Scottish Memories - May 2007
CHIEL The memories man who really knows all about Scotland
Is the River Oykell a county border? Stretching more than 34 miles,the Oykell is the boundary between the counties of Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty. It flows from near Benmore to the Dornoch Firth at Bonar Bridge,passing through Loch Ailsh.
Strath Oykell in Sutherland looking towards Carbisdale Castle.
JUST FANC Y THAT Since 1959 the pipes and drums of the Black Wa tch had made a nnual tours of North America;and in 1963,despite pr otests by those of Irish descent who clai med the regiment were ‘imperiali st lackeys’,Pres ident Kennedy asked t hem to play on the south lawn of the White Ho use. Nine days later h e was assassinat ed and,at the r equest of his wi dow, the pipe major and eight pipers of the regiment led the funeral cortege to Washington Cathedral.
The Appin Hills from Barcaldine.
(All photographs by Dennis Hardley.)
FANCY THAT TOO!
Licences were granted in 1908 to fifty taxis by Glasgow magistrates,the
first in the city.Their fares were the same as those for horse-drawn cabs
which were a shilling for the first mile and sixpence for every additional
A winter view of Loch Tummel.
Where in the west Highlands is the area known as Appin? This district lies on the east side of Loch Linnhe in central Argyll and in the past was notorious as a hotbed of Jacobites.
‘‘‘WIT &WISDOM of an Unspeakable Scot ‘N Old age is fifteen years older than you are. N Love never rules out discipline.
N Loss is the basis of most news.
N Ignorance never made anything.
N If all the world is a stage,then most folk are just stagehands.
N The self-made person induces action on themselves rather than on outside events.
How large is the hydro scheme in Loch Tummel? This Perthshire stretch of water was enlarged by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board as part of the Tummel scheme. It is seven miles long and five miles wide and lies north west of Pitlochry.The River Tummel,issuing from Loch Rannoch,flows 29 miles before uniting with the Tay.
Scottish Memories MAY 2007 The Pink Sandstone Palace
Myra Douglasstrolls round what was once a fastness of her clan
Drumlanrig Castle is really more of a palace or at least a palatial mansion but it was built in the 17th century on a strategic site which always boasted a fortress of some kind from time immemorial near Thornhill in Dumfriesshire.This military vantage point was held for centuries by the ferocious Douglas clan who were one of the first bulwarks against English invasion from the ever restless south. Devoutly loyal to the Scottish Crown from the days of Robert the Bruce and the Wars of Independence onwards,a castle here was once a stronghold of the Black Douglas who died in Spain with Bruce’s embalmed heart in a silver casket, thrown at his Moorish attackers in defiance. The clan motto remains a defiant ‘Forward!’in memory of this act and the motif of the heart can be seen in various furnishings throughout the present castle, though ‘braveheart’which was in the last sentence shouted
by Sir James Douglas before his chivalric death, is thankfully missing from the decor. The old fortress was last sacked by the English in 1375, while ever loyal Douglas chieftains fell at the battles of Otterburn and Flodden defending their king to the last. So trusted were they,that when King James went down to the London court in 1603,he left the Douglases in charge of his northern kingdom. This continued for several generations and it was William,the 3rd Earl,who built the present baronial house in pink sandstone, complete with decorative gargoyles, soaring turrets and Corinthian pillars. William,through his various royal duties including Privy Counsellor, Lord Justice General,Lord High Treasurer and Governor of Edinburgh Castle, eventually was given the additional title of Duke of Queensberry
(whose ninth holder invented the famous boxing rules). William only spent one night in Drumlanrig,however,and returned to nearby Sanquhar Castle in Nithsdale which he deemed more comfortable. Bonnie Prince Charlie also only spent one night at Drumlanrig on his weary and doomed retreat north, while the degenerate ‘Old Q’- the 4th Earl - on his own particular rake’s progress vandalised the estate,including precious woodlands, to pay off drinking and gambling debts. When he thankfully died in 1810 the castle and grounds passed to the wealthier Dukes of Buccleuch who moved in with expensive art treasures,including paintings and furniture,and this aristocratic family have held the building,more peaceably than their often eccentric forebears,ever since.