” To fight the English” , there that sums up centuries of Scottish history ” said Gatsby the New Edinburgh free tour guide. And I was to learn a couple of days and a couple of 100 miles later that he was only partially right!
In my opinion, the summation of Scottish history is dependent on the geographical location. If you were at the border, then yes most of your resources would be spent in fighting the English; but if you were in the highlands or the islands, fighting the English would take a back seat. You would be more invested in fighting the other clans.
The beauty of Scottish history is that there are many clans and relatively few heroes. The ideal way to acquaint yourself with the history of the land will be
a). Take a guided tour from Glasgow/Edinburgh or
b). Be hosted by a Scotsman.
I had the good fortune of options a and b. At the end of it I came to the conclusion that ‘Who’s wrong, Who’s right‘ in the stories largely depend on who is narrating the story.
My host , a McDonald spoke eloquently about his clan. He gave vivid narrations about the Glen Coe massacre, how the Campbell butchered the McDonalds after the latter had opened their homes to them.
My tour guide, a Stewart started the Glen Coe story a little earlier in the timeline. According to his version, the McDonalds had raided a Campbell wedding party torched the homes and stole their cattle much before the Glen Coe Massacre.
The only time my host and the guide were in syn was when they narrated the stories about William Wallace and Robert Bruce. England seemed to be a common foe .
Despite the contradictory versions of the events in Scottish history I still think it’s a treat to hear it from a Scotsman. To them their history is very personal even today.
My host told me of a time when he a called a customer agency . When he gave his details the lady on the other side warmed up immediately and said,
” Oh you are a Mc Donald too “.
” But I have to tell you”, confessed my host,” My mother was English”.
“Oh, that’s alright. My dad married a Campbell! “.
And that ladies and gentlemen is a synopsis of Scottish history.