The Summer Walkers

The Summer Walkers : Travelling People and Pearl-fishers in the Highlands of Scotland

4.54 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Summer Walkers are the pearl-fishers, tinkers, hawkers and horse-dealers of the North-West Highlands in Scotland. These travellers are not gypsies. They are indigenous, Gaelic-speaking nomads with a particular moral code. They are perhaps one of Europe's last nomadic people whose story will have a tremendous significance for social history. This book presents a unique and contemporary portrait of their culture. The Highland travellers consisted of different families such as the MacPhees or the Williamsons, each with very distinctive characters. Hamish Henderson, the Scottish poet and folklorist, lived with them in the 1940s and 1950s, when Edinburgh dealers would send their pearls down to London. This book introduces the travellers through interviews and folk-legends within true stories, and through Henderson's memories and evaluations. The book also includes a study of the group's ethnic origins, tent architecture, crafts and an introduction to their secret language, the Beialrearich, which has never been written down. Since the 1950s, modern life - mass-production, good roads, the motor car, the welfare state - has forced rapid changes on the travelling community.
Tinsmithing is a dead art, horsedealing a thing of the past, hawking now done by catalogue and supermarket. But many older travellers were brought up on the road and still remember in detail the traditional, archetypal lifestyle of Scotland's travelling clans. This book documents the traveller experience and a living oral literature which is one of the folk glories of Europe.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 171 x 242 x 19.05mm | 726g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 80 b&w photographs and illustrations
  • 0862415764
  • 9780862415761

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13 ratings
4.54 out of 5 stars
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4 31% (4)
3 8% (1)
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