What, you may ask, has Highland Heritage got to do with wind and landscape? First of all, It is part of my Scottish culture which is greatly influenced by the Nature of the highland landscapes of my home turf in the famous Glen Arklet in the Trossachs (You may know it as Rob Roy country Ma'am) which has long been one of Europe’s most celebrated landscapes in literature, art and history. For example, here are some of "Greats" who used the Trossachs a the setting for their famous and occassionally infamous works. Best known are:-
Rob Roy MacGregor, Sir Walter Scott, Ruskin, John Manley Hopkins, Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Queen Victoria, Tobias Smollet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alexander Naysmyth, Alfred Breanski, John Ruskin, Jules Verne, Maj., Gen. James Wolfe, Dr. Archibald Cameron etc., etc. Not bad innings for a typical, sparsely-populated highland landscape. My Rob Roy carving using Glen Arklet as the landscape setting is an example of my own small cultural contribution to the heritage of this magnificent landscape. But my culture also includes such pastimes as woodcarving and illustrating my own botanical publications for example.
In addition to the culture of the Scottish Highlands, I have alsoimmersed myself in the cultures of the equally beautiful and very different highland landscapes of Iceland and Newfoundland. So I thought I’d share a little of Highland Heritage with you – in to the addition to cultural aspects inherent is some of the other sections of the website. The best example of landscape art with strong history message are the Gunnarsholt Carvings and also Strathard Landscapes in Library folders.
There's a few samples of my drawings which I did for my books and few surviving examples of my painting such as the Boreal Sunset and Bell Island.
When I turned 60 years old, I started learning to play a vintage set Great Highland Bagpipe (R.G. LAwrie c1915) - the ultimate instrument for majestic landscapes. For in-doors, I have an exquisite set the Scottish Small Pipes (made of Lignum vitea by Hamish Moore of Dunkeld). Icelandic mountains are my favorite venue for playing the Great Highland bagpipes - mainly because they sound so Heavenly in the crisp, and usually calm clear airclear air.
Carex Saxilittoralis.(Robertson's Little Green Sedge) Photo by John Maunder.
Botanizing is as much about art as it is a science. One has to trek countless miles across all sorts of landscapes for many years - even decades - for that rare moment of finding a new species of plant such as this extremely rare and beautiful Carex that I found along the coast of western Newfoundland.
In the 1970's I was frequently a guest on on radio and television. About the same, Memorial Unversity was offering a course on Broadcasting the intstucters drawn for loacal Radio and Television in St. John's Newfoundland.
Being media savvy is a helpful art particularly for managing or repairing highland landscape in society many critics with little skill or knowledge. So it is always helpful and even entertaining to be media savvy.
Professor John Hethering and one of his students forestry students who had flair for assembling a make-shift recording studio.
The makeshift TV studio was modest but quite adequate for leaning the basics of script writing and on-air presentation.
Over the years I have written many articles for newspapers mostly about trees, gardens and other subjects such as peatlands and peat products which, loosely speaking, are about lowlands rather than highland arts such as forestry on mountains (see Iceland page)
My pipers table features figures representing a ceilidh band with Mom & Dad, daughter and son. The wood below the the top was carved from Douglas fir salvaged from a beam of my office in Pleasantville, St. John's for almost 30 years. The top is from a yellow birch tree in Bay Despoir, Newfoundland. Labradorite was inset on the top and the figures carved from walnut.
A beautiful slab of Labradorite inset in Yellow Birch to allow for any dampness from the leather pipebag after prolonged playing that would otherwise staine the wood.
Playing a hymn on the Scottish Small pipes in a chirch at the base of Snaefellsjökull famous as the entrance to the centre of the Earth in Jule Vern;s nover "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" Been down there and done that and many times!
The wee pipes are sometimes called the "The wee Aberdeen Church Organ" Because they are too cheap to buy a big one!
My beautiful set of Scottish Small Pipes made of lignum vitea (the hardest wood in the world) by the celebrated pipe maker and musician Hamish Moore, of Dunkeld, Pertshire.
Playing my Scottish Small pipes in Bowering Park, St. John's
My vintage WWI Army Great Highland Bagpipes made by R.G.Lawrie of Glasgow.
A collection of historical bagpipes in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford - some are very large others tiny.
An example of my woodcarving as a higland art, in this case a model of Mt. Esja - the prominent mountain to the north of Reykjavik. It is used for modelling wind - katabatic winds in particular.
My Nephew James Brown of Galashiels posing beside my carving "Lady of the Lake on show in Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire for the Scott's bicentenial celeberation of his famous epic poem "Lady of the Lake".
It has become my custom to do a carving for a cover page - in this case for chapters IN BOTHE the WIND READER' AND LESÍÐ Í VINDINN
Have never shied away from multi-tasking; even though it seems like being dragged threw a wringer at times.