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  1. #1
    Real Men Wear Kilts
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    :banana I got me Sport Kilt!!

    I just recieved my sport kilt in the mail a few minutes ago. Instead of getting the Black Stewart I got the Black Watch. I love it. Their service was great and the kilt is soooo comfortable. The reason for choosing the Black Watch was due to a little research on kilts. For one thing, Sport kilt does not make my family Tartan but I wanted to stick with something authentic. Well I first thought of the Black Stewart. I liked the red and black look it had going. After a little research I come to learn that the Black Stewart was the Royal Stewart Family Tartan for "mourning". Well I happened to accidently come across a brief history of the Black Watch, that Sport Kilt also carried, and it was said that it is considered a "Free Kilt". Meaning that anyone can respectfully wear it. When I say respectfully, in Scotland, it more respectful to keep among your family tartan and not to mix tartans. So I was kind of glad to see an authentic scottish tartan that anyone could wear from Sport Kilt. Now the things I have mentioned above are just some of the old scottish ways. Anyone can wear any sport kilt for that matter. I just chose to go the tradition route. I do say that the Black Watch is a beautiful kilt. Green and blue. The Black Watch is worn by one of the famous Scottish Regiments.

    I hope others end up buying a sport kilt. I certainly recommend their product. I will be field testing it really soon. Goto www.sportkilt.com for more information.

    Trail Yetti, I hear the boys singing the song of freedom.

    As Sir William Wallace once said "They Cant Take Our Freedom!!"

    Cpt. Chaos

  2. #2

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    The Black Watch Regiment, historically did not start off well. It was an English Regiment set up to quell dissent and rebellion to English rule in Scotland. They were a sort of English secret police made up of Scots loyal to England rather than Scotland, so paradoxically, the Black Watch was responsible for taking away the very Freedoms that William Wallace and Robert the Bruce had fought for. BTW, neither Wallace or Bruce were true Scots. Bruce was Norman/Flemish on his father's side and Scots only on his mother's side, and lowland Scots at that. Wallace was from the lowlands of Scotland along the English borders. His own blood was decidedly mixed with Flemish, Norman and other bloodlines. That said, both were more truly Scottish than many of those that opposed them. The one bit of clean truth in the whole movie was that at the time Scotland had no united sense of itself. It was a jumble of ethnicities and loyalties where people barely ten miles apart as the gull flies were isolated from one another by mountains, while folks fifty miles up shore were as close as kinsmen.

    Family based tartans are a relatively late development BTW. It is believed that the various tartans developed along regional lines, and then eventually became associated with the clans that held dominance in those regions. A weaver, or group of weavers and dyers in a region would produce a volume of a specific pattern, and everyone in the area looking to make kilts or dresses would be buying the fabric that was available locally.

    At the time of William Wallace, the types of tartans portrayed in the movie would have been unheard of. Far too intricate for common folk. Most would have worn very, very simple checkered tartans of earth tones or plain saffron dyed cloth, and the great kilt was still some time in the future, though it was firmly established by the time of Rob Roy MacGregor. But, since the kilt is the most resonant Scottish accoutrament, the license is understandable.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
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  3. #3
    GA-ME 02 Kilted Hiker Trail Yeti's Avatar
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    Very informative history lesson, y'all. Thanks for doing that bit of research. Chaos, welcome to the club.
    Iceman, it seems like the "clan tartan" actually started to be more like Irish tartans, ie, Irish tartans are distinguished by county, not by family affiliation. That is very interesting.
    "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit"- Ed Abbey

  4. #4
    ba chomp, ba chewy chewy chomp chomp's Avatar
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    Captain Chaos -

    Glad to hear you found a good kilt. It should go very well with the rest of your "outfit" from the parade. Later...

    -chomp

  5. #5
    Real Men Wear Kilts
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    Yeah Chomp and Yetti, I love the thing. I was heading to the mountains this morning and the car broke down. I was wearing my kilt and was walking into Walgreens to use the phone and got a lot of looks. I was wearing my gaitors as well. So people thought I was a bit weird. Also, I wore the kilt last Saturday to my schools Alumni Vs. Varsity soccer game and everyone loved it. It was kinda neat knowing some of the signifigance of my kilt as well so I could share it with others. Thx Iceman.

    I was looking on ebay also and noticed there was a black watch sporran for sale. That could be interesting. Also, Yetti, there is a Highland Games near where you live if I am correct pretty soon. It is in Linville, NC at Grandfather Mountain. You should go with me. It would be fun. E-mail me sometime.

    Lastly, Chomp, do you have anymore pictures of me from Trail Daze? If you do, could you e-mail them to me? Look forward to getting back to Trail Daze again next year. This year was a blast. Catcha Ya'll later.

    The Bonnie Cpt. Chaos

  6. #6

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    You are welcome
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
    AT'95, GA>ME

    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  7. #7
    Real Men Wear Kilts
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    Iceman, do you know any signifigance of the Black Stewart Tartan? I can only find info on the Royal Stewart and the Hunting Stewart. The only thing I know about the black Stewart is it is a tartan of "mourning". Thanks a lot.

    The Bonnie Cpt. Chaos

  8. #8
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    I don't know about Black Stewart in particular, but I do know each tartan has several varieties. There's the "ancient" tartan, which is generally simpler and with more subdued colours, deriving from before modern dying methods. The "hunting" tartan is also more subdued, but is made that way so you don't have bright colours to startle prey, much like today's camouflage. They can also be worn for everyday use or informal occasions. "Dress" tartans are made by changing one of the formal background colours to white, and are used for dancing, not for formal occasions. The "standard" tartan you see is the formal one, which can be worn with a tuxedo jacket (and can be worn to the most formal event on the British Isles: a coronation). I don't know abut "mourning" tartans in particular, but I'd imagine that like the dress tartan, it would be made by changing one of the formal background colours to black.

    Haiku.

  9. #9

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    Sounds about right to me.

    Ancient Tartans were originally just old garments that had faded from wear, UV degradation of dyes and washing. Now we dye them that way. Obviously you wouldn't wear your best kilt or dress for every day wear, so daily wear is of older garments that would be faded and worn...thus Ancient tartans for everyday or casual wear.

    Mourning tartans are just that, they are for mourning. Their brighter colors are subdued as appropriate for mourning periods. Stewart is a bright tartan to begin with so toning down those bright reds would be appropriate. Likewise MacLeod is a brighter blue tartan and would need some toning down.

    The Sporran was the Highland version of a purse or a fannypack today. Back when the Kilt was king, they didn't have pockets, so a sporran or small belt pouch was the way to go. Items could also be kept in the folds of the great kilt, which wrapped around the waist and over the shoulder. The great kilt was a large piece of fabric that was laid out on the ground on top of the belt (which was positioned across the length of the kilt about 20 inches or so from one end. The kilt fabric was hand pleated (the pleats held only by the belt) . The wearer then laid down on the kilt with the lower edge of the kilt reaching to just over his knees. He then wrapped the sides of the kilt over and secured it with the belt. The majority of the fabric then lay over his shoulder on the ground behind him. That free end was brought over the shoulder and tucked under the belt in the front, across the body. The pouch formed by the tuck could hold larger items. This large free end would often be pinned to the garments beneath to keep it from falling off the shoulder and impeding the sword or shield arms in a fight. That long end could be wrapped around the upper body for warmth in bad weather, as rain protection, or as a blanket. It was a very versatile garment. By pulling out some pleats you have access to more fabric, but tucking up more pleats, you get the fabric out of your way.

    Kilts, by the way, were introduced to Scotland from elsewhere. The Celts throughout Europe and Britain were notable not for kilts, but for trousers. The Romans made special note of the celtic preference for pants over the typical knee length tunic garments favoured throughout the rest of the empire and most of Europe. The Kilt was a later development arising either out of a period of poverty, Romanization, or possibly the Medieval Optimal Weather period (in which temperatures rose dramatically in Europe for an extended period of time, allowing greater crop productivity, vineyards in England and Olive trees in Northern France and England. This meteorological period was significantly warmer than the current climate and is credited for allowing Europeans the spare time to educate themselves and set up the Rennaissance. Obviously trading in your woolen trousers for a skirt would be a cooler way to get through the warmer months, while the extra fabric of the great kilt would allow you to tailor the garment for the particular conditions.
    Thats just a theory though.

    I'm not a student of clothing styles and developments, so I could be missing some HUGE points here.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  10. #10
    Real Men Wear Kilts
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    Iceman, how do you know about all this stuff? Are you Scottish or just a historian by hobby? Thanks for all the info. If you know more, please tell because this is an awesome lesson.

    Thanks,
    The Bonnie Cpt. Chaos

  11. #11

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    Both.

    My mother's maiden name is Houston. Our Houston ancestors came from the Highlands and were allied with the MacDonalds of the Isles. Houstons from our family began emmigrating to the United States following the suppression of the clans after the Jacobite Rebellions. My direct ancestors emmigrated much later, but already had family in the area.

    So my clan affiliation is MacDonald.

    I've studied the general subject of Scotland casually for a few years. I try to get to the Highland Games in New Hampshire every year. They moved it this year to Hopkington from Loon Mountain in Lincoln to gain space and to get away from a convergence with a NASCAR race in Loudon that sucks up all the hotel space in central NH. Should be an easier experience. But there is always an encampment of the Historical Highlanders, a group that recreates Highland life from about the time of Wallace and The Bruce through to the Jacobite Rebellions. They are usually found in company with a group that recreates Scottish military regimental life from about the American Revolution through to WWII. A great organization.

    Back to Highland dress.

    At the time of Wallace the average peasant typically went barefooted or wore soft shoes loosely wrapped and laced to the foot. In cold weather furs could be wrapped around the feet for warmth.

    Highlanders under English domination were often forbiden to carry swords, so they developed the dirk, a heavy, long "knife" that was built for fighting. It began existence as a ballock "knife" and gradually evolved into the stylized article frequently seen in Highland dress today. The Sgain Dubh is the stocking knife traditionally carried in the top of the right stocking. It was a small knife analogous to a pocket knife in today's world. It wasn't considered a weapon except as a last resort. An everyday Sgain Dubh (or black (dubh) knife (sgain)) would have a plain wood or antler hilt rather than the carved black hilts of dress sgains.

    Highland troops were known for their affinity for swords right through to the time of the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. At Ft. Ticonderoga, there was a standing order limiting the number of bladed weapons the highland troops could carry. They would frequently carry at least one sword, a dirk, multiple smaller knives and sometimes lockaber axes and similar pole arms. Highland Regiments traditionally prefered close combat over exchanges of musketry. Scottish built pistols generally had simple steel stocks rather than the walnut stocks found on other pistols. THis was for durability since charging highland troops would discharge their pistols (they might carry four or more) then throw them at their opponents. The mass of the steel barrels and stocks could do serious injury or at least distract the opponent long enough to draw swords and engage at close range.

    Highland troops had problems with disciplined order. They found honor in engaging the enemy at close range and raced one another to the enemy lines. Against the disciplined British Line of musketry, they were frequently cut to pieces.

    The Scottish Basket Hilt Broadsword (often mistakenly called a Claymore) was the last essentially medieval pattern sword to remain in use into the gunpwder era. The True Claymore spelled Claedh mhor was a two-handed greatsword (which is what Claedh Mhor means "sword great." It followed a traditional pattern, not the form used by Mel Gibson in Braveheart. It had forward sweeping guards ending in clover shaped finials. An impressive weapon it was also notable for it's simple purity of form. Blades made in Scotland were often of indifferent quality so the Scots frequently imported blades from the Continent, typically Italy.

    Loyalty changed frequently in Scotland. Scotland was a harsh environment and even the wealthy lived an uncertain life dependent upon cattle and hardy grain crops. The wealth of Scotland was found in wool traded with the Flemish. There were large Flemish districts in Edinburgh and the other large port towns on the east coast of Scotland. Wallace was loyal to the Balliol family which was a Norman family that had been in Scotland long enough to legitimize its claim. Likewise the Brices were of Norman and FLemish descent, but had married extensively with Scottish families. They also had blood ties to Norway. Scots had been extensively raided and colonized by Scandanavian Viking raiders, but also successive waves of Celts at an earlier time.

    As The Bruce stated in the movie, Scotland had no sense of itself from one end to the other. Clan was more important than nation and clans changed sides depending upon which side offered the best advantage and greatest sureity of prosperity in the long run. No clan can claim an unbroken line of loyalty to Scottish independence. Even the Bruce faltered at times, but following the example of Wallace, he became an unwavering force for independence even though his wife and other family members were taken hostage and imprisoned under cruel conditions to force him to heel. He was betrayed, ambushed, excommunicated, his kingdom put under interdict, and otherwise sore pressed, but he continued on, eventually driving the English out and establishing a kingdom. His failure to produce a surviving male heir ended his line however, and the throne passed through a few intermediaries to the Stewards of the throne who became known as The Stewarts.

    The Scottish Throne is based on the Stone of Scone, supposedly a relic of Saint Columba. Edward the First of England took the stone away when he bent Balliol to his will, but it has long been thought that the stone had been replaced prior to this and that the true stone was hidden and perhaps lost.

    In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace was made "Lord High protector of Scotland" but the title was portrayed as being honorary. In reality, Wallace held vice-regal powers in the stead of John Balliol, the crowned king of Scotland at the time. Balliol's claim had been judged the senior claim to the Bruce claim and he was enthroned as a vassal to Edward the First who had been brought in by the various claimants to serve as a referee over the dispute. Longshanks used this excuse to establish a firm hold in Scotland based on the failed engagement of his son Edward to the Maid of Norway, who was the heir of the deceased King Malcolm. The Maid had died on the voyage from Norway to Scotland. Although it was known she was of delicate constitution, there was significant suspicion that the girl (she was all of twelve) had been poisoned to give England a direct claim on Scotland since a betrothal was considered as good as a marriage from a legal perspective. It couldn't be proven however. Well, after Balliol was enthroned, he tried to stage a rebellion against England, he was quickly defeated and driven into exhile. Wallace was given vice-regal powers as Protector of Scotland and effectively ruled Scotland until his defeat at Falkirk and eventual betrayal and execution. He never swore loyalty to Bruce, though was known to regret his loyalty to the weak and irresolute Balliol.

    Bruce had more difficulties with the Comyn clan of Scotland than he did with the English. The Comyns allied with England and acted as agents provocateur, sabateurs, and assassins for Edward II against Bruce. Bruce was eventually forced to kill the senior Comyn in a church, for which deed he was excommunicated and later absolved. The majority of Bruce's campaign for independence was waged as a guerilla war. They attacked castles by night and subterfuge and upon defeating the garrison, pulled down the fortresses rather than splitting their forces in an attempt to hold them. Bruce is thought to have had extensive strategic and tactical help from Templar knights whose order had been suppressed and persecuted in famous fashion starting in 1307 and ending in 1315 with the execution by burning of its last official Grandmaster, Jacques De Molay. The Templars who had escaped the persecutions fled to the four corners of Europe including Scotland, taking whatever of the fabled wealth of the order that they could carry. Scotland was a natural destination as it had been put under Interdict by Rome and thus felt little loyalty to Rome's edicts. "Interdict" is a theocratic punishment under which Rome orders all its priests and monks to stop administering the sacraments in a region or nation in an effort to force its ruler to heel. Generally it doesn't work. The priests and monks go about their business and administer to the needs of the people as their consciences dictate rather than abuse them in that way. So Scotland was effectively beyond the easy reach of Rome and the French king who initiated the persecution. This put an exceptional resource at Bruce's disposal. The Templars were the elite military force of the time, and their defense of Acre during the Crusades was already a legend.

    Scotland's history is a confusing one filled with epic acts of loyalty and betrayal. Go to the library and check it out.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  12. #12
    Real Men Wear Kilts
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    Iceman, you sure know your stuff. I had no idea about some of this. Now in the movie Braveheart, was Bruce the bulky red haired guy (Wallace's second hand man) or was he the one who fought for the British until Wallace was about to kill him. The one who was to except the crown on a horse but asked Wallace's men to bleed with him. Which one is it? Thanks a lot. Also, you should come down to North Carolina for the largest Clan Gathering in the world. It is the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Good stuff.

  13. #13
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    In Braveheart, Robert the Bruce was the dark-haired chap with a beard whose father had leprosy.

    Haiku.

  14. #14

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    Although I was not there (not quite that old) and there are considerable differences about the story depending upon whose side you believe (like the rest of history). Bruce was the traitor who used both the British and Wallace to advance his own power at the expence of his country. I can think of other more recent examples but I am holding my tongue with both hands.

  15. #15
    Bloody Cactus MadAussieInLondon's Avatar
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    i was up there last week at Fort William, ben neviso, glen coe, etc. interesting stuff. was reading about the campbells and the massacre at glen coe and macdonalds... (beautiful country side tho)..

    back on topic, I have a proper kilt (red stewart) it weighs a ton compared to my sport kilt (they call it scot skye).. wool vs synthetic.. what a weight difference.
    -- [TrailName :: Bloody Cactus] --

  16. #16

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    Bruce walked a convoluted road to the throne of Scotland and suffered a great deal of personal misfortune along the road including the loss of bothers, close kin, capture and time as a hostage to Edward I. His wife and sister were held captive by England. His sister (or maybe it was an aunt) was held for over a year in a large cage suspended from the side of a castle. She was totally unwilling to give up Robert and he refused to take the bait.

    In the Movie, Bruce actively betrayed Wallace. Didn't happen, pure dramatic license. Bruce did pretend friendship with England on one or two occasions in order to avoid summary execution, but he, virtually unique among nobles in Scotland at the time, had a firm vision for Scottish Independence and went to great lengths to achieve it. He created a nation where before there had been a mere collection of cities and clans torn by tribal feuds and various divergent loyalties and ends. Bruce was a brilliant tactician as well able to maneuver battles to his strengths rather than trying to rival the English in it's strengths. In so doing he managed to defeat forces he should not have been able to defeat and take castles and cities he should never have been able to take. He inspired loyalty as well, where his rivals were unable to do so. He achieved true Independence for Scotland and was able to hold it for the remainder of his lifetime. His right hand man, James Douglass, following The Bruce's instructions, took Robert's heart and placed it in a silver box and attempted to bring it to the Holy Land on pilgrimage. They never made it, but died valiantly along the way.

    Bruce was a pretty incredible individual.

    Braveheart, while an excellent movie, has little historical value at all. It took a couple facts here and there to build the story around, and then made the rest up from whole cloth.

    Wallace himself, while not a noble, was the son of a knight, his father was a knight. His father was killed fighting Edward I, but Wallace had a couple of brothers who survived and continued to fight on with him until they were either killed in battle, captured and tortured to death, etc. One of his brothers died the traitor's death before he did. It is thought that following his defeat at Falkirk, that he fled to France for a time. Scotland and France had some mutual connections as mutual enemies of England.

    Edward the II did marry the daughter of France's king, but that was some time following the death of Wallace. At the time of Wallace's death she was all of about 12 or 13 years old. Edward I outlived Wallace by some time as well, but having them die at the same time was a nice cinematic touch.

    Edward II was known to be none too interested in his wife or other women and did spend a great deal of time with male friends. The historical record doesn't say outright that he was a homosexual, but the subtext is clear. Edward I did kill one of his favorites when he gained too much influence over Edward II. Edward II did father some sons. He was also killed, and it is assumed he was poisoned by his wife. His son succeeded to the throne and did a MUCH better job of it, eventually retaking some of Scotland from Bruce's successors.

    Wallace was a giant of a man in reality, well over 6 feet tall. He was immensely intelligent and tactically adept, but he had a bad temper that sometimes got him into trouble, and his hatred of the English was legendary. It is said that he had some chairs upholstered with tanned hides from English officers. That may well have been true.

    In some mystic traditions, Wallace is thought to have been the "Uncrowned King" of his time, the true king of Scotland when the unworthy John Balliol nominally held the throne. His death falls neatly into the tradition of sacrificed kings who suffer and die for the sake of their kingdoms and whose deaths redeem their lands. Arthur falls into this tradition as well, and there are strong parallels to Jesus Christ. That, of course, is mostly just colorful "tradition" made up after the facts.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
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    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  17. #17
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    And in another historical link, the marriage of Isabella and Edward II was one of the major arguments of Henry V's claim to France when he invaded (this invasion included the famous Battle of Agincourt).

    Haiku.

  18. #18

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    Iceman, I must defer to your version of history. What I read must have been a more British version of the Bruce saga. I just read the British version of the battle of Bunker Hill. Not even close to what I was taught in school.

  19. #19

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    There are always three versions of history.

    1. The victor
    2. The loser
    3. The truth

    oh yae #4, as told by the dancing banana

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