There is disappointment among clansmen at home and overseas about the decision, announced this weekend, to cancel the proposed international clan gathering in Stirling in July 2014. The announcement was made by Sir Malcolm Macgregor of Macgregor, chairman of the Standing Council of Chiefs, to visitors to the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday.
The Macgregor's announcement was greeted with dismay by American Scots, many of whom have already made plans to travel to Scotland for the event and now feel they have been let down. The Chief Executive of Stirling Council says she has concerns about the event's ability to pay its way and, in a time of economic uncertainty, feels the council cannot underwrite the cost.
The council's concerns are allegedly born of the financial loss made by the last international gathering in 2009 in Edinburgh. However, that event, which attracted nearly 50000 visitors, was otherwise widely hailed a success, providing a fitting climax to the year of the homecoming and generating more than £10m for the Scottish economy. It is acknowledged that many lessons have been learned from that experience and that the risk of a losing money for a second time is minimal.
Stirling was awarded the satus of host city for the Homecoming 2014 by the Scottish government after a bitterly fought battle with the city of Edinburgh, on the basis that its focus will be the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. At the time of this decision, there were many in the Scottish heritage community who privately expressed concern over whether Stirling possessed the infrastructure to host events on this scale. We hope that Saturday's announcement is not the first sign of Stirling scaling back on this committment.