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TITLE
'Roots of Stone' (1)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_HUGH_ALLISON_03
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Hugh Allison
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1333
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'Roots of Stone' by Hugh Allison, published in 2004. It is read here by the author.

'All along the north coast, from Cape Wrath to Dunnet Head, the land stands hard against the northern seas. A series of blunt headlands refute the surging crash of the waves.

Inland, there runs a cross-stitch of valleys and upland grazings, each separated from the next by the high places. The lonely sentinels like Arkle, and the giants we heard of earlier, (Ben Hope and Ben Loyal), all serve to hold apart those softer, gentler glens and straths where the people have made their homes. And everything changes, by the day, and by the season.

On a day when the sun shines down, the full range of mountain, moor, and strath, blazes in a display of scent and colour.

On a day when the Atlantic gales sweep in, everything turns shades of blue-black slate, and the rain pulses across the land, like a heavy, secretive curtain.

But during those evenings when the skies are clear and luminous, and the moon rides high and white, on a light-blue canvas, the scene is incomparable, almost mythic. Possibilities dance and shimmer on the far horizon, and underfoot, something seems almost ready to waken.

The power in the land sleeps most lightly in the far north. The landscapes are deep, and old. The rock foundations of the West Moine are among the oldest known, and in places where the soil is thin, the bones of the world show through, upthrust against the sky.

Norse myth and Celtic legend intermingle here, in pools amid the heather - groundwater from which the wellsprings of creativity flow. And if you listen very carefully, just when the northern light is at its most luminous, and when the wind is blowing through Strathmore - you may like to think that you hear words on the wind. Words inspired by this remarkable place, and by the remarkable and hardy people who live here.'

Hugh G Allison was born and brought up in Lochaber. In 1977 he went to Glasgow University to study Geography and Geology, and much later (in 2008) he graduated with a BA from the Open University. He worked first with Tourist Boards, and then with Nairn District Council, becoming their Tourism and Entertainments Officer in 1983.

Hugh married in 1986, and both of his daughters were brought up in Nairn. He remained with the Council through local government reorganisation, and worked with Highland Council until 2000. During that time he helped found Moscow's first ever Highland Games, and was seconded to work on a number of projects in Wales and in North America.

In 2001 he took a job with the National Trust for Scotland at Culloden. While with the Trust he managed both Culloden Battlefield and Brodie Castle. He also began tour guiding for cruise ship visitors, and wrote three books: 'Roots of Stone' (2004) looks at the tapestry of the last 2000 years of Scottish history, especially the relationships between family history and national history; 'Rivers Running Far' (2005) examines the Scottish diaspora, particularly motivations and outcomes, whilst at the same time explaining how Hugh was sworn in as a Kentucky Deputy Sheriff during his research; 'Culloden Tales' (2007) is a readable and accurate history of the battle, with tales from those who have visited the moor.

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'Roots of Stone' (1)

CAITHNESS

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Hugh Allison

This audio extract is from 'Roots of Stone' by Hugh Allison, published in 2004. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'All along the north coast, from Cape Wrath to Dunnet Head, the land stands hard against the northern seas. A series of blunt headlands refute the surging crash of the waves. <br /> <br /> Inland, there runs a cross-stitch of valleys and upland grazings, each separated from the next by the high places. The lonely sentinels like Arkle, and the giants we heard of earlier, (Ben Hope and Ben Loyal), all serve to hold apart those softer, gentler glens and straths where the people have made their homes. And everything changes, by the day, and by the season. <br /> <br /> On a day when the sun shines down, the full range of mountain, moor, and strath, blazes in a display of scent and colour. <br /> <br /> On a day when the Atlantic gales sweep in, everything turns shades of blue-black slate, and the rain pulses across the land, like a heavy, secretive curtain. <br /> <br /> But during those evenings when the skies are clear and luminous, and the moon rides high and white, on a light-blue canvas, the scene is incomparable, almost mythic. Possibilities dance and shimmer on the far horizon, and underfoot, something seems almost ready to waken.<br /> <br /> The power in the land sleeps most lightly in the far north. The landscapes are deep, and old. The rock foundations of the West Moine are among the oldest known, and in places where the soil is thin, the bones of the world show through, upthrust against the sky.<br /> <br /> Norse myth and Celtic legend intermingle here, in pools amid the heather - groundwater from which the wellsprings of creativity flow. And if you listen very carefully, just when the northern light is at its most luminous, and when the wind is blowing through Strathmore - you may like to think that you hear words on the wind. Words inspired by this remarkable place, and by the remarkable and hardy people who live here.'<br /> <br /> Hugh G Allison was born and brought up in Lochaber. In 1977 he went to Glasgow University to study Geography and Geology, and much later (in 2008) he graduated with a BA from the Open University. He worked first with Tourist Boards, and then with Nairn District Council, becoming their Tourism and Entertainments Officer in 1983.<br /> <br /> Hugh married in 1986, and both of his daughters were brought up in Nairn. He remained with the Council through local government reorganisation, and worked with Highland Council until 2000. During that time he helped found Moscow's first ever Highland Games, and was seconded to work on a number of projects in Wales and in North America. <br /> <br /> In 2001 he took a job with the National Trust for Scotland at Culloden. While with the Trust he managed both Culloden Battlefield and Brodie Castle. He also began tour guiding for cruise ship visitors, and wrote three books: 'Roots of Stone' (2004) looks at the tapestry of the last 2000 years of Scottish history, especially the relationships between family history and national history; 'Rivers Running Far' (2005) examines the Scottish diaspora, particularly motivations and outcomes, whilst at the same time explaining how Hugh was sworn in as a Kentucky Deputy Sheriff during his research; 'Culloden Tales' (2007) is a readable and accurate history of the battle, with tales from those who have visited the moor.