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Issue 75 - What I love about Scotland

Scotland Magazine Issue 75
June 2014


This article is 4 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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What I love about Scotland

A series in which well known individuals based around the world express their thoughts about the Scotland they know well

The beginning of my love affair with Scotland started in my childhood with frequent visits to the homes of my parents' families. Visits to my uncle's house in Wormit, Fife, had a big influence on my young mind as the remnants of the fallen Tay Bridge were visible from the windows, causing me to think that if one bridge could fall so could another.

This resulted in my refusal to travel over the River Tay to Dundee, but instead I got to know the village and the surrounding hills: the dawning of my appreciation for Scotland's glorious scenery.

Most importantly, I was introduced to two extended Scottish families whom I admired as well as liked – feelings that only grew as age and maturity advanced. In a post World War Two environment, it is perhaps also understandable that my early memories are always centered on food -– Scottish food.

It was in Wormit that my Aunt Agatha introduced me to Ginger Beer drunk out of a stone bottle with a metal hinged top, and to baps and mince. My mother's sister Mae introduced me to such Scottish breakfast delicacies as fried duck eggs with bacon and white pudding.

My father's oldest sister, Renie, married an Australian clergyman whom she met when he was serving as a Chaplain to the Australian Forces. He played county cricket in Australia and became a well-known force in Scottish cricket when he became Minister of a Church in Edinburgh.

My parents met and married in London but honeymooned in Scotland. Dad, an Aberdonian by birth, spent his working life in the Jute industry. My parents were extraordinarily powerful influences in my life. They were proud Scots who never lost touch with their heritage. Both exemplified that strong post-WW2 ethic of service to family, community and country. I inhaled the ethical nature of their behavior, their willingness to make commitments and carry them through, doing whatever they could to help others.

Fast forward to 1991, when I, along with other members, was asked to help save the American-Scottish Foundation. Reading that letter was the moment when my feelings about my Scottish heritage became clear and led to the Foundation moving into my business' premises, where it remains to this day, accommodated free of charge.

Three years later, I was asked to assume the role of President and my first initiative was a fund raising event for the Highland Fund.

I was introduced to Derek Reid, a former chief executive of the Scottish Tourist Board. He had purchased the Carloway Harris Tweed Mill located on Lewis and that introduction began my current association with the Harris Tweed industry.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton's intention, when he formed ASF in 1956, was to build pillars on both sides of the Atlantic to create a bridge to link America and Scotland. In realisation of that vision, the ASF, still headquartered in New York City with a long standing active group of Scottish friends, now has an office in Edinburgh, giving Scotland ready access to America and, conversely, America to Scotland.

Scotland enjoys cutting-edge technology in a variety of important areas and to that end, on 15th and 16th October, the ASF, in partnership with Chicago Scots and the Asia Scotlandnter Institute, is running the International Scottish Diaspora Conference: Forging Ties that Bind at the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland at Gogaburn.

The one commercial message of my story is that I hope readers will look at the Conference's website at to determine the benefits of either attending or participation in the accompanying webinar.

Author Biography

Alan Lind Bain was born of Scottish parentage in England. Having studied Law at Cambridge University and Columbia University Law School, he practiced at the New York State Bar before launching World-Wide Business Centres, Inc. in New York in 1970. In 1993, he became President of the American-Scottish Foundation and, in that capacity, collaborated with six other Scottish interest organizations in United States to form The Scottish Coalition, of which he is now President. He was also a major influence in creating National Tartan Day in America. In 1995, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.