April 30, 2013 by Nash Riggins
A planned reunion of every ancient Scottish clan to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn has been cancelled due to lack of funds.
The failed reunion – which had been dubbed Clans 2014 – sought to bring together Scottish expats and descendants from all over the world, and was to be part of the National Trust for Scotland’s £400,000 anniversary celebration of the Medieval Scottish victory in Stirlingshire. The event was modelled after a major clan reunion in 2009, which drew a crowd of almost 17,000 Scots; however, local government officials ultimately determined that another reunion of that scale had the potential to produce a fiscal nightmare.
“The decision to cancel the proposed Clans 2014 element of the commemorations of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn was a decision reached by consensus, a mutually agreed position between the Scottish Government and Stirling Council,” said Councillor Johanna Boyd, who leads Stirling Council. “The business case showed a potential deficit in the running of a Gathering event to the order of £250,000.”
That said, the decision to cancel the event was not agreed by everyone. Sir Malcolm MacGregor, the leader of Scotland’s clan chiefs, lambasted Stirling Council last week, saying that the revised celebration schedule of a battle re-enactment containing a ‘clan element’ would be a “huge disappointment” compared to the last major gathering of Scots where attendance was concerned.
“You have to look back to 2009, which succeeded in bringing a lot of people from overseas,” MacGregor argued. “The international gathering of 2009 was regarded overseas as a great success, and most of the diaspora of overseas Scots wanted to do the whole thing again. A battle re-enactment with a clan element does not have the same attraction to overseas Scots as an international clan gathering.”
Many at home would argue that the ‘success’ of the 2009 gathering to which Sir MacGregor so heavily references is debatable. The company responsible for said event, Gathering 2009 Ltd, was actually liquidated after the event after racking up debts of around £726,000; therefore, perhaps Stirling Council’s decision to cancel Clans 2014 was well-advised. After all, current anniversary organisers have already received a £250,000 public bailout in order to ensure that the overall celebrations go ahead as planned – and last month, the National Trust for Scotland admitted it was worried about the “financial requirements” of the event being planned. At present, the majority of celebrations as originally advertised are set to go ahead from 28-30 June next year.