Thursday, January 17, 2013

Will that be Campbell, Gordon or Macdonald...?

I was out for a walk the other day when I stopped at a stop light.  Well, right beside me was a gentleman in full highland dress - sporran and all. I said to him - "Campbell?" He answered, "No, Gordon." I was happy he didn't say, "MacDonald."

I went on to say, "This must be a busy time for you, with Robbie Burns' Day and all."  He answered, "yes, I have one this weekend and one the next." I said, "do you recite or pipe?" He smiled and answered, I do both."

Campbell Tartan

It's very strange when you meet a kindred soul, randomly at a stop light, in the middle of the city, somewhere, anywhere and you have this elliptical conversation because you can both read each other's minds.

Gordon tartan

Here is the background. I had asked whether he were wearing the Campbell tartan - I didn't specify if it were regular, dress or hunting Campbell.  He replied that it was the Gordon Tartan, not the Campbell and he also didn't specify - regular, hunting or dress Gordon or any other of the many variations of the pattern.

I was happy that I hadn't confused a Campbell with a MacDonald because of the ancient feud between the Campbells and the MacDonalds culminating in the massacre at Glencoe on Feb 13 1692 - it takes a long time for wounds to heal.

MacDonald Tartan

Here is an incredibly moving folk song about the tragedy.  Robbie Burns day is January 25. This year it's on a Friday and there will be much piping in of the Haggis and recitations of Burns' poems. Celebrate where you can, when you can, life it too short to miss a beat!!

As you can see the weaves of the respective tartans are very similar.  It's easy to make a mistake, if you haven't looked at a reference book in years. It's all in the details - sweat the small stuff and the rest will fall into place.

My reference book - found!!

Have a nostalgic day


  1. an unexpected pleasure! Thank you!

  2. Fabulous! I knew about the different tartans but had no idea they were so similar! Interesting post!