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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