Monday, August 5, 2013

Highland Clearances, Planned City, and Loch Lomond | A Journey to Scotland

A photo from Dunnottar Castle's waterfront - Photo taken by Anna Courchaine 

The journal below details my actives from 30 -31 July. There are lots of photos as promised. Hope you enjoy!

Highland Clearances

Today’s class focused on the Highland Clearances, and to my pleasant surprise, we took a more hands on approach. Professor MacInnes had us act out, in a sense, the process of being cleared. It really is sobering to see how versatile your life was as a peasant in Scotland during this period. You truly have little control over your life, and at a moment’s notice your family could be shipped to another city, or in some situations, another country! I have heard that there is still some resentment felt in the Highlands towards this expulsion; I can certainly understand why. Class made me rethink the stereotype of a hardier breed of Scots in the Highlands. It makes sense. Highlanders are not only subjected to harsher climates and landscapes, but their history was filled with poverty and clearance. Highlanders definitely would learn to be hardy and adaptable after facing such an intense past. I would like to have the opportunity to speak to a modern day Highlander about how they feel towards the clearances.

Photo from the Highlands
Photo credit: Anna Courchaine
Irma, Carolyn, Pedro, Meghann, Cole, Anna, Chris, Meghann, Jessica

New Lanark and Loch Lomond

After class we visited the planned industrial city of New Lanark. It was somewhat of a depressing experience for me. Though the town was stunningly beautiful, the town was home to child labor. I know that this is not unique in the world, and fortunately modern day Scotland has eradicated such practices, but it still never ceases to make me sad. Questions of socialism were asked with respect to New Lanark. Though the town was planned, the work days were long, and education often fell to the way side (ie child labor), thus challenging the notion that the town was built under a socialist mindset. The town reminded me of the Lowell Factory System in the US where women were essentially mistreated and forced to work. I think that the system in Scotland had much better intentions but the result may not have been too different. Either way, it is fascinating to look at how Scots tackled problems of unemployment and the like in history. We finished up the day at Loch Lomond, a stunningly beautiful lake with a mountain scape as the backdrop. The visit gave me some time to clear my mind and take in the natural beauty Scotland has to offer. Please enjoy the photos!

Photos of New Lanark (And the Garden Animals!)

River Clyde and New Lanark City

New Lanark

"The ever-changing scenes of nature afford not only the most economical, but also the most innocent pleasures
which man can enjoy." 

Jessica being a goofball

Pictures from Loch Lomond

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