Douglas MacQueen's blog

Time for the Scottish to reclaim their stolen lands and protect wildlife

There has has been much reported in recent months about community groups seeking to buy the lands in which they live and those trying to reclaim lands from which their ancestors were evicted during the notorious highland clearances.  Scotland has one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in Europe.

Royal National Mòd underway in Lochaber

The Royal National Mòd (Scottish Gaelic: Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail),  referred to as the Mòd, is underway in Lochaber in the west of the Scottish Highlands. The event takes place from 13th to 21st October and began with a torchlit procession through the streets of Fort William (Scottish Gaelic: An Gearasdan). The Royal National Mòd is the most important of a number of  Mòds that are held annually in Scotland and is a festival that celebrates Scottish Gaelic literature, song, arts and culture.

Alliance of Scottish conservation groups line up to oppose environmentally damaging golf course proposal at Coul Links

The Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, Buglife Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society have combined to urge the public to oppose a proposed gold course at Coul Links in Sutherland, Scotland. They point out that the 18-hole golf course would be on land they describe "an irreplaceable piece of Scotland's natural heritage" and  that the golf course would destroy one of Scotland's last remaining coastal dune systems.

Scotland seeks to strengthen links with its northern neighbours as First Minister attends Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland

Nicola Sturgeon will take part in the Arctic Circle Assembly during a visit to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik. As well as meeting Iceland's president she will also talk with representatives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Proposals for the Scottish island of Ulva to be brought into community ownership

Ulva (Scottish Gaelic: Ulbha) is a 4,500-acre (seven-sq-mile) island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, off the west coast of Mull. The island has been populated since the Mesolithic period and has a number of Neolithic remains. There are some dolmens and standing stones on the island dating back to 1500BC. Archeologists from Edinburgh University researching remains in the island's large Livingstone Cave indicate people lived here from as far back as 5,650BC.

Newly discovered Viking parliament "Thing" site may have been identified in Scotland

An item in yesterday's Scottish newspaper, the Scotsman, reports that a site where Norse leaders gathered for parliamentary meetings may have been discovered in Caithness (Scottish Gaelic: Gallaibh) in the northeast of Scotland. Features identified as resembling such a site have resulted in archeological work being undertaken at Thing’s Va Broch near Thurso.

Mystery of the remains of Scottish Chief of Clan Fraser "the Old Fox" moves closer to being solved

The mystery of the final resting place of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, Chief of Clan Fraser, known as "the Old Fox" could be moving closer to being solved. He lived from about 1667 to 9 April 1747. Beheaded in London as a supporter of Bonnie Prince Charlie, his headless body is said to lie in a lead casket at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill, near Inverness. A body, minus the head is in the casket but is it that of Simon Fraser?

Scotland's first minister makes second visit to Republic of Ireland

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon will visit Dublin this week where she will meet political and business leaders, including Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar. This is Nicola Sturgeon's second trip to Dublin in less than a year. On that occasion she addressed the upper house of the Irish Parliament. The First Minister has said that she views Ireland as an important friend to Scotland and looked forward to strengthening links between the countries.

Bannockburn battle site housing development refused

Plans by developers to build 250 homes on the Bannockburn battle site have been refused by Sterling Councillors. The Battle of Bannockburn on 24 June 1314 was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence against the English forces of King Edward II. In a unanimous decision at a Sterling Council meeting on Wednesday the refusal took into account the need to protect the historic importance of the Bannockburn site and also because of the environmental harm of the proposed development in a Green Belt area.

Scottish government states fracking "cannot and will not take place in Scotland"

The Scottish government has said that fracking "cannot and will not take place in Scotland". Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP's) that the present moratorium on fracking, which has been in place since 2015, will continue "indefinitely". He went on to say that MSPs will be given a vote on the issue later in the year before a final decision is taken.


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