|Published in 1851, this
interesting little book will give you a sense of what it
was like to be a tourist in Scotland in the first half of
the 19th century -- shortly after the introduction of
railways and steamboats, and when travel by stagecoach was
still commonplace. The author, the Rev. Thomas Grierson,
was the minister of Kirkbean church which was, and still
is, located on the Solway Firth near Dumfries in Scotland.
In his spare time he was a fanatical hill walker covering
vast distances by foot from one end of the country to
His journeys are described
in the rather quaint style of the times when, after
centuries of despise and neglect, Queen Victoria made
travel to the Scottish Highlands respectable.
However, I should warn you
that the Rev. Grierson was not a man content to keep his
own personal prejudices to himself and today's reader
might well be taken aback by many opinions he held of some
of his fellow Scots and their customs and institutions.
Whether we like it or not, this was a time when the
British class system was fully entrenched and the social
bias and bigotry apparent throughout Grierson's writing
most likely reflects attitudes quite common in certain
circles at the time.
Having said that, readers
familiar with Scotland's most popular scenic destinations
today no doubt will be delighted to learn how little the
countryside has changed. The Coullin Mountains on the Isle
of Skye, the beauty of Royal Deeside and the grandeur of
the Cairngorms have all remained essentially the same as
when the book was published.
This book was left to me by my late uncle Alex McConnell
who was also an enthusiastic hillwalker and lover of the
Scottish Countryside. An accountant by profession, he kept
meticulous notes of his many excursions and had a habit of
inscribing notes on nearly every travel book he owned. You
will see many of these in this book which I do hope will
not detract from your enjoyment of it.
David McConnell Hunter
Scottish Studies Foundation
In 1851 the book was priced at
three shillings (about 36 cents).
Alex McConnell at age 19