Whaur we cam fae: the Pechts

‘Whaur we cam fae’ is a tryptych explorin the history an explodin the myths o the last twa thousand years o Scotland. Tae ken whaur we ar gaein ye maun ken whaur we’v been. 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 …

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The Body Snatchers

Nae ower lang syne there wis a scientific revolution in Europe. Doun south ye haed Newton gettin skelpit on the heid aff an aipple, an extrapolatin out 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 Brítish 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 thousand year syne the human warld birlt about 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 out fae ashlars o sandstane the size o houses. 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 out tae her an the ither young fowk that war ben the hous that nicht: “’Mon ower an see this!” Her mither — ma grandmither — wis pyntin out the scullery windae. The hous …

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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 hous 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 hous’, and naebody will bide intae it. …

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Trains approachin?

Puir infrastructur is a belt about Scotland’s thrapple. Our 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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