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TITLE
From Sea to Sea (1 of 19)
EXTERNAL ID
HC_STS_FROMSEATOSEA_01
DATE OF RECORDING
2001
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Bob Pegg
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2396
KEYWORDS
canals
waterways
second sight
poems
poetry
audio

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The following extract is taken from 'From Sea to Sea', an audio celebration of the history, people, landscape and culture of the Great Glen waterway - The Caledonian Canal. The project was created in 2001 by Bob Pegg and funded by Highland Council through the British Waterways 'Living Waterways Programme'.

'Strange as it may seem to you this day, the time will come, and it is not far off, when full-rigged ships will be seen sailing eastward and westward by the back of Tomnahurich, near Inverness.'

[Bagpipes, 'The Caledonian Canal']

Narrator: The bagpipe strathspey, 'The Caledonian Canal', celebrating the fulfillment of a seventeenth-century prophecy by Kenneth Mackenzie, famed throughout the Highlands as Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer. For, in 1803, more than a century after he spoke of ships sailing past the Fairy Hill near Inverness, work began to build twenty-nine locks and create sixty miles of waterway through the heart of the Highlands and so to link the eastern to the western sea. The ambitious enterprise was planned by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford, renowned also for his roads and bridges. His large, unskilled workforce came initially from around the Moray Firth and from the West Highlands. At Lochend near Inverness it was said that Telford liked nothing better than to sit in the evenings with the navvies, smoking, chatting with them, over a dram. By day they laboured and nineteen years later glowing tribute was paid in verse to the engineer's skill and vision.

Lines by Robert Southey, who was Poet Laureate in 1823, and inscribed on a marble slab at Clachnaharry.

'Where these capacious basins by the laws
Of the subjacent element receive
The ship, descending or upraised, eight times,
From stage to stage with unfelt agency
Translated; fitliest may the marble here
Record the Architect's immortal name.
Telford it was, by whose presiding mind
The whole great work was plann'd and perfected;
Telford, who o'er the vale of Cambrian Dee,
Aloft in air at giddy height upborne,
Carried his navigable road, and hung
High o'er Menai's straits the bending bridge;
Structures of more ambitious enterprize
Than minstrels in the age of old romance
To their own Merlin's magic lore ascribed.
Nor hath he for his native land perform'd
Less in this proud design; and where his piers
Around her coast from many a fisher's creek
Unshelter'd else, and many an ample port
Repel the assailing storm; and where his roads
In beautiful and sinuous line, far seen,
Wind with the vale, and win the long ascent,
Now o'er the deep morass sustain'd, and now
Across ravine, or glen, or estuary,
Opening a passage through the wilds subdued'

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From Sea to Sea (1 of 19)

2000s

canals; waterways; second sight; poems; poetry; audio

The Highland Council

The Highland Council: From Sea to Sea

The following extract is taken from 'From Sea to Sea', an audio celebration of the history, people, landscape and culture of the Great Glen waterway - The Caledonian Canal. The project was created in 2001 by Bob Pegg and funded by Highland Council through the British Waterways 'Living Waterways Programme'. <br /> <br /> 'Strange as it may seem to you this day, the time will come, and it is not far off, when full-rigged ships will be seen sailing eastward and westward by the back of Tomnahurich, near Inverness.'<br /> <br /> [Bagpipes, 'The Caledonian Canal']<br /> <br /> Narrator: The bagpipe strathspey, 'The Caledonian Canal', celebrating the fulfillment of a seventeenth-century prophecy by Kenneth Mackenzie, famed throughout the Highlands as Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer. For, in 1803, more than a century after he spoke of ships sailing past the Fairy Hill near Inverness, work began to build twenty-nine locks and create sixty miles of waterway through the heart of the Highlands and so to link the eastern to the western sea. The ambitious enterprise was planned by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford, renowned also for his roads and bridges. His large, unskilled workforce came initially from around the Moray Firth and from the West Highlands. At Lochend near Inverness it was said that Telford liked nothing better than to sit in the evenings with the navvies, smoking, chatting with them, over a dram. By day they laboured and nineteen years later glowing tribute was paid in verse to the engineer's skill and vision.<br /> <br /> Lines by Robert Southey, who was Poet Laureate in 1823, and inscribed on a marble slab at Clachnaharry.<br /> <br /> 'Where these capacious basins by the laws <br /> Of the subjacent element receive <br /> The ship, descending or upraised, eight times,<br /> From stage to stage with unfelt agency <br /> Translated; fitliest may the marble here<br /> Record the Architect's immortal name.<br /> Telford it was, by whose presiding mind<br /> The whole great work was plann'd and perfected;<br /> Telford, who o'er the vale of Cambrian Dee,<br /> Aloft in air at giddy height upborne, <br /> Carried his navigable road, and hung <br /> High o'er Menai's straits the bending bridge; <br /> Structures of more ambitious enterprize<br /> Than minstrels in the age of old romance<br /> To their own Merlin's magic lore ascribed.<br /> Nor hath he for his native land perform'd<br /> Less in this proud design; and where his piers <br /> Around her coast from many a fisher's creek<br /> Unshelter'd else, and many an ample port <br /> Repel the assailing storm; and where his roads<br /> In beautiful and sinuous line, far seen,<br /> Wind with the vale, and win the long ascent,<br /> Now o'er the deep morass sustain'd, and now<br /> Across ravine, or glen, or estuary,<br /> Opening a passage through the wilds subdued'