Invisible Scotland


After two very full days at this powerful event my group has a later start this morning, giving me time to catch up with my thoughts. The group I’m walking with, yesterday and then again today, has a fluctuating membership that ranges across a wide range of interests and backgrounds – Jill Aitken is a forest manager working about an hour’s drive north of Dundee with the Woodland Trust, while Professor Elaine Rutherford, a former student at Dundee, now teaches art in Minnesota. Our guides, morning and afternoon, give us a very good insight into different aspects of what, on the first day, was referred to an the multiplicity of Scotlands that co-exist here. I’ve much enjoyed talking to them all, and to friends like Dr Rowan O’Neill, who recently finished a PhD on Cliff McLucas at Aberystwyth. In the image below Jill’s husband John, a builder, holds the more elegant of the two markers we carried with us on Friday.




The group is standing outside the original entrance to an old rope factory (we found another, unofficial entrance into this extraordinary space, hidden away among the conplex of housing and gardens between the university site and the firth.

The presentations on the 1st August were equally diverse – from Previn Ahmad speaking briefly about the the work DIWC does with women who, for a variety of reasons, are ‘invisible’ within the wider civic community of Dundee through to a quite extraordinarily beautiful presentation on ‘The Sound of Highland Landscape’ by Margaret MacDonald – a singer, teacher and folklorist – with whom I could happily have talked all day.


The photograph above is Elaine Rutherford holding one of two wooden markers which the group took on their afternoon walk to Birnam Hill, where we walked and talked about the work of Patrick Geddes with Lornens Holm and Fergus Purdie.