BBC Alba costs £150 per viewer

By Cara Sulieman

BBC SCOTLAND has spent a whopping £30 million pounds on their Gaelic language channel, without knowing exactly how many people are watching.

BBC Alba received the cash while bosses ordered independent auditors NOT to count the number of viewers.

The only figures available for the specialist channel come from the corporation themselves, who admit only 200,000 a week tune in.

This means spending on the channel equates to £150 per viewer.

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Gaelic Facebook “waste of money”

By Rory Reynolds

A GOVERNMENT-backed ‘Gaelic Facebook’ that received £250,000 in taxpayers cash has attracted just 1,500 members., a social networking site launched by culture minister Linda Fabiani last year, has cost the public purse a staggering £156 per member.

The site, which also allows users to “keep up to-date with all Gaelic goings on with news and reviews” has been branded a waste of public money after just 1,574 users signed up, despite almost 60,000 people in Scotland speaking the ancient tongue.

And just 1,500 watched the 12 films on its video website, MyGaelicTube.

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Clan leader hopes to reclaim ancient territory

By Cara Sulieman

A CLAN chief is plotting to take back land that he claims once used to belong to his family.

Ranald MacDonald, chief of the MacDonald’s of Keppoch branch, is hoping to use an ancient law to regain ownership of the entire area of Lochaber.

And he claims that the law stands in his favour – with the government failing to abolish an Anglo-Saxon system of ownership.

The chief wants to use Ur Duthchas – Gaelic for clan territory – to achieve his aims and has now submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament in the hope that they will agree with him.

Mr MacDonald became the chief of the clan after a legal battle that he took all the way to the Court of Session in 2004 where the judges decided that he was the rightful successor.

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Scotland’s oldest book goes on display


An extract from the book

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND’S oldest surviving book is set to go on display tomorrow (Friday) for the first time in over forty years.

The pocket-sized medieval book of Psalms is often described as Scotland’s Book of Kells due to the vivid and detailed coloured illuminations that cover the pages.

Dating back to the 11th Century and thought to have been made at the monastery on Iona, it is part of a display at the University of Edinburgh celebrating their extensive collection.

Experts believe the book could have been commissioned for St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland.

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Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books translated into Gaelic for the first time

By Paul Thorntonbeatrix-potter-gaelic-31

A POPULAR children’s classic has been translated into Gaelic for the first time.

Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and also The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, have been re-written in the ancient Scots tongue and published by a Perthshire firm.

The books, ‘Sgeulachd Peadar Rabaid’ and ‘Sgeulachd Beniàmin Coinneanach’ were launched last week after an American, who studied the language at Edinburgh University, translated them.

Two other tales by Miss Potter are set to be published and, if successful, others from the series could follow.

Translator Jamie MacDonald, who learned the language in the late 1980s, said: “My wife had all the books for her children and I just fell in love with them.

“I would spend a few days knocking it out then spend a lot longer polishing beside the original version.”

The 57-year-old added: “I hope to do more if these are successful.”

Gaelic writer Margaret Bennett helped arrange the translation and publication of the books.

The 61-year-old taught Jamie the language and is married to the owner of publishers, Grace Note Publications.

Mrs Bennett, who also writes an introduction in the books, launched the stories at a Perthshire primary school last week.

The author, singer and poet said: “The vocabulary in them is quite advanced and having the same type of language in a Gaelic book is brilliant.

“People find it very easy to accept these books have been translated into Russian or Chinese but are shocked when you want to translate it into Gaelic.”

Mrs Bennett thinks this is made more odd by the fact that a young Beatrix spent several summers in Perthshire during the Nineteenth Century.

She said: “At that time Perthshire was the heart of Gaelic and, while there is no evidence to say that she spoke it, she certainly would have heard the language.”

Beatrix Potter Gaelic 1

Today there are just 60,000 speakers of the ancient tongue left in Scotland, but Mrs Bennett believes that the number is on the increase and that tantalising tales such as the Potter series can help to spark interest in the language.

She said: “There are quite a number of Gaelic books but nothing like the sort of choice you get in another language.

“I don’t think all books should be translated but these have a special charm and timeless quality about them.”

And she praised the job done by former student in translating the books.

She said: “The translation is very close and they read very well.

“The children loved the books, they have a great appearance and they seemed quite taken by them.”

Mrs Bennett read some the books to an assembled class at Goodlyburn Primary School, Perth last Friday.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 in a small format specially designed for children.

It sold 8,000 copies and a further 25,000 were made.

Most major bookshops will stock the stories, priced at £6 each.