Editorial – The Scottish Banner Says….

April – 2022 (Vol. 45, Number 10)

Duncansby Head in Caithness. Photo: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

The Banner Says…

A Hope for Peace

Scotland is a nation with a long, complicated, proud, and harrowing conflict past. With key historical battles such as Flodden, Bannockburn, and Culloden just some examples of the conflicts which have been engrained into Scotland’s story by blood and honour. This month is the 276th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden which took place on 16 April 1746 on Drumossie Moor, located just outside of Inverness, and which saw nearly 1,500 men killed within one hour.

Perhaps one of Scotland’s most famous and poignant battles, this was the final stand of the Jacobites and is still the last battle to take place on either Scottish, or British, soil. I have walked Culloden Moor on a misty November day and felt very moved by the ground in which I stepped on, Culloden is also said by some to still have the souls and ghosts of the dead wander the moor which they fought so hard to protect and the battle itself is forever engrained in the history and psyche of Scotland today.

By World War 1 Scots had made a reputation for themselves on the battlefields of Europe and Scottish soldiers played a significant role in the war effort. German military nicknamed the Scots as ‘Die Damen aus der Hölle’ or Ladies from Hell, as kilted pipers led troops to the German trenches and were considered staunch and brave warriors. The bagpipes today can still be referred to as an ‘instrument of war’.

Scotland reacts to Ukraine

As the world watches the terrible events in Ukraine and witnesses war once again in Europe, Scotland has joined many other nations in doing what it can in support of the Ukrainian people. The Scottish Government has pledged so far over £16 million to Scottish organisations and charities to assist Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn nation. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced thousands of displaced Ukrainians are now coming to Scotland and said: “Over three million people have now fled the war in Ukraine, the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. Scotland is ready to play its part to offer safety and sanctuary to those forced to leave their homes because of Russia’s brutal invasion, and it is heartening to see preparations for increased support, advice and information already being put in place. We are determined to do everything in our power to give them the warmest welcome possible when people start to arrive.”

Councillors in Edinburgh are preparing to grant the most prestigious honour it can bestow to the Ukrainian President and the Mayor of Edinburgh’s twin city, Kyiv. In recognition of heroically standing by their country and their citizens to lead the fight against the invasion of Ukraine, Edinburgh City Council Leaders are seeking support to confer the Freedom of the City jointly to President Volodymyr Zelensky and Mayor Vitali Klitschko. The Freedom of the City is a tradition that dates back over 560 years to 1459, with Her Majesty The Queen and Olympian Sir Chris Hoy the only living individuals with the Scottish Capital’s freemanship. It can only be ‘bestowed upon those who are held in the highest esteem’. Some may not be aware that Edinburgh and Kyiv were twinned together back in 1989, in an agreement between the two historic capitals which was signed in Kyiv and done two years before Ukraine would leave the Soviet Union.

In Inverness the Highland Council also last month granted the Freedom of the Highlands to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy. In addition along with Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and regions across Scotland are helping to raise money for those impacted by the war in Ukraine.

In the issue

Scottish scenery is known the world over for its beauty, drama and diversity. Whether you are up in the Highlands, seeing it from the water or discovering the lowlands it is simply magic. I am very much a ‘travel junkie’ and love not just visiting Scotland but the great and wider world. Tourism has so many benefits to so many countries, including Scotland where it brings in (pre-pandemic) billions of pounds and supported hundreds of thousands of jobs. This month we are fortunate to speak to the Chairman of VisitScotland, Lord Thurso, on the forward-thinking initiatives Scotland is producing to sustain tourism for those of us visiting not only today, but well into the future.

Another battle that has an anniversary this month is the lesser-known Battle of Littleferry. The battle took place on April 15, 1746, during the Jacobite Rising in Sutherland, and just two days before the infamous Battle of Culloden. This month will see a Dedication Ceremony for a new Memorial Stone and also a Battle Trail launched.

Scottish landmarks that are lighting up in support

Along the Australian eastern seaboard many people have recently been ravaged by the horrendous impacts of flooding. Entire communities, businesses and people’s homes have been destroyed. This month we highlight the impacts this has had on the Lismore City Pipe Band, located in what many consider one of the hardest hit places during the flood. I know what an incredible fraternity pipe bands have, and whether you are a fellow player or simply just like so many of us a fan of pipes and drums, please consider helping out a part of our community in need.

This month across North America Scots will be celebrating Tartan Day on April 6th, when the historic document the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. The idea was born in Nova Scotia on the Canadian east coast in the 1980’s by passionate Scots who belonged to grass roots community organisations, like many Scottish Banner readers may do today. In fact, those that began the initiative were Scottish Banner readers, so congratulations on their foresight as it is now a continent-wide event with international reach. Wishing all our North American readers and friends a great celebration this month.

 

For those that follow us on social media (if you do not and have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, please do!) you will notice our pages have highlighted the many Scottish landmarks that are lighting up in support of Ukraine in a sea of yellow and blue, such as The Kelpies, Eilean Donan Castle, Greyfriars Bobby, The Wallace Monument and Marischal College just to name a few. It is heart-warming to see so many of Scotland’s key cultural locations lighting up in support during a very dark time in world history. I dearly hope however those lights can be turned off very soon, along with the sadness of war.

Do you have you any comments from the content in this month’s edition? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us

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