A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Celtic Hounds, the New World and Deerhounds?

Way back in the mists of the highlands . . . no, I mean my blogspot . . . we mentioned the artwork of Frank Leslie which featured a Deerhound and Siberian Wolfhound in pursuit of a wolf.

Well, recent research on the hound front, has uncovered the interesting point that when the colonisation of the Americas began - almost as many dogs made the journey to the new world, as humans did.

And, whilst our research on the Deerhound front is ongoing, an interesting discovery indicates that, as the Puritans journeyed to this New World, much of their livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) died on the journey and they, that did survive were prey to the wolf of the areas settled.

The Puritans placed bounty on these predatory wolves heads and on August the 12th 1633 a John Winthrop Jr, received a letter from an Edward Hawes, telling him, “3 woolfe doggs & a bitch with an Irish boy to tend them”, had been shipped to him. He was also informed that “unlike other Irish, this boy was honest”. A reflection of the attitude of the time no doubt.

The success of these woolfe-hounds in the pursuit of their quarry was such, that by 1648 the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized it’s towns to order as many dogs as required to obliterate the woolfe population.

The effectiveness of these great Celtic hounds and their ability to perform their task, meant that by the date of the American Civil war, very few wolves could be found East of the Mississippi river. This hunting activity had proved similar to the hounds erradicating the wolf populus in Ireland and Britain. A hound effective in its purpose indeed.

With so many Scots also travelling to the New World colonies (whether through choice or otherwise), it is highly likely that deerhounds (being prized as they were) also made the journey with them.

As mentioned, many ships of the period travelled with as many dogges on board as they did people. The benefit of dogges being, that they provided, protection, warnings to dangers, could hunt and least appealing of all by todays western standards and my hound standard, could also be used as a food source should the worst come to the worst.

When we uncover more historic information about the ships and their canine cargos that had set sail from the many Scottish ports from the 1600’s (or earlier) onwards, we will be sure to blog it here. Along with all of the deerhound histories we uncover.

Remember, we are keen to hear comment from amyone with deerhound information or simply, deerhound interest.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deerhounds in Scotlands Western Isles

Meet Flodday and companion enjoying the beautiful beaches of Scotlands Western Isles, and if you would like to watch more footage of these bonnie hounds in this earthly paradise vist this link > Flodday

A hundred thousand welcomes from Rogue to all hounds of the Highlands and Islands!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hooch ya boy yae! Did it no’ rain yesterday?

Where are my waterproofs then?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Deerhound the Diligent, Determined Dog

When it comes time to head out to the high woods, it may be that a rather large sack for the catch will be required - so before we go, I’ll just fetch the shopping bag from the woodpile.

And because the sound of the pipes on this little window into my world is so fantastic, I think it should be pointed out that the piece was played by the late Gordon Duncan, one of Scotlands finest ever pipers if I don’t mind saying so myself.

Do your world a favour, and check out more of his recorded material.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Johnnie O Breadislie

Today we offer the most wonderful of Scottish ballads. It tells how Johnnie went out to hunt the royal deer and was chased and wounded by the King’s Foresters. One version of the ballad says it happened in Durrisdeer in Dumfriesshire, another places it in Monymusk in Aberdeenshire. In some versions Johnnie is killed, in others he escapes. But the wonder of the song is Johnnies twa grey dugs - yes a pair o grand hounds, and in the hands of a character that would have been considered below the standing of the Royal laws.

And check out the wonderful illustrations by Kate Leiper who found inspiration in the words of the song to create these works of art, she can be contacted through the Scottish Illustrators website - simply click the link.

From ane Rogue tae anither . . . I say go on . . .

Johnnie O Breadislie

Johnnie rose on a May morning,
Called for water to wash his hands,
Said, ‘Gae lowse tae me ma twa grey dugs
That lie bound in iron bands, bands,
That lie bound in iron bands.’

When Johnnie’s mother, she heard o this,
Her hands wi dule she wrang,
Says, ‘Johnnie, for yer venison
Tae the greenwoods dinna gang, gang,
Tae the greenwoods dinna gang.’

But Johnnie has breasted his guid bent bow
And his arras one by one,
And he’s awa tae the gay greenwood
Tae ding the dun deer doon.

Johnnie shot, the dun deer lap,
She was wounded in her side,
And atween the water and the wood
The deerhounds laid her pride.

Johnnie ate o the venison,
And the dugs drank o the bleed,
And they lay doon and fell asleep,
Asleep as tho they were deid.

Then by there cam a silly auld man
And a silly auld man wis he,
For he’s awa tae Monymusk
The foresters for tae see.

Up then spak the Chief Forester,
And an angry man wis he,
‘If this be Johnnie O Breadislie,
My faith, we’ll gar him dee.’

‘Stand fast, stand fast, my noble steed,
Stand fast and dinna flee.
Lie close, lie close, my guid deerhounds
And we will gar them dee.’

Johnnie shot the six of them
And the seventh he’s wounded sair,
And he swung his heuch ower his horse’s back,
And he swore that he’d hunt mair.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Highlanders, deerhounds and see you Jimmy!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Deerhound Causes War among the Picts

Manies a time we hear tale of how the theft of a deerhound or hounds caused conflict in ancient times among the peoples, tribes, or clans of what we now know as Scotland. But amongst deerhound owners today, can any tell the tale, or have any heard or read any of the actual tales about the magnificent hounds and events that started these tales of legend.

Well the Rogue here, along with his human companions, their family, clan and friends have undertaken a quest to locate and to share with deerhound fans (and others that may be interested) their finds.

With these tales come some historical fact and I’ll let the sceptical and doubters research for fault among the tales I upload, but it should not be forgoten that these northern lands are steeped in tradition of great story telling.

Before we begin the story I would like to thank Stuart McHardy for pointing me in the direction of this grand Pictish piece and anyone interested in enjoying the stories as they are meant to be enjoyed visit the scottish storytelling centre site and become actively involved.

Or alternatively dig into some of the fine publications published by Luath Press which I shall feature on this blogspot as time blogs by.

Read on and enjoy . . .

War of the Hunting Hound

Back in the time of the Picts, some of their kings were chosen from amongst neighbouring tribes. it is said this happened because the right to the Kingship came from marrying the queen of the Picts and it meant that sometimes whilst the Picts were at war with their neighbours, at other times they were at peace with them. It was in one of these periods of peace that a king of one of the neighbouring tribes, called Crathinluth, invited a band of young Pictish warriors to come and stay at his home of Dunadd in the Kilmartin Valley.

This neighbouring tribe like the Picts were a tribal warrior society and the chiefs tended to have a group of young warriors with them at all times. It was the accepted thing for young men to spend a period in their late teens as full-time warriors before settling down to married life in their community, and this had the added benefit of keeping troublesome adolescents busy. Young men have always had a tendancy towards what you can call ‘unfocused behaviour’, like mischief and just plain trouble. However, it was a great compliment to this particular band of young Picts to be asked to go and become a part of Crathinluth’s household, and of course the wisest peoples amongst both peoples thought it was a good idea that would help keep the current peace between them. But young men are prone to rash acts that, whilst they might start of as mischief, can quickly develop into something much more serious.

This band of Picts had been out with Crathinluth, hunting deer in the forests to the North of the valley, and a couple of them noticed how fond he was of one particular large dark rusty red hunting hound. One night after drinking deep of their favourite drink, the heather yill, which they had the unfortunate foresight to bring plenty of, they decided to play a trick on their host by taking his favourite hound and hiding it. they were successful in taking the dog and leading it to the edge of the wood where they themselves were camping out. however, Crathinluth’s hounds were under the charge of a very experienced old warrior who soon figured what had happened.

He managed to track the dog to where it was hidden and was just about to take it back when the handful of young picts came upon him. Words were exchanged, tempers rose, swords were drawn and things quickly went from bad to worse. Fired up with drink, and upset that the trick had been found out, one of the Picts made as if to attack the old warrior. At this the dog, which had stood quiet until now went for him. unthinkingly he stabbed the dog through the chest piercing his heart. the dogs guardian lunged forward and was struck down by the Pict companions! their mischief had indeed gone bad. The kings favourite hound and its keeper lay dead on the ground.

Realising the utter stupidity of their actions, the youths ran back to tell their comrades what had happened. there was little option. If they went to Crathinluth and admited what they had done, those that had spilt the old warrior’s blood were likely to lose their lives. there were only one or two older and more experienced amongst them and they agreed the only way out of this mess was to head back to the East as quickly as possible and try to come to an arrangement later. they hoped they would be able to make some sort of money settlement for the old man’s life. So, under cover of darkness the entire contingent of Picts slipped off through the forest and headed over Drumalbain. They left no one to tell their side of the story - a sad and costly mistake.

The following morning Crathinluth was told that the Picts had killed his trusted Master of Hounds and his favourite hound and then slipped of under the cover of darkness. this was a dreadful insult and at once he sent of a hand-picked band of experienced warriors to hunt them down. when they returned three days later, they reported that the Picts had managed to elude them after a short skirmish and returned home. However, in the fighting, warriors from both sides had been killed. At once Crathinluth sent word to the Pictish courts that the perpetrators were to be handed over, or else. As soon as the messenger was sent, Crathinluth started raising an army. Fine well he knew that if he wanted justice, he might well have to fight for it.

Back in Pictalnd, having told their sorry tale, the young band stressed that the pursuing tribe had killed two of their number. When the peremtory demand to hand the culprits over came, there were a few voices that urged calm and an attempt to negotiate. however, many of the Pictish warriors saw Crathinluth’s demands as an insult in itself and were all for defending there own. So the Pictish chiefs had little choice but to call together their own warriors and the scene was set for a battle. neither side was prepared to give way and the plans for peace from wiser heads on both sides were ignored. conflict was now inevitable and over the next couple of weeks small battles started to erupt through the border country between the two peoples. in these small battles more warriors lost their lives, stoking further resentment. things just got worse from there. the battles that were fought gradually involved greater numbers, and the numbers of the slain on each side continued to rise. both peoples were composed of warrior tribes and neither would even think of giving way - their honour demanded victory. the peace that had gone before was forgotten and the slaughter and anmity grew. it seemed as if the war would continue till one side was totally triumphant or all the warriors on both sides were dead.

The wiser, older men and woman who realised the stupidity of the war were at their wit’s end. they knew they could only bring the fighting warriors to their senses by finding someone both sides could respect, that they both might listen to. But with the whole country in arms and all the tribes on one side or another, who could they call on? one of the elder Picts, an adviser to the queen, suggested a wrrior that had the respect of both sides. Both sides had fought against this man and had respect for him. at last a possible candidate for referree was found. So word was sent South to the great fort on the Mighty wall the Roman legions had built from the sea to sea across the country. There a message was given to Carausius, the famous Roman who had come over from Armorica on the continent to defend the wall. Here was someone who had the respect of all the warring tribes, even if they would all be glad to see the back of him and all his foreign troops.

Carausius was astounded. these barbarians, as the Romans saw them, were attacking each other and making his life easier. whilst they were distracted they would not be harrying his troops. however, although he had been a soldier for many years, and taken part in many brutal campaigns for the Roman Senate, in his heart he was a fair and honest man. he told the Pictish messengers he would think about what the proposed and would let them know within a few days. Though it caused him several sleepless nights this veteran roman at last decided that he would try to do what he was asked, and sent word to the leaders of both peoples.

Astounded at this intervention both Crathinluth and his opposite number, Drest, agreed to meet with the Roman leader on neutral ground far to the south, near to the wall itself. And here under the careful diplomacy of Carausius the two peoples were persuaded of the folly of carrying on the fighting. it was only at this fateful meeting that Crathinluth heard what had actually happened and on considering the cost of what had surely been little more than stupidity on behalf of the young pictish band he agreed that the talk of peace was desirable. And so it was that the war of the hunting hound, with the help of a Roman general came to an end. And so it was that all sides set aside their differences and entered into a brief period of peace.

Bathgate Hills

I feel like the most travelled Deerhound of ancient history in all of Scotland. Today I was a-top Cairnpapple Hill and to find out details of this Historic loacation click here.

I met three young lads climbing on one of the viewpoint cairns and one asked if I was a Deerhound, then he informed me he owned a lurcher which was a deerhound cross - hey! - there are still those who know - how reassuring! top mark for not mistaking me for an Irish wolfhound.

Then a young lady from Turkey, whom I met at the actual Cairnpapple monument, asked if I was an Afghan Hound, then upon finding out I was the ancient hound of the Celts and Picts was keen to have her picture snapped with me.

I happily obliged.

Just another day in the life of the busy Rogue.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Deerhounds and the Normans

Whilst watching the BBC tv documentary - ‘A History of Britain: Conquest’ by ‘Simon Schama’ on tv this evening - it was nice to see footage of Deerhounds at the hunt of deer, set at a time following the event of King Edwards death. Harold who became king was apparently out hunting at the time he received the news. And if we look at the bayeaux tapestry the event of the hunt is depicted on one of the panels.

Although historically it is more likely to have been the greyhound, as the Normans themselves had specific huntsmen who used greyhounds in pursuit of game (I have more historic detail to post on this issue in a future blog) and with the bayeaux tapestry being the victors depiction of the historical event leading to the battle of Hastings of 1066 and its following events it may portray an altered bias to fact.

Anyway as the rogue says - for enjoyment, try and catch a viewing of the TV documentry with the hounds in action and check out the tapestry panel above and draw your own conclusion as to whether the hounds depicted were our ancient ancestors.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Deerhound and what it means to be Scottish

Today my trip to the vet found that I did not have toothache but instead, soft tissue damage around the left side of my face from an injury sustained during one of my many lively escapades. Not clearly visible - but administer an anti inflamitory and ‘bobs your uncle’, the bank account is empty again.

It’s near impossible for we hounds to save for a rainy day when we’re paying the veterinary bills.

So I am staying at home reading the very interesting ‘A Dance Called America. The Scottish Highlands the United States and Canada’ book by ‘James Hunter’. I have discovered an interesting passage formerly written by Canadian author, Hugh MacLennan describing his father. This little excerpt not only sums up the Scottish Highland character, but is also a fine representation of the Scottish Deerhounds nature and temprament.

When he describes how his father was simply Scotch, he could easily have been referring to we deerhounds . . .

’All the perplexity and doggedness of the race was in him, its loneliness, tenderness and affection, its deceptive vitality, its quick flashes of violence, its dog-whistle sensitivity to sounds to which Anglo-Saxons are stone deaf, its incapacity to tell its heart to foreigners save in terms foreigners do not comprehend, its resigned indifference to whether they comprehend or not.’

Its any and every deerhound.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Tomorrow I visit the Dentist.