March 2015

In this Issue:

 A Busy Month for the Society  Mystery Member
 Nessie on Parade  Coming Events
 Meet Our Members  Highland Titles
 Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District  Society Officers
 Society Support, Kilts, License Frame  March Celebrations
 Historical Events in March  Special Olympics

From the Editor - March is a Busy Month

Thanks for taking the time to read this March issue of The Desert Highlander, the CSA’s monthly newsletter. This month is the busiest of the year with several major events:

The Monthly Meeting is on Thursday March 12th at the ICC and Athletic Director Michelle Crownhart and several of our competition athletes will teach, demonstrate and let you try several of the ‘throws’ they’ll be making at the Highland Games.

We’ll be marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday March 14th (To volunteer, contact Joe Renton

On Wednesday the 18th, our athletes, dancers, pipers, entertainers and Nessie will be performing at noon at the State Capital to celebrate Celtic Month. Later that day, at 7:00 pm there will be a preview of the new Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District (see separate article below) at The Changing Hands First Draft Book Bar @ The Newton, 300 W. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix.

The Annual Pipe Jam & Glenmo Whisky Tasting will take place at the Westin Kierland, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Friday March 20th, and

The 51st Glenmorangie Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, presented by the Caledonian Society of Arizona will commence Saturday March 21st at 9:00 am at Steele Indian School Park, and will conclude at 4:00 pm on Sunday Match 22nd.

If you’d like to volunteer to help at any of these events, please contact me and I’ll direct you to the appropriate Area Chair.

Cheers! Don Finch, Newsletter Editor;

Nessie Debuts in the Tale of Two Cities Parade

Nessie made her first appearance at a parade from Goodyear to Avondale on February 21. Games flyers were distributed to every addult watching the parade. Thanks to David McBee, Kitty MacRae and Mark & Sue Pelletier

Nessie at the parade

Michelle Crownhart drove the truck - in the parade and all over the Valley getting Nessie there and back. Nessie was crafted by Iain Walinck. See her next at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and then at the March Gathering & Highland Games.

Parade truckNessie

Meet Our Members - Highland Games Committee

Michael McClanathan - Pipes Chair

Michael McClanathanThe accomplishments of Michael McClanathan are extensive and impressive. As a piper with over 50 years of experience, Michael has acquired numerous medals and trophies as a result of his success in various competitions. He has performed before such dignitaries as the Lord Mayor of London and President George Bush, as well as for the opening day ceremonies state legislatures.

Michael plays nightly at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale. The "Scottish Pipes at Sunset Series" is the original tribute to the Scottish immigrants, and where guests and families are encouraged to gather around the fire pit at the Resort's Dreamweaver's Canyon to enjoy the haunting sounds of the Scottish Bagpipes.

With his son Wheaton, they own and operate Scottsdale-based KiltRentalUSA and Claymore Imports.

Mystery Member

March Mystery Member
Can you identify our March Mystery Member?

He was:

  • Born in another country

  • A member of kilted regiment's cadet corps

  • Influenced by Andrew Carnegie and John Knox

And has been active in the Caledonian Society for four years

New at the Games - the Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District

Each year at the Glenmorangie Scottish Gathering & Highland Games we aim to shake things up a bit by adding at least one new element to our celebration of Scottish culture. 

We’re casting a wide net, drawing in patrons from all walks of life and offering something for everyone.  This year, we thought that a little (more) grown-up fun was in order, so we’ve created the Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District. 

Located in the southwest field, adjacent to Bird Lake you’ll find an open air concept lounge, furnished by our friends at Casblanca.  The elevated “hideaway” is where you’ll find two cabanas – serving as home to a wine and cigar bar. 

Enjoy a glass of bubbles or wine provided by our friends at Chandon and Cloudy Bay.  Or, if the “spirit” moves you ~ Glenmorangie is serving up two mixed cocktails at the bar.  (Four Peaks and Belhaven brews available too!) 

Smoke a Kristoff cigar, enjoy live music performances by World Famous Rani “g”:  World | Life | Music and Celtic Women.   Interested in fashion?  Preview a runway show featuring lovely models and three talented women:

Cody Baker
Cody Barker of Defy Mi Designs is a Valley fashion designer who launched her first collection in 2010. 

DefyMi’s style is influenced by her love for tailored pieces and feminine silhouettes.

Visit Cody on Facebook:

Nola Yergen
Nola Yergen is a Hollywood theatrical and fashion designer.

Nola is also the owner of Design by Nola

Her web address is:

Maren Maclean: Actress | Director | Costume Designer | Dramaturge
Maren Maclean
Ms. Maclean will present an interactive runway show featuring a glimpse of how fashion and function evolved throughout Scotland. This “Fashion Forum” is presented by Southwest Shakespeare Company and Scottsdale Community College with special thanks to the Utah Shakespearean Festival. On the web:

Look for these vendors in Loch Ness:
AZ Soccer Club
Celtic Caterer | Culinary Arts!
Corona Couture Jewelry
Crystal Light Jewelry
Diamond Resorts
It’s Complementary | Jewelry and Italian-made accessories/handbags
Origami Owl Jewelry
Pampered Chef

Nibbles & Refreshments
Enjoy Tea & Scones by the Daughters of Scotia | Thistle Lodge

And finally ~ last but not least, the star of our Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District:  Nessie!  Meet her at the Games!  She’ll be on hand for meet & greet as well as photo opportunities.

March 21 & 22 – Who’s ready? Now let’s party!

Scottish Historical Events in March
by Jo Ramsdell

The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, is an island chain off the west coast of Scotland.  The Western Isles became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suoreyjar which lasted for over 400 years.

Although there was certainly contact between Scotland and Scandinavia in earlier time, the earliest recorded Viking activity in Scotland was an attack on the monastery on Iona in 795.  The first permanent, large-scale settlement of people from Norway on the Isles of Shetland and Orkney is usually held to date from c.800.

By 850, Vikings were over-wintering in Great Britain and Ireland and by the 860s they had established strongholds and taken land, violently expanding their landholdings.  By 865, the Viking raids were larger and more substantial.  The Great Army was a fleet of Scandinavian warships that arrived in England and stay for several years, raiding almost at will.  

For centuries Scottish monarchs had sought to take control of the islands of the Hebrides.  The process was begun by King Alexander II and continued by his son Alexander III.  Alexander III became king when his father unexpectedly died when he was a boy.  He was crowned in 1249 when he was but seven years old.  In 1259 he assumed power and was determined to complete his father's quest to conquer the Western Isles.

Sending an army to attack the Norse in the Hebrides, he provoked a Norwegian response in 1263 when King Haakon of Norway sailed his fleet to the west coast port of Largs.  The battle was inconclusive but Haakon died while on the island of Orkney.

Three years later in March of 1266 at the Treaty of Perth, Norway ceded control of the Hebrides to Scotland.      

Support the Society - Bid on a Kilt - Buy a License Frame

Here are two opportunities to support the CSA’s scholarship fund:

  1. Bid on a Ladies Kilt. One of our members has donated 4 new, ladies light-weight kilts made by Kinloch Anderson of Edinburgh
    1. Size 10* (UK), Tartan: Grey Stewart
    2. Size 14* (UK), Tartan: Princess Mary Rose
    3. Size 18* (UK), Tartan: Grey Stewart
    4. Size 18* (UK), Tartan: Princess Mary Navy

    Click here to view the kilts

    These kilts are priced at £215 (US$335) on the Kinloch Anderson website. You can have one for a starting bid of US$50 (£32). Email your bids to The Editor at The kilts will be on display, and the bidding will continue, at the Thursday March 12th Monthly Meeting at the ICC.

    See the following Women's Clothing Sizes Comparison












    (81 cm)

    (61 cm)

    (89 cm)





    (86 cm)

    (66 cm)

    (94 cm)





    (91 cm)

    (71 cm)

    (99 cm)





    (97 cm)

    (76 cm)

    (104 cm)





    (102 cm)

    (81 cm)

    (109 c

  2. Buy a Caledonian Society of Arizona front license plate.

For just $10.00 you can decorate your car, boat, airplane, caber, front porch, bookshelf, outhouse, dog house, etc. with this bold new aluminum plate with the CSA crest.

CSA License Plate

They’ll be available at the March 12th Monthly Meeting, and at the CSA Information Tent at the Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, March 21 and 22.

Highland Titles
Council of Scottish Clans & Associations Blog

For those who have followed the Highland Title saga over the years, you may finally be able to draw this issue to a close, if a pack of Scottish land lawyers have their way. The entire scheme of selling wee plots of ground in Scotland to buyers who then entitle themselves with really offensive monikers such as Laird and Lady of Glencoe  has been found to be faulty and open to unraveling.

Highland Title cardDespite being long overdue, the collapse of the smarmy Highland Titles empire will not be very surprising when it happens. The people selling the wee plots (1′ x 1′ – you get the picture) are very simply con men, and not the particularly affable lovable types either.  Note the juvenile antics of the Highland Title idiots assaulting for exposing the legally tenuous stupidity of what Highland Titles does.  Of course we will all keep bothering them with the law and ethics until they are gone but goodness knows others like them exist and someday someone else will come up with some other ridiculous schemes to relieve the world’s prideful, vain and less than honest characters of their money.

The part of the Highland Titles equation that is more difficult to understand is the buyer – the future Lord and Lady Airhorn of Glen No’ Watitseems.
Why do they buy this?

Most say ‘aw, it’s all in good fun’. Fun maybe but a 1’ x 1’ plot of Scottish highlands is no 10 cent small prize at the carnival. The economics of the Highland Titles scam has been significant and you better be prepared to shell out up to several hundred dollars for the privilege of defrauding your friends, colleagues and acquaintances with likely one more representation that you are something you are not – this time with a quaint Scottish theme that clothes you with a convenient air of superiority that is so refreshing these days.  These are con men trading with con men.  A true victimless crime unless one counts the ancient and noble Scottish heritage and those of our ancestors who lived, loved and sacrificed for it.

Newspaper articleTake a look at the writings of Andy Wightman, Scottish blogger, author and activist - and others as they have ‘followed the money’ flowing into the Highland Titles coffers. The numbers are surprisingly large and it will surprise few that the trail leads off shore.

We certainly look forward to the day that we can exclaim “Good riddance Highland Titles”. We will not be sad to see you go. But we wonder what your former ‘clients’ will be buying next!

Coming Events

March 12 Monthly Meeting "Athletic Demonstrations" ICC, 6:30 PM
March 14 St. Patrick's Day Parade
On 3rd St, from Sheridan to Hance Park, 9-11 AM
March 18 Celtic Month Celebration, at the State Capital, Noon
March 18 Preview the "Loch Ness Arts & Fashion District" Changing Hands Book Store, 300 W. Camelback, Phoenix, 7 PM
March 20 Pipe Jam and Glenmorangie Whiskey Tasting
Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, 7-9 PM
March 21 & 22 Gathering & Highland Games, Steele Indian School Park
March 21 After Party Ceilidh at the Games, 5-7 PM
Free with a Saturday Games ticket, or $5 at the gate
March 22 Kirkin 'O the Tartans, 8:45 to 9:30 at the Games

March Celebrations
If you would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information by email to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

March 20 Richard Thronton - Birthday
March 23 Dan Miller- Birthday
March 25 Mark Pelletier - Birthday
March 31 Jim Groves (Honorary Life Member) - Birthday

Special Olympics Thank You Letter
Special Olympics

Membership Renewal Reminder

Dues are still only $25 Single and $40 Family. This admits you to all our wonderful monthly events with food and entertainment provided.

It’s easy to pay by credit card or PayPal, just jump to the Membership Page

Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President Don Finch
Secretary & Membership Chair: Ian Warrander
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller

Mystery Member
The mystery member this month is Don Finch