On this day – May 2, 1933 – Loch Ness Monster sighted!

1934 Loch Ness monster photo Although accounts of an aquatic beast living in Scotland’s Loch Ness date back 1,500 years, the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster was born when a sighting on May 2, 1933 made local news. This photo was taken the following year, in 1934, by Lt. Col. Robert Kenneth Wilson and was published in The Daily Mail.

If you’re thinking of traveling there to take a look for yourself, check out this great article on the Clan Gregor Society website. If you find her, make sure to let us know!

A Simply Scottish Podcast

simply scottishI was introduced to this podcast by a friend and subscribed to it right away!

Scottish podcaster Andrew MacDiarmaid, a Scotland native currently living near Seattle, has a great website with many ways to listen to his entertaining and educational episodes. Some of the topics include tartans, Scots in America, pioneers in Scottish medicine, sports in Scotland (pt. 1 & 2), Scottish poetry and song, all with a few musical interludes sprinkled in here and there.

Check for it on iTunes and Podomatic.

The show is also syndicated on the Celtic Radio Network, an award-winning internet radio station broadcasting Celtic music 24 hours a day. Listen to the show on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:30am and Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm (Eastern Time).

On this day in 1933 – The Loch Ness Monster goes viral

Loch Ness MonsterAlthough accounts of an aquatic beast living in the deep, cold waters of Loch Ness date back at least 1,500 years, the ‘legend of the Loch Ness Monster,’ as we know it today, was first reported in a Scottish newspaper on 2 May 1933 when local couple claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.”

The story of the ‘monster’ went viral – becoming big news all over the world. A circus even offered a £20,000 reward for her capture.

But wait, there’s more! Just last year, on 15th June 2011, a local couple believe they caught a glimpse of “Nessie” while taking an afternoon break on their store’s front deck which looks out on the loch. “We stand here all the time and look out and see boats and kayaks, but it didn’t look like anything we have seen here before.”

A curious fact: The vantage point is exactly the same as the one where the best video footage of the legendary creature was taken back in 1960.

Hooray, hooray, it’s the 1st of May! Grab your Beltane freebie today!

Hooray, hooray, it’s the 1st of May! Outdoor lovin’ begins today!
(You may have heard this little rhyme a wee bit differently, but you get the picture…hee hee!) Today is Beltane – the first day of the Celtic summer.

maypole dancingThe first day of May is celebrated in many countries for many different reasons. It is also an important part of the Celtic calendar. Beltane is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. Since the Celtic year was based on both lunar and solar cycles, it’s possible that the holiday was really celebrated on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice.

Beltane also marks the beginning of the pastoral summer season when herds of livestock are driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands. In modern Irish, Mí na Bealtaine {month of Bealtaine} is the name for the month of May. The name of the month is often abbreviated to Bealtaine, with the festival day itself being known as Lá Bealtaine.

The traditional lighting of great bonfires marks a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and is accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits, such as the Sídhe. Beltane is a time when the Otherworld is seen as particularly close at hand. Early Gaelic sources from around the 10th century state that the druids of the community would create need-fires on top of a hill on this day and drive the village’s cattle between them to purify them and bring luck {Eadar dà theine Bhealltainn in Scottish Gaelic – Between two fires of Beltane}. In Scotland, boughs of juniper were sometimes thrown on the fires to add an additional element of purification and blessing to the smoke. People would also pass between the two fires to purify themselves.

Beltane is also a fertility festival and love is in the air. After the traditional Beltane bonfire, lads and lassies would hook up and disappear into the forest. The children that resulted we’re considered a blessing from the goddess.

The Beltane festival was celebrated widely up until the 1950s, and still continues in a few places today. A revived Beltane Fire Festival has been held every year since 1988 during the night of 30 April (Beltane eve) on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland and attended by up to 15,000 people.

So, light a Beltane bonfire outdoors (or in your fireplace) tonight. If you’re in the city, you may want to just light a candle. Then, snuggle up with your sweetie by that nice romantic blaze …who knows what might happen!

Coming up on the 6th of May, it’s International Scrapbooking Day (aka iNSD) so, as my Beltane and iNSD gift to you, here’s a special mini kit full of fun Celtic designs. Click on the image below or here to get your free copy. Don’t forget to spread the love this Beltane Day and send your friends here to get one, too.

The Celtic season of Beltane mini kit

 

Slainte! {Gaelic for Cheers!}

 

Remembering the Battle of Culloden – 16 April 1746

[Many thanks to my good friend and clansman, Randy White, for keeping the memory of this day in our hearts and minds.]

The Battle of Culloden (Blàr Chùil Lodair) was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising in Scotland.

At about noon on 16 April 1746, a British government army of over 7,500 men under the Duke of Cumberland faced a force of about 5,500 clansmen, with some French and Irish soldiers, under Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

The Highlanders were exhausted after a failed night march intended to surprise the enemy in their camp. Short of provisions, many men had barely eaten in three days and others had left to forage for food, with rations down to a biscuit a day.

After the two armies took up battle positions, British cannon tore holes in the Highlanders’ ranks with round shot and grapeshot.

The Highlanders finally launched their charge. But those on the left faced a long, boggy run to the British lines, under volleys of musket fire. The Jacobites who broke through on the right flank were halted by Cumberland’s second line of defence. Bloody hand-to-hand fighting, with the Highlanders outflanked, ended in retreat and total disarray.

Prince Charles ordered his remaining troops to disperse, and spent five months on the run before fleeing to France. The aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism was brutal, earning Cumberland the nicknmae “Butcher.” Cumberland tacitly approved the brutal killing of Jacobite wounded and fugitives from the battle; nearly 1,000 prisoners were transported. The goal of the British was to weaken the Gaelic culture and destroy the clan system.

In the ensuing months and years, the Highlanders were pursued, murdered or arrested (when caught), and their homes were burned. Anti-clothing laws were enacted against traditional highland dress by an Act of Parliament in 1746. The result was that the wearing of tartan was banned from everyone in Scotland (men, women, and children), except as a uniform for officers and soldiers in the British Army.

Today, a visitor centre is located near the site of the battle. The newly remodeled centre was reopened in December 2007. Through recent archaeological and historical research, the National Trust for Scotland discovered that the previous centre was located on the third Government line of the battlefield. With the Trust’s resolve to return the battlefield environment to as close as it was it on 16 April 1746, the centre was moved.

And, I’m happy to report that the highland clans did NOT die off and there is a national movement for Scotland to split off from the UK and finally become a nation again – what the Jacobites were fighting for so long ago.

P365 Idea: On This Day in History

I recently subscribed to a free daily e-mail from History.com called “This Day in History” that sends me a list of things that happened on each particular day. It’s a really great tool for folks doing things like Project 365 or even heritage and birthday pages. Use one of the things that ‘happened’ to add to your journaling, for an inspiration for your photos, and even to do a comparison of ‘then’ and ‘now.’

For instance, on the e-mail for today, May 5, 2001, was a note about the first American in space. I took that info and then went to NASA’s website and Wikipedia to get current info on the space program today. Here’s the ‘then’ and ‘now’ comparison. (Can you believe how far we’ve come in just 50 years?)

THEN: May 5 1961, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. became the first American in space. The flight lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles.

NOW: May 5, 2011, the Space Shuttle Endeavor is preparing for a 14-day mission to the International Space Station later this month. The International Space Station orbits between 278 km (173 mi) and 460 km (286 mi) altitude above the Earth. The crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel, and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.

This is just one example of what you can do with the information you get in the daily e-mails. Leave a comment if you have a great idea on how you can use “On This day in History” in your scrapbooking, cardmaking, or art journaling.
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