Who Is Scottie?
A Brief Biography
From the beginning, the editor of this Rampant Scotland Web site has been known to users as "Scottie". Over the years, there have been number of requests for information on myself and indeed one Canadian reader even put together a draft biography, based on what she knew of me. So, with thanks to Claire, who wrote most of the "biography" below, here is some background to "Scottie" and the Rampant Scotland Directory.
In the Beginning...
Scottie is the on-line persona of Alan Scott, a Glasgow-area resident who has lived in Scotland all his life and delights in helping others explore "this special wee corner of the world." When he started Rampant Scotland (as a hobby) back in 1996, it began as a directory with 300 links to other Scottish websites. However, from the outset, this was more than just a list of links - each entry had a description and there was "deep linking" to a site's sub-pages, where appropriate. So users had a better idea of what they would find when they clicked on the URL. And the number of links grew over the years - currently over 13,000.
"We Mine the Web So You Don't Have To"
In 1998, the New York-based Mining Co (later to become About.com) invited Scottie to become their Guide to Scottish Culture. By September 2001, Scottie had provided more than 1,500 feature pages and 2,000 photos, and - with 400,000 page views a month - About.com's Scottish Culture site was in the top 20% of their Guide sites.
However, About.com dropped this site (and 300 others) in October 2001 when they reorganized and refocused their business. So Scottie set about posting all that content onto his personal site, Rampant Scotland. Within a month, over 1,000 pages were set up with over 1,200 photos, complementing the original links directory.
The Scottish Snippets newsletter, "your weekly insight into what has been happening in Scotland," began in April 1997 as a Web page. Six months later, the text-only version of Scottish Snippets became a free weekly letter to mailing list subscribers, sent to thousands of people around the world with an interest in Scotland. There was also a Web-based version with lots of illustrations.
For these "snippets," Scottie regularly scanned fourteen daily news sites. Every issue was over 5,000 words, with items of news and Scottish culture. Eventually, a weekly "Colour Supplement" with current pictures of Scotland was also added. After over 590 issues of the Scottish Snippet, ill health meant that the newsletter was brought to an end. The intention had been to concentrate on the Rampant Scotland site, but the huge feedback from the newsletter readers convinced Scottie that he had to continue to communicate with all those subscribers who had such a deep connection with Scotland. So "Scottie's Diary" has evolved, with regular articles on aspects of Scotland and pointers to updated features on the Rampant Scotland site.
Scottie retired after 40 years in the banking industry in 1998. Much of his career was in Information Technology (beginning in the days of paper tape and punched cards) but ending as the Secretary of the trade association of the four largest banks in Scotland. When he retired, Scottie commented that the day-time job was interfering with his "future career" on the Web!
Bigger and Bigger
New feature pages have been added to the site every week and there are now over 7,000 pages on Scottish-related subjects which get over half a million page views each month. Subjects include how to research your family tree, Scottish clans, photo libraries, places to stay and eat, quizzes, a history time-line, traditional songs, recipes and places to visit. And there's humour and screen savers too and every year there is a Scottish pictorial calendar to print out with a choice of illustrations which users can print off on their own PCs.
As regular visitors to the site know, Scottie is an avid photographer. He illustrates most of his feature articles, with his own work and there are a number of "Photo Libraries" included in the sites covering places like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scottish castles, birds and butterflies of Scotland. A recent development has been a series of "slide shows" which have appeared not only on the Rampant Scotland site but also on YouTube - "When the Pipers Play" has proved particularly popular. The picture on the right was taken at the standing Stones of Calanais on Lewis in 2010.
While the Rampant Scotland site does carry banner adverts, it is far from being a commercial site. Indirectly it "sells" Scottish culture, products and services but Rampant Scotland continues with its original objective: providing information on Scotland and the Scots.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>