Past Events

Welcome to the "Past events blog"


Here you can find descriptions and photos from

our past events.  

By trollheimen, Mar 22 2021 05:41PM

Aethelflead and the Vikings

Three years ago, reknown historian and author Tim Clarkson entertained us by talking about his research in the Vikings and Strathclyde. This year he delves into a little known lady that continued the battle against the Vikings with major successes.

Aethleflead, was the daughter of Alfred the Great, and was largely ignored by the clerks of the time.

Check out this link to see the handout from his talk.

By trollheimen, May 11 2020 10:07PM

We were all delighted that such a talented all-round entertainer gave us his time for this annual lecture. Feedback from everyone confirmed that this year’s lecture was quite outstanding. Margaret McKay gave a very informative introduction with a number of great anecdotes that illustrated Oddveig’s many attributes. In hindsight, this lecture ticked all her wishes for her legacy.

Espen then presented a hugely entertaining performance - yes ‘performance’ that had everything: an interesting topic on “Gulating” - the origins of Norwegian democracy; lots of music from his French Horn accompanied by his very common “garden hose”: all delivered in such a jovial spirit that I’m sure the security guard on level 1, could have heard the laughter, particularly when describing his meeting with Kong Olav. Even when delivering his Amazing Grace recital, he began with a story on how the words of Amazing Grace were written.

His main topic of “Gulating” - the origins of Norwegian Democracy - as he said, the Vikings simply just gave up the “boring job” of slaughtering people, and decided that talking around a fire with a beer was far more productive! Interestingly, “Stortinget” - the Norwegian Parliament - has the same meaning “ting” from “Gulating” in its name! And later, I did note that Espen had a great interest in making “ting” an open research topic in order to find out more on what was contributed from where in the Viking world - Norway, Scotland and the northern islands, Ireland and The Isle of Man.

Espen also planned some musical interludes that were all well received. In particular, the real treat of his guest, Linn Elise Solberg Rognes to sing - she was in his choir in Bergen. Her voice was simply beautiful which everyone - without exception - fully appreciated! Hopefully, we will see her again at our meetings during her stay in Glasgow. We ended this entertaining evening with a rousing rendition of ‘ Ja, vi elsker dette landet’ by the audience, accompanied by Espen’s French Horn. If you want to see more pictures and actually listen to him and Line Elise, use this link...

Thanks also goes to our Vice President Tommy Thompson for his excellent vote of thanks. Of course, the catering was excellent (as usual) with some sublime cinnamon biscuits - thank you Katherine! And of course, we can’t forget about the other council members who did their usual good jobs.

Garry I.

By trollheimen, May 11 2020 10:00PM

Campbell Russell made a welcome return visit to give another talk and presentation about his further visits to the far north. The excellent numbers of members and friends appreciated his talk. While there is not enough space for a full description of his adventures, I will give you a taste of these by picking out some of my highlights from the evening - not necessarily in any chronological order.

He travelled around the Norwegian coast using the very popular Hurtigruten passenger and freight shipping service in 1972 and 1995 (an NTS summer cruise from Leith). The certificate he received when he crossed the Arctic Circle on 26th June 1972 was on display. On this 1972 trip, he visited Ny Ålesund, on Spitsbergen Island. Spitsbergen was the name originally given to all the islands in the archipelago but this was changed to Svalbard in 1925. At that time in 1972, Ny Ålesund was very much a mining settlement, but in 1995 it was more a centre for scientific research (with 16 research stations) including having a base for the European Space Organisation. A number of other changes were noticeable, including armed guards and a new pier - for the Black Prince. By then the new Svalbard Museum was also open.

In 1972 he also visited Longyearbyen, the largest settlement and administrative centre of Svalbard, where the most northerly bank, a branch of Tromsø Sparebanken was located! The temperatures are so severe that waste water pipes are above ground with “frost” protection! One of his highlights on his visit to Bjørnøya (Bear Island) in 1972 was when a lifeboat pulling a floating pier ‘putt putted’ it’s way to his ship, and supplies of Haig Dimple and Tennents lager (and other more healthy commodities) were offloaded and the lifeboat ’putt putted’ its way back to shore!

In 1995, on his return to Longyearbyen the Main Street had been modernised, and also by then the settlement was proud to have the most northerly shop and post office! In 2016 he travelled from Oslo to Bodø by rail. He noticed a new sign for polar bears had also been erected - to assure the public that Svalbard was free of polar bears!

During his talk, a large number of slides were shown which demonstrated the very harsh but beautiful scenery there, the incredible sunlight (a warm glow, and warm winds at 1 am) in the Lofoten Islands, the many changes to the infrastructure of the area between 1972 and 2016, and of course the northern lights.

In conclusion - everyone thoroughly enjoyed Campbell’s excellent talk. Anny gave the vote of thanks and had the pleasure of presenting him with a wee bottle of malt (not from the ‘putt putt’ :) Thanks also to Margaret and Tommy for the catering and refreshments, and of course, to the other Council members who helped.

Ken K

Pictures can be seen here...

By trollheimen, Feb 21 2020 12:21PM

The Rev. Torbjørn Holt at the Julegudstjeneste in Glasgow 9 December 2019.

He was treatd to lunch by members of his congregation to thank him for his work over many years.

Torbjørn, originally from Bergen, has been conducting Norwegian church services several times a year in Glasgow and Edinburgh since he arrived in Edinburgh in 1997 as chaplain to Norwegian students abroad. In 2005 he became Rector and Senior Chaplain Sjømannskirken in London. Torbjørn continued his visits to Scotland from London and his services with communion have been very special.

He has always had a good and interesting story to tell in his sermons and with a meaningful and thought-provoking message. He also played the piano to accompany the hymns. In conversation over coffee after the services he became our very good friend. We thank him for his support to us for 23 years and for bringing a little bit of Norway to Scotland with the “gudstjeneste”. This has meant a great deal and has been very much appreciated by the Norwegians living here.

By garrydirvine, Dec 2 2019 09:57PM

Norway/Sweden during WWII - Fact, Fiction of Friction by John Gilmour 13th November

John is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and is an acknowledged expert in Scandinavian Studies. He was introduced to a good turnout of members by President Ken Kristoffersen and his subject was titled Fact/Fiction/Friction which dealt with the relationship between Norway and Sweden during and after the Second World War. Ken established John’s credentials by giving an impressive list of his published books, research papers and other interests.

John began his talk by leading us all up the garden path with a fictional history of the events around the invasion of Norway by Germany in 1940 which resulted in the Swedish army, navy and air force being totally destroyed in six weeks, concentration camps being sited in Northern Sweden and the combined Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Nazi forces under German control invading Finland in 1943! The eventual outcome of this fictional scenario was that Russian forces would have eventually taken over all of the Scandinavian countries and Russia would remain in control for many years in a similar way as the unfortunate conquered Eastern European countries that were annexed during the war.

Thankfully the actual history as it happened was not as terrible as the above fiction. Norway and Sweden before 1939 had spent many years trying to find a diplomatic treaty of mutual support but due to political positioning no agreement was reached before it was too late.

After the German invasion King Gustav of Sweden offered asylum to the Norwegian Royal Family but anybody wearing uniform would be interned. He also suggested that Princess Marta would not be permitted to travel to America. King Haakon was absolutely furious with what he saw as Swedish/German interference and relations became frosty. The Germans requested that transit through Sweden be allowed for humanitarian reasons such as medical goods, nurses and refugees. This was refused at first but various pressures were brought to bear so that when Norway surrendered on the 11th June 1940, Sweden capitulated to the German demands. The evidence from diaries, letters and communications examined after the war show that many high positioned Swedes such as the Prime Minister were very unhappy with the situation but felt they had been forced into it by the Germans under threat of invasion. The first transit of Swedish Territory was on the 18th June 1940 and continued until the tide of war swung in the Allies favour in 1943.

There after the Swedish government opened relations with the Norwegian Government in Exile.

The final word was from the British Ambassador in Sweden during the war.

After a period of interesting questions from the audience a vote of thanks was given to the speaker by Margaret Thompson to loud applause.

Jim Carchrie.