Friday, November 12th, 2010
Harris Tweed is a luxurious staple that will always be in style. Islanders who live in the outer Hebrides of Scotland and use local wool to weave the cloth weave the fabric by hand. The original, traditional Harris Tweed was characterized by very subtle colors like deep red, purple brown and dark orange, accomplished with natural vegetable dyes.
Today, Harris Tweed is the only hand-woven textile that is sold in commercial quantities. Recent high profile manufacturers who have exported and used this beautiful cloth in a contemporary tweed collection include Nike, Alexander MacQueen, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. The fabric is considered the “champagne of fabrics”. While most of the production of this textile is manufactured for use in the clothing industry, Harris Tweed also supplied most of the interior fabrics for Glasglow’s first five-star hotel, called Blythswood Square, an incredible feat. (more…)
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
The history of the kilt is a thing tangled in myth, legend, pride and misconceptions. The kilt, the pride of the Scottish since the 1600’s, is also claimed to have originated in Ireland. And the man who claims credit for the creation of the kilt? A British man, Thomas Rawlinson, who lived near Inverness.
Did he create the kilt? Some Brits certainly claim he did. The reason? The average Scotsman was too poor to afford a pair of pants. The British then because outraged because the kilt caught on and gave the Scottish something unique when they were trying to force them to be like themselves. Though this account is interesting, it’s not entirely accurate. (more…)
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
Want to bring your loved ones something special from Scotland? Here are some suggestions of what you can buy.
T-shirts are always unique gift – if you don’t know the specific tastes of the person you’re buying the souvenir for, it might be the best choice, along with things like baseball caps.
Sporrans are small satchels carried in front of the kilt. The high quality ones can be a nice remind of the beautiful culture.
Kilts – the most traditional Scottish wear adorned with the famous tartan pattern is one of the most obvious gifts from the beautiful country.
Kilts come in many colours and lengths, also prices vary from a couple of dozens to even a couple of thousands of pounds. Here, an example of a nice, classic kilt and an option for ladies.
Small gadgets like mugs, funny egg cups or a Lone Piper figurine are always nice and do not cost much. There is a wide variety of these kind of small gifts available and they are always fun to have. (more…)
Monday, September 13th, 2010
Scotland has a history rich with a belief in family, community and loyalty. This full sense of belonging, that seems to be very lacking in today’s society, is drawing people all around the world to discover their clan and connect with a group that has outlasted wars, poverty, and modernization and still stands united.
As Scotland was settled, regions were created that had their own chief, castle and governing structure. Anyone living in the boundaries of the chief’s domain belonged to his clan. Time, battles, and politics altered borders, creating clans of several different families. Many of these families would change their names to reflect that of their clan Chief. Historically, these regions were signified by a particular tartan. By the late eighteenth century, the tartan specifically become a clan symbol. Only the clan chief could make a tartan pattern the official sign of the clan. (more…)
Saturday, August 21st, 2010
Up the river Perth there is an old abbey, surrounded by trees and partially overtaken by wild nature – it is the Scone Abbey, a historical place where Scottish kings were crowned with the help of the Stone of Scone. Now long gone from it’s original place of power, the Stone still holds a great meaning, even after 700 years.
A 14th century English cleric and historian Walter Hemingford writes:
“In the monastery of Scone, in the church of God, near to the high altar, is kept a large stone, hollowed out as a round chair, on which their kings were placed for their ordination, according to custom.”
The stone has many names. Coronation Stone, Stone of Destiny, as it is said that it was deciding if a person was worth to become a king of the Scots. Jacob’s Pillow Stone, for as the legend says, it had been used by Jacob as a pillow in Haran before it was transported to Syria and later to Spain. In Scottish Gaelic – Lia Fáil. Whatever name it was, the truth is that ever since Kenneth I every monarch of Scotland, England and later Great Britain had to sit on the stone during the coronation. (more…)
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Of all the Scottish pets you can’t imagine life without, collies and terriers are two of the favorites.
Collies are highly active working dogs bred with coats made to hold up to regional climates in rough and smooth haired varieties. Full-grown collies weigh 70 to 90 pounds, and vary in shades of golds and browns with white or black accents. Because of their size and physical energy, they require strong discipline to make suitable house pets.
Border collies and bearded collies are also very adept at herding livestock, and while good-natured, require a lot of space in which to roam.
Smaller collie varieties such as the Shetland sheepdog are recommended as better companions for smaller spaces. (more…)
Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Whether you are planning an adventure to travel to Scotland or you are interested in studying the history of the country, you will be fascinated by the legends and lore of Scotland. When researching Scottish legends, the first thing that most people think of is the Loch Ness Monster or William Wallace but the history of Scotland has produced some of the more interesting legends that people are not aware of.
The history of Halloween can be traced back to Scotland where it began as a religious celebration of the end of summer, called Samhain. Samhain is a Druid festival that marked the time of the year when the days grew shorter and darkness started earlier.
The Shellycoat is condidered the Scottish boogeyman, Boobrie is a legendary water bird that haunts Scottish lakes, Fachan is a creature who dwells in the western highlands of Scotland, Red Cap is an evil creature who lives in a castle on Scotland’s border. (more…)
Monday, July 19th, 2010
Summer is in full bloom, most of us think of spending their vacation somewhere, where they could see beautiful places, engage in relaxing activities or just sit back and enjoy the moment. If you decided that this year you would like to spend your free time in Scotland, here are some ideas for what is there to do in the beautiful country:
Scotland is well known for it’s golfing background. If you are an enthusiast of the game, you might fancy spending you time visiting some of over four hundred golf courses – one of the oldest in the world, called links. Usually it is best to make a reservation but there is no problem with arriving unannounced. Scottish golf courses, even though some of them have their own membership policies, make a lot of exceptions for foreign tourists with only requirement being the payment between 5 and 20 GBP, depending on the field size.
[photo by: Easywebsites.ky] (more…)
Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Scottish words have seeped into our language and added all the color and texture of a tartan plaid. In fact, tartan, which is cloth woven in colored checks and intersecting lines, is one of the many words of Scottish origin that is now recognized world wide.
Lassie, meaning a young unmarried woman, and its companion, laddie, a young man, have been popularized through television and song. Most people in Western cultures have heard the Scottish folk song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”. bonnie means pleasing to the eye.
Quite a few landforms owe their names to Scottish origins. Loch, the word for lake, has gained recognition through widely reported sightings of the legendary monster, Nessie. But words like glen, a secluded valley, and firth, an estuary, are also well recognized. (more…)