Message from the Chief
Winter 2000

This Message from the Chief and the Timeline that follows were published in Roslin O Roslin, Winter 2000 (Vol 3 No 18), edited by Rory Sinclair.

Dear all,

A very good and Happy New Year to you all. 1999 was a great year for the clan culminating in the successful setting up of an Association in Australia which means that the three legged stool (Canada, USA and UK) has now become a four legged chair. So many of you have worked hard and given much of your time in so many different ways - thank you for that.

This year brings new challenges and opportunities. It started in the best fashion for me as, after spending Christmas with Iona staying with friends in Buckinghamshire, we drove up to Caithness for the annual Christmas reel party - the highlight of which was an all Sinclair eight-some reel including Margaret Thurso, her son John and his son Jamie.

Iona then went back South for New Year whilst I continued to stay with Patrick and Nicky Sinclair. Following dinner with the Thursos, I saw the New Year in with them in their lovely home in the centre of the county. Some of you who are coming to the Gathering this year will be staying there as they also run a very good bed and breakfast. I recommend it to anyone.

Sadly Berrie was not with us as he was in Zimbabwe on the start of his gap year but will be back in time for the Gathering. When we were not celebrating, Margaret, John, Patrick and I did some serious work on finalising arrangements for it and fuller details of the latest draft of the itinerary will be found in this edition. I believe it will be a memorable occasion and I am only sorry that not all of you who wanted to come could be included. However there will be more opportunities in the future and I am already discussing the next one.

Laura Zola has already set sail from Venice to follow the route taken by Nicola Zeno 600 years ago. Niven and I plan to meet up with her in Kirkwall in May and speed her on her way on the next leg of the voyage.

Whilst in Inverness-shire on our way to Caithness, Iona and I had a long and very useful meeting with Lachie Stewart, the architect for the Clan Sinclair Trust. Bad weather has hampered his work but the full survey of Girnigoe and Sinclair Castles has now been done and compared with that done by McGibbon and Ross which was published in 1889. At most they were about 1'6" out which considering the equipment they had at the time is remarkable.

The plans for their preservation are being drawn up in consultation with Historic Scotland. We cannot do anything without their approval as the Castles are Scheduled Monuments. When they are agreed they will be available for inspection together with full details on our new web site www.clansinclair.org. We also looked round Lachie's home which is a tower house on the sea in Ross-shire and was in very similar condition to Girnigoe seven years ago when he bought it but now is an eight bedrooms house. it had not been lived in since 1710 and thus Lachie has first hand experience of this type of building.

Sinclair Bay Trading Co. Ltd has been set up as the trading arm of the trust and I am working closely with Rory, Mary Selver in the USA and Margaret Stokes in Australia to source Sinclair related products at the cheapest price. I have already proved that we can provide tartan and made-up kilts and skirts considerably cheaper than the buying locally in the USA. We intend to provide specialist items as well as run in competition with the shops on the more usual items.

I am still taking an active part in politics in Westminster having been lucky enough to be one of the ninety two hereditary peers that survived the reforms. Peter Rosslyn also was elected but John Thurso chose not to stand but the Sinclairs are still well represented.

The work of the clan and politics will keep me more than busy in the forthcoming year but I am also planning at least one trip to the USA and one to Australia at the end of the year. I am talking to Rory as to the best time for another visit to Canada.

I look forward to welcoming many of you over here for the gathering in July.

Best wishes.

Malcolm Caithness


Our Chief has put together the following time line of anniversaries that have a 5 or 0 as a final digit. This would change every year for 5 years before repeating and the intention is to publish the time line every January. In five years you will have a collection of every Sinclair event of importance.
Hey kids! Collect 'em all!

c.2500 BC 4500th of stone cairns in Caithness
600 BC 2600th of 1st Brochs built in Caithness
795 AD 1205th of Vikings invading Western Seas
800 1200th of Vikings on Channel Coast
875 1125th of the first Earl of Caithness
875 1125th of Sigurd, brother of Rognvald,
Earl of Moeri invades Caithness
890 1110th of death of Rognvald
c.900 1100th of Einar, son of Rognvald, builds castle at Knock Einar now Knockinnon in Caithness
c935 1065th of Northern Britain being known as Scotland rather than Caledonia, Pictavia or Alban
1245 755th of Gilbert of Moray, Bishop of Caithness, Saint, social worker and reformer dies
1290 710th of drowning of Margaret, the Maid of Norway, off Orkney
1320 680th of the Declaration of Arbroath - the letter to the Pope asserting Scotland's independence and signed by Earl Magnus of Caithness and Orkney and Henry Sinclair of Rosslyn
1330 670th of the Battle of Teba, Andulsia, Spain. Sir William Sinclair dies trying to carry The Bruce's heart to the Holy Land.
1350 650th of King David II of Scotland declaring "ane common and equal weicht, quhilk is called weicht of Caithness (pondus Cathaniae) in buying and selling sall be keeped and used by all men within this realm."
1400 600th of Prince Henry, Earl of Orkney's, death in Orkney
1420 580th of death of Henry Sinclair, 2nd Earl of Orkney
1470 520th of William, 1st Earl of Caithness, being forced to resign Earldom of Orkney>/td>
1505 495th of death of William 2nd Earl of Caithness
1560 440th of John Knox (mother was a Sinclair) founds Presbyterian church in Scotland
1680 320th of the Battle of Altimarlach - the last clan battle in Scotland fought between the Sinclairs and Campbells
1705 295th of death of John 8th Earl
1715 285th of Battle of Sherrifmuir. David Sinclair of Brabsterdorran and The Master of Sinclair fight for Jacobite cause
1765 235th of death of Alexander 9th Earl
1790 210th of Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's Statistical Account of Scotland
1855 145th of death of Alexander 13th Earl succeeded by James
1965 35th of Malcolm, current chief, inheriting the Earldom of Caithness from his father
1995 5th of John inheriting the Viscountcy of Thurso from his father


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