Much like Ireland, Scotland has a culture of story-telling and orality. It’s an inherent part of who they are as a collective; so, journeying to Alloway to learn more about one of their most beloved poets was a treat and a half to say the least.
It was a long journey for the few that went on this free course trip. Four hours on a bus is irksome for many, but once again I cannot stress the incredibly uncommon ability we have of looking out of the window and absorbing what landscape surrounds you. The Scottish landscape is something that does surround you, but also consumes you. It is the rugged, tufty lowlands that consumed me on this journey. Though, naturally, the weather was gloomy and deep grey rain clouds weighed on all of our minds as we got closer to our destination. But, the spirits of Scotland (if you’ll permit me to be so invested in folklore, and, in such a place as Scotland, I think you have to) always come through when you put your faith in them, and the weather stayed dry for us, allowing us to walk around Poet’s Path and Robert Burns’ childhood home.
The simplicity of the place historically, you can envisage. With its church ruins and pastoral views, its riverside walk and surrounding woodlands, you are invited to walk along two hundred (give or take) year old cobblestone paths and see Ayrshire as it was, and is.
Not only did we enjoy looking around the Robert Burns museum and his childhood cottage, but got a guided tour. As I have said before, with a culture still passionate about orality this means, not only are you going to gain a deeper insight into the history that surrounds you, but you are going to have a sore face and belly from laughing at all the jokes (including the highly inappropriate ones) that get fired at you along the way.
As you can see by the featured image, this was a journey for those who not only love history and natural beauty, but also for those who are inspired or attached to literary prodigies, such as Burns. Not only is Ayrshire a path for poets who are inspired by the natural sublimity that encompasses the landscape, but Scotland is, as a whole, a hauntingly inspiring place for those of us that have the pleasure of calling ourselves poets, enjoy writing, or generally, just love reading poetry.
Scotland is, as always, a feast for the eyes, the belly and the soul.