I am writing this message from my home in Edinburgh which I’m delighted to say is still part of the United Kingdom. Last month the people of Scotland voted to stay in the Union, hopefully “putting to bed” any further attempts at Scottish Independence for at least a generation. However, while the “majority have spoken”, there were still a lot of Scots who were disappointed with the vote. While Independence proved a step too far for the electorate, the “Yes” voters should perhaps console themselves with the fact that with the additional powers offered by Westminster (a version of “Devo Max” ) they will most likely have achieved 75% of their wish list anyway. The important thing now is for us to put the referendum behind us and concentrate on getting the Scottish economy to thrive once again.
Turning to clan matters, we had a very enjoyable Mini Gathering in Caithness in July which began with a delicious buffet supper at the Commander’s House (Swiney) and was followed over the next couple of days by the AGM, a trip to the Halkirk Games, a formal dinner at the Forss House Hotel and finished with a church service at Kildonan church. However, we are now looking forward to next year’s International Gathering, details of which are included in this edition of the Herald together with a booking form. The details are also on the Clan Gunn Society’s website and I’m pleased to say that we have already had a number of firm bookings which is extremely encouraging.
When organising this major event, we are always in somewhat of a dilemma in that we are aware that some of those attending will be doing so for the first time while others are “serial” gathering attendees. We therefore have to try to balance the “must see” attractions for the “first timers” while trying to keep the programme fresh for the “regulars”. I therefore hope you will agree that the programme looks interesting (it is certainly pretty full) and I am very pleased that we have managed to hold the costs down to roughly the same level that they were three years ago.
Next year’s Gathering will also be slightly different in that it coincides with the Sinclair’s gathering which they hold every 5 years (for the mathematicians amongst you that means we overlap every 15 years) and we have decided to hold a joint Gala Ball on the Friday night. We have also managed to obtain a grant from the Scottish Clan Fund for this event which has allowed us to heavily subsidise the cost and which we hope will encourage more of the local Gunns and Sinclairs to attend.
The next Herald is not due out until next spring so I would therefore like to wish you all a rather early happy Christmas and New Year and encourage as many of you that are able to come to Orkney and Caithness for what promises to be one of the best International Gatherings yet.