It’s Gaelic day in Lanark Tolbooth today

Waulking - hear the songs at Gaelic Day at Lanark Tolbooth today
Waulking - hear the songs at Gaelic Day at Lanark Tolbooth today

Take a walk down Lanark High Street and it won’t be long before you hear “Cheerie” as the typical “goodbye” between locals.

Few however, are aware that they are speaking the Gaelic goodbye, “Tìoraidh!”, a persistent reminder that Gaelic used to be widespread across Lowland Scotland.

Today (Saturday, January 16) if you are on Lanark High Street, you have an opportunity to hear and learn much more about your Gaelic roots at an all day event in the Tolbooth hosted by The Clydesdale Community Gaelic Initiative, a local voluntary group, established

to promote interest in the Scottish Gaelic language in Clydesdale.

Table thumping and a traditional Gaelic community sing-a-long is the order of the day when a group of women recreate a traditional ‘Waulking Day’.

The Inverclyde Waulking Group or Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh are going to recreate the day when the women of the township undertook the task of finishing newly woven woollen cloth by soaking it and thumping it to shrink and soften it.

Waulking songs are unique, a precious heritage of song giving an insight into all aspects of life in days gone by.

You can also take a “speak Gaelic in 10 minutes” challenge in a mini language lesson; learn about the many Gaelic place names in Clydesdale or even find out what your own name is in Gaelic!

In the 12th century when Gaelic was at its greatest extent it was the dominant language or the only spoken language everywhere in mainland Scotland north and west of a line drawn very approximately from Musselburgh to Gretna.

To the east and south of this line there was a Gaelic speaking landowning class.

It’s the Gaelic language which gives the place names of Scotland their distinctive character.

Gaelic names litter the Lowland landscape.

Their existence all over the Lowlands is a living trace of a time when Gaelic was the everyday language of most people in Scotland.

The Clydesdale Community Gaelic Initiative are supported by Bòrd Na Gàidhlig who work to promote Gaelic, in partnership with the Scottish Government, the people of Scotland and the Gaelic organisations to improve the status of the language.

Now approaching their 3rd year, they have successfully run a number of 10 week courses from beginner to advanced levels. All courses are significantly subsidised and they have also begun some new initiatives in music and other social aspects involving the Gaelic language.

Saturday’s event is designed for all ages and children are especially welcome. Admission is free with tea, coffee & cake available.