To mark the publication of the first volume of the new Oxford University Press Edition of The Works of Robert Burns – Commonplace Books, Tour Journals and Miscellaneous Prose, edited by Professor Nigel Leask – there are now three maps available of Robert Burns’s tours in the Highlands and Borders of Scotland.
The routes have been carefully researched and plotted by Nigel Leask as part of his work on the edition, and the eighteenth century maps have been produced in collaboration with the Map Collections division of the National Library of Scotland.
Towards the end of last year, I personally retraced the steps of Burns’s 1787 Highland Tour, as shown in the map. Read my blog posts about it here.
A CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY?
My take on the Scottish Referendum for Post Magazine. Read it here.
This guy scared me . But he’s just a big poser .
The Lighthouse Keeper, Ardnamurchan Point.
Skidding round the Scottish Highlands.
Stu reeling in the seaweed. Loch Tulla.
I made a short film. It’s just over three minutes long, and is an ode to a bygone era in Strontian, a small village on the West coast of Scotland where most of my family are from. The region is steeped in a deep sense of history, nostalgia and a unique form of melancholic beauty.
The footage used in the film, originally from 1956 and shot on silent 16mm film, was recovered by my uncle rather by chance chance. One afternoon, whilst visiting his house in Oban and sipping an afternoon whisky, he played the footage. I was engrossed. I sat down and watched it all - the whole 50 minutes - and was moved by the everyday occurences of the 1956 Strontian Agricultural Show.
It was likely that someone - a budding 50s filmmaker perhaps - had been given the job of shooting that day - and they did a good job for the most part. Yet watching it also evoked a sad sense of a lost time and bygone era, a typically Highland sentiment in itself. I felt I had to do something with some aspects of the footage rather than let it gather dust, or be limited to aselecyt few who might have access to the old film,or converted VHS.
It’s an artistic portrayal of the past, but hopefully an honest one too. In that nostalgia, and the historical imagination is always partly honest. Otherwise it wouldn’t move us.
Hope you enjoy.
Oh! Dear Greyhound carrying mites and fleas//
Panting across ‘Murica with no particular ease. (‘Greyhound Couplet’, Alabama, 4am)
Really want to make friends with this badass at the end of my street. Just not sure how to introduce myself.