights taking down Ross's poems from the lips of Alastair Buidhe. He seems from this time to have given himself up to literary work, and strenuously he laboured at it, spending some twelve years in travelling through the Highlands collecting materials for his great work the u Beauties of Gaelic Poetry."

    While thus travelling he procured a large list of subscribers for this work and other publications. In 1833 he left his native parish, and in the same year appeared "The Poems of William Ross, the Gairloch bard," with "The History of Mac Cruislig; a Highland Tale," in one volume; and several other works of minor importance. Within the year a second edition of Ross's poems was called for. In 1836 he obtained a situation as bookkeeper in the Glasgow University Print-ingoffice. The "Beauties" appeared in 1841. He disposed of the copyright for a mere trifle to a publishing firm in Glasgow, he himself engaging to superintend the work while passing through the press, a labour which undermined his never very robust constitution. His next work of importance was the "History of Prince Charles," in Gaelic, which was published by an Edinburgh firm. This was a translation, but poor John Mackenzie received very small remuneration for his skill and labour. The publication of these works brought him considerable fame in literary circles, and he soon after obtained an engagement with Messrs Maclachlan & Stewart, Edinburgh, at one pound per week. He produced for them translations into Gaelic of Baxter's "Call to the Unconverted;" Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," "Come and Welcome," "World to Come," "Grace Abounding," "Water of Life," and "Sighs from Hell;" as also, Dyer's "Christ's Famous Titles," and Guthrie's "Christian's Great Interest."

    John Mackenzie was also the author of the English-Gaelic part of the dictionary known as Mac Alpine's. He produced an enlarged edition of the poems of Duncan Ban Macintyre, and various other works. In all he composed, edited, or translated above thirty publications. His last completed work was "MacAlpine's Dictionary." In 1847 he issued a prospectus for an enlarged edition of the "Beauties." He was also the sub-editor of the Cuairtearnan Gleann; and he wrote some original Gaelic sermons, for Highland ministers who were too ignorant of the language to compose their own sermons in it. At the time of his death he was preparing a new edition of the Gaelic Bible, which he left in an incomplete state. Being in very weak health he returned in May 1848, after an absence of fourteen years, to his father's house at Kirkton, or Inverewe, where, after a lingering illness, he died on 19th August 1848, aged forty-two years. He was buried in the old chapel in the churchyard at Gairloch. Almost the whole population of the district attended the funeral.

    You can read the rest of this account at

    You can read all these chapters at

    The Starling, A Scotch Story
    By Normal MacLeod D.D. (1877)

    We've posted other books by this author and also a biography about him. He was a well know personality during his lifetime and also chaplan to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

    This week we've added the following chapters which now completes this book.

    Chapter XXVII
    The Sergeant's Sickness and his Sick-Nurse
    Chapter XXVIII
    Mr. Porteous visits the Sergeant
    Chapter XXIX
    The Minister Pure and Peaceable
    Chapter XXX
    "A Man's A Man For A' That"

    These chapters can be read at

    The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal
    This is the very first volume of this journal which I thought would make interesting reading. We've added more chapters this week...

    The Pass of Corryarrick
    Annual Meeting and Dinner
    Notes and Queries
    Ben Eighe and The Torridon Hills
    Across Braeriach and Cairn Toul on New Year's Day 1891

    These can be read at

    Hector MacKinnon, A Memoir
    By his wife (Martha Johnston [Adamson] MacKinnon) (1914)

    Continued to add chapters

    Chapter V - Campbeltown
    Chapter VI - Shettleston
    Chapter VII - Afterwards
    Chapter VIII - Flowers on his Grave


    Voices from Patmos
    The Life that is Life Indeed
    The Victory that Overcommeth

    You can read these chapters at

    Chronicals of a Country Cobbler
    By A Willock (1887)

    A new book we're starting on and here is the interesting Preface to read here...

    DEAR PUBLISHER,—YOU say you want a "Preface" for Roselty Ends. I am afraid you cannot get it. It is a difficult thing to write a Preface. An orthodox Preface usually explains the high moral purpose which the author had in view, or the circumstances under which the book was written. I do not claim a high moral purpose for the book, and if readers discover evidences of such in its pages, it is at their own risk, and I wash my hands of all responsibility. It would be unwise to assert that the book has been issued to fill the felt want of a thoroughly reliable technical dissertation on the important subject of leather, because readers would promptly find out that the book was not built that way. Rosetty Ends was not written to dispel the ennui of a sick-bed; it was not written to relieve the tedium of a number of snow-bound passengers on the Highland Railway; nor was it compiled to mitigate the monotony of the existence of the entombed victims of a coal-pit explosion, although it is humbly hoped that the book might be useful on such occasions. Had Rosetly Ends been written under so romantic circumstances as these, the public might have been glad to know it; but having no such sentimental apology for its existence, it may be better to face the reader without the usual "please-don't-kick" page.

    There are also a lot of interesting wee illustrations in this book which is why we decided to put it up as scanned images of the pages. We have the first two chapters up...

    Chapter I. —Crowdiehowe
    Chapter II.—The Luminous Coo

    You can read these at

    John's Scottish Sing-Along
    Added two Harry Lauder songs, 101. Flow'r O' The Heather and 102. That's The Reason Noo I Weer A Kilt. You can read these at

    Scottish Photography
    I got in a couple of articles about Scottish Photography from Michael Russell MSP which I posted in our Arts and Culture forum under "Scottish Photography" and "William Carrick". You can read these at

    Westcrowns Contracting Services Ltd.
    Got in some history of this Scottish company which you can read at

    Robert Burns Lives!
    By Frank Shaw

    On this website I have reviewed many books about Robert Burns and interviewed many authors as well. One such email interview was with Robert Crawford on his popular, best-selling and award-winning book, The Bard, Robert Burns, A Biography. In January of 2009 during a radio interview on WRFG (Celtic radio station in Atlanta), I predicted this book would become the definitive biography on Burns. The publication went on to win the famous Saltire Prize as the 2009 book of the year. I still hold to my prediction!

    Robert Burns Lives! has never evaluated a magazine in the past, so this will be our first such review. The above referenced email interview with Crawford was reprinted by an unusual and delightful Scottish magazine, The Drouth, meaning to “thirst” (drought) in their Autumn, 2009 issue, Solutions. Its meaning has appealed to me since last year when here in north Georgia we suffered the worst drought in a hundred years on Lake Lanier with lake levels over twenty feet below full pool.

    My wife and I now make our home on the lake. Last year, and even now, we check the lake level daily to see how much the Corps of Engineers pulls down our water supply to send downstream to Florida and Alabama. As a youth I walked behind a mule plowing in the black dirt of lower South Carolina and remember the never ending thirst and dust from working the dry fields of corn, cotton, and tobacco. One thing was for sure, the view behind a mule never changed! So I know a little about “thirst” and “drought” and they go hand in hand in this excellent publication.

    I met with Johnny Rodger and Mitchell Miller, the editors of The Drouth, at the Glasgow Hilton one evening during the summer of 2009 while on a trip to Scotland with my family to introduce our grandchildren, Ian and Stirling, to the auld country where our ancestors come from, namely the Isle of Jura. I sat in the spacious Hilton lobby that evening with these two young, energetic men filled with passion and love for literature, the arts, film, theatre, prose, independence and Robert Burns, and talked for a couple of hours about all things Scottish and enjoyed a glass or two of good cheer.

    You can read the rest of this article at

    The rest of Franks articles can be read at

    Celtic Magazine
    I've been working through old issues of the Celtic Magazine to extract articles of interest from them to put up on the site. Here is what I've extracted so far...

    Cluny MacPherson at Cluny Castle
    Here is how the account starts...

    HIGH up in Badenoch, nine miles from Kingussie, on a slight eminence on the right of the road leading to Fort-William, stands Cluny Castle, the residence of Cluny Macpherson of Cluny, Chief of Clan Chattan. It is a plain but substantial building, commanding a magnificent prospect. The situation and its surroundings are just such as a great Highland Chief would be expected to choose for his home retired, yet, for the district, central; the country subdued, open, and fertile in the immediate vicinity; but in the distance, on all sides, bold, majestic, grand, the Grampian range and the Cairngorms standing out in their magnificent "snow-capped towers," and forming a prominent and awe-inspiring scene.

    The furnishings warlike instruments, illustrative of the past: targets, battle-axes,
    claymores, swords, dirks, guns, pistols, old armour, banners, stag and rams' heads, wild cats, swans, foreign heads and birds, and numberless other trophies of the battle and the chase old relics and curiosities evidence the taste of its occupant and the warlike predilictions of the old cavalier race from which he sprang. The old Chief himself a well-knit, erect, sturdy Highlander, about the middle height, dressed in full Highland
    costume salutes you in the Gaelic vernacular of his ancestors, which he speaks with purity and ease. He begins to show signs of advancing years, but still looking twenty years younger than he really is. The natural affability and courteous ease of manner characteristic of him, in spite of an unconscious air of dignity of countenance and of motion, at once puts his visitor at perfect ease, who soon finds himself discoursing on old Highland feuds and clan battles which naturally lead up to the doings and history of the Eisings of the Fifteen and the Forty-five, in which his ancestors had taken such a prominent but unfortunate part.

    You can read the rest of this in a pdf file at

    Sir Kenneth S. MacKenzie of Gairloch, Bart.
    Here is how the account starts...

    WE expressed an intention some time ago to give a series of biographical portraits of our most distinguished living Highlanders, but as yet we have made little progress in that direction. We have already published a sketch of Cluny Macpherson of Cluny, a Conservative in politics, and one of the very best landlords and most enthusiastic and patriotic Highlanders in the country. We shall now proceed to say a little regarding the Gairloch Baronet, as good a Liberal as Cluny is a Conservative, and, in other respects, in the words of a leading Ross-shire gentleman and a true-blue Tory, who recently described Sir Kenneth to us as "as good a Highlander as ever stood in tartan". The Celtic Magazine takes no side in party politics, and never refers to them except in so far as they have a bearing on the position and necessities of our Highland countrymen; and any reference made here to the politics of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie and the contest in which he has so recently distinguished himself, must be held as applying only to the latter aspect of the question. For though those most intimately acquainted with him knew perfectly well that he possessed abilities above the average, as well as the other good qualities of a true Highland gentleman even in a higher degree, it was only during, and in consequence of, his late contest with Lochiel in the county of Inverness with a gentleman in respect of lineage, high character, and almost in ability, well worthy ol his lance that these qualities became widely known to the outside world.

    The reader need not at this date be informed of the high lineage of the Baronet of Gairloch, nor of the scions of the family who have distinguished themselves in their respective spheres in the various walks of life. The blood of the Bruce, of the old Earls of Ross, of the ancient Kings of Man, and of almost all the most ancient and distinguished of our Highland families, circulate in his veins. We know that some people consider good blood and lineage of little importance or value, though the very same people, regardless of consistency, will give fabulous prices for the lower animals, just in proportion to the length and purity of their pedigree. We do not by any means consider blue blood and high lineage all that can be desired, but when, as in the case of our present subject, these are combined with the nobler and best qualities of the heart and head, we are old-fashioned and sentimental enough to value them in a high degree.

    You can read the rest of this in a pdf file at

    Major-General Alexander Mackay MacKenzie
    Here is how the account starts...

    WE regret having to record the death, on the 27th May last, at 41 Queensborough Terrace, London, in his 53d year, of Major-General Alexander Mackay Mackenzie, only surviving son of the late Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Gruinard, scion of a family which has produced several distinguished officers. General Mackenzie's father was wounded in the neck, lost an eye, and had two horses killed under him in the Peninsula. His grandfather on the mother's side was Colonel Mackenzie of Lochend, a cadet of the family of Gairloch, and a distinguished soldier. John Mackenzie, V. of Gruinard, and uncle to Major-General Mackenzie, sold the property in 1795, to Henry Davidson of Tulloch, who re-sold it to Meyrick Bankcs of Letterewe, the present proprietor. Thus the later representatives of the family had to fight their way in the world, and honourably did they do it, maintaining the soldierly character of their ancestors. General Mackenzie obtained his commission as ensign on the 31st of May 1842. In 1843 and 1844 he served against the insurgents in Bundelcund, and on the 1st of December 1846 obtained his commission as a lieutenant. He commanded the 8th Irregular Cavalry at the mutiny of the native troops, at Bareilly, on the 31st May 1857. He tried hard to induce the regiment "a regiment," according to Colonel
    Malleson, "remarkable for their discipline and intelligence" to charge the guns, but failed in doing so. The regiment hitherto stood out loyally, and Captain Mackenzie had every confidence in them, even after the other regiments mutinied. He had previously been with them for several years, as adjutant and second in command. He was devoted to the regiment, gave to it his undivided care, and "was unsurpassed in all the qualities of a commanding officer."

    At ten o'clock on the morning of the 31st of May, it was reported to Captain Mackenzie by a Hindu Rissalder of his regiment, that some of the Hindus of his troop had heard the Sepoys of the 18th and 68th say that they intended to rise that day at eleven o'clock, and "to murder every European man, woman, and child in the place, seize the treasury, and open the jail." Eeports of the same kind had been circulated for a fortnight previously which turned out to be unfounded, and Captain Mackenzie did not, although he had some suspicions, implicitly believe that the danger was so near. He, however, took precautionary measures, and sent orders to his native Adjutant to warn the native officers commanding troops to be ready to turn out their men at a moment's notice. He at the same time wrote to Colonel Troup, the officer in command, informing him of the reports in circulation. He then ordered his own horse, Lieutenant Becher's, his second in command, and Dr Currie's to be saddled; breakfasted; and donned his uniform, so as to be ready, in any emergency, for immediate action. Scarcely had he done so, than Captain Brownlow rushed in to inform him that the row had already began. The reports of the battery guns and the discharge of musketry immediately confirmed the messenger. Colonel Troup came in. Captain Mackenzie mounted and rode down where his men were to turn them out.

    You can read the rest of this in a pdf file at

    Mary MacLeod of Marrig
    Or. How the Campbells went to Harris.

    A romantic story which can be read at

    Education of the Highlander
    By Professor Blackie (1877)

    Professor Blackie held the chair of Greek studies at Edinburgh University and almost single handed create the Chair of Celtic Studies. This means he is well able to tell the story of Highland education which is why I thought this would make an interesting read. A couple of these pages are quite faint but still readable.

    You can read this at

    Brigadier MacKintosh of Borlum
    Extracted this article from volume 2 of the Celtic Magazine which you can read at

    General Sir Alan Cameron K.C.B.
    Colonel 79th Cameron Highlanders. You can read this account at

    The Highland Ceilidh
    By Alastair Og and taken from issues of the Celtic Magazine.

    You can read this account at

    And here is a wee story to finish with...

    The Sneeze

    They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

    Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

    This class would NOT pray during the commencements, not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.

    The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

    The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation.

    A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

    All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED !!!!

    The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said,


    And he walked off the stage...

    The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval.

    Isn't this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends.........and


    This is a true story; it happened at Eastern Shore District High School in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia.

    And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


  • #2
    Re: July 16th, 2010

    I meant to mention this in the newsletter as having started to use the Google Chrome browser I have found a couple of problems...

    I discovered that going to John's Singalong page that when bringing up a song I couldn't hear the song. It works fine in IE 8 but no sound coming out using Chrome.

    The other issue I have is with pdf files. Some will view fine but others report an error viewing the document. The ones that reported an error I used IE 8 to see if they worked with their browser and they did.

    So two known issues with Chrome and lots of messages in their help center but no resolution as yet as far as I can see so just thought I'd let you know about these issues.



    • #3
      Re: July 16th, 2010

      I'm amazed! It must take a lot of time and effort to keep this resource going. Thanks to all of you who make it happen. I only wish I could find as good a resource on Ireland. As a Christian, I love the story at the end. Will the emailed news letter let us interact like this format does? Sorry if this question is posted in the wrong place. Once again thank you and God bless all of you who make this site work.


      • #4
        Re: July 16th, 2010

        Hi Thistle... thanks for the nice comments. I've been doing the newsletter for quite a few years now but it has evolved onto different platforms for one reason or another.

        I did a wee survey a few weeks back and quite a few asked if they could get the newsletter in their email box instead of a link to it in here. I'm trying to come up with a way to do that but if I can then it will be through here that you will need to sign up for it.

        In the event you want to reply to things in the newsletter then best if you do it in here. I've been finding it a problem in getting the email through to folk due to all the spam filters used by ISP's and also people's own filters and so it's become a real challenge to deliver it. I do by necessity add quite a few links to the various articles and I understand that is why it gets filtered out.

        You can subscribe to this forum and it will send you an email alert whenever I put up a new issue. The email supplies a link which will take you directly to the new issue and there is also a link to unsubscribe as well. The subscription link is at

        The default gives you a daily update but you can also select a weekly update if you wish.