A very interesting talk and presentation was given on Wednesday evening in Rothesay Library by author, poet, photographer and mountaineer Hamish Brown, MBE.
Hamish was born in Colombo in Sri Lanka on 13 August 1934, lived in Japan for a time and then Singapore, escaping in 1942 as it fell to the Japanese. He lived in South Africa for two years as a refugee before returning to live in Scotland at the end of World War II. His family lived in Dollar and Hamish spent much of his youth exploring the nearby Ochil Hills which awakened his interest in the outdoor life.
The audience was treated to a selection of slides from Hamish’s travels across Scotland, showcasing, as he put it, the ‘oddities and quirks’ of our country.
Some of the more notable images included a stone map of Scotland, the size of a football pitch, within the grounds of Barony Castle in Peebles. Another unique structure was the Dunmore Pineapple, a summer-house built for the fourth Earl of Dunmore in 1761, the roof of which was adorned with an enormous pineapple sculpture in a display of wealth.
Hamish also spoke of his love of gravestones, in particular, their design and inscriptions which, at times he discovered, can be very revealing. He recalled one, in particular, erected by a woman for her husband which said ‘Rest in Peace’ at the top, listed all his particulars, then said at the bottom ‘Until I Come...’. Another rather humorous stone, not found in Scotland but the north of England, was for a man who was the captain of his local rifle club. The headstone provided details of his love for shooting, the prizes he’d won in the rifle club, etc.
Ironically, perhaps, the final inscription at the base of the stone said ‘Always Missed’!