2017 in review: 12 of our most read stories this year

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It was a year that saw a terror attack in Manchester, Donald Trump’s inauguration and calls for a second independence referendum.

As 2017 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the most read stories on Scotsman.com.

Eilidh MacLeod (14) died following the Manchester Arena attack., Andy Murray limped out of Wimbledon and early snow predictions excited our readers.

Eilidh MacLeod (14) died following the Manchester Arena attack., Andy Murray limped out of Wimbledon and early snow predictions excited our readers.

JANUARY: Scotland-inspired poem created for Donald Trump inauguration

Donald Trump has dominated the headlines for much of the year after his shock Presidential election victory in November 2016 divided the US.

In the lead up to his inauguration, American poet Joseph Charles MacKenzie of The Society of Classical Poets created a verse drawing on Trump’s Scottish roots.

The poem received mixed reviews from our readers.

President Donald Trump has blamed the shutdown on the Democrats. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has blamed the shutdown on the Democrats. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

FEBRUARY: Primark pulls Walking Dead t-shirt after row over racism

Yes, you read that correctly. One of our most read stories in February was a story about a t-shirt which sparked a major online backlash.

Primark removed a top promoting hit US TV show The Walking Dead from its stores after it was branded “fantastically offensive” and “racist” by an angry shopper.

Outraged Ian Lucraft argued the slogan ‘eeny meent miny moe’ was not appropriate for a high street retailer to put on a shirt as the rhyme’s original version ends with the n-word. Some of our readers felt this was an example of people growing increasingly over sensitive, while others argued Mr Lucraft had a valid point.

MARCH: Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon to seek Indyref2

In March, Nicola Sturgeon fired the starting gun for a fresh ­referendum, saying Scotland should have the choice of whether to follow the UK out of the European Union or become an independent country.

Ms Sturgeon’s move for a second independence referendum took Westminster by surprise, coming on the day MPs and peers were engaged in the final stages of the legislation which will allow Mrs May to trigger Article 50, giving the EU formal notice of the UK’s intention to leave.

Speaking during a packed Bute House press conference, the First Minister said: “It is important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now – but before it is too late to decide our own path.”

APRIL: Billy Connolly: ‘Illness has robbed me of the things I love most’

Billy Connolly, known affectionately as “The Big Yin”, celebrated his 75th birthday this year.

In April, the beloved Scottish comic spoke of his battle with Parkinson’s and revealed he can no longer play the instrument which made him famous.

In an interview Billy said: “It’s a weird thing because [Parkinson’s] stopped me playing the banjo and it stopped me smoking cigars. It seems to creep up on everything I like and take it away from me.”

MAY: Barra teenager found alive in hospital after Manchester attack

In May, the UK was stunned by a terror attack on Manchester arena during an Ariana Grande concert.

The explosion killed 22 people, 10 of whom were under 20-years-old. A further 119 were initially reported injured.

Two Scottish teenagers from the isle of Barra, Laura MacIntyre (15) and Eilidh MacLeod (14) were among the missing.

Laura was reported alive but in serious condition on the 23 May, much to the relief of her family and the local community on the island.

But the search for Eilidh would end in tragedy. Days later it was confirmed the youngster died from her injuries.

JUNE: Body of Manchester bomb victim Eilidh MacLeod returns home

A snap election came and went and Grenfell Tower was engulfed in flames in June.

Yet one of the most read stories of the month was an article about a small chartered plane landing on Traigh Mhor beach runway on the remote island of Barra on Sunday 4 June,

It was bringing the body of 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod home.

Eilidh was among 22 people who died in the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday 22 May.

A procession of six firefighters and two other groups of men relayed her coffin, at waist height, 70 yards across the sandy shallow bay to a hearse. Piper Duncan Nicholson, son of Eilidh’s piping tutor Donald Patrick Nicholson, led the procession with three slow airs she had been learning. Other members of the community lined the road to pay respects as they passed.

JULY: ‘A true champion shows what he’s made of in defeat’

As Andy Murray succumbed to injury and bowed out of Wimbledon, the nation grimaced, sighed and wept as Scotland’s tennis hero lost his title at SW19.

The Scotsman defended and applauded the sport star for the way he fought to the end and many of our readers agreed.

The Scotsman wrote: “He had lost his Wimbledon crown. And he knew his number one ranking was also on the line. But the mark of a champion is not to make an excuse, it is to treat disaster just the same.”

AUGUST: Celtic eye three arrivals as they step up transfer activity

During this year’s summer transfer window, all eyes were on Celtic as Brendan Rodgers looked to strengthen his then unbeaten domestic treble winning side.

SEPTEMBER: Strathclyde student Alasdair Logan wows University Challenge

It’s the long-running quiz show traditionally been dominated by students from Oxford and Cambridge.

In September an undergraduate from Motherwell won praise for almost single-handedly leading his team to victory on University Challenge in a dramatic episode.

Alasdair Logan a mechanical engineering student at the University of Strathclyde, answered 16 questions correctly on a range of subjects including literature, botany and art criticism. ‘The Logan’ became an instant star on Scottish social networks as Scots praised him for his performance in the show.

OCTOBER: Dream job going – interest in Scottish islands essential

It was October. The nights are drawing in, a winter chill is in the air and it’s the wrong side of November.

Scotsman readers looking for an escape flocked to a story about a job on one of the furthest flung communities in the UK. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) launched a recruitment drive to find a custodian for the clutch of remote islands under its care.

The successful applicant would be responsible for safeguarding the likes of St Kilda, the UK’s only dual Unesco World Heritage Site, and Staffa, the national nature reserve in the Inner Hebrides, regarded as one of Scotland’s most outstanding natural wonders.

The story stuck such a chord with readers, The Scotsman received online enquiries about the position for weeks following its publication date.

NOVEMBER: First winter snowfall to hit Edinburgh and Glasgow

Winter got underway in November as forecaster predicted the first significant snowfall of the season.

Some of our readers prepared for the flurry, while those less impressed with the fall of tiny ice crystals wondered what all the fuss was about.

DECEMBER: Scottish classroom left in tears as 20th teacher in four years quits

The extent of the teacher recruitment crisis facing Scotland was revealed as parents told how a class of eight-year-old children have had 20 different teachers since starting school.

Parents at Thornwood Primary School in Partick, Glasgow, said the latest class teacher – in post since October – left the school without any notice in the first week of December. She had been the children’s second permanent class teacher this year.

READ MORE: Scottish history timeline from 1054 to 2014