The Outer Hebrides of Scotland epitomize the evocative beauty and remoteness of island life. The most dramatic of all the Hebrides is Harris, a tiny island formed from the oldest rocks on earth, a breathtaking landscape of soaring mountains, wild lunarlike moors, and vast Caribbean-hued beaches. This is where local crofters weave the legendary Harris Tweed -- reflecting the strength, durability, and integrity of life there.
In Seasons on Harris, David Yeadon, "one of our best travel writers" (Bloomsbury Review) and intrepid chronicler of the "world's most remote regions" (New York Times), captures, through elegant words and line drawings, life on Harris -- the people, their folkways and humor, and their centuries-old Norse and Celtic traditions of crofting and fishing. Here Gaelic is still spoken in its purest form; music and poetry ceilidh evenings flourish in the local pubs; remnants of ancient "black houses" huddle near five-thousand-year-old stone circles; Sabbath Sundays are observed with Calvinistic strictness; and folklore, in the form of mythical creatures and "second sight" abilities, is still both tantalizing and tangible. Yeadon also journeys to Barra, the southernmost of the Hebrides, to the Shiant Islands with author Adam Nicolson, and to the fabled St. Kilda, the most remote of all the Scottish islands -- fifty miles out in the Atlantic, wreathed in legend and mystery.
Harris, while beautiful and beguiling, is also a symbol of the threats to traditional island life everywhere. Through Yeadon's unique book we come to care about these proud islanders, their challenges, and, in particular, the future of their beloved tweed.
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David Yeadon is the author of Seasons in Basilicata and the bestselling National Geographic Guide to the World's Secret Places. He has written, illustrated, and designed more than twenty books about traveling around the world. He lives with his wife, Anne, in Mohegan Lake, New York.From Publishers Weekly:
Employing a similar formula to that of his last book, Seasons in Basilicata, Yeadon recounts the year—2004, arranged by season—he spent with his wife, Anne, on Harris, a small island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland famous for its remote beauty and home-loomed tweed. With a weave of islanders' loquacious stories and rural gossip into an overview of Hebridean history and the couple's own adventures exploring the area, this memoir is perfect for anyone considering a trip to the Outer Hebrides or tracing their ancestors back to its craggy coasts. Fans of the famous Harris Tweed will also find lots of tidbits about the history and current state of this ancient textile and the craft that creates it, and anyone interested in age-old customs waning in the world's hinterlands will find the island's contradictions poignant. At times, the book feels like that familiar traveler's sensation of having arrived home to find that the panoramic snapshot excitedly clicked in an exuberant moment of discovery is just a bit too small or personal. Yet, Yeadon hits high notes recounting history-laden conversations with locals who all have the Gaelic gift of gab, creating an altogether enjoyable read full of unique and likable people. (July)
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