There was recently a Dunnett mini-gathering in Orkney organised by Anne Artymiuk which she tells me went superbly well. I would love to have been there for I adore Orkney, as readers of my Modern Orkney Saga and its follow-up will know, but my holidays have been used up for this year (as described in my new personal blog). Apparently Anne, who moved to Orkney because of reading Dorothy’s descriptions of it, has managed to recruit some new Dunnett enthusiasts from the islands, so Dorothy’s ideas on Thorfinn will have some local adherents. It’s just a pity that with King Hereafter not being in print in the UK that the book isn’t on sale there.
While reading one of the newsletters I’m subscribed to I remembered to check a fairly new site that will be of interest to those of you who haven’t been able to visit Orkney or Scotland. It’s called Scotland on TV and is run by Scottish Television – who of course once had Dorothy on their board of directors. They currently have videos available that include a 4-part aerial survey of the Orkneys (The Edge of the Land) and a real Scots treasure in some extracts from the series of programmes called Weir’s Way.
Until his death in 2006 at the age of 92, Tom Weir was the grand old man of Scottish hillwalking and mountaineering and his programmes from the 1960s and 70s have become a cult amongst late-night TV watchers and internet viewers. A superb author and storyteller, his TV shows have a wonderful homely feel to them and his knowledge of Scottish history and geography is gently but enthusiastically communicated. Although the film stock and shooting techniques weren’t always the best you also get some fine views of the Scottish landscapes. Amongst the clips on show at the moment there are four (Weir’s Way – Leadhills, Parts 1-4) concerning the area surrounding the source of the River Clyde and the area and village of Crawford. An added bonus for bibliophiles is that it includes a visit to the historic little library there. Definitely recommended.
There are lots more videos to explore on the site – clips of the new seaplane service from Glasgow to Oban have some good pictures of Loch Lomond, while the film of the Isle of Bute also has some grand landscape. For those of you who wished they could make it over to the Saddle gathering earlier this year there is also an all too short clip on the Crinan Canal, which Dorothy and Alastair visited regularly. Those of you who know Cindy Byrne can get a brief glimpse of the area of the Kintyre Peninsula where she now lives and operates The Old Bookshelf.
Finally, best wishes to the Oxford Day gathering which is due to take place shortly.