News 2009 - Naidheachdain 2009

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October                                                An Dàmhair

Our final event of the year and part of the Highland Homecoming celebration was a fascinating talk by Lt. Col. Ian MacCulloch from Canada about Tain man James Thompson who left Tain in 1757 to fight in the Seven Years War as part of the 78th Fraser Highlanders. The talk complements the museum's exhibition which has been on show through out the year. The exhibition was made possible with support from Highland Council. Ian is seen here with Museum Trust Chairman, Alistair Jupp and exhibition creator Estelle Quick. The book "James Thompson - a Highlander in Quebec" published by the Museum to accompany the exhibition is on sale on the web Museum Shop.

Alistair, Ian and Estelle

The Highland Archaeology Festival saw the museum hosting an archaeological excavation and survey at Meikle Ferry on the 8th and 9th of October. A prehistoric shell midden was uncovered which included iron age pottery. On top was a cobbled surface with a clay pipe. Future excavations will look for evidence of habitation.

Working at Meikle Ferry


August                                               An  Lùnasdal

An exciting month was brought to a close on Thursday 27th by Dr Jim Hunter who presented his talk "A Macdonald in the Camp of Sitting Bull" to a large and appreciative audience.

T&D Museum Trust Chairman, Alistair Jupp with Dr Hunter


The Clan Ross Gathering

Chief David Ross of Ross and Balnagowan, followed by his family, leading the Clan through Tain

The weather was fine and the company was fantastic.

Look at the "Clan Ross Gathering 2009" page for news and pictures.

Members of the 67 strong Finnish group

Local piper, Dr Sandy Gordon with local Highland dancers who entertained during the Gathering


July                                                  An t-Iuchar   

We were delighted to host a mini-gathering for members of the Clan Ross Association  USA and the Clan Ross Association of Canada. The group spent time in Edinburgh at the large Gathering of the Clans  before heading north to Easter Ross. Chief David Ross of Ross and Balnagowan and Lady Ross joined the group in Tain where they were entertained by volunteers at the Museum.

Visitors from all over the world are making their way home to Easter Ross in this year of Scotland's Homecoming. Have a look at our Returning Rosses 2009 page to see some of the Rosses who made the trip to Tain.

All those intending to attend the Clan Ross Gathering on the 12th and 13th of August, be sure to buy your ceilidh and Ross talk tickets from our web site shop. I can report half are gone already. Let's hope this glorious weather we are having at the moment keeps up for August.


June                                                An t-Og-mhios

Frances Tain saw Tain on a map during her visit to Scotland and had to pay a visit to her namesake. Frances does not know the origin of her surname but we were more than pleased to make her welcome.

Pilgrims to Tain. Fiona Mitchell and Chris Dyos walked from Aberdeen to Tain following in  the footsteps of the old Pilgrims. They travelled for eight days averaging twenty-two miles per day and only got one small blister. Well done indeed.

May                                                       An Ceitean

May has been a busy month with our Show Scotland Big Weekend event and the opening of the James Thompson - Highlander in Quebec  Exhibition. We also have three new titles in our local book section of the online Museum Shop: James Thompson - a Highlander in Quebec; Historic Tain - archaeology and development and Edderton Old Parish Church - decription, history, context and restoration.


Alasdair Mearns, Bob Pegg and Kerrie Finlay with members of Gizzen Briggs

On Friday 1st May Tain & District Museum held a special evening of music and story-telling. The evening was part of the national Show Scotland Big Weekend which aims to encourage the public to visit museums across the country. The popular traditional music group Gizzen Briggs launched the evening with their usual exuberant style and were followed by the beautiful singing of Mod gold medal winner Kerrie Finlay. Rogart man and Tain alternative health practitioner, Alisdair Mearns, played and related the story behind his set of pipes made from parts of a covered wagon which crossed America in the late 19th century. Bob Pegg enthralled the audience with stories of Vikings and mermaids whilst embellishing the tales by playing instruments made from sea shells, stones and bones.


Trust members Mike Heard, Alistair Jupp and Jack Reid, with piper Jack McIntosh and guest speaker Kim Fraser with his wife Sarah

Estelle Quick who produced the exhibition and book on Thompson with Douglas Gregg who designed the panels

On Wednesday 13th May we held a special evening event to mark the opening of the eagerly anticipated exhibition on Tain man James Thompson.  This remarkable gentleman left Tain in 1757 to join the newly raised 78th Fraser's Highlanders. He went on to fight in Canada during the Seven Years War and then to take charge of the Engineers' Department  responsible for, among other things, construction and maintenance of military and government buildings in the city of Quebec.

Kim Fraser, a direct descendant of the Simon Fraser who raised the regiment in which Thompson served, officially open the exhibition. He addressed an invited audience and remarked that it was especially appropriate that he should be there as he was also a Colonel of the re-raised 78th Fraser's Highlanders in Quebec. He was accompanied by his wife Sarah.

The story of Thompson has been researched and drawn together by Estelle Quick. Working with experts in Canada and with access to Thompson's own reminiscences of his life she has produced an exciting glimpse into the life of an 18th century Highlander. She has also written a booklet to accompany the exhibition - his story is told in an easy and fast-paced manner sure to delight the reader. These are on sale at Tain Through Time or at

April                                                      An Giblean

Tain Through Time opened for the season on the 1st of May. One of the first tasks to be done was announce the winners of the Easter Colouring Competition which was launced at our March Coffee Morning in the Duthac Centre.

Tain & District Museum volunteers at Spring Coffee Morning.

Prize winners of our Easter Colouring Competition

We had the pleasure of visiting two local Women's Rural Institute meetings this month and told the ladies about activities at the Museum as well as showing them a film of the 1966 Jubilee celebrations in Tain.

Members of the Edderton WRI

Logie Easter and Kilmuir WRI

March                                                   Am Màrt   

We have a full programme of activities taking place throughout the 2009 season which complement the national Homecoming Scotland event. For details about the Clan Ross Gathering go to the Clan Ross page on this site where you will find the provisional programme and links for accommodation.Tickets for the various events will be available for sale from the Pilgrimage from April onwards or e-mail Morag on                   

Programme of Events 2009

Coffee Morning

Saturday 14th March, 10am - 12pm. Duthac Centre Tain

A Coffee morning for all the family in the Duthac Centre Lesser Hall. Tea, coffee and juice will be served along with delicious home baking. Amongst the activities there will be an Easter themed tombola and a Colouring Competition for pre-school and primary school children. Entries can be obtained, for 20p each, at the coffee morning or at Novel Idea, on Hartfield Road.

Highland Stories and a Bagpipe Tale

Friday 1st May, 7.30pm St Duthus Collegiate Church, Tain

An evening of story telling and music featuring Mod gold medallist Kerrie MacCartney, story teller Bob Pegg, piper Brian Mearns and traditional music group, Gizzen Briggs.
Tickets £4.00
Conc.   £3.50

The James Thomson Exhibition and talk

4th May - 30th October 2009, St Duthus Collegiate Church, Tain (exhibition free, donations welcome)

An exhibition, supported by Highland Council, on James Thomson, a Tain man who joined the 78th Fraser Highlanders and found himself in the North American wilderness fighting the Indians and the French. He survived the two largest sieges of the Seven Years War in North America and fought in two of the bloodiest battles. The exhibition will run from May.

Later in the year Lieutenant Colonel Ian McCulloch, a renowned military historian from Canada, will be presenting a talk at the museum entitled "A Bard of Wolfe's Army: The Oral Memoirs of James Thompson, Gentleman Volunteer, 1757-1763".

Clan Ross Gathering and talk

Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th August 2009

Tain & District Museum is hosting its first Clan Ross Gathering in August. Rosses and septs of the clan will converge on Tain on the 12th and 13th August for two days of fun and socializing, culminating in a ceilidh to be held in the Duthuc Centre. Already Rosses from as far a field as Canada and America have expressed their intention of joining Chief David Ross of Ross and Balnagowan and his family. The biggest contingent will be travelling from Finland with a party of over 60, all descended from William Ross of Kindeace who left Ross-shire to reappear in Vasa, a merchant farming town in Finland (at that time part of the Swedish Empire) in 1627. 

Talk by Dr David Worthington

Wednesday 12th August 7.30pm, Collegiate Church, Tain (open to the public as well as Clan Ross)

Dr Worthington, lecturer in History at the UHI Centre for History, will explore what is known of the life of Alexander Ross, 'Ross the Polander' who, in 1721, returned from Cracow, Poland, where he'd been a burgess, to acquire a property at Little Kindeace in the parish of Nigg. Ross renamed the property Ankerville - a name reflecting his trading connections with the Baltic region - and seems to have spent the rest of his life there. The same man appears later also to have been the subject of a ghost story, which was recorded by Hugh Miller in the mid-nineteenth century. Dr Worthington's talk will consider further the movement of those of the surname of Ross, besides of people from the Highlands more generally, to Poland and other parts of Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Tickets for Ceilidh £15.00
Tickets for Talk     £ 3.50/£2.50

Talk by Dr James Hunter entitled 'A MacDonald in the Camp of Sitting Bull'

Thursday 27th August, 7.30pm, St Duthus Collegiate Church, Tain

Highland historian Professor James Hunter, Director of the UHI Centre for History, Dornoch, talks about his researches into the many links between Highlanders and the native peoples of North America - concentrating on a particular family, living today on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana, whose ancestors include both Indian chiefs and the chiefs of one of our most renowned Scottish clans.

Tickets £3.50
Conc.   £2.50

Highland Archaeology Fortnight.

Saturday 3rd October - Sunday 18th October
Details to be announced


Februrary                                           An Gearran

With only one month until we open for the season volunteers and staff are flat out making preparations for what is sure to be an exciting year. Scotland is buzzing with all the activities for the Year of Homecoming and we at Tain & District Museum are no different. Our theme is "The People of Ross - Emigration and Homecoming" and we have a great programme of events throughout the year. More news of all the events will be posted soon.

But first - news from Australia. In 2007 Daniel and Katharine Ross travelled all the way to Tain to get married in St Duthus Collegiate Church. Recently they sent us a picture of their beautiful new daughter Izabella. Meal do naidheachd dhuibh airson nigheann bheag boidheach.

Daniel and Katharine in Tain 2007

Kate, Daniel and Izabella

Tain Through Time Tower Street, Tain IV19 1DY Scotland IV19 1DY

Tel: 01862 894089