For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

Electric Scotland News

I got this in from Clan Currie...
Hello Alastair,

We've got some news we'd like to spread across your fantastic network in this week's issue.

No One is Alone

Hurricane Harvey Relief Concert in Summit, NJ on Sunday, September 10 at 7PM.

Central Presbyterian Church
70 Maple Street
Summit, NJ 07901

Free admission – A free-will offering will be collected.

The Company (as of press time)

Rev. Stef and the Jubilation Gospel Choir
Vocalists Gillian Hassert and Wayne Mallette
Pipers from the Rampant Lion Pipe Band
The Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers
Composer/Guitarist Steve Gibb
Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Champion Calum Pasqua
Harpist Mia Theodoratus
Gaelic Singer John Grimaldi
Pianist Mark Yolleck

The concert will be cable/webcast via HomeTowne Television over Comcast and Verizon cable platforms and on the web at:

Help support Hurricane and Flood Relief efforts any way you can, visit:

You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.


I got a visit from Alan Cowie today from Lossiemouth in Scotland. He's the handicap secretary at the local golf course and also past captain of the club.

Alan Cowie

He's on holiday here in Canada and was on his way to Sarnia and Windsor so thought he'd drop in as he was passing. We had a good visit and and blether and he's promised to send me some pictures and othe rmaterial for the site when he gets home.

He also gave me a copy of the Moray Information Guide for 2016/17 which I've now scanned in to our Lossiemouth section at:

Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

GERS: Location, location, location
By David Comerford, Fraser of Allander Institute

Read more at:

SNP goes into the red as membership revenue has first drop
The SNP has seen its membership income fall for the first time this century in what opponents claim is another sign that enthusiasm for Nicola Sturgeon’s party is waning.

Read more at:

Scotland's Decision
I thought that I should make this pdf file available for historic reasons as it covered the main 16 questions that folk needed to understand to enable them vote with confidence

Read this at:

Britain's Decision
And likewise I thought I'd also make this pdf file available for the decision on whether to remain or leave the EU.

Read this at:

Named Persons to receive just a day of training
Scotland’s Named Persons are to be given just one day of training to prepare for making decisions about the future of other people’s children, an official document has revealed.

Read more at:

Queen opens new Queensferry Crossing
She was accompanied by Prince Philip as she cut the ribbon on the 1.35bn road bridge - exactly 53 years after she opened the Forth Road Bridge.

Read more at:

Scotland voted the most beautiful country in the world
Rough Guides, the leading publisher of travel and reference guides, tasked its readers to choose the top 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and Scotland came out on top, ahead of Canada and New Zealand.

Read more at:

Four ways in which the media distorts our EU negotiations
The quality of much of the media coverage of our negotiations with the EU Commission over how we leave the EU has been poor.

Read more at:

Double Fault
The bigger agenda behind the ruling party's fawning over celebrities.

Read more at:

Is it enough?
The SNP's attempt to recover lost political ground.

Read more at:

David Davis's opening statement on Brexit negotiations
Watch this video.

View at:

Nicola Sturgeon announces funding of Universal Basic Income trials
The Scottish Government will fund research into the concept of providing all citizens with a Universal Basic Income, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announed yesterday.

Read more at:

Another Example of Murphy's Flaw
A quick couple of observations on the specifics of Professor Richard Murphy's latest foray into the GERS debate.

Read more at:

Electric Canadian

A new research report from the Northern Policy Institute (NPI), a Canadian think-tank based in Ontario, has put forward an argument that Canada would benefit from a basic income guarantee.

Read more at:

History of the Canadian Film Industry
Added a page with links to a good history which you can read at:

Germany and Canada
Edited by Dr. Albert Stange (pdf)

Added a link to this book on our page at:

A Woman in Canada
By Mrs. George Cran (1910)

Read this book and enjoyed it so thought you might too and so make it available at:

Conrad Black
I've always had a lot of time for Conrad Black and so as he writes from Canada on a number of issues of interest from around the world I'm intending to include links to his writings for you to view.

The Enduring Assault on Our Society from Within

Electric Scotland

The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers
Or the Summer and Fall Campaign of the Army of the United States in Mexico - 1846; including Skirmishes with the Mexicans and an Accurate Detail of the Storming of Monterey; also the Daring Scouts at Buena Vista together with Anecdotes, Incidents, Descriptions of Country, and Sketches of the Lives of the Celebrated Partisan Chiefs, Hays, McCulloch and Walker by Samuel C. Reid, Jr. (1848)

You can read this at:

The Life of General, The Right Honouble Sir David Baird, Bart G.C.B. K.C. &c. &c.
In Two volumes

BAIRD, (the Right Honourable, General Sir) DAVID, a distinguished commander during the wars of the French Revolution, was the second surviving son of William Baird, Esq., heir, by settlement, of his second cousin Sir John Baird, of Newbyth, Bart. He entered the army, December 16, 1772, as an ensign in the 2nd foot, joined the regiment at Gibraltar, April 1773, and returned to Britain in 1776. Having been promoted to a lieutenancy in 1778, he immediately after obtained a company in the 73rd, a regiment then just raised by Lord Macleod, with which he sailed for India, and arrived at Madras, January 1780.

This young regiment was here at once ushered into the trying and hazardous scenes of the war against Hyder Ally, whom the English company had provoked by a shameful breach of faith into a hostility that threatened to overwhelm it. In July 1780, while the company, exclusive of Lord Macleod’s regiment, had only about 5,000 menunder arms, Hyder burst into the Carnatic with an army of 100,000 men, disciplined and commanded by French officers, and laid siege to Arcot, the capital of the only native prince friendly to the British. Sir Hector Munro, commander-in-chief of the Company’s troops, set out to relieve this city on the 25th of August, expecting to be joined on the 30th, by a large detachment then in the northern circars under Colonel Baillie. On learning this movement, Hyder left Arcot, and threw himself in the way of Colonel Baillie. In order to favour, if possible, the approach ofthis officer,Sir Hector Munro, on the 5th of September, changed his position a little, and advanced two miles on the Trepassore road, which brought him within a short distance from the enemy. Hyder then detached his brother-in-law, Meer Saib, with 8,000 horse, to attack Colonel Baillie, and afterwards an additional force of 6,000 infantry, 18,000 cavalry, and 12 pieces of cannon, under his son, the celebrated Tippoo. He at the same time made demonstrations on his front, to keep up the attention of Sir Hector and the main army. Baillie, though commanding no more than 2,000 Sepoys and a few European companies, gained a complete victory over the immense force sent against him, but at the same time sent word to Sir Hector, that, unless provision were made for accomplishing a junction, he must certainly be cut off. The commander-in-chief held a council of war, when it was determined at all hazards to send a reinforcement, for the purpose of achieving the relief of this gallant officer. A small force was selected, consisting principally of the grenadier and infantry companies of Lord Macleod’s regiment, which, having received strict injunctions as to the necessity of a secret and expeditious march, set off towards Colonel Baillie’s position, under the command of Colonel Fletcher and Captain Baird. Hyder Ally had secret intelligence of this movement, and sent a detachment to cut it off; but Colonel Fletcher and Captain Baird, having fortunately conceived some suspicion of their guides, suddenly altered their line of march, and were thereby enabled to gain their point. Hyder was determined that Colonel Baillie, with his friends, should not advance so safely to the main army. He therefore, with the most consummate ability, and under his own personal inspection, prepared an ambuscade at a particular pass through which they would have to march. This part of the road, he had occupied and enfiladed with several batteries of cannon, behind which lay large bodies of his best foot, while he himself, with almost his whole force, was ready to support the attack. While these real dispositions were made, a cloud of irregular cavalry was employed in several motions on the side of Conjeveram, in order to divert the attention of the English camp.

The morning of the 10th of September had scarcely dawned, when the silent and expectant enemy perceived Colonel Baillie’s little army advancing into the very toils planted to receive it. The ambuscade reserved their fire with admirable coolness and self-command, till the unhappy English were in the midst of them. The army marched in column. On a sudden, while in a narrow defile, a battery of twelve guns poured a storm of grape-shot into their right flank. The English faced about; another battery immediately opened on their rear. They had no alternative, therefore, but to advance; other batteries met them here likewise, and inless than half anhour, 57 pieces of cannon were so brought to bear on them as to penetrate into every part of the British line. By seven o’clock in the morning, the enemy poured down upon them in thousands, and everyEnglishman in the army was engaged. Captain Baird, at the head of his grenadiers, fought with the greatest heroism. Surrounded and attacked on all sides by 25,000 cavalry, by 30 regiments of Sepoy infantry, besides Hyder Ally’s European corps, and a numerous artillery playing upon them from all quarters within grape-shot distance, yet this heroic column stood firm and undaunted, alternately facing their enemies on every side of attack. The French officers in Hyder’s camp beheld the scene with astonishment, which was increased, when, in the midst of all this tumult and extreme peril, they saw the British grenadiers performing their evolutions with as much precision, coolness, and steadiness, as if under the eyes of a commander on a parade.

Colonels Baillie and Fletcher, and Captain Baird, had only ten pieces of cannon; but these were so excellently served,that they made great havoc amongst the enemy. At length, after a dubious contest of three hours (from six in the morning till nine,) victory began to declare for the English; the flower of the Mysore cavalry, after many bloody repulses, were at length entirely defeated with great slaughter, and the right wing, composed of Hyder’s best forces, wasthrown into disorder, and began to give way. Ryder himself was about to givethe orders for retreat, and the French officer who directed the artillery began to draw it off.

At this moment of exultation and triumph, when British valour was just about to reap that safety which it had so well fought for, there occurred an accident, which entirely altered the fortune of the day. The tumbrils containing the ammunition suddenly blew up, with two dreadful explosions, in the centre of the British line. The whole face of their column was laid open, and their artillery overturned and destroyed. The destruction of men was great, but the total lossof their ammunition was still more fatal to the survivors. Tippoo Saib, a worthy son of his martial father, instantly saw and seized the moment of advantage, and, without waiting for orders, fell with the utmost rapidity, at the head of the Mogul and Carnatic horse, into the broken square, which had not yet time in any degree to recover its form and order. This attack by the enemy’s cavalry being immediately seconded by the French corps, and by the firing line of infantry, determined at once the fate of our unfortunate army. After successive prodigies of valour, the brave Sepoys were almost to a man cut to pieces.

Colonels Baillie and Fletcher made one more desperate effort; they rallied the Europeans, and, under the fire of the whole artillery of the enemy, gained little eminence and formed themselves into a square. In this form, did this invincible band, though totally without ammunition, the officers fighting only with their swords, and the soldiers with their bare bayonets, resist and repulse the enemy in thirteen different attacks; until, at length, incapable of withstandingthe successive torrents of fresh troops which were continually pouring upon them, they were fairly borne down and trampled upon, many of them still continuing to fight under the very legs of the horses and elephants.
Out of about 4,000 Sepoys and 800 Europeans who had commenced the engagement, only about 200 of the latter survived. Colonel Fletcher was among the slain, and Captain Baird had wounds in four places. When he and Colonel Baillie, with other captive officers, were taken before Hyder Ally, the latter gentleman said to the barbarous chief, "Your son will inform you, that you owe the victory to our disaster, rather than to our defeat." Hyder angrily ordered them from his presence, and commanded them instantly to prison. The slaughter among the Mysore troops was very great, amounting, it is said, to three times the whole British army. When Sir Hector Munroe learned the unhappy fate of his detachment, he found it necessary to retreat to Madras.

Captain Baird, with the officers, remained in a dungeon in one of Hyder’s forts for three days and a half; he was chained by the leg to another prisoner as much of the slaughter in Hyder’s army was attributed to the grenadiers. At length, in July 1784, he was released, and joined his regiment at Arcot. In 1787, he removed with his regiment (now styled the 71st) to Bombay, and returned to Madras next year. On the 5th of June 1789, he received the majority of the 71st, and in October obtained leave of absence, and returned to Britain. In 1791, he returned as lieutenant-colonel of the 71st, and joined the army under the marquis Cornwallis. As commander of a brigade of Sepoys, he was present at the attack of a number of Droogs, or hill-forts, and at the siege of Seringapatam, in 1791 and 1792; and likewise at the storming of Tippoo Sultaun’s lines and camps in the island of Seringapatam. In 1793, he commanded a brigade of Europeans, and was present at the siege of Pondicherry. He received a colonelcy in 1795. In October 1797, he embarked at Madras with his regiment for Europe; in December, when he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, he was appointed Brigadier-general, and placed on that staff, in command of a brigade. June 18, 1798, he was appointed Major-general, and returned to the staff in India. In January 1799, he arrived at Madras, in command of two regiments of foot, together with the drafts of the 28th dragoons. May 4, he commanded the storming party at that distinguished action, the assault of Seringapatam; when, in requital of his brilliant services, he was presented by the army, through the Commander-in-chief, with the state sword of Tippoo Sultaun, and also with a dress-sword from the field-officers serving under his immediate command at the assault.

The eminent merit of Brigadier-general Baird was now fully known and acknowledged by the government at home. He was therefore, in 1800, appointed to the command of an expedition against Batavia, but which was afterwards sent to Egypt. He landed at Coseir in June, crossed the desert, and, embarking on the Nile, descended to Grand Cairo; whence he set out for Alexandria, which he reached a few days before it surrendered to General Hutchinson. Next year he led the Egyptian Indian army overland to India, where he was concerned in various military transactions. His services, however, being soon after superseded by Sir Arthur Wellesley (afterwards the illustrious protector of Europe), he sailed for Britain with his staff, March 1803, and after a tedious voyage, during which he was taken prisoner by a French privateer, but afterwards retaken, he arrived in England in November.

Sir David Baird was received at the British court with great distinction. In December, he received the royal permission to wear the Turkish order of the Crescent. In June, 1804, he received the honour of knighthood; and on the 18th of August following became a knight companion of the Bath. With the increased rank of Lieutenant-general, he commanded an expedition which sailed in October 1805, for the Cape of Good Hope. Landing there, January 6, 1806, he attacked and beat the Dutch army, and on the 18th received the surrender of the colony. Being recalled, he arrived in Britain, April 1807, and was shifted from the colonelcy of the 54th, which he had held for some years, to that of the 24th, and placed on the foreign staff under General Lord Cathcart. He commanded a division at the siege of Copenhagen, where he was twice slightly wounded; and returned with the army in November.

After a short period of service in Ireland, Sir David sailed in command of an armament of 10,000 men for Corunna, where he arrived in November 1808, and formed a junction with the army under General Sir John Moore. He commanded the first division of that army, and in the battle of Corunna, January 16, 1809, he lost his left arm.

By the death of Sir John Moore in this action, Sir David succeeded to the chief command, and had the honour of communicating intelligence of the victory to government. On this occasion, he received for the fourth time in his life the thanks of parliament, and, April 13, was created a baronet, with very honourable armorial bearings allusive to the transactions of his life. After this period, he never again appeared in active service. In 1810, he married Miss Preston Campbell, of Ferntower and Lochlane, Perthshire, by whom he left no issue. In 1814, he was promoted to the rank of General, and in 1819 became governor of Kinsale in Ireland, and in 1827, of Fort George in the north of Scotland. This brave veteran died at an advanced age, August 18, 1829, at his seat of Ferntower in Perthshire. His lady, who survived him till 1847, erected a monument to his memory on the top of a romantic hill, named Tom-na-chaistel, (i.e. the hill of the castle,) in the neighbourhood of Ferntower.

I have added a two volume account of his life which you can read at:

Clan Lachlan Association of Canada
Got in their Fall 2017 newsletter which you can read at:

Official Reports of Generals Johnstone and Beauregard
The Battle of Manassas, July 21st, 1861 and accounts of other battles.

You can read these which I've added ot our Scots in America section at:

The Story

Crofting Agriculture
Its practice in the West Highlands and Islands by F. Fraser Darling (1945)

One of the things which has struck me most in my efforts to make a good croft out of a derelict piece of ground has been that a croft is not a farm. We cannot look upon the many problems of the 2 to 10 acre croft in the same way that a farmer would see them. He cannot give individual attention to small areas of crops, for he is concerned with the balance of yield against available labour, the cost of labour and the quickness of getting certain agricultural operations done. He is coming to rely more and more on mechanical implements which need room to work and fairly wide-set rows, and which pay no attention to individual plants. A good farmer's crop yields are usually not the biggest he could possibly obtain, but the most profitable yields under the circumstances of markets, labour and time.

The crofter and his family represent a much larger unit of labour per acre than a farmer can muster. The crofter's task is to produce the largest possible yield from his very limited amount of arable land. What his methods may lack in speed they can make up in thoroughness. A croft raising the average yield or less of any crop cannot hope to hold its head above water. Doubtless this is why in recent years there has been a tendency on mainland crofting estates to unite the land of two or more crofts under one landholder. Such a practice may solve an immediate problem, but it does not maintain the dwindling population of the Highlands and Islands.

We have wide spaces in the Highlands for comparatively few people, though agriculturally we must compare the population with the amount of arable ground. The success of a croft as a home and a food-producing unit for the family depends on the ability of the ground to produce winter food as well as summer grazing. A full barn means the possibility of winter milk and a good stack of manure at the end of the winter. We cannot get winter eggs economically in the Highlands and Islands, but we can preserve them easily in summer when they are plentiful. A supply of milk and eggs through the winter alters the whole outlook of a crofter's household. For myself, I should add vegetables as well.

The West Highlands may be cursed by a prevalence of high winds and a high rainfall, but they are blest with a mild, soft climate. We can certainly grow cow food and a plentiful, varied quantity of vegetables for the table if we get our arable land into good heart. If we have not as big an acreage as we should like, we must achieve results by intensifying our methods of cultivation to increase the yield. That has been my policy on the small island of Tanera in the Summer Isles, though I have a long way to go yet before I have brought the ground to its full capabilities.

In these pages I shall try to explain the principles of putting land into good heart and of growing crops which suit our special conditions. I cannot hope to touch on everyone's particular problem, but, as in the past, shall try to answer by personal letters any queries sent to me. We have to evolve a husbandry suited to our conditions and climate, and as far as I can see such a husbandry will not be a slavish imitation of southern and eastern Scottish farming methods.

What, at present, have we got to sell from the West Highlands? The bulk of our exports is weaned lambs of not very good quality, but which do very well on the better ground of those who buy them ; weaned calves in autumn; lean stirks and newly-dropped calves in spring; a few cast ewes and a quantity of poor-quality wool. All these items are the rawest of raw materials giving low cash returns. If West Highland folk are to have their rightful share of some of the highly-processed goods which retail distribution puts before our generation, the Highlands must consider what finished goods they also can export, or how an increased flow of better quality raw materials can leave the glens and islands. The Outer Isles with their relatively dense population, confined largely to the Atlantic strip of machair or green ground overlying shell-sand, have solved the problem to some extent by producing a large quantity of a finished product—Harris Tweed. Shetland does the same with knitted goods and tweed. The best wools for these several finished products are certain types of those already grown in the Islands, but there is nothing like enough of such wools and there has to be considerable importation. Yet an increasing amount of poor Blackface wool is being produced in the Islands and has to be exported. The finishing of home-grown wools of suitable types is one way of increasing the cash income of crofting districts.

The second line of finished products will be in catering for the immense tourist traffic which will arise within the next few years. In the three- or four-months' season June to September, and the Easter holiday, there will be a great demand for fresh food—milk, butter, soft cheese, eggs, vegetables and soft fruit. At present these commodities are often sadly lacking, and we see crates of stuff coming into the West over a poor system of communications. The crofter's wife will in the future be taking summer guests into her house. Surely the rest of the family will find it a worthy and profitable occupation to grow that fresh food for the visitors.

It is not every croft that can grow vegetables and soft fruit profitably, but there are many thousands that can. I reckon we were at about the limit on Isle Tanera, a treeless windswept island open to the Minch and to the east winds as well. High winds would tear winter vegetables out of the ground at times and kill the new growth on black-currant and gooseberry bushes. The problems of shelter were considerable but not insoluble. The crops we have grown on Tanera have been well worth the effort, and we have had a constant succession of fresh vegetables through the year ; the soft fruit has kept us supplied with jam and bottled fruit, beside the amount eaten fresh.

This war has shown us that there are two kinds of capital, the one of money and the other of resources, and there can have been no doubt which was the most valuable, the 50 in the bank yielding 25s. a year, or the good cow and the place to keep her which that sum may have represented. The 25s. is a reduced interest facing increased prices and absence of the goods it might buy. The cow is constant and her produce will make healthy bodies to-day in a way money cannot do.

What we are seeking in the West Highlands and Islands are not necessarily big cash profits, but the good life, a satisfaction and content of being in the land we love. The good life means a cultural content of the mind as well, and I hold that physical surroundings of greenness, and healthy, thriving crops and animals are a necessity, if that content is to grow and be maintained in a rural community. Our heads may be above the clouds, but our feet are still on mother earth. The earth has to be tended with toil, love and wisdom if she is to give us our content. The toil and love I take for granted in Highland folk, and in this book we will keep to the subject of knowledge applied to the very distinct set of conditions found in the West Highlands and Islands.

What the future holds for the crofting West we do not know, but the portents are that much greater vigour will be shown in finding a solution of what is known as the Highland problem. We have yet to discover what will be the effects of a supply of fairly cheap hydroelectric power. There are those who doubt whether this power will ever reach the crofter in remote townships, but at this stage I do not think we have reason to doubt that a sincere effort will be made to provide electricity for the croft. If it does come, the possibilities of content in the crofting life will be greater. At present, where crofters burn only peat for cooking and warmth, an average of 15,000 peats is consumed in a year by a household of four persons. It takes a good man to keep up the rate of cutting 1000 peats a day—and as we know all too well, cutting is only the beginning of winning peats. Practically a month of the crofter's year is taken up by this task, and mostly at that dry time of year in spring when he should be working his ground and cleaning it. Electricity could well cut down the need for peats to one quarter and thus indirectly increase the agricultural and horticultural possibilities of the croft. Directly, it would lighten the woman's work in the home, economize food and produce by allowing cheap refrigeration, and make its contribution to the cultivation of certain food crops. These direct and indirect effects of electricity on crofting agriculture should be kept in mind by those who say it will never pay to carry electric power to the townships. After all, the bald economic point of view should not be the criterion, and, personally, I have faith that that cold and calculating attitude will not be brought to bear on the problem of enrichment of the crofting life.

You can read this book at: where you can also enjoy several old videos and other books.

And that's it for this week and I hope you all have a great weekend.