August 2016

In this Issue:

 August Gathering Announcement  Update from Athletics
 Letter From the Editor  From Grandma Jennie's Pantry
 From Our New Chief Genealogist  Society Officers
 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo  Upcoming Events
 Jim Thomson US School of Piping  Famous Literary Quotations
 August Historical Article  A Word from our Advertisers

August 2016 Gathering
Episode 4 - Language is Power

A History of Scotland At one time, Gaelic Scotland - the people and the language - was central to the collective identity of Scots. But as Neil Oliver reveals, Scotland's infamous Highland/Lowland divide was the result of a family struggle that divided the kingdom.

This is the story of how the centralizing policies of the Stewart royal family in the 15th century led to the Gaels being perceived as rebels and outsiders.

August 11 at the Irish Cultural Center,
1106 N. Central, Phoenix

6:30 pm ------------- Social half hour
7:00 pm --------- Video Presentation
8:30 pm -------------- 50/50 drawing

Members --------------------- Always Free
Non-members -- $5.00 donation requested

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

In Scotland -Climate change? Sometimes, we wish it would!

We've all heard plenty of jokes about the Scottish weather - but most of them aren't true! Scotland's climate is actually quite moderate and very changeable, although on occasion we get really hot or really cold weather.

As the old Scottish saying goes, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!'

January and February are generally the coldest months in Scotland, with the daytime maximum temperatures averaging around 41° F to 45° F. July and August are normally the warmest months in Scotland, with temperatures at an average 66 ° F.

Scotland has four seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, the changeable nature of the climate means it's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day!

Scotland's high latitude means that although winter days are short, in summer there are very long daylight hours and often an extended twilight.

In the north of the country, Lerwick in Shetland has about four hours more daylight at midsummer than London. At this time of year there is actually no complete darkness in the far north of Scotland. And with the extra hours of daylight, you can pack a lot into your day. Round of golf at midnight, anyone?  (Courtesy:

In Phoenix - its so hot that ...

- you discover that in July it takes only two fingers to drive your car!
- hot water now comes out of both taps!
- you can attedn any function wearing shorts and a tank top!

Where am I going with all this? Well, it’s to let you know that our August 11th Gathering will be held in the cool confines of the Irish Cultural Center’s Great Hall where you can wear your tartan shorts to watch the next episode of ‘A History of Scotland’. The chapter is titled “Language of Power” and host Neil Oliver will explain the considerable difference between the highland and lowland cultures. It all began as a feud between two families in 15th century Scotland: the Stewarts and the MacDonalds.

If you’re reading this and you’re not a member but are from one of those clans, we’ll let you in for free. Please leave dirks, skein dhu’s, claymores and firearms at home!

Don FinchAlthough it’s still four months away, please circle Saturday December 3rd on your calendar. Our formal St. Andrew’s Day Dinner will be held at the Phoenix Country Club complete with haggis, but with a lighter after-Thanksgiving menu.

The club will be decorated for Christmas, so this will be our opportunity to celebrate that as well. In January, we’ll join with Fuil Celtic and other Scottish groups to celebrate Robbie Burns birthday in a less formal setting.

See you on August 11th at our cool picture show!

Cheers! Don Finch, Editor

In other news - John Roberson of Clan Donnachaidh tells Don that he has a very good friend who makes sensational sgian dubhs. His name is Michael Mara and his website is:

By Robert M. Wilbanks IV

In recent years, the serious interest of Genealogy in the United States, and around the world, has led to the development and growth of a 1.6 billion dollar industry, with TV shows, software and subscription databases all over the internet. While Genealogy was not necessarily a primary component or purpose of The Caledonian Society of Arizona, its presence is clearly seen through the Scottish Clans, or the interest generated in the general public who attend the Highland Games and other C.S.A. events.

With this in mind, the officers of The Caledonian Society of Arizona recognize the importance of Genealogy as an element of an ethnic, cultural, and historical organization such as the C.S.A., as well as the contribution that Genealogy can make as an added benefit to members, and to the future growth of our Society.

As a result, I have been asked to head up and develop a Genealogy office and benefit to provide to our members, and so I have been appointed the first “Chief Genealogist & Historian” of The Caledonian Society of Arizona.

I thank you so much for this wonderful and exciting opportunity.


In addition to Genealogy, the term “Historian” is included in the position title as a reference to the historical research and contextual understanding of the history of Scotland as it relates to researching your genealogy. Examples include, Emigration, Immigration and Migration Patterns of the Scottish People, the history of the church in Scotland, Wars and Military service of the Scottish People, the relationship between Scotland and England, and much more. The idea is learning how this history of Scotland and its people in general context effects the understanding of our specific ancestors. More importantly, this historical context is a significant tool of genealogy as it affects our understanding of the creation and existence, or destruction, of historical records which are used in genealogy research. So I’d like to be clear that “Chief Genealogist & Historian” is strictly all about Genealogy of Scotland, and its History as it relates to the Genealogy of Scotland’s people and families.

My idea of the position is to help the Society’s members effectively and more successfully research their Scottish roots and thus have a better understanding of the Context of their Scottish heritage in relationship to other of the Society’s activities and education of Scottish Culture and History, etc. Clearly this is going to be an important function with relationship to The Highland Games, and I am hoping we can develop a team of participants within this “department”, and most importantly having a significant tent and tables with resources, posters, maps, etc., for display and use to help answer questions and get people more interested in their Scottish Roots. Thus, with these services and benefits, we can hopefully see an increase in membership for the Society. (Contact Robert directly at to discuss joining this team)

I see the position as a Genealogy Assistant, Consultant and Teacher for the Society. As we develop this new position title and Department, it will most likely grow to be closely interconnected with other Departments / Officers of the Society, such as the Clans Chair and the Learner’s Arms, and Education, etc. I think we can make this position and title an important and integral part of the Society.

At this time the Chief Genealogist & Historian, of The Caledonian Society of Arizona, will provide the following benefits and services strictly to C.S.A. members:

  1. a key member benefit will be the more in-depth one-on-one special 1 Hour Consultation provided to each member annually, during the membership year, with each renewal
  2. answer quick questions and provide some assistance to members during meetings
  3. provide irregular short (10, 15, 20 minute) presentations on occasion at various meetings, whenever a computer presentation is already being set up for a guest speaker
  4. irregular genealogy column in the C.S.A. newsletter
  5. webpage with genealogy research information and links and more

Lastly, and additionally, I personally, through my business Ancestral Pride : Professional Genealogy Services, will provide a discounted fee schedule only for C.S.A. members who may wish to hire my professional services for a more extensive genealogy research project.

Thank you again for your support, and I look forward to working with all of you in this capacity.
                                    Robert M. Wilbanks IV

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands, and display teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. The event takes place annually throughout August as part of the wider Edinburgh Festival (a collective name for many independent festivals and events held in Edinburgh during August).

Military Tattoo

The British adopted the practice and it became a signal to tavern owners each night, played by a regiment's Corps of Drums or Pipes and Drums, to turn off the taps of their ale kegs so that the soldiers would retire to their billeted lodgings at a reasonable hour. With the establishment of modern barracks and full Military bands later in the 18th century, the term Tattoo was used to describe the last duty call of the day, as well as a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by Military musicians.

The first Tattoo in Edinburgh was entitled "Something About a Soldier" and took place at the Ross Bandstand at Princes Street Gardens in 1949. The first official Edinburgh Military Tattoo began in 1950 with just eight items in the programme. It drew some 6,000 spectators seated in simple bench and scaffold structures around the north, south, and east sides of the Edinburgh Castle esplanade. In 1952, the capacity of the stands was increased to accommodate a nightly audience of 7,700, allowing 160,000 to watch live performances each year.

Since the 1970s on average, just over 217,000 people see the Tattoo live on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle each year, and it has sold out in advance for the last decade. 30% of the audience are from Scotland and 35% from the rest of the United Kingdom. The remaining 35% of the audience consists of 70,000 visitors from overseas.


The Tattoo is run for charitable causes and over the years has given over £5 million to military and civilian charities and organisations, such as the Army Benevolent Fund. However, the greater benefit has been that, by independent count, it generates £88 million in revenue for Edinburgh's economy annually.

In 2010 the event became the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo after HM Queen Elizabeth awarded the Royal title in celebration of its six decades of existence.

Jim Thomson United States School of Piping
by Thomas Cox

Jim Thomson’s US School of Piping and Drumming occurs every year on the campus of NAU and this year it was held from July 8-July 15. This was my sixth year coming to the school, and like always it was fun.

The instructors of the school are some of the best bagpipers and drummers in the world. Not only are they highly proficient with the instrument, but they are also some of the best teachers one could possibly have. Over the course of the whole entire week, we learned a lot from the instructors in many different areas.

My instructor this year was Robert Watt. For those who have not heard of Robert, he is a very accomplished solo professional piper and a very accomplished composer. He taught the highest level class at the school this year, and all of us were tested by this.

Thomson US School of Piping Teachers and Students at the Jim Thomson US School of Piping - Northern Arizona University - 2016

We learned an 8 tune medley which is played by one of the top grade 2 bands in the world, a competition March, strasphey, and reel; and a very challenging hornpipe/jig set. By the end of the week, however, all of us were able to play these tunes very well. The school like every previous year I have went was excellent.

Thomas CoxThe Jim Thomson School is always the highlight of my year and I most definitely cannot wait to go to the school again next year.

Author Thomas Cox is still a teen, but has been piping for 6 years!


Scottish Myths and Legends
by Jo Ramsdell

Scotland has a rich history when it comes to superstitions and unusual events.  These many beliefs about supernatural happenings can be seen in its numerous myths and legends.  This is a very small sample of some of these myths.

BLACK DONALD—Black Donald (Domhnall Dubh) is a Highland colloquialism for the Devil in Scottish mythology.  He is good all jobs except for one, tailoring.  Whatever disguise he takes, he will always give himself away because of his cloven feet, which cannot be hidden.

Ghillie dhuGHILLIE DHU—In Scottish folklore the Ghillie Dhu is a faerie, a guardian spirit of the trees.  He is kind to children, but generally wild and shy. 

He is described as clothed in leaves and moss (similar to the Green Man in England and Wales).  He especially likes birch trees and is most active at night. 



The BrownieTHE BROWNIE—The Brownie is a legendary kind of creature popular in folklore around Scotland.  Customarily brownies inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house.  However, they don’t like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts of food.  They are especially fond of porridge and honey.  They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payment, or if the owners of the house misuse them.  Every manor house had its Brownie, and in the kitchen, close by the fire was a seat, which was left unoccupied for him.

KelpieKELPIE—A Kelpie is a supernatural water horse that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland.  It will appear looking like a lost pony, but can be identified by its constantly dripping mane.  The Kelpie is said to lure mortals, especially children, to ride on its back and then its skin becomes adhesive and the Kelpie drags the rider into the water to drown them.  Water horses are also known to transform into handsome men in order to lure women into their traps.

ShellycoatSHELLYCOAT—In Scottish and Northern English folklore, a Shellycoat is a type of bogeyman that haunts rivers and streams.  The name comes from the coat of shells these creatures are said to wear, which rattle upon movement.  Shellycoats are considered to be relatively harmless; they may mislead wanderers, particularly those they think are trespassing upon the creature’s territory.


Am fear liath morAM FEAR LIATH MOR
(The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui)

The Greyman is the name of a presence or creature which is said to haunt the summit and passes of Ben MacDhui, the highest peak of the Cairngorm mountains and the second highest peak in Britain. 

It has been described as an extremely tall figure covered with short hair.  It has been compared to the Yeti of the Himalaya and the Sasquatch or Bigfoot of North America.




MoragMORAG—Morag is a loch monster reported to live in Loch Morar.  After Nessie, it is among the best known of Scotland’s legendary monsters.   Sightings date back to 1887 and continue to 1969.  It is described as a “serpent-like” creature about 20-30 feet long with rough brown skin. 

The Loch Ness Investigation Bureau expanded it search to include Loch Morar in 1970.  Several expeditions with the aim to find the monster have been made, but no evidence for an unknown, large creature has been found.

Update from Athletics
by Michelle Crownhart

It’s been a very busy time for the Southwest area athletes since we concluded our games in March. Many of us have traveled to Las Vegas, NV; Prescott, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Colorado Springs, CO; and Flagstaff, AZ; over the past couple of months, to represent Arizona and meet up with old and new friends. 

One of the highlights was the 1st Annual Scottish Games League (SGL) National Championships that was held in Albuquerque, NM. There are 12 regions across the country and Arizona had 2 athletes representing the Southwest Region. Heather MacDonald won the National Women’s Title and Brent Abbott finished 2nd in the Men’s Masters Division.

Heather & Brent

Our next big competition is the Master’s World Championship that will be held in Buffalo, NY the weekend of August 19-21. Arizona has 4 athletes competing in 4 different classes:  Katy Horgan in Women’s 40-44,  Michelle Crownhart in Women’s 50+, Denise Ryan in Women’s 40+ under 155 pounds, and Matt McCorkle in Men’s 40+ under 200 pounds, 

Good luck to everyone, and we will bring you an update in a future newsletter.

UPCOMING EVENTS & Highland Games: Arizona and Bordering States
Games Calendar compiled by Clan Campbell Society NA

August 5-7 Colorado Scottish Festival   (Snowmass Village CO)
August 6-7 Monterey Highland Games   (Monterey CA)
August 11 AUGUST GATHERING "History of Scotland" DVD
Sept 3-4 Scottish Highland Gathering & Games   (Pleasanton CA)
Sept 11 SEPTEMBER GATHERING "Mini Memories"
Sept 8-11 Long's Peak Highland Festival   (Estes Park CO)
Sept 17 Fresno Highland Gathering & Games   (Fresno CA)
Sept 18-19 Edgewater Celtic Harvest Festival   (Edgewater CO)

Famous Literary Quotations:

Mark Twain “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

Mark Twain

Compton Mackenzie “Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.”

Compton Mackenzie

Agatha Christie “With more insight into the English character, I poured out a stiff whisky and soda and placed it in front of the gloomy inspector.”

Agatha Christie, Lord Edgware Dies

George Bernard Shaw “Whisky is liquid sunshine.”

George Bernard Shaw

In Gandma Jennie's Pantry

SCott's Porage OatsPorridge has been consumed in Scotland as a staple food since the Middle Ages, and is primarily consumed in the winter. A&R Scott began producing Scott's Midlothian Oat Flour in 1880, in Glasgow, moving to Edinburgh in 1909, and the distinctive name, Scott's Porage Oats, was adopted in 1914. They have been milled at the Uthrogle Mills] at Cupar in Fife, Scotland, since 1947.

In 1982, A&R Scott was purchased by Quaker Oats Ltd, one of their main competitors. The company was based in Edinburgh. Sales of porridge oats continue to be higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, with Scott's Porage Oats taking the highest brand share.
The company holds a Scott's Porage Oats Food & Drink Fair at the St Andrews Festival in November each year at the Byre Theatre. It has a Golden Spurtle Award for competitive porridge making.

Scott's claims to use only the highest quality oats and milling processes. The company does not state the origin of the oats themselves. The oats are rolled thicker than standard oats and are gently kilned to create what the company considers to be "the truest taste". Scott's oats can be made into porridge either in the microwave or on a stovetop, with the addition of milk or water and other flavourings (typically salt or sugar). Oats can also be used in stews, as a topping for apple crumble or haddock pies, and in cookies or flapjacks, and in many other recipes. Some packs come with a number of suggested recipes.

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 Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings 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: Don Finch
Immediate Past President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President Administration: Mark Pelletier
Vice President Games: Paul Bell
Vice President Membership : David McBee
Treasurer: Vicki Phegley
Trustee 1: Ian Warrander
Trustee 2: Thom von Hapsburg
Trustee 3: Dan Miller
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller
Chief Genealogist & Historian: Robert Wilbanks

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Bagpiper USA
Len Wood

Lois Wallace


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