Hogg’s wanderings brought to book

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James Hogg’s great-great-grandson is publishing a book about recreating the travels of the 19th century Ettrick Shepherd.

Bruce Gilkinson lives in New Zealand but is currently in Scotland to launch the book.

He said: “I followed these journeys over the past couple of years. I found that, in the minds of many leading current-day writers such as Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh, as well as many others, Hogg and these journeys are still very much alive and relevant in the 21st century and are particularly so in the Borders.”

Gilkinson says he is as fascinated by landscapes and travelling as his famous ancestor.

In the book, the author takes in the rolling hills of Hogg’s early years in Ettrick – looking at how the countryside had helped form the poet’s love of the outdoors, and of writing.

The book goes on to explain why Hogg set out from Ettrick on horseback to find a suitable farm to lease in the Highlands.

The road led him north into the Grampians as far as Dalnacardoch, and into the Cairngorms, taking in towns such as Tomintoul, Braemar and Glenshee.

Hogg’s travels also took in the Western Highlands and islands, such as Lewis and Skye – and the book records his highs and lows.

Gilkinson quotes his ancestor directly, giving an insight into the mind of the people of the time, as well as the Ettrick Shepherd himself.

The official launch of Walking with James Hogg: The Ettrick Shepherd’s Journeys through Scotland takes place at an Ettrick-based exhibition about the man himself, on Sunday, August 14.

Also, the author has been invited to speak at the MacArts Centre in Galashiels on Tuesday, August 23, at 5.30pm as part of the book festival.