restaurant highlands scotland

restaurant highlands scotland
The Rowan Tree
restaurant highlands scotland
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The Scottish Nation is generally acknowledged to have come together between the sixth and fourteenth centuries, absorbing several races in the process of creating what certain individuals like to think of as the pure Scot. In fact, there is no such being. The early Scots were a post-Roman Gaelic-speaking people who invaded and settled the west coast, known then as Dalriada, having travelled over the sea from Ireland, and before that, it is fancifully suggested, although not as yet proven, the Middle East. The original pre-Roman inhabitants were collectively known as Picts, because their language was pictorial and, through colonisation and marriage, and because they had no written language with which to record what was happening to them, they simply disappeared. Meanwhile, Scandinavian Viking people invaded the far north, west coast and offshore islands and stayed on. In the south, Strathclyde Britons, a Welsh speaking people, and early Saxon settlers, put down encampments. With the first overseas trade initiatives appeared merchants, and following William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066, Norman-born fortune hunters arrived in Scotland. You can recognise the physiognomy to this day in the jet black hair and blue eyes of the Gael; the long legs and red hair of the Viking; the misleading frailty of the Saxon; the Gothic features of the Norman, and the sturdy, stocky body of the Celt. It might seem improbable in our present age, but between the tenth and twelfth centuries Scotland was considered the place in Europe for the younger sons of English and continental families to seek advancement, acquire lands and breed new dynasties. Immigration was to have a profound impact on a small country where the population was estimated at not much more than a hundred thousand. The National Identity Emerges but Challenged. By the time King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, himself of Norman descent and a blood cousin of the English king, beat back the English invasion of 1314, thus unifying the majority of interests in Scotland against English imperialism, an uncompromising national identity built on earlier tribal alliances was firmly established. Firmly established in so far as Bruce’s supporters knew who and what they thought they were fighting for. Freedom? Not really. It was more a case of belonging to a club, and in that particular era, belonging to a club meant possessing land. Bruce’s followers shared the spoils of their victory, but many of the great Scottish landed families we recognise today; the Gordons, the Grahams, the Hays, the Lindsays, the Montgomerys, the Murrays, the Ramsays and the Sinclairs were of Norman blood mixed with Viking and Scots. Seven centuries on, of course, they are undeniably Scots, but during the Wars of Independence with England everyone, on both sides, was on the make. And ultimately it was only belief in Sovereignty, as embodied in Bruce’s descent from Scotland’s ancient rulers, the Kingdom of Alba, the Houses of Alpin and Dunkeld, which held the nation together. Sovereignty, once associated exclusively with an all-powerful hereditary individual, has evolved since then, but in all its modern ramifications it continues to define the identity of a people in much the same way. Which is why a problem inevitably arose when a Scottish king acquired England. You would have thought there would have been general rejoicing, but it was from this moment on that Scotland began to feel snubbed by its own history.

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