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Issue 78 - Men In Kilts

Scotland Magazine Issue 78
December 2014


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Men In Kilts

Roddy Martine celebrates Hogmanay

I don't imagine that there was much to celebrate about the year 1715 in Scotland. The Jacobite Rising of three hundred years ago, a protest against the succession of the Protestant House of Hanover to the throne of England, and therefore Scotland, was pretty ruthlessly suppressed by the authorities both north and south of the border. But it nevertheless paved the way for the next unsuccessful revolt thirty years later and which provides the run-up plot of the Outlander series of novels, whose author Diana Gabaldon I talked to at the Edinbugrh Book Festival in August.

What was it, I asked her, that inspired a married mother of two from Flagstaff, Arizona, USA to write about Scotland?

“Men in kilts,” was her immediate response.

Enough said. The rest you will find on page 28.

However, as the old year passes relentlessly into the new year ahead of us, I suspect there will be a lot of kilts in evidence, not just in Scotland but wherever there is a good, old-style Hogmanay party in full swing. If my native cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are anything to go by, you can be sure that the festivities will continue, kilted or unkilted, well into the middle of January.

A few years ago, I was myself called upon to dress up in my kilt and first-foot the broadcaster Andrew Marr in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens for a BBC Hogmanay television special. In great excitement, I told all of my friends to watch out for me at the Bells. What I had not appreciated was that the programme was only being broadcast in England, Ireland and Wales. BBC Scotland had its own edition, so my friends in Scotland had to put up with Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain instead. It was their loss.

In this issue of Scotland Magazine, we are commemorating the centenary of the death of the Dunbar-born John Muir, the world's first great environmentalist. We set off on the first part of an 18th Century journey in the footsteps of the cantankerous Dr Samuel Johnson and his acolite James Boswell, and we explore the early life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, both before and after she became Queen of France.

The sensational Jupter Artland at Bonnington House on the outskirts of Edinburgh is our recommended visitor attraction, and we feature Loch Lomond and Dunbartonshire as our Regional Feature. To all our readers, A Good New Year to One and All. Let's make 2015 the greatest one yet, and if you are a Scotsman, don't forget to wear a kilt!