Alba Arrachar, a society that is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture of the Picts has won the right to have road signs erected throughout Scotland in Pictish.
The society headed by their self appointed leader Nechtan Celcamoth II, took their case to the European Court of Human Rights. Nechtan argued that it was his human right to have his language and that of the native Peoples of Scotland used on road signs.
New extensive powers coming to the Scottish Parliament now mean that the People of Scotland can regain control over signage on our highways. The Scottish Government has been forced to agree to the road signs with a pilot scheme being introduced in Orkney in the coming year.
A competition has been launched for the design of the road signs which will be open to anyone under 72 in Scotland. In line with the EU ruling the specifications must be in keeping with Pictish culture and are as follows:
- must be in pictorial form
- include one animal/and or bird
- include a mirror
- have lots of swirly patterns
- bright colours
Closing date for the competition is 01/04/2017 so those wishing to take part do not have long to get their designs entered.
The Orkney News was able to catch up with Nechtan at his home in Birsay. Nechtan said:
“This is great news. I have fought long and hard to get recognition for the culture of my People. The Picts made Orkney and it is only right that road signs in the islands reflect that.”
Nechtan is also pleased that the signs will be of stone construction which is the traditional way for Picts to communicate.
Welcoming the new signs community councillor Cygnet Swanson, 68, said:
” This is fabulous. At last the native tongue of the People of Orkney is being recognised and the Scottish Government has been forced to act. It wanted these new powers, now let’s use them.”
Local resident Mrs Flett McGinty, 45, is not so impressed. She said:
“We’re not needing any more road signs. Whit a waste of money. The Scottish Government needs to get on with its day job”
The pilot scheme will see the creation of 4 new jobs in Orkney including 2 apprenticeships and the stone will be sourced locally. Strict environmental controls will be adhered to.
Reporter: Fergus Graemsay