I first travelled through the border country between Scotland and England when I was only six weeks old with my parents on their motorbike and sidecar. Since then countless trips have been made for both work and pleasure, crossing the border on the various roads that traverse it. The most recent journey was yesterday. I picked up Alistair Moffat’s ‘The Borders: a history of the borders from earliest times’ in the bookshop in Moffat a few weeks ago even though it was first published in 2002. I have read some of his other books but had not spotted this one previously. Born and bred in the borders he had a television career and was Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He now runs the Borders Book Festival which sadly I cannot get to this year. Alistair begins the book in prehistory with continental shifts and ice-ages, imagining what life would be like based on what we know from geology and archaeology. He then traces the various peoples who have lived in, fought over, worshipped in and moved through the area as well as the myths, traditions, writing, art and music inspired by it. He continues this up to the end of the 20th century and also provides a bibliography. There is a small selection of photographs in the centre. This book certainly reminded me of some things I had forgotten and added greatly to my understanding of the area I will be travelling through for many more years.
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