Friday, July 17, 2015

The McGregors; Royal Is My Race

All Scottish history is pretty much the same.

Somebody steals someone else's sheep. He becomes an outlaw. He goes into hiding and pops  out the next time the Clan (pick any clan) have a fight with another Clan. The English  join in at some point, as do the French and the odd Italian.  Give it twenty years and they all swap round. The story stays the same. The protagonists will be wild looking, wear plaid and will have no teeth. Hollywood will come along, make them taller, more handsome and will marry them off to pretty women who historically had not been born at the time of the true life event they are re-enacting. Nobody will notice.They will be in kilts, not plaid and they will have perfect teeth. And a dodgy accent.
Most of us see it as a romanticised fiction.

Some have taken it as a whole political agenda.

However, to warn the other bloggers  of one who is in our midst. I do believe there is a McGregor among us. And here is the story of the great McGregor.

One man’s outlaw is another man’s hero.  The story of Rob Roy MacGregor like the stories of many Scottish heroes is mostly inaccurate but we will not let that spoil our fun.  His real name was Robert Roy McGregor and he was known as Raibeart Ruadh (Red Robert) because of’ve guessed it, his shock of red hair.
At some point around 1671, he was born in Glengyle which is at the head of Loch Katrine and he seems to have led a quiet life until the battles of the Jacobite risings.
James the Seventh (Scotland) and the Second (of England) ( that was the same person  sitting on two thrones) was a Catholic and he was forced off the throne by William the Third.  The Catholics of Scotland and Ireland (the Jacobites) supported James and in 1689 they put together an army which the MacGregors joined.  His dad was arrested and his mum died, so young Rob goes a bit 'indy'.
Then it all gets a bit confusing. In 1719 Rob Roy fought against the English at the Battle of Glen Shiel.  The English were there to defeat a group of rebels (Highlanders and Spaniards).  The rebels were a 1,000 strong and were hiding in a ditch.
The  English army (850 foot soldiers, 150 on horseback and a few canons so they didn't have to run into the high thistles ) showed up.  On the 10th of June there was a long battle, the rebels were pushed back, Rob Roy was severely injured.
So up until this point Rob Roy was simply doing what most Highlanders did at this time; annoy the English/other Scots/French/ Spaniards.  He only became an outlaw when he settled down to raise cattle.  He borrowed the money to buy some cows and couldn’t pay it back.  Some sources say that he gave the money to a herder to buy  the cattle and the herder ran off with it, other sources say he pocketed the money and ran off with it himself. 
James Graham, the First Duke of Montrose declared Rob Roy an outlaw; he wanted his money back so he seized Rob's land, kicked Rob’s wife and family onto the street and then burned the house to the ground. The ginger ninja then declared a blood feud against the Duke, stealing his land and even kidnapping some of his men.

Never get on the wrong side of a MacGregor.

By 1722 Rob’s luck had run out and he was captured. and is serving a five year prison sentence.  The story might have ended there apart from some chappie named Daniel Defoe who heard about Rob’s story and wrote a book called The Highland Rogue. (Richard Todd). The book made Rob Roy out to be a misunderstood hero – although everything in the book is untrue.  Walter Scott tells a good tale as well.
  In 1727 the King issued a pardon and Rob Roy was set free.
Every body and his dog has had a go at Rob Roy, the funniest was definitely Liam Neeson. 

As for Rob Roy? He  returned to the Trossachs and died in 1734.  He is buried at the church at Balquhidder with his wife Mary and his sons Coll and Robin. 

Caro Ramsay (motto 'pray and work')  17/07/2015


  1. So, dear Caro, is your advice that when I come to Bloody Scotland in September I should leave my sheep at home?

    1. Definitely leave your red hair at home...

    2. Besides, the sheep thing is illegal in most modern countries. I'm not sure if that includes Scotland...

    3. But they are so soft and warm! Sure, they smell a little funny, but at least they give shepherds something to watch over.

  2. Apparently, a little embellishment makes for a better screenplay anyway. Thanks, Caro, for a bit of truth in history and explaining "indy" Rob Roy.

  3. Now you've let the cat out of the bag, Caro, I humbly present myself as the blue blood of MIE! My mother was wee Jean MacGregor! And she married a Sassenach - well, half Welsh, half Norwegian. My mother was always going on about 'Royal is my race'.

    And now I must sign off, my people. Keep well, pay homage, and don't forget your taxes or Scotch or whatever you owe me.

    Stanley I, Rex et Deus

  4. Oh, well, I know when I am out-classed. Being the descendent of a mere baron, I have no choice but to swear fealty to King Stanley the Scot. I will warn my relatives--if they ever want to taste another ounce of pecorino, they better hide the sheep if the king comes by. Addio, La Baronessa

  5. Hail King Stanley The Scot, We shall follow ewe. And don't pull the wool over our eyes, we knew you were a black sheep. Yes these are Baaaaad jokes.
    Here is a Scottish joke- What was the sequel to Silence Of The Lambs? The answer is 'Shut Up Ewes!'

    1. And all this time I thought the sequel was "Tasty Lambchops!"

    2. Not only was my mother of royal blood, but was on occasion accused of being of an ancient profession.

  6. Don't ewes forget it...sorry but I snorted tea reading the baaaaad Scottish jokes, Caro. So Stan, the wee man is our blue blood. I can only claim to be a 6th cousin of Jesse James - a Rob Roy sort...ah Liam Irishman playing a Scot and we had no wee clue

  7. Now write about the proscription