Every Highland parish has its sites of antiquity, its grand buildings, its humble dwellings, its scenes of past conflict, its own distinct place names and stories aplenty telling of the life and times of the place. This interaction between the people and the place they live in makes for a 'sense of place' that creates a sense of belonging.
Leaving a mark upon 'place'
The earliest evidence of human settlement found so far by archaeologists was excavated on the Isle of Rum and dates from around 9,000 years ago. Since then, a mixture of peoples (including Norse, Picts, Gaels, Normans) have settled in the Highlands and Islands and left their mark in language, in place names, in clan names and in the remains of dwellings and other monuments. Castles, brochs, chambered cairns, standing stones and religious buildings dot the landscape.
'Places' in name
The quaintness of place names too adds to the character of an area. Jemimaville, Mellon Udrigle, John o' Groats, Arkle, Meallfourvonie, the Monaliaths, Trotternish, Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna are but a few of the myriad place names that give spice and interest to the Highlands. Researching their derivations can unearth much about the history and nature of the place.
'Place' in poetry and song
Gaelic poetry and song also evoke a sense of place. There are many examples of nature poetry such as Donnchadh Bàn nan Òran's 'Moladh Beinn Dòbhrain' (In Praise of Ben Doran), Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair's 'Òran an t-Samhraidh' (A Song to the Summer) and Dòmhnall MacFhionnlaigh nan Dàn's 'Òran na Comhachaig' (The Owl of Strone).
If a book listed in the bibliography below is available from the Highland Libraries it will be indicated by a book icon -
Inverness: An Comunn Gaidhealach, 1973
Batey, Colleen E.
'Viking and late Norse Caithness: The Archaeological Evidence'
Proceedings of the Tenth Viking Congress, ed. James E. Knirk,Oslo, 1987, pp 131-148
Withers, Charles W.J.
'Place, Memory, Monument: Memorialising the Past in Contemporary Highland Scotland'
Ecumume, vol. 3, no. 3, July, 1996, pp 325-44
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