Scotland’s oldest surviving tartan was found in Highland peatbog, new research reveals

25 March
Groundbreaking new research has revealed that a piece of woollen textile found in a Highland peat bog neary 40 years ago is the earliest-known surviving piece of authentic tartan in Scotland.

The fragment of material discovered during forestry work in Glen Affric, which experts say has shed new light on the “origin story” of tartan, could be more than 500 years old.

Historians believe it is the oldest surviving “true tartan” – patterned cloth featuring dye of different colours and stripes of different sizes.

They have hailed the “remarkable discovery” of the only surviving piece of tartan from this period of Scottish history, which is thought to have survived for so long because it was buried in peat.

Dye analysis and radiocarbon testing were carried out on the fragile piece of tartan, which measures around 55cm by 43cm, and had traces of the colours green, brown, red and yellow.

The results of the work, which also involved the “washing out” of peat staining, are said to have dated the age of the material to between 1500 and 1600 AD, during the reign of King James V, Mary Queen of Scots or King James VI.

There is a written record of tartan being bought for King James III in 1471, while the wearing of a tartan kilt is believed to date back to the late 16th century.

Although Glen Affric was a key territory for the Clan Chisholm, Scotland’s foremost tartan historian believes the piece of green, brown, red and yellow-coloured material was part of a home-made “working garment” rather than a piece of clothing worn by someone of high status.

The research project was instigated by the STA after curators working on the V&A Dundee exhibition approached the charity over potential loans of early “proto tartans”.

V&A Dundee curator James Wylie said: “The word tartan only really came into the lexicon in Scotland in the 1500s. This was a time of the Renaissance, when there were a lot of connections between Scotland and France. The word tartan actually derives from a French word which means to weave together two different types of cloth or yarn.

“This particular fragment was handed in to the Scottish Tartans Authority by people who found it when they were peat cutting. It was a really tatty piece of textile which had pretty much been packed away since the 1980s.

“Although we can theorise about the Glen Affric tartan, it’s important that we don’t construct history around it.

“Although Clan Chisholm controlled that area, we cannot attribute the tartan to them as we don’t know who owned it.”

John McLeish, chair of the STA, said: “The Glen Affric tartan is clearly a piece of national and historical significance.

“It is likely to date back to the reign of James V, Mary Queen of Scots, or James VI/I.

“There’s no other known surviving piece of tartan from this period. It’s a remarkable discovery and deserves national attention and preservation.



An International Clan Cameron Gathering is planned for August 2024 at Achnacarry in Scotland.

Clan Cameron members should put this date in the calendar for what should be a very special Clan Cameron gathering. As you may recall the 2020 International Gathering was cancelled due to Covid-19. Hopefully all will be well for 2024!

Until the mid-18th century the purpose of a clan gathering was usually to celebrate the end of the harvest, to attend a council to transact clan business or to prepare for a ‘creach’ (to pillage and plunder).

More recently, clan gatherings are a celebration of kinship and a love of Highland heritage.

Achnacarry, c.1950s – Am Baile

A group, including re-enactors, retraced the night march route in 2009

At a glance

  • A night march attempted by Bonnie Prince Charlie before the Battle of Culloden is to be recreated
  • The march of 15 April 1746 had been an attempt to attack government troops camped at Nairn
  • The National Trust for Scotland will use its event to raise funds to help protect Culloden Battlefield
  • It could be among the last to retrace the route due to new developments

26 January 2023

A night march made by Jacobite soldiers on the eve of the Battle of Culloden 277 years ago is to be recreated by a team from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

A group of soldiers loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie had hoped to launch a surprise attack on British government troops camped at Nairn.

But the fighters, already hungry and exhausted from their efforts to reach Culloden, near Inverness, were forced to give up on their 12-mile march over moorland in darkness.

Many of them made the return journey to Culloden.

Just hours later, on 16 April 1746, the prince’s army was defeated in battle.

Culloden saw the deaths of about 1,600 men – 1,500 of them Jacobites.

A re-enactment on 15 April 2009 was believed to be the first since the original night march 263 years before.

Past experiences

The NTS team will undertake their walk to raise funds to help protect the battlefield, which the trust manages.

It could be among the last recreations of the route because of housing developments planned along its way.

NTS said: “We can mostly recreate the night march as the landscape till now has remained unchanged.

“However, new and proposed developments from the past 10 years are seriously endangering the wider battlefield landscape.

“Time is of the essence.”

A spokeswoman added: “Although others have recreated the night march in the past, they have not done so specifically looking at the effect of development on the landscape.”

She said the team had been lucky to draw on the experiences of past recreations, and the knowledge of the late Culloden historian Prof Christopher Duffy.

The night march re-enactment of 14 years ago saw 12 of 20 people complete the 10-hour, 24-mile round trip

A re-enactment on 15 April 2009 was believed to be the first since the original night march 263 years before.

Re-enactors and history enthusiasts were among those who joined battlefield archaeologist Dr Tony Pollard for the trek.

The project was done to show how far the Jacobite forces could have reached, and the challenges they faced from the terrain and night-time conditions.

Dr Pollard said at the time it also shed light on the endurance of the marchers, and the effect on morale when they were ordered to abort the planned attack.

Twelve of the 20 people who took part completed the 10-hour, 24-mile round trip between Culloden and the outskirts of Nairn.

What are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, and what does Auld Lang Syne actually mean?

We all know Auld Lang Syne from bleary-eyed New Year’s Eve renditions, but have you ever wondered exactly what the words mean, and where they come from? And what about the tune?

Most of us will know ‘Auld Lang Syne’ from joyful New Year’s Eve festivities, joining friends and family in raising our voices to welcome in a new year, but how many people can truthfully say they know the words beyond the first verse?

As for the melody, it pre-dates any New Year’s celebrations as we know them, and has been used by the likes of Beethoven, Haydn, and even Cliff Richard.


See the reference below and the second image for a must watch and listen:

‘Auld Lang Syne’ by the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin

What are the lyrics to Auld Land Syne?

First verse:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Second verse:
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


Third verse:
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.


Fourth verse:
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.


Fifth verse:
And there’s a hand,
my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

What does ‘Auld Lang Syne’ mean?

The most accurate plain English interpretation of the piece’s famous title is ‘Old long since’, or ‘For the sake of old times’.

The song itself is reflective in nature, and is basically about two friends catching up over a drink or two, their friendship having been long and occasionally distant.

The words were written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, but Burns himself revealed at the time of composing it that he had collected the words after listening to the verse of an old man on his travels, claiming that his version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ marked the first time it had been formally written down.

However, an earlier ballad by James Watson, named ‘Old Long Syne’, dates as far back as 1711, and use of the title phrase can be found in poems from as early as the 17th century, specifically works by Robert Ayton and Allan Ramsay.

What is the tune to ‘Auld Lang Syne’?

The tune is thought to stem from a traditional folk song, collected in the Roud Folk Song Index (it’s listed as #6294). The famous tune is loosely based on a pentatonic (five-note) scale, and has been borrowed and quoted by countless composers and writers.

Beethoven even wrote an arrangement of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as part of his 12 Scottish Folksongs from 1814 (listen below).

One of the more unusual and most famous uses of the tune came in 1999 when Cliff Richard used the melody for his single ‘Millennium Prayer’, in which he sang the words of The Lord’s Prayer over the familiar tune.


Members of National Clan Cameron Australia Inc. attended the Annual General meeting of the association at the Breakfast Point Country Club on Sunday 30 October 2022.

The new committee was elected for the 2022-23 year and reports were received and tabled.

Members can access those reports on the Member’s Page on the front page of the website.

Members of National Clan Cameron Australia Inc. attended the 40th Anniversary of The Celtic Council of Australia on 12 November 2022 where Dr Robert Stewart (Bob) Cameron was posthumously awarded Cyfaill y Celtiad (CyC) (from Welsh – ‘Friend of the Celts’) for his years of dedicated service to Clan Cameron and to the wider Scottish and Celtic communities.

In 1983 Dr Cameron initiated the re-establishment of the NSW Clan Cameron Association, and served as Clan Cameron Australia Commissioner and as Clan Cameron NSW Inc President. He was instrumental in initiating and maintaining a wealth of Cameron genealogical data that is available on this website. Dr Robert’s son, Dr Stewart Cameron, continues that genealogical work today.

This was Dr Bob Cameron’s third Celtic Council award, having already being awarded Duine Uasal (Post nominal – D Ua) (from the Irish language – “Honoured Person/(Celtic) Gentleman or woman”) and Duine Urramach (D Urr) ( from Scots Gaelic – “Noble Person/Honoured Person”)

Convenor Dr Suzanne Jamieson presenting Dr Stewart Cameron and Fiona Cameron with Dr Robert Cameron’s award. Australian Clan Cameron Commissioner Dr James Cameron & NCCA Inc. President Alistair Cameron looking on.












Dr Robert Stewart Cameron – ‘Friend of the Celts’


CyC Medal awarded to Dr Cameron











Members of National Clan Cameron Australia Inc attended the ceremony


NCCA Inc. members enjoying lunch at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia.