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01 20120108In 1934 the Orcadian poet Edwin Muir embarked on his iconic 'Scottish Journey' a set of travels round depression-era Scotland where he tried to get to grips with Scottish identity and to consider what the future held for a country whose industries were being devastated by a recession
'... a silent clearance is going on in industrial Scotland, a clearance not of human beings, but of what they depend upon for life'
As a man very much of his time, of the 1930s, he wavered between socialism and nationalism as cures for Scotland's ills, but in-between reflected on the nature of work, poverty, Scottishness, tourism, the ideal way of living, the highland and the lowland character and the possible existence of a best of all possible worlds on his native Orkney. In the summer of 2011, crime writer Louise Welsh decided to embark on a mini whistle-stop version of Muir's journey, taking to the roads in an open-top car, just as he did, and trying to get a flavour now of a country also in the grip of austerity and flirting with nationalism. How are people reacting in the wake of the bank crash today? Appropriately enough, we start in Edinburgh with funds manager Douglas Watt contrasting it with Muir's idyllic Orkney.
Louise Welsh hits the 1930s trail blazed round Scotland by Orkney poet Edwin Muir.
02 20120115In 1934 the Orcadian poet Edwin Muir embarked on his iconic 'Scottish Journey' a set of travels round depression-era Scotland where he tried to get to grips with Scottish identity and to consider what the future held for a country whose industries were being devastated by a recession
'... a silent clearance is going on in industrial Scotland, a clearance not of human beings, but of what they depend upon for life'
As a man very much of his time, of the 1930s, he wavered between socialism and nationalism as cures for Scotland's ills, but in-between reflected on the nature of work, poverty, Scottishness, tourism, the ideal way of living, the highland and the lowland character and the possible existence of a best of all possible worlds on his native Orkney.
In the summer of 2011, crime writer Louise Welsh decided to embark on a mini whistle-stop version of Muir's journey, taking to the roads in an open-top car, just as he did, and trying to get a flavour now of a country also in the grip of austerity and flirting with nationalism. How do people see things today when the big industries are gone and agriculture has to compete in a global economy? In the Scottish Borders, Louise speaks to journalist and writer Stuart Kelly and farmers Tom and Mary Douglas.
The Borders: Adventurous farmers, dying industries and why Muir hated Walter Scott.
03 20120122In 1934 the Orcadian poet Edwin Muir embarked on his iconic 'Scottish Journey' a set of travels round depression-era Scotland where he tried to get to grips with Scottish identity and to consider what the future held for a country whose industries were being devastated by a recession
'... a silent clearance is going on in industrial Scotland, a clearance not of human beings, but of what they depend upon for life'
As a man very much of his time, of the 1930s, he wavered between socialism and nationalism as cures for Scotland's ills, but in-between reflected on the nature of work, poverty, Scottishness, tourism, the ideal way of living, the highland and the lowland character and the possible existence of a best of all possible worlds on his native Orkney.
In the summer of 2011, crime writer Louise Welsh decided to embark on a mini whistle-stop version of Muir's journey, taking to the roads in an open-top car, just as he did, and trying to get a flavour now of a country also in the grip of austerity and flirting with nationalism. In this programme though, we ditch the car to go visit the space industry on the Clyde in the shape of Craig Clark, whose firm makes cube satellites, and we take the brand new Govan ferry to consider with Professor Willy Maley the changing nature of the city.
Glasgow: Working in the spaceship yards and taking the Govan ferry.
04Highlands20120129In 1934 the Orcadian poet Edwin Muir embarked on his iconic 'Scottish Journey' a set of travels round depression-era Scotland where he tried to get to grips with Scottish identity and to consider what the future held for a country whose industries were being devastated by a recession
'... a silent clearance is going on in industrial Scotland, a clearance not of human beings, but of what they depend upon for life'
As a man very much of his time, of the 1930s, he wavered between socialism and nationalism as cures for Scotland's ills, but in-between reflected on the nature of work, poverty, Scottishness, tourism, the ideal way of living, the highland and the lowland character and the possible existence of a best of all possible worlds on his native Orkney.
In the summer of 2011, crime writer Louise Welsh decided to embark on a mini whistle-stop version of Muir's journey, taking to the roads in an open-top car, just as he did, and trying to get a flavour now of a country also in the grip of austerity and flirting with nationalism. This week we hit the A9 from Dunkeld to Aviemore, stopping to meet poet Kenneth Steven and the Grant family - Seumas, Alison and Mairi. How do you make a living in the modern day Highlands? And we take a peek into the Gaelic and Scots speaking Highland world, the real one that we don't bottle and sell to the tourists.
The Highlands: Gaelic, Doric and heading for the A9 in an open-top car.
05 LASTOrkney20120205In 1934 the Orcadian poet Edwin Muir embarked on his iconic 'Scottish Journey' a set of travels round depression-era Scotland where he tried to get to grips with Scottish identity and to consider what the future held for a country whose industries were being devastated by a recession
'... a silent clearance is going on in industrial Scotland, a clearance not of human beings, but of what they depend upon for life'
As a man very much of his time, of the 1930s, he wavered between socialism and nationalism as cures for Scotland's ills, but in-between reflected on the nature of work, poverty, Scottishness, tourism, the ideal way of living, the highland and the lowland character and the possible existence of a best of all possible worlds on his native Orkney.
In the summer of 2011, crime writer Louise Welsh decided to embark on a mini whistle-stop version of Muir's journey, taking to the roads in an open-top car, just as he did, and trying to get a flavour now of a country also in the grip of austerity and flirting with nationalism. This week we reach the end of Muir's journey in Orkney heading with teacher and author Simon Hall to the tiny island of Wyre where the poet was brought up. Muir thought Orkney was the best of all possible worlds with its mix of farming, technology and timelessness. Archaeologist Ingrid Mainland shows that such prosperity has a long history even back to neolithic times in the findings of the Ness of Brodgar dig. But are we getting any closer to homing in on that elusive Scottish identity? Even Muir in the end couldn't answer that question...
Louise journeys to the tiny Orkney island of Wyre, via the Ness of Brodgar neolithic dig.

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