Highland Clearances My Story


Highland Clearances

Preschool history series. Grandad James takes Iona on a journey of discovery to find out what life was like for a child from the Highlands of Scotland over 200 years ago.


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Transcript


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This story belongs to Iona

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and her Grandad James.

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It's a tiny tale about how children just like you

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lived in the olden days over 200 years ago.

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And now, it's time for Iona and Grandad James

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to go on a journey of discovery.

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Together, they're going to find out

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what life was like all those years ago.

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Iona, could you please hold that while I get the tape?

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Who's the present for?

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We're going to send this present to my friend Ben in Australia.

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Why do people live in other countries?

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People live in other countries for many reasons.

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Some because of their work

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and others because they want to live in a warmer country.

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Others because they think it's an adventure

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and others because they think it might be better there.

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Did you ever want to live in another country?

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No. I love it here because I'm close to you and the rest of my family.

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I know a story about a little boy called Lachlan

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who had to move home.

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He and his family moved abroad a long, long time ago.

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Long before my grandad was born.

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Why did they move?

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Rather than tell you, I could show you.

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-Would you like that?

-Yes, please.

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But first, I think we should dress up like Lachlan

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-and his family would have done.

-Oh, yes!

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Hurry up, Grandad!

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-I beat you.

-You did indeed.

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-What do you think of my clothes?

-They're really nice.

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-And what do you think of your clothes?

-They're not my style.

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Did everyone dress like this?

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No, these are the clothes worn by the people

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who lived in the Highlands of Scotland over 200 years ago.

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They were called Highlanders.

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I'm a Highlander. I was born in Inverness.

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And Lachlan, he too was a Highlander.

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What do you think of your shoes?

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I don't really like them. I prefer my trainers.

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Back in the olden days, Highlanders like Lachlan ran about in bare feet

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during the week and they only wore shoes on a Sunday.

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-They must have had dirty feet.

-They did indeed.

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And they didn't even have showers then.

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Pooey!

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Now that Iona

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and Grandad James look like people from the Highlands in Georgian

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times, they're ready for their big adventure, but where will they go?

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Grandad James has brought Iona to the Highland Folk Museum to see

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how Lachlan and his family would have lived a long time ago.

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Iona, this is what houses in the Highlands looked like 200 years ago.

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I've never seen anything like this before.

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The houses have no windows and only one door.

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Let's see what life would have been like for Lachlan.

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This is what it was like in the olden days.

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Back then, they didn't have electricity.

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-It's a bit smoky too.

-It is indeed.

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The fire was used to keep them warm and also for cooking.

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-Would you like me to show you where Lachlan used to sleep?

-Yes, please.

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You come this way and I'll show you.

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This is the bed that Lachlan slept on. The mattress was made of straw.

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What do you think is underneath the mattress?

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Earth.

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Highlanders slept on earth beds. They were called turf beds.

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-Would you like to lie down and see if it's comfortable?

-Yes, please.

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What do you think? Is it comfortable?

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It's quite hard.

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I hope Lachlan slept well on the bed.

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I would like to think he did.

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But remember, the animals also slept in the house with them.

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It must have been smelly. Where is the toilet and sink?

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There's no toilets or sink in the house. They had to go outside.

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Or they used the same drain in the floor as the animals.

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Gross!

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This is Callum. He works here at the museum.

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He's been busy preparing some Highland food.

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HE SPEAKS GAELIC

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What did he say?

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Callum spoke in Gaelic.

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People like Lachlan, who lived in the Highlands many years ago,

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spoke a language called Gaelic. Callum welcomed us to the village.

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I'll speak in English, so you understand.

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-Would you like some oat cakes and crowdie?

-What is crowdie?

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-Do you like soft cheese?

-Yes.

-Crowdie is a type of soft cheese.

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The Highlanders would milk their cows and make cheese from the milk

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and the oat cakes they'd get from crops in the fields.

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-Would you like to try it?

-Yes, please.

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There were no shops for miles and miles in the Highlands,

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so people had to make their own food.

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Do you fancy eating crowdie and oat cakes every day?

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It's nice.

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This is Jane.

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She's a basket weaver and Jane is showing Iona

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and Grandad James how Highlanders made baskets long ago.

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Iona, I'm making a basket out of a pile of twigs here.

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These twigs all come from a willow tree,

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just like the one behind your Grandad James over there.

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They're nice and bendy and what I'm doing is weaving these

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sticks in front of the uprights and behind the uprights of the basket.

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So this one here goes in front of two and behind one.

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Would you like to have a go?

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Yes, please.

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That's it. It goes behind that one there. Yeah, and behind that one.

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And then push it right down.

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Baskets were really important in the olden days.

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They were used for all sorts of things,

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for carrying oats from the field, for bringing the logs for the fire.

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-Do you like weaving the basket?

-Yeah.

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Would Lachlan have made baskets like these, Grandad?

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Yes, I'm sure he would have, just like you've done.

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Well done, Iona. You're just as good as me.

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Grandad James and Iona are collecting pine cones in baskets.

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Lachlan and other children would have done chores like this

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to help around the house.

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Pine cones were put on fires to keep people warm.

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Grandad, can you please tell me more about Lachlan?

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Well, Lachlan's land and house belonged to someone else,

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called the landowner. He told people on his land to move out.

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-In fact, many landowners told the Highlanders to move out.

-Why?

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The landowners put sheep on the land

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to make more money from selling wool.

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This time in history is known as the Highland Clearances

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because families like Lachlan's were cleared out of the Highlands.

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-Everyone left?

-Yes, everyone had to leave.

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Many Highland families went to big cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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Others decided they wanted a new life in a new country, so they sailed

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to faraway places like Canada, the United States of America,

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and Australia.

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Families had to pack up all their belongings

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when they left their homes.

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They took oat cakes and crowdie with them

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for the long walk to the city or the harbour to take them abroad.

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What would happen to their animals?

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They had to sell their animals and furniture to pay for the boat trip.

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They didn't have cars or planes back in those days, did they?

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No, they didn't, so we need to pick up these baskets and start walking.

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It took the Highlanders many days to walk to the big cities.

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And it took them weeks and weeks to sail to Canada and Australia.

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Grandad James has brought Iona to a place called Tranquillity Town.

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The people here have built it to look like an old town in Canada.

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When they arrived in Canada and Australia,

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everything seemed very strange.

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Remember, the Highlanders spoke Gaelic,

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so they had to learn to speak English.

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Lachlan learned to speak English in his new country.

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Do you see anything different here?

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People are wearing different clothes and live in different houses.

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Lachlan and the Highlanders had to learn new things.

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-Do you like it here?

-Yes, I love it!

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Living in a new country seemed strange at first,

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but soon Lachlan and his friends got used to it.

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The Highlanders that moved to Canada and Australia were called settlers

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and they soon settled in to the new country.

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They did lots of different jobs and some even tried looking for gold.

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-Would you like to try?

-Yes, please.

-Good.

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That's what we're going to be looking for.

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That's gold flakes.

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And this is the pan that we're going to use.

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-And what does this look like?

-A cooking pan.

-A cooking pan.

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I'll scoop some from here and you scoop some from there.

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And then what you do, you shake it slowly

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from side to side until all the water's gone.

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Just make sure all the water's gone

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because you'll not see the gold otherwise.

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All the grit goes to the far end and if you've got gold, it'll be here.

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Do you see any gold?

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-Yes, I've found some!

-Very good!

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-We've had a great adventure, haven't we?

-Yes, we have.

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Thank you for telling me all about Lachlan and the Highland Clearances.

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Can you remember all the things we've done?

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We got dressed up like Highlanders from a long time ago.

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You looked really amazing, Grandad.

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We went to the Folk Museum and saw old Highland houses.

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I discovered Lachlan slept on a turf bed.

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Didn't feel very comfy.

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I tried crowdie and oat cakes and I liked them.

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Jane taught us how to make a basket. It was great fun.

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We collected pine cones, just like Lachlan would have done.

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Then we packed things up, left the house and went for a long walk.

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We visited a Canadian-looking old town.

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We looked out of place there in our Highlander clothes.

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We went looking for gold. And I found some.

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My! We have been busy! What did you enjoy best?

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I liked making the basket. What was your favourite thing?

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I enjoyed watching you make the basket, but most of all,

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I enjoyed spending time with you.

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Thank you for my great adventure, Grandad.

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-My pleasure. Now it's time for a big...

-Hug.

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What a fabulous heap of fun!

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That was Iona and Grandad James' tiny tale

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about the Highland Clearances

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and what life was like for a child over 200 years ago.

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Now Grandad James has shared this story with Iona,

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it's time for Iona to start her own story.

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Do you know someone with a story to share?

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Grandad James takes Iona on a journey of discovery to find out what life was like for a child from the Highlands of Scotland over 200 years ago. Iona and grandad James dress up in clothes from the time known as the Highland Clearances. They learn about a boy called Lachlan and why he, and many other families, had to leave their homes and move to a new country. Together, they discover what life was like for Lachlan in Scotland - where he would have lived, the language he spoke, the food he would have eaten and the jobs he would do to help his family. Iona and grandad James then visit an American township to see how different Lachlan's new life in America would have been.


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