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Hebridean Journey by Halliday Sutherland
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Hebridean Journey

by Halliday Sutherland

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This is an account of a few weeks Sutherland spent travelling across the Hebrides in the late 1930s, and he eventually clarifies that this is not intended as a travel guide. It's more of a trip report and while he takes in most of the Hebridean islands (Rum was still privately owned) he doesn't necessarily take in all the sights. He visits acquaintances and friends of friends; he knocks on croft doors to ask for accommodation and buttermilk; he recounts some religious history and local mythology; and includes any other diversions and conversations that entertained him.

His views are at times colourful (not to mention out of kilter with modern sensibilities) and it's sometimes difficult to tell whether he is deadly serious or seriously tongue in cheek as it's tricky to judge the attitudes and knowledge of the times (for example, he at times opines on something that I know full well to be untrue - but I don't know if this was common knowledge in the 30s). In other places, he's either having a good laugh or was an eccentric gentleman - he devotes some pages to recommending rising early when staying with friends even if it is not your usual habit, in part so they will think you industrious and in part because you will find they adjust their habits to match your supposed habit and make you a cup of tea (...but if you rose at 8 as usual rather than at 6, you wouldn't put them out and they'd still make you a cup of tea!)

This reads much like the 1930s equivalent of a blog - occasionally diverting, sometimes dull, and a bit of a curiosity. I'm glad I read it while travelling the islands it describes. ( )
  imyril | Nov 17, 2014 |
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An account of the author's travels through the Hebrides in the late 30s, describing the islands, their inhabitants and some of the sights and stories encountered along the way.
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