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.

Even in a landscape with an abundance of footpaths, bridleways and byways, a lot of paths are hidden from the public eye. The situation in Scotland is a bit different. Public rights of way are not marked and identified as such on Ordnance Survey maps. There is no definitive map in Scotland – unlike England and Wales – and rights of way can be lost through a non-use for 20 years or more. In The Hidden Ways Scottish historian Alistair Moffat unveils ten forgotten roads, about half situated south of the Antonine Wall. The Scottish Borders are Moffat’s ancestors territory. Each hidden or forgotten way is neatly embedded in its history, which is interesting. Moffat is not really a rambler, but het has a good eye for the road and the landscape, often referring to marks on the old Ordnance Survey Pathfinder series. He clearly prefers these one and not the more recent Explorer maps. Sometimes I have the impression Alistair Moffat is in a hurry, willing to end the trip as planned and not spend an extra day along his interesting selection of hidden ways. The Hidden Ways supposed to be also be a project, but the website gives just an overview of his book and a nice video preview on his walk on the old Roman Dere Street. I am looking forward reading his book on Lindisfarne, the island of tides.

The First Steps

2 – It prompted me to begin thinking about this book and the project that goes with it, about how vital it was to stop, get out of the car (or off the train or bus) and not to see the countryside through the glass of a windscreen or a window. Anyone who wants to understand  something of the elemental nature of our history should try to walk through it, should listen for the natural sounds our ancestors heard, smell the hedgerow honeysuckle and the pungent, grassy, milky stink of cowshed, look up and know something of shift in the weather and the transit of the seasons and feel the earth that once was grained into their hands.

Faltering Steps
Solewath, the Pillar Ford, Rockcliffe Sands, Solway Firth – 5-8

1. The River Road – Loch Tay to the Firth of Tay
Yew tree – Fortingall – 20-5
Crannogs, between Fearnan and Kenmore – 26-7
Stone circle, Croft Moraig – 27-30
Birks of Aberfeldy – 31-4
Freshwater mussels
Battle of Dunkeld – 21 August 1689 – 39-44
Roman legionary fortress, Inchtuthil – 44-7
Cleaven Dyke cursus – 48-9
Moot Hill, Scone – 52-4

30 – In a direct and obvious sense, the past never leaves us, it is embedded in the present, is veined through our beliefs, our diet, our traditions, our way of moving through the landscape and much else.

2. The Invasion Road – The Cheviot Hills to the Lammermuirs
Dere Street (York – Edinburgh) 
Chew Green and Kemylpethe – 58-63
Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Roman Governor of Britannia – 60
Woden Law – 65-8
Hillforts – 65
Towford – 72-5
Pennymuir 79-83
Whittin Edge – 84-8
Cappuck – 91-3
Divining rods – 96-7
Lilliard’s Stone – 99-100

3. The Road to Heaven – Earlsferry to St Edwards
Pilgrimage (to St Andrews) – 109-45
St Andrews – 110-9
Earlsferry – 119-22
St Andrews – 136-45

4. The Great North Road – Berwick upon Tweed to Cockburnspath
Elizabeth I and James VI (I) – 147-52
Berwick upon Tweed – 152-5
Mr Corvi’s fish restaurant in Berwick upon Tweed – 154
Border Dyke – 156
Berwick Bounds – 157
Ayton – 162-4
Cairncross – 167-8

148 – Refusing to take to her bed and dismissing her doctors, she lay on cushions, attended only by the ladies of het bedchamber. Two of her dearest and oldest friends had died that winter and the queen [Elizabeth I] was much cast down, suffering from what contemporaries called ‘an irremovable melancholy’, what might be known now as depression.

157 – Each year, around 1 May, horsemen and women still set out to ride the Berwick Bounds, in what is now a ceremonial act. They have been doing it for more than 400 years.

161- It occurred to me that I had walked for many, many miles and, to my surprise, I had enjoyed the solitude. Not distracted by conservation, except occasionally with myself, I found that I gradually become much more observant, using my phone camera often to take pictures of whatever caught my interest. Much paster and much less intrusive than stopping and taking notes, the camera recorded my curiosity rather than getting in the way of it. And when I came to write down my experiences on the hidden ways, the photographs were much more useful than anything I could have hurriedly scribbled on a windy hillside.

170 – At first the journey between Edinburgh and London could take ten days in summer and twelve to sixteen in winter. The mail coaches averaged seven to eight miles per hour in the depths of winter. Fresh horses were needed every ten to fifteen miles, depending on the state of the road, and as the coach approached post houses and toll gates or turnpikes, the guard blew the postern to warn them, and also to have toll keepers  raise the bar to let them through.

5. The Road to Ruin – The Old Town, Edinburgh
High Street, Edinburgh – 173-89

6. The Green Roads – Glenelg into the Mountains
Drove roads – 191-205
Ratagan to Glenelg – 194
Kyle Rea – 195-7
Uplands of Glen More – 198-200
Kinlochhuorn – 200-2

197 – Scotland is patterned by hundreds of droving routes and many preferred to strike through the hills and mountain glens and avoid the hard surfaces of roads.

7. The Herring Road – Dunbar to Lauder
Dunbar – 210-3
Sabbath Wrecks – 207-11
Herring trade – 211-2
Doon Hill – 213-6
Witches’s Stone, Spott – 217-8
Crystal Rig Wind Farm – 219-20
Lammermuir Hills – 219-23
Roxburgh – 222
Lauder – 224-5

8. The Rail Road – Ballachulish to Connel
Duncan Kennedy – The Birth and Death of a Railway: Ballachulish Line (1971)
Battle of Culloden – 227-36
Ballachulish – 233-8
Castle Stalker – 246-7
Crearan Bridge – 248-51
Connel Bridge – 255-7

9. The Summer Roads
Chapmen/Packmen
Roger Quin – 261-71
Clyde’s Dale (horse) – 272-4
Ettrick Valley
Yarrow Valley
Hill shepherds

10. The Road Block – Stonehaven to the Edge of the Grampians
Cowie Stop Line – 285-313


Imprint: Canongate Books
Published: 01/04/2018
ISBN: 9781786891037
Length: 336 Pages