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Full Version: June 2019 Transaction of the Month
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“A Walk along the Sea Braes from Macduff to Gamrie Mohr” by Mr William Forbes of Macduff ( February 28th 1895).
This is an account of a walk. I am not a bold walker, and when Mr Forbes says “When it is low water we may scramble along if we are not afraid of ‘rough places,’ leaping over pools of water and crawling by turns, until we reach the opening of a long natural tunnel...  and grope our way etc” I recognise I am beaten. Or try this for a modern Field Club outing: “The Loup” – “If it is low water, we watch for a few minutes the surging of the tide, and, when a favourable moment arrives, we spring across the chasm, clutching the projecting cliffs...” Mind you, to be up the cliffs is if anything worse – there are phrases like “headlong, hundreds of feet to the beach below”.  Ah well, all the more reason to say strongly that this wonderful Transaction begs for a modern film-maker. Then we could see the Naming Cave, where people wrote their names with the red ochre found in the little pools there. I have sailed along that coast, and no-one ever pointed out to me the Adam and Eve Cave – “when boating, the attention of strangers is always directed to the two castaways in hiding.”
Mr Forbes knows the names of all the rock formations, and of course their geology. He names in Latin and Doric the plants and the sea-birds. He is scornful of the then popular taste for seeing bogus rock forts everywhere. “It is so situated that a few boys with their pockets filled with stones would have made it very hot with its occupants.” The trouble was that people saw the traces of burning in the rocks, and they said “a vitrified fort”, but it was simply evidence of burning kelp, an industry that folk thought, 200 years ago, would be the economic salvation of Scotland.
So much of this Transaction begs for modern visual aids. It is certainly still worth reading. Facts turn up that you would never have expected. There is a burn which flows down from Longmanhill which, Mr Forbes thinks, was “the first stream in the north of Scotland which has lent its aid to the production of the electric light”. Never underestimate our Victorian ancestors. 


AFM