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Extracts from      "A Castle in Spain" by Matthew Parris


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Off the Beaten Track - Historic and literary walks and some other diversions

Walking is such a basic aspect of human experience that it features widely in stories from the past, and in literature. 

In these pages we'll be featuring some walking stories from these sources, complementing the contemporary material on other parts of the site.  We will include reflective pieces linking walking and the human condition, and items culled from the media.

If you have a favourite piece from the past, or some enjoyable or thought-provoking narrative you'd like to see featured on the site, let us know.

The first two items have been provided by Norman Watson, from his archive of antiques reports for the Dundee Courier, and they demonstrate how hiking has long traditions in Scotland.

One concerns the wanderings and sufferings of William Lithgow, a Scot who travelled through Europe in the 17th century, and William Simpson who became a pioneering war artist two centuries later.

The second is an account of Robert Barclay-Allardice, another Scot who backed himself with wagers to perform feats of walking endurance around the turn of the 19th century.  He made use of an instrument called a "waywiser", which could be seen as an early predecessor of today's GPS technology!

> Go to William Lithgow and William Simpson walking story

> Go to Robert Barclay-Allardice walking story

Latest additions to this section:

Some walking stories reproduced from Matthew Parris' latest book, "A Castle in Spain"

A contemplation on Walking Alone, from The Summus Perspective

Jock's Road - an ancient track through the Scottish Highlands

Jock's Road - an ancient track through the Scottish Highlands