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Talks & lectures Event

Mon, 30th Sep 24 19:00 - 20:00

National Sporting Heritage Day Lecture 2024 - Dr Sarah Leith

St Andrews


The R&A World Golf Museum
Bruce Embankment
St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9AB

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01334460046 Email



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Croaking Ptarmigans and Creaky Bothies: Mountain Climbing and Meditation in Twentieth-Century Scotland

More and more people in Scotland today are heading for the hills. Both hillwalking and mountaineering are becoming increasingly popular sports and pastimes for many, with some ‘going to the hills’ not only for physical health but also to engage with culture and spirituality. This lecture considers the pioneering hillwalkers and mountaineers of Scotland’s twentieth century, including Sydney Scroggie, Nan Shepherd and Isobel Wylie Hutchison, and, as well as exploring their walks and climbs from the Cairngorms to the Cuillins, it considers their meditations within Scotland’s mountainous landscapes. We follow these walkers into the hill and learn about the physicality of walking and climbing Scotland’s hills and mountains, but we also learn about spirituality within this mountain scene.

There has been a recent revival of interest in Nan Shepherd, the Aberdonian author of The Living Mountain, a meditation about walking in the Cairngorms, and this lecture considers her alongside her contemporaries within Scotland. In particular, the lecture focusses upon the life and works of Dundee hillwalker and writer Sydney Scroggie (1919-2006), who made more than six-hundred trips into the Sidlaws and the Cairngorms. Syd Scroggie was the author of both poetry and prose, publishing his collection of poems, Give Me The Hills: The Verse of Syd Scroggie, in 1978 and his memoir of hillwalking in the Cairngorms, The Cairngorms Scene & Unseen, in 1989. The lecture considers, then, why we went to the hills in the past and why we still go to the hills in the present, and, in doing so, it brings together body with mind, sport with culture and physicality with spirituality.

Sarah is a former member of staff of the Museum and we are delighted to host her for NSHD2024. The lecture will take place in our galleries, with refreshments in our Learning Room. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Please contact Hannah on 01334 460054 or hannahfleming@randa.org for more details.


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The R&A World Golf Museum
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