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Hamish Burgess represents Maui Scots at ‘The Gathering’

By Staff | Aug 20, 2009

The Clan Parade heads up the Royal Mile.

WEST MAUI — West Maui resident Hamish Burgess, owner of the local business and cultural organization Maui Celtic, recently represented Maui Scots at “The Gathering” in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The event was the centerpiece of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a yearlong series of events aimed at bringing folks of Scottish heritage back to their homeland in the year of national poet Robert Burns’ 250th birthday anniversary.

As Scottish Ambassador for The Princess Ka‘iulani Project (www.thekaiulaniproject.com), Burgess took the story of Hawaii’s most beloved Hawaiian/Scot, Victoria Ka‘iulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn, Crown Princess of Hawaii, back to her father’s homeland.

Burgess was a featured guest on Liz Clark’s show, “Travels with your Auntie,” on Celtic Music Radio Scotland and broadcasting icon Archie Fisher’s “Travelling Folk” show on BBC Radio Scotland, both in Glasgow.

While representing Scots of Hawaii, Hamish reported on events and interviewed traditional musicians, which can be heard on his own Celtic music radio show on Mana‘o Radio, 91.5 FM Maui, from 8 to 10 a.m. on Sundays, or online at www.manaoradio.com.

Two members of the Athol Highlanders stand in full traditional dress at The Gathering in Edinburgh Scotland. Photos by Hamish Douglas Burgess.

On July 24, he attended the first Clan Convention in recorded history at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. More than 100 Scottish Clan Chiefs and clan dignitaries from around the world attended to discuss the role of the clans in the modern world. From a homeland population of 5 million, the Scottish diaspora worldwide is now 30 million to 40 million people.

While welcoming the Chiefs, The Earl of Caithness (Chief of Clan Malcolm Ian Sinclair) stated, “Never have so many chiefs been in one room, without swords and shields, gathered in peace.”

Dr. Jim Hunter further showed the significance of the day’s event, saying that the last time the Clans gathered like this was in 1745, when the Highland Army captured Edinburgh!

David Sellar, Lord Lyon King of Arms, spoke about the Scottish clan and family, pointing out that the word “clan” comes from the Gaelic “clann” meaning “children,” and defined it as a “social and political kin-based unit.”  

Donald McLaren of McLaren (Chief of the Clan McLaren) gave an entertaining and passionate speech on behalf of the Chiefs, stating, “Titles are not to honor men; the man or woman is to honor the title.”

July 25 and 26 at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh saw the biggest clan gathering, Highland Games, and Scottish music festival in memory. More than 47,000 people from over 40 countries enjoyed the two music stages, bagpiping, dancing, heavy athletics and visiting the Clan Village of 125 clan tents. There were talks on genealogy, history and storytelling, Scottish arts and crafts, the wonders of Scotland’s larder, and, of course, local ale and a wee dram of whisky always close at hand.

Saturday evening marked the highlight of the event: the Clan Parade of 8,000 clansfolk from the Palace of Holyroodhouse up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle Esplanade.

Burgess managed to photograph the parade and greeted several Hawaii Scots from Maui and Oahu marching with their clans. Hamish joined his own Douglas Clan for the memorable long walk up the medieval cobbled street, with 20,000 spectators cheering them on. The clans then filled the courtyard of the ancient, imposing castle.

The weekend also featured Highland dancing and piping competitions, a “Pipe Idol” contest, traditional hill race, World Tug-of-War Champions, and the World Highland Games Heavy Events Championship. The music ranged from Scottish traditional groups to bagpipe rock!

Truly a “once-in-a-lifetime” Scottish experience, the full tartan-clad story with pictures is posted at www.mauiceltic.com.