Blog From the North: December 2015 / January 2016

Bunty Gunn
Bunty Gunn

Well, quite a bit of excitement, really in the last months.  We were told that the Lord Lyon King of Arms had recognised Iain as Chief of Clan Gunn.  Rather than be “of that ilk” which he thought was a bit Victorian, he will be Iain Gunn of Gunn and our son will be John Gunn Younger of Gunn.  In the days gone by the Chief’s wife was Lady Gunn, but I don’t hold with that, as Iain has not been ennobled, so I have been told (on high authority!) that I am now Madam Gunn of Gunn. Wow!

What is good about this is not that it is our family to be so honoured, but that there can now be continuity in the Gunn hierarchy.  Every time we go abroad and visit Clan Gatherings we see for ourselves how important it is that there is a Head of the Family.  It means that even in a huge country like the United States of America you are not lost, you have roots and a provenance.   The new Chiefly Arms are to be presented to Iain by the Lord Lyon  in April at the St. Donan’s Day Dinner, which will be held in the Merchants’ Hall  in Edinburgh on the 16th April.  It would be great to see as many of you as possible there.  Details will be going out shortly in The Herald.

Talking about the Arms, apparently the older the Clan, the less there is on the shield.  As Chiefly arms have never been registered, the Lyon ordered that new ones should be designed.  Help in this matter is being given by Mr. John Malden, who rejoices in the title of Unicorn Pursuivant.

The first draft suggestion showed, as a supporter, a very fierce Viking warrior, armed to the teeth with just about every weapon you could imagine and apparently wearing sun glasses.  This has now been modified and the other supporter is a Pictish woman, holding a bunch of juniper.  I’m not sure about the other details  but I’m sure it will look fine when it is done.  The motto stays the same, so the Gunns are either peaceful or warlike, depending on your point of view.

Caithness avoided the heavy rain that caused so much flooding during the last few months, but we were raked by fierce winds which must have come straight off Siberia, they were so cold.

When you shop in Lybster’s main street you need to know which way the wind is blowing and park accordingly because you could easily lose a leg if the car door shut on you, so strong are the gusts.

We were down in Pitlochry just before Christmas and were astonished by the fields  covered in water – lakes as far as the eye could see.  Every river, it seemed, had burst its banks and there were little knots of sheep stranded on high ground with water all round them.  Today, as I write, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and a flock of Canada geese is feeding in the field in front of the house.  They seem to like the salty grass – or more likely, the well-seasoned beasties they find in it.  The grass is green and healthy looking and all in all it is more like summer than Christmas.

So from sunny, warm and pleasant Caithness I wish you all a very prosperous New Year.