Young MacLeods at World Gatherings

Young MacLeods in 2018, in the North Room Group at Dunvegan Castle, with Parliament Coordinator Rory and his daughter, Esme

Young MacLeods are aged 18-30 years old. During the Clan Parliament every four years, Young MacLeods gather for friendship and clanship.

A key part of Parliament are the activities of the Young MacLeods, where young people make lifelong friendships and volunteer to support the Parliament programme.

During the week before Parliament, Young MacLeods take part in the North Room Group (NRG), a week of volunteering to perform a service project on behalf of the Clan. Find out more about the history of the NRG below.

During Parliament week, Young MacLeods help the Parliament Coordinator in a variety of tasks that keep things running smoothly, as well as participate in Clan activities. During this time many life-long friendships are made. Clan families frequently host Young MacLeods when they are travelling.

The North Room Group

The very first North Room Group was held alongside Parliament in 1965. The NRG was called so because the young people met in the North Room of the Castle in the morning to plan their day’s activities. Often there were excursions about in Dunvegan, but the NRG also reviewed and commented on the business activities of the Clan. In recent years the name has taken on a double meaning, recognizing the eNeRGy that NRGers put into their work (and play).

More information about the NRG can be found in “Tell Your Children about the Stones: a short history of the Clan MacLeod Society”, by Nancy MacLeod Nicol.

Young MacLeods at previous Parliaments

2018
In 2018 the North Room Group (NRG) volunteer project was at Dunvegan Castle, working on re-paving the old pier. Ironically, the task involved digging up the old concrete surface laid by an NRG volunteer week some decades ago! Some of the 2018 group also got to do a shadow shift with staff inside the Castle. It was great for the team to work at the Castle and with the Castle staff.

Accommodation for both the volunteer week and Parliament was on the Castle estate at the Cottage.

The Young MacLeods would like to pass on their profuse thanks to the Chief and his team for their support.

Activities enjoyed outside of the Castle and Parliament included visiting the Fairy Pools (with a splash!) and climbing the MacLeod’s Tables.

2014
In 2014 the NRG volunteer week was a select gathering of three! The service project was with the curator at the Castle, working with items donated to the Chief over the decades. Young MacLeods said how honoured they were at the task, how interesting it had been, and that they had felt genuinely useful.

Young MacLeods were on the guncourt when Princess Anne visited during Parliament, and were introduced to her.

2010
Parliament 2010 was held in Dunvegan, beginning on Saturday 24 July and ending on Saturday 31 July. There was an additional pre-Parliament trip planned so that MacLeod clansfolk could visit Assynt, an area of stunning natural beauty and formidable MacLeod history.

The North Room Group volunteer project was held in Assynt as well, from Saturday 17 July to Saturday 24 July. A number of community groups worked together to select the NRG volunteer project. Moving rocks was one memorable task!

During the week in Assynt, the Young MacLeods stayed in the Achmelvich Hostel, in a magical location with “some of the most enticing beach scenery in northern Scotland (and there’s plenty of competition)”.

At the end of the service week, the Young MacLeods were transported down to Dunvegan. During Parliament week in Dunvegan, Young MacLeods stayed with their family and friends.

2006
In 2006, the Young MacLeods met from 22 July to 5 August. Young MacLeods made their own way to the Hebrides, but local accommodation and transportation was provided by the ACMS. Cooking and chores were communal tasks and all NRGers were expected to pull their weight.

The 2006 NRG volunteer project was performed on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The project was directed by the North Harris Trust. Accommodation was at the Scaladale Outdoor Centre near Ardvourlie, Harris. Young MacLeods arrived on Harris on Saturday 22 July. One major task for the group was building a path in the nearby countryside. It was often back-breaking work, but satisfying to see a job well done.

There was lots of time to travel in the local area, and to socialise.

At the end of the service week on Harris, Young MacLeods were transported down to Dunvegan on Skye for Parliament week. During Parliament week in Dunvegan, Young MacLeods took part in Clan activities and assisted with running Parliament. Accommodation was at the hostel/bunk rooms at the Dunvegan Hotel, with additional housing available in the Dunvegan area.

A highlight of the week was the Young MacLeods’ party piece at the ceilidh, retelling the story of the Fairy Flag.

2002
In 2002, the Young MacLeods met again alongside the 14th Clan MacLeod Parliament.

The Clan MacLeod Estate made accommodations available for a group of 16, in the Keeper’s Cottage overlooking Loch Dunvegan. It was pretty crowded! But a whole lot of fun.

The service project was on the Castle Estate, building paths under the expert tutalage of “Red” Rory, former Young MacLeod and Youth Membership Coordinator. As well as building paths for visitors, the Young MacLeods cleared the path from the Castle grounds to the Keeper’s Cottage. There were a lot of rocks involved, and the moving of them.

North Room Group
Young MacLeods on the North Room Group volunteer week in Assynt in 2010