News

Your news and views

A selection of messages from our readers across the globe

We love hearing from our readers and receive too many letters to print them all! That’s why we’re bringing together the rest of our favourites on this page.

To send us your news and views, you can email editor@scotlandmag.com. Don’t forget to attach your holiday snaps too!

Eagle-eyed observations

My wife and I visited Blair Castle on our first trip to Scotland.  It was one of the first places we visited on the tour and it is beautiful. However, neither your article (Issue 110) nor any other I’ve read mentioned the most interesting things we noticed.

There is a long black powder rifle (the barrel itself could be six feet long) and two air rifles from the 18th century (I believe) hanging on the walls of the “armory”, the first room you enter in the castle.

Another interesting thing we found is in the art-covered stairwell.  As we were walking up that stairwell, something caught my eye. There is a painting of a gentleman who is cross-eyed there. When we entered the next room, I asked the tour guide who the cross-eyed gentleman was and why an artist would paint him with crossed eyes. I was the only person in our tour group who saw the painting. The answer she gave me, plus the information on the firearms in the entrance hall, might make for an interesting article in itself.

Thank you for a great magazine!

~Steve & Vicki Stec, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Clan omissions

Firstly a mention of how much my wife and I enjoy your publication especially in its latest format. It is beautiful and most professional.

In particular, May 2020 (Issue 109) is chock-a-block with fine pieces of writing, along with stunning and evocative photography. Some of our favorite places are featured, for example Glenfinnan, Inverary Castle, Burns country and Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Of concern was the absence in the list of clans for and against Bonnie Prince Charlie (p38) of the Great MacLeans of Duart, Coll and Tiree. The MacLean stone of memory lies on the battlefield at Culloden and history books record their loyalty to the lost cause. As a member of the clan, I would be remiss not to mention this omission.

By the way, Duart Castle would be a fine subject for a future article. Its multi-million-pound restoration is now close to completion.

Thank you for your hard work producing this quality magazine. We have just renewed our subscription for another year.

~ Alan Yorker, Decatur, Georgia, USA

I love the Scotland magazine- I only got it a few days ago and I have already devoured it! I read them from cover to cover!

I was wondering about the list of clans on p38 of Issue 109. It didn’t mention the MacLean clan. I do recall seeing a picture of a stone at Culloden with the name of Clan MacLean on it. Just wondering…!

~ Judy McLean, by email

Editor replies:

Our writer James Irvine Robertson tells me the Maclean omission simply comes down to a lack of space – the Frasers, Gordons and Grants weren’t mentioned either. You are quite right, the Macleans were at Culloden, though Irvine Robertson tells me that on the day they were actually combined with the Maclachlans under Lachlan Maclachlan of Castle Lachlan.

Tasteful tartan

Can you please tell me what tartan the bagpiper on the cover of Issue 110 is wearing?

~ Joan Elliot, by email

Editor replies

Thank you for your email. My resident clan expert believes it is an Erskine tartan.

Lighthouses and lifelong friends

My husband and I lived in Scotland the first year in which we were married – he did post-graduate work at St Andrews University and I taught at a school in Anstruther, a lovely coastal village 10 miles away. In the intervening 60 years, we have returned many times to visit our “Scottish family” and to hike or to drive around almost every corner of your wonderful country!

This photograph was taken early in the morning on Loch Fyne on the way to Islay. Three brothers of my husband’s McArthur ancestors built the lighthouse at McArthur Head, Islay, and one of their sons and his family moved to Canada in 1834.

We are grateful for Scotland magazine and cherish the memories it evokes. Do you think this pandemic might end in time for my husband to once again enjoy the British Open at St Andrews with his longtime Scottish buddies? If so, then I can walk the Coastal Path around Anstruther and Pittenweem!

Thank you for a fine magazine.

~ Joan and Bob Burrows, Vancouver, BC Canada

Following in ancestral footsteps

When I was 15 in 1971, my parents took me to Europe with them for a 3-week vacation. I was thrilled as I love to travel and have always been a history buff. We visited Edinburgh and stayed at a B&B there. I have wonderful memories of Scotland. I was aware that on my Dad’s side there was a strong Scottish and Irish connection, but little did I know at that time that there was a Scottish connection on my Mom’s side as well! If I’ve done my research correctly Robert the Bruce is an ancestor!

I retired at the end of January and was making plans for my future travels, one of which was going to be to Scotland… but then the pandemic happened. I will continue to do my family tree research so that when traveling is allowed again, I will be able to visit all the wonderful parts of Scotland and some ancestral areas as well. Your magazine is so interesting and a great inspiration for me.

~ Jennifer Ogg, by email

Seafaring memories

Good morning Sally,

Just like to thank you once more for the wonderful DVD of “Sir William”, Made in Scotland.

It turned back the clock for me, way back to the 1950’s and my days as an apprentice fitter with Barclay Curle & Co, in Whiteinch. In both episodes there was a view of the bow of the SS “Nevasa”, up there on the stocks in Barclay’s yard. I carefully scanned the crowd of workers but could not identify anyone I had worked with. It did however send me scurrying to my old photo album and there I was on the deck of the ship as it was getting ready to go out on trials, June 1956.

The years slipped away and I was back in the engine room and for a brief 10 minutes was given the controls of the starboard engine (under strict supervision I might add) as we made the runs up and down on the measured mile on the Forth of Clyde. Day two and the excitement was all over and it was back to the routine of the shipyard and being a landlubber again.

However, that was the start of my career and in 1958 my apprenticeship was over, I had done my five year “time”, with three days added on because I had been off sick, and a hand shake from my manager, Bob Jardine, and I was let loose into the world. I went off to join the Ben Line as a junior engineer on the “Ben Cleuch” in London.

Here I am in 2020 in Perth, Western Australia reminiscing on the tough old days of the shipyard, the good times and the not so good, and all the seafaring days that followed. I have spent these last few years in a number of volunteer roles ranging from volunteer crew on the replica sailing ship “Lady Nelson” in Hobart, relief engineer on the STS “Leeuwin” in Fremantle, guide on the replica sailing ship “Duyfken” in Fremantle and guide on the submarine HMAS “Ovens” at the Maritime Museum, Fremantle. Who said life is dull.

So I finished the last days of my apprenticeship on the “Clan Maciver” at the Greenock Dockyard in 1958 and here I am taking visitors around the “Ovens”, one of the Oberon class submarines built next door to Greenock at Scott’s shipyard.

The boy from Baldernock and later Bearsden goes walkabout…

Many, many thanks for the dvd and the book.

~ Norman Heath, by email

Dunnottar or “Our” Castle

There will be results from the combining of the magazines you had perhaps not anticipated. Eventually there will be fewer piles in my office waiting to be properly shelved.

I enjoyed the look and ‘feel’ of the current issue, excellent images and narratives leaving me wondering where to start. And I always enjoy seeing my name in print.

Scotland attached herself to me during my Navy days in the mid-70s. I always appreciate articles and images that rekindle the embers of so many great memories. This issue was no exception. I appreciated seeing the image of Dunnottar. We lived just down the road for several years. My girls thought it was “our” castle and were always disappointed to find other people there.

One of my favorite parts of Scottish Life, one that I hope you will consider retaining, is Kate Francis’ ‘Notes From The Isles.’ Kate made us feel at home in her neighborhood, she took us with her on journeys throughout her beautiful part of Scotland. She insisted we sit down at family dinners, allowed us to be a part of her visits with neighbours and share a cup of tea, or sometimes a wee dram. She shared her saddest moments. She made us a part of a time when the world was more caring. I very much appreciate being a part of her family and wouldn’t want to lose her.

~ Don Ukens, by email

Highlights and lowlights

I just received my first edition of Scotland magazine. I have to admit, at first I was very confused in receiving this as I have been a long time subscriber to Scottish Life magazine and wondered why I was receiving Scotland. I finally realized why after reading the Editor’s Letter that the various magazines, including my beloved Scottish Life, had merged.

At first I was apprehensive at losing one of my all-time favorite magazines. But so far, in reading some of the articles in the November 2020 edition, it does look like I will enjoy this magazine as well. I was also awestruck at one of the pictures, of the hills of the Red Cuillin on Skye, as I took a picture of this exact same view in 2005 when I went to Scotland on vacation (I have that picture framed beside my bed as I write this).

However, there is one thing in Scottish Life that I miss very much, probably the part I enjoyed the most in that magazine, and that was the numerous short stories in “Bens & Glens & Heroes, News of Interest to Scots”, and “Notebook, What’s New and Noteworthy”. I always enjoyed these short stories the most, and always read every one of these before diving into the longer stories in the magazine. I really hope that Scotland will continue that. There is a “News and Events” section, but with only two articles in this November 2020 edition, I am left wanting more.

Thank you.

~ David Guthrie, Goldsboro, NC, USA

Restoration ambition

A few years ago I came across Scotland in a bookshop here in Oslo, and as an expatriate Scot I have subscribed ever since. What I like is how the magazine showcases Scotland´s huge heritage of historic buildings and castles with great pictures. No small country can have so large a heritage.

There has recently been a proposal in the Scottish press to restore some neglected historic properties (of which there are hundreds) in order to establish a chain of historic hotels/inns along the lines of the Spanish paradores of which some readers will be familiar. If any country had the perfect ingredients it is Scotland. Scotland magazine´s coverage will do much to promote this idea.

~ Michael Fergus, Oslo, Norway

Editor replies:

The story Michael references was in the Sunday National on 15 November. If anyone would like to contact him about it, please drop a line to me at sally.coffey@chelseamagazines.com and I will pass on.

Remembering Culloden

As someone who has visited the Culloden battlefield I read with interest your article commemorating both the birth of Bonnie Prince Charlie on Dec 31, 1720 and the details of events leading up to that fateful day in 1745.

The sombre sadness of Culloden is indeed palpable and the subsequent “pacification” of the Highland clans is a shameful period of history. The:  killing of non-combatants; burning of settlements; confiscation of livestock and property; imprisonment of women; droves of people sent by ship to London for trial, will never be erased from history as long as there are publications like Scotland Magazine.  Thank you for keeping Scottish history alive.

~ Mary Anne Clarke, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

More on Margaret Drummond’s daughter

I really enjoyed the article on Margaret Drummond and her possible death by poison. What do you know about the daughter she had with James IV? What was her name and did she survive to adulthood?  I look forward to each new issue of the magazine.

~ Diane Skinner, Durango, Colorado

Writer, Suzanne Milne replies

After her mother’s death, Margaret was taken to Edinburgh Castle and was known as Lady Margaret. She was given over to the care of Sir Patrick Crichton and his wife, Katrine Turing. While there, she had attendants who were known as the Mores girls. They appear to have been of African lineage as their name seems to come from “blackamoor” which was used to describe anyone from Africa, at that time. They are not described as slaves but as personal servants.

Margaret married three times, firstly to John Gordon, son of the 3rd Earl of Huntly with whom she had two sons, after he died, she married Alexander Stewart and had one daughter to him. Her third marriage was to Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffray. They had five daughters.

On their marriage, James V made him Forester of the Royal Forest of Glenartney in Strathearn. In a charter, dated 1536, the king made Innerpeffray a free barony and Margaret is described as “sororis Regis” – sister of the king.

Scots soldiers

Please see [above] two articles – the Vietnam article mentioning me was in the Sunday Post in Edinburgh in 1967, the other is about my son, Peter Rosie Jr, when he was in the Black Watch. I spent 21 years in the US Army. I emigrated to the USA in 1959 when I was 18 years old. Before I emigrated, I was an apprentice cooper in Edinburgh, thinking I could finish my apprenticeship in the USA, but instead I joined the army and I never had it so good – 3 hots and a cot to this day. I don’t know how the Sunday Post got my info.

~ Peter Rosie Senior, San Antonio, Texas

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