22 IX 1773
6 VIII 2013


Edifices, either standing or ruined, are the chief records of an illiterate nation.” (Johnson)

So long, one might add, as they are made of stone – any edifice of wood, thatch, wattle-and-daub being long vanished – and not just of “an illiterate nation”, when one considers all the texts that have survived from Greece and Rome as inscriptions.


Boswell, looking out from this “old tower” to “the isles of Barra and South Uist”, envisions a more distant but to him more familiar island, when the “rocky pinnacles in a strange variety of shapes” of the Cuillin put him in mind of “the mountains near Corté in Corsica”.

It’s another busy spot, and we’re joined by a group of tourists led by a man in a kilt. As we descend, the kiltie has climbed onto the top of the broch, and yells theatrically, Braveheart-cum-Dubya, “Freedom!”


Barbour, John, The Brus (1370s)
Bush, George W.,We Will Prevail (2003)