|N E W S F E E D S >>>|
|Dunbeath Main Page|
Proposed New Neil Gunn Readers Group 2003
Much of his inspiration for his books came from here and much of the landscape is to be found in his novels. The walk was followed in the evening by a lecture on Neil Gunn's Novels by his nephew Diarmid Gunn. Two books were also launched. they are reprints of two of the novels - "Second Sight" and "Wild Geese Overhead". The events were sponsored by Dunbeath Preservation Society and Whittles Publishing based in Latheronwheel. They were promoted as part of Aberdeen University's winter season of lectures in the Highlands.
The walk started at Dunbeath Preservation Society's museum housed in the old school that Neil Gunn used to attend. The museum holds a number of collections including all of the items collected by the Neil Gunn society that ceased just a few years ago.
It was a bright and hazy day rather unexpected considering the bad weather that has been around on other days and in many other parts of the country with high winds and rain. In Dunbeath Strath on Saturday 26 October there was none of that and the walk proceeded in the hazy sunshine with no rain or even a breathe of wind.
For Neil Gunn enthusiasts it was a chance to have many places pointed out that appear in the novels one way or another. Nan and George Bethune led the way with Diarmid Gunn the authors nephew and other experts fielding questions on the novels and the area.
The Dunbeath Strath has
been inhabited for thousands of years and is full of archaeological
remains. It bears the marks of glaciation has pictish brochs, stones
and ancient walls. The area is currently being studied to see if the
settlement near the start of the walk was indeed a monastery hundreds of
Neil Gunn walked the a area often from childhood and returned often in his adult life even when working in other places. On this day the group concentrated on the lower part of the strath but it is possible to see much more and discover many other places that appear in some form in the novels.
From the school (now the Dunbeath Museum)
that Neil Gunn attended walkers head down the road to a view point
overlooking the village on one side and the harbour on the other.
Neil Gunn's ancestors came from the farm at Ballachly nearby. He could trace his great grandmother and other relatives in the area. The Dunbeath broch is clearly visible from the top of the knoll and the group went to both the knoll and the broch.
There is a great deal to see further up the strath if you have time to walk along the river up to Prisoners Leap.