The series Notes and Quotes highlights interesting people, writings, places and quotes while reading books I like. This is a way to store this information in my external memory, because my human memory often fails. Most of the topics are mapped on Discover British Isles.

I picked up Antlers of Water. Writing on the Nature and Environment of Scotland (2020) edited, curated and introduced by the award-winning Kathleen Jamie at Caught by the River, an online meeting place on arts and nature. Being a fan of Scotland, I didn’t hesitate a second to buy a copy of Antlers of Water, a diverse and eclectic collection of writings and some pictorial contributions. I enjoyed Linda Cracknell’s barnacle hunting, Dougie Strang’s quest for Dairmaid’s Grave, the original and funny dictionary words orchestrated by Alec Finlay, and the puzzling collages of Anne Campbell on the Lewis Moorland’s shielings I first read about in Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways.

Getting the Hang of the Wind – Chris Powici
Braes of Doune

Bones of the Forth – Gavin Francis
Firth of Forth – 39-49
Isle of May – 44-7

Lunar Cycling – Linda Cracknell
Rosneath Peninsula – 84-93

89 – ’Tide times are predictable; the tables are published long in advance. That our ancestors found them orderly is summed up by our word ‘tidy’, indicating ‘things as they should be’.

Plastic Megaliths – Hayden Lorimer
Archaeolink, near Insch – 97-107
A Thousand Huts – 102

102 – “Campaigners for ‘A Thousand Huts’ push the case for the countryside as a place to live simply and sustainably, where the prospect of owning a tiny home is more than mere #cabinporn.”

A Hand of Talons – Jim Crumley 
Sea eagles
The Eagles Way (2014) – 122
Tomb of the Eagles, Isbister, South Ronaldsay, Orkney – 123-7
Eilean an Stalcair, Stalker’s Island, Loch Tulla – 130-1

I Da Welk Ebb – Jen Hadfield
Burra Brig – 135-42

136 – “Why do we need islands as repositories for our yearnings, when reality is so much more complex and delicious?’

Mòinteach Leòdhais: the Lewis Moorland – Anne Campbell

What We Talk About When We Talk About Solastalgia – Malachy Tallack
Solastalgia is a neologism that describes a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change.

150 – “Like many whose lives brought early encounters with grief, I know well the dread of losing what I care about, the anxious anticipation of absence. It lives in the chest, that feeling, lodged like a parasite between heart and lungs; and it guides the behaviour of its host.”

From Ben Dorian: A Conversation with a Mountain – Harry MacKenzie 
Ben Dorian – 161-9

Around Some Islands – Amanda Thomson
Canna – 174-5
Mingulay – 175-81

Northern Raven – Sally Huband
Up Helly Aa, Lerwick – 186-94

At Dairmaid’s Grave – Dougie Strang
Dairmaid’s Grave, Cunside, Ben Loyal – 207-15

207 – “… my wife and I both understand the gift of space.”

Find the Ground – Karine Polwart
Fair Isle – 219-33
The Unst Boat Song, Unst – 215
Emma Perring – Da Fishing Hands o’ Fair Isle – 226
Lisa Sinclair and Inge Thomson – Da Fishing Hands – 220-32

220 – Inge Thomson: “‘On Fair Isle, you can always see the sea. You can always hear the sea. You can always taste the sea. Everything is immediate. The elements. The wind. Access on and off the Isle.’”

225 – ‘’’You know the old saying. Shetlanders are fishermen with crofts, and Orkney men are crofters with boats. In Shetland, the fishers are the heroes of the seas, the people all the songs were sung about,’ says Inge [Thomson].

From A Place-Aware Dictionary – Alec Finlay
Some words, redefined:

  • Anthropocene: us being too much for everything else
  • Horizon: a rest for the eyes; a day’s walk
  • Human: an animal with maps
  • Map: memory of landscape
  • View: as far as the moment sees
  • Walk: as far as a day goes

Imprint: Canongate Books
Published: 08/08/2020
ISBN: 9781786899798
Length: 304 Pages