Back in 2013 tTwo Norwegians went ‘north by northwest’ in the Scottish highlands and islands and written up their travels in book and blog. Though their itineraries are carefully planned and calmy followed – a far cry from the frenetic journey and frights of Hitchcock’s thriller! – both are filled with filmic detail and a rich store of real-life meetings with locals along the way.
Kirsti Jareg’s Øyene i vest (Cappelen Damm 2011) is a gently-paced, reflective account of life in the Western and Northern Isles – in Norwegian eyes, ‘looking west’, the old Viking lands. Jareg, of Scottish descent, spent several months living amongst the folk of the islands, getting to know place and people at first hand. Her research is detailed, but so lightly handled that the book is a joy to read. An abridged translation for Scots readers, set along with excerpts from that seasoned nineteenth-century traveller, AO Vinje, might be a teaser of an idea for the future. There’s certainly a hearty vein of humour and irony to be relished in both.
Meanwhile on another adventure, Norwegian blogger Tony Jensen, a member of Bergen Pipes & Drums (recently featured here in Ditt og Datt!), writes of an action-packed trip to visit fellow pipers in Wick – another Norse territory, up to the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Rousingly titled Skottland – Highlands!! – evidently a visit to the local whisky distillery went down well! – Jensen gives a fun-filled picture of a seemingly all too short tour round northern Scotland, taking in Orkney, Inverness, Aberdeen, and, just to keep the cold out – a few more distilleries along the way!
To both travellers, we say ‘Haste ye back!’.