I'm halfway through reading The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. She was brought up on Orkney and returns after basically fucking her life up in London with alcohol addiction and drugs. She is quite honest about it all, staying on as part of the recovery process to work for the RSPB tracking Corncrakes - now virtually extinct in the rest of the British Isles. She over winters in an RSPB property on Papay where she spends a lot of time looking at the night sky. A much wider and personal account of life on the Orkneys.
Thanks for the Liptrot book tip..interested. O/T /sideways ..corncrakes. They nest, not in great numbers, Durness way, on Skye, Canna, Tiree, Colonsay and other places too. The North and South Rhins of Galloway is a pitstop on their migratory M1. I sit outside my tent in autumn in the dark and listen to them flying south overhead under the stars, calling. They stop overnight down near the lighthouse at the Mull too. Another pitstop..and discretely, still a breeding site...is in the environs of the Hope Valley and Hayfield in Derbyshire. They're around, just, despite it all. Nice bird : )
Re "Kenny" Brophy (as he is known by his adoring students), my guess is he's miffed that the mini-series didn't engage people like him to contribute. I thought it was crowded enough already! His passion is "build & burn". (Okay)
He refers to himself as Kenny too .
Would he really have expected to be on it .?
There is a slew of others more appropriate who didn't appear , but again it would have detracted from the entertainment .
The corncrake and cuckoo are probably the biggest nightmares for disturbed sleep in some areas ,particularly when camping .
Just below midgies in nuisance value .
If you are an anorak the cuckoo can be worst , you listen for the change in pitch in the call which changes by as much as a tone through the spring /summer and start thinking about that . At least the corncrake stays much the same .
Corncrakes do make a racket. Arran is infested with them. They do regular stop-offs on a hill of set-aside upland meadow pasture just outside Biggar. They sorta leap-frog their way to where they are going.
I shall say nowt aboot the Cuckoo but let Willie Soutar remind us of "coming over all Delius like"... been there in the sleeping bag at 4am...
HALF doun the hill, whaur fa's the linn
Far frae the flaught o' fowk,
I saw upon a lanely whin
A lanely singin' gowk:
And at my back
The howie hill stude up and spak:
There was nae soun': the loupin' linn
Hung frostit in its fa':
Nae bird was on the lanely whin
Sae white wi' fleurs o' snaw:
I stude stane still;
And saftly spak the howie hill:
Tiompan wrote "Of course he's right , but it's shooting fish in barrel , it was just entertainment with an archaeo slant ."
Hear hear! It is like complaining that Scooby Doo cartoons don't portray Egyptian mummies accurately.
Violet Jacob is mibbe no quite in the same league but another avian verse that is never far from thoughts , particularly in winter .
'Oh tell me what was on yer road, ye roarin’ norlan’ Wind,
As ye cam’ blawin’ frae the land that’s niver frae my mind?
My feet they traivel England, but I’m deein’ for the north.'
'My man, I heard the siller tides rin up the Firth o Forth.'
'Aye, Wind, I ken them weel eneuch, and fine they fa’ and rise,
And fain I’d feel the creepin’ mist on yonder shore that lies,
But tell me, ere ye passed them by, what saw ye on the way?'
'My man, I rocked the rovin’ gulls that sail abune the Tay.'
'But saw ye naething, leein’ Wind, afore ye cam’ to Fife?
There’s muckle lyin’ ‘yont the Tay that’s mair to me nor life.'
'My man, I swept the Angus braes ye hae'na trod for years.'
'O Wind, forgi’e a hameless loon that canna see for tears!'
'And far abune the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee,
A lang, lang skein o’ beatin’ wings, wi’ their heids towards the sea,
And aye their cryin’ voices trailed ahint them on the air –'
'O Wind, hae maircy, haud yer whisht, for I daurna listen mair!'
In response [to Brophy] Rachel Bell, executive producer of the programme, said: “People understand that national identities and capitals did not exist as such then, but it provides an anchor for a modern audience to get to grips with complicated subject matter.”
In other words: in the post-Brexit, post-truth age, who gives a rats about the facts? People are thick anyway, and we can come up with our own specious, [pre]historical narrative that suits the political movements of today.
I have never read that Violet Jacob poem before. Rather beautiful. When the last of my OH's family died eight years ago, our last stop in the road in the North East disappeared and with it, regular visits to a beautiful corner of Scotland. That poem speaks a bit of that.
I have a copy of a lovely little volume of Violet Jacob's called "The Northern Lights"but that poem isn't in it. I am sure I had another larger volume of her Scottish verse but it seems to have become lost in our house move last year. There's a wee job for the weekend....