Day 25 – Granite to cake


Aberdeen Castle, built on the granite ‘plug’ from the centre of an extinct volcano

Today the torch moves on from Aberdeen – aka The Granite City, once a great centre for fishing now the headquarters of the Scottish oil industry – down through the eastern highlands to Dundee – synonymous with Cake!

Confession time – I know very little about this area and am chipping in again so lovely Charlie can have a day off. I’ve travelled through it – the placenames are wonderful – and I know a little of the history but have decided that other people have written far more eloquently that I have. Especially on Wikipedia! So this post will have pictures, links to information if I can find it and just for fun, sometimes, music to listen to while you read it.

Highland Cattle – once the major negotiable currency of the region

Gorgeous, aren’t they. yet these fuzzy shaggy beasties caused as much violence and heartbreak as any blue diamond or Brinks Mat deposit. We are used to seeing red highland cattle but they were originally rare and unusual creatures, The average ‘coo’ was black and the best time for stealing them was at night. Cattle raiding was universally practiced as a way of keeping the young men in fine fettle for the next time the clan went to war. Young men in fine fettle are handy things to have about but take some feeding so clan chiefs would levy a tax in return for ‘protection’ .  Those who could paid in silver – known as whitemail – but most people paid their tax on the hoof – blackmail. Some refused to pay at all and that’s when the swords would come out.

Click on the picture to hear the sad tale of the Twa Corbies sung by Omnia [who aren’t Scottish but sing very nicely].

A ruined croft – the Highlands are scattered with these sad remnants of a way of life that was ruthlessly suppressed.

This is a huge and difficult subject to be addressed in a little post. Let’s just say that the concept of ethnic cleansing isn’t a new one. Here’s a link about the Highland Clearances. Click on the picture to hear The Highland Lament, sung by the Corries.

That was sad. Now for some eye candy


Bonnie Dundee – in this case I think bonny=gorgeous

John Graham, 7th Laird of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee, aka Bonnie Dundee probably wouldn’t be nearly as well known if someone hadn’t written a superb romp along song about him that almost anyone can sing. Click on the picture to hear the Corries trying to get the rather self conscious audience sing along.

More eye candy?

Well there had to be kilts, didn’t there.

This is one of the more respectable images a search for ‘men in kilts’ turned up but I think one of the nicest. The kilt, or philabeg, IS a very practical garment. If you want the hotter stuff 😀 you can do your own searches. The song attached to the picture is “Donald Where’s Your Trousers” sung by Andy Stewart, whose White Heather Club used to be prime time viewing back in the 60s. How times have changed!

Finally – because I promised cake :

Dundee Cake – click for recipe.







About Elin Gregory

Elin writes fiction when she isn't working in a museum or doing the tedious every day stuff everyone has to do, like washing dishes or doing the laundry. Her family don't mind her writing as long as there's food in the cupboard and clean clothes in the drawers.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Latest Torch posts with long excerpt of A Fierce Reaping « elin gregory

  2. Catching up on posts, and what a lovely one: a bit of history (including that link to the Clearances), music, a recipe, and–an excellent way to begin any morning–a cute guy in a kilt. And all before 7 a.m.

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