JANUARY NEWSLETTER       volume 14         issue 1



​Presidents Message
The North County Scots Board would like to Wish everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Check out the details for the Annual Burns Dinner and make your reservations now, come on out and have a good time with family and friends
Our next event for the year will be the Annual Casino Night so watch for further details in the next Newsletter.

Yours aye



5pm-6pm is Cocktail Hour
​The Event begins Sharply at 6pm

How many Member tickets: $50.00 each

​How many Non-Member tickets: $55.00
     Meal Choices:
​Chicken Chardonnay:  How many  _______
Blackened Salmon:  How many      _______
​Santa Maria Tri Tip:  How many     _______

Vegetarian Meal Upon Request
​Payment due by 1/20/2018

​Please make checks payable to:
​North County Scots
P. O. Box 1953
​Vista, California 92085-1953






The Holiday Inn has arranged a block of rooms for those wishing to stay the night after the Burns Supper. The price is $105 for single or double . Reservations must be made by 1/05/2018. The  direct number to the Holiday is (760)438-2725 please tell them you are with North County Scots Burns Supper.




My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.


Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth ;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.


​Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods


My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.


​​PHOTOGRAPY by Jim McAuley







































​Is there a more dramatic, romantic castle in Scotland than Dunnottar? Standing upon a striking headland, surrounded by almost sheer cliffs on three sides, Dunnottar is not only one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses in Britain, but the site of some of the most fascinating and dramatic events in British history. Over the turbulent centuries it has been burned, rebuilt, and burned again. It has been besieged, visited by saints and queens, and been the setting for dramatic escapes. It has been a religious community, a fortress, a terrible prison, and the scene of one of the most famous episodes in the story of Scotland.

History of Dunnottar
There may have been prehistoric settlements at Dunnottar, but the earliest historic record comes from the 5th century, when the tireless Celtic saint Ninian established a church on the Rock of Dunnottar, one of the earliest Christian sites in Pictland. Ninian’s church was just one of numerous that Scotland’s first saint established across the country in a bid to spread Christianity throughout the north. Ninian’s church was a simple timber structure built of wattle and daub, with outbuildings of timber and thatch. The early Christian centre at Dunnottar grew and became incorporated into a Pictish fort and small settlement. In the late 9th century King Donald II defended the fort unsuccessfully against a Viking invasion, and the king was killed. The fortress was rebuilt, not in stone, but in earth and timber. In 1276 a new stone church in Norman style was consecrated for worship atop the Rock, probably on the site of Ninian’s chapel.

The Viking invasion was only the first episode of violence to descend upon Dunnottar. When Edward I made his bid for the Scottish throne Dunnottar once more became a pawn in the game of kings. English troops occupied Dunnottar, but a Scottish force under William Wallace captured the castle. The English took refuge in the church, but Wallace burned the church with the soldiers inside, and destroyed the castle. Several windows of the 13th century church burned by Wallace still survive in the current chapel ruins.

In 1336 the English were back;  when Robert I died, Edward Baliol made a bid for the throne with the aid of English troops. Edward occupied the castle and almost immediately began to strengthen the defenses. The Scots retook Dunnottar and once again burned it to the ground!

By the end of the 14th century Dunnottar was owned by the Keith family, Great Marischals (Marshalls) of Scotland. Sir William Keith built the first substantial stone defences at Dunnottar, including the curtain wall surrounding much of the clifftop site, and the stone keep. King James IV visited Keith at Dunnottar in 1503, and his granddaughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, came here twice, in 1562 and again in 1564 when she was accompanied by her young son, the future James VI. James returned in 1580 and spent 10 days here, hunting and presiding over his Privy Council. His host was Sir Wiliam Keith, the 4th Earl, who was known as ‘William O’ the Tower’ because he seldom left his own tower house!

In 1595 an unfortunate man named John Crichton was sentenced to death for witchcraft and was burned to death at Dunnottar. The 7th Earl Marischal joined the cause of the Covenanters in 1639 and fought with the army of the Marquis of Montrose in the taking of Aberdeen. In 1645 the fiery Montrose reappeared at the head of a royalist army, having dramatically switched sides. Montrose tried to negotiate, but the Earl refused to treat with his former ally. Montrose then burned the castle and laid waste to the entire region.


The Honours of Scotland

But the most dramatic event in the history of Dunnottar was yet to come. Charles II stayed at Dunnottar at the beginning of his attempt to wrest the throne from Parliament. He was crowned at Scone, in a ceremony that included the Honours of Scotland; the Scottish equivalent to the Crown Jewels of England. The Honours were the most potent symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, and consisted of a court crown, a ceremonial sword, and a sceptre. The Honours would normally have been returned to storage at Edinburgh Castle, but Oliver Cromwell siezed Edinburgh, so the Honours were sent to Dunnottar Castle for safety.

Cromwell was determined to destroy the Honours as he had destroyed the English crown jewels. The Earl Marischal was taken prisoner by Cromwell, so the defense of Dunnottar was entrusted to Sir George Ogilvy of Barras. In September 1651 English troops appeared at Dunnottar and settled down to a long siege. The garrison of 69 men held out through the long winter. By May 1652 Dunnottar Castle was the only place in Scotland where the royal flag still flew. But the the English brought in heavy guns and began to bombard the castle. For 10 days the guns roared, and the number of defenders dwindled. Finally, after a siege lasting 8 months in total, Ogilvy surrendered Dunnottar to Cromwell’s men.

But where were the Honours of Scotland?

Search as they might, Cromwell’s men could not find them. They had been secreted away, right under the noses of the English army.

There are several versions of how the Honours were saved. One version says that the English allowed Mrs Grainger, wife of the minister at Kinneff, a few miles down the coast, to enter the castle on compassionate grounds. Mrs Grainger then carried out the Honours under her skirts. Another version says that the Honours were lowered down the cliffs in a basket, to Mrs Grainger’s serving maid, who was pretending to gather seaweed by the shore. The maid then hid the Honours in a creel, covered by dulse, and carried them out under the noses of the English troops. They were hidden at the bottom of the Grainger’s bed and then secretly buried in the church at Kinneff, under the floor near the altar. Every few months the minister and his wife dug up the Honours and aired them out before a fire.
The English were understandably enraged, and they wrecked havoc upon the castle. The chapel was destroyed, and the Ogilvys imprisoned. Mrs Ogilvy died from her ill-treatment, but Sir George survived, and never divulged the whereabouts of the Honours.

The Whig’s Vault

But that was not the final chapter of Dunnottar Castle. Though the Keep was in ruins and the great hall destroyed, enough remained that the castle could still be used as a barracks. In 1685 religious turmoil was at its height, with the authorities severely repressing every vestige of Presbyterianism. One hundred and sixty seven men and women who refused to accept the new prayer book and acknowledge the king’s supremacy in spiritual matters were marched to Dunnottar and interred in a damp, dark cellar which has since become known as the Whig’s Vault. There they were kept in dreadfully cramped conditions, with no sanitation, for 5 long weeks, until the end of June. Some of the ‘Whigs’ relented and took the oath of allegiance. Others tried to escape; 25 managed it, but 15 of these were recaptured. Two fell to their deaths while attempting the descent. The remainder were transported to the West Indes, but of these fully 70 died on the voyage or upon arrival. A simple stone memorial to the Covenanters stands in the churchyard at Dunnottar parish church, on the outskirts of Stonehaven. Modern visitors can descend to the Whig’s Vault and marvel that any of the Covenanters at all were able to survive confinemenmt in such a dark, damp, cramped space.

In 1695 the 9th Earl Marischal managed to regain Dunnottar for the Keiths. But after 44 years as a barracks Dunnottar was no longer suitable as a family home. The 10th Earl Marischal then made a fatal error in judgement; he joined the abortive 1715 Jacobite Rebellion in favour of James VII and II. The Earl welcomed James to his house at nearby Feteresso Castle, but the Rising was doomed from the start and both James and the Earl had to fle to France. George I siezed his estatesa, including Dunottat. The castle was sold to the York Building Company, who stripped it bare. Many years later the Keiths regained Dunnottar, but it was not until 1925 that any serious effort was made to arrest the decay of centuries.
Today visitors can visit a range of buildings, including what remains of the chapel and Earl’s hall, stables, smithy, storehouse, barracks, and the early stone keep, or tower house. You can also visit the Whig’s Vault and a restored Drawing Room.

The remains are really quite extensive, considering how much the castle has been through! Almost all the buildings are in ruins and roofless however, with the exception of the restored Drawing Room. But what makes Dunnottar so amazing to visit is the location; it is the most evocative and romantic location imaginable. There are walks along the cliffs in both directions and if you are moderately agile you can get down to the shore on eith side of the headland for amazing views of the Rock.





Around the time that Cladh Hallan was finally abandoned, a much grander style of dwelling was appearing in the Outer Hebrides. When the broch at Dun Vulan was built, in the last few centuries BC, its towering walls would have dominated the surrounding landscape. Excavation concentrated on the area outside the broch, where several centuries’ worth of domestic rubbish had accumulated near the doorway. Detailed information about the diet and economy of a prominent Iron Age household had been preserved, alongside a large assemblage of discarded tools and decorated pottery. The inhabitants of the broch had a particular liking for pork, which seems to have arrived at the site already butchered into joints. The jawbones from a badger were an unexpected find: presumably the animal had been brought to South Uist for its fur.

People continued to live at Dun Vulan for hundreds of years, even though architectural fashions moved on. Sometime between 200 and 400 AD, when the broch was already several centuries old, a cellular house was built in the cramped space inside its massive walls. The excavation left this structure, and the occupation deposits sealed beneath it, intact for future investigations. Since the site was abandoned, a bank of shingle has encroached on the broch, covering it up to the height of the first floor. Walking over the stone lintels that still roof the original entrance passage, it is possible to see the plan of the three rooms of the cellular house.
Ironically, the coastal erosion that deposited the protective shingle over the site will soon destroy it. The broch, which was originally built on an islet in a freshwater loch, now stands on the shoreline of an exposed promontory that bears the brunt of the Atlantic storms. Sea defences, built less than ten years ago, have already been breached. The loss of the impressive Iron Age buildings at Dun Vulan is inevitable, although timely excavation could salvage the valuable information about the primary occupation of brochs in the Outer Hebrides.

Source: Kildonan Museum










FEB 17-18, 2018 | 9AM-6PM

The Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXV February 17-18 from 9AM-6PM. Experience the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through an array of authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment and cuisine in ode to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.


The 23rd Annual Kern County Scottish Games and Gathering will be held March 24 & 25, 2018 at the Kern County Fairgrounds.


Your Board of Directors

Rob McLintock (2017)*
(760) 726-3691

Stephen Lundie (2019)*
​(858) 679-4875

Heather Russell (2018)*
(760) 471-9262

CJ Harper
(619) 992-4062

Dennis Waldrop (2019)*
(760) 891-6192

Judith Waldrop (2017)*.
(760) 891-6191

Jim McAuley
(760) 510-3959

Rev. Bill Brooks
​(760) 471-0418

​Judy Brooks

Dedicated to all things Scottish

The stated goal of the North County Scots, as a non-profit organization, is to sponsor Scottish oriented
youth activities and find pleasure in activities with other Scottish Associations and friends.
*Year lists term of officer.

Visit us on the web at www.northcountyscots.com


North County Scots Membership Form

For Year October 2016 thru September 2017

Please make checks payable to:
orth County Scots, Inc.

P O Box 1953 * Vista, CA  92085-1953

STATE:                                      ZIP:
Membership Levels:
 Individual ($20) Receives newsletter plus discount at events
Couple ($25) Receives newsletter plus discount at events
Family ($25) Receives newsletter plus discount at events
Sponsor ($35) Receives newsletter plus discount at events, plus business card size advertisement in newsletter
Donor ($50) Receives newsletter plus discount at events, plus business card size advertisement in newsletter, plus four (4) extra basket prize tickets at the Burns Supper
Patron ($100) Receives newsletter plus discount at events, plus business card size advertisement in newsletter, plus four (4) extra basket prize tickets at the Burns Supper, plus 20 extra bucket prize tickets at Casino Night.



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