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TITLE
'Roots of Stone' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_HUGH_ALLISON_04
PLACENAME
Castle Tioram
DISTRICT
Ardnamurchan
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Arisaig and Moidart
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Hugh Allison
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1334
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.

'This place, more than any other, (more even than Dunadd), calls to me.

Loch Moidart is steep-sided, and its islands are thickly wooded. Out on the horizon are 'The Small Isles'. The strand at Dorlin is the whitest of sand, curving out into a tidal spit, pointing out towards the rocky islet offshore. Atop that islet stands the great strong bulk of Castle Tioram, encircled by a mighty curtain wall through which only one door beckons.

I've spent hours there, listening to the sea, watching the changing sky, and feeling the past, all around me. Far below the Castle walls, on the western side, is a shingle beach, where, if the veil wears thin, I can hear the creak of galleys riding at anchor, and the flap of their sails. Sometimes they can almost be seen.

And if I leave my twenty-first century cares together with my twenty-first century clothes on a rock by the water, and dive into the Loch, then this tears the veil aside altogether. For what difference is there between then and now, when simplified down to arms cleaving through cold, salty waters, skin tingling, and heart pounding with the joyful exertion?

And so this is my place of places.

Here I can sit and watch the sun dropping from the burnished heavens towards a sea of mellow gold, and as the world darkens, the castle stands silhouetted against the sky, and seems to live again, hiding age and condition under a cover of night.'

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' (2)

INVERNESS: Arisaig and Moidart

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 /> 'This place, more than any other, (more even than Dunadd), calls to me. <br /> <br /> Loch Moidart is steep-sided, and its islands are thickly wooded. Out on the horizon are 'The Small Isles'. The strand at Dorlin is the whitest of sand, curving out into a tidal spit, pointing out towards the rocky islet offshore. Atop that islet stands the great strong bulk of Castle Tioram, encircled by a mighty curtain wall through which only one door beckons.<br /> <br /> I've spent hours there, listening to the sea, watching the changing sky, and feeling the past, all around me. Far below the Castle walls, on the western side, is a shingle beach, where, if the veil wears thin, I can hear the creak of galleys riding at anchor, and the flap of their sails. Sometimes they can almost be seen. <br /> <br /> And if I leave my twenty-first century cares together with my twenty-first century clothes on a rock by the water, and dive into the Loch, then this tears the veil aside altogether. For what difference is there between then and now, when simplified down to arms cleaving through cold, salty waters, skin tingling, and heart pounding with the joyful exertion? <br /> <br /> And so this is my place of places.<br /> <br /> Here I can sit and watch the sun dropping from the burnished heavens towards a sea of mellow gold, and as the world darkens, the castle stands silhouetted against the sky, and seems to live again, hiding age and condition under a cover of night.'<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.