A T R I P T O S C O T L A N D
In late August of 1995, a small band of regular visitors to the Lifestyles Forum on CompuServe (GO LIFESTYLES) traveled to Scotland for two weeks. The following is a description of our journey, as told from my own perspective. Any biases, prejudices, and completely gratuitous opinions are my own.
Note: Except where otherwise stated, all images are copyright © 1995-1998 by Beth F. Gumerman. All rights reserved.
Bruce, Duncan A. -- The Mark of the Scots: Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature and the Arts, Birch Lane Press, 1996. Noting the contributions to the world of Scots--far out of proportion to their numbers--the author sets out to catalogue many of those contributions. To say that he does a thorough job of it is to understate the case. Best example: when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, he was called by President Nixon, who succeeded Lyndon Johnson... and all three surnames originated with prominent families in the hard, barren Borders region between Scotland and England.
Fraser, George MacDonald -- The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers, Harvill, 1989. A wonderful book. At all times it is historically accurate in its description of the harsh bandit life on the border between England and Scotland from approximately A.D. 1300-1600. But here and there throughout the book are unexpected moments of wry humor.
Grant, Isobel F. -- Highland Folk Ways, Birlinn, 1961. From the founder of the Highland Folk Museum (Am Fasgadh) near Kingussie in central Scotland, this book describes in detail the tools, homes, customs and more of typical country Scots up to the late 1700s. Absolutely invaluable in understanding the reality of their lives.
Henderson, Elaine -- Castles of Scotland, Collins Gem, 1994. A vest-pocket-sized book describing (with color photographs) many of the most important and fascinating castles in Scotland. A handy reference, but probably best suited to inducing in the reader a desire to visit them all.
MacGregor, Geddes -- Scotland: An Intimate Portrait, Houghton Mifflin, 1980. A loving but honest picture of Scotland, this book is informative but not boring, and is respectful to homeland Scots without neglecting the main audience--the many persons of Scottish ancestry scattered throughout the world.
Mackie, J.D. -- A History of Scotland, Penguin, 1991. First published in 1964, this book has long been the essential popular history of Scotland. Clear and intelligent without being overly academic.
Maclean, Fitzroy -- Highlanders: A History of the Scottish Clans, Viking Penguin, 1995. In this oversize book, the author--also known as Sir Fitzroy Maclean of Dunconnel, Knight of the Thistle--manages to combine the best of Scottish histories with some remarkable photographs. (And not just of castles, either, although those are well-represented.) The nature of the Highlanders is splendidly revealed through accounts of their most notable--and notorious--characters.
Miers, Richenda -- Cadogan Guide to Scotland, Cadogan Books, 1991. If you buy just one guide to Scotland, this is the one you want. It goes far beyond the simple "find this here" of many guides; there is history, humor, and a definite willingness to say what is good and what is bad. Worth reading even if you never go to Scotland.
Robertson, James Irvine -- The Lady of Kynachan: An Epic Novel of the '45, Corgi, 1995. A fictionalized account of the strong woman who wed a Robertson chieftain, based (the author states) on "a chest of family papers in which he discovered this story." Well-written, even if a bit graphic in some scenes.
Scott, Ronald McNair -- Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, Carroll & Graf, 1996. An excellent popular biography of one of Scotland's heroes. Love, loss, honor, betrayal, heroism, cowardice, and a titanic conflict of great wills. It's all here.. and it's all true.
Tranter, Nigel -- The Bruce Trilogy, Coronet, 1972. Three separate novels of historical fiction in one volume describing the origin, rise and rule of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. Though nominally fiction, Tranter does an excellent job of putting flesh on the bones of history.
The Internet Guide to Scotland a great site on touring Scotland, by Joanne Mackenzie-Winters.
The Chatelaine's Scottish Castles some of the finest examples, brought to you by The Chatelaine (AKA Joanne Mackenzie-Winters). Part of the "Castles of the World" Web site.
CNN: Travel - City Guides: Scotland CNN's travel guide to Scotland.
Electric Scotland a local guide to Scotland.
Scotland On Line another excellent local guide to Scotland.
The Tartan Pages one more fine local guide to Scotland.
Regionlink: Scotland North East another local guide to Scotland.
The Tartan Collection a listing of fine Scottish hotels in Aberdeenshire.
The Tartan Collection: Leslie Castle beautiful Leslie Castle, where we stayed in 1995.
Scottish Radiance Front Page a journal of life in the Hebrides islands of Scotland.
The Gathering of the Clans Home Page a site dedicated to information about and discussion of the modern Scottish clan families.
The Declaration of Arbroath the letter sent to the Pope by Scotland's greatest magnates, declaring their rightful opposition to Scotland's subjugation by England's King Edward I. Possibly one of the source documents for the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
The Heartland of Scotland a personal look at Fife (in central eastern Scotland) by Kinzie Lowe.
Virtual Inn Hotel Server a listing of over 7000 hotels and pubs in Scotland.
Made in Scotland a list of quality and luxury products and services from Scotland.
Medieval Scotland essays posted by Society for Creative Anachronism member Sharon L. Krossa.
The Clans and Tartans of Scotland information on kilts and clans.
Tartans of Scotland: The Registry lots more on lots of tartans.
About Scotch Whisky everything you need to know about Scotch whisky.
Muesum of Scotland images from the National Museum of Scotland.
Walking in Scotland excellent Scottish walks, by Bev Mercer.
Secret Bunker a hidden bunker for surviving World War III, kept an official secret until 1993--the Scottish twin to the secret U.S. bunker located under the Greenbriar Hotel?