While these reviews usually cover Crockett's own work, here is a work which may be of interest to folk engaged in Discovering Crockett's Galloway...
In this new work, D.M.Gibson offers advice on how to undertake several excursions around the Solway Coast from the Powillimount Shore and the Coastal path, taking in various caves and arches and then offshore to Hestan Island. Many of these places are written about by Crockett, some with fictionalised names. To start at the end, obviously Hestan Island is Crockett’s Rathan Island. Most people are aware of The Raiders connection but not so many are aware that the island features in no fewer five other works by him. I have still to do a proper exploration of the contextual similarities between various other places named in this fascinating guidebook, but already find it offers the opportunity (with pictures!) to help fill in the gaps from the familiar fictions. Crockett writes of Balcary Bay and renames White Point Bay as White Horse Bay. Powillimount is mentioned in Crockett as is Southerness (as Satterness sometimes) The Needle’s E’e is also referred to on more than one occasion. Piper’s Cave and Brandy Cove seem like good possibilities for many of the settings in The Smugglers. If you are interested in trying to ‘find’ the Dulse and Aumry Caves, or the steps at Red Ha’an,this book may help. Further along the coast we find the footsteps trodden by characters in The Moss Troopers, and Silver Sand. As for the underground passage mentioned in The Dew of Their Youth, Orchardton Tower, also used as the setting for Silver Sand’s home Appleyard Tower, is still an evocative and interesting place to visit for those who cannot scramble the cliffs or cross to the Island. Armed with this book and Crockett’s works, much more insight can be gained as to this wonderful part of Galloway. And what better time, 125 years since the publication of The Raiders (the novel which effectively put Galloway on the literary map) to start exploring the places written about in this, and many other of his works. My own work, Discovering Crockett’s Galloway Volume 2 - Island and Inland gives the general reader a place to start from fiction and D.M.Gibson’s work offers a complementary dose of fact and good practical information to turn your imagination into reality.
I look forward to getting together with D.M.Gibson and ‘comparing notes.’ Crockett himself was interested in geology, writing: ‘Now these caves of the Solway are in a different rock to that which goes along the greater part of the seaboard. There comes in here and there a softer rock, of the nature of a freestone, which the water makes great play to excavate. I would that I could take you to see these wonderful spurs and arches that have been cut out of the rock by the genius of the water. There are many sorts of caves there and I used to play many a day by the length of Isle Rathan’, so I am sure he would appreciate Gibson’s book. And what’s good enough for Crockett, is more than good enough for me.
So how do you get hold of this book? It’s currently available in local outlets in Dumfries and Galloway.
and you can buy Discovering Crockett's Galloway (Volumes 1 and 2) from the Crockett Collection at www.unco.scot
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