Am Bratach No. 230
December 2010

The Edinburgh-Sutherland’s 144 and still going strong!

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The Edinburgh-Sutherland Association was instituted in 1866. It is a registered charity, and its objectives are to afford assistance to necessitous and deserving people, especially natives of Sutherland; stimulate and further the education of the rising generation of the county; and uphold and foster the art, literature, music, culture and language of the county.

The list of association members over the years reads like a Who’s Who of Sutherland exiles. Donald W Cameron (Melness), past secretary and vice-president, provides the following info:

At the turn of the last century, the association boasted numerous members from the world of literature. Indeed, it led the way to the formation of the Scottish History Society.
Over the years, a tremendous number of papers and pamphlets, on diverse subjects have been submitted to the association. It published books, the first being an unabridged edition of The Tour of Dr Richard Pococke through Sutherland and Caithness in 1760. The introduction and notes were by Daniel W Kemp. Though not a native of the county, he had a residence at Rosehall and was a stalwart of the association writing innumerable books on Sutherland. Other contributors at the time included the Rev Adam Gunn (Durness), Hew Morrison (Torrisdale, Skerray), and John Mackay (Kingston, Glasgow).

Members also did much for education at the time. For example, James Macdonald, WS, on behalf of the association, was instrumental in organising the examinations for school prizes throughout Sutherland. This work, combined with the availability of regular bursary funds from the association, was a real success in assisting with the advancement of scholars.

The association is one of a number of Highland associations. Others include the Glasgow Sutherland Association and The Brusters.

The Glasgow Sutherlandshire Association was instituted 1857. A serious break occurred in 1895 over the Land League question, which divided the members into two rival societies, so the County of Sutherland Association (Glasgow) was established. There was rumour at the time that this was prompted by a north coast/west coast split. However, sense prevailed in 1910, and the two were amalgamated under the chairmanship of Alexander Bruce (Clyne). The Edinburgh Sutherland Association has enjoyed healthy rivalry with its counterpart in Glasgow over the years, including curling and golf competitions. However, such competitions have not been held in recent years.

The Brusters is an organisation of ten Sutherland men, either have been born there or connected with the county through their ancestors, who met originally in the Blythswood Hotel on the first Saturday of the month (except July and August) and always after the Glasgow Annual Gathering. They took pride in contributing in various ways to the well being of Sutherland, at the same time being members of the Edinburgh or Glasgow Associations. Today, the Brusters are still active, and the Edinburgh Sutherland Assocation’s James Maclean is the senior member, having joined in 1960.

Recent association recruit, Andrew Mackenzie, a young Stoer-born solicitor in the Scottish Government, said: “The Edinburgh Sutherland Association donates money to worthy causes in Sutherland every year. We would like to donate more, so I hope that more people from Sutherland will join our association, and attend our events, which we are keen to expand beyond the annual ceilidh, so that we can raise more money for such causes. We have recently set up a Facebook page, and are developing a website, in order to encourage more people to get involved in the association”.

Life membership is £20 and annual membership is £3. It is open to natives of Sutherland and their relatives. Cheques should be sent to Anne Macintosh, The Treasurer, Edinburgh Sutherland Association, 28 Mayshade Road, Loanhead, Midlothian EH20 9HJ. Associate membership is open to others with an interest, and such persons should apply to the same address for the consideration of the committee.

The Annual General Meeting of the Edinburgh Sutherland Association was held on 31 May 2010. Sandra James (Crask) was re-elected as president, Bill Manson was elected as general secretary, and Anne Macintosh (Skerray) was re-elected as treasurer. James Maclean (Elphin) is the honorary president. Willie Macintosh (Skerray) and Eleanor Mackay were re-elected to the committee, with Andrew Mackenzie (Stoer) and Elise Sutherland (Brora) being elected to the committee for the first time.

The president, in her remarks, welcomed the influx of a number of younger members to the association, and thanked Andrew Mackenzie for his efforts to encourage new members. She also reported the success of the association’s annual ceilidh dance, which was held on February 19 in the Braid Hills Hotel in Edinburgh, and took the opportunity to praise the band, and the singers, Andrew Mackenzie and Joan Mackay (Skerray).

An events sub-committee was established. Andrew Mackenzie, Anne Macintosh, Willie Macintosh, Shiona Mackay, Elise Sutherland and Matthew Williams (Spinningdale) will consider the possibility of further social events. A sub-committee was also set up to consider the Association’s Constitution and Rules. Andrew Mackenzie, Bill Manson and Elise Sutherland will take this forward.

It was agreed that the association would make donations to Feis Chataibh, the Macmillan Nursing Service in the Lawson Memorial Hospital, and Cala Sona, Melness.
Contact Andrew Mackenzie on 07740379196 or e-mail apmackenzie23 To view their activities on Facebook, enter Edinburgh-Sutherland Assocation in the Google search engine and for Twitter,, which will take you straight to the page.

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