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.
Celtic shock and awe, using kilts, is usually a winning tactical move. Whether on ancient battlefields of old or in modern sports arenas, kilts have always provided maximum impact.
Shock and awe, Celtic style
Just how effective is this type of Scottish “regimental” campaign on the field of battle? William Lawson’s Scotch answers in a popular and funny video featuring a traditional Celtic war challenge in response to a Maori haka rugby dance:
That takes the Celtic intimidation factor to a whole ‘nuther level, ye ken.
Sunday mornings are perfect for having a leisurely breakfast in bed, especially when it’s brought to you by a Scottish Butler. I’m referring to Scotsman Gerard Butler, of course.
Just two sugars in my coffee, Ger, and a little maple syrup for my oatcakes, please.
We all know Scottish men can be charming, but are they also romantic? I’m not sure who wrote this silly love poem, but it may shed a wee bit of insight on what Scottish men consider “romantic” behavior.
It’s been a while since I’ve done an update here on the new Outlandercable series from Starz, so I thought we could all do with another attempt to keep up with the Frasers.
I won’t rehash all the basics, but for those who don’t know yet (been off the grid for awhile, aye?), Outlander is based on a series of best-selling novels by author Diana Gabaldon. It is a time travel/romance/historical fiction story set mostly in 18th century Scotland, and filmed almost entirely in 21st century Scotland. I’ve done several posts about the upcoming series–click HERE, HERE and HERE to read some of my previous posts about Jamie and Claire Fraser and the world of Outlander.
The first episode of Outlander is set to debut at 9PM on August 9, 2014, and the countdown is making more than few fans crazy with excitement. Starz has just released a new trailer (above), perhaps to help keep the shouts of “Are we there YET?!” to a low roar. There have also been additions to the “How To Speak Outlander” YouTube series, the newest being a Happy Birthday wish in Scots Gàidhlig from Sam Heughan:
In another installment, Dougal (Graham McTavish) and Colum (Gary Lewis) MacKenzie teach us how to shout the Mackenzie war cry,Tulach Àrd. It sounds a bit like “To the Car!”, which is a fitting battle cry if you’re on the way to attend an Outlander fan gathering, but not so much if you’re a member of an ancient Highland clan about to rout the bloody English army. Tulach Àrd is Gàidhlig for “High Hill” and refers to a mountain in the McKenzie clan heartland of Kintail, a region of the Northwest Highlands of Scotland.
Media coverage has greatly expanded in recent months, as news outlets see that global television executives are taking strongly positive views (i.e., putting their money where their mouths are) of Starz’s Outlander series. A recent article from TVWise predicts Outlander could be cable’s next global hit, and outlines five things driving the show’s success. The crazy-like-a-fox money analysts at The Motley Fool have also given a nod of approval to Outlander, noting that the show has an early August premier, which follows right on the heels of San Diego’s Comic-Con (a happy scheduling fact sure to give Outlander a tremendous publicity boost) and a large, worldwide fan base, all factors which give the show ” the ingredients to draw AMC or HBO-like numbers for an original series.”
According to Outlander TV News, always a great site for the latest Outlander news, the June 13th issue of Entertainment Weekly will feature a two page spread showing side-by-side comparisons between the scene from the book and the script for the scene in the TV series. Outlander Italy, another terrific fan page, has some scans (see above) of the article, with new photos of the love triangle at the center of the plot. Wowza!
The best way to pass the time til the premiere is by reading Diana Gabaldon’s newest book in the Outlander series, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, (referred to as MOBY by fans) due out June 10, 2014. You can pre-order the book in any available format HERE on Amazon. You can also read Diana’s thoughts about seeing–and hearing–the full Outlander Episode One for the first time by clicking HERE.
The bottom line, however, is this—we simply, frustratingly, must wait until the 9th of August. Like Jamie Fraser himself, Starz and Ron Moore mean to take their time about it, working hard to produce an adaptation of Outlander that is faithful to the spirit of the book, full of swash and buckle, and so visually stunning it will leave us all asking for more.
As a longtime fan of Outlander, I say that’s a verra good thing to wait for, ye ken.
Places To Visit Before Going Through The Stones~Sites I recommend to learn more or keep updated about Outlander, the book, the series and the fans:
I thought I’d give my Facebook followersa little fun by positing this simple question: Who wears the look best–Rob Roy in a kilt or Jamie Fraser in a kilt? The comparison was between the two pictures below–Rob (Liam Neeson) first, and Jamie (Sam Heughan) in the second picture.
Well, hoo whee, did that stir up the hens! Click HERE to read some of the comments.
Liam Neeson as Rob Roy MacGregor
Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
For those of you who have never heard of Jamie Fraser, some background is required. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, a Highland warrior, is the lead character in Diana Gabaldon’s novel Outlander, an historical romance set in Scotland in 1745 and right after World War II–yes, there is time travel involved, with ancient standing stones (not a blue police booth) as the portal. Diana added several subsequent novels to the series, which is extremely well written and chock full of historical facts and allusions.
You can buy any or all of Diana’s novels (in all formats) on my Amazon list of her novels by clicking here. It will be a good investment of both your time and money because the premium cable channel Starz is premiering the first season of Outlander, the TV adaptation of the novels ( filmed on location in beautiful Scotland) at 9PM on August 9, 2014. Starz has been given approval for a second season of Outlander, as well.
Think Game of Thrones, with a Scottish setting, and you’ll be close to visualizing the upcoming series that has fans shivering with antici…pation. Sam Heughan, a Scottish actor, has been chosen to play the critical role of Jamie Fraser, earning him thousands of devoted–and I do mean DEVOTED–fans throughout the social media universe.
Fans Reaction to Sam Heughan Tweeting the Word “Sassenach”
To be fair, Sam Heughan does look a bit more scruffy in his photo, but Starz has been dribbling out official photos of Jamie/Sam, releasing only a few of him in a kilt. Here’s one that was tweeted by a Starz employee–a cut out of Jamie in a kilt, looking like he just finished a battle:
Liam Neeson, from Northern Ireland, is a well-known actor, and is highly regarded for his portrayal of the famous Scottish figure, Rob Roy MacGregor. Liam also has a serious fan base and it’s easy (on the eyes) to see why:
Liam in the 1995 Film Rob Roy
But, clearly, there’s a new Scot in town, with dashing good looks, red hair and a kilt–in whatever shape– set on winning over more Sassenach wenches to the Fraser clan.
And in this instance, I’m thinking fans don’t want Jamie/Sam to take his time about it, aye?