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Caithness Field Club Bulletin
Vol. 2 No. 2 October 1977
Inflation and the Field Club
The Annual Dinner
Field Club Publications
Next to come along was "Alexander Bain of Watten" published to coincide with the centenary of Bain's death in January 1977. Copies are now almost sold out, thanks to good local sales and some national interest. The cost of publication was assisted by a donation from Wick Round Table. We were able to break even on this project but a reprint is unlikely.
In June 1977 "Wild Flowers of Caithness" became our latest publication. When used in conjunction with any of the popular wildflower books it allows the user to find out what grows in Caithness and which plants are common or rare. It has been selling steadily both in the county and nationally and should be available for about three years from present stock.
Much of the success of this enterprise is due to the freely given effort of authors, editors, illustrators, and distributors which allows costs to be kept low and to give a good return of cash to the fund to finance the next project.
Any suggestions for future projects would be welcomed. Please contact Ken Butler or any member of the committee.
Other Recent Publications
Henrietta Munro: Legends of the Pentland Firth: Henrietta Munro, 55 Durness Street, Thurso, 1977, 64 pp., illus. by Barbara Myatt, £1.20 (£1.40 post free). Partly as a result of a lecture given to the Field Club two years ago by Miss Munro two members have joined forces to produce this collection of local folk stories, many of which have not appeared in print before. Anyone who has heard Miss Munro tell these stories will realise that she has a style of her own, not only in her telling but also in her writing, and even the most ardent doubter would be persuaded to believe that they are all quite true. This is another valuable addition to our Caithness collection which helps to redress the balance for the past neglect of local folk tales.
Euan W. Mackie: Science and Society in Prehistoric Britain: Elek, 1977, 252 pp., 36 figs., 17 pls., £12.50. In recent years archaeological ideas have already undergone one revolution due to the introduction of carbon dating which has now shown a number of sites to be very much earlier than was previously thought. It may be that we are about to see a second revolution in that Dr. Mackie is one of the first archaeologists prepared to make a reassessment of the archaeological evidence from the Neolithic and Bronze ages in Britain in the light of the painstaking work of Professor Thom. Most of the papers of Professor Thom have had to be published elsewhere than in archaeological journals where they did not support the accepted theories of the prehistory of the period. It is gratifying indeed now to find an archaeologist in print who is prepared to seriously look at the work of Thom and to reconsider the archaeological evidence in the light of it. Part one of the book gives a lucid account of the work of Thom and others. It also demonstrates a strong possibility for the megalithic yard having been used as a measure for laying out the dimensions of the brochs based upon the work of the author. Part two takes a new look at the archaeological evidence.
C. H. Gimingham: The Ecology of Heathland: Professor Gimingham's book may interest a wide range of readers now that it is available in paperback. Those who know little of ecology will find the principles illustrated in a relatively simple situation where there is some hope of understanding what happens. It is dominated of course by a discussion of heather, its germination, growth, root and twig structure, response to its environment and the effect on its environment. Concepts such as biomass are explored and there is a detailed discussion on the effects of grazing and burning. The studies have been carried out mostly in northern Scotland with some Scandinavian and English examples for comparison, so it is all quite relevant to the most common type of habitat in Caithness.
J. B. Whittow: Geology and Scenery in Scotland: Penguin Books, 1977, 362 pp., 45 pls., 54 figs., £1.95. This publication is the final volume of a trilogy on the British Isles. The blurb states that the subject matter passes with ease from the hard facts of science to the beauties of the landscape and while the content should satisfy the geologist, "it will add fascination to any journey undertaken in this most beautiful of countries". That seems fair comment.
The style is free and fluent and the jargon (defined in a good glossary) will not inhibit the reader interested in the landscape evolution of Scotland.
A Working Group on Croft Settlements
The Winter Programme
It is also hoped that there will be joint meetings with both the Wick Society and the Scottish Ornithology Club. Details of these are yet to be arranged.
The Thurso Society
The secretary is Mrs M. A. Spencer, 22 Barrock Street, Thurso.
Articles for the Bulletin