COSCA’s Most Excellent Trip To Scotland & Grandfather Mountain

For the best part of June and July this year, COSCA was at the forefront of both games of the biggest double header in recent Scottish American history:  Scotland’s Homecoming 2014 signature event Bannockburn Live! in Stirling, Scotland followed by the 59th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games back home in North Carolina.  Below is the round up of what happened in Scotland.  In a nutshell, it was awesome.  Absolutely awesome.

Coming up next … news and reports from Grandfather Mountain Scottish Clan & Family Caucus, COSCA’s AGM and Highland Games.


Chapter 1:  Scotland, June 2014

COSCA’s Trustees and members hereby express a crazy huge amount of heartfelt appreciation for the people and organizations that helped support COSCA’s trip to Scotland this June.  By supporting us they made possible the awesome networking and productive discussions that were accomplished there and that will continue to bring us closer to meeting important goals.  Support comes in a variety of forms and we are so grateful for all of it.

From the COSCA Board of Trustees and members, to the individuals and enterprises listed below, we send an extremely special Thank You! for your support, confidence and dedication to Scottish heritage and Scottish clans & families.

  • Frank Wherrett, Secretary to the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs
  • Sir Malcolm and Lady Fiona MacGregor of MacGregor
  • Clan Scott Society and Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry, Chief of Clan Scott
  • Clanranald Trust for Scotland and Clanranald Enterprises
  • Scots Heritage Magazine
Report From Scotland:

The following brief reports review a selection of meetings and events at which COSCA was represented and participated while we were in Scotland this June.  Running as a strong and joyous undercurrent through all of this is a constant stream of networking, introductions, personal discussions and important perspectives that accompanies such a trip.  That part, while not easily recounted, is invaluable.

IMG_3582Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate the 700th Anniversary of King Robert’s Victory and Magnanimity at Bannockburn

By invitation of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, a number of COSCA Trustees were honored to attend this colorful and historic service at The Abbey Church of Dunfermline on Friday, 27 June 2014.  The service was organized by The Earl of Elgin, Chief of the Name and Arms of Bruce and was followed by a reception at Broomhall.  COSCA Trustees were proud to join Malcolm Buchanan, President of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council and others from around the globe to represent the ancestral diaspora and to help bring to life the truly global impact and legacy of King Robert the Bruce.

Bannockburn Live!  FestivalIMG_3594

Bannockburn Live! was fantastic!  COSCA maintained a pitch on Clan Row on both Saturday and Sunday at this global Scottish heritage event.  The festival was truly a success in just about every way possible.  The medieval village and battle reenactments were, as predicted, absolutely amazing and Clanranald Trust For Scotland were the stars of the weekend.  Indeed, the reenactment proved so popular that extremely long lines developed and folks were quite disappointed with having to occupy their space in line for hours in order to get in to see one of the many showings.

The BB Live Genealogy Tent was packed to the gills both weekend days.  Clan Row, with a modest 40 clans and families, was an active, colorful, social, musical display during both Saturday and Sunday.  Many more chiefs than predicted turned out to support their clans and it was really useful to meet and chat with so many new friends – chiefs and clans folk alike.  Of course the musical entertainment was top notch.  Food lines were long but it was very good food and great weather!

Although BB Live was not an international clan gathering in the 2009 tradition, it did achieve something important that is not very common in Scotland.  Bannockburn Live was a cross clan event bringing together a small but much broader range of clans and families in Scotland than what typically gathers for Scottish games or other festivals.  As such, BB Live offered many ‘typical Scots off the street’ the opportunity to think about their heritage, and even begin to discover information about that heritage by interacting with a cross section of clans, families and regions throughout Scotland.

What is the takeaway from this experience?  This is ethnic discovery in Scotland on a Scottish diaspora model, although without heavy athletics, pipes and dance.  Those missing elements could easily have been added to Bannockburn Live and would have magnified the success actually achieved.  Prior to BB Live few people believed there was an appetite among Scotland’s residents to discover family heritage.  The success of BB Live and the interest demonstrated there by Scottish families and individuals brings previous belief into question.

scoc-cStanding Council of Scottish Chiefs’ Luncheon & Business Meeting

COSCA Trustees Ken Scott, Susan McIntosh and Robert McWilliam together with our friend Malcolm Buchanan of the Scottish Australian Heritage Council were invited to join the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs for lunch and a business meeting on 1 July 2014.  This opportunity for representatives of the Scottish American and Scottish Australian clan and family community to meet and interact with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs as a body is unprecedented and ground breaking.

We are delighted to report that COSCA is firmly embarked on a remarkably productive and historic journey alongside the Standing Council.  The opportunity to sit for lunch with some 50 or so Chiefs and their guests in the company of new friends such as Dr. Joseph J. Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms, was staggering and enlightening.  Lunch led into an afternoon business meeting with the Standing Council Executive and guests Robert and Suzanne Currie of Clan Currie Society and John Cochran of Clan Cochrane Society.

The format of the afternoon business meeting was open and facilitated by Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor to invite interaction and cross pollenization of ideas among those present.  As imagined, the group touched on a wide array of issues, questions, goals and ideas, all generally whirling around the focus of the discussion – future International Clan Gatherings.  The group was able to key off of COSCA’s Caucus Working Group Report on ICGs and take the discussion even further.  As with lunch, the afternoon business meeting was energizing and enlightening and it carries forth the progress made at the 2012 Chiefs and Clans Conference at Stone Mountain jointly sponsored by COSCA and the SCSC.  COSCA, SAHC and CASSOC will undoubtedly continue to work closely with the Chiefs and we look forward to even greater success together in the support of Scottish heritage .

Scottish Clan & Family Forum100_0006

Thanks to the foresight and initiative of Minister Fergus Ewing, Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Education & Tourism, COSCA has been appointed to serve on an energetic new working group, created and supported by the Scottish Government through Minister Ewing’s office.  The new group will focus on Scottish ancestral tourism and heritage issues.  The body is called The Scottish Clan & Family Forum and its initial Scoping Meeting was held at Stirling University, Stirling, Scotland on 30 July 2014.  Minister Ewing and the members of the Forum took great pains to arrange the meeting to accommodate COSCA and SAHC attendance and we are very appreciative.  Being present for the inaugural meeting of such a group will be invaluable going forward.

Creation of The Scottish Clan & Family Forum marks the first time that representatives of Scottish clans and families from all Scottish regions have been brought together with representatives of the Scottish Government at the Ministerial level (pikes, swords and maces checked at the door) and also in the company of the global Scottish ancestral diaspora and the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.  The group further includes representation from the Scottish ancestral tourism industry as well as Malcolm Roughead OBE, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive Officer.

The purpose of The Scottish Clan & Family Forum is to bring together this broad array of global stakeholders to discuss how best to pool our collective experience, perspective, resources, ideas and ideals to serve our common heritage and common interests.  COSCA is very eager to continue to work with this group and to pursue creative solutions based on old and new ideas.

6 responses to “COSCA’s Most Excellent Trip To Scotland & Grandfather Mountain”

  1. Clark Scott says:

    Excellent report Susan! Inspiring and energizing. Well done!

  2. Ed McLean says:

    Great report.

  3. I would like to thank COSCO and its representatives for their friendliness and information shared with Clan Crawford. We were your neighboring tent. Look forward to next time.


    Karen L Crawford

  4. First of all it was great meeting you at Bannockburn Live! Graham would like to take this opportunity to thank you for organizing the Kings seats at the re-enactment performance. It has given us food for thought for Tartan Day and the event at the Senate. The meeting with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs has given us food for thought for the strengthening of the links between Scotland and Scots worldwide.

    Thank you,

    Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston, Clan Chief of Clan Hunter & 30th Laird,
    Graham Wright,Macer Venatorus, Clan Hunter

  5. First of all it was great meeting you at Bannockburn Live! Graham would like to thank you for organizing the Kings Seats at the Battle re-enactment which we thoroughly enjoyed. The discussions with you has given us food for thought for Tartan Day and the event at the Senate. The meeting held by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs was informative and posed many questions and ideas for consolidating Scottish ancestral links around the world.

    Thank you,

    Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston, Clan Chief of Clan Hunter and 30th Laird
    Graham wright, Macer Venatorus, Clan Hunter

  6. John Cochran says:

    Excellent article!! It was an incredible experience to be included in the meeting and becoming acquainted with so many fantastic people.

    John Cochran
    Clan Cochrane

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