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TITLE
'Gairloch in North-West Ross-shire' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_JOHN_DIXON_02
PLACENAME
Gairloch
DISTRICT
Gairloch
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Gairloch
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
John Dixon
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1380
KEYWORDS
audio
lochs
mountains
landscapes
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'Gairloch in North-West Ross-shire' by John Henry Dixon, first published in 1886. It is read here by Norman Newton. (Image - Private Collection)

'The famous Loch Maree (with the small but romantic islet known as Isle Maree) is surrounded by the finest scenery in the parish. Their attractions bring annually some three thousand visitors to Gairloch. One might have fancied that such an influx of people would have led to the accumulation of a large and increasing stock of knowledge of this Highland parish, but as a rule the visitors are here to-day and gone to-morrow, and take no thorough interest in the country or its inhabitants. ...

There are first-rate hotels wthin the parish, and lodgings may frequently be hired, or a furnished house taken. The hotels offer the inducements of lower terms to those whose visits exceed the usually brief period.

Impressions of scenery are fixed by repetition; insight into nature is deepened by observation; and knowledge of a country is vastly more valuable if it include some acquaintance with the population, their characters, condition, and means of livelihood. Too many visitors overlook their opportunities in these directions.'

John Henry Dixon was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1838 and as a young man followed his father into the legal profession. His obituary in the Ross-shire Journal (29th October 1926) says that 'health reasons compelled him to seek a country life, and a visit which he paid to Ross-shire in 1868 led him in 1874 to settle at Gairloch, where he spent the next quarter of a century.' His residence was at Inveran, at the north end of Loch Maree. He led an active public life and served as District Clerk on the local District Committee created under the Local Government Act in a purely honorary capacity. Local newspapers speak of his patronage of the arts and annual tea parties for local schoolchildren. Census records show that as a gentleman 'living on private means' he maintained a household at Inveran with a housekeeper, housemaid, coachman, gillie and a personal piper. He never married.

Dixon commanded the Gairloch Company of the 1st V. B. Seaforth Highlanders and in 1881 attended the famous Edinburgh Review in honour of Queen Victoria.

In 1886 Dixon published a book which is still regarded as a model of what a parish history should be: 'Gairloch: its Records, Traditions, Inhabitants and Natural History'. Clearly the result of extensive local knowledge and research, it is particularly valuable in drawing together a range of local sources. It was reprinted locally in 1974.

Dixon travelled abroad between 1899 and 1902 and in that year moved to Pitlochry, where he died on 20th October 1926. In Perthshire he also took a great interest in local history and in the Boy Scout movement - he was honoured in 1924 with the prestigious gold Swastika Thanks Badge and on his death was the oldest Scoutmaster in Great Britain. His book on the local history of Pitlochry was published in 1925: 'Pitlochry: Past and Present'. It is illustrated with his own watercolour sketches. As at Gairloch, he took an active part in local affairs and founded a Young Man's Society and a rifle club.

Dixon travelled round the world twice, hunted on Vancouver Island and spent time in Japan, on which he was something of an expert and art collector. His obituary in the Perthshire Advertiser (23rd October 1926) described him as 'altogether a gentleman of wide culture and fine, genial personality, and was held in the highest esteem by all classes of the community, from whose midst he has passed, full of years and of honour.'

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'Gairloch in North-West Ross-shire' (2)

ROSS: Gairloch

2000s

audio; lochs; mountains; landscapes; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: John Henry Dixon

This audio extract is from 'Gairloch in North-West Ross-shire' by John Henry Dixon, first published in 1886. It is read here by Norman Newton. (Image - Private Collection)<br /> <br /> 'The famous Loch Maree (with the small but romantic islet known as Isle Maree) is surrounded by the finest scenery in the parish. Their attractions bring annually some three thousand visitors to Gairloch. One might have fancied that such an influx of people would have led to the accumulation of a large and increasing stock of knowledge of this Highland parish, but as a rule the visitors are here to-day and gone to-morrow, and take no thorough interest in the country or its inhabitants. ... <br /> <br /> There are first-rate hotels wthin the parish, and lodgings may frequently be hired, or a furnished house taken. The hotels offer the inducements of lower terms to those whose visits exceed the usually brief period.<br /> <br /> Impressions of scenery are fixed by repetition; insight into nature is deepened by observation; and knowledge of a country is vastly more valuable if it include some acquaintance with the population, their characters, condition, and means of livelihood. Too many visitors overlook their opportunities in these directions.'<br /> <br /> John Henry Dixon was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1838 and as a young man followed his father into the legal profession. His obituary in the Ross-shire Journal (29th October 1926) says that 'health reasons compelled him to seek a country life, and a visit which he paid to Ross-shire in 1868 led him in 1874 to settle at Gairloch, where he spent the next quarter of a century.' His residence was at Inveran, at the north end of Loch Maree. He led an active public life and served as District Clerk on the local District Committee created under the Local Government Act in a purely honorary capacity. Local newspapers speak of his patronage of the arts and annual tea parties for local schoolchildren. Census records show that as a gentleman 'living on private means' he maintained a household at Inveran with a housekeeper, housemaid, coachman, gillie and a personal piper. He never married.<br /> <br /> Dixon commanded the Gairloch Company of the 1st V. B. Seaforth Highlanders and in 1881 attended the famous Edinburgh Review in honour of Queen Victoria. <br /> <br /> In 1886 Dixon published a book which is still regarded as a model of what a parish history should be: 'Gairloch: its Records, Traditions, Inhabitants and Natural History'. Clearly the result of extensive local knowledge and research, it is particularly valuable in drawing together a range of local sources. It was reprinted locally in 1974.<br /> <br /> Dixon travelled abroad between 1899 and 1902 and in that year moved to Pitlochry, where he died on 20th October 1926. In Perthshire he also took a great interest in local history and in the Boy Scout movement - he was honoured in 1924 with the prestigious gold Swastika Thanks Badge and on his death was the oldest Scoutmaster in Great Britain. His book on the local history of Pitlochry was published in 1925: 'Pitlochry: Past and Present'. It is illustrated with his own watercolour sketches. As at Gairloch, he took an active part in local affairs and founded a Young Man's Society and a rifle club.<br /> <br /> Dixon travelled round the world twice, hunted on Vancouver Island and spent time in Japan, on which he was something of an expert and art collector. His obituary in the Perthshire Advertiser (23rd October 1926) described him as 'altogether a gentleman of wide culture and fine, genial personality, and was held in the highest esteem by all classes of the community, from whose midst he has passed, full of years and of honour.'