Wednesday, 31 October 2007


It is not like me to confuse the good Scottish or even gaelic word Loch with that used south of the border. Indeed I understand that there is only one correctly named Lake in Scotland and that is the Lake of Menteith. The reason is that the loch to which I am referring is actually in Canada. While in Nova Scotia I met many interesting people with Cameron connections. Among those was a gentleman called Ian Cameron who told me about a campaign mounted by Camerons in the area to have the name of a lake changed from 5 mile lake to Lochiel Lake in Lochaber district. This was achieved in the early 1980s and now boasts a sign to indicate the name. At about the same time, the late Lochiel (Sir Donald Hamish Cameron) and Lady Margaret visited Nova Scotia and an oak tree was planted at Lochiel Lake to commemorate their visit. There was some discussion about the fact that Lake and Loch are the same word and that this name was in fact Loch Eil Loch or Lake Eil lake. In point of fact the word Locheil is an entity and represents a particular landmark in Scotland. The separate meanings of Loch and Eil are not relevant in this case and so it is quite correctly called Lochiel Lake.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


The next Clan Cameron Rally will take place during the period 30th July 2009 to 2nd August 2009 at Achnacarry - the home of our Clan Chief - Donald Angus Cameron of Lochiel. The plan is that there will be a variety of activities taking place from Thursday through to Sunday and that these will provide educational and entertainment possibilities for all ages and from all parts of the world. However, it is important that you say what you would like. Not that all the suggestions will be incorporated but if you are travelling a long distance and your one dream is to do something special, let us know! I know that Lochiel is keen to make this as good an experience as possible for all participants. We all look forward to seeing you in 2009. Don't forget that the weekend before the Rally, there will be an International Clans' Gathering in Edinburgh. We will have a tent and this, I think will be a spectacular affair. The two events together will complement each other and make the journey from wherever you live a worthwhile one. I look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, 29 October 2007


Elizabeth and I were greatly honoured to be asked to take part in the Pipefest in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July of this year. Many pipebands and kilted clanspeople assembled at the Citadel which overlooks Halifax and was built by British army to defend their policies in Nova Scotia. We then marched through the streets of downtown Halifax. The clans alternated with the pipers. Elizabeth and I were carrying the Clan Cameron Nova Scotia banner and as we walked through the streets of Halifax people shouted "We are Camerons too". It was thrilling and made you proud to be a Cameron. The march then assembled outside the Metro where the Halifax Tattoo was being held and to our surprise it became apparent that all of us were going to march into one side of the arena and out the other. A further surprise when we completed the march was to be presented with a Pipefest T-shirt. The picture shows Elizabeth and I with Sherman Williams along with piper Nathan Ellis whose mother is a Cameron and who was in one of the pipe bands. There is no doubt that with this part of Canada there is a considerable Highland connection and that the Scottish tradition is strong and vital.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I am not normally someone who is troubled by other people's views but I do like to know what people are thinking about the Clan Cameron and its Association. I have been off at a Conference from Friday until Sunday and so there is a gap in my blogging. However, when I logged on again I found that there was no response to any of the pieces I had posted - apart from the two comments I had put in myself to try to generate a debate. Perhaps the topics are not open-ended enough or not interesting or perhaps there is some barrier to responding. I don't know but I would like to think that we could generate some kind of dialogue. Whatever, I would like to hear from you as I am aware that the site does have a considerable number of hits.


Thursday, 25 October 2007


For the first time, a clan was represented at the National Mod in Fort William, this year. The twin reasons for Clan Cameron asking to have a stall at the Mod were the fact that 2007 was nominated as the "Year of Highland Culture" and the fact that the Royal National Mod was being held in our heartland. On Tuesday, 16th of October, we held a reception for invited guests and any Camerons in the area. We had about 50 people at the reception including local councillors and officials of the organising committee. Many discussions and informal relationships were formed and we were able to promote the Clan Cameron in the wider context of the place of the Scottish Clan in our society today. There is no doubt that throughout the world there is a strong feeling of family kinship and this is particularly strong in North America, Australia and New Zealand. However, recently I had an e-mail from a Cameron in Paraguay asking for help in identifying family ancestors. I think that we can not do enough as a clan association to promote the place of clans in Scotland today. I am sure that these views are controversial in some quarters but I would welcome any comments. Is clanship an important force binding families together or is it simply a relic of a society which is best forgotten? The picture shows Donald Angus Cameron of Lochiel (seated) along with from the left Col Charles Cameron, Charlie McColl (mod Convener), Alan Cameron (President Clan Cameron Association Scotland) and Tom Cameron (Commisioner for Clan Cameron North America).

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


As you probably know, Lochiel is currently undertaking major renovation at Achnacarry House. Amongst the major changes is a project to replace the roof. As if that was not bad enough, the builders have found wet rot in the building and this is affecting the timber - some of it structural. In spite of all this, the renovation is continuing and Lochiel is philosophical albeit frustrated at the disruption all of this work is causing. Having seen many large houses become derelict through long term neglect or transferred to the National Trust because the upkeep is no longer sustainable, we must congratulate Lochiel and his family for taking on this huge task. There is no doubt that for us as members of the Clan Cameron, having Achnacarry is a focus for us as we come to the area from all over the world. We must however, be patient and appreciate that the work will be done and Lochiel is confident that the house will be habitable again in time for the International Rally in July/August 2009.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


There has been much discussion during the past few years about global warming and climate change and indeed recently Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work on warning of the effects of our current lifestyle. It does appear that the winters have been milder overall and if this Autumn is typical the period of mild weather in Scotland has been extended. Longer term records show that there have been wide variations in our weather patterns over the centuries. Core samples taken from the North Pole have been used to show the cyclical nature of the weather. While the evidence of work such as that of Al Gore and his team is convincing, I think there is still much to be researched before we have incontrovertible evidence that the pollution of our current lifestyle is changing the weather. The prophets of disaster suggest that we have little time left until our climate will make life on this planet impossible. On this issue, we all have our own opinions. What do you think? Have you any evidence - either anecdotal or scientific? In the meantime, let us enjoy the lovely weather we are currently experiencing. The photograph shown here was taken on the Dark Mile road on the Achnacarry Estate on Saturday, 20th October.

Monday, 22 October 2007


The autumn colours are wonderful in the west of Scotland at this time of year and no where more beautiful than in Lochaber. The Clan Cameron Association Scotland held its AGM at Clunes on Tuesday, 16th October. Lochiel is staying there during the major renovation project at Achnacarry. The brown of the bracken, the delicate leaves of the birch and the reds and russet colours of the autumn leaves make a wonderful picture. I took the opportunity to take some photographs which I will post on this and some of the following days. There is no doubt in my mind that the palette of colours in Scotland at this time of year is without parallel. As we drove along the road to Clunes, the morning light coming through the trees and sparkling on the waters of Loch Lochy created a most stunning backdrop.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


I have just returned from a week of culture at the National Mod. This is a festival of Gaelic culture involving choral singing for both large and rural choirs. There are also competitions for solo singing for both fluent and gaelic speakers. In addition there are competitions in Gaelic drama and the playing of the bagpipes, fiddle and clarsach. The main competitions for adults are the gold medal which was won this year by James Graham for the gents competition and Jean McKay for the ladies. The silver pendant for those whose gaelic is not quite fluent was won by Somerled Smith and Jennifer Spiers. The major choral competition for the Lovat & Tullibardine Shield was won by the Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association under their conductor, Kenneth Thomson. An interesting aside. During the Lovat & Tullibardine Trophy, one of the audience was frantically knitting a pair of kilt stockings. Apparently a member of one of the choirs had come with the wrong colour of stockings. The stockings were completed in time albeit with a hole in the toe as the knitter did not have enough time to finish them off. The Mod in Fort William had a wonderful fringe programme with craftspeople, seminars, workshops and even a stall for the Clan Cameron Association Scotland. The Clan also held a reception for 50 invited guests.
However, for me the real essence of the Mod is the variety of ceilidhs in every hotel and bar in the town. I particularly enjoyed the music of Fergie MacDonald in the Grand Hotel. I feel that the Mod is an important cultural focus for Gaelic culture. It has been criticised in the past but is still going strong after more than 100 years.