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British Isles 2010

All the things I've seen, places I've been whilst studying throughout the UK and Ireland in summer '10.

Day 35: Lochs and Dancing

Scotland Inverness, Scotland  |  Jun 17, 2010
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 Oh cruel was the foe/ That raped Glencoe/ And murdered the house MacDonald 

The day started with us leaving Inverness. On our way to Oban, we got to stop and see Loch Ness, which is massive! During the drive around Loch Ness, Michael was telling us some of the tales associated with the Loch and its legendary ‘monster.’

·      In the 6th century, St. Columbo saw Nessy for the first time

·      By Castle Urquhart (which we got to see across the water) is the most common place that people have spotted Nessy

·      In the 1990s, sonar machines picked up something underneath the water. Whatever this thing was, it was moving too fast to be just more weeds in the water.

Then Keith drove us to one part of the Loch where we got out and were able to learn about traditional Highland life. The demonstration we were given included learning how to use their tools and weapons (and what exactly they were used for), and also how to wear the traditional clothes. (Jason and Dani were volunteers in wearing these period clothes, which apparently were also worn in by Madonna in her wedding.) After that we were given some free time to walk around and take pictures before heading back on our way to Oban.

This time we talked more about the MacDonalds of Glencoe massacre in 1692 by Argyll soldiers (most of whom were Campbells). Basically, the Argyll soldiers betrayed the hospitality of the MacDonalds on order by one of the prominent English figures (once again Highlanders vs. English) and not only murdered everyone in sight in the middle of the night, but burned their houses and possessions until they literally had nothing. Michael even played a song for us that went: Oh cruel is the snow/ That sweeps through Glencoe/ And covers the grave O’Donald// Oh cruel was the foe/ That raped Glencoe/ And murdered the house MacDonald


That night, in Oban, we got to go and witness a Scottish Ceilidh. A Ceilidh is, in my opinion, the Scottish equivalent of a barn dance. Michael had told us before that there would be lots of traditional Scottish music and dancing. We even joined in a few times, once for the Canadian line dance I think it was called. One of the songs that were sung the audience was asked to sing along with. The chorus was: I’m going home/ Where the summer’s coming in/ And the moonlight on the river/ Shows me where I’ve been. It was a really beautiful song and the Ceilidh was lots of fun!


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