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Photo collage, credit : Blue Noun

English Learners go back in time.

Hello English learners and friends of Blue Noun Language Hub in Crieff, Scotland.

 

This week, Crieff slipped back in time to tell its history as a key market destination for 18th-century cattle drovers and our language school was there to tell you all about it. 

As usual, this blog is written for English learners – both as an English lesson and to introduce you to the people you will meet on our English language holidays. We want to give you a taste of the places we visit, the activities we offer – and the food and drink we celebrate!

It is how you can get to know us at our English language hub (a conversation and encounters-based English language school)

Read on for a free English practice exercise at the end.

English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History fire and folklore flyer

Flyer, Fire, Folklore, Heroes and Villians performance in Crieff town centre.

The Whole of Crieff is a Stage

The Fire, Folklore, Heroes and Villains event took place over 4 days,  across several different sites within the town centre, literally projecting scenes from the past onto modern facades.

And we took our English learners for a trip into the past.

The audience is led around by a conspiratorial Highlander – a paid guardsman (distinguishable by his combination of red coat, kilt and red cockade) who begins with a quick crash course on his own allegiances (it depends who is asking, and who is paying his wages) to witness costumed performers portraying the tensions of the times in front of impressive, large-scale projections on surrounding buildings.
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre.  Photo credit: Blue Noun

English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre.  Photo credit: Blue Noun

“Arguments about prices, treachery and double-crossing were rife as poor and volatile men managed cattle herds worth hundreds of pounds.”

Rob Roy McGregor

Throughout the tour, Rob Roy McGregor makes sudden, confrontational appearances, before melting off at the appearance of the King’s soldiers.
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre.  Photo credit: Blue Noun

They were tough times for Crieff. Hardy Highland drovers arrived en masse into the small town, each with hundreds of cattle, converging in the hills and descending into Crieff to sell their animals for the best price at ‘Trysts’ (market meeting places).

Arguments about prices, treachery and double-crossing were rife as poor and volatile men managed cattle herds worth hundreds of pounds.

English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre. Audiovisual backdrop.  Credit: Blue Noun

A Sinister Warning

Did they pay heed to the bodies swinging on Gallow’s Hill, hung out as a warning to behave themselves (it is said that they would doff their Highland bonnets in respect) – or did they steal a memento of their visit, pillaging and taking anything they could lay their hands on?
 
Crieff’s own villagers and visitors were partial to a souvenir too. We learn that they purchased bits of the gallows scaffold the King Street blacksmith sold from his smiddy.

Rebel Songs

Rob Roy was a drover and a frequent visitor to Crieff. His son was pursued through the streets and killed there. When we meet him in the street he is angry and fearful.
 
He wasn’t always. In October 1714, Rob Roy and his men marched to Crieff Town Square and rang the town bell. In front of the gathering crowd they brazenly sang Jacobite songs and toasted their uncrowned King James VIII.
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre.  Photo credit: Blue Noun

Torch this place

In the Town Square, an audiovisual projection tells that one year later, Jacobite Highlanders returning from the indecisive Battle of Sheriffmuir, first sought food and shelter in Crieff, then at a pre-arranged time, a Captain named Cammeron, cried out the order, ‘torch this place’, and the town was burned to the ground.
The town’s people fled, but many were to perish from cold that night.
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Heroes and Villains performance in Crieff town centre. Audiovisual backdrop.  Credit: Blue Noun

“The actors were especially fantastic and knowledgeable and the tour is a wonderful way to experience the history of a familiar town.”

English Learners Under Attack

The Fire, Folklore, Heroes and Villains event is an expert street theatre historical production.

The actors were especially fantastic and knowledgeable and the tour is a wonderful way to experience the history of a familiar town.

 
Well done everyone involved – and thank you Crieff Co-Op staff for being stewards throughout a few chilly evenings. What a fantastic wee town we live in.
 
Also, Kenny got a shot of a sword and seemed to like it.
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History
English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History

Blue Noun English Language School’s Kenny correcting English learners (only kidding).

English Learners | Learn English with Scottish History
Our Guide in Crieff’s Town Square. Photo credit: Blue Noun

A Special Thank You

Our actor guide was amazing and answered all our English learners’ questions with deep knowledge.

swift in flight Logie Kirk by Blue Noun English language school
swift in flight Logie Kirk by Blue Noun English language school

At Blue Noun we love chatting about all things art and celebrate having excellent, talented people all around us to do it with. We facilitate real cultural and creative exchanges happening, whether it’s in our language learning space – the Blue Noun Hub – or out and about visiting studios and workshops.

We also love showing off the beauty of Perthshire and the food and craft produce that is making it world-famous. Our whisky tastings are legendary!

Our business is also intended to be of benefit to the artist/maker economy of Perthshire. We bring our international creative guests into studios for a genuine exchange of cultures and art-making. Yes it’s an English lesson, but it is so much more!  (Plus we pay all our artists and guest speakers for their time)

Come and join us for an English language learning holiday and grab a taste of Perthshire! 

Find  out about local events using the Crieff Visitor Centre website here

 

 

Tips for English learners in Scotland further reading red text

We hope you’ve enjoyed us sharing our English language school’s dip into the history of Crieff with you.

We cover a broad range of topics in our blogs – some a lighthearted look at Scotland, others an in-depth look at art and culture.

Love art? Love history? You might also enjoy:

Learn English in Perthshire | Ways of Seeing | Snow & Menhir

 

Your English Language Challenge

I’m a keen history buff

I’m not knowledgeable about history, but I feel it keenly. It is a massive influence in how I live my life and how I make art – and I imagine creatives across many disciplines have a good knowledge of what went before. This week’s homework practice exercise is  to answer the question:

 

“How do you reference history in your creative work?”

 

As usual, if you want us to correct any sentences, just write CP (correct please at the end of your comment).

 

“How do you reference history in your creative work?”