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TITLE
Sir John Sinclair's 'Miscellaneous Papers'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_SIR_JOHN_SINCLAIR_01
PLACENAME
Ulbster
DISTRICT
Eastern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1444
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Account of a Sail from Wick to Aberdeen', contained within his 'Miscellaneous Papers', first published around 1819. Sir John produced the papers on various topical issues, drawn up for interest and as a relaxation from some of his more serious works. He issued copies to his friends and acquaintances.

The extract is read here by James Miller.

'When we were out of the shelter of Wick Bay, the swell became very great, and being across our line of sailing, the vessel rolled so much, that I soon enriched the Moray Firth, with a large proportion of a very excellent dinner, a friend at Wick had provided, to enable me to bear the fatigues of the voyage. I now found it necessary to repair to the cabin, which turned out to be of the humblest description, in size only about six feet by eight. On each side, there were places called 'cabin or box beds', but so close, so short, and so dirty, that I resolved to try some other expedient for getting sleep, and accordingly, got the chests in the cabin arranged close to each other, some bedding put over them, and with the assistance of some excellent blankets, (which a friend at Wick, who foresaw how useful they would be, had put on board), contrived to make as comfortable a couch, as could be expected in such a vessel.

After a sleep of some hours, I awoke, and inquired if we were near Peterhead or Aberdeen. 'No!' (answered the captain), 'we are only half way across the Moray Firth; it became a dead calm about ten o'clock, and has continued so for these eight hours,' (it was then about six o'clock). 'But,' (he added),'a breeze is rising to the eastward, which is much in our favour.' As I had taken nothing for some time, he proposed breakfast. I had some sea stores with me, as cold meat, wine, and spirits, but had forgot a more material article, tea. I would recommend it therefore, to any person who may be induced to take a similar excursion, not to neglect having some tea, sugar, and a bottle of milk or cream, among the other stores he carries with him.'

Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811.

Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. He also supervised the compilation of the first Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-1799).

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Sir John Sinclair's 'Miscellaneous Papers'

CAITHNESS: Wick

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Sir John Sinclair

This audio extract is from Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Account of a Sail from Wick to Aberdeen', contained within his 'Miscellaneous Papers', first published around 1819. Sir John produced the papers on various topical issues, drawn up for interest and as a relaxation from some of his more serious works. He issued copies to his friends and acquaintances.<br /> <br /> The extract is read here by James Miller.<br /> <br /> 'When we were out of the shelter of Wick Bay, the swell became very great, and being across our line of sailing, the vessel rolled so much, that I soon enriched the Moray Firth, with a large proportion of a very excellent dinner, a friend at Wick had provided, to enable me to bear the fatigues of the voyage. I now found it necessary to repair to the cabin, which turned out to be of the humblest description, in size only about six feet by eight. On each side, there were places called 'cabin or box beds', but so close, so short, and so dirty, that I resolved to try some other expedient for getting sleep, and accordingly, got the chests in the cabin arranged close to each other, some bedding put over them, and with the assistance of some excellent blankets, (which a friend at Wick, who foresaw how useful they would be, had put on board), contrived to make as comfortable a couch, as could be expected in such a vessel.<br /> <br /> After a sleep of some hours, I awoke, and inquired if we were near Peterhead or Aberdeen. 'No!' (answered the captain), 'we are only half way across the Moray Firth; it became a dead calm about ten o'clock, and has continued so for these eight hours,' (it was then about six o'clock). 'But,' (he added),'a breeze is rising to the eastward, which is much in our favour.' As I had taken nothing for some time, he proposed breakfast. I had some sea stores with me, as cold meat, wine, and spirits, but had forgot a more material article, tea. I would recommend it therefore, to any person who may be induced to take a similar excursion, not to neglect having some tea, sugar, and a bottle of milk or cream, among the other stores he carries with him.'<br /> <br /> Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811. <br /> <br /> Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. He also supervised the compilation of the first Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-1799).