A new book has been published about Old Mortality, local stonecutter and character in Walter Scott’s novel.

In the Tracks of Mortality: the Life & Times of Robert Paterson, Stonecutter, 1716-1801’. Ian Wilson.

The book concerns the life of the real-life individual on whom Sir Walter Scott based his character ‘Old Mortality’. Robert Paterson was born in Hawick and lived and worked in several different parts of Dumfries & Galloway during his long life, including Lochmaben, Thornhill and Balmaclellan (and being based for a while in and around Kirkcudbright). The book describes the development of Scott’s novel and the contribution made by the antiquarian Joseph Train, and contrasts what is known about Paterson with the popular image of the character Scott created.

Continue reading…

Burns and Birds

Robert Burns
Robert Burns

At the January 2016 meeting, the speaker was Chris Rollie, well known local Area R.S.P.B manager, Robert Burns enthusiast, researcher and author on Burns.

His wide ranging presentation entitled “Burns and Birds” was an intriguing blend of History, Geography Literature, Poetry, Song and Ornithology. Clearly and enthusiastically delivered, it was warmly appreciated by members and visitors.

“Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire that’s a’ the learning I desire” (wrote Burns) and Chris Rollie explained how learned and knowledgeable was Burns about nature in general (things like flowers, trees, mammals and fish) and birds in particular.

Continue reading…