Our roots stem from the great Highland societies, including The Northern Meeting, The Argyllshire Gathering, The Oban Ball and The Skye Balls. For hundreds of years these private Scottish societies organised gatherings across the Highlands to bring families and friends of all ages together to mend old feuds, break bread with each other, listen to the pipes and dance Scottish dances called reels.
it all began when
Following the Skye Balls foray to St Petersburg in 2004, Mark Tennant, Convenor of the Northern Meeting, contacted fellow Pinstriped Highlanders piper Andrena (Dena) Woodhams to help bring the Northern Meeting to Vienna in May 2006 for a one-off Highland Ball abroad.
The gathering soon became infectious, bringing together Scots and friends from around the world as it travelled from Venice (March 2009) to Istanbul (February 2012) to India (March 2014), where, in a five day extravaganza in both Jodhpur and Jaipur as guests of HRH the Maharaja of Jodphur and HRH the Maharani of Jaipur, it became Scots in India! Two years later, Scots in Florence! (February 2016) celebrated with a private blessing in The Duomo and reeled the night away in the Hall of the 500 in the Piazza Vecchio as a guest of Florentine Mayor Dario Nardella.
Our latest will be Scots in Oman! in November 2018.
Scots in Italy!
24-27 February 2016
Scots in Italy! began with a practice reel as guests of Sabina Corsini in the Corsini Palace followed by a Private Vespers at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) by Father William Lister and Monsignor Timothy Verdon. Finlay Macdonald of the National Piping Centre of Glasgow led a coalition of 10 Italian pipers and member pipers (including world renowned Pipe Major Ian Duncan) and guests to Palazzo dell Parte Guelfa where the members of the Calcio Storico (Historical Football) welcomed the guests with a state welcome. The next day private tours, some led by the Corsini and Strozzi families, followed dinner at the St Regis and the Pink Ball (above) at the Palazzo Corsini. A piping procession and a flag-waving fanfare ceremony by members of the Calcio Storico welcomed 500 members for dinner and reel—the first in 300 years—at the Hall of the Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio. A two day excursion to Siena ended with two hot air balloons celebrated the leap year on 28 February.
Hotels: St Regis, Excelsior, l'Orologio, Santa Maria Novella, Tuornabuoni Beacchi, Villa Carlotta, Residence I Colli. Team: Dena Woodhams, Adalgisa Conte, Sabina Corsini, Rupert Fraser, Euan Ivory, Chiara Serritella, Valentina Marangoni. Music: The Wayne Robertson Band, Finlay Macdonald, Choir of Santa Maria del Fiore. Scots in Italy! Book: Dena Woodhams and Adalgisa Conte. Video: Carlo Quinterio
Scots in India!
7-11 March 2014
Practice Reels in Bombay, Udaipur and Delhi followed flights to Jodhpur where 200 guests flew in for tours and a fleet of rickshaws taking people for drinks at the Mehrangar Fort where everyone reeled the night away under the stars as guests of HRH Gajsingh Bapji the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Fleets of buses then carried guests to Jaipur where visits to the city and the Amber Fort and tailors created ball gowns for the ball. The following night Udaijit Singh provided elephant and camel polo at Dera Amer. The Pink Ball and dinner were held with a royal fanfare of elephants, camels, dancers and entertainment at the Jaipur City Palace as guests of HRH Maharana Diwa Kumari. Pre-Ball tours to Delhi, the Taj Mahal, Rohet Garh in Jodhpur, Bombay, Udaipur and Rawla Narlai and Post-ball tours to the Taj Mahal, Samode Palace, Tiger Safari, Varanasi, Goa, Kerala and the Himalayas followed.
Hotels: Jodhpur: Umaid Bhawan Palace, Raas, KP Haveli. Jaipur: Rambagh Palace, Samode Haveli, Dera Mandawa, Narain Niwas. Team: Mark Tennant, Dena Woodhams, Lucy Davison, Arvind and Salim Javed, Oscar d'Cunha, Stephen Dantis, Vikas Kumar, Deepayan Nandi, Ripu Daman,Himanshu Singh, Maia Sethna, and the full team of Banyan Tours & Travel. Music: Pictish Players. Photography: Annika and Linda Roser, Sanjay Austa. Scots in India! Book by Annika Roser and Dena Woodhams.
The Northern Meeting, Argyllshire Gathering and Oban Ball in Istanbul
24-27 February 2012
A welcome by Consul Jessica Hand at the British Consulate Friday night followed private tours arranged throughout the city, and on Saturday evening, over 600 guests from seventeen countries joined 150 guests from Istanbul for the Northern Meeting, Argyllshire Gathering and Oban Ball in Istanbul at the Ciragan Palace. For those wanting to experience Istanbul on a more intimate basis, we arranged a selection of private tours led by Turkish and expat experts with a number of lunches hosted by prominent Turkish families in beautiful homes and yalis (the waterside mansions that hug the Bosphorus).
A janissary marching band — the historical predecessor to the military pipe band — led a flotilla of boats along the Straits to Asia to the sumptuous Adile Sultan palace, where Turkish conductor and author Emre Araci — who studied in Edinburgh — performed a classical concert of the Ottoman court, followed by dinner. A three night tour of Gallipoli followed.
Hotels: Ciragan Kempinski Palace, Armada, La Maison, Ottoman, Yesil Ev, Ayasofya, Valide Sultan, Nomade, Sultanahmet. Team: Mark Tennant, Peter Forrester, Dena Woodhams, Aysa Arda, Yunus Senel, Antony Wynn, John Scott. Music: Pictish Players. Photography: Jamie Grant. Video: Bertan Ayduk
Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering in Venice
20-23 March 2009
Many members came by plane, but most arrived by the Orient Express, with a full foursome danced on the Innsbruck Platform. All 440 were picked up by water taxis and delivered to their hotels, where they found handmade masks waiting in their rooms which they put on to celebrate with a piping procession to Caffe Lavena in St Mark's Square. Private tours the following day were followed by a Caravana of 70 Gondole (each 6th gondola carrying a piper) to the Palazzo Dona dalle Rose where Gaia Dona dalle Rose welcomed guests to her home for dinner followed by The Northern Meeting & Argyllshire Gathering. The following day lunches at the Guggenheim, Palazzo Brandolini d'ada, Palazzo Mocenigo, Palazzo Albrizzi and the Teatro Al Fenice arranged by Donana Grimani led to a private concert by Eduardo Catemario and dinner at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
Hotels: Luna Baglioni, Monaco & Grand Canal, Hotel Ala, Violino d'oro and 10 private flats. Team: Mark Tennant, Peter Forrester, Dena Woodhams, Donata Grimani, Gaia Dona dalle Rose, Hebe Jeffrey, Chiara Barizza, Pierre Naquet, Lisa Berg. Music: Pictish Players. Photography: Jamie Grant and Diana Cochran.
The Northern Meeting in Vienna
The weekend began with dinner for 220 as guests of British Ambassador John MacGregor at the Ambassadorial Residence followed by seven private city tours and dinner and The Northern Meeting at Palais Ferstel. The following day a tour of Schoenbrunn and a lunch at a Heurige finished with a private opera, a piping procession along the Ringstrasse and dinner at the SAS Radisson.
Hotels: SAS Radisson, Penion Pertschy, Benediktushaus, Pension Nossek, Gaesthaus Deutcher Orden. Team: Mark Tennant, Dena Woodhams, Hebe Jeffreys, Lisa Berg. Music: Pictish Players. Photography: Jamie Grant