Dapper Shetland Ponies

Jun 12, 2014 by

If you asked the average person on the street to name an icon of Scotland, you can bet your bucket of oats that the Shetland pony would be in the top five.  What’s not to love?  These sturdy natives of the Scottish isle are small, cute, and cuddly looking–oh, and they wear sweaters and dance, too.

Ponies Fivla and Vitamin in their custom made Shetland wool cardigans

Ponies Fivla and Vitamin in their custom made Shetland wool cardigans Source: VisitScotland.com

 

Visit Scotland made international stars of two Shetland ponies in 2013 when the national tourism group used Fivla and Vitamin in an ad campaign. The oversized jumpers, or sweaters as we call them here in the US, were handcrafted by Shetland knitter Doreen Brown and made of Shetland wool sheared from Shetland sheep.  The equine ambassadors from Scotland even attracted the attention of television news network CNN:

http://www.thv11.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2119250561001

 

As if the idea of Scottish ponies in sweaters wasn’t charming enough, a London ad agency took it to the next level by creating a 2013 video ad  for a UK mobile phone company, starring a dancing Shetland pony:

 

In describing the feel-good ad, the agency notes:

Shot against the dramatic backdrop of the Shetland Islands, the :60 spot follows the story of a stocky little pony. But this is no ordinary Shetland pony. With the scrape of a hoof and a flick of his Tina Turner-esque mane, he effortlessly moonwalks along to the sound of ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac.

 

Needless to say, the prancing Shetland pony went viral and has, to date, over nine million views on YouTube.

 

 

Scottish tourism officials are always working on new campaigns, but I’m not sure the Shetland ponies can be topped–unless someone can dress a Clydesdale in a kilt.

 

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Celtic–and Viking–Blood Runs in My Veins

Nov 14, 2013 by

Viking Jarl Squad at 2013 Up Helly Aa fest in Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland-(Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images) http://bit.ly/1hJ1CJT

Viking Jarl Squad at 2013 Up Helly Aa fest in Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland-(Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images) http://bit.ly/1hJ1CJT

I like Vikings. They haven’t always placed nice with us Celts, but they have certainly left their mark(and their DNA fingerprints) on Celtic life, history and culture. As many of you know, every Thursday(Thorsday), I try to post something about the Vikings. Why? Because of the connection between Vikings and Celts. Yes, there IS one, and I’ve talked about it many times since I began blogging about the Celtic nations.

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Some confusion remains, however, about the Viking-Celt link, so here are some basic truths as I see them:

1) Vikings had a significant physical, historical, and cultural effect on the Celtic nations, especially in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man(IOM), but to some degree in the other nations as well. Read back through my numerous posts here and on Facebook about this issue or google it, and you’ll get a wealth of info about the many ways our two cultures are linked.

2) The Celts existed BEFORE Viking invasions of the Celtic lands, thus we, as Celts, do NOT originate from the Scandinavian lands–we are of Indo-European origin.

3) As will happen when two cultures come in contact, Viking boy meets Celtic girl(or vice versa), willingly or not sometimes, and BAM! Lars yer uncle and CeltoVike tyke is born! He/she grows up in Scotland, Ireland, IOM or some other Celtic country and passes down that genetic heritage to YOU, beautiful Celtic people.

In modern terms, you MAY have DNA that connects you to both Celtic and Viking ancestors. Many of you have told me of just such DNA evidence in your family trees, which is consistent with what genetic researchers have found. Not everyone has Scandinavian DNA, but many do, including myself–I’m basically 3/4 Celt, 1/4 Viking, to put it in VERY simple terms. Again, read my previous blog or Facebook posts.

Viking Voyages and Territories in the Celtic Realm

Viking Voyages and Territories in the Celtic Realm

This map shows where the Northmen established solid control of certain territories(those areas are in bright green)–in Ireland, particularly around Dublin, in northern Scotland, in Shetland, Orkney and in Celtic France, near Normandy. The entire Isle of Man was ruled by Vikings for several hundred years, before being handed over to Scotland–IOM is too small to see clearly on the map.

The blue lines indicate known Viking voyages and trading routes–you can see that EVERY Celtic country was raided/visited/traded with by Vikings to some degree.

So, in light of the above, and because I am the monarch of this page(what do you mean, nobody told you?! It says it right up there, in the royal edicts) and because VIKINGS ARE AWESOME, I will continue to share my Viking fascination with you, fellow Celts. Even better, you can now impress friends and relatives with your knowledge about the Celtic-Viking connection, a bit of our rich heritage with which relatively few Celts are familiar. In return, they can toast you with a big horn of mead.

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Mar 17, 2013 by

Broch of Mousa is the finest preserved example of a broch or round tower in Shetland, Scotland. It is the tallest still standing in the world and amongst the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. It is thought to have been constructed circa 100 BC, one of 570 brochs built throughout Scotland. The site is managed by Historic Scotland.

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Feb 4, 2013 by

Otters, Shetland Islands, Scotland

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Feb 1, 2013 by

Walls village and marina, Westside, Shetland Islands

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