Here are some first-hand reflections from some of the Canadian Gregors who attended the Gathering in Scotland this past summer.
When I first booked this trip, I intended for it to be a bonding experience with my father. But it ended up being so much more than that.I found a passion for my heritage, a deep sense of pride in our clan's courageousness, and a sense of belonging like none other.The breathtaking scenery, storytelling, and architecture added greatly to the sense of majesty.
My most heartfelt thanks to all who helped make this event a reality. Here's to 2022!
Michelle MacAdam ,Montreal Quebec
Some thoughts on our recent Clan Gathering.
Barb, Don and I were very pleased with our accommodations and with the hospitality shown by all at the Clan Gregor Gathering. I know that when I visit Scotland I feel like I have come home. The tours were well organized and I feel fortunate that Peter Lawrie was our tour guide. His incredible knowledge of MacGregor history, which he freely shared, has motivated me to research further into my family tree.
Barb, Dale and Don MacGregor, Kanata Ontario
I have been thinking about the MacGregors and the Scotland trip a lot. I just wish I could get that connection back to Scotland, and maybe someday I will. I am working on it.
For me (going to the Clan Gathering) was a trip of a lifetime. So many memories! What stands out the most is the trip to the 3 Isles and the beautiful scenery that the Highlands offer. If I were to live there, I would never be tired of looking at the highlands and the waterways. So much was packed into that week! The history and Peter's storytelling! The history is fascinating and whets the appetite for more.
Francis Ferguson ,Bobcaygeon Ontario
This was a fantastic Gathering as usual. There are a million new memories. The most sentimental memory is the intense emotion I had when walking with the other Clan members in the parade of the clans at the Lachearnhead Highland Games on Saturday July 21st. I was kitted in walking kilt and sash but also socks of the Rob Roy tartan with red maple leaf on them - odd, but 'game' for the occasion. For me, the emotion always generates when with other clans because of the history of our clan's proscription –I guess that emotion is part of the outrage and frustration experienced by anyone who is in a minority and being victimized.
The most delightful memory was the shopping spree indulged in at the Clan Gregor tent. Used items from other members led to impulse purchases at lost-leader prices.
The warmest memories are the chats with table mates at Loch Awe Hotel each breakfast and dinner. Mates were Tom Kerr and wife from Mississauga and Guy McGregor, Clan treasurer, and wife from East Anglia.
The most grateful memory is touring and reading the exhibits in the new Clan History Room in the Clan Menzies Castle. A huge undertaking and a job well done thanks to Peter Lawrie.
The most lasting memory has been the time spent since, reading the delightful book by Elizabeth Beauchamp, The Braes of Balquidder, purchased at the tent during the games on the suggestion of Council member Ross McGregor. It is easy reading of some 25 chapters, 4-5 pages each, which outline the history of the area and of the clan.
Can't wait for the next gathering - in 2022
Elizabeth MacDonald, Sarnia Ontario
My highland journey. Visiting the highlands was on my bucket list but now having learned a bit about my Gregor heritage I am excited to try to fill the bucket. The entire clan meeting was well planned and went smoothly. We were well treated and kept busy with interesting daily tours and activities. A real joy to share this with my daughter.
Sandy MacAdam, Truro Nova Scotia
Sharon and I had a wonderful time and there are too many highlights to name them all. Here in some order are the best of the best.
1) Getting to the Menzies Castle and seeing everyone dressed up was the top.
2) Although it was a long day, our trip to Mull, Iona and Straffa Island was fabulous. I have done a lot of research on the McDougall Clan. They came from Mull to the Wallaceburg area in 1804. Straffa was just like The Giant Causeway in Ireland and stunning.
3) The march-in at the highland games was my third special moment. The McGregor clan made a great splash at this event.
We loved the accommodation at the Loch Awe Hotel, also Kilchurn Castle and the crannogs tour.There were no poor tours and we got a great pint after getting back each day and so we have only good memories! Sorry Dr. Richard McGregor wasn't on the agenda to give us a DNA update. Thanks for getting us together as a Canadian group.
Tom and Sharon Kerr, Thornhill Ontario
Scotland 2018 was an amazing trip. It was wonderful to be part of such a large group of kin! The palpable connection to the past that I felt, especially in the yard at Dalmally Kirk, is not something I will ever forget.
Looking forward to 2020!
Dan Greer, Creemore Ontario
In 2018 I went to my first Gregor International Clan gathering. I had volunteered at our local Highland Games, and after looking for a clan tent representing MacGregors without any success, I started searching online. Within minutes I came across the International Gathering, and decided it sounded like a great way to meet possible relatives and see some of Scotland at the same time.
What I was very surprised at, was how everyone knew the history of the Gregor clan and of Scotland. Yes history was my least favorite subject in school, however, many of the attendees knowledge of history was way beyond what might have been taught in Canada. Seeing the countryside, castles and churches in Scotland, and hearing of the battles our ancestors went through defending their land, piqued my interest. Will I ever be interested in such in-depth knowledge as some of the history buffs? No that will never be me, but understanding what happened and why, is something I would like to learn more about.
Having the opportunity to see the gorgeous countryside with rolling hills, endless lochs and sheep, was wonderful. I fell in love with the Highland Coos! To pass through villages that were so quaint and unlike Canadian towns was lovely, though I really wish we had been able to stop in more of them, and wander/ shop/ have a drink or bite to eat and talk to the locals.
I enjoyed having the hotel to ourselves, knowing that whomever I passed by would be a fellow member of the gathering, making it much easier to randomly speak to others. Meeting others from around the world was great, seeing two sets of twins in a relatively small group of people surprised me! There are good and bad sides to Facebook, and the good being it allows an easy way to keep in touch with those we met and help keep those memories alive.
Impatiently waiting for the next Gathering in 2022......
Joanne Howlett, Victoria, British Columbia
Canada Chapter in Scotland - L to R Wayne Parker, Sandy MacAdam, Tom Kerr, Sharon Kerr, Michelle MacAdam, Vina Parker, Frances Ferguson, Dan Greer, Elizabeth MacDonald, William Petrie, Sylvie Thériault, Front row Melba Clark and June Jain