Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oban has become University town. Good, really good news.

Picture taken of Dunstaffnage Castle last month by Dougie Lee. This is a truly important area in Scottish history. 

As of 2nd Feb 2011 Oban is a university town! The University of the Highlands and Islands has 13 colleges in the area including the world renowned Scottish Association of Marine Science. The Privy Council of the Scottish Parliament has decreed it so. There has been a sustained campaign for this ever since the 1960's.
This is real prestige for the town, and the University shows Scottish education at its best. Just by Dunstaffnage Castle is the truly famous Marine Science lab. Good news

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The unofficial Scottish tourist Board
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Thursday, February 24, 2011


Signal Rock by Damian Dude. His photostream.
The Signal rock is a prominent outcrop near the Clachaig Hotel. Legend has it that it was from this rock that the signal was given to the soldiers at 5.00 am on February 14th 1692 to start the Massacre of Glencoe. According to copies of the official enquiry documents, held at Glencoe cottages, it wasn't. By tradition, the rock was used for warning of danger, but by the MacDonalds themselves. That is another Massacre myth shattered.

The other myths, lying in ruins, are

1. It was a clan battle. It wasn't. It was an attack on the Clan ordered by the government and the order was reputedly signed by King William himself in London
2. It was the Campbells who did it. No, the Campbells were set up to take the blame. It was a Campbell regiment ordered to do it, the Argylls, and it was a drunken shambles of a Campbell ordered to lead it, Campbell of Glenlyon, who was desperate for money. One estimate has it that there were only 20 soldiers named Campbell in the attack. Actually most of the soldiers warned the families to get out as soon as they knew what theirs orders were, which is why so many escaped. 2 Campbell officers broke their swords rather than do it, a capital offence. They were not court martialled.
3. It was a Massacre. No, the definition of a massacre is a cruel killing of a large number of people. 39 people were killed, and cruelly killed, making it a dreadful atrocity, but the numbers do not add up to a Massacre. It was an attempted Massacre.

Here is the story from The Scotsman, published recently.

In the case of Glencoe there was a smoking gun. It came in the form of a paper trail which not only led back to the perpetrators of the massacre, but went straight to the top, linking them to the Stair, the Secretary of State for Scotland and even the King himself. It was sensational stuff, and it had the 17th-century equivalent of an investigative journalist to piece the clues together.

Charles Leslie was a pamphleteer, a Jacobite propagandist, based in London but with contacts in Edinburgh. He had picked up rumours about some form of government action in the Highlands, and when the troops who had taken part in it passed through the capital en route to Flanders, news about what had actually happened began to leak.

"... if M'Kean of Glencoe [the chief of the clan] can be well separated from the rest, it will be a proper vindication of the publick justice to extirpate that sept of thieves."

This was, in effect, attempted genocide. The orders not only bore Stair's name, but were signed by the King.

However much they might be brushed aside as Jacobite propaganda, they could not be ignored. Public pressure for a full inquiry became too great to resist, and, three years after the event, a full, official investigation was ordered. Campbell of Glenlyon was disgraced by its findings, and died in exile. Stair was implicated, and though he was cleared by the King, his reputation never recovered; the smoking gun had found its target. As Leslie concluded: "Qui Glencoat Glencoabitur." That is, "he who Glencoes, will himself be Glencoed." It is a thought that Tony Blair might ponder on.

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