Off the Beaten Track - Historic and literary walks and some other diversions
Historic buildings at Culross in Fife
Visiting the historic Three Pagodas at Dali
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!
Another welcome addition to the site is a set of extracts from Matthew Parris' book "A Castle in Spain", describing walks in Catalonia.
A new article in the Guardian (30 August 2008) by Robert Macfarlane considers the book, "the Living Mountain", by Nan Shepherd, describing her thoughts and experiences walking in the Cairngorm mountains - a fascinating read.
In the first of several summaries of talks by notable mountaineers and storytellers, Hamish Brown describes his traverse of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, which is also detailed in a marvelous book: "The Mountains Look on Marrakesh".
Now a new twist has been added to the site - Walking as Art - see the story about "Land artist" Richard Long (not historical - but there was nowhere else to put it!)
- William Lithgow historic walking story
- Robert Barclay-Allardice historic walking story
- Extracts from Matthew Parris' book, "A Castle in Spain"
- A contemplation on Walking Alone, from The Summus Perspective
- Glasgow Public Health Pioneer Trail
- New Zealand Wars
- Verses written with a pencil at Kenmore Inn by Robert Burns
- The Living Mountain - Nan Shepherd
- The Mountains Look on Marrakesh - Hamish Brown
- Cambridge to Grantchester - a historic riverside walk
- Walking as Art