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History, History, Travel & Adventure
Publication Date
04 September 2014
Hardback (also available as an eBook)
In stock
Birlinn Limited

Walking the Border

A Journey Between Scotland and England


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘An amiable account by an amiable man of an amiable patch of Europe . . . An altogether engaging book’ – Roger Hutchinson, The Scotsman

‘Although this book is pegged to a particular political and historic event – the recent Scottish referendum – it has virtues and insights that transcend the circumstances of its writing . . . Crofton has kept neat limits to his exploration of border culture. I would encourage him to go deeper as well into this surrealist hinterspace. There is a lot of excellent natural description in this book, alongside a number of comic encounters with humans and livestock . . . It is a Mad God’s Own Country . . . excellent’ – Stuart Kelly, Guardian

‘The book is all the better for that easy pace, and its anecdotal style is complemented by some quirky photographs’ – Scotland Outdoors

'compelling' '****' – Scottish Field

‘an excellent modern travel tale that delves deep into the history and culture of a largely unexplored stretch of the UK' – Trail Magazine

'Thoroughly thought-provoking' – Scotland Magazine

‘Not quite Scottish, not quite English, Crofton walks the line in more ways than one’ – The Daily Telegraph

‘As Crofton journeys its length he admires its fine scenery while considering its history and purpose – especially compelling in light of the recent referendum’ – BBC Countryfile

In this book Ian Crofton makes a journey on foot from Gretna Green in the southwest to Berwick in the northeast, following as close as possible the Anglo-Scottish Border as it has been fixed since the union of the crowns in 1603. Much of the line of the Border runs through a wild, overwhelmingly unvisited no man’s land – the sort of trackless waste perfect for keeping two belligerent peoples apart?

During the course of his journey Ian Crofton considers a number of questions how ‘natural’ are borderlines? Sometimes they follow physical barriers, sometimes an arbitrary line on a map, the compromise made by some committee of distant diplomats.

Ian Crofton was born in Edinburgh and worked for Collins in Glasgow before moving to London, where he has been a freelance writer and editor for 25 years. Previous books include Brewer’s Dictionary of Curious Titles; Brewer’s Britain and Ireland (with John Ayto); Brewer’s Cabinet of Curiosities, A Dictionary of Art Quotations, History without the Boring Bits; Science without the Boring Bits; A Dictionary of Scottish Quotations.

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