“When I was a bairn, in the north east of Scotland, we had never heard of pumpkins. With the advent of colour television last year, I realised neeps had competition. In black and white, you can’t tell the difference.” Mike Clark takes a look at the origins of Halloween and the traditional celebrations running into Guy Fawkes Night.
“Bored now, Prince Shuggie tossed the paperback onto the cheap plastic table. Like he cared that cheap plastic tables were banned. He’d inherited it from his grandfather. It was his legacy.” In a short story, Mike Clark presents his nightmare vision of a re-run of the “Forty-Five” Rebellion – three centuries on.
“Already in Stromness, we were checking watches and reminding ourselves of the departure time of the last ferry. The tour guide took an executive decision. You cannot visit Orkney without seeing Skara Brae, even if it means missing out Kirkwall on the mad dash back.” Part Two of Clarkie’s day trip to Orkney – Stromness and Skara Brae.
“We headed for Maeshowe, the finest chambered cairn in Western Europe, built before 2700BC and containing the largest collection in the world of runic inscriptions to be found in one place. It was shut. The day was getting better, though. The sun was shining.” Mike takes a day trip across the Pentland Firth to Orkney.
“The Cairns of Warehouse were clearly visible ahead of us on top the hill, backlit by the sun. It looked a rough old climb, but the big bouncy dog was full of energy, so I allowed him go first and let him pull me up the steep bits!” Mike Clark explores 5,000 years of history on the Yarrows Archaeological Trail.
“It doesn’t immediately attract the eye. Ruined and untidy. No car parks or coffee shops. No manicured lawns and flags flying. Sorry. But this is history in the raw.” Mike Clark visits Pitsligo Castle and tells the tale of the last Laird.