Tag Archives: scotland

New Addition to Info Centre: Tartan Day

We’ve been busy updating our information centre on buyakilt.com. Our latest article gives a little back ground on Tartan Day.

Held on April 6th, this relatively unknown event (in Scotland) is growing in popularity, especially in the USA and Canada. As far as we’re concerned another day to celebrate our Scottish Heritage is never a bad thing.

You can view the Tartan Day article by clicking here.

Let us know via Facebook or Twitter how you’ll be celebrating.

Kilts – Pants or No Pants?

When asking such a question, you have to consider various factors. By popular belief, Scotsmen wear nothing under their kilts. So why is this, and more importantly, should you?

Well, let’s travel back to the days when battles scarred Scottish soil. In those times, armies were constantly evolving and trying to think of ways to distract and destroy the enemy. The Romans had their durable formations, the English employed huge barrages of arrows, and the Scots? The Scots allegedly flashed.

Whether this was to show they were tough enough to march through stinging nettles with no pants on is unsure. But one thing’s for certain – it won them a few battles. While wearing nothing under a kilt is a supposed tradition, it’s up for debate whether this is entirely acceptable.

Leading Scottish kilt-makers are changing their hire terms. Indeed, you won’t find a kilt on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile without signing a disclaimer. And it’s not just the common man who’s asked to be careful with his kilt – Ewan McGregor, Sean Connery and Billy Connolly have all been there.

March of the Kilts

One hire firm has actually come up with a rhyme to get their message across:

‘Though Scots like to prance

About in their kilts wearing nae pants

Fir the next punter make it fair

Dinnae firgit to wear a pair.’

The question’s still up for debate, and it really is your decision to make. But if we had to advise on the ‘pants or no pants’ question, we’d suggest wearing underwear even if the kilt’s your own.

After all, you can always find other ways to offend your mother-in-law.

Passion and Pride

When it comes to Scotland, highland dress and rugby, passion and pride go hand in hand. Tomorrow when Scotland play England at Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup and their opening game of the 2012 Six Nations tournament you’ll see prime examples of these traits being displayed.

Murrayfield is the home of Scottish rugby and tomorrow you will see this packed with our blue shirts and plenty of kilts. Match day is a chance for you to display your passion for Scotland and rugby and a chance to get one up on the Auld Enemy.

Scotland will be keen to make a good start to the tournament as the following week is a trip down to Cardiff to play World Cup Semi finalists, Wales. (I’ll be making the trip myself!)

The atmosphere at Murrayfield is one of the best in the world and second to none once the pipes welcome the teams to the pitch.

Make sure your kitted out for the rest of the tournament with our range of rugby shirts and kilts. Don’t be the only man in the stadium with trousers, they’re just for the lasses!

 

Aren’t Scots talented!?

Below you will see a list of inventions by Scottish people compiled by users of Facebook, (added as a note; It’s official! Scottish people RULE! We did in fact invent the world!!). Many of our modern necessities such as the telephone, the television and even the flush toilet were all invented by talented Scots.

Road transport innovations

  • Macadamised roads (the basis for, but not specifically, Tarmac): John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836).
  • The pedal bicycle: Attributed to both Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1813–1878)[2] and Thomas McCall (1834–1904).
  • The pneumatic tyre: Robert William Thomson and John Boyd Dunlop (1822–1873).
  • The overhead valve engine: David Dunbar Buick (1854–1929).

Civil engineering innovations

  • Tubular steel: Sir William Fairbairn (1789–1874).
  • Falkirk Wheel: Initial designs by Nicoll Russell Studios, Architects and engineers Binnie Black and Veatch (Opened 2002).
  • The patent slip for docking vessels: Thomas Morton (1781–1832).
  • The Drummond Light: Thomas Drummond (1797–1840).
  • Canal design: Thomas Telford (1757–1834).
  • Dock design improvements: John Rennie (1761–1821).
  • Crane design improvements: James Bremner (1784–1856).

Power innovations

  • Condensing steam engine improvements: James Watt (1736–1819).
  • Coal-gas lighting: William Murdoch (1754–1839).
  • The Stirling heat engine: Rev. Robert Stirling (1790–1878).
  • Carbon brushes for dynamos: George Forbes (1849–1936).
  • The Clerk cycle gas engine: Sir Dugald Clerk (1854–1932).
  • Cloud chamber recording of atoms: Charles T. R. Wilson (1869–1959).
  • Wave-powered electricity generator:By South African Engineer Stephen Salter in 1977.

Shipbuilding innovations

  • Europe’s first passenger steamboat: Henry Bell (1767–1830).
  • The first iron-hulled steamship: Sir William Fairbairn (1789–1874).
  • The first practical screw propeller: Robert Wilson (1803–1882).
  • Marine engine innovations: James Howden (1832–1913).
  • John Elder & Charles Randolph (Marine Compound expansion engine).

Heavy industry innovations

  • Coal mining extraction in the sea on an artificial island by Sir George Bruce of Carnock (1575). Regarded as one of the industrial wonders of the late medieval period.
  • Making cast steel from wrought iron: David Mushet (1772–1847).
  • Wrought iron sash bars for glass houses: John C. Loudon (1783–1865).
  • The hot blast oven: James Beaumont Neilson (1792–1865).
  • The steam hammer: James Nasmyth (1808–1890).
  • Wire rope: Robert Stirling Newall (1812–1889).
  • Steam engine improvements: William Mcnaught (1831–1881).
  • The Fairlie, a narrow gauge, double-bogie railway engine: Robert Francis Fairlie (1831–1885).
  • Cordite – Sir James Dewar, Sir Frederick Abel (1889).

Agricultural innovations

  • Threshing machine improvements: James Meikle (c.1690-c.1780) & Andrew Meikle (1719–1811).
  • Hollow pipe drainage: Sir Hew Dalrymple, Lord Drummore (1700–1753) .
  • The Scotch Plough: James Anderson of Hermiston (1739–1808).
  • Deanstonisation soil-drainage system: James Smith (1789–1850).
  • The mechanical reaping machine: Rev. Patrick Bell (1799–1869).
  • The Fresno Scraper: James Porteous (1848–1922).
  • The Tuley tree shelter: Graham Tuley in 1979.

Communication innovations

  • Print stereotyping: William Ged (1690–1749).
  • Roller printing: Thomas Bell (patented 1783).
  • The adhesive postage stamp and the postmark: James Chalmers (1782–1853).
  • Universal Standard Time: Sir Sandford Fleming (1827–1915).
  • Light signalling between ships: Admiral Philip H. Colomb (1831–1899).
  • The telephone: Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922).
  • The teleprinter: Frederick G. Creed (1871–1957).
  • The first working television, and colour television; John Logie Baird (1888–1946).
  • Radar: Robert Watson-Watt (1892–1973).
  • The underlying principles of Radio – James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879).

Publishing firsts

  • The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1768–81).
  • The first English textbook on surgery(1597).
  • The first modern pharmacopaedia, William Cullen (1776) The book became ‘Europe’s principal text on the classification and treatment of disease’ his ideas survive in the terms nervous energy and neuroses (a word that Cullen coined).
  • The first postcards and picture postcards in the UK.

Scientific innovations

  • Logarithms: John Napier (1550–1617).
  • The theory of electromagnetism: James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879).
  • Popularising the decimal point: John Napier (1550–1617).
  • The Gregorian telescope: James Gregory (1638–1675).
  • The concept of latent heat: Joseph Black (1728–1799).
  • The pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope scientific instruments: Sir John Leslie (1766–1832).
  • Identifying the nucleus in living cells: Robert Brown (1773–1858).
  • Hypnotism: James Braid (1795–1860).
  • Colloid chemistry: Thomas Graham (1805–1869).
  • The kelvin SI unit of temperature: William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824–1907).
  • Devising the diagrammatic system of representing chemical bonds: Alexander Crum Brown (1838–1922).
  • Criminal fingerprinting: Henry Faulds (1843–1930).
  • The noble gases: Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916).
  • The Cloud chamber: Charles Thomson Rees Wilson (1869–1959).
  • Pioneering work on nutrition and poverty: John Boyd Orr (1880–1971).
  • The ultrasound scanner: Ian Donald (1910–1987).
  • Ferrocene synthetic substances: Peter Ludwig Pauson in 1955.
  • The MRI body scanner: John Mallard and James Huchinson from (1974–1980).
  • The first cloned mammal (Dolly the Sheep): Was conducted in The Roslin Institute research centre in 1996.
  • Seismometer innovations thereof: James David Forbes.
  • Metaflex fabric innovations thereof: University of St. Andrews (2010) application of the first manufacturing fabrics that manipulate light in bending it around a subject. Before this such light manipulating atoms were fixed on flat hard surfaces. The team at St Andrews are the first to develop the concept to fabric.
  • Macaulayite: Dr. Jeff Wilson of the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen.

Sports innovations

Scots have been instrumental in the invention and early development of several sports:

  • Several modern athletics events, i.e. shot put and the hammer throw,derive from Highland Games and earlier 12th century Scotland.
  • Curling.
  • Cycling, invention of the pedal-cycle.
  • Golf.
  • Shinty The history of Shinty as a non-standardised sport pre-dates Scotland the Nation. The rules were standardised in the 19th century by Archibald Chisholm.
  • Rugby sevens: Ned Haig and David Sanderson (1883).

Medical innovations

  • Pioneering the use of surgical anaesthesia with Chloroform: Sir James Young Simpson (1811–1870).
  • The hypodermic syringe: Alexander Wood (1817–1884).
  • Discovery of hypnotism (November 1841): James Braid.
  • Identifying the mosquito as the carrier of malaria: Sir Ronald Ross (1857–1932).
  • Identifying the cause of brucellosis: Sir David Bruce (1855–1931).
  • Discovering the vaccine for typhoid fever: Sir William B. Leishman (1865–1926).
  • Discovering insulin: John J R Macleod (1876–1935) with others.
  • Penicillin: Sir Alexander Fleming (1881–1955).
  • Ambulight PDT: light-emitting sticking plaster used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) for treating non-melanoma skin cancer. Developed by Ambicare Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and St Andrews University. (2010)
  • Discovering an effective tuberculosis treatment: Sir John Crofton in the 1950s.
  • Primary creator of the artificial kidney (Professor Kenneth Lowe – Later Queen’s physician in Scotland).
  • Developing the first beta-blocker drugs: Sir James W. Black in 1964 .
  • Glasgow Coma Scale: Graham Teasdale and Bryan J. Jennett (1974).
  • EKG [Electrocardiography]: Alexander Muirhead (1911).

Household innovations

  • The Refrigerator: William Cullen (1748).
  • The Flush toilet: Alexander Cummings (1775).
  • The Dewar Flask: Sir James Dewar (1847–1932).
  • The first distiller to triple distill Irish whiskey:John Jameson (Whisky distiller).
  • The piano footpedal: John Broadwood (1732–1812).
  • The first automated can-filing machine John West (1809–1888).
  • The waterproof macintosh: Charles Macintosh (1766–1843).
  • The kaleidoscope: Sir David Brewster (1781–1868).
  • Keiller’s marmalade Janet Keiller (1797) – The first recipe of rind suspended marmalade or Dundee marmalade produced in Dundee.
  • The modern lawnmower: Alexander Shanks (1801–1845).
  • The Lucifer friction match: Sir Isaac Holden (1807–1897).
  • The self filling pen: Robert Thomson (1822–1873).
  • Cotton-reel thread: J & J Clark of Paisley.
  • Lime Cordial: Peter Burnett in 1867.
  • Bovril beef extract: John Lawson Johnston in 1874.
  • Electric clock: Alexander Bain (1840).
  • Chemical Telegraph (Automatic Telegraphy) Alexander Bain (1846) In England Bain’s telegraph was used on the wires of the Electric Telegraph Company to a limited extent, and in 1850 it was used in America.

Weapons innovations

  • The carronade cannon: Robert Melville (1723–1809).
  • The Ferguson rifle: Patrick Ferguson in 1770 or 1776.
  • The Lee bolt system as used in the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series rifles: James Paris Lee.
  • The Ghillie suit.
  • The Percussion Cap: invented by Scottish Presbyterian clergyman Alexander Forsyth.

The people in this list are testament to the fact that with invention and ingenuity we can keep on improving the way we live and finding better solutions.

Six Nations 2011

The Six Nations rugby tournament kicks of tonight in Cardiff, when Wales take on neighbours England in an evening kick off at the Millennium Stadium. Scotland are away for their first game and many kilted fans have made the trip to Paris for the clash with France. Scotland were strong during the autumn internationals but will need to build on this if they are to secure their first win in the French capital since 1999. Ireland may have an easier first game against Italy on Saturday afternoon.

The following weekend is the highlight of the tournament for me when Wales make the journey up to Murrayfield. After a very close game last year, I’m sure Scotland will be looking to make amends against the Welsh this time around. Whether it be a cause of celebration or drowned sorrows show your support with a Scottish or Welsh hip flask There will be many people I’m sure wearing the Heritage of Wales tartan for the visit to Edinburgh.

With Scotland at home to Ireland on Feb 27th, can Scotland’s performance of last year be repeated at Murrayfield to clinch a win?

It’s then an away trip on March 13th to Twickenham to take on England. Scotland only managed to get a draw last year so will be hoping to have built enough momentum during this tournament to gain victory away from home. If your lucky enough to be travelling for this match be sure to visit buyakilt.com for your essentials.

Scotland will hope to finish the tournament in a strong position and will hope to finish in style, on the final day of competition (March 19th).

You’ll find 10% OFF many of our rugby items during the six nations tournament, including, our classic design rugby shirts and our complete rugby outfits.

Whichever team you support, I wish you good luck this tournament. Just for the record, I’ll be supporting Wales!                                                                                                 Rugby Outfit

St Andrew’s Day: Top 5 ways to celebrate

Scotland marks the feast day of our patron saint by not just one day, (30th November) but a whole weekend of celebration starting Friday 26th November. I’ve picked my top 5 ways to celebrate your Scottish heritage with events taking place in Scotland and beyond.

1. Many of Scotland’s top attractions open their doors for free this weekend (27th and 28th November) in celebration of Scotland’s Patron Saint. Why not visit one of the many Abbeys and Castles around the country including the breathtaking Edinburgh Castle. Visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk for a full list of over 50 attractions taking part.

2.  Join fellow kilt wearers in Ayr this Saturday night for a “unique, quirky and seriously Scottish” event; The great tartan turnoot, hosted by South Ayrshire Council. Take in some “tartantastic new venues” with Scottish treats and free merchandise along the way, for those wearing their kilts of course. This event is concluded with a Grand Haggis and Hoolie Finale with live ceilidh band. Sure to be many jigging, laughing and kilt swinging!

Can’t make it to the Great tartan turnoot? Why not hold your own event. Give prizes for wearing your highland wear with pride,  dine on haggis, neeps and tatties and maybe even throw your own ceilidh. To help you out why not try this whisky quiz.

3. Support Kilts for Kids day for charity, Children First this Friday 26th November.  There is no better way to celebrate St Andrew’s day by donning a kilt and, whilst your at it donate to a great cause.  Lets get everybody wearing a tartan item for a donation, and those who don’t wear tartan can pay a bigger penalty!

4 Join in one of the many events held not just in Scotland but worldwide to celebrate. Check out www.scotland.org for details of events taking place in Scotland or around the world, with events being held from Hawaii, Germany and New Zealand to list just a few.

5. Visit East Lothian, birthplace of the national flag for a 3 day Saltire event, starting with  a race meeting at Musselburgh race course on Friday 26th November and finishing with a torchlight procession featuring pipe bands from East Lothian and Aubigny France from St Mary’s Church to the “Raising of the Saltire” at the Corn Exchange Haddington.

So this weekend there is no shortage of events you can take part in. Let us know how you’ll be celebrating. Drop us a message on twitter or upload a picture to our facebook page.

Yet to purchase your essentials for St Andrew’s Day? View our full range of highland outfits and tartan accessories at buyakilt.com

Kilt Outfits

Our custom kilt outfit has been hugely successful, allowing people to build their own unique kilt outfit by choosing the pieces that they want. Available in a number of Scottish clan tartans, and generic tartans of Scotland, this outfit is guaranteed to suit every style and budget.

Create your unique outfit today, but checking out our Custom Casual Kilt Outfit.