Commentating at Vintage rallies on Scottish Heritage

Vintage Rally Commentating is all part of the story telling of Scottish heritage and culture. I stumbled into commentating at vintage rallies like many other commentators with the words from one of the committee “ were stuck and we know you can speak”. To that came the Doric response of dinna be silly I ken nithing aboot auld things, Im nae a collector. Sixteen years and over 80 rallies later the season starts all over again.

A commentator brings more than descriptions and stories about Scotland’s past to a rally he or she brings a bit of their personality also. The event must try to present the exhibits content, owner and cultural context in as best a way as possible to represent the authentic heritage of Scotland. Most rallies today have developed their offer to cover many aspects of Scottish heritage including vintage steam engines in all categories from ploughing engines to miniature steamers, tractors, stationary engines, classic cars, commercials, models, tools and artefacts of a past Scottish life in various forms. These can be working exhibits like the farmers threshing mill, the Clydesdale horse ploughing, wood cutting and many more collectables. All of these contributors to a rally need to be introduced and showcased to the visitors. They could be people in search of their Scottish routes and their Scottish ancestors or those interested in their own past identity.

I am pleased to see more young people and ladies being part of the rally scene. This is essential since ladies have made a huge contribution to Scotland’s rich past. The popularity of these rallies reflects the desire for people to find out about their own ancestors past way of life and by doing so feel a closer connection to how they lived their past lives in Aberdeenshire and Scotland. Many of the exhibits are over 50 years old and some are over 100 years old the engineering featured within these Scottish artefacts and exhibits is far removed from todays approach to throw out the old and fit a new one. All this adds to what rallies provide for various people in Scottish society. Rallies and the work of the commentator helps to bring the past alive and connects the past with today’s society.

Part of my job as commentator is to try to describe the working environment and conditions these exhibits and our Scottish ancestors who worked them was actually like. All these true storytelling represents a past Scottish time window, and aspects of Scotland’s past built heritage, social heritage and cultural heritage. I involve the exhibitors speaking to me on the “mike”. Between us we can develop peoples knowledge of our past culture and Scottish identity.The rally scene is very much an entertainment scene with thousands of people fascinated by Scotland’s rich past and what helped to make Britain Great Britain.

Scottish education today looks back to our recent past way of life as mainstream inputs for the Curriculum for Excellence. As a Scottish educational and heritage film maker much of my footage captures aspects of what vintage rallies aspire to present to the general public. Both rallies and Scottish education help present and future generations to understand and enjoy finding out about their past and for a while enables them to walk in the footsteps of their own ancestors.

Don Carney
Carney Heritage Productions Ltd

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