Friday, September 19, 2014

Alba in five vintage postcards

Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland.

On Thursday, the citizens of Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. (The Guardian's excellent coverage can be found here. And Wikipedia has, for the historical record, a comprehensive summation of the referendum.)

Here are five vintage postcards that speak to the culture, history and geography of the country that occupies the northern portion of Great Britain.

The islands of Rhum and Eigg

The full caption states: "The islands of Rhum and Eigg from Mallaig, Inverness-Shire." Rhum is now correctly called Rùm and it has a population of fewer than two dozen. It was called Rhum for part of the 20th century on account of an owner who preferred that spelling. Eigg is a larger island and sports a population of about 80. It is an important breeding ground for raptors. Mallaig, meanwhile, is a small village that makes much of its livelihood from its port status. Children are still taught Gaelic in the schools. This postcard was published by J.B. White Ltd. of Dundee. It is part of the Best of All Series.

Loch Duich and The Five Sisters

The caption on the back states: "A picturesque view of this beautiful sea-loch, with its splendid mountain group known as the 'Five Sisters.' The highest peak is Sgurr Ouran, 3505 feet." Sgurr Ouran must refer, I believe, to Sgùrr Fhuaran, a name that itself is clouded in obscurity. Loch Duich, meanwhile, has a local legend regarding fishermen and seal-maidens. This is a Valentine's Post Card and was printed in Great Britain.

Duntulm Castle, Skye

Not much remains of Duntulm Castle, as you can see. It was first built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many of its former stones were used to construct a house for a Sir Alexander MacDonald, five miles to the south. This postcard is also by Valentine's.

Best of luck from Edinburgh

This postcard, which likely dates to the late 1950s, shows off some of the main locations in Scotland's capital city: the main thoroughfare of Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle (a site that has been occupied since the 2nd century) and Scott Monument, Forth Bridge and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which serves as Queen Elizabeth's residence one week per year and is open to the public for tours the other 51 weeks. This is a "Valesque" postcard that was published by Valentine & Sons Ltd. of Dundee and London.

The Trossachs

The Trossachs is one of the most scenic natural areas within an extremely scenic country. Its name in Scottish Gaelic is Na Trosaichean. This postcard includes images of highland cattle, Loch Achray, and Loch Katrine. The beauty of the Trossachs inspired some of Sir Walter Scott's most famous works. This postcard was also published by Valentine & Sons Ltd.

Note: This is Papergreat's 1,400th post.

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