Friday, August 27, 2010

Dun Ara Presentation - A Slideshow by Colin M. MacKinnon

Here is the last of the Mackinnon castles, explorable in slideshow form.  Dun Ara is likely the least well known of the Mackinnon castles, and though there is very little left today the promontory where it stood is still very imposing.  Enjoy the tour!

Dun Ara Presentation
View more presentations from Clan Mackinnon Atlantic.

If you would like to view the slideshow fullscreen, access the menu via the lower left control button.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cranachan - A Traditional Scottish Dessert

Ardean M. MacKinnon sent in this delicious sounding recipe for Cranachan, and it sounds like a real delight - Enjoy!

"Cranachan: is a traditionally Scottish dessert. Many Scots still use the
name "crowdie cream" because, in the past, a soft Scottish cheese called crowdie
was used in the place of cream.

(Serves two)

»Approx 300g raspberries (strawberries can also be used).
»280ml (10floz) double cream.
»2 tablespoons good quality honey.
»2 tablespoons single malt whisky.
»2-3 tablespoons of oatmeal.


1. Place the oatmeal in a cool, dry pan and turn on the heat to simmer. Stirring
occasionally, toast the oatmeal until it is golden brown. This process could take
between 10-20 minutes.

2. Once the oatmeal is brown, turn off the heat and let it cool in the pan.

3. Place the cream in a bowl and whisk up until soft and relatively thick.

4. Add the honey and single malt whisky and fold it in with a whisk, until it is soft
and creamy.

5. Pick out some of the best raspberries for decoration and add three or four to the
bottom of each serving glass, leaving a few for final decoration.

6. Add the rest of the raspberries to the cream mixture and fold in carefully,
breaking up a few of the raspberries to obtain a slight colouring to the cream.

7. Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses, then add cream to the top to make an
even base for the oatmeal.

8. By now the oatmeal will be cooler. Using a teaspoon, evenly sprinkle the oatmeal
over the dessert. Add a raspberry for the finishing touch and chill for about three
hours, or overnight.

Cranachan can be served on its own, or with double cream and more raspberries. For
an extra treat, make up the cream and add the raspberries as in 3, 4 and 6 above.
Then freeze in a container for a yogurty fresh ice cream."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Woodprint of Scottish Soldiers - 1631

It's always fascinating to see how clothing styles evolve over time, the clothing of Highlanders being no exception!

This image shows four Highlanders who were serving in Mackay's Regiment of Foot during the Thirty Year's War. They fought for the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus during his continental campaigns, and it is estimated that during the 1630s 20,000 Scots served in the Swedish Army.

Scotland and the Thirty Years War, Ed. Steve Murdoch p. 191

Likely none of these individuals are Mackinnon's, but it is a contemporary portrait of how Highlanders dressed during this time period. Given the number of Scots who served in the Swedish army, it's not too unlikely to imagine there may have been at least a handful of Mackinnons serving with the King of Sweden.

If you know of any Mackinnons who served in the Thirty Year's War and would like to let us know, please contact the webmaster.

Derivative work from NYPL Digital Gallery Scan from A Short History of the English People, published 1893-1895.

*Update* Aug 26th, 2010:
On a whim I decided to see if I could find any MacKinnons who served in the continental armies during this time period, and providentially happened upon Steve Murdoch's Scotland, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe Database.   The database is a listing of individuals from Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland who were known to be active in the Baltic region between 1580 and 1707.  Unfortunately instead of posting a comprehensive list from the muster roles they have instead limited themselves to officers, nobility, merchants, and those that also appear in church records and the like.  Nonetheless it is a fascinating and monumental work, and in spite of the limitations of the nearly 8000 records, two MacKinnons do appear:

The first, Thomas MacKinnon (MiaKinnin) (ID 4001) Is listed as serving as an officer in the Russian army between 1632 and 1634.   Apparently he was "a Nobleman from Tain in Ross,"  and according to the database he "He arrived in Moscow from Pskov with other Scottish officers and probably fought at Smolensk."

If this is the case then Thomas was involved in the Smolensk War, and formed part of the Tsarist Russian forces sent to recapture the city.  Russia had ceded the city to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1618 and with the recent death of the Commonwealth's ruler in 1632, decided to take the initiative.  Unfortunately for Thomas, the Tsarist forces were ultimately defeated, and surrendered on February 25th 1634.

The second MacKinnon is a wee bit more enigmatic, and in this case we do not even know his first name (ID 5494).  According to the database "A Scot named Mackennan (surname) was noted in Kedany, Lithuania during the 17th century."  Whether he was a soldier, merchant, student, or simple traveler we do not know.

*Update August 26, 2010 Part II*

Another interesting reference comes from Robert Scott Fittis' Sports and Pastimes of Scotland, pg 128 (emphasis my own):

"When Charles I was mustering soldiers for the French war, in 1627, he requested the Laird of Glenorchy, Black Duncan of the Cowl, to assist in levying a body of 200 Celtic archers, having heard great praise of their skill.  At that time a strong body of Highland bowmen, commanded by Alexander M'Naughton of that Ilk, and accompanied by a number of the clan Mackinnon, with harpers and pipers, embarked for France to bear part in the war."

Though there is very little chance that any of the Highlaners portrayed in this woodcut are MacKinnons, likely the MacKinnons that departed with M'Naughton for France dressed very similarly to those in the woodcut above.

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that the war being referenced was the Anglo-French War (1627-1629).  Perhaps there were a fair few more Mackinnons gallivanting in Europe at this time than I had previously imagined!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dunakin Presentation - A Slideshow by Colin M. MacKinnon

Colin MacKinnon has made another of his slideshows available - this time the focus is on the better known of the MacKinnon castles, Dunakin. Locally known as Castle/Caisteal Maol, the fortification has an important place in MacKinnon history - enjoy the visit!

Dunakin presentation

If you would like to view the slideshow fullscreen, access the menu via the lower left control button.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Google Map of Clan Mackinnon Sites

This map will be a continual work in progress, but the ultimate goal is to provide map of sites that are historically significant to the Clan Mackinnon diaspora. At the moment I have only added a few sites in Scotland, but hope to expand to other areas including Atlantic Canada as time goes on.

If you have any sites that you would like to see included please send an email to the webmaster. Ideally coordinates or some other means of identifying the exact location would be helpful, as well as a short description regarding its significance.

Red Markers refer to Castles, Fortifications, or other military sites.
Blue Markers refer to site of a religious nature.
Green Markers refer to buildings of a significant nature.
Yellow Markers refer to any other site relevant to Mackinnon history.

Other colours will be added as needed.

Markers are placed near the site in question rather than directly on top so as not to obstruct the view.

View Clan MacKinnon Map in a larger map

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dun Ringill Presentation - A Slideshow by Colin M. MacKinnon

Clan Mackinnon Atlantic member Colin M. MacKinnon has created a slideshow about the Mackinnon 'castle' of Dun Ringill. As most people will not get the chance to travel to its remote location, this is a real treat - enjoy this armchair visit!

Dunringill Presentation

If you would like to view the slideshow fullscreen, access the menu via the lower left control button.