26 April 2010

Gone peat worryin'...

"Have you packed your flauchter?" The question every apple-cheeked peat worrier's mother asks him as fidgets at the door, eager for the off. Being an orderly fellow, he will have already pulled up his thigh-length knitted socks, donned his Tom Weir bobble hat and refilled his hip-flask with a generous slosh of the Water of Life. His large unwieldy pack may look as if it will press the poor urban rustic into the soil, one trudge at a time - but its expansiveness is very necessary.

If peat worrying is authentically to be practised, the relevant texts must be kept forever at hand - and who can tell which of his hand cast tools he will find very necessary, out in the wilds? Equally, as he snuggles into his bothie of an evening, he will want some light reading to illuminate the inky watches of the night. Traditionalists would perhaps stick with the obligatory MacTavish's Guide to the Corrie Lochs of Kinlochbuie (1902). Those of a radical persuasion, keen to make the ancient art of peat worrying relevant in the 21st Century, might well prescribe John Baird's indispensable sedimentary pamphlet of 1887: Gritty Paps: Scotland's Story Through the Eyes of its Shale Bings. For light relief, as midnight approaches, our worrier  might well lay this aside and resort to a soothing verse or two from the traditional compendium - the Edinburgh Book of Crypto-Gaelic Verse. Pulling his mackintosh over his sleepy and lonely form, the bothie might hum for a moment with the musical lines of that favourite Highland love ode to a brassica-faced lassie, "My Tumshie Darlin'"

All of which is one way of saying that I'm going to be exceedingly busy over the next seven days, so anticipate the lightest of light blogging here.


  1. Hmmmm, for a full seven day trip it seems your reading is quite skimpy.

    You might consider adding to it the estimable Natural History of Gallinaceous Birds; with a memoir of Aristotle by Sir William Jardine, Bart. (1843)

  2. You're forgetting that LPW is of the legal fraternity and will have the tomes in both Latin and Greek for the purposes of comparing translations.

  3. Ah the simple, extended joys of legal inter-textuality!