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TITLE
'Ross and Cromarty, A Historical Guide'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DAVID_ALSTON_04
PLACENAME
Cromarty
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Cromarty
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
David Alston
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1281
KEYWORDS
audio
poems
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'Ross and Cromarty', A Historial Guide, by David Alston, first published in 1999. It is read here by the author.

'This is my introduction to my historical guide to Ross and Cromarty. Before my introduction, I've placed two quotations from Scottish poets; the first from Sorley Maclean, who, translated into English, writes,

'Time stops on the mountain
and is idle in my desire
for in my thoughts they are equal,
those of yesterday and the day before it.

Equal in my thoughts
those lasting and those gone and neglected ...'

And the second quotation is from Edwin Muir's poem, 'The Difficult Land' which he concludes by saying, of Scotland,

'This is a difficult country, and our home.'

Here is my introduction:

I would like this Guide, which contains many hard and perhaps dry facts, to be not just of the head but also of the heart, and with this intention have prefaced it with two quotations from Scottish poets which convey both thoughts and feelings about landscape.

Ross and Cromarty is, like Scotland as a whole, a difficult country - particularly, a historian might add, since the deterioration of the climate around 1200 BC. It has been a continuing challenge to find the right balance between arable farming, grazing and fishing, and attempts to introduce industry and manufacturing have seldom been successful. Struggles between rival groups for control of limited resources have been bitter and the difficulties, and the rivalries, have been greatest in the Highland and western parts.

The present landscape reflects the problems, struggles, successes and failures of the past. It has been moulded to its shape by the labours of many generations - not primarily by those who can be named but by those gone and neglected who still, if we are concerned with the place and its history, make their claim on us from the other side of time.

The labours of the dead, those of yesterday and the day before it, and the labours of those living today have an equal value. The dead are, nonethless, gone and our only way to engage with them is by making the effort to see their lives and their times as they were - in truth and without romanticism. To give sufficient attention to see things both as they are, and as they were, is an act of love, from which we should not refrain - for this, although a difficult country, is our home.'

David Alston was born and brought up in the Highlands and has lived in Cromarty for the past twenty years. He gained a PhD in Scottish History from the University of Dundee in 1999.

David has been closely involved with the Cromarty Courthouse for many years, first in its restoration and then as a museum of Cromarty life. He was first elected to The Highland Council in 1999 and is currently Chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee. As well as his substantial history of Cromarty published in 2006 he is the author of numerous local history pamphlets.

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'Ross and Cromarty, A Historical Guide'

ROSS: Cromarty

2000s

audio; poems; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: David Alston

This audio extract is from 'Ross and Cromarty', A Historial Guide, by David Alston, first published in 1999. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'This is my introduction to my historical guide to Ross and Cromarty. Before my introduction, I've placed two quotations from Scottish poets; the first from Sorley Maclean, who, translated into English, writes,<br /> <br /> 'Time stops on the mountain<br /> and is idle in my desire<br /> for in my thoughts they are equal,<br /> those of yesterday and the day before it.<br /> <br /> Equal in my thoughts<br /> those lasting and those gone and neglected ...'<br /> <br /> And the second quotation is from Edwin Muir's poem, 'The Difficult Land' which he concludes by saying, of Scotland, <br /> <br /> 'This is a difficult country, and our home.'<br /> <br /> Here is my introduction:<br /> <br /> I would like this Guide, which contains many hard and perhaps dry facts, to be not just of the head but also of the heart, and with this intention have prefaced it with two quotations from Scottish poets which convey both thoughts and feelings about landscape.<br /> <br /> Ross and Cromarty is, like Scotland as a whole, a difficult country - particularly, a historian might add, since the deterioration of the climate around 1200 BC. It has been a continuing challenge to find the right balance between arable farming, grazing and fishing, and attempts to introduce industry and manufacturing have seldom been successful. Struggles between rival groups for control of limited resources have been bitter and the difficulties, and the rivalries, have been greatest in the Highland and western parts.<br /> <br /> The present landscape reflects the problems, struggles, successes and failures of the past. It has been moulded to its shape by the labours of many generations - not primarily by those who can be named but by those gone and neglected who still, if we are concerned with the place and its history, make their claim on us from the other side of time.<br /> <br /> The labours of the dead, those of yesterday and the day before it, and the labours of those living today have an equal value. The dead are, nonethless, gone and our only way to engage with them is by making the effort to see their lives and their times as they were - in truth and without romanticism. To give sufficient attention to see things both as they are, and as they were, is an act of love, from which we should not refrain - for this, although a difficult country, is our home.'<br /> <br /> David Alston was born and brought up in the Highlands and has lived in Cromarty for the past twenty years. He gained a PhD in Scottish History from the University of Dundee in 1999.<br /> <br /> David has been closely involved with the Cromarty Courthouse for many years, first in its restoration and then as a museum of Cromarty life. He was first elected to The Highland Council in 1999 and is currently Chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee. As well as his substantial history of Cromarty published in 2006 he is the author of numerous local history pamphlets.