Men in Kilts: Clans and Tartans Recap

The second to last episode of the first season of Men in Kilts took on the subject of clans and tartans this week, and as such one could expect that there was bound to be a discussion of how various clans within the reaches of Scotland at one time were very prominent and had divvied up the land in a way that would eventually bring about conflict, division, and yet would create clear lines between one clan and the next, until such time as marriage was brought up between one clan member and another from a different clan. At one time, and still to this day in some areas, clan ties were extremely strong and were not to be challenged without good reason, as there was strength in a clan and those that belonged to one often had a great deal of protection from their kin and those that had welcomed them in. A clan wasn’t always comprised of one single family but was instead a tightly-knit community that looked out for each other and would seek to protect one another from other clans. And as the show goes into it, we did get to learn more about the tartans and how each clan had its own specific designs and colors that would help to identify them. 

More interesting than many things in this episode was the process of creating the tartan that would eventually be used to make a kilt. The old women sitting around the table singing as they passed the tartan between their hands and round and round was in fact quite mesmerizing as their cadence, the speed with which they worked, and the overall process was impressive, not to mention that I could sit there listening to that chant for quite some time. There are simply some sounds that hit the ear just right and make it next to impossible to let go since for one reason or another, the sound is pleasing, the emotions that might be pulled from the simple chant as the women go about tightening the weave to make sure that the fabric isn’t too loose. But being able to sit there and listen to the women singing in Gaelic for a while would be worth taking the trip to Scotland and inquiring whether or not one could record them to bring such a sound to those that might want to enjoy the experience. Apart from that though, learning what went into making a kilt was quite interesting and rather impressive since it’s a process that’s been around for some time. 

Getting into the clan side of this episode though was also quite entertaining since Sam eventually becomes the inherent troublemaker, though thankfully he minds his manners for the most part when speaking to clan members that come from opposing groups that have a long history of not liking one another. Whether that’s still true or not isn’t really certain, but it’s often better not to test the waters unless one happens to know just what’s going to happen in instances such as these. When meeting with representatives from Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod the guys met within the ruins of an old church where the MacDonald’s had taken their revenge upon the MacLeod’s for the deaths of many of their clansmen that they’d attempted to smoke out of a cavern, only to asphyxiate them instead. While the two men were friendly enough to each other this wasn’t quite the case when visiting what was supposedly the site of the famed Rob Roy, as the differing viewpoints of whether the location they stood upon was Rob Roy’s final resting place. The representatives of the MacGregor and MacLaren clans were in disagreement over whether this was the final resting spot of the famed individual, but thankfully they too were polite and not confrontational. It does feel that for the sake of each clan that the old feuds might still be remembered and have their place in history, but it might be that in the modern era that they’re not about to ignite once again unless there’s adequate reason for doing so. One might think that current and future generations might not even care about such things, but tradition is still a very important part of Scotland and is still something that many upon many people care about. 

With one episode to go, there’s been a great deal of Scotland that we’ve been made privy to, but it’s still a thought as to whether there will be a season 2 or if this is meant to be a limited series that was fun to watch but might not be meant to continue. We’ll see what happens after the series wraps up, but it’s been a fun ride so far, and if there’s more to see, which there likely is, then it would be great to see the show come back. 

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