Sunday, September 22, 2013

Way Out Where?

Here is a view of the lighthouse on Bass Rock, built on the site of an old castle. Walking among the gannets here was a surreal experience, one I am not sure I would want to repeat.

Early versions of the books included a chapter on a visit to The Bass. But I cut it out as it did not fit the 'Isles of the West' theme.  But direction is relative, for someone living in Dunbar The Bass is certainly to the west.

This perspective became evident when I had my first article published. It was in Scottish Islands Explorer back in 2003 when the magazine was based on Fair Isle. The article was about a visit to North Rona, and I anxiously waited for the magazine to arrive to see how the story looked. (This was long before you'd get a PDF to proof). When the magazine arrived what did I see on the cover? A teaser for the story that read: "Rona: Way out West", and here I was thinking I had ventured way up north. But to Linda Grieve, putting the magazine together on Fair Isle, Rona was not way up north, it was way out west.

Rona : Way out West
This directional perspective is also evident in Scottish Gaelic culture where "going up" meant a trip south, hence the term "Suas gu Deas" (Up to the south, or "Up sous").  A wonderful book that captures this perspective in an actual journey is Suas gu Deas by Angus Peter Campbell.

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