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October 2008 News
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Please note that this newsletter has been updated slightly from when it was first published, to keep information current.


Looking forward to Parliament 2010

Can you top this?

Parliament 2006 is not yet a memory - the vivid images endure of Parliament Organizer Anne Halford-MacLeod's masterful weaving of well-loved MacLeod history, compelling modern day community issues, and the ever entwining bonds of friendship. As her protégé and collaborator, maybe Dorna Caskie (Parliament 2010 Coordinator) knows better than anyone else that this will be a hard act to follow!

But each Parliament is different, and each Parliament takes place within the evolving story of the MacLeods - the descendants of both the diasporas as well as those still holding fast to the land.

Old and New Traditions

We have chosen a theme for Parliament 2010, "Old and New Traditions". We want to reinforce those traditions that have come to be a standing part of Parliament, as well as bring in some new things. The format will be familiar, as it will include the social, heritage, and business elements that we all enjoy. But we will also invite delegates to bring in new ideas and discuss what our potential is as an organization in the future. There will even be a bit of "homework" beforehand, offering a few opportunities for you to bring your piece of the world to your fellow MacLeods, and your piece of being a MacLeod back to your world.

The goal is to invigorate our sense of belonging, to explore what is truly relevant and compelling about our heritage as sons and daughters of Leod, and - above all - to have a good time in the process!


Assynt skyline

Pre-Parliament Programme in Assynt

Following the success of last Parliament's tour of Lewis and Harris, a pre-Parliament tour of the Assynt area will be available for a limited number of people. It will begin on the evening of Wednesday 21 July, when buses will depart from Kyle of Lochalsh for the shores of Loch Assynt.

Our accommodation for three nights will be in the Inchnadamph area. Thursday and Friday will be busy with day tours. One day will be dedicated to the natural wonders and history of the region, and the second day to explore the issues facing the current day community, as well as features of the surrounding area.

The MacLeod connections to this area run deep. We will visit the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, travel the infamous B869, and have an opportunity to meet people who have led significant changes in land ownership and government. The story of the North Lochinver Estate made world headlines in 1993 when it was purchased by the Assynt Crofters' Trust. A further dramatic buyout followed with the community purchase of the Glencanisp and Drumrunie estates in June 2005. There will be time for a group dinner, a ceilidh in the village of Lochinver, and perhaps a chance to walk on the perfect white sand beaches. We will return to Kyle of Lochalsh on Saturday morning, and the buses will continue on to Dunvegan for those who need transport.


Dunvegan skyline

Parliament Week in Dunvegan

First and foremost, Dame Flora wished for Parliament to be an opportunity for us to get together and talk about the Clan. This Parliament's "business meetings" may be significantly restructured to be more interactive, possibly with a plenary on major issues followed by smaller breakout groups and more intimate discussion.

Our daily outings will include visits to Orbost, Borreraig, an ALL DAY trip to Raasay - including dinner and ceilidh, climbing the Tables, and a special visit to the Clan Donald Center. There will be morning workshops on Gaelic, music, dancing, and other topics of interest. We will have at least three evenings of dancing, including the Grand Clan Ball on Friday.

For young MacLeods, we will have two tracks of supervised activities, for MacLeod Bheag (6-12 years of age) and MacLeod Mor (13-18 years), generally between 10AM and 1PM daily. Activities will include crafts, pony trekking, a visit to Portree, and preparing for a short performance during the evening ceilidh. Please note that because of the complexity of certain child protection laws, it is not feasible for us to offer a program for children under 6 years of age.

North Room Group (a.k.a. NRG or "Energy")

Our young MacLeods between the ages of 18 and 25 are the hope and pride of the Clan, and we want to give them a meaningful experience as part of Parliament. We know that life-long friendships are formed during Parliament, and that later in life many NRGers go on to become leaders in their respective National Societies.  

In 2010 we are planning for the NRG service project to take place in Assynt, under the auspices of the Assynt Foundation (http://www.assyntfoundation.org). In addition to the service project, the NRG will have an opportunity to spend some time with CMS and community leaders. But there will still be time for socializing and the inevitable, the unexpected, and the memorable...

If you know of a young person who would like to be a member of NRG, now would be the time for that young person to start planning for the trip. Although the cost of such a trip may seem overwhelming, there may be ways to make it work. For instance, most airline frequent flyer programs allow you to gift miles to other program members. Other information to assist young travelers will be available on the Youth and Parliament pages of the ACMS website (http://www.clanmacleod.org).


Parliament doesn't happen because of one or two heroes, or even because of a handful of hard workers. Nearly one in three people who attend Parliament have a specific contribution that they have planned to make ahead of time, and that they deliver with good will and aplomb! 2010 will be no different.

Most importantly, we would like to have a contact person in each National or Regional Society who will help with distributing information about Parliament, and being a generally helpful resource to your fellow clansfolk at home. Other volunteer opportunities will be described later.


This is just a glimpse of what's to come. It's too early to make your reservations, but it's not too early to dream. Further information will be available in Clan MacLeod Magazine and on the ACMS website.

Until then, keep on holding that light!

The ACMS gratefully acknowledges
the major sponsors of our 16th Parliament.