Virtual Glen Coe, Autumn Snow

Nov 19, 2016 by

 If you can’t get to Scotland this week, try virtual Glen Coe instead.

This new video takes a virtual tour of this stunning Highland wonderland:

THIS incredible video footage allows viewers to take a journey through virtual Glen Coe from the comfort of their own home. Filmed earlier this month, the five minute clip was shared on YouTube by Sky View Video.The company specialise in 360 degree videos from the ground and also from the air using drones.This was their first time … Continued

Source: VIDEO: Journey through Glen Coe captured on 360 degree camera – Sunday Post

 

 

virtualglencoewinter2016

2016: Autumn meets winter, looking into Glen Etive and the Glencoe Visitor Centre–Image via National Trust for Scotland Mountain Path Team

Another beautiful photo of snowy Glen Coe, November, 2016:

virtual glen coe

The road to Glen Etive, a snow covered Stob Dearg. Image via National Trust for Scotland Mountain Path Team

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To learn more about Glen Coe’s history, geology and conservation click HERE.

The link will take you to the National Trust for Scotland’s info page for Glen Coe, perhaps the most famous of all Scottish glens.

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Traditional Scottish Tablet

Oct 31, 2016 by

Oh, Scottish tablet! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

I’m waxing poetic about one of my favorite Scottish comfort foods: Scottish tablet.

Scottish tablet

                                                         Scottish tablet

It’s the grainy cousin of fudge and consists ALMOST ENTIRELY of sugar!

 

 

Scots Tablet differs from fudge in that it has a brittle, grainy texture, where fudge is much softer. Well-made tablet is a medium-hard confection, not as soft as fudge, but not as hard as hard candy.

Easy to make and easy to adapt with additions, like whisky, vanilla and/or nuts.

 

scottish tablet whisky

Click HERE for a tablet recipe with whisky

Eat tablet in wee pieces and the food guilt blues won’t hit you quite so hard. 😉

You can buy traditional tablet online or at the local Tesco, but WHY?! It’s simple to whip up a batch in less than an hour, and homemade always tastes better.

 

Lee's Scottish Tablet Bar

     Lee’s Scottish Tablet Bar

 

 

Here’s a good video that explains how to make this traditional Scottish treat with just 3 ingredients:

Remember: Homemade Scottish tablet makes a terrific

Christmas gift, hint hint.

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Celtic Halloween Samhain

Oct 31, 2016 by

Have a Happy CELTIC Halloween!

Here are few memes and videos to get you into the spirit this Samhain eve.  Just be careful which spirits you let in the door on Celtic Halloween!

 

Celtic Halloween

Celtic Halloween, when the veil between worlds grows thin…

Celtic halloween witch

Beware the Celtic witch!

 

A history of Halloween in Ireland:

 

 

Make way for zombies from Wales! Welsh band Peasant’s King just released a tribute to the ultimate Halloween video, Michael Jackson’s Thriller–that  Danny has a dang good voice for a zombie:

 

 

 

Castle Ghosts of Ireland, an excellent BBC video, explores the bewitching castles of the Emerald Isle:

More castle ghosts for Celtic Halloween, rising out of Scotland’s bloody history:

Wales has its share of haunted castles, too:

For the ancient Celts, Samhain (sunset on October 31 through sunset on November 1) was a night when then the wall between our world and the Other World thinned, allowing their ancestors to walk among their descendants.

The thinning of the veil also allowed the fairies and fae to walk in the mortal world, though, so people took precautions to protect themselves. Guizing, or wearing masks to hide your identity, was one way to avoid the fairies.   Lighting bonfires, dancing, offering sacrifices from the harvest, all were ancient Celtic customs that have evolved over the centuries into the night we modern Celts now call Halloween.

As Loreena McKennitt sings, tonight is for fun, but also for remembering our Celtic past:

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Scottish Proverbs

Jan 31, 2016 by

Scottish Proverbs

Scottish proverbs often seem simplistic at first glance.

Behind the humble words, however, lies a wealth of wisdom and Celtic “can-do” attitude.

Here are a few of my favorite Gaelic Scottish proverbs:

Scottish proverbs

 

In other words, whatever is worth having will take effort to obtain.

There are many examples of how this Scottish proverb applies in life:

finding your soul mate, providing for yourself and your family, achieving Scotland’s freedom from English rule, to name just a few.

Scottish proverbs in Gaelic

This Scottish proverb speaks to the need to always be prepared

Invasion from England and Vikings was a constant threat to Scots for many hundreds of years.  Putting aside the sword for the plough could spell disaster for the clan. Generations later, the wisdom behind the words still rings true, and not just in military situations.

Scottish proverbs for love and romance

This Gaelic phrase is the Scottish proverb equivalent of saying that the course of true love never runs smooth

The illustration is from a 1906 childrens’ book of English history.  It depicts the sad parting of Flora MacDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he was fleeing the English after Culloden. The romance between Flora and Charles has been greatly embellished over time, and may never have happened at all.

Actual partings of loved ones, however, was a harsh reality for many Scottish Highlanders and Islanders over the centuries.  Whether their men left in search of jobs to earn desperately needed money, or were forcibly removed to an English prison, Scottish women knew well the heartache of separation.

For a fictionalized version of romantic Scottish misery, check out Outlander, the book, by Diana Gabaldon, or the cable series Outlander, based on Gabaldon’s books.

Of course, we all know that this Scottish proverb holds true in the modern world.  As the first proverb above implies, however, sometimes the reward is worth the risk.

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Jacobite Mansion Up For Sale

Oct 26, 2015 by

The recent listing of an 18th century Jacobite mansion presents a rare opportunity for Scottish history buffs.  If you have a yen to restore a secluded ruin that was a major center of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, and 150,000 pounds to spend, Grange House may be the fixer upper of your dreams.

 

 

“Grange House East Neuk, Fife, now stands as a secluded historic ruin – looking out across a local golf course and the Firth of Forth.

But 300 years ago the first Jacobite rebellion of 1715 was planned by royal usurper James Malcolm within its walls.

Malcolm built the home in 1708 – and used it as the base for a bloody attempt to replace King George I of Britain with the exiled monarch James VIII and III.

The rebellion failed – and the house was burnt into ruins in the years since – but now any history buff with £150,000 to spare can buy the historic ruins to return them to their former glory.”

Source: For sale: a fixer upper where a plot to overthrow the crown was hatched | Deadline News

 

The land on which Grange House sits was used by local nuns, between the 13th and 16th centuries, as a farm to grow food for the poor. James Malcolm purchased the land in 1708, building himself a grand–and heavily fortified– manor house.

“Fortified with a large surrounding wall on a high vantage point – and with a hidden secret chamber – it is now widely accepted that the house was built as a military base for his cause.

And it was within the walls of the house that the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 was planned to seize Scotland back from George I. The rebellion officially began in August of 1715 – when the banner of James was raised in Aberdeenshire.

By October the 20,000 Jacobites had taken all of Scotland north of the Firth of Forth – but after an indecisive and bloody battle at Sheriffmuir the rebellion lost its momentum and floundered.

After the rebellion many Jacobites were taken prisoner, tried for treason and sentenced to death, and Malcolm was forced to forfeit his possessions and his home to the crown.”

Source: For sale: a fixer upper where a plot to overthrow the crown was hatched | Deadline News

Restoration of the Jacobite mansion will require adherence to a strict set of regulations set by local authorities. Materials will have to be historically accurate and match the existing ruins of Grange house.

The rewards, however, are potentially great: a beautiful, historic piece of Scotland with a view of the Firth of Forth and enough stories to pass down for generations to come.

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Celtic Red Hair From Vikings?

Jun 11, 2015 by

If you have Scottish and/or Irish ancestry AND red hair, you probably also have VIKING ancestry, according to a new study.

The director for Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands says red hair is modern evidence of the influence of the ancient Vikings in Celtic lands.

Professor Donna Heddle is the director for both the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Nordic Studies. She is a leading expert on the Norse and has reached the conclusion that Scotland’s famous red hair is a vestige from the invading Vikings. If the compelling case which Heddle makes is true, it means the Vikings were very successful at spreading their DNA in this Northern kingdom.

Heddle explains that the perception that the invading Vikings were blond is a myth. The Vikings were likely red headed. Relatively few people in the world have red hair. Statistics are that only 0.6% of the population have that hair color. However, countries with the highest concentrations of red hair are all part of ancient Viking trading routes. Scandinavia, though long stereotyped for a high number blonds, has a high concentration of red haired people.

“The perception that the Norse were blond is nothing more than a prevalent myth,” she said. “Genetically speaking, the chances of them having blond hair weren’t that likely. The chances are that they would have had red hair. Interestingly, if you look at where red hair occurs in the world you can almost map it to Viking trading routes.”

Professor Heddle explains that in Ireland, the red hair concentrations are in the areas where the Vikings settled. She states that an observation of dispersal patterns shows a dark red spot in Scotland and a corresponding spot in Scandinavia. There is nothing similar to be found in Europe which lends further credence that the DNA gene for red hair had to have been imported from the Vikings and the Norse.

Source: Vikings Responsible for Scottish Red Hair Gene? | eCanadaNow

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Happy Scottish Easter!

Apr 5, 2015 by

Happy Scottish Easter!

The Highland Easter coos from the Isle of Skye are here to wish you A’ Chàisg sona, Easter greetings in Gàidhlig.

Happy Scottish easter in Gailidgh

Happy Scottish Easter from the Highland Easter Coos! Original Image via Bing

 

 

Madainn Th’air Eirigh (Morning has Broken), a Scottish Hymn for your Easter Sunday:

The words of this beautiful hymn were penned by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931, using a traditional Scottish Highlands melody known as “Bunessan“–the link takes you to a lovely harp version of the tune.  Although Morning Has Broken was made enormously popular by Cat Stevens in 1972, he did not write it. In fact, the hymn was published in 1931 in the hymnal “Songs of Praise”, and also published as a poem called “A Morning Song (for the First Day of Spring)” in a children’s poetry book published by Oxford University Press in 1957.

Happy scottish easter

The small village of Bunessan, on the Isle of Mull. Image by denisbin via Flickr

Bunessan is a small village on the Isle of Mull. Mary M. Macdonald (1789–1872), who lived in the nearby crofting community of Ardtun and who spoke only Gaelic, wrote her hymn “Leanabh an Aigh” to a traditional melody. When the words were later translated into English, the melody was named after the village by the translator, Lachlan Macbean. A monument to Mary Macdonald can be seen near the village, on the road towards Craignure, just after the Knockan crossroads. The ruins of the house she lived in are also nearby.

Sometime before 1927, Alexander Fraser heard the melody in the Scottish Highlands and wrote it down so that it came to the attention of Percy Dearmer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Martin Shaw. In turn, these editors of the hymnbook “Songs of Praise” requested Eleanor Farjeon to write a further hymn text to the tune.

Gàidhlig lyrics:

Madainn th’ air èirigh mar a’ chiad mhadainn,
Lòn-dubh ag èigheach mar a’ chiad eun.
Taing airson ceòlraidh is solas na maidne;
Taing son gach aon nì thig bho ar Dia.

Milis an ùr-fhras deàrrsadh sna speuran,
Mar an drùchd cùbhraidh air an fheur ùr;,
Taing airson mìlseachd dealtachd a’ ghàrraidh,
‘G èirigh mar spìosraidh far an tèid Thu.

Solas na grèine, solas na maidne,
‘S leam-sa gach solas bho thoiseach an t-saoghail;
Seinnibh le aoibhneas, molaibh gach madainn;
Dia ag ath-ghintinn gach latha as ùr..

English lyrics:

Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rains new fall sunlit from Heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation! Praise every morning
God’s re-creation of the new day.

A’ Chàisg sona!

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