It'S A GRAND THING TO GET LEAVE TO LIVE
Nan Shepherd (1893-1981) is, aiblins, the towerin fowk o nor-east scrievin we her wark The Living Mountain gittin international recognition an admiration. She bed aa her days in the same hoose on the North Deeside Road in Cults an her wark his only gotten the attention it deserved efter her death. She used her native Doric athoot effort nor affectation throuwoot aa her scrievin.
Loch A’an, Loch A’an, hoo deep ye lie!
Tell nane yer depth and nane shall I.
Bricht though yer deepmaist pit may be,
Ye’ll haunt me till the day I dee.
Bricht, an’ bricht, an’ bricht as air,
Ye’ll haunt me noo for evermair.
In the north-east, there is a special mentality of hard-headedness and a dark passion for enduring hardship with stoicism – locals proudly call it being “thrawn”. There is the linguistic richness of the local Scots dialect that extends across all classes. There are the rich traditions of fiddle music, ballads and bothy ballads, folktales and legends, high literature and street literature, that inform an ongoing strength of identity and creativity here. Nan Shepherd’s work beautifully illustrates this, and for Scotland’s identity builders in the central belt, a better understanding of Shepherd’s work could act as a bridge to the rich kist of tradition and culture in the north-east.