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Tag: Clan MacLaren

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 1

Inverness, Inverurie, and Aberdeen

After a day of quite heavy drinking in London, and a nightcap on the train, I fell asleep—or did I pass out?—as soon as I put my head down. I even forgot to take out my contact lenses, or set my alarm, so when I eventually woke up, I was already late for breakfast! Luckily not too late, and mere minutes after getting up, I was enjoying a Highland breakfast and tea.

The Caledonian Sleeper arrived ten minutes early in Inverness, leaving me with a little less time than planned… In the rush, I couldn’t find my toiletry bag until the very last minute—it was on my bed under the blanket—leaving me with a rather peculiar hairdo for the rest of the day.

When I alighted in Inverness, I had still some time to kill before the first Stagecoach bus to Culloden Battlefield would leave, so I first had a coffee at Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop.. The bus then dropped me off right in front of the visitor centre and museum. As a fresh National Trust for Scotland member, I had free access to the exhibition.

After that, I walked upon the battlefield itself. It was a chilling experience to stand on the exact spot where the MacLarens must have stood in 1746, in line with many other Jacobites, just seconds before advancing to the enemy, and for many of them, towards their death…

At Culloden I also learned that the perfect amount of social distancing is two Scottish broadswords long, or four targes. I think people would keep their distance much better if everyone was actually still wearing broadswords!

Back in Inverness, I had a pizza for lunch at the Black Isle Bar, where they of course also served beer from their brewery on the other side of the firth. Before getting to the train station, I had to little walk through town, and quickly visited Leakey’s Bookshop. After all, since handing over a sixpack of 75cl bottles, and a couple of cans and small bottles in London, I had plenty of room in my bag for books!

After this little excursion, it was time for the first Scottish BrewDog bar of this trip, and my first stamp towards the Flying Scotsman reward: BrewDog Inverurie! I was still a bit rough from the day before, so I just had one beer there, and a whole lot of water. The staff was great though, and the Craig Fisher graffitis were awesome as usual!

My last train of the day brought me to Aberdeen, which would be my home for the next two nights. I checked into Travelodge Aberdeen to get settled, and to check out my obligatory day two Corona test kit. It looks like I’ll get to play doctor on Sunday!

All settled, freshened up, and hair finally combed, I then headed to BrewDog Castlegate for dinner. I didn’t account for the Saturday night crowds, however, and had to wait outside for a bit. Not for long though, and I only just had the first sip from my second beer, when the lovely staff told me they found me a table! It then didn’t take long before I was tucking into a Korean fried chicken burger, this month’s special.

My final stop of the evening was at the OG BrewDog bar, BrewDog Aberdeen. Here BrewDog News Podcast’s Rob left me a bottle of MMXXX I won in a prize draw a couple of months ago. Thanks for that, Rob, and we’ll surely meet in person another time!

New tattoos!

So barely a year after I had my first tattoo, I decided to have another one! Well, it started as an idea for one, but it ended up becoming two separate ones… Another great job by Sara Stella Tattoo at Mystical bodies

So on the left calf I have a slightly improved version of the world scout emblem. I wanted it to look a bit more natural than the usual WOSM ‘logo’, but since the lily flower the fleur-de lis is based on actually rarely looks like the heraldic symbol, I decided to draw inspiration from one of those classic metal scout hat badges instead.

On the right calf the I have the clan crest of the Clan MacLaren, a clan very closely connected to the scout movement since its early days, and therefore ‘my’ clan, of which I proudly wear the tartan… The lion is a bit more lifelike than is usual in heraldic depictions. I also had a subtle reference to my favourite Scottish city—Glasgow—included in the design: the clan motto (Creag an Tuirc) is in a typeface based on one designed for the Willow Tearooms by famous Glaswegian architect, designer, and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Clans’ Remembrance, Ypres

Participated in the Scottish clans’ remembrance ceremony in Ypres again this year (7/10/2017), proudly showing my scouting connection to the clan MacLaren. Didn’t find any good shots of the ceremony itself, unfortunately, but at least we have a nice Belgian MacLaren group photo.
(Photos by Clan Hay Pipe Band )

Lochearnhead Highland Games

Saturday was the day of the Lochearnhead Highland Games, including the Clan MacLaren AGM, Stone of Strength, Tug o’War and lots of other (heavy) events. In the evening we celebrated Donald MacLaren of MacLaren’s fiftieth year as our chief with a supper and ceilidh in the Balquhidder Village Hall.

Creag an Tuirc!

Today we joined the excursion visiting places of interest to the Clan MacLaren. Finally visited Creag an Tuirc!

Balquhidder

Our home for the next couple of days…

Spare Kilt?

Any skinny MacLarens looking for s spare kilt? There’s one now at Mr. Ben! Quite a few moth holes though…

Lochearnhead Highland Games Collage

fotoflingscotland:

♦️Lochearnhead Highland Games Collage♦️#highlandgames #lochearnhead #meninkilts #piper #iconicscotland #instatravel #scotland #clanmacleod #clan #fotoflingscotland #nopeeking #tartan (at Lochearnhead, Stirling, United Kingdom)

In two months, we will be there ourselves!

Clans’ Days Ypres & Ooidonk

It was the third time I attended the Clans’ Days in Ypres, and the second time in combination with the Schotse Dagen (Scottish Days) at castle Ooidonk near Deinze. But this time was quite special: it was the first time our clan chief, Donald MacLaren of MacLaren and Achleskine, attended as wel!

The Schotse Dagen started on Friday evening with a charity dinner on the castle grounds, with speeches, toasts, an auction, live music and lots of whisky. An unscheduled piece of music was performed by our own chief. He has no need for a ‘personal piper’, since he is a talented bagpipe player himself, specifically in the pibroch genre.

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In Ypres there was a nice addition to the usual clans’ march to the Menin Gate on Saturday: to give the chief an appropriate welcome, we invited the MacLaren Pipe Band Venlo.

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After the wreath laying at the Menin Gate and lunch, we went back to castle Ooidonck to man the clans’ tent and enjoy the Schotse Dagen.

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It was great to finally meet the chief, and I hope to see him again at some clan event in Scotland. Or maybe he liked the Belgian part of his clan so much he will visit Belgium again to attend one of the next Clans’ Days?

(photos by h–na, Liliane Hye and myself)

Piping Competition

fotoflingscotland:

Darach Urquhart, Piper by Richard Findlay@FotoFlingScotland @_Highland Games
Via Flickr:

Lochearnhead Highland Games 2015

Solo Piping Results

Piob:

1 Darach Urquhart (Big Spree)
2 Peter McCalister
3 Graham Mulholland
4 John Mulhearn
Judges: A Wright, M McRae

March:
1 Gordon McCready
2 John Mulhearn
3 Finlay Johnston
4 Ben Mulhearn
Judges: A Forbes, A Frater

S&R
1 Gordon McCready
2 Finlay Johnston
3 John Mulhearn
4 Graham Mulholland
Judges: J Banks, G Lumsden

Lochearnhead Highland Games – History

The Highland Games have been a classic part of Scottish culture for centuries. Many stories have been told purporting to explain the origins of highland games:

A method of finding the best warriors to fight for the clan chieftain
A way of passing the time for agricultural workers – using available items such as hammers, tree trunks and bales of straw as a means of testing the strength.
Whatever the origins, highland games take place regularly in many highland villages and towns every year. Set in the splendid natural amphitheatre of the surrounding hills, Lochearnhead Games are still run along traditional lines as a “village games”
Ewen The games were first run many years ago with the three villages – Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre – taking turns to host the games. For a few years the games lapsed before being re-started by Mr Ewen Cameron, then the proprietor of the original Lochearnhead Hotel. He was himself a notable heavyweight athlete taking over 100 first prizes over a season when he was competing. Ewen stood almost 6 feet 5 inches in height but did not look anything like this as he was 22 stones in weight, with a 53 inch chest, 16 inch biceps and 36 inch thighs, remotely related to the great A.A.Cameron he was , like his predecessor , a very good wrestler and for a long time was unbeaten, on one occasion he even beat the British Cumberland style champion, which is no mean feat, for it took a lot then, as now to “coup”the lads from the north of England. On one occasion Ewen packed up his caber and went off on his own to Denmark to appear before 30,000 spectators proving , as always, a wonderful ambassador for Scotland.

When the games once again became a regular annual event they were always held at Lochearnhead games field, mainly for reasons of space and convenience.

The three villages are now in the midst of the new Trossachs National Park, and have wonderful historical links to many of the famous Scottish clans. To this day, there is a strong presence of the clans MacLaren, MacGregor. Macnab, Stewart and Cameron, all whom have been represented as Chieftain.