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The pieces of the 2014 Clan Gathering are finally being shaken into place – and the resulting picture is actually pretty exciting. While it has taken some time for the concept of the 2014 Clan Gathering events to materialize, the developing vision and approach are fresh and energetic.
The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs (SCSC) has released a press release that speaks to the current plan in broad terms. CLICK HERE to read the SCSC press release.
Here are the highlights:
1. Previous plans for a Gathering at Stirling on July 11 -13, 2014 have been scrapped. The highland games scheduled for that weekend will, we understand, continue, but there is no longer any “Gathering” event being planned at Stirling.
2. The revised plan is to center a general clan gathering directly around the Bannockburn 700th Anniversary activities (June 28 – 30, 2014). An extra day of reenactment has been added to accommodate the clans. Additionally, a Clan Village is now in the works. Bannockburn events are being very capably organised and designed by The National Trust for Scotland and promise to be spectacular (See for yourself at the NTS Battle of Bannockburn website HERE). Bannockburn is a natural pairing for the second Gathering as is explained in the SCSC press release.
3. The Bannockburn gathering activities will be complemented with several regional Clan based events that gather clans and celebrate history and heritage all across Scotland. There are already some very exciting ideas well into development.
4. Finally, the clans will convene a 2nd International Clan Convention to coincide closely with the Bannockburn gathering activities and to conduct the continuing business of the international Scottish clan community.
This is a developing story and we will continue to bring you updates as we can, but here are just a few thoughts and a bit of background and perspective for now:
In putting together the upcoming Stone Mountain Chiefs and Clans conference set for Oct. 19th at the Stone Mountain Highland Games, it occurred to us (COSCA and SCSC) that there was still precious little further to report about plans for the 2014 Gathering. It actually was occurring to many people. Oh Oh.
So, several months ago, we began to make our voice of concern heard as well as our offer to help. The upshot is this: SCSC, through the keen leadership of Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor, is now deeply and rightly integrated in the correct channels and places in Scotland to begin to kick start and directly influence planning efforts.
What’s Different Now
“More details will be coming“. Of course we have all heard that before. But here is what is different and very encouraging now:
1. We have Dates and a Place to Gather. We have pretty solid dates and a place/event around which to now organise, and as you point out, it’s a good one (Bannockburn). The event is well funded, well directed by National Trust for Scotland, and will be by all appearances, spectacular and energizing. It is solid. Truly something to remember and pretty much something to travel to Scotland in 2014 for, all by itself (CLICK HERE). COSCA will continue working to encourage integration of the clans into Bannockburn events in creative and exciting and meaningful ways.
2. We Have Leadership. We now have a very effective and very reliable pipeline for information and ideas and input straight to the very center of planning for 2014: Sir Malcolm MacGregor currently sits on the right committees and in the right meetings to really communicate and advocate for the clans and greater Diaspora interest. The SCSC is an outstanding partner.
3. We Have Partners. The Scottish Government has been extremely responsive to our concerns and we are confident that we have found an able and effective partner with which to work on 2014 heritage events. We will continue to work with the Scottish government through Robin Naysmith here in North America and the Homecoming 2014 team in Scotland in fine fashion.
4. We Have Ideas. The idea of regional events swirling around the Bannockburn dates and a 2nd International Clan Convention is, to me at least, a truly exciting one. While Bannockburn will give us the opportunity to gather together, the idea of a feast of regional gatherings in various clan homelands around Scotia is tremendously appealing. I believe the possibilities are truly limited only by our own creativity and the idea has real legs within the planning team.
5. We Have Goals. This experience has re-emphasised something that our great friend Robert McWilliam openly suggested to the first Clan Convention in 2009 and that many of us have often contemplated: The Clans need a hame in Scotland – a place that will provide a home and reliable opportunity to gather and conduct our business that lies under our own control.
6. We Are Working. This experience has also drawn together a growing alliance of Scottish Diaspora leaders and organisations that will prove critical in future months and years as we tackle all of the opportunities and challenges of which we so often speak.
I hope the takeaway from all of is indeed an exciting and optimistic one. I clearly understand that the early announcement of dates from Scotland has created difficulties for some folks who have made plans. Here is the lesson: the clans need much closer – indeed direct – involvement in the 2014 planning process itself. I am quite confident that we now have that and we will continue work to enhance it.
Susan L. McIntosh, President
Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
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