Tag Archives: History

Ralph Bagnold: Two Memoirs

In the following pages I shall try to trace the unpremeditated steps by which a few army officers, with no initial thirst for exploration, and no desire to do anything unusual except to see the country they were in came gradually to break away from this conventional city outlook towards things outside; and how, beginning … Continue reading Ralph Bagnold: Two Memoirs

Patrick Baker: The Cairngorms—A Secret History

The view had a massive visual scale. It felt cinematic: an epic horizon like the opening credits of a David Lean film. A path scrolled out ahead of me, eventually fading into the middle distance. Across the plateau I could see other tors emerging from the mist: dark, maritime shapes, spectral galleons held up on … Continue reading Patrick Baker: The Cairngorms—A Secret History

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Scottish Hill Lists: The Classics

If you’ve spent any time at all reading The Oikofuge, you’ll have gathered that I’m quite interested in hills—climbing them, looking at other hills from their summits, understanding their names and their place in history, landscape and land-use. What you won’t have seen me mention very often is the plethora of classifications that have been … Continue reading Scottish Hill Lists: The Classics

Old Lady-Day

Yesterday (as this post goes live) was Old Lady-Day, once a significant day in the English agricultural calendar. And today (April 6th), a new tax year begins in the UK. These dates are not unrelated to each other, and are also linked to the Christian Feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates the Biblical event depicted in the Leonardo painting at the head of this post—the arrival of the Angel Gabriel to inform the Virgin Mary that she was to conceive a miraculous child.

Arthur Conan Doyle In The Arctic

It is bloody work dashing out the poor little beggars’ brains while they look up with their big dark eyes into your face. Arthur Conan Doyle, Arctic diary entry, 3 April 1880 In February 1880, a third-year medical student from Edinburgh abandoned his studies, temporarily, to sign on as the ship’s doctor of the S.S. … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle In The Arctic

Three Books About The Franklin Expedition

The riddle of the last Franklin expedition has all of the elements required to elicit and maintain widespread interest—struggle, shipwreck, murder, massacre, cannibalism and controversy. The story of the lost expedition has become a magnet for speculative historians, a mystery that far outstrips the contrived unfolding of fiction, and an inviting field for those who … Continue reading Three Books About The Franklin Expedition

Michael Palin: Erebus

They might have had monogrammed dinner plates and personalised silver cutlery, but the didn’t have very good maps. Michael Palin needs no introduction from me. He rose to fame with Monty Python in the 1970s, and then in 1989 began a career as a presenter of more-or-less gruelling travel documentaries, starting with Around The World … Continue reading Michael Palin: Erebus

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