30 March 2009

Celtophile Monday

This issue is in honor of Scottie, who after many, many years has had to suspend production of the amazing Rampant Scotland weekly newsletter due to health reasons. Thank you for providing such a valuable service, Scottie! Rest well and feel better.

Scottie was kind enough to pass along his list of online resources he used for the newsletter, so I will do my feeble best to glean interesting tibdbits as time permits. Enjoy!

Castle Figure Wins "Ghostly" Competition
An eerie picture of a figure in period costume at the window of a Scottish castle has won a competition to find the world's most convincing "ghostly image". The picture, taken in May 2008, appears to show a man or woman wearing a ruff, looking through a barred window at Tantallon Castle in North Berwick, East Lothian. No mannequins are used at the castle, and there are no costumed guides. Three photographic experts have confirmed that the photograph was not manipulated. Christopher Aitchison, a visitor who took the photograph said: "I was not aware of anyone or anything being present in my picture, only noticing the anomaly when I got home. I did not notice any nice old ladies wearing ruffs walking around the stairs!" Read More

First Ladies to Get Tweed Wraps
US President Barack Obama's wife Michelle and France's first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozi are to be presented with garments made from Harris Tweed. Wraps and scarves have been specially made for the two women and the other spouses of world leaders gathering in London for a G20 summit. Heriot-Watt University graduate Helen Finlayson, 22, was commissioned to design the pieces. They were made by Harris Tweed Hebrides on the Western Isles. The gifts were the idea of Chancellor Alistair Darling's wife Margaret. Read More

Nutt House Overrun by Squirrels
A woman in Northern Ireland says her home has been over-run by grey squirrels. Oonagh Nutt, from Moira in County Down, says the animals first came into her garden from an adjoining park six years ago, but in the last 18 months they got too close for comfort. "I thought it was lovely, I called one of them Hazel but then the next thing they'd got into the house," she said. Mrs Nutt says the squirrels have caused serious damage: "They chewed their way through my roof in several places, they tunnel through the cavity walls, they live under the floor boards, they go to the toilet in the attic. "Up close they are quite frightening - they look like puppy dogs with big hands, they growl and bark at you, they're vicious things. They'll go for you." Read More

Scotland in Pictures Last Week
Click Here

Footage Reveals U-Boat Secrets
Underwater footage from the wreck of a German U-boat sunk more than 90 years ago has been released. The vessel - the U-40 - was recently discovered by divers off the coast of Eyemouth in Berwickshire. It is thought to have been among the first to have been lured by a decoy trawler and then torpedoed by a British submarine during the First World War. It is the second such discovery in the waters off the Scottish Borders after a similar U-boat find in January 2008. The U-40 was discovered by a team of divers from Eyemouth-based Marine Quest about 40 miles off the Berwickshire coast. It was sunk on 23 June 1915 with the loss of 29 German sailors. According to Iain Easingwood of Marine Quest it took a lot of preparation to pinpoint the location of the U-boat. "Given the history and amazing story behind the U-40, this is probably our most significant find to date," he said. "There are so many other wrecks out there in the North Sea and we will be on the lookout for another exciting find." Click here for video

Satellite Tracks "Super Whoopers"
A project is under way to track the migration of 50 whooper swans from Britain to Iceland and back again. The birds have been fitted with GPS satellite transmitters in order to monitor their progress. A website has been set up to follow the journey from centres at Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway, Martin Mere in Lancashire and Welney in Norfolk. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust said it helped to build a "fascinating and complete picture" of the migration. See Satellite Tracking

Highlanders Celebrate Bridge's 200 Years
Europe’s last remaining private army went on the march at the weekend, to commemorate the bicentenary of a Perthshire bridge. The 100-strong Atholl Highlanders marched across the Telford Bridge, at Dunkeld, on Saturday. The 11th Duke of Atholl’s private regiment donned their full regalia for the occasion. Their presence was in honour of the fourth Duke of Atholl, who had provided financial assistance to see the bridge completed back in 1809. Until then, people at Dunkeld had relied on two treacherous ferries to cross the River Tay. Read More, See Pictures

24 March 2009

Celtophile Monday

Sit back, relax, close your eyes and enjoy the Scottish accents. On second thought, don't close your eyes, or you'll miss Gerard Butler eye candy!

Aaaaaand a bonus video:

16 March 2009

Celtophile Monday

Annual St. Patrick's Day edition! Enjoy!

Quote of the Week
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

Irish Recipes
Ireland's Eye

Pour The Perfect Pint
Three Sheets - Ireland

To Make You Wish You Were There
Ryan's Portfolio

Irish Music
Flogging Molly "Float"

A Not-Ugly American Explores Ireland

The rest of the episode:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Traditional Irish Coffee
Per serving:

  • 1-1/2 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 6 oz. strong, hot coffee
  • Whipping cream

    Pour boiling water into mugs to warm them.

    Whip the whipping cream just a little so it's slightly frothy.

    Discard hot water in mugs, add whiskey. Add hot coffee and brown sugar (leaving a little room on top for the cream), and stir to combine. Gently spoon cream over top. There's a trick to this to keep it from sinking to the bottom: invert a spoon close to the surface of the liquid and pour dollops of cream carefully over the curved back of the spoon. Serve immediately.

  • Irish History
    Irish History in Maps
    History of St. Patrick's Day
    Irish History Video Series

    What's Your Beer Personality?

    You Are Guinness

    You know beer well, and you'll only drink the best beers in the world.

    Watered down beers disgust you, as do the people who drink them.

    When you drink, you tend to become a bit of a know it all - especially about subjects you don't know well.

    But your friends tolerate your drunken ways, because you introduce them to the best beers around.

    15 March 2009

    How Irish Are You?

    You're 65% Irish

    You're very Irish, and most likely from Ireland.

    (And if you're not, you should be!)

    10 March 2009

    Salty Pyrate Love

    Thanks to SB Sarah for the link. WARNING: NSFW or drinking anything while viewing. Make sure you have the sound turned on!

    09 March 2009

    Celtophile Monday

    Welcome back after a bit of a break! All sources credited. Enjoy!

    Harris votes for national park status
    In an effort to stem the chronic depopulation of the island of Harris in the Western Isles, islanders have voted more than two to one in favour of asking the Scottish Government to designate their island as a national park. Having wrestled for ten years with plans to create Europe's largest coastal super quarry, the island now sees hope in conservation The aim is a park with "call-in" powers, similar to planning powers enjoyed by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Park A recent study has concluded that a national park would create 100 jobs, increase tourism and give access to new funding while providing new opportunities to conserve the Gaelic culture, but not restricting crofting. The population has been in decline since 1921 and now stands at just 1,800. 35% are over the age of 60 and school rolls have fallen from 179 in 1998 to 117 in 2007. The proposal will now go to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham who is likely to ask Scottish Natural Heritage to consult further.

    Scot of the Year
    Controversial entrepreneur Donald Trump was third in the annual "Scot of the Year" contest, which was announced on 25 January by London-based charity ScotsCare. But it was cyclist Chris Hoy who raced past everyone to win the honour. Hoy won three Olympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008, becoming Scotland's most successful Olympian, the first Briton to win three gold medals in a single Olympic games since1908, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time. the controversial second generation Scot, Donald Trump beat tennis star Andy Murray into fourth place.

    One Billion Trees
    Environment Minister Michael Russell has warned that the planting of trees in Scotland will have to double if the country is to meet its target of 25% of the land covered by woodland by 2050. He says that new land will be turned over to forestry, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, and native, mixed and soft wood plantations will bring significant environmental benefits. The Scottish Government is introducing a controversial expansion strategy which involves the lease of 25% of Forestry Commission woodland to the private sector for up to 75 years. The Minister argues that this will generate £200 million to help pay for the ambitious plans to expand the national forest. At the beginning of the last century, woodland cover in Scotland had declined to below 5%.- one of the lowest in Europe. The creation of a state afforestation programme in 1919 with the founding of the Forestry Commission produced a steady increase in the woodland area, but mainly through the creation of huge coniferous plantations. Today, Scotland's woodland cover is about 17%.

    Kelburn Castle Fire
    Kelburn Castle, overlooks the Firth of Clyde close to Largs, and is considered to be the oldest castle in Scotland continuously inhabited by one family. But more than 700 years of history was put at risk earlier this week when a smouldering electrical fault quickly turned into a full-scale fire. Initially, The young Viscount Kelburn and his father, the 10th earl of Glasgow, fought the blaze But they were forced back by smoke and had to wait until the local fire brigade arrived on the scene. The blaze was fortunately contained to one part of the castle. Kelburn Country Centre will be open as usual next week but it may be a while before tours of the castle resume.

    Curtains for President Obama
    A Scottish company is working flat out to complete an urgent order for material for curtains in the White House in Washington. America's new First Lady is making changes there. The high quality fabric is not tartan, however, and "doesn't scream Scotland" according to the company.

    New Footpath Proposed
    The Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perth has launched a campaign to establish a "Pilgrim's Way" footpath which would run from Iona (where St Columba established his first church in Scotland in 563 ) across to St Andrews That's its cathedral pictured here), named after Scotland's patron saint. St Andrews was once a major medieval pilgrimage centre. It is hoped that the "Pilgrim's Way would attract long-distance walkers as well as those making the trip because of the religious connections.

    Scottish Historical Events
    February 21 1952 - Identity cards, introduced at a wartime security measure, were abolished in Britain.
    February 22 1371 - David II died at Edinburgh Castle.
    February 23 1303 - Battle of Roslin in which a Scots army of 8,000, led by Sir Simon Fraser, Sinclair of Rosslyn and the Red Comyn, surprised an English army of 30,000 led by Sir John Seagrave and defeated them.
    February 24 1923 - Steam train, the "Flying Scotsman" went into service with London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), on the London (King's Cross) to Edinburgh route.
    February 24 1940 - Footballer Denis Law, who played for Manchester United and Scotland, born.
    February 26 1672 - Philip van der Straten, a Fleming, was granted Scots naturalisation and set up a factory in Kelso, thus starting the Border woollen industry. February 27 1545 - Battle of Ancrum Moor in which Scottish forces, led by Earl of Douglas, defeated an English army twice their size.
    February 28 1638 - Second National Covenant signed in Greyfriars Churchyard. March 1 1682 - The Advocate's Library (known as the National Library of Scotland since 1925) opened by its founder, Sir George Mackenzie, the Lord Advocate.
    March 2 1316 - King Robert II born in Paisley.
    March 3 1847 - Alexander Graham Bell born Edinburgh.
    March 4 1890 - Forth Rail Bridge opened by Prince of Wales.
    March 5 1323 - King David II born.
    March 5 1929 - David Dunbar Buick, founder of the Buick Manufacturing Company which later became General Motors, died in Detroit. He was born in Arbroath in 1854.
    March 6 1457 - King James II decreed in an Act of Parliament that there should be regular target practice and military parades and that "football and golf be utterly cried down and not used". This was the first time that the games had been mentioned in Scottish documents.
    March 7 1744 - The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers founded. The oldest golf club in the world, it produced thirteen "Rules of Golf" for its first competition which was played for the "Silver Club". (The first winner of the trophy only just escaped beheading for becoming Bonnie Prince Charlie's personal surgeon during the Jacobite Uprising the following year. The club played on the 5 holes at Leith Links for nearly a century.

    Whisky Galore - The Musical
    When the SS Politician ran aground on the Hebridean island of Little Todday with fifty thousand cases of whisky aboard, it prompted novelist Compton Mackenzie to write "Whisky Galore" about the efforts of the local islanders to save the whisky from the sea - and from the local customs and excise officers The book was turned into a comedy for the cinema under the title "Whisky Galore" (Known as "Tight Little Island in North America). Now the Pitlochry Festival Theatre is to include a musical version in its summer programme. The show mixes Western Isles song with 1940s big-band numbers and is the first time that the 50-year-old Pitlochry Festival Theatre has staged a musical. The producers hope that the show might go to London or even Broadway. It was first performed at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and received critical acclaim in a small church venue. The Pitlochry production will have a mock-up of the side of the ship on the stage. The stage version incorporates the book's references to the local religious divide, where Protestant and Catholic islanders differ on whether to salvage spirits from the ship on a Sunday. The film's marketing tagline was: "A Highland fling on a tight little island."

    Tartan Day 2009
    Once again, Tartan Day around 6 April is approaching, when Scottish culture is cerebrated in many parts of the world, in the United States in particular. Every year, I attempt to update the list of events associated with this on a dedicated Web page. If you know of any Tartan Day events in your part of the world, just drop a note of the details to Scottie@RampantScotland.com.

    Scottish Limericks
    There was a young lass from Dundee
    Whose knowledge of French was "Oui, Oui"
    When they asked "Parlez vous ? "
    She replied "Same to you"
    A fine bit of fast repartee.

    There was a young lady from Harris
    Whom nothing could ever embarrass
    'Til the salts that she shook
    In the bath that she took
    Turned out to be Plaster of Paris...

    Above items are from the RampantScotland.com newsletter.

    Wales Web Cams
    BBC Wales focuses its lenses on the wildlife, landscapes and castles of Wales. Click here!

    Walk Back in Time
    To really experience Wales, get out of the car and put your feet on the ground! Click here for a number of walking adventures that will take you back into Wales' rich history.

    Scottish Blog of the Week
    On This Day in Scottish History

    A to Z of Scottish Music
    Click here for an interesting compilation of the best of Scottish music today.

    Thanks for visiting! Tune in next week for the annual St. Patrick's Day edition. :)

    04 March 2009

    Thanks again for your support!!

    I'm pleased to announce WILDISH THINGS has won a Fantasm award, thanks to your votes! Thanks a million, everyone! [happy dancing]