- Best bit: Becoming part of the fantastic Dunbar Sings!
- Worst bit: The compound awfulness of Hawick Cashmere joining Hawick Knitwear in its troubles; and of already flood hit parts of the South being dealt another blow.
- Folk of note: Gordon from South Lanarkshire Greens who has an astonishingly good singing voice
- Miles travelled: 447
- Things I learned: 350,000 people travelled on the reopened Waverley Line in the first three months from September; the South of Scotland can lay claim to some phenomenal women poets from the same time as Burns; and Stranraer (which will be home to a politics festival in March) may well derive its name from the Gaelic for “the fat nose”.
“I had no idea this was here”. That was the most common comment I heard from fellow visitors during a weekend in Wigtown. The town’s annual book festival attracts writers, poets, playwrights and pundits as well as visitors from all over the world to Scotland’s book town, nestled in the rolling hills of Galloway in the South West.
ON the Summer Solstice (and Father’s Day) my Dad and I went to the opening of the Crawick Multiverse. It’s a huge 55 acre piece of land art by Charles Jencks on the site of an old coal mine near Sanquhar in the Nithsdale valley. It’s owned by the Duke of Buccleuch and he put £1 million into the project – more thoughts on that whole set of issues yet to come.
Until my thoughts have formed themselves, here’s some photos from the opening day…
In the last days of this parliament came one of the most interesting and useful reports I’ve seen in five years of the Scottish Affairs Committee. Our Borderlands, Our Future sets out a vision for the South of Scotland that tackles the lack of jobs with decent wages and calls for much better connectivity, whether public transport or broadband. Coming so late in the Parliament it risks being a “nice to have” document that sits on a shelf. That would be an enormous missed opportunity. Here’s five things the report recommends that should be implemented immediately whoever wins on May 7th. Continue reading