The Dunbeath Water - Neil Gunn's 'Highland River'






Rushes grew in clumps along the green ways. Apart from sudden bends, where the peat hags directly overhung the water, the stream never lost the generous borderings of rich grass. Occasionally they widened into fair pasturage, into what old folk called 'the leans' - a term that at once evoked the ancient shieling days and the summer herdings of cattle far from the townships or villages. How many centuries had slid down the peat water since the folk of the Picts Houses had pastured their small black cattle here where the rushes grew?

—Neil M Gunn, Highland River



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