The Mamie Martin Fund has a particular interest in the new book by Dr Alasdair Allan MSP because the royalties are being donated equally to us and the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative. Moira Dunworth has read it and writes this short review:
“The book is ostensibly about a walk along the Scotland-England border but is really about the history, literature and culture of the area, the Scottish part anyway. It’s not really about walking at all. It is about how people lived, fought, died and remembered. The border did move a bit but not much in the last 500 years, other than where it is defined by the river bed of the Eden, and that moved in 1976, causing consternation to civil servants on both sides of it. Happily, ‘the Eden went obligingly back to its old southern channel in 1977.’
This very readable book is entertaining and not at all as daunting as it might look. The author’s self-deprecating tone keeps the reader on-side, ‘Alan and I take turns to fall down holes and drag each other out. I give up the pretence of being cheerful.’ He does have some pleasant walking days and he sprinkles the narrative with personal memories and stories, mostly against himself, which is delightful. Did he really once camp on a roundabout by accident?
The book is also littered with quotations from poetry and prose, some in Scots but translated where necessary. So most readers will emerge from this engaging book better-informed about the history of this area and the associated literature. It is highly recommended as a good read and a treasure to keep.”
You can buy Alasdair Allan’s book directly from the publishers, Thunderpoint Ltd.