Dunsapie Loch and Arthur's Seat by Lisa Jarvis

The Stories in our Ancestors Steps

The feet of our ancestors tell more than just where they tread…

Scotland’s culture has evolved over millennia, and at its heart is a close relationship with our natural environment which is showcased at seasonal festivals, such as Samhuinn in winter and Beltane in summer.

This Midsummer Saturday (24 June), discover more than just treads with narratives of place in an exploration of Scotland’s landscape, stones and pathways, followed by a guided expedition of Arthur’s Seat.

Stuart McHardy, has developed a pioneering and unique approach to “reading the landscape” – Geomythography – to help people come to grips with landscape lore, archaeology and the literature of Scotland, highlighting how close knit legend and landscape really are, as he explains:

“The process of Geomythography is rooted in the awareness that the passing on of tradition in pre-literate societies is predicated on certain realities. In many cases, such as Scotland, communities have survived within the same environment over remarkable periods of time. This has created a rootedness, not just in terms of physical environment but in socio-psychological terms that have led to considerable depths of continuity between the generations. This can perhaps be understood as an ongoing cultural relationship with the physical environment which exists simultaneously at an individual and communal level.”

Participants will then explore Arthur’s Seat through this new approach, highlighting how cultural connections are embedded in the centre of Scotland’s capital city.

Arthurs Seat

Saturday, 24 June 2017 | 10.30am            

Coffee and Registration

Our Day’s Journey – Welcome by Donald Smith

Rediscovering the Scottish Landscape – A Visual Introduction to Geomythography
with Stuart McHardy

Stones of the Ancestors – Unveiling Scotland’s Ancient Monuments
with Douglas Scott and Stuart McHardy

Lunch (provided)

Feet on the Ground: Head in the Clouds – Recovering Scotland’s Ancient Pathways
with Donald Smith


Literature of the Gaelic Landscape: Song, Poem & Tale (Litreachas na Tire: Òran, Bàrdachd is Sgeul) with John Murray

Depart for Arthur’s Seat – An Alternative Tour to the Heart of the Hill
(concludes approx. 7pm at Duddingston Village)

About the Workshop Leaders

Douglas Scott is a pioneering archaeo-astronomer and independent scholar. His work has meticulously re-examined the positioning of ancient sites in Scotland, and their relationship to the solar and lunar cycles. This has opened up fresh understandings and interpretations of ancient monuments, and new respect for the intelligence of our ancestors.

Stuart McHardy is a pioneering researcher and teacher who developed a unique approach to “reading the landscape” – Geomythography. This combines an understanding of ancient cultures with landforms and environmental concerns. He has published many books, including most recently the highly regarded Scotland’s Future History. Stuart is also a ‘weill kent’ storyteller and musician.

John Stuart-Murray, writing as John Murray is a landscape architect and lecturer in the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. He has recently written two ground-breaking books about Scottish landscape: Reading the Gaelic Landscape/Leughadh Aghaidh na Tire and Literature of the Gaelic Landscape/Litreachas na Tire. These show how older connections between the living environment and culture have persisted through the centuries in Scotland.

Donald Smith is the author of Pilgrim Guide to Scotland, and many other books, plays and novels, most recently Flora McIvor: A Jacobite Novel. He is currently Director of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), and a popular storyteller.

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