Alastair McIntosh & Donald S Murray – Poacher’s Pilgrimage & Psalm-Boat
The Skye Book Festival 2017 Opening Event with Gaelic Precenting
The islands of the Outer Hebrides are home to some of the most remote and spectacular scenery in the world. They host an astonishing range of mysterious structures – stone circles, beehive dwellings, holy wells and ’temples’ from the Celtic era. Over a twelve-day pilgrimage, often in appalling conditions, Alastair McIntosh returns to the islands of his childhood and explores the meaning of these places. Traversing moors and mountains, struggling through torrential rivers, he walks from the most southerly tip of Harris to the northerly Butt of Lewis. Poacher’s Pilgrimage is a walk through space and time, across a physical landscape and into a spiritual one. As he battled with his own ability to endure some of the toughest terrain in Britain, he met with the healing power of the land and its communities. This is a moving book, a powerful reflection not simply of this extraordinary place and its people met along the way, but of imaginative hope for humankind.
‘One of the most fascinating books I’ve read for a long while, if maddeningly hard to categorise’ – David Robinson, Scotsman
‘Poacher’s Pilgrimage is a book full of generosity, spry in its thinking and detailed in its observations’ – Scotland on Sunday
‘The language is almost poetic, reflecting the writer’s artistic gifts and his understanding of Celtic and pre-Celtic culture’ – David Thomson, Press & Journal (book of the week)
Psalm-Boat is a three part poem that celebrates the gathering of communities, often across water, for annual communions.
“Their psalms brought healing to these waters,
mending cracks each vessel’s wake had made
through narrow bays and inlets.”
So begins Donald S Murray’s wonderful “Psalm-Boat” 3-sequence poem written in response to the Psalmboat Project – Pròiseact Bàta nan Salm. Illustrated and published by Hugh Bryden of Roncadora Press.