‘The Spirit of the Highlands’

While the Scottish Highlands has always been a culturally-rich and internationally-connected place, it has been frequently characterised, since the eighteenth century, as ‘peripheral’. My place of work, the Centre for History, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, has collaborated significantly in recent years with Dr Graham Watson, author of this guest blog. Until retiring in 2019, Graham was Head of Service at High Life Highland, an organisation providing cultural, leisure and learning services on behalf of the Highland Council. Graham’s engagement with history, as doctoral student and since, has involved bringing to light the vitality of the region’s communities, and, in his work for High Life Highland, has been focused on cultural practice in the council’s locality, which is the largest local government area in the United Kingdom. While the topic of his post is not specifically ‘coastal’ like most on this blog, Graham reflects below on how historical research on the collective agency of Highland communities, especially that of the Centre for History team, helped inspire him and thereby informed the concept of the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’. This concept now has a dramatically-expanded regional and national profile, illuminated via the multi-million pound ‘Inverness Castle Project’, the biggest single heritage project in the region of the last century. [David, June 2020]

High Life Highland (HLH) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Centre for History have a long track record of working together, and from this has come a formal partnership agreement between UHI and HLH. But key to this has been UHI history and HLH heritage services, including libraries, archives, and museums. This partnership has included PhD students working in both organisations and action together on community projects. Thinking about the Centre for History when taking forward the Inverness Castle project was a natural development.

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One of the early developments of the castle project was to adopt the phrase ‘Spirit of the Highlands‘ as a by-line when describing the process. As with all projects, the beginning involves gaining support for the idea and building up a network that will help during the inevitable difficult periods.  In this case the search was for a phrase that encapsulated the idea that the Castle was both a world class visitor centre with a role to push people out to visit the rest of the Highlands (the basis of the business case), but also that it would be a showcase of the Highlands to the world.

The Castle project benefitted from an officers group made up of representatives from many agencies involved in the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal. The phrase ‘spirit of the Highlands’ came from a specific discussion trying to capture the essence of the project. No one person deserves the credit, and its success shows the benefit of collaborative working. One of the reasons for the success of the phrase is that it can mean different things to different people, again an important thing in the early stages of a project. For me, its meaning was rooted in my understanding of history.

The Highlands owe a debt to Professor James Hunter for his writing on a new Highland history, beginning with The Last of the Free, published in 1999 to mark the millennium.[1] This was so different from the traditional histories of the Highlands where, throughout time, external forces created great change usually to the detriment of the people. Jim’s book presented to a general audience a world where the people of the Highlands had agency and made decisions, right and wrong, that affected their own futures, within the wider framework of external pressures. Although it did not duck the bad, it presented an uplifting and encouraging picture. It was this that I wanted to capture with the Castle project.

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The Centre for History at UHI has come a long way from its foundation with Jim Hunter at its head. It is now a highly professional university History department, well recognised in the league tables of academic research. But it retains that spirit of engagement with its community, encapsulated, for example, in Jim MacPherson’s work with the Badenoch Heritage Festival, and Maureen Shaw’s doctoral research on Badenoch textiles, using the collections at the Highland Folk Museum.

The excitement I got from the Inverness Castle Project was the opportunity to research, display and showcase the best stories from the Highlands of how our people have responded to the pressures and opportunities around them. History is about people, their actions, and their responses: their ‘agency’ if you like, this being a term that Centre for History researchers have used in showing the vitality of Highland communities in the past. And in the Highlands, this is a magnificent and uplifting story that also has a present and a future. For me, this is what the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’ encapsulates. If the Castle project succeeds in showcasing just part of this, it will have been worth it.

 

[1] See also James Hunter, ‘History: its Key Place in the Future of the Highlands and Islands’, Northern Scotland, 27 (First Series)(1), pp. 1–14  https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/nor.2007.0003

Fractured Coasts: A Coastal History Roundtable

As announced last week on the Port Towns & Urban Cultures site, on Wednesday 22 July, 14.00 (UK time), our emerging coastal history and coastal studies online group will host its inaugural event, a roundtable on ‘Fractured Coasts’.

Our four speakers will be:

I will be fascinated to hear how the idea of ‘fracture’ connects with these four leading scholars and their work on the coast. Whether identifying multiple levels of coastal ‘fraying’ in the past, viewed from a kayak or an ever fluctuating ice sheet, or considering the destructive power of sand, both in environmental and social terms, in fragmenting communities, ‘fracture’ seems to have value as a term to reflect on. It is one that I’ve puzzled over for many years in relation to the pasts of places here in the ‘firthlands’ of the Scottish Highlands, where I live and work. To what extent has life around the coast been a troubled one – identifiable by political, cultural and environmental fragmentation, rupture and disturbance – as well as one associated with social unity and solidarity or, in a completely different way, liminality?

Wilkhaven

The format will be short presentations from each of our speakers, in turn, followed by audience comments and questions. We plan to record the event.

All participants must register via the link below in order to attend.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jul 22, 2020 01:30 PM London
https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEqc-ygrTgiE92eq_6-SQF70bg_LjPdBSS1

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For Twitter users, you’ll see further updates by searching and tweeting via the #FracturedCoasts, #CoastalHistory and #CoastalStudies hashtags.

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Thanks for your interest!

Best wishes,

David

Twitter: @WorthingtonD

 

Dr David Worthington,

Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland

Ionad Eachdraidh, Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, Alba

www.history.uhi.ac.uk

Coastal History – Responding to Covid-19 II

The first online #coastalhistory online meeting, on 16 April 2020, was a resounding success, with upwards of 40 scholars of the coast logging in. I will be in touch shortly with all attendees who have emailed me subsequently, with arrangements for a follow-up.

For those in other timezones, or any of who were unable to attend, we will repeat today’s introductory meeting at 10.00-11.00 (UK time) on Thursday 23 April.

Responding to the current Covid-19 crisis, the aim is, through informal discussion, to highlight and communicate detail about current projects and to encourage future streams and channels for research.

How will it work? You will need to log in to your computer or other device, be sure that you have both a working camera and microphone on and a stable internet connection. We recommend pouring yourself a coffee or a tea, relaxing, then clicking on the link to the website at the bottom of this page at the designated time. There is no need to book ahead or reserve a place.

Some themes we might wish to discuss at our conversation are:

  • Introductions.
  • Public histories – blogs, social media, possible workshops and other events
  • Current flourishing of relevant publications
  • Coasts and Covid-19; Coasts and climate change; Coastal dystopias; Urban coasts and rural coasts; Cross-disciplinary perspectives

If there are topics I haven’t mentioned above, which you feel strongly we should discuss, feel free to contact me by email at: David.Worthington@uhi.ac.uk

Why are we doing this? with many university-based historians and others working from home due to Covid-19, it struck me that it would help many of us to focus on our research theme through a different kind of forum. The #coastalhistory hashtag on Twitter has made evident the regional, national, transnational and global reach of the term these days and response to my tweet about it last Thursday was positive enough to make me feel that this gathering should go ahead without delay.

This will be a Cisco Webex Teams meeting and I will be moderating it from home here in Scotland.

The simplest way is to join the meeting is by clicking on this link, or copying and pasting it into your web browser (we recommend Chrome): https://uhi.webex.com/m/e9c1017a-3b07-4808-b2e2-9f8b44ecf909

Alternatively, if you have downloaded and installed Webex Teams* on your device, you can dial: 140822292@uhi.webex.com

If you would like to come using Microsoft Skype for Business dial: 140822292.uhi@lync.webex.com

If you would like to come in by phone (my understanding is that this is toll free from within the UK, but not from elsewhere in the world) dial: 020-347 85289 / +44-20-3478-5289 then enter 140822292# when prompted.

*For those that are Webex Teams users, please note that the Webex dial-in details should not be used as your email address when signing up to Webex. Do not try to enter the nine-digit number followed by ‘@uhi.ac.uk’ as used in UHI email addresses. 

Some extra helpful info:
If you receive a message telling you that you are in the lobby waiting with others, please hold on. Everyone needs to be let into the meeting by me, it won’t take long so sit tight and we’ll be with you shortly!

If you receive a message telling you that the meeting is full, try again in a minute or two…it just means the lobby is too crowded to let you in at the moment. As soon as I let everyone in, you’ll be able to get in too!

I will also endeavour to make a recording for those who can’t attend on the day. Also, perhaps we could have a follow-up meeting, to fit around those whose timezone made this one impossible? One other final tip: once logged in to the meeting, we would ask that you please remember to keep your microphone muted (as shown on the red symbol on the left below), unless you  wish to speak, in which case, ‘unmute’ the microphone (if you click the red symbol on the left it will go black) or else post a note in the ‘Chat’ space (click on the third button from the right to open that) and I can see that and then make sure you have a chance to express your point.

We are living in difficult times, but I trust this informal meeting will be enjoyable and productive for all involved. I’ll hope to see you and hear from you then.

Stay safe,

David

 

Dr David Worthington,

Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland

Ionad Eachdraidh, Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, Alba

 

 

Coastal History: Responding to Covid-19

Calling all historians of the coast.

We are having a video meeting, this Thursday 16 April 2020 (15.00-16.00 UK time). The purpose is to bring together scholars from around the world who work on coastal history. Responding to the current Covid-19 crisis, the aim is, through informal discussion, to highlight and communicate detail about current projects and to encourage future streams and channels for research.

How will it work? You will need to log in to your computer or other device, be sure that you have both a working camera and microphone on and a stable internet connection. We recommend pouring yourself a coffee or a tea, relaxing, then clicking on the link to the website at the bottom of this page at the designated time. There is no need to book ahead or reserve a place.

It is now over four years since the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference, hosted by us here in Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands. Since then, the number of books, articles, blog posts and other scholarly activity in the field of coastal history has grown in a way that is inspiring. I am delighted that we at the Centre for History have played a part in this, through: editing the first-ever full length coastal history edited volume; launching an online masters (MLitt) in Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures that is attracting students locally and globally, and continuing to run this blog. Meanwhile, there has been plenty of discussion about follow-up activities and networking grant applications with those I know, much is going on out there involving those working on littoral pasts – histories of the spaces between land and sea – which I have yet to learn about, and there are others who are working on ‘terraqueous’ themes who haven’t yet thought of themselves as ‘coastal historians’.

Some themes we might wish to discuss at our conversation are:

  • Introductions.
  • Public histories – blogs, social media, possible workshops and other events
  • Current flourishing of relevant publications
  • Coasts and Covid-19; Coasts and climate change; Coastal dystopias; Urban coasts and rural coasts; Cross-disciplinary perspectives

If there are topics I haven’t mentioned above, which you feel strongly we should discuss, feel free to contact me by email at: David.Worthington@uhi.ac.uk

Why are we doing this? with many university-based historians and others working from home due to Covid-19, it struck me that it would help many of us to focus on our research theme through a different kind of forum. The #coastalhistory hashtag on Twitter has made evident the regional, national, transnational and global reach of the term these days and response to my tweet about it last Thursday was positive enough to make me feel that this gathering should go ahead without delay.

This will be a Cisco Webex Teams meeting and I will be moderating it from home here in Scotland.

The simplest way is to join the meeting is by clicking on this link, or copying and pasting it into your web browser (we recommend Chrome): https://uhi.webex.com/m/e9c1017a-3b07-4808-b2e2-9f8b44ecf909

Alternatively, if you have downloaded and installed Webex Teams* on your device, you can dial: 140822292@uhi.webex.com

If you would like to come using Microsoft Skype for Business dial: 140822292.uhi@lync.webex.com

If you would like to come in by phone (my understanding is that this is toll free from within the UK, but not from elsewhere in the world) dial: 020-347 85289 / +44-20-3478-5289 then enter 140822292# when prompted.

*For those that are Webex Teams users, please note that the Webex dial-in details should not be used as your email address when signing up to Webex. Do not try to enter the nine-digit number followed by ‘@uhi.ac.uk’ as used in UHI email addresses. 

Some extra helpful info:
If you receive a message telling you that you are in the lobby waiting with others, please hold on. Everyone needs to be let into the meeting by me, it won’t take long so sit tight and we’ll be with you shortly!

If you receive a message telling you that the meeting is full, try again in a minute or two…it just means the lobby is too crowded to let you in at the moment. As soon as I let everyone in, you’ll be able to get in too!

I will also endeavour to make a recording for those who can’t attend on the day. Also, perhaps we could have a follow-up meeting, to fit around those whose timezone made this one impossible? One other final tip: once logged in to the meeting, we would ask that you please remember to keep your microphone muted (as shown on the red symbol on the left below), unless you  wish to speak, in which case, ‘unmute’ the microphone (if you click the red symbol on the left it will go black) or else post a note in the ‘Chat’ space (click on the third button from the right to open that) and I can see that and then make sure you have a chance to express your point.

Coastal 3

 

We are living in difficult times, but I trust this informal meeting will be enjoyable and productive for all involved. I’ll hope to see you and hear from you then.

Stay safe,

David

 

Dr David Worthington,

Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland

Ionad Eachdraidh, Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, Alba

Tentsmuir Forest – Of Geomorphological and Military History Interest

P1020660Brian Parker is a student at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands, enrolled on our MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures. A one-time nuclear physicist and later environmental scientist, on retirement he took an academic interest in history and obtained qualifications in local history and military history. The attractions of the current course, for him, are the Norse and Gaelic history of the Highlands and Islands, together with the archaeology of the Neolithic and, not least, the nature of ‘Islandness’, having lived on Anglesey for some years [David].

Those who walk coastal paths cannot help but be aware of geomorphological processes at the land-sea interface, particularly those of cliff and beach erosion, which tend to be both episodic and spectacular. Every winter some part of England’s South West Coast Path, for instance, has to be fenced off because of a cliff fall and a diversionary new route found. This is especially so on the Jurassic coast near Lyme Regis which has relatively frequent landslips after heavy rain. In this case, any instinct regretting the loss of land to the sea is more than offset by the cliff material being fossiliferous and each landslip is scoured by expert and amateur fossil hunters searching for the ultimate prize, a complete ichthyosaur.

The opposite of erosion, accretion, is usually less obvious to the viewer when it is year-on-year overall addition to the beach material. With beach accretion tending to be Darwinian in its change with time, it is often difficult for the casual observer to judge the extent and rate of that change without reference to old maps unless there are one or more markers to indicate where the tide line was at a particular time in the past.

Tentsmuir Forest at the north-eastern part of the Kingdom of Fife has beaches which are strongly accreting and there are also time markers in the form of WW2 concrete defences. The area was formerly sand dunes and moorland, acquired by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s as part of the urgent replanting programme following the exhaustion of timber supplies during WW1. The current owners are Forestry Commission Scotland. The north eastern tip of the area, outside the forestry plantations, is a National Nature Reserve, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The concrete defences of anti-tank blocks, with pill boxes at intervals, were installed in 1941 to deter possible German invasion from Norway. The SNH statement on the Reserve offers the view that the ‘line of anti-tank blocks has fortuitously provided a convenient reference marker for measuring coastal change’.[1] This is certainly so off the northern edge of the forest, at the mouth of the Firth of Tay, where the concrete blocks, sometimes referred to as ‘dragon’s teeth’, are exposed on the foreshore. Along the eastern side of the forest most of the blocks have disappeared under accreting sand, only occasionally visible where dune hollows have developed. An example can be seen in the first photograph, which shows an exposed pill box and concrete block. The pill box slit is facing seawards but well below the crest of the dune which continues to the right of the picture. About 10m from the pill box, the dune crest offers a prospect of the developing shore, as shown in the second photograph.  The vegetated series of dunes in the middle distance form a newly developing ridge above high tide. The current shoreline on the far side of the ridge is 200m from the pillbox, which was at the shore line in 1941, representing about 2½ m accretion per year. In the nature reserve, even faster accretion rates are observed.

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These anti-invasion defences are of interest to military historians. They were built by the Podhalan Brigade of the Polish Army, who, according to Lech Muszynski, the son of the Medical Officer in the Brigade, had arrived at Tentsmuir by the circuitous route of escape from Poland in 1939, being part of the expeditionary force at Narvik in 1940, transferred to France and being evacuated at Dunkirk.[2]  This second hand oral reminiscence may not be entirely accurate, the time-table being extremely tight to include Dunkirk, but the survival of the unit to eventually arrive at Tentsmuir is indeed remarkable.

P1030093The Poles left traces of their time in the forest. On the track to a farm just before the entry gate to the forest is a bridge with sandstone walls. Wartime graffiti is evident in scratches on the stone, mostly too faint to interpret but one is more deeply inscribed and is legible, as shown in the photograph. It reads: ‘GDANSK/POLAND/S.V.1941’. This inscription is enigmatic; it is written in English and the letter ‘v’ is not part of the Polish alphabet.

 

P1030100Not far from the inscribed bridge, deep in thick scrub of the forest, are remains of the Polish camp. Some of the brick walls of the central cookhouse building still stand, plus those of a covered well. The walls of the well are cement rendered and are inset with a finer coloured render in the form of a ‘heraldic’ shield. The markings on the shield are much decayed and not easy to interpret but the general features are discernible. The left panel of the shield has the crowned Polish eagle, facing outwards; the wing feathers are evident as also is the fearsome hooked beak. The right panel has the Scottish lion facing inwards. A feature of this, just visible in the photograph, are the long-extended claws. The lower panel shows the Scottish thistle. The artist who impressed these designs into the render clearly had talent. Further details about the camp and a marginally better photograph of the shield are available at Canmore.[3]

 

P1030131The Poles remained at Tentsmuir throughout the war, manning the defences they had put in place and carrying out other construction. One such was an observation tower facing into a bombing range at sea. It is possible to imagine nervousness on the part of the observers when an approaching aircraft delayed in dropping its bombs.  The observation tower is now a holiday cottage.

 

 

[1]  Scottish Natural Heritage on-line at:  http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/nnr/Tentsmuir_NNR_The_Reserve_Story.pdf.

[2] Lech Muszynski, The Polish Army Camp at Tentsmuir Forest, transcript of an oral history recording by Forest Heritage Scotland, available on-line at http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/activities/heritage/world-war-two/world-war-tw-sites/tentsmuir-ww2-defences

[3] For further research on wartime Tentsmuir, see https://canmore.org.uk/site/141482/tentsmuir-forest

The photographs were taken by the author, who may be contacted at brianhenryparker@gmail.com.

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Assessing Coastal Character and Planning Marine Spaces

Charlotte PhotoOur latest guest blog post is by Charlotte Slater. Charlotte was brought up and schooled in Orkney before heading to the mainland to study a BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. Having a keen interest in the marine environment, she transferred the skills and knowledge gained at university and became a Marine Spatial Planning Officer, based at the NAFC Marine Centre, Shetland.

The Shetland Coastal Character Assessment began in 2014 as ongoing work of the Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan. Survey work was completed in 2016 and the final edition is due to be published this summer (2017). A coastal character assessment is a method of assessment similar to the landscape character assessments that were done across the UK in the 1990s and early 2000s. The purpose is to look at the variety of components which make up the coast, including the geology, industrial uses, character types, aesthetics and the historical elements so as to obtain a comprehensive overview. The document can be used by planners and developers to get a more in depth view of a given area.

When I saw the call for the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference, I was immediately interested. I have always enjoyed history and having lived on islands, Orkney and now Shetland, for most of my life, coastal history is embedded in daily life. Although I had this personal interest in the subject area, I had also been awarded a small grant from the Carnegie Trust at the end of 2014 to create a number of art pieces that could be used to engage the public in the coastal character assessment project. So the art exhibition that was running alongside the conference fitted perfectly. The main piece I brought was a 3D contour map at 1:50,000 scale of the Shetland Islands which stands at over two metres tall and instantly grabs people’s attention. I got some great responses from folk at the conference and many were interested in the ongoing work of the coastal character assessment as well.DSC_0157

I really enjoyed taking part in the conference. I found the papers, including John Gillis’s keynote speech in Dornoch Cathedral, gave me much to reflect on in my own research. Joanna Hambly’s paper on the Zulu fleet found in Findhorn Bay was also interesting, showing that there is much about the coast that is hidden right beneath our noses. Over the course of the conference, I began to consider the possibility that coastal history could have far more significance within marine spatial planning than it currently does.

There was a real sense of community throughout the conference, with local interest groups and businesses taking part in the exhibition, the local school serving lunches and selling their products to raise money and members of the public attending too. It was great to see such a positive reaction from the community, driving home that public engagement is so important, which was also reflected in a number of the papers presented involving research conducted using volunteers. Overall, I think it increased the whole success of the conference and was a great example for other events of how a local input can enhance the whole experience.

The ‘Firth and Fjords’ conference has inspired me to consider coastal history more in my own research. Although I am part of the marine spatial planning team at NAFC Marine Centre, the maritime heritage of Shetland has greatly influenced the islands today and looking back, I believe, can really help understand and plan for the future, which is a large component for marine spatial planning. I have also begun an Island Studies masters since attending the conference. Considering the past of the islands I have looked at has become an important part of understanding the cultural, economic and environmental impacts of the islands today.

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Since taking part in the conference, the exhibition pieces have been on show in Shetland and at the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney, with a couple of new items added which look at the Shetland dialect in relation to the sea and land. There is also a funding bid which has been submitted, to carry out a small maritime heritage project on a number of the outer islands in Shetland over the next year which, if successful, will be an exciting opportunity for learning more about Shetland’s past. By considering past uses of the coast around Shetland, it will be easier to see the influences this has had on the islands’ culture and industries that are prominent today and which feed into the next marine plan for Shetland.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Centre for History for allowing me to take part in such a fantastic conference and for inspiring my continued research, offering me a new perspective to consider in relation to marine spatial planning.

 

House and home: migration between Scotland and Poland as viewed from the north Highland parish of Nigg

‘NASZ-DOM’. The letters on the house sign were startling. They looked Polish. In this context, ‘nasz dom’  meant ‘our home’.

Walking or driving around the north side of the outer Cromarty Firth always inspires or challenges me. But on this day in 2009, I’d set out to explore a Polish connection with Ankerville, in particular. Earlier in the afternoon, and looking westwards, I’d been reminded, additionally, of some wartime ‘sites of memory’ of a Polish nature to the west. And now there was this house sign. This coastscape was presenting me with reminder after reminder of a circular migration to and from Poland leading back to the 1600s.

Nigg is known today for the oil- and renewables-based activity associated with its firth-side yard. But the village and parish developed from a Pictish impetus. It remained a largely Gaelic-speaking community (like much of the rest of Easter Ross) until the twentieth century, and had, at times, a marked religious identity, as seen, for example, in the revival led by ‘The Men’ (Na Daoine) after 1739.

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How did Nigg become also a key element of a transnational space linking Scotland and Poland in – as it seemed to me that 2009 day – an almost uncanny way?

Sometime in the 1720s, Alexander Ross – a merchant who had settled with a wife and two children in the Polish city of Cracow – made the decision to become a return migrant. By way of Scots Law, Ross received possession, in 1721, of the land and immovables of Easter Kindeace, just north of today’s Nigg village. Ross chose to rename his new Highland property ‘Ankerville’, an ‘anker’ being a measure of volume, dry or liquid, held in a barrel.[1] Subsequent accounts suggest that, metaphorically-speaking, any celebratory homecoming glass may have been half empty, tidal flooding being not the only fluid situation he had to deal with.[2] Richard Pococke, Anglican Bishop of Meath, travelled through the area later in the century, and was appalled by the story of Alexander’s life in Poland and his return. Influenced by an emerging, in part, pejorative stereotype, both of the Scottish Highlands and, in a very different way, Poland, Pococke’s account related that:

…we came to Ancherville, formerly the seat of one of the name of Ross, who from a very low beginning went into the service of Augustus of Poland… …and being the only person who could bear more liquor than his Majesty, got to be a Commissary, came away with the plunder of churches &c. in the war about the Crown of Poland, purchased this estate of £100 a year, built and lived too greatly for it, was for determining all things by the Sabre; and died much reduced in his finances between twenty and thirty years agoe.[3]

Pococke wasn’t the last to remember Ross’s return across the Baltic and North Sea. As late as the mid-nineteenth century, a local pointed out to the Cromarty-born writer, Hugh Miller, a ‘ghost story, that made some noise in its day; but it is now more than a century old’.[4]  Its spectral subject was Ross, who the people of Nigg had come to know as the ‘Rich Polander’. Miller’s informant told him that:

…almost every evening, the apparition of the Polander, for years after his decease, walked along that road. It came invariably from the east, lingered long in front of the building, and then, gliding towards the west, disappeared in passing through the gateway. But no one had courage enough to meet with it, or address it.[5]

Other details of the ghost story had, by Miller’s time, long since been forgotten.

In nearby Invergordon, a Polish War Memorial survives today and is the location for an annual remembrance service for those who arrived in the Second World War to serve the allied cause, many of them settling in the area thereafter. For example, the late Józef ‘Joe’ Zawiński (1923-2011) found himself there as a survivor of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, helped both to build the camp and, after the war, the monument. Much later, he assisted with organising and hosting the annual Invergordon service.

inverg-iii

Perhaps it was one of those Polish ex-soldiers who had made a home so close to Ankerville at ‘Nasz-Dom’? The current residents aren’t sure and so I’d be delighted if any reader of this post could let me know.

As an historian who has written on Scotland and early modern Europe, I’ve been inspired by the likes of Murdoch, Grosjean, Mijers, Zickermann, and too many other leading lights to mention here (see Chapter Sixteen of this for the most recent overview). As regards Poland, I completed my PhD at Aberdeen, at a time when Dukes, Macinnes, and then Frost and Friedrich, were starting to give new energy to Scottish historical research on the theme.  The recent works of, for example, Kowalski,  Bajer, Kalinowska  and Gmerek, have guided and informed my latest research, publication and commitment to online public engagement (alongside Joanna Kopaczyk of the University of Edinburgh) on how Scottish-Polish connections have been remembered.

I migrated to make my home further north in Easter Ross too. Because of that, I find that this evidence of the interaction of history and memory, of repeated to-and-fro travel across borders, puts our twenty-first century world’s fixation with national frontiers, and its frequent xenophobia, into context. Poles in Scotland today (have a look via the links that follow for evidence of some relevant heritage groups and activities) are making a full-blooded, profound contribution. They are presenting themselves – with depth and imagination – as part of an historical tie with this country going back centuries. An extraordinary example springs to mind. Through community workshops, a book, a Wojtek Memorial Trust and now an Edinburgh monument, a beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking brown bear has become a visible symbol of that Scottish-Polish history and, more broadly, of the triumph of humanity and hope in a time of adversity.

I’m fairly sure that there will never be a re-created ‘Sandy the Friendly Ghost’ to compete with Wojtek (or now, Baśka the polar bear) for people’s affections. It’s quite a weird thought to even consider. But the coastal and marine world that linked Bayfield, Nigg, with the Bay of Gdańsk and then inland via the Vistula, is a microcosm of that extraordinary connection via the North Sea and Baltic that we’re still learning about and that our students at the University of the Highlands and Islands are doing short courses on today. In its transnational complexity, it speaks of the historical and contemporary challenges of migration: mental health and language are two areas where exciting new projects are in place and further plans afoot, these having been the subject of discussion at a 2016 Inverness conference in which I played a small part. Second, it shows that, with a mix of adequate support from their hosts and determination, migrants can sometimes move on from tents, huts, sleeping bags on the beach, whatever their initial, bare shelter might be, towards finding that, one day, ‘our home’ becomes synonymous with their ‘dom‘.

Dr David Worthington, Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands

www.history.uhi.ac.uk 

Some bodies and groups engaged in Scottish-Polish heritage and public engagement 

Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh: http://edinburgh.mfa.gov.pl/en/

Cross Party Group on Poland at the Scottish Parliament: http://www.parliament.scot/msps/poland.aspx

Scottish Polish Cultural Association: https://www.scotpoles.co.uk/

Polish Cultural Festival Association: https://www.pcfa.org.uk/

Polish-Scottish Heritage: http://polishscottishheritage.co.uk/

Bloody Foreigners: https://www.pcfa.org.uk/bloody-foreigners

Wojtek the Bear Workshops: https://www.pcfa.org.uk/wojtek-the-bear-workshops

Scottish-Polish Historical Links: https://www.facebook.com/ScotlandPoland/

Scottish-Polish Links (@ScottishPolish): https://twitter.com/scottishpolish

Migrants Matter: http://www.birchwoodhighland.org.uk/blog/2016/3/2/migrants-matter

Feniks: http://www.feniks.org.uk/

SSAMIS: http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/ssamis/

Linking Northern Communities: http://www.scottishinsight.ac.uk/Programmes/Programmes20142015/LinkingNorthernCommunities.aspx

The Great Polish Map of Scotland: http://www.mapascotland.org/

The Sikorski Polish Club: http://www.sikorskipolishclub.org.uk/

Fife Migrants Forum: https://www.facebook.com/fife.migrants/

Inverness Polish Association: http://www.polness.org.uk/

*Thanks to current ‘Nasz-Dom‘ residents, Graeme and Denise, for taking time to help me and for letting me take the photo of their house sign.

[1] Francis Nevile Reid, The Earls of Ross and their Descendants (Edinburgh, 1894), p.22; David Worthington, ‘“Men of Noe Credit”? Scottish Highlanders in Poland-Lithuania, c.1500-1800’ in T.M. Devine and David Hesse eds., Scotland and Poland: Historical Encounters, 1500-2010 (Edinburgh, 2011) pp. 91-108;  David Worthington, ‘”Unfinished Work and Damaged Materials”: Historians and the Scots in the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania (1569-1795)’, Immigrants & Minorities, 20(10) (2015), pp.1-19.

[2] Marinell Ash, This Noble Harbour: A History of the Cromarty Firth (Bristol, 1991), pp.143-5.

[3] Cited in Nevile Reid, The Earls of Ross, p.22.

[4] Hugh Miller, Scenes and Legends from the North of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1869), pp.361-2.

[5] Ibid.

Dornoch dialogues: a supervisor’s perspective on a PhD studentship in history

On a bright summer day in 2013, a prospective research student from Canada stepped off a bus in a north Highland town, guitar in hand. The next three years impacted, not just on his life, but on those of the historians who would supervise him.

cormack-5

Like most academics at my stage, I’ve supervised a few PhDs. It’s a serious responsibility as the experience is often life-transforming for the student. I now see that the ‘Royal Dornoch PhD Studentship’ at the University of the Highlands and Islands has had a profound effect on my own work too.

There was some ‘prehistory’ to this. Since 2008, I had begun a conscious move towards the coast in my historical research. It was only from 2011, however, that a new possibility emerged. I became Head of the university’s Centre for History that year and was perhaps keen to make my mark in that position. Serendipitously, Neil Hampton, manager of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, and several of his colleagues, visited our Centre to let us know that the club would be celebrating ‘400 Years of Golf in Dornoch’ in 2016. Would we like to be involved? If so, what could we offer?

I jumped at the chance. With assistance from Centre colleagues, things advanced quickly. We created a proposal. Further chats and emails, and the extremely generous support of the club and the university’s Development Office, put the financial support in place. By the spring of 2013, an advert had gone out, interviews were complete, a contract signed and the guitar-playing Canadian, Wade Cormack, was preparing to wing his way over from Toronto Pearson to Inverness Dalcross.

The golf club hosted a hugely successful launch. Leading professional golfer, Paul Lawrie, was kind enough to attend, the events filmed for BBC News and broadcast on Reporting Scotland that evening. The university’s Communications and Marketing team worked hard and supportively with us too, while there were features also in the national newspapers and additional media attention back in Wade’s home country. It was a fine start.

Once Wade commenced the research proper on 1 September, the club were keen to keep his profile high. They encouraged him to meet as many of the donors as possible, to write a regular blog and to deliver annual lectures and other talks to members.

cormack-3

Each of the three academic years to follow was action-packed, but if I were to single out one, it would be 2015-16, during which Wade:

  • collaborated with staff and pupils at both Dornoch Academy and Dornoch Primary School to create a project on the history of golf fashions as well as a wonderful series (and subsequent exhibition) of artistic renderings of the town’s sporting past;
  • travelled to North Carolina and New York to speak, respectively, at the prestigious Pinehurst and St. Andrews Golf Clubs;
  • presented at the Captain’s invitational event in Dornoch;
  • was the main speaker at a gala dinner on Dornoch links, attended by several hundred, and which attracted members of ‘Royal’ golf clubs from across the world.

cormack-2

Wade’s alma mater, at Guelph, remained interested, and, as if 2015-16 wasn’t busy enough already, he delivered the second of two lectures at the ‘Scottish Roundtable Lecture Series’ hosted by the Centre for Scottish Studies there. He also spoke to the Rotary Club of Inverness, presented a paper at the annual British Society of Sports History  conference in Swansea, and sneaked in another talk at the Centre for History’s annual postgraduate research day in Dornoch.

It all seemed a long way from the more solitary joys and challenges of archival research and writing I had experienced as a PhD student. As his supervisors, we sometimes worried about the pressures on Wade. Doctoral students are human beings. In retrospect though, in Wade’s case, we perhaps needn’t have fretted so much. All the activity proved, as planned, to be complementary and, dare I say it, even enjoyable. Through regular meetings, the setting and re-setting of timetables, detailed and, I trust, prompt enough commentary on his work, the presentation of monitoring forms to the university’s Research Degree Committee and of annual reports for the two funding bodies, we were able to keep a close eye on how things were going.

The intellectual traffic between a PhD supervisory team and their student is sometimes seen as one-way. It seems strangely uncommon for supervisors to comment on how the experience informed their own work. Wade’s findings influenced my writing of two new Coastal History articles, encouraged me to lead on the development of a taught postgraduate module, ‘Sport in Highland History’, and helped the Centre cement its place in Dornoch via the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference in spring 2016, thereby providing some background to the distance-learning MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures, which we will launch in 2017.

Wade had his oral examination in October 2016. He has since submitted, and had accepted, his final hardbound thesis. As early as 2015, he had published an article in Sport History. But his external examiners have expressed their keenness for him to convert the thesis to book form. I agree wholeheartedly.

Thirty-eight months after the PhD commenced, I’m hugely impressed with everything Wade’s achieved. He was already a self-motivated researcher and a strong communicator the day he stepped off that 25X bus. But he did develop an additional skill set: a much greater ‘tightness’ in his writing, and an impressive thoroughness, rigour and clarity when it came to researching and presenting on early modern Scottish sport history. Out of all this he produced an excellent PhD thesis. Not only that, but he rose to the myriad challenges and opportunities of finding himself in a totally new working and living environment. For all of this, he, his parents, friends, the club, the Centre for History and the university have cause to be proud.

Pictish Diet: A Biohistorian’s Perspective

This latest guest blog is by Dr Shirley Curtis-Summers who is a bio-archaeologist at the University of Liverpool. I first heard her deliver a lecture on her research at a packed and very positively-received public event in Portmahomack in 2014. Dr Curtis-Summers also presented at the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference. Regarding that, one attendee highlighted the ‘excellent presentation by Shirley Curtis-Summers – didn’t think isotopic research would be my thing’ while others considered hers in the top three or four of the lectures they had heard at the event [David].

Day One of the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference and I find myself seated within the splendour of Dornoch Cathedral. The Keynote lecture, presented by Professor John Gillis, inspired me to think about ‘ecotones’, more specifically, the transitions between land and sea and between freshwater and saltwater ecosystems. Professor Gillis also stressed the importance of interdisciplinary research to understand coastal histories or indeed a ‘New Coastal History’, a term introduced by Professor Isaac Land who reminded us that “…many people are already doing coastal history without knowing it”. This made me think about my research, which is multidisciplinary, using archaeology, bioarchaeology and historical approaches to reconstruct past lifeways in medieval Britain and, more pertinent to this post, the lives of those from Portmahomack.

I imagined I would be an outsider at the ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference; a bioarchaeologist amidst a sea of historians. I thought of myself as somebody who did not actually ‘do’ coastal history much, yet the words of Professor’s Gillis and Land made me think otherwise. Hearing the many wonderful papers at this conference reaffirmed my opinion that coastal communities such as those from medieval Portmahomack were not liminal, remote or insular; they were outward-looking, innovative, creative and artistic. The wealth of archaeological finds from Portmahomack, which was eloquently presented by Professor Martin Carver at the conference, clearly demonstrates this.

Day Two and, with my ‘coastal’ hat on, I presented some results from my recent PhD research on the Portmahomack human skeletal collection. My research focused on reconstructing lifeways of Pictish lay and monastic communities and of the later medieval parish church community, using human osteology and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope techniques. The aim of my talk was to inspire dialogue on whether we can identify a link between the diet of the Pictish communities and the iconography on the Pictish cross-slabs, especially ‘watery’ symbols. I have been pondering this line of enquiry since my Masters research back in 2009 when my pilot study on the Portmahomack collection revealed interesting dietary results.[1] The isotope results from my research on Portmahomack diet suggest no fish was consumed by the Pictish monks and layfolk, yet large amounts were consumed in the mid-later medieval phases; a dietary pattern that is seen across Scotland during this time.[2] Very little has been done to combine evidence from bioarchaeology and the material culture to answer questions about Pictish lifeways and their interconnectivity between land and sea. New research is however emerging, which will combat this lacuna, such as that by Dr Kate Britton at the University of Aberdeen. However, can bioarchaeological evidence help elucidate the meaning of certain symbols on Pictish stones? There are various interpretations of the placement of Pictish stones and their symbols, which include links to rivers [3]; agricultural land [4], status or monastic boundary markers [5], and currently the most popular theory of some form of script or writing system.[6]

craw-stane

Fig.1. The Craw Stane, Rhynie (www.flickr.com)

The salmon and the Pictish beast symbols appear together on numerous Pictish stones including St Viegan’s, Golspie, Ulbster, Meigle, and the Craw Stane (Fig.1). Based on the isotope evidence, these symbols do not appear to represent a dietary link, although others may do, for example scenes of deer and wild boar being hunted on the St Viegan’s and Shandwick stones. The Pictish beast is still commonly described as a dolphin, an animal which has often been linked to Pagan representations of fertility, birth, reincarnation and the life force. However, some experts oppose the dolphin theory and are more inclined to refer to it as a composite marine figure (Isabel Henderson, pers.comm.).[7] Interestingly, Alistair Mack [8] noted that the Pictish beast (or elephant as he refers to it) is “as standard in pattern as the Burghead bulls” and that it must represent something very specific, but what? Did symbols such as the salmon represent superstitions that rendered the consumption of such watery animals taboo and do tales such as The Salmon of Knowledge in The Boyhood Deeds of Finn mac Cumhaill derive from these earlier Pagan beliefs? The short answer is we may never know (I know, infuriating), but by providing a multidisciplinary approach to these questions, we can gain greater insights into the interconnectivity between coastal communities, their landscapes and waterscapes. The coastal dwellers at Portmahomack (Fig.2) would have had some knowledge of fishing yet they chose to live off the land and were by no means dependent on the seas or rivers for sustenance. They did however consider aquatic animals and beasts important enough to depict on their stones and, in time, with the growth of the new Christian religion, fish were no longer taboo but became the chosen food, partly to reflect religious adherence on fast days. My talk at the conference received shared interest and agreement on the continued need for a multidisciplinary approach, but it also highlighted the shared frustration of the unknown, which is often the case where the enigmatic Picts are concerned; that’s what makes it all the sweeter a topic to discuss.

port-beach
Fig.2. Portmahomack beach looking over to Dornoch (photo: author’s own)

The conference ended with Professor Martin Carver as our intrepid guide on a group excursion to the Tarbat Discovery Centre and the Pictish stones at Shandwick and Hilton of Cadboll. I’m sure many of you have been to these sites but if not, I hope this beautiful poem will inspire you. It was written by Jenny Pestridge [9] who visited the Tarbat Discovery Centre on April 20th 2016:

PORTMAHOMACK
Peace hangs like a netted shroud,
Anchored from mountain top to monastery,
Woven by centuries of ancient bones,
Which once through faith,
Fired this holy space with the Glory of God.
Peace weights the clouds,
Covering the layered anguish of souls,
Whose cries are caught by the fishers of men,
In nets which once burst with joy and praise.
God, in the breaths between history, is still found,
Not entwined nor buried,
But alive in the living stones,
Whose prayers are heard eternally in the wind,
In this holy place.

Those who engage in multidisciplinary research often have many hats and titles and may now too realise that they ‘do’ coastal history. I have gladly added the role of ‘coastal biohistorian’ to my multidisciplinary sphere; hence I shall dwell within the liminal space and look to land and sea, bones and stones, words and wisdom. Rarely has a conference left me so invigorated and inspired; the people, the place (and the whisky) all contributed to a wonderful experience. It was very informative, fruitful and engaging, and the community involvement was a joy to behold. Many thanks to Dr David Worthington, the UHI’s ‘Firths and Fjords’ team, and the people of Dornoch. Here’s to the next one!

 

[1] S. Curtis-Summers, J. Montgomery and M.O.H. Carver, ‘Stable Isotope Evidence for Dietary Contrast between Pictish and Medieval Populations at Portmahomack, Scotland.’ Medieval Archaeology, 58, (2014), pp. 21-43.

[2] e.g. M. Jay and M.P. Richards, ‘British Iron Age Diet: Stable Isotopes and Other Evidence.’ Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 73, (2007), pp.169-190.

[3] C.A. Gordon, ‘The Pictish Animals Observed’, Proceedings of the Societies of Antiquaries of Scotland, 98, (1966), pp. 215-224.

[4] E. Alcock, ‘Pictish Stones Class I: Where and Why?’ Glasgow Archaeological Journal, 15, (1989), pp.1-21.

[5] M.O.H. Carver, ‘An Iona of the East: The Early-Medieval Monastery at Portmahomack, Tarbat Ness,’ Medieval Archaeology, 48, (2004), pp.1-30.

[6] K. Forsyth, ‘Some Thoughts on Pictish Symbols as a Formal Writing System’, in I. Henderson and D. Henry, (eds.), The Worm, the Germ and the Thorn: Pictish and Related Studies Presented to Isabel Henderson, (Balgavies, 1996), ch. 9, pp. 85-98.

[7] Grateful thanks to Isabel Henderson for her advice on Pictish symbols.

[8] A. Mack, Field Guide to the Pictish Symbol Stones, (Balgavies, 1997).

[9] Many thanks to Jenny Pestridge for permission to share her poem.

 

 

 

 

Discovering the Solway Firth

The Solway Firth is attracting increasing attention from scholars, these including one of our ‘Firths and Fjords’ conference speakers, Professor Ted Cowan, who referred to it in his excellent Dornoch paper from earlier this year as ‘Scotland’s forgotten frontier littoral’. Ann Lingard’s guest blog post is a different kind of contribution, which spans disciplinary boundaries in a convincing and refreshing manner. Ann’s area for study covers both sides of the estuary. It is an original approach, one which, in my opinion, allows her to identify, with verve, a history and a present that connects the adjacent coasts of England and Scotland in ways that are rarely studied. This is a piece of writing which conveys a great passion for the firth, its people, its currents, channels and margins – physical, social and cultural –  all of this highlighting Ann’s profound knowledge and sense of what can be both an appealing and troublesome place for those that spend their lives around or on it. (David)

The Solway Firth is special amongst firths and fjords in that it separates two nations, Scotland and England. The land borders were ‘debated’ for several centuries, but the marine border is a dotted line on a chart, invisible on the water.

The upper stretches of the sea and coasts are protected by a variety of conservation designations – European, English, Scottish. Although shell-fisheries and ‘heritage’ fisheries like stake-netting and haaf-netting have different rules and quotas each side of Solway, trawlers cross the ‘border’ as the weather and tides demand. Excellent cross-boundary organisations like the Solway Firth Partnership pull together the disparate threads of fisheries and conservation; lifeboat and coastguard teams from both countries work together.

The Solway – its sea and its margins – has such a strong character that it is nearly always referred to by its name, rarely as ‘the Firth’. It’s famous for its sunsets and the atmosphere of its wide shores, saltmarshes and ‘Mosses’; a presenter on BBC’s Autumnwatch from Caerlaverock Reserve called it ‘one of the last remaining unspoilt estuaries’ in the UK.

andrew's looking N to silloth

But this crooked finger of sea and estuary has been, and is, firmly in the sights of the energy-producers – West Cumbria calls itself Britain’s Energy CoastTM – with renewables such as E.On’s Robin Rigg offshore windfarm, and proposals for various schemes for barrages and ‘bridges’ and lagoons to harness tidal power; and plans for nuclear new-build at Moorside/Sellafield. Although the last of the undersea mines closed in 1986, West Cumbria Mining now has plans to mine undersea coking coal, and licences have been granted for Undersea Coal Gasification.

Some of these schemes, however worthy (depending on your personal viewpoint), have been advanced without regard for, or misplaced faith in, the Solway’s other special characteristic – its potential for huge Spring Tides, which can be as great as 10 metres between high and low water. For people who work on the Firth describe it, wryly, in unromantic language: ‘chaotic’, ‘unpredictable’, ‘it will kick you in the pants’; geologists and hydrographers use terms like ‘sediment-laden’, ‘changeable’, ‘shifting channels’ …

IMG_4348

During the years that I have been fascinated by the Solway, I’ve talked to people who themselves, or whose families, work along its margins and on the sea; I’ve met people who know about sandstone, peat, conservation, fisheries and bathymetry;  and wildfowlers, harbour-masters, stone-masons, artists and sculptors. I’ve been on foot and quad-bike to the far edge of intertidal mussel-beds to survey their size, and waded across the waters of the Firth on an old ‘wath’; I’ve stood up to my chest in the incoming tide, haaf-netting; flown over the coast at low tide in a gyroplane to understand the changing shapes of the shore and channels; travelled over the sea in a fisheries-protection vessel… And I’ve learnt the old names for boulders and rocky scars, and for peat-cutting tools and their uses.

Many of these journeys provide unexpected encounters and new lines of questioning, research and conversation and, throughout, everyone has been generous with their time and knowledge. Some whom I’ve met have lived here for generations, others are ‘off-comers’ – but amongst these coastal dwellers there is an intricate web of interactions and knowledge that crosses geographical and temporal boundaries. On both sides of the Solway, there is a shared respect for the changing and often unforgiving nature of the sea that links us.

As an illustration, here is a story, or interweaving of stories, which arose from serendipitous events and encounters.

The deep cove of Fleswick Bay on the Cumbrian coast is bounded by the high red sandstone cliffs of St Bees’ on which people have carved their names; some inscriptions date back to the 18th century and are blurred by algae and erosion, but the name ‘Judy McKay’ is engraved sharply and cleanly, in serif-bearing font. A few weeks after I’d mentioned this in an article a woman phoned me to tell me it was her name. On subsequent meetings she told me how her family had come from Scotland three generations previously; the men were quarriers and stone-masons. Her great-grandfather had sent red sandstone from their quarries near St Bees’ to America, in ships from Whitehaven, and his stone and his masons built the bridges of Cumbria’s Maryport-Carlisle railway. Her father used to carry his bike across the railway viaduct that once crossed the Solway from Bowness to Annan, to work at a quarry on the Scottish side – this Solway Junction Railway, branching off the Maryport-Carlisle, carried iron ore from West Cumbrian mines to Lanarkshire.

Underlying the red sandstone of the St Bees’ cliffs is the purplish Carboniferous sandstone, within which the coal seams, and the mines, stretch out miles beneath the Solway from Whitehaven. Some of the names carved on Fleswick’s cliffs are of miners from nearby Kells, who would bring their families to the beach during their annual holiday. The late Norman Hammond, who founded Solway Shark-watch, once told me that he would take miners out in his boat ‘to swim amongst the basking-sharks’ just off the shore – by way of thanks, one of those miners gave him a fossil freshwater mussel found in the mine. And now, as West Cumbria Mining drills exploratory cores under the sea, they use these ‘mussel-beds’ as markers for certain coal-seams; their lead geologist gave me, too, some fossil shells.

In such ways sciences and arts, histories and stories, and past and future industries, link together the coastal dwellers of the Solway Firth.

zapadnyy unloading molasses

Ann Lingard (Dr Ann Lackie) was formerly a scientist and academic at Cambridge and Glasgow Universities. She is a novelist, and writes non-fiction, www.annlingard.com . More detailed information about the topics covered above, and many others, are on the website www.solwayshorestories.co.uk, or the blog www.solwayshorewalker.wordpress.com. Ann tweets @solwaywalker.

 

Photos:

Flying over Moricambe (‘Hudson’) Bay, looking North to Silloth and Scotland (photo copyright Andrew Lysser)

The Bowness end of the Solway viaduct: looking across the Firth to Scotland

MV Zapadnyy unloading molasses for Carrs’ at Silloth