Clan Gathering (Edinburgh 2009)



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Dear Clansfolk

After a good few weeks of fairly frosty weather and more snowfall than we have had for a few years, the temperature has risen and the snow melt is causing some flooding throughout the Country. However, rather oddly, the rest of the Country, including most parts of England, have had to endure far more snow than we have here in the Highlands. Therefore we cannot complain. With the ever increasing problem of erosion from flooding on Loch Ness, I am keeping a fairly close eye on the loch's water level and hoping that we get through the winter without too much of a problem. The stretching of the days has become quite apparent in the last week, always a welcome sign!

Christmas and the New Year now appear in the distant past. I managed to take two weeks off throughout the festive period, which was a pleasant break from work. Christmas was spent through in Fochabers in Moray with Kirsteen, James and young Charles. There were quite a few houseguests across for Christmas and we had a fairly active few days entertaining and going to house parties. James and I managed to get out for some mountain biking on a couple of occasions, which helped alleviate the guilt of having had too much food and wine! Kirsteen managed to break her left arm a week before Christmas by falling down some spiral stairs in a friend’s home. Her arm was therefore in plaster for the festive period. It has now healed and the plaster is off. Lorna and her boyfriend Robin joined us in Fochabers for Boxing Day and then we were all reunited on the 1st January for the Dores Dance. We then all travelled to Lochinver on the West Coast where we spent a couple of nights with our godparents. Going back to work after two weeks of far too much food and drink and too little sleep, was not very pleasant!

I have been busy settling into the new job and am covering a wide area, in general anything north of Perth, across to Aberdeen in the east and the Highlands and Western Isles. I was across on the Isle of Lewis and Harris last week and the Uists and Isle of Barra the week before. Whilst it is great getting to spend time travelling throughout the islands, the weather has been rather poor and I have spent some mildly amusing periods stuck on runways and ferry terminals over the past few months. I had one episode a couple of weeks ago when our 15 seater plane was sitting on the runway preparing for takeoff it what can only be described as a vertical snow storm. The pilot announced that he was concerned about snow on the wings and then proceeded to kit himself out in a full set of waterproofs, exit the aircraft and start to brush the snow off the wings with a sweeping brush. There was something comical about the experience but that quickly turned into frustration when we ended up spending a few more hours in the terminal waiting for the storm to pass.

Life has generally been quite busy outside work. Recent weekends have been occupied with climbing a Munro above Ballachulish with some friends, various TA weekends both on the ranges and at pipe band functions and training for the Inverness Half Marathon in March. This coming weekend I am taking a few friends to Shieldaig on the West Coast to stay in the bothy, which my father built many moons ago now. We tend to get up there every month or two but usually wait until the weather has warmed up a bit. However, we need to carry out a few repairs and get the roof measured up for a replacement when the weather improves. It will be a case of getting the wood burner on and open a bottle of whisky to keeps us warm!

We are getting ever closer to the Gathering 2009 in Edinburgh and work is ongoing to arrange a function in the Whisky Heritage Centre on the Royal Mile for our own gathering on Friday 24th July the night before the main event starts. We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Edinburgh and would be grateful if people could now send us an email to indicate numbers of those anticipating coming to the dinner on the Friday evening. This will allow us to confirm the costs that we are trying to negotiate down from around £50 per head. We are expecting something between 80 to 100 people. If you could send confirmation of your numbers to Kirsteen at james.kirsteen@btinternet.com by the 1st March, that would be ideal. We will then be able to confirm the price per head as well as details of where to send deposits etc. I intend taking the week leading up to the gathering off work and will be at home in Dores. If anyone plans to come over early, they are more than welcome to come and visit us in Dores. We hope that the event is a constructive opportunity to come together to celebrate our customs and traditions as well as a fun and enjoyable time to meet new and old friends.

Wishing you all the best.

Yours aye,

Chief Ruairidh





Chief Ruairidh MacLennan 
at his home looking over 
Loch Ness

Ruairidh and family

Chief Ruairidh MacLennan and family

Chief Ruairidh MacLennan and his nephew

Chief Ruairidh MacLennan and friend above Ballachulish