A Scottish Summer
We think summer is one of the loveliest words in the English language. In the publishing calendar it can often mean a pause, a chance to catch-up with reading that’s been put on hold during the rest of the year. Here’s our selection of titles to accompany the lighter nights and some well-deserved downtime. This summer, as t-samhradh in Scots Gaelic, simmer in Scots – whatever it’s called in your part of the country - enjoy our issue.
Extract from A Handbook of Scotland’s Coasts taken from a chapter on Island Jaunts by Fi Martynoga Published by Saraband
If you tire of Edinburgh in the summer, it is possible to transport yourself to another world within two hours. It’s a small one but so full of interest you will not spend much time looking back over the water at the city.
Lying in the Firth of Forth, this island is almost as delightful as Iona but much less well known or visited. Its abbey, founded in the 12th century on a site already used by Culdee hermits, was dedicated to Saint Columba. Like Iona, it has been the burial place of kings and other nobles, and of large numbers of Danish soldiers. A ‘hogback’ stone, now preserved in the visitors’ centre, is probably a memorial to one of their leaders. It was Sweyn Forkbeard, King of the Danes, who paid handsomely for the privilege of committing their bones to an island grave, where neither dogs nor wolves might exhume them.
What is remarkable about the abbey is the survival of many of its buildings, intact, and even with roofs. The octagonal chapter house, the cloisters with refectory and dormitory above them, and part of the church can all be seen, almost as if the Reformation never happened. Being offshore, they avoided the excesses of reforming mobs, and the place remained partly used as a residence, the rest of it being allowed to slide into ruin. Its charm is in this state of decay, which allows the historical imagination full play, and also in its situation. The greensward and scatter of trees of this tiny island are compelling: so near to Edinburgh, ye...
Extract from St Kilda: The Silent Islands By Alex Boyd Published by Luath PressExtract from ‘Introduction’
Having carefully lowered my camera cases into the boat, a task sometimes made impossible due to the rising and falling of the sea, we then set off, my eyes fixed on that most iconic of sights, the ruins of village bay beyond. It was not however the empty streets of Hirta which fascinated me, but something more modern, something absent from the countless tourist images of the islands, and much less sympathetic to the surroundings; a Cold War military base.
Instead of a structure hewn from local stone, the concrete and steel of a crumbling military installation are what first greet the eye of the visitor. Foremost among these is the unsightly but essential power station which keeps the modern St Kildans supplied with electricity, the o...
‘If Hockney makes you think like a painter, Gunn makes you think like a writer.’
‘None of the faces wore masks – fear and hope, sadness and joy were etched on all the faces.’
‘There was a quiet, a retirement, a wildness, a liberty, and a solitude that had such a charm for us.’
‘The days are warmer and longer, the blossom is finally blooming on the trees and the Beast from the East is a distant memory as we look forward towards the end of another school year and the start of …
‘When antiques seller Daisy Graham inherits an ancient house on the Hebridean island of Garve, she’s daunted by its size and isolation. But the building, its jumble of contents, its wilderness of a ga …
‘There is only one way to enjoy the west and the islands during the summer, and that’s by boat.’
‘The song itself is hugely personal. It can reflect or represent a specific time in our lives, success or failure, hardship or joy, heartbreak or true love.’
‘In growth and in recovery, in adapting and in ageing, our bodies ineludibly change form – and with sleep, memory and learning, so do our minds.’
‘Capture the moment with messages, doodles, and photos for a lasting record of your event.’
‘”An intriguing and illuminating first collection, chockfull of interesting ideas about the natural world and ourselves.” says Jeff VanderMeer.’
‘Past dandelions already gone to seed and summer grasses’
“Look at those big round eyes! Could they belong to a monster?” Maggie asked.
‘This meteoric rise was lent some serendipitous aid by literary neighbours, Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg.’
‘The steeple’s clock was known as the ‘four-faced liar’, as each face tended to show a different time.’
‘This simple and self-evident attitude towards life seems almost strange.’