John Muir, faither o the great National Parks o the United States o America, features in this classic programme fae simmer 2016. Frieda gings doon tae Dunbar, Muir’s hame toon, tae experience the Coastword festival.
2016 wis the centenary year o the foondin o baith the National Parks an the Park Ranger service in the States, sae that country was haein money celebrations aroon aboot it, an aroon John Muir. We were jyned in the studio bi North-Easter an past curator o the Embra Botanical Gairdens Dave Mitchell.
Dave telt us that Muir realised a hunner an mair year syne the importance o ‘healin an energisin pooer o nature was fir each an every one o us. He recognised that haun oot intae nature wis good fir his ain wellbeing, an fir the rechargin o his batteries.’
He quotit fae Muir hissel, ‘climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy while the cares will drop away from you like leaves.’
Lug in tae hear mair fae Dunbar and anent the kenspeckle bairn o Dunbar that went on tae be sae weel-kent in American, John Muir, wha wad ging oot aroon Dunbar an recreate the Wars o Independence an the rest wi his pals afore he flittit owre the seas tae change the warld.
Later on, we heard fae Scots Radio’s ain treisured past Park Ranger, Fred Gordon, lang-time freend o the programme, wha taks us oot intae deep Aiberdeenshire fir a luikie at the auld smuggler’s roads.
Oot in bonnie Glen Nochty, Strathdon, in the Cairngorms National Park, we hear aboot the whisky smugglers.
Fae the spot they staun, Frieda an Fred can luik up tae Glenlivet, Speyside, whaur the dey the vast bulk o Scotland’s whisky is distilled. It wis aye thus, wi the guid waters o the Spey, alang wi the remoteness o the area fae centres o law an order, makkin the region perfect fir distillation.
Nae far awa is the road owre the Lecht, hame the dey o a ski centre, but aince a gey important drove road. The route wis ane o several used by the drovers wha’d bring the kye doon the tracks tae Alford an the mart there, whaur they’d find a drouthy mercat fir the whisky, as weel’s buyers fir the kye.
Its unco eerie tae ponder, but the land there noo is nearly toom entirely. In the recent past, as Fred tells us, there wad hae been hunners o fowk bidin there, an aa these drovers an traivellers o various sorts stravaigin aboot the place. It wadnae hae been the peacefu airt we ken the dey, but it wad hae been gey bonnie aa the same.
The featured album o the programme is Buchan loun Pete Coutts’ superb 2016 Northern Sky.