I sat down to write something about gold prospecting in the Highlands, a story of the long forgotten mines that scar our landscape and the rivers where enthusiasts can still pan for tiny flakes. Distracted in equal parts by history and mythology it soon became apparent that the treasures that lie beneath the Scottish soil will not be found by miners and gold panning but by archaeologists and folklorists.
The history embedded in the stones that surround us has a refreshing permanence to it. Like signposts or a blog from the past, rocks can still carry meaning and lessons from history in our age of transient media. Tales that hark back to an era where superstition took precedence over science. These stories are old and have, no doubt, weathered over time - but the stones remain. Here are a few to entice you.
The current dispute over access to the now privately owned Rubha Reidh lighthouse, near Gairloch on the west coast of Scotland, has served to highlight the ongoing fascination that visitors have with these strange and incongruous towers, that leap up from our tallest cliffs and remotest of islands. Mostly from the Victorian era, these marvels of engineering are a reminder of a time of industry, increased prosperity and a ‘can do’ attitude that has stood the test of time.