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Overview

The Western Isles of Scotland by Francis Thompson

From the Butt of Lewis in the north to Barra Head in the south, the Western Islands form a unique part of Scotland: a rocky chain of islands 130 miles long, cut off from the Mainland by the Minch as effectively as the Channel separates Britain as a whole from the rest of Europe. Despite their diversity in history and landscape, Harris and Lewis, North and South Uist, Benbecula, Barra and the smaller islands have been united by the struggle against a sometimes harsh environment, and the first to maintain their independent economic and cultural identity—whether against the 'Fife Adventurers' in 1598, or the land clearances of Victorian times which saw so many 'superfluous' Islanders dispatched overseas. But The Western Islands of Scotland is not a nostalgic look at a people in retreat. Illustrated with outstanding color and black-and-white photographs which emphasize the megaliths, castles, crafts and seamanship, Francis Thompson records a linguistic and cultural heritage which is now staging a forceful comeback after centuries of retreat. Many famous names have had connections with the Islands–MacAulay and Gladstone among them–while the traditions of the folktale and the ceilidh continue to produce successors to the Gaelic bard Ian Lom and the storyteller Donald MacPhee. Francis Thompson concludes with a look at the appeal of the Islands to outsiders, many of whom are attracted to crofting as a self-sufficient, "green" form of farming.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566633772
Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date: 01/16/2001
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.49(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements6
1An oceanic setting7
2Prehistory22
3Historic times33
4Island portraits51
5The Islanders93
6Island communities99
7The language of Eden140
8Outside looking in160
Select bibliography73
Index174

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