The ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’ PhD researchers, Jonathan Henderson and Arun Sood, retraced Robert Burns’s Highland Tour in August 2013. Here they share some images and thoughts. You can read their day-by-day account of the journey in our ‘Blog’ section.
In August 1787, Robert Burns and William Nicol set off from Edinburgh to embark on a six hundred mile tour of the Highlands. Their route followed an established that path that Boswell, Johnson and Thomas Pennant had travelled before them, only Burns and Nicol made the journey in reverse. From Edinburgh, they made their way North through the central Highlands and travelled as far North as Inverness. From there they journeyed East along the Moray coastline to Aberdeen, before heading south down the East coast back towards Edinburgh.
Burns and Nicol stopped at sites of historical significance, as well as places where the poet could attempt to gain patronage for his writing. Jacobite history forms a significant port of the tour, with major stops at Killiecrankie and at Culloden, locations that captured the imagination of the bard. People that the tourists met along their way include John Campbell, the Earl of Breadalbane, John Murray, the Duke of Athole and James Duff, the Second Earl of Fife.
We retraced this Highland tour in anticipation of the first volume of the new multi-volume Oxford University Press edition of The Works of Robert Burns edited by Nigel Leask: ‘Robert Burns: Commonplace Books, Tour Journals, and Miscellaneous Prose’ (Forthcoming 2014). In doing so we got a feel for the sights and sounds that Burns and Nicol would have experienced on their trip, we stayed in some great places and we met some interesting people.
Below are some selected photographs from our own travels, and a short video journal. More detailed accounts of each day of our trip are available on the website ‘Blog’ pages, but for now, enjoy some of the highlights of our Highland Tour in this online exhibition.
Jonathan Henderson & Arun Sood
View of Loch Tay from The Kenmore Hotel.
The Soldier’s Leap at the pass of Killecrankie
Entrance to Blair Castle
Plaque at Fall of Foyers
Culloden Visitor Centre
The guitar instrumental on Jonathan and Arun’s Video Journal, ‘Niel Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife’, is performed by Bill Adair. Bill recorded this for the ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’ project, as an introduction to his performance of Burns’s ‘A Red Red Rose’. You can download this from our Song and Music pages.