Mysterious Scotland presents an extraordinary array of the weird and wonderful heritage of the country. Michael Balfour examines strange stories from the moors, forests, rivers, holy wells and lochs, where - as well as the old legends and dark secrets which he prises out of palaces, castles and cathedrals - he finds monsters, ghoulies, unsolved murders and ancient cures. Investigating a land where the past is reflected in the present, the author has roamed all around Scotland, exploring standing stones, mermaid beaches and magic springs. He seeks out new theories about the prehistoric, Celtic and Pictish stones, carvings, tombs and brochs which are scattered across the country. Among his many wonderful discoveries, he unearths long-forgotten prophecies, puzzling tales from the bothies, consuming traditions and distillers' tricks, and finds evidence of the legendary Highland second sight. Not forgotten are the great historical figures who throng the pages, each making a unique contribution to Mysterious Scotland. This book is the perfect introduction to the amazing hidden history which permeates Scottish lives and landscape.
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(199mm x 130mm x 22mm)
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing
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UK Kirkus Review »
Writer and publisher Michael Balfour is the author of several books including Stonehenge and Its Mysteries, and in this fascinating book he introduces the reader to many astonishing facts and figures as well as looking closely at ancient legends and strange stories that have their origins in a very murky past. He has travelled the length and breadth of the country unearthing tall tales and unlikely figures, and is a fund of knowledge about traditions long dead. His travels have taken him to secret springs and long-forgotten standing stones, and he has a gift for placing present-day events in the context of ancient Celtic and Pictish history. There is a particularly interesting chapter about Edinburgh, crammed with musings about the many statues that people the city, strange spooky journeys down the old closes off the main streets, and gory detail of the life and times of Burke and Hare, suppliers of fresh bodies to the medical profession. Another chapter looks at Highland Dress and the evolution of the tartan industry, while the curious eating habits of the nation are discussed in a chapter called 'Wee Drams and the Puddin' Race', a reference to Robert Burns who is also mentioned in various contexts throughout the book. This is a quirky book, not sufficient in itself to be a comprehensive guide but an excellent stimulus for those interested in the less obvious and the unusual. There is much here that will be a revelation even to the Scots themselves. There is a section of black-and-white photographs and a useful index with regional locations for the place names. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Michael Balfour
Publisher and writer Michael Balfour has lived near the Stones of Stenness in the Orkney Islands and beside Loch Tummel in Perthshire. He has reviewed books, written for The Scotsman, and is the author of several books including Stonehenge and its Mysteries and Megalithic Mysteries.