Walking a political boundary

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Long a property associated with Mary Queen of Scots and the Jacobite cause
Traquair House in the Scottish Borders is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland

Molly Pollock runs her eye over Tweed rins tae the Ocean: A walk along Scotland’s Border by Alasdair Allan and wonders what this might tell us about the future of a national border Alasdair believes is the oldest in the world.

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan lives on the Isle of Lewis, is MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, a former Minister for International Development and Europe Alasdair was born and brought up in Ashkirk in the Scottish Borders.

So not really a surprise that his new book, Tweed rins tae the Ocean: A walk along Scotland’s Border is about the border between Scotland and England. The book is a product of an east to west coast walk by Alasdair and some friends, and explores the history, literature and language of what Alasdair believes is the oldest national land border in the world.

Cameron McNeish, author, broadcaster and mountain walker, has written the foreword.

Alasdair spoke about his forthcoming book at the recent Beyond Borders event at Traquair House, near Peebles, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house.

Alasdair says it should be no surprise that a book by a politician about a political boundary offers occasionally opinionated views, but he also tries to explain why writers (and reivers) down the centuries have been similarly fascinated by the area between Berwick and the Solway Firth. He also admits the book is partly a retort to those who have decided that the Border – and by implication Scotland – are not really there at all.

The ebook is 441 pages in length (there doesn’t appear to be a paperback version) – so certainly something for those of us who live near the border to get our teeth into as the days draw in. The book is available as a Kindle edition (which can also be downloaded to iPads and other similar devices) on the Amazon website.

Royalties from the sale of the book will be divided equally between the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative, and the Maimie Martin Fund, a children’s charity in Malawi.