How to Speak Outlander Lesson 12: Tha Gaol Agam Ort, Cape Breton and the Giveaway

With anticipation of the Outlander premier episode on August 9th reaching fever pitch, I have only just now realized that the series beginning will also mark the end of some of our beloved pre-show traditions. Starz has called this to our attention with the release of the final ‘How to Speak Outlander’ video. However, if this series of videos featuring Àdhamh, Sam and others has to end, what a way to go out! I predict the ringtones and notifications of Outlanders worldwide are changing right now.

How to Speak Outlander Lesson 12: Tha Gaol Agam Ort

Wow! As final episodes go, this one is a keeper. Who among us hasn’t wanted to hear ‘my love is upon you’ from Jamie Fraser?  I think Sam must have a secret though, there’s a definite gleam in his eye at the end of this video. I wonder how long he’ll keep it? Until August 9th maybe?

Meanwhile in Cape Breton…

I have been having tons of fun in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. So far I have attended a Celtic square dance and made a visit to the Highland Village museum at Iona.  I promise that I am working on a blog post that will even have videos, but I have to find some better Internet connectivity before I can upload them! In the meantime, here are some quick pictures to tide you over.

And don’t forget…

Only 4 more days to enter the first ever GreatScot! giveaway. Click here to enter!

The next best thing to Scotland…Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (oh, and the Outlander Premiere)

In my mind, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is the next best thing to Scotland and that’s where I’ll be for the next couple of weeks. Although GreatScot! blog posts may be a little more infrequent than usual, rest assured that I will keeping an eye out for interesting tidbits to post from time to time during my vacation.

For those who may not be familiar with Cape Breton Island, it is an island at the northern tip of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. As it was largely settled by Highland Scots emigrants, Cape Breton has a rich Gàidhlig history and many aspects of that culture are still evident today. The Celtic musical tradition is especially strong and there are still places where Gàidhlig is routinely spoken. I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my limited Gàidhlig vocabulary and see if anyone can understand me.

Here are a few pictures I took from my trip last year and a video from a music festival that I attended at Colaisde na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic College).

By the way, I found out yesterday that I am indeed attending the Outlander Premiere in San Diego on July 25, so readers can definitely look forward to Great Scot! blog posts covering the event. I’m very excited to be meeting more Outlanders and having the chance to see both the first Outlander episode and attend the Q&A panel with Ron, Diana, Sam, Caitriona, Tobias, Graham and Lotte.

Stay tuned, exciting times ahead!

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the inaugural GreatScot! giveaway. Click here to enter.



Great Scot! music for March, 14, 2014 – Runrig – Alba

I had a request for Runrig as our musical selection for the day and am happy to oblige. I was first introduced to Runrig by a dear friend in Cape Breton who is a huge Runrig and Bruce Guthro fan and I really enjoy their music.  Although an older song, I thought this particular track was truly appropriate for the Great Scot blog for several reasons.  First, it’s all about Scotland (Alba). Second, the lyrics in the video are presented in both the sung Gàidhlig as well as the English translation.  I find this very helpful both for knowing what the lyrics of the song mean and also to help fix the sounds of the Gàidhlig words in my mind.  I’m a very visual learner and adding music makes it  easier for me to remember things. I used to memorize formulas in school by setting them to music in my mind.  Hmm, maybe I should try singing my Gàidhlig lessons?

I hope everyone enjoys today’s music!

Runrig – Alba

Great Scot! All about Waulking or Milling Frolics

I thought I would start this week off looking at a very specific type of Scottish song associated with the waulking of cloth.  It is only in Scotland (and by migration to Nova Scotia) that waulking became closely associated with traditional Gàidhlig songs. Women used the rhythmic songs to both help them in their work and also to pass the time more enjoyably.

Waulking (also known as fulling) is the process in making cloth where it is beaten to make it thicker and water resistant (especially needed in Scotland). Fulling mills were introduced in medieval times but in many more remote and self-sufficient areas, the process continued to be done by hand up into the 20th century. As part of the exodus of Highland Scots during the Clearances after the failed uprising in 1745, the process was carried to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the new world where the process became known as milling.  There are still milling frolics held today in an effort to maintain old traditions.

A short explanation of milling:

For those of an Outlandish persuasion, Diana Gabaldon does a great scene describing waulking in Dragonfly in Amber: Continue reading