As first ‘Scots Toun’ Keith aims to keep the Doric thriving

Gary Coull

A Moray town has become the first to be acknowledged as recognising the importance of traditional Scots dialects.

‘Scots Toun’ status has been conferred on Keith in recognition for the work in the town that promotes Scots language and culture.

The accolade is the result of a long running campaign that gathered pace when Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt wrote to the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Centre in January last year, urging them to create the status in recognition of towns that work in promoting traditional Scots language.

At the time Ms Watt, who was the first MSP to take her Parliamentary oath in Doric, said: “Coming from Keith myself I know how deserving of this award the town and its people are. The status of Scots Toun would be a wonderful way to recognise the culture and linguistic heritage of the area.

“The accolade would be a great boost to the town and the local economy in the same way as the designation of Book Town has been to Wigtown.”

A staunch campaigner for Keith’s designation has been local SNP Councillor Gary Coull, who welcome the news that the town was to receive the accolade in Doric fashion: “We’re fair trickit in Keith tae hiv won this awaard!

“We’re the first toun in Scotland tae get this award and fit a great een tae get. We dee sae muckle in Keith and Strathisla tae promote oor language and it’s afa fine that we’re being recognised for it.

“It’s nae jist a historical language – it’s oor ivery day, livin language. Ye hear it aboot the toun ivery day in the shops, the streets, the churches, the squeals and even see it on oor lane names!

“This awaard is anither wye o pittin Keith firmly on the map and tae tell fowk tae tak a keek in by the toun. It’ll help us promote oor language even mair and shows that yer nae glaikit if ye spik it – yer normal!

“A huge thanks tae abody that has made this happen – in particular the fowk that keep spikkin Scots in Keith!”

Having supported the original award bid local MSP Richard Lochhead was also delighted that Keith had become the first Scots Toun, saying: “‘Scots Toun’ status is a real feather in the cap for Keith and adds to the communities already strong reputation for promoting the traditional culture and language of the north east of Scotland.

“Keeping our traditional languages alive and well is very important for our culture and our identity and this milestone will undoubtedly contribute to that. Congratulations to Keith!”

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