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  1. #11
    Join Date
    3rd March 15
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    Estonia
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    Probably when I was about 6 or 7.

    Growing up in the industrial North, about mid way between Manchester and Liverpool about 1/3 of my classmates had obvious Scottish or Irish surnames, including a MacNab, a MacNaughten, a McKershaw, a MacMasters, a Monighan, a Ross, a Baxter and a couple of Websters. Even those without such an obvious connection seamed to have a Scottish or Irish granny (or both) tucked away somewhere. Our class teacher explored some of this heritage, we learned about history, some dialect differences and were encouraged to find out about our own heritage and bring in items from home with some connection with Scotland or Ireland (which in most cases involved begging or borrowing something from granny).

    This was reinforced by work trips with my dad to Glasgow (one of his colleagues gave me a clan map of Scotland which was one of my prized possessions as a kid) and family fishing trips to Loch Ken. Of course when Scotland qualified for the 1978 world cup (and England didn't) I was more than happy to join the "...march with Ally's army" and was over the moon when my dad turned up at the school gates with a Scotland shirt for me. I was 10 at time. The rest as they say...

    That said we knew a lot about the Scottish connection on my dad's side - but only recently discovered a connection a couple of generations back on my mother's side. Oddly enough this is to the same town as my paternal Gr. Mother is from. Whilst this link clearly had been forgotten it perhaps explains a couple of things like the family tradition on my mum's side for page boys to wear kilts at weddings and that since my uncles were small boys they always went on fishing trips to Loch Ken (close to Castle Douglas were my Gr, Gr Grandparents were from). It might also explain all the red hair on my mum's side!!

    I first wore a kilt in 1998 with strong encouragement from my girlfriend at the time. She was studying at the Royal Agricultural College and they had a number of formal balls during the year. Having seen a lot of kilts on show she "leaned on" me to embrace my heritage - her trump card was as I am qualified to play rugby for Scotland (although sadly not good enough), I am Scottish enough to wear a kilt. Fair enough - so I hired one and loved it - never looked back, especially as I look like I should be working the door when I'm in a DJ/Tux. My parents gave me the money for my first kilt (and jacket etc) when I qualified as a lawyer a couple of years later.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    31st July 20
    Location
    Puget Sound
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    When I was nine or ten my parents took me to see the Royal Highland Fusiliers. They bought me the record and I wore it out, playing it every day, over and over. My dad traded a rowboat for a set of bagpipes that belonged to a man on the island. There were a couple of pipers on the island at that time, so I started taking lessons from a man who had been taught by Bruce Gandy's father in British Columbia.
    Then came the "problem" of trying to discover my Scottish heritage. Great grandparents on both sides of my family came from Ireland, one from Clare and the other from Belfast. My surname comes from French Normans who settled in Devonshire, not Irish. My first time playing at a funeral was for a Seaforth Highlander who had fought in WWI. I was thirteen, I think. They put a red flag over his coffin, not the maple leaf flag. Modern genealogy research turned up Scotts and Hutchins, but primarily my Scottish identity comes from the community of pipe bands and a life long fascination with Scottish history and literature, and, of course, pipe music.
    Now I identify with my Scottish friends and the communities that I feel attached to, South Uist, Moidart, Edinburgh. I once met an American who is a direct descendent of a Highland chief (sorry, I forget which), with a genuine pedigree. I can't boast those kind of relations, but I try to make up for it by playing the pipes as well as I can and being as good a representative of the culture as I can.
    Last edited by gun eagal; 2nd August 20 at 09:59 AM.

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  4. #13
    Join Date
    1st February 15
    Location
    Wetlands of Norfolk UK
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    Gaelic certainly was not discouraged at sgoil in the Hebridies or Inverness by the 1970s. Both my brother who is fluent and my younger sister who has to stop and think about it, learnt their Gaidhlig at school. The children around me at sgiol all spoke the Gaidhlig. Me, I'm useless at languages and barely know the odd word of the Gaidhlig.

    The current loss of Gaidhlig is more to do with hundreds of English speaking TV channels, and only one fairly staid, Gaidhlig TV channel.

    As for kilts, Burns night at my sailing club in Norfolk about ten years ago, A kilt was always something that was something vastly expensive and unaffordable. It was only when I found I could a cheap Pakistan made kilt that I got one. I now have a proper woolen kilt in the family dress tartan.
    Last edited by The Q; 2nd August 20 at 12:27 AM.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

  5. #14
    Join Date
    23rd July 20
    Location
    Scotland
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    This is about The Gaelic language and the decline of it and it again being allowed in Schools in the 70s in The Hebrides, it wasn't to the 80s that Schools in Inverness started to use it.

    https://cranntara.scot/gaelic.htm


    Lots of other history on here.
    Last edited by MacDonald of Glencoe; 5th August 20 at 03:58 PM.
    If you don't know where you are going, any road would get you there.

  6. #15
    Join Date
    1st May 09
    Location
    Connecticut
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    I grew up knowing my ethnic mix and being an American it's a typical melting pot selection Scots, Irish, German, French and English. My Father had no interest in his heritage but I always identified with my Celtic roots. I finally asked my Grandfather "who was it that came from Scotland?" and to my surprise he said his parents. That made the connection to Scotland real to me. Other than my English/French ancestors the German and Irish also came at my greatgrand parent's generation. Around 1985 I attended my first Highland Games and enjoyed it. It took another 10 years and an invite from my son to attend the New Hampshire games and there they had an extensive Clan Village and the rest is history. Got a kilt and have been the Connecticut Donnachaidh Rep for 25 years. I been to Scotland 3 times and hope to visit again .

  7. #16
    Join Date
    5th August 20
    Location
    Scotland
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    Aged three to a family wedding

  8. #17
    Join Date
    3rd January 06
    Location
    Dorset, on the South coast of England
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    My fathers mother's family were Wilsons, small time farmers, farm labourers and engineers most likely displaced by sheep and came South looking for land to rent and work.

    They tended to the upkeep of steam engines, both static and mobile, and that is possibly how my father's parents encountered each other, as there was a saw mill steam engine minder on my dad's dad's side.

    When everything went somewhat awry in the family fortunes, and Granddad lost the lot, the family rallied around to some extent and when I went to a new school and needed non uniform clothes a couple of kilts materialised. Being branded posh and toffee nosed I learned how to punch and block - there was red in my hair in those days, and I did not back down. There were ambulances several times. Fortunately I got into cricket, and changed school, but there was still the DNA of a Viking berserker and bodyline bowling sometimes got me into trouble.

    When I left school the kilts got shorter, teamed with platform soled boots I was about 6ft tall and acted as backup bouncer and roadie for a folk duo/trio/going solo, depending on who had fallen out with who that week. I used a 650cc BSA motorbike with double adult Watsonian side car to shift the gear. There wasn't much money in that in the winter so I concentrated on making things to sell, caps, waistcoats and the like. In the summer I went sailing in the Solent and played my guitar at various spots along the coast. I still have a good number of Scottish songs and tunes in my repertoire, and play for dancing, but there is still no money in it.

    I do have some uncommon skills, such as the distillation of alcohol, a good knowledge of herbs both culinary and medicinal, and I can spin, weave, knit and knot, I know how to make a fair few garments in linen and cotton fabric, I learned a bit of spoken Welsh but can neither read nor write it.

    I can't run up mountains these days, and I usually stay out of trouble, I always wear kilts and other garments of my own making, but I still don't back down.

    Anne the Pleater.
    I presume to dictate to no man what he shall eat or drink or wherewithal he shall be clothed."
    -- The Hon. Stuart Ruaidri Erskine, The Kilt & How to Wear It, 1901.

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