A Letter from the Chairman

Adapted from the Letter in Standfast Magazine Issue MK52 - November 2018
Dear Fellow Members
Fiona, Duthil Drinks Party 2018
Fiona, at the Duthil Drinks Party, 2018

Well, it is that time again and we have had our first severe frosts of the autumn last night. A gentle reminder that time is moving on!

International Gathering 2020
Our 4th International Gathering will be in August 2020, and is currently at the planning stage. The Society will be hiring Aultmore House in Nethy Bridge for the week beginning Friday 7th August 2020. The 12 bedrooms of the house and 3 estate cottages will be occupied by clan members, and a marquee will be erected in the grounds for our Saturday evening celebrations. There will be other events and trips planned during the course of the week, but also time available for visitors to do their own thing. Watch this website for more information as it becomes available.

Thanks to:
It was great to be able to thank Bob Grant, Olga Grant and Joan Winston in person at the Clan Dinner this year – Bob for his long service to the Society and his role in getting it going again; Olga for all the work she has done over the years with setting up the stand, not only at Nethy, but also at Inverness, and thanks to her and the Chief, we have been able to get involved with the Association of Highland Clans and Societies. Finally, Joan for getting our membership system into easily workable order, running it for so many years and thus being able to leave a clear and comprehensible system for Kim to take over.  We did not see, but would also like to thank Margaret Huddleston, our Secretary, who has retired owing to ill health and Adrian Grant, who has also done sterling service for the Clan, especially where Duthil is concerned.

Feis Spe (Junior Ceilidh Band)
Seven lovely youngsters duly came and performed for us just before our Clan Dinner at the Grant Arms.  It was a delight to hear and see them, and speaking personally, I was most impressed by their musicianship, their confidence (in spite of playing for a group of strangers) and their willingness to take part in our festivities.  I am happy to say that they do indeed look forward to forging stronger links with us in the future which will be one of the ways in which Clan Grant can really be part of the whole Strathspey community.

Inverness Games and the Association of Highland Clans and Societies
The Chief, Olga and I duly attended the Inverness Games which gave us a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.  Afterwards I went to the AGM of the Association of Highland Clans and Societies. You will notice that I mention them from time to time and that Kim and I acted as secretary for them last year.  They are an umbrella organisation representing highland clans and work with the Highland Clan Partnership group that liaises with the Scottish government.  Why are they useful?  We believe that little organisations like ours will function much better if we can pool our knowledge and resources together and enable the government to see that clans and their links with the diaspora are valuable assets to the country.  The help I have had from them enabled me to apply for funding to the Visitors website and this year I have had further help in applying for funding for 2020; I await the result in December.  We add in snippets from their annual newsletter to Standfast - you can check out their website – google Association of Highland Clans and Societies. The Grants are doing their bit – I was elected Deputy Chairman at the last AGM.

In my last letter to you I mentioned that pushing plans for Duthil forward will involve a great deal of work.  Things have moved on since then. I visited Duthil with Morris Tait the architect who drew up the original plans and we came up with a simpler model.  The next stage would involve consulting the local council, planning permission, seeking external funding etc. and it was clear that I could not do this on my own.  The other trustees had done a wonderful job keeping the flame going, but as none of them live near the area and all have other heavy commitments, it seemed sensible to re-evaluate the situation.  Adrian Grant, the Treasurer, who did a lot for Duthil has now handed over to Lady Helen Grant, a chartered accountant, who married Sir Patrick last year. Sir Patrick, who applied for a lottery grant 20 years ago has taken over the lead role from me, for which I am profoundly grateful, as he is much more experienced in this area. See his Duthil Update on our Clan Centre page. Many thanks to Adrian, Judy, Ian Grant of Queensferry, Alan Grant of Liverpool, Chris Grant (Chef) and Patrick Grant of Tullochgorm for their support over the intervening years.

Spring Meeting 2019
Sorry folks, but Judy and I have too much to do with 2020 and Duthil to arrange it. Perhaps some members south of the border could arrange something a bit less formal together.

My thanks and best wishes to you all.