Thursday, November 08, 2007

Christmas and New Year availability self catering Scotland, last minute bookings

If you want to find a self catering cottage in Scotland for Christmas and the New Year it is quite late. But we know of four of our friends with very good properties who have vacanies at the moment. Nov 8.

Try them at this page

Last minute availability for Xmas and the New Year self catering in Scotland


Sunday, November 04, 2007

If you have a Campbell name in McDonald country, take care

This tale is from Pokey Sue. She and her husband are coming back from the USA to Scotland next Spring. They used to live at Barcaldine, down the road a bit.

Sue has made a study to trace her husbands' forebears and we'll publish bits of it from time to time. She is married to a Campbell - read on.

Beware! This is a land where feelings can still run deep. Some may joke about your family connections but others may feel there will never be enough time to mend the old feuds. Our family name Campbell is famous or perhaps infamous for its involvement in the Glencoe Massacre of 1692.

Aware of this on our first trip to Scotland, we decided perhaps we should call ourselves the "Smythes" until we found out how far back someone might hold a grudge.

While waiting for a bus in Tyndrum, not far from Glencoe, two gentlemen emerged from the nearby pub, and while waiting with us asked our names and where we were from, bidding us welcome to their fair land. We said we were the Smythes from Maine. They shook our hands and wished us a good trip. “I’m a Macdonald myself. Glad yeere no’ one of those treacherous Campbells!” said one, and turned to spit emphatically, hitting the back of the bus with the last syllable.

Later at the Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Mrs. Pokey Sue "Smythe" crept by the reception desk at the hotel to snap a furtive photo of the sign that says “No Hawkers or Campbells” for the family album. Then she met Mr. "Smythe" for a nice pint at the Hiker’s Bar we enjoyed the beautiful green mountains around us. The site of the ancient massacre as it happens.

The libraries are wonderful for researching your Highland ancestors. You can use the internet right there for free if you are travelling, and the bookshelves are usually filled with lore from the area you are in. So if you are looking for a starting point, this is a great way to do it. It also answers questions from people about why are you here and what is it about the area that interests you? Someone might take a little more time to talk with you, as after all, you are maybe, a long lost relative!

Editors note.

Strange this antipathy towards the Campbells. I speak as an outsider with no axe to grind. The Campbells were winners throughout the ages, or at least they always joined the side that would win. The clan and its huge territories were built on this idea, so I suppose you could never quite trust your Campbell partners if they decided to switch sides.

By and large they joined the Royalists, and in general the Highland and Island clans were anti royalist.

The Campbells were on the side of Robert the Bruce, so this pitted them against the powerful Comyns. Thus at the Battle of Brander the Comyn kinsmen, the Mc Dougalls, lost their title as Lords of the Isles. That was a big come down. This in the early 14th century.

They had fights with everybody really, but then so did nearly all the other clans. The 17th century was one of the worst for clan battles. Campbells joined with the McDonalds to fight the Frasers at Loch Lochy in 1544. 130 years later they were set up by the government to take the blame for the dastardly Massacre of Glencoe. It was a vile crime, and the army was led by a Campbell, but there were few Clan Campbell soldiers. Most of the soldiers helped the McDonalds to escape, which is why only 39 out of 400 in the Glencoe area were killed.

Most of the Campbells were on the winning side against the Highlanders at the Battle of Culloden, the last land battle fought on British soil. But there were a few on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie.....just in case.

They are still in and around government, even to-day. Do we hear the name Menzies Campbell, and Alistair Campbell? There is a Campbell government in Vancouver to-day. Aileen Campbell is an Scottish National Party MSP in the Scottish parliament. In the Scottish Executive to-day there is a Neill Campbell, and Andrew Campbell, a Ruth Campbell, Colin Campbell, Joanne Campbell.

Who said "born to rule".....

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