Men & Beasts
This book has been published for quite some time now but is well worth a nod in the direction of. Especially if you are a deerhound, deerhound fan, or simply interested in the Men & Beasts of lowland Scotland.
First allow me to reproduce the cover copy as an insight into this wonderful little publication . . .
Come and meet some wild men and tame beasts. Explore the fleeting moment and capture the passing of time in these portrait studies which document a year's journey. Travel across Scotland with poet Valerie Gillies and photographer Rebecca Marr: share their passion for a land where wild men can sometimes be tamed and tame beasts can get really wild.
Among the wild men they find are a gunner in Edinburgh Castle, a Highland shepherd, a ferryman on the River Almond, an eel fisher on Loch Ness, a Borders fencer, and a beekeeper on a Lowland estate.
The beasts portrayed in their own settings include Clydesdale foals, Scottish deerhounds, Highland cattle, blackface sheep, falcons, lurchers, bees, pigs, cashmere goats, hens, cockerels, tame swans and transgenic lambs.
Photograph, poem and reportage - a unique take on Scotland today.
I have included here, a couple of the atmospheric photographs from Men & Beasts, featuring Hounds from Hilda Robertsons’ Tartraven kennel, one hound being the Dam to ‘Tynum’ a family deerhound who once resided at my home back in the time of legend.
The book has some interesting ‘Celtic/Scot/Pict’ deerhound histories and references that are culled from archaelogical excavations, Gaelic folklore, literature and poetic verse.
The mention of the hound statue dating from 3rd Century AD, discovered at the shrine to Celtic healing-god Nodens sounds interesting (even though the Irish Wolfhounds claim it to be theirs). It’s more evidence carrying our hound ‘types’ existence, back through time and along the parallel history timeline to that of man.
Talking of ancient time-lines, we know that the art of Poetry may infact be the oldest form of literature (I’m sure Gilgamesh in his adventures from the 3rd millennium BC probably even had his own hound companions) and with that Valerie Gillies both captures the culture specific and contemporary deerhounds in her works here. If you are interested in this printed works or other independent Scottish publishings, visit the Luath Press and rumage around and tell them Rogue the deerhound sent you.
And for your pleasure enjoy one of Valeries poems below
The Spectral Hunter
Two ornathologists survey
the rocks and the trees,
looking down into the valley,
A man walking up the Kirkton glen
with an early-morning stride
is seen by both of them
vlearly on the hillside.
He has two deerhounds,
tall dogs that bound
and are wire-scarred.
Two hounds of the crags
and a wind-wraith
rousing the stags
in Corrie Chaoraich.
Dogs without collars,
the gifts of two mountains,
one given by Meall Reamhat,
one by Meall an Fhiohdian.
He sets his own pace,
headlong streams and rain,
the valley graced
by the hunter again.