81 Years of Looking for Nessie

Seen today, April 21, 2015, on Google.com…

Click the image to search for Nessie on Google!
To celebrate the anniversary of the famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” of the creature from 1934, Google Maps released brand new 360-degree imagery from the legendary lake…even below the water! Click here to search on Google Maps.

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 Creative and Very Scottish Way to Say “I Love You!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose!

Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, is often regarded as a pioneer of the romantic movement, penning some of poetry’s most beautiful prose.

Scotland.org has created an innovative way to really tell your loved one how much you love them this Valentine’s Day in a most clever way. You can send a one-of-a-kind video ecard of yourself reciting one of Burns’ most famous poems, My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose.

Send your sweetheart an awesome ecard now! > http://www.scotland.org/interactives/recite-a-burns

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).

How to Celebrate like a Celt! Lughnasadh (and Blaeberry Pie!)

Lughnasadh, pronounced lunasa, is a traditional Gaelic harvest festival celebrated on 1 August. In Scotland it is known as Lùnastal, which is also the Gaelic name for the month of August.

The holiday is named after the Celtic god Lugh, the bringer of storms and lightning, and especially the storms of late summer. A gentle rain on the day of the festival is seen as his blessing. [He must really love it here in the Pacific Northwest…LOL!] Today, the festival is celebrated as Blaeberry Sunday in Scotland and Fraughan Sunday in Ireland. As with most Celtic holidays, Lughnasadh was ‘adopted’ by the Christian church and is known as Lammas Sunday.

A few customs that Lughnasadh shares with the other Celtic festivals are those of lighting bonfires and visiting of holy wells. The ashes from Lughnasadh bonfires are used to bless fields, cattle, and people. Visitors to a holy well pray for health and a good harvest while walking sunwise around the well and usually leave an offering of coins or clooties (a tasy sweet dumpling). Another custom from the past that is becoming popular again is that of handfasting — a trial marriage that lasted a year and a day. Children often made and played with harvest corn dollies.

Lughnasadh celebrations are commonly held on hilltops where the wild blaeberries grow. The people gather the berries as they climb, taking only a part of what is available and leaving some for the local fauna and some to go seed to allow the plants to regenerate. The crop of berries was said to indicate how well the rest of the crops would fare in their harvests later in the year. The juicy berries were either eaten fresh or saved to make medicinal remedies, fabric dye, wine, and tasty pies (there’s a recipe coming up…). Today, they are also recognized as a good source of antioxidants.

blaeberry bush

The blaeberry is also known as bilberry, wimberry, hurtleberry, and myrtille. Although they resemble small, cultivated blueberries, blaeberries are a different species. The wild plants are found in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. They are also related to the huckleberries found in the Pacific Northwest.

Unlike blueberries that are a yellowish green inside with a mild flavor, blaeberries are dark throughout with a distinctive, winey taste. Because they are so small, the almost black berries are easiest to harvest with a scoop-like tool similar to those used by commercial blueberry growers.

A Simple Blaeberry Pie Recipeblaeberry pie

You never know how many berries you’ll end up with, so the following recipe is easily adjusted to make anything from a tasty wee tart for one to a full-sized pie for the whole family.

1. Mix 4 tbsp caster (fine granulated) sugar for each cup of fruit with 1 tbsp cornflour (corstarch). Add more or less sugar depending on the tartness of the berries.

2. Add the zest of 1 lemon and mix well (optional).

3. In a deep pie dish, alternate layers of blaeberries with the sugar mix.

4. Cover the dish with sweet shortcrust pastry* [http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/fetch-recipe.php?rid=misc-sweet-pie-dough]. Any favorite home-made recipe or store bought will do.

5. For a golden sweet crust, beat the white of an egg, brush it on the top of the pastry, and dust with caster sugar.

6. Bake in a pre-heated 400F/200C oven for 15 minutes.

7. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C and continue baking for about 25 minutes more. If the edges of the crust appear to be browning too quickly, cover them with baking parchment or foil.

Change it up!
Subtitute wild huckleberries or blackberries.
Add some grated apple to the berries.
Use mint leaves instead of lemon zest.

* For a gluten-free recipe for the piecrust, click here or here. You can also use a boxed GF piecrust mix and add a bit more sugar.

Here are some other things you can make with your Lughnasadh berry harvest.

Blaeberry jam http://www.ancientsites.com/aw/Post/1078134
Wild Blaeberry Muffins http://ribbonsandkittens.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/wild-blaeberry-muffins/

Send in your favorite recipes!


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.


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