A Letter from the Chairman

Adapted from the Letter in Standfast Magazine Issue MK48 - November 2016
Dear Fellow Members
Fiona and the Factor of Ballindallach
Fiona & the Factor of Ballindallach

It seems only yesterday that I was writing my last Chairman’s letter to you all and here we are again.  It has been a busy summer, but welcoming Sir Archie’s first baby grandchild, has been wonderful.  Mother, Baby and Father are all doing well.

When I write this letter I use a lot of the information that we discuss at meetings, the last one being the AGM at Duthil, to keep you all in the picture as much as I possibly can.

As I said in my last letter, The Chief, Olga and I duly went to the Inverness Highland Games where among other people, we met some Swedish Grants – we Grants do get around!

I went on to the AGM of the Association of Highland Clans and Societies afterwards and was asked to speak to the members about our experience of getting money from the Scottish Clan Events Fund.  It seemed that other members needed a bit of encouragement to apply as well and I tried to reassure them that getting through the paperwork, while looking scary, was helped enormously by Sarah from the Fund.  I was pleased to work out that we are one of the clans that have a series of events every year, so we are doing well.  They needed a temporary secretary for next year – I rather rashly volunteered, but it will help to keep us on the map.  I remain convinced that getting the Scottish Government to take clan tourism seriously is ultimately the way to help us to continue. Thank you to Olga, for not only helping us with these Games, but also keeping our pin-boards and photos up to date for our own one.

Much to my surprise and delight, I was invited to the Open Golf Event at Castle Stuart by Sarah and the Scottish Clan Event Team, where although knowing nothing about golf, it gave me an opportunity to meet other clan people who had applied for funding and we were able to share experiences and meet Sarah and her colleagues, who had been so great.

I was sorry not to be able to get to the Duthil Drinks Party on the Friday evening before the Games, as we had one of our 5 weddings this year to supervise, but it looked like fun and having Dan and Helen from Grantown Museum was great. I enjoyed ‘Marching’ in with a pram (Sir`s Archie`s new grandchild), even if I was a bit slow on the uptake as they had all started before we got there. It was lovely to see so many old friends and to make some new ones.

The Evening Event went with a swing – we all loved the Blackrock Ceilidh Band and have already booked them for next year.  I was so pleased that even those of you who did not feel like getting up onto the dance floor enjoyed the music and the general spirit of a real (reel?!) ceilidh.  This was ratified at the AGM in Duthil Kirk the next day.  We agreed that both the excellent dinner provided by Chris at the Grant Arms and the Band is an excellent combination, but it does not seem fair for the members who cannot attend, to, in practice, subsidise it too much. Accordingly, we will be putting the price up next year to £35 per head, which for a Dinner and Dance is still excellent value.

The Noticeboard outside Duthil, has been re-done thanks to elbow grease from Judy and The Chief and Sir Patrick and his design team and it looks very smart.  You will see from this year`s accounts, that there has been no further progress re toilets for Duthil, but do not despair; it will be addressed at some stage.

New Sign at Duthil Clan Centre
New Sign at Duthil Clan Centre

Sir Archie and I were delighted to welcome the group of you who came to Monymusk for tea on the Monday after the Games and we like to think that this is an enjoyable way to round off the Clan festivities of the weekend.

The Chief, Judy and I went to the excellent opening exhibition at the Grantown Museum earlier this summer and we were so impressed by the hard work and creative spirit that has gone into the new exhibitions they have put on there.  You will be hearing a lot more about them, as both we and the Museum are very keen to work together to make information and interest about Clan Grant more accessible for you all.

Our student has been working on the Journey Planner website for visitors to the area, and is pushing forward to the finishing line. Obviously, it will continue to be a work in progress as we are bound to have left out something crucial; many thanks to Hank in the USA and Adrian in the UK for their help and suggestions.  However, I would like to ask you to send me any details, particularly of places to eat and stay, that you can think of.  We have a good few in, but there is always room for more.  Websites take longer to create than one thinks and it probably won’t be live until 2017.  A reminder of the areas he is covering:  specific Grant sites; family history and how to access help; Clan events; travel; accommodation and places to eat.

Those of you who came north, might have noticed that there is quite a bit of building activity going on in the old station area of Grantown.  This is next to the bypass road which goes round the town.  Some of you have got to know the couple who have taken over the Revack Estate.  They are doing wonders with the estate and are in the process of making the old station a super cafe and shopping area which will really enhance the town and will, I am sure encourage more people to visit it.  I look forward to telling you more as it progresses – it will definitely go in the Journey Planner!

Please note that Castle Grant is absolutely not open to the public, even to bona fide Clan Grant people!

The links between us and overseas are developing very well, I was honoured to represent The Chief via a conference call to our friends in the USA at their AGM on October15th.  I have also taken part in another conference call with them and it is lovely to hear their voices.  Do check out their website – it is absolutely excellent.

Thank you again to all of you who make Clan Grant keep rolling on – the help at the tent was much appreciated, as was the help putting everything away. Our Parade Marshal Paul, did us proud and was the epitome of tact, but he did politely whisper to me that it had been suggested to him that when we are marching, we need to march with a proper sense of decorum, as well as having a good time!  We will remind you next year!  Thank you Andy, for keeping a good eye on our treasure chest, and to Adrian, who not only looks after Duthil accounts, but kindly and courteously responds to all the many requests that we get about family history.

I was sorry to miss Don`s special birthday, but glad that he and his family had a lovely celebration with those of you who made it to Harrogate.

And finally....  I hope to see some of you at Grange-over-Sands next spring and wish you all the best for the coming winter festivities!

Fiona Grant