June 2018 (Vol. 41, Number 12)
The Banner Says…
Scotland riding a wave of history
Most readers of the Scottish Banner live in places where something is considered old if it is not much more than a 100 years. Our new lands are full of tales of trials and tribulations as our ancestors began new lives in far off lands. However many of us live in lands which are considered “New World” in terms of development and progress and whose story is still very much unfolding.
This may be why so many of us are drawn to the story of Scotland with its rich and dynamic past and tales that date back much beyond our own stories. The history of Scotland is fascinating and often more dramatic than anything Hollywood could ever wish to script. There are multiple tales of gruesome warfare, harrowing events and struggles of power and wealth.
I recently spoke to a woman who was amazed that the hit TV show and bestselling book Outlander used real Scottish historical events throughout the story line. She was shocked this could even be possible and then realised this is Scotland we are talking about and sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. The “Outlander Effect” has today drawn thousands of people a year to Scotland to learn more about this historic nation. The benefits that Scotland’s history has brought to this modern nation is immense with both the tourism and film industries riding the wave.
Return to the Ridings
Scotland’s story, whilst not always pleasant, is so varied and unique it draws people to learn more, whether they be Scots or not. Scotland today champions its history with events year round that celebrate its past. This month for example the Scottish Borders begin an annual celebration which dates back to the 13th century. The Return to the Ridings can be traced to when the border badlands were in constant upheaval during the long wars with England and because of the tribal custom of plunder and cattle thieving, known as reiving (the ancient word for robbing) that was commonplace amongst the major Borders families. These colourful celebrations begin this month and run through to August across 11 towns across the Scottish Borders region. If you happen to be visiting the area try and check out one of Europe’s most unique events.
Of course this is just one example of just how the story of Scotland is being preserved by Scots. Today historians, governments and academics are working hard to keep the story of a nation alive and available to both the wider community and the next generation using modern technology to ensure an accurate recorded story can be told.
In this issue
The medieval history of Scotland is being told by the passionate members of the Clanranald Trust for Scotland at the fortified village of DunCarron. What began as a dream to tell the story of Scotland to the wider community, simply scribbled on a beermat in a Edinburgh pub, has grown to a venue which is being used by international film and television productions, and whose members have learned ancient techniques to tell Scotland’s story.
In a world of online shopping and flat pack furniture it is fascinating to hear of Scottish craftsmen using a 7,000 year old tree from the last ice age to make furniture. The Stone Age oak was protected by Scottish weather and cocooned by ancient peat bog and must make it one of the most unique options for furniture in the world.
The Battle of Culloden is an historical and defining moment in Scottish history. Few visit Culloden Moor outside of Inverness without feeling moved by the tale of tragedy and bloodshed. Today a new battle is taking place with those trying to protect this sacred land with the forces of modern expansion and developers wanting the land to build housing estates. I love the Highlands however I would not chose to live on a war grave and wonder what cost this form of progress will really be.
The Antonine Wall was built around AD142 in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. The Wall ran coast-to-coast across Scotland from the Clyde to the Firth of Forth. The Wall was the Roman Empire’s most northerly frontier and today is still revealing its secrets some 2000 years later.
Certainly a more modern look at Scottish social history would be our discussion with Edinburgh cabbie and photographer Ryan Wells. Ryan has taken his love of people and photography and combined them to create a unique glimpse at the lives of residents and visitors to Scotland’s ancient capital Edinburgh. I have never had a cabbie ask me for my photo and can only imagine the unique stories and connections that are made during these brief but fascinating interactions. Everyone has a story to tell and it is wonderful to see a project like this happen.
In high school I loved history and enjoyed learning about times past. However I did not realise history could be so exciting and impact todays current world. How you connect with the story of Scotland is up to you, we are thankful to hear from our readers that they learn so much about Scotland through our pages.
Scotland has so many tales to still tell and whether they are discovered by a popular TV show, delving into the treasure trove of research material available or simply visiting Scotland and learning about a local character along the way, there is much to discover. Scots are very proud of their story, bloods, guts and all. We are fortunate to have a connection to a country which has much to teach, tell and inspire us-historical Scotland!
Do you have a favourite piece of Scottish history? Share your story with us by email, post or at www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us