Over the summer months, Scottish Clans are putting the root of their very own definition front and centre by inviting young members, local young people and families to participate, engage and learn about Scottish history and heritage, as well as local traditions and culture.

The Clans, the name being derived from the Gaelic word ‘clann’ and meaning children,are joining the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 with an exciting programme of activities at their international and national gatherings across the country.

Clan Hay will be hosting Tartan Ties 2018 from 3 to 5 August. On 3 August, they are inviting visitors to a highly anticipated Medieval Banquet in Ballater – a fantastic chance to savour the sounds, sights and music of medieval Scotland, including a delicious hog roast and top class music from Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson. Young people are designing and crafting medieval items which will be on display at the banquet and will also participate in a challenging haggis hunt in Crathes Castle during the afternoon.

A recreation of the historic 1548 Battle of St Monans will take place during the Clan Stewart Gathering on 4 August. Re-enactment society The Lothian Levy will present a thrilling performance of the momentous event in the city centre of St Andrews. In addition, young people are invited to join the Stewart Society Ceilidh and put their best foot forward at this fun traditional dance at the Byre Theatre in the evening.

The Clan Donnachaidh Gathering, from 10to 19 August, will see international clan members from across the world, including the US, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, join Chief Gilbert Robertson of Struan to celebrate his 35th year as Clan Chief. The programme will include tours of Clan country, Culloden Battlefield, a talk by renowned historian and author James Irvine Robertson as well as ceilidh dancing and a Scottish banquet. Two local primary schools will present their singing skills at afternoon tea at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and entertain clan members with some Gaelic songs. International members will also have the chance to enjoy locally sourced produce, presentations from Clan talent and entertainment by a popular Perthshire ceilidh band atA Dinner fit for a Chief at the Atholl Palace Hotel. In celebration of the Year of Young People 2018, a new annual Clan Donnachaidh Youth Award was launched and one lucky winner from a local school will be invited along to join the Clan Chief’s Dinner.

On 15 September, clans who came out with Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Battle of Prestonpans as well as British Army regimental representatives will join a parade through the town which will culminate in the dedication of two Prestonpans 1745 Memorial Tables, commemorating those who fought and died in the battle. Young people will carry banners they have helped create and march in the procession alongside both clans and residents from local streets named to mark their association with the battle, to mark this important time in Scottish history. Following the parade on 15 September and also on 16 September, spectators are invited to explore the full scale encampments, enjoy the skirl of the pipes and witness dramatic re-enactments of the battle at Greenhills.

The forthcoming events in August and September were preceded by a range of activities in July. The Clan Gunn Society welcomed members from the UK, the United States, France, Holland, Australia and New Zealand for their 19th triennial International Gathering in Orkney and Caithness. Primary schools in the area were invited to enter a competition to design graphic panels depicting the life of Sweyn Asleifsson, a famous Gunn ancestor who was born in Caithness in the 12th century when the area was still part of the Norse empire. A team of judges are currently reviewing the submissions, the lucky winners will be announced once school resumes in September.

At the world gathering of MacLeods in Dunvegan from 21 to 28 July, local young people had the opportunity to participate in craft and ceilidh workshops, mixing with their international peers to celebrate clanship, their heritage and local traditions. Preceding the Clan Macleod Parliament 2018, they spent a week exploring the area and participating in restoration work at Dunvegan Castle.

Gilbert Robertson of Struan, Chief of Clan Donnachaidh said: “The Year of Young People 2018 presents a wonderful opportunity to engage both young clan members as well as local young people and to encourage them to learn about clan history as well as Highland and Scotland’s culture and traditions. We are looking forward to our international members joining the celebrations for this special year and experiencing our young people’s brilliant talents first hand.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Scottish Clans are fully embracing the Year of Young People 2018 at their gatherings this summer through many varied events and activities for young members and locals to get involved in. It is fantastic to see that young people are so warmly invited to learn about traditions and heritage which have been passed down through many generations. We are delighted to support Scotland’s Clans in joining the celebrations for this special year through the Scottish Clan Event Fund.”

Also supported through the Scottish Clan Event Fund are the Clan MacLennan International Gathering (3 – 8 July), the Clan Gregor International Gathering (15 – 22 July), the World Gathering of MacIntyres (17 – 22 July) and the Oliphant Clan Gathering and Parliament (5 – 18 August). The above Clan events are part of the Year of Young People events programme which is running throughout the whole of 2018.

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