Secret History of Here
A Year in the Valley
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Publisher: Canongate Books
Number of Pages: 384
Width: 16.2 cm
Height: 24 cm
The Secret History of Here is the story of a single place, a farm in the Scottish Borders. The site on which Alistair Moffat's farm now stands has been occupied since pre-historic times. The fields have turned up ancient arrow heads, stone spindles, silver pennies and a stone carved with the rune-like letters of Ogham. Walking this landscape you can feel the presence and see the marks of those who lived here before. But it is also the story of everywhere. In uncovering the history of one piece of land, Moffat shows how history is all around us, if only we have the eyes to see it. Under our feet, carved into the landscape, in the layout of paths and roads, in the stories we pass down, our history leaves its trace on the land. Taking the form of a journal of a year, The Secret History of Here is a walk through the centuries as much as the seasons. We hear the echo of battles long since fought, of lives lived quietly or scandalously, of armies, of kings, of the common folk who mostly inhabited this land, and a little of those that live here now.
[Moffat] is a great teacher . . . Alert though he is to change and to the world we have lived into, he s forever in search of time that is lost and can be recovered. It is also enthralling . . . Moffat is aware that he will himself come in time to belong to the past. This book, like his earlier ones, should ensure that in a sense he survives * * Scotsman * * Joyous . . . a delightful meditation on a place, and on the role that humans played in its evolution * * Foreword * * Delightful and richly personal . . . The charm of this book is that it is rooted in Moffat's lived experience. But, in his gracious humility, he sees himself as just one more [of] 300 generations * * Church Times * * Praise for To the Island of Tides: [To the Island of Tides] is often beautifully evocative of places, the past and the landscape . . . compelling and revealing * * The Times * * Written with both wisdom and love . . . This is a wonderfully rich and consoling book . . . and it is very good indeed * * Scotsman * * Extraordinary . . . a triumph . . . This book is an intriguing account of St Cuthbert and his times, a lyrical testimony to the wonder of nature and a beguiling account of the power of place in all lives. But . . . it becomes something more, something sublime in the realm of memoir . . . There is a powerful, natural beauty in Moffat's writing * * Herald * * Joyous . . . Fine pencil drawings of flora, fauna and other discoveries complement the text's deep respect for nature . . . a delightful meditation on a place, and on the role that humans played in its evolution * * Foreword * * This pilgrimage incorporates local lore and biblical references, touching self discovery and a Saint's life. Above all it is a homage to the importance of family and of belonging * * Wee Review * * Praise for The Hidden Ways: Our ancestors walked everywhere, unless they lived by a river or loch and travelled by boat, or were rich enough to keep a horse or pony. So Moffat will walk. He will walk over much of Scotland, following, sometimes struggling to follow, old roads that are now sometimes hard to find. This book is the story of a dozen such walks. This is a splendidly rich book - a treasure-house of information, memories and speculation -- ALLAN MASSIE * * Scotsman * * This fascinating and compelling narrative will leave you spellbound and in no time you'll be looking for your hiking boots and waterproofs . . . An absorbing and thought-provoking addition to the literature of Scotland's byways * * Countryfile * *