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TITLE
'A Croft in the Hills' (4)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_KATHARINE_STEWART_04
PLACENAME
Abriachan
DISTRICT
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Katharine Stewart
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1395
KEYWORDS
authobiographies
crofting
crofters
crofter
crofts
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from Katharine Stewart's autobiographical book, 'A Croft in the Hills', first published in 1971. It is read here by the author.

'With Helen, our little girl, staggering ahead of us, a bunch of tiny, bright heath flowers in her small hand, we made our way back to the house. I think the lady in possession must have read her fate in our faces. She gave us tea and we told her, as sops to our conscience, that we would think it over and let her know our decision in a day or two.

We made a mental note of all the information she gave us about postage and vans and so on, thanked her and walked slowly back to the road. We did have a look at another place on the way home, but it was quite out of the question - twice the price and very inaccessible and, as the French have it, it 'said nothing to us'.

The house on the hill was already making its voice heard. All the way back in the van we listened in silence to what it had to say. It was a supremely honest little place. It hid nothing from us. Its fields had been neglected, its access road was little more than a track, its water supply was altogether unhandy. In winter it was liable to be cut off by impenetrable snow-drifts. But - it offered a challenge and an inspiration as huge as the hills surrounding it. Our minds were seething with positive plans. All traces of discontent, however divine, had vanished utterly.'

Katharine Stewart was born in 1914 and becamed one of the Highlands' most prolific writers. During the Second World War she worked for the Admiralty in London after which she settled in Abriachan, near Inverness, where she ran a croft and post office and wrote documentaries for the BBC. She was instrumental in setting up a small local museum in Abriachan and in 2005 she received the Saltire Society Highland Branch Award for her outstanding contribution to the understanding of Highland Culture.

Katharine Stewart's first book, 'A Croft in the Hills', was published in 1960 and again in 1971. What had originally been seen as a couthy tale of Highland life was now seen as an important evocation of a way of life which was disappearing fast. 'A Garden in the Hills' followed in 1995, with 'A School in the Hills' in 1996 and 'The Post in the Hills' in 1997. She branched out into less autobiographical books with 'Abriachan: the story of an upland community', for the Abriachan Forest Trust (2000), and 'The story of Loch Ness' (2005). Her latest book, 'Women of the Highlands' (2006), is an interesting excursion through the lives of notable Highland women through the ages. It is dedicated 'To women everywhere, those custodians of life'. "Her final volume, 'Cattle on a Thousand Hills' was published in 2010."

Katharine Stewart died on 27 March 2013, aged 98.

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'A Croft in the Hills' (4)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

authobiographies; crofting; crofters; crofter; crofts; audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Katharine Stewart

This audio extract is from Katharine Stewart's autobiographical book, 'A Croft in the Hills', first published in 1971. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'With Helen, our little girl, staggering ahead of us, a bunch of tiny, bright heath flowers in her small hand, we made our way back to the house. I think the lady in possession must have read her fate in our faces. She gave us tea and we told her, as sops to our conscience, that we would think it over and let her know our decision in a day or two.<br /> <br /> We made a mental note of all the information she gave us about postage and vans and so on, thanked her and walked slowly back to the road. We did have a look at another place on the way home, but it was quite out of the question - twice the price and very inaccessible and, as the French have it, it 'said nothing to us'.<br /> <br /> The house on the hill was already making its voice heard. All the way back in the van we listened in silence to what it had to say. It was a supremely honest little place. It hid nothing from us. Its fields had been neglected, its access road was little more than a track, its water supply was altogether unhandy. In winter it was liable to be cut off by impenetrable snow-drifts. But - it offered a challenge and an inspiration as huge as the hills surrounding it. Our minds were seething with positive plans. All traces of discontent, however divine, had vanished utterly.'<br /> <br /> Katharine Stewart was born in 1914 and becamed one of the Highlands' most prolific writers. During the Second World War she worked for the Admiralty in London after which she settled in Abriachan, near Inverness, where she ran a croft and post office and wrote documentaries for the BBC. She was instrumental in setting up a small local museum in Abriachan and in 2005 she received the Saltire Society Highland Branch Award for her outstanding contribution to the understanding of Highland Culture. <br /> <br /> Katharine Stewart's first book, 'A Croft in the Hills', was published in 1960 and again in 1971. What had originally been seen as a couthy tale of Highland life was now seen as an important evocation of a way of life which was disappearing fast. 'A Garden in the Hills' followed in 1995, with 'A School in the Hills' in 1996 and 'The Post in the Hills' in 1997. She branched out into less autobiographical books with 'Abriachan: the story of an upland community', for the Abriachan Forest Trust (2000), and 'The story of Loch Ness' (2005). Her latest book, 'Women of the Highlands' (2006), is an interesting excursion through the lives of notable Highland women through the ages. It is dedicated 'To women everywhere, those custodians of life'. "Her final volume, 'Cattle on a Thousand Hills' was published in 2010." <br /> <br /> Katharine Stewart died on 27 March 2013, aged 98.