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On Moray


I recently discovered Cairt, Newsletter of the Scottish Maps Forum, and I've subscribed but they only come out every six months so I'm currently working by way through the back issues while waiting for the next one and this caught my eye.

Cairt, Issue 4, June 2003

It's from Issue 3, June 2003. Page 7 has an article on Latin texts in the Scottish volume of the Blaeu Atlas (1654). In that volume can be found Robert Gordon's account eulogising on Moray, the area where we now live:

Being about to describe Moray, let me say this most truly as preface: second to none in its healthy climate, in tenderness and goodness of the earth it far exceeds all other of our northern provinces... Hence we find entirely true the boast of the inhabitants, that each year they experience forty more bright days than all their neighbours. Nothing grows anywhere in the whole kingdom, which does not flourish abundantly here, or if it is lacking, that is to be ascribed to the sloth of the inhabitants, not to a fault in climate or soil...

When autumn has scarcely begun elsewhere, here everything is ripe, cut and conveyed to open threshing areas (as is the custom of the people); and if we compare this region to the others, winter is scarcely felt: the land is almost always uncovered, the seas are open, nor are roads blocked. ...there is less grass: for this whole region is given over to crop and cultivation. But pasture does not need to be sought at a great distance: for above in the interior a few miles away there is enough and more than enough, to which each year in full summer the cattle may be removed when the farming toils are over.

Nowhere will you find a better provided meat-market than here, nowhere grain at a cheaper price; and this not from lack of money, but from abundance.

The inhabitants too, though lazy in many ways (as often in fruitful soil), exert themselves in fishing at sea and in that outdo their neighbours.

In the lower-lying places on the coast there is a problem with lack of bituminous clods for the purpose of fire, and this is the only inconvenience felt by the fortunate region, but that occurs in few places, and they are relieved by strenuous drinking ...

Sounds idyllic and little has changed in terms of the weather or the abundance of crops. I suspect cattle aren't moved inland any longer mind you and heating no longer relies on peat ... but that doesn't stop the strenuous drinking.

Tags: maps, Nairn Written 20/09/17

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