Bravehert: The truth anent William Wallace (pairt 2)

Edward Langshanks wis mairchin north, an a fecht wis inevitable. It wis ane the Scots warna likely tae win. Wallace at this stage makkit ae decision that wad gie his force an advantage. Kennin that the giant English airmy wad hae need o great stores o supplies, he draggit them deeper intae Scotland. Mair nor thon, he pit mony ferms tae the torch. Wallace, guairdian o the Scots fowk, set the fertile ferms o the Lothians ablaze. He wantit tae stairve England’s airmy.

The ploy wisnae faur awa fae wirkin.

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Bravehert: The truth anent William Wallace (pairt 1)

Wallace cam fae nae place, gaithert thegither thoosands o common fowk in Scotland wi some orra glamour o personality or skeel, an wi the grumly, switherin support o the Scottish nobility, he gied the English ane o the great skelpins at Stirlin Brig. But there’s sae mony haivers spake aroond Wallace that ye maun feel that MacDiarmid micht hae been scrievin as weel aboot Wallace as Burns wi the lines, ‘Mair nonsense has been uttered in his name / Than in ony’s barrin’ liberty and Christ.’

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Whaur we cam fae: the Pechts

The Pechts war warriors, fermers an airtists that ruled ower maist o Scotland throu the first millenia AD. They war the distinct fowk that emerged whan aa the hunners o wee clans in verra early Derk Age Scotland gaithert thegither. They spreid ae appearently homogenous cultur oot fae their hertlaunds in the saxt century, an suin Pechtland raxed ower maist o Scotland. Their name an the ends o their muckle launds ar commemoratit in the Pentland Hills, sooth o Embra, an the Pentland Firth aff John O’ Groats, wi Pent bein anither name for Pecht. There’s a guid amoont o haivers spak aboot the Pechts, an little truith. Lat’s here ging on a wee journey throu the story o the Pechts an sort oot whit’s kent fae whit’s keech.

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The Body Snatchers

Nae ower lang syne there wis a scientific revolution in Europe. Doun sooth ye haed Newton gettin skelpit on the heid aff an aipple, an extrapolatin oot fae that aa the laws o motion on earth. Up here in bonnie Scotland we haed a wheen inventors in mony fields makkin muckle steps forrit, biggin up a comprehensive kennin o baith naitur an the universe. But ae field o science couldnae …

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Rin throu the jungle

 Telt tae me by ma grandfaither, Andra Coogan. He haed been sent tae Malaya in Warld War II. I haed escaped the Japanese at first wi a gang o Sikhs. It wis deep in the Malay jungle, an the British sodgers, o which I wis a memmer, haed been telt that it wis tae be “ivery man for hissel.” An here I am, a lad fae the Gorbals wi …

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The porage revolution: Hou porage cam tae mak Scotland habitable

 Five thoosand year syne the human warld birlt aboot a different axis. Doun in Egypt the Pharos war biggin their muckle pyramidal kists, drawin their pouer fae the fertile launds abuin the Nile. The great Sphinx wis appearin oot fae ashlars o sandstane the size o hooses. Naebody speirt efter wha buir the gree in terms o humanity in thae days; it wis clear. The Egyptians, ane o the …

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The ghaist lichts

Ma mither wis fae the North-East o Skye. A clachan cried Stenschol at Staffin. She aye mindit me o ae nicht in the 1930s, whan she wis a lass o mebbe 25. Her auld mither caa’d oot tae her an the ither young fowk that war ben the hoose that nicht: “’Mon ower an see this!” Her mither — ma grandmither — wis pyntin oot the scullery windae. The hoose …

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Lat the auld witch burn

A tale telt by Marsaili MacLeod, a native o Strathnaver, tae Alistair Heather. Patrick Sellar’s auld hoose staunds on the toff’s estate doun the river Naver fae the clachan. The biggin itsel is cuttit intae twa; ae side is hame tae the ciobair — shepherd in the Gaelic — an the ithir side staunds tuim tae this day. It’s kent as ‘Patrick Sellar’s hoose’, and naebody will bide intae it. …

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Trains approachin?

Puir infrastructur is a belt aboot Scotland’s thrapple. Oor roads ar pithailed anachronisms. Boats tae the isles ar auld an dear. Fleein tae ony airt ither than London gars ye traivel tae ane o the central belt aeroports, doublin the cost an time o ilka journey. Scotrail is a mixtur-maxtur o the sorry an the sublime. On ae haund there’s a braw new electric service breingin atween Embra an Glesca. …

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