Published by Polygon
Editorial © Scottish Literary Tour Company Ltd, 2001
Original photography © Marius Alexander & Paul Bassu, 2001
Designed by Lucy Richards
Written by Moira Burgess


" Attempts to capture the spirit of a place in a definition are rarely fortunate; it is wiser to point to its literature as the embodiment of a thousand subtle and vagrant traditions."
John Buchan, The Literature of Tweeddale [ 1925]

Take a journey – real or imaginary – from the comfort of your armchair. Through quiet glens, over barren moors and hills, along lochside, seashore or city streets. On the way indulge in a host of Scottish writers from Allan Ramsay to Irvine Welsh……

Land Lines is an illustrated guide to the literature and landscape of Scotland, an inspiring and imaginative journey over a panoramic sweep of Scottish literary history - inviting you to travel through time and place, memory and emotion, as expressed through the personal vision of our writers and poets.
It has been said that every Scot is born equipped with a compass in the head. We turn naturally, that is towards the north, and there are the mountains, 'the mist covered mountains of home'.


This is my country,
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.

Alexander Gray
If you speak ill of the shepherds, speak it low:
Wait for the winter, they say, wait for the snow,
Wait for the night of the Campbells, the day of the fox,
The frayed rope and the boot that slips on the rocks.

Naomi Mitchison, The Cleansing of the Knife
the stories that crawl like mist among our hills
JM Barrie
Buy the Book Land Lines Introduction
. . . these industries changed the landscape radically and for ever. . . not only the rural scenery was effected but the way of life. .

But what we have today is best called a post industrial landscape

Alexander Gray
gangers and riveters
sweating at furnaces
welding the rivet-tongs
hammering plates in place
haning the arms
of the great cantilever
The great sick Clyde shivers in its bed - Edwin Morgan
Buy the Book Land Lines Introduction
There are so many ways to experience the landscape. There's the scientific route, through geology for instance, learning how the mountains and he lochs came to be where they are. Then history lends its shading to the picture: we see Glencoe in a shroud of foreboding because of the massacre, and Iona in a heavenly light because we know about Columba. After that, legend and poetry come in.



yet men going about invisible concerns are here'
Edwin Morgan
Behind the mountains and glens, behind the farms and small towns and cities, there's another landscape of Scotland. ...the landscape of Scottish writing stretches beyond the mountains and glens, the past and present, to another place and time...
Sky is larger than life; land is small . Robin Fulton
Buy the Book Land Lines Introduction