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TITLE
'The Ross and Cromarty Book'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DONALD_OMAND_03
PLACENAME
Halkirk
DISTRICT
Western Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Halkirk
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Donald Omand
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1294
KEYWORDS
audio
regional histories
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'The Ross and Cromarty Book', edited by Donald Omand and published in 1989. The extract is from chapter five, 'Woodlands', by Finlay MacRae. It is read here by James Miller.

'Ross and Cromarty which shoulders the North Sea and the Minch is about 125km from east to west. ... Within these bounds lies a land whose beauty and diversity of scenery is unrivalled.

Woodlands of ecological, aesthetic, historical, and economic importance, both natural and artificial abound, and are well distributed from the dry eastern plain to the mountainous areas of high rainfall in the west. ...

Long established estates such as Novar, Ardross, Fairburn, Brahan, Castle Leod, Rosehaugh and Flowerdale, to name but a few, have long been renowned for their fine woods, sylvan parklands, avenues and arboritae.

The Wester Ross groups of native and natural pinewoods which have persisted since the Ice Age in a markedly oceanic climate are unique. ...

In the year 1600 a traveller in Wester Ross noted dense woods of pine, birch, oak, ash, aspen, elm and holly on the south side of Loch Maree. In some places he said,

'ar fair and plentiful fyrrs of 60, 70 and 80 foot of good and serviceable timmer, suitable for ships masts, and in other places ar great plenty of excellent great oakes, where may be sawn out planks of 4 sumtyms 5 foot broad'. ...

Arboritae at Castle Leod, Ardross and Novar display a splendid selection of conifers and broadleaved trees, native and exotic, planted in the latter half of the 19th century. Some are now very large trees. A Sitka Spruce planted in 1900 in Ardross was 40m high and 5m in girth when measured in 1980.

At Castle Leod near Strathpeffer a Douglas Fir planted at about the same time was 52m high and just under 5m in girth when measured in 1980. Although the native pinewoods are much depleted, sufficient evidence exists to illustrate the diversity, geographical distribution and ecological and historical significance of the great forests that once spread over large areas of Ross-shire.'

Donald Omand was born on 8th January 1936 on a croft in the Newlands of Roster, a short distance from the prehistoric burial cairns of Camster. When he was two years old the family moved to the village of Lybster where he spent many happy schoolboy hours playing football and golf before attending Wick High School from the age of 15.

Tertiary education was completed at Aberdeen University where he gained an Honours M.A. in Geography, followed later by an MSc at Strathclyde University on the 'Glaciation of Caithness'.

His teaching career began in Bingley, Yorkshire and a few years at Dounreay continued at Halkirk Junior Secondary and Thurso College, now the North Highland College. In 1970 he took post a post with Aberdeen University in its Continuing Education Department, covering the north Highlands and Islands until his retirement.

His published works include a variety of county and regional books including 'The Caithness Book' (1972) which he edited after working with a group of local enthusiasts. For more than 30 he was a regular columnist in the 'John O' Groat Journal' and the 'Caithness Courier'.

Donald passed away in the Dunbar Hospital, Thurso, in August 2009.

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'The Ross and Cromarty Book'

CAITHNESS: Halkirk

2000s

audio; regional histories; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Donald Omand

This audio extract is from 'The Ross and Cromarty Book', edited by Donald Omand and published in 1989. The extract is from chapter five, 'Woodlands', by Finlay MacRae. It is read here by James Miller.<br /> <br /> 'Ross and Cromarty which shoulders the North Sea and the Minch is about 125km from east to west. ... Within these bounds lies a land whose beauty and diversity of scenery is unrivalled.<br /> <br /> Woodlands of ecological, aesthetic, historical, and economic importance, both natural and artificial abound, and are well distributed from the dry eastern plain to the mountainous areas of high rainfall in the west. ... <br /> <br /> Long established estates such as Novar, Ardross, Fairburn, Brahan, Castle Leod, Rosehaugh and Flowerdale, to name but a few, have long been renowned for their fine woods, sylvan parklands, avenues and arboritae.<br /> <br /> The Wester Ross groups of native and natural pinewoods which have persisted since the Ice Age in a markedly oceanic climate are unique. ...<br /> <br /> In the year 1600 a traveller in Wester Ross noted dense woods of pine, birch, oak, ash, aspen, elm and holly on the south side of Loch Maree. In some places he said,<br /> <br /> 'ar fair and plentiful fyrrs of 60, 70 and 80 foot of good and serviceable timmer, suitable for ships masts, and in other places ar great plenty of excellent great oakes, where may be sawn out planks of 4 sumtyms 5 foot broad'. ...<br /> <br /> Arboritae at Castle Leod, Ardross and Novar display a splendid selection of conifers and broadleaved trees, native and exotic, planted in the latter half of the 19th century. Some are now very large trees. A Sitka Spruce planted in 1900 in Ardross was 40m high and 5m in girth when measured in 1980.<br /> <br /> At Castle Leod near Strathpeffer a Douglas Fir planted at about the same time was 52m high and just under 5m in girth when measured in 1980. Although the native pinewoods are much depleted, sufficient evidence exists to illustrate the diversity, geographical distribution and ecological and historical significance of the great forests that once spread over large areas of Ross-shire.'<br /> <br /> Donald Omand was born on 8th January 1936 on a croft in the Newlands of Roster, a short distance from the prehistoric burial cairns of Camster. When he was two years old the family moved to the village of Lybster where he spent many happy schoolboy hours playing football and golf before attending Wick High School from the age of 15.<br /> <br /> Tertiary education was completed at Aberdeen University where he gained an Honours M.A. in Geography, followed later by an MSc at Strathclyde University on the 'Glaciation of Caithness'. <br /> <br /> His teaching career began in Bingley, Yorkshire and a few years at Dounreay continued at Halkirk Junior Secondary and Thurso College, now the North Highland College. In 1970 he took post a post with Aberdeen University in its Continuing Education Department, covering the north Highlands and Islands until his retirement.<br /> <br /> His published works include a variety of county and regional books including 'The Caithness Book' (1972) which he edited after working with a group of local enthusiasts. For more than 30 he was a regular columnist in the 'John O' Groat Journal' and the 'Caithness Courier'.<br /> <br /> Donald passed away in the Dunbar Hospital, Thurso, in August 2009.