10 September 2007

Scotophile Monday

Scotland Has a Government
When the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, the body which governed the country was named "Scottish Executive". It was argued that this would avoid any confusion with the UK-wide government in London. But since then, bodies such as the Welsh Assembly, which has far less powers than the equivalent in Scotland, has a "government". The term "Scottish Executive" is little understood by the "man (or woman) in the street" in Scotland and there have been suggestions in the past about abandoning it. Now, First Minister Alex Salmond has forged ahead and just changed the name to "Scottish Government". Read more

35% of Scots Favor Independence
The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) has often dismissed opinion polls which seek to measure how many Scots support independence from the UK. It is argued that the answer can often be swayed by the nature of the question being asked. So there was some interest in the latest opinion poll - which used the exact question floated in the SNP Executive's consultation on independence. Read more

Scottish Astronomers Help Google
Google Sky, which was launched recently to allow internet users to tour the night sky and see stunning pictures of a wide range of celestial objects, has been created with the help of astronomers at Edinburgh's Royal Observatory. Read more

Death of a Clan Chief
The Duke of Buccleuch, one of Scotland's biggest landowners and head of the Scott clan, died this week, after a short illness, aged 83. He had been confined to a wheelchair ever since a riding accident in the early 1970s and worked with various bodies on behalf of disabled people. Read more

This Week in Scottish History
September 9 1513 - James IV and the flower of Scotland's nobility were killed in battle at Flodden Field, near Branxton, in the English county of Northumberland.
September 9 1543 - Mary Queen of Scots crowned at Stirling Castle.
September 9 1935 - Benny Lynch won the World Flyweight boxing title, defeating Jackie Brown in 2 rounds.
September 9 1963 - Jim Clark became the (then) world's youngest F1 motor racing champion.
September 10 1771 - Birth of Mungo Park at Foulshiels, near Selkirk. He became an explorer and doctor who charted the course of the River Niger.
September 11 1297 - Battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace (as famously portrayed by Mel Gibson in "Braveheart") defeated Edward I.
September 11 1997 - Referendum on Devolution which approved the creation of a new Scottish Parliament by a substantial majority.
September 12 1715 - Jacobites defeated government forces at Battle of Sheriffmuir.
September 13 1644 - Battle of Aberdeen, in which the Marquis of Montrose captured the city.
September 13 1645 - Royalist troops under Marquis of Montrose defeated by Covenanters led by David Leslie at Battle of Philiphaugh.
September 13 1938 - John Smith, politician and at one time leader of the Labour Party, born at Dalmally, Argyll.
September 14 1402 - Scots led by 4th Earl of Douglas defeated at the Battle of Homildon Hill by English army led by Percy 'Hotspur'.
September 14 1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart, occupied Edinburgh.
September 15 - St Mirren Day (patron saint of Paisley).
September 15 1773 - The "Hector" from Loch Broom, near Ullapool, arrives at Pictou, Nova Scotia, carrying emigrants escaping from the "Clearances".

Forerunners to the Foreunners of NASCAR?
Glenlivet Distillery and the Crown Estate have combined to launch three historic walks in Speyside, using trails used to smuggle illicit whisky in days gone by. Read more

Castle Accommodations in Scotland
Stay in a Scottish Castle!

My Mantra Last Winter...
Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most other things.

Remembering the Heroes of Scots Literature
With the Edinburgh Book Festival becoming a distant memory, and three weeks before I go to the next one (in Wigtown at the end of the month), it was a pleasure to get back to reading some books. The August guilt-pile was threatening to become higher than the bed and ziggurats of catch-up classics had buried my computer. Fun though it is to hear the particular timbre of an author's voice and hear some well-rehearsed off-the-cuff anecdotes, you can't beat the page. Read more

Scottish Blog of the Week
Flying Cat - Orkney Island. The diary entries of a very intelligent cat indeed.

Highland Photo Gallery
Highland Lives

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